Roosevelt and Hopkins, an Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIX
Trident and Quadrant

After the end of the Eden conferences in Washington, Churchill cabled asking Hopkins and General Marshall to join General Brooke and himself for a meeting with Eisenhower in North Africa, which the Prime Minister referred to as "Torch Land." On April 9, Churchill cabled Hopkins that he was greatly pleased to hear of a telephone call to Eden, then in Canada on the way home, indicating that it was agreed that the meeting should be held. The main purpose of the conference was to insure that there would be no undue delays in the launching of the Sicilian operation and to determine the answer to the question, "Where do we go from there?"

Hopkins replied that " Anthony must have misunderstood me" and said that the President felt that the time for another meeting was not propitious until the situation in Tunisia was clarified. Churchill replied that he was greatly disappointed.

It was then decided that Churchill should come to Washington with his Chiefs of Staff for full-dress conferences in May. On May 2, he cabled Hopkins that he was well aware that the President was distracted by domestic affairs, particularly the coal crisis, and he suggested that on this occasion it might be well for him to stay at the British Embassy rather than at the White House. He confessed that he was disturbed by certain differences of opinion relative to future operations which seemed to exist beneath the surface; he did not specify what these differences. were, but he did state his determination to bring them out into the open and settle them.

The coal crisis referred to was one of the recurrent eruptions of John L. Lewis. It compelled Roosevelt to issue an order to Harold Ickes, as Secretary of the Interior and Solid Fuels Administrator for War, to take over all the bituminous and anthracite mines and operate them under

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