Roosevelt and Hopkins, an Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
The Yalta Conference

The accommodations at Yalta were unexceptionable for those on the Very Important Person level and the Russians seemed eager to convince their Anglo-American guests of the warm friendliness of their hospitality. However, this was war-ravaged territory and space was so limited that, according to the records, sixteen U.S. Army colonels had to share one bedroom. Hopkins had a bedroom to himself in the Livadia Palace where Roosevelt was staying, and he spent most of his time in it, leaving his bed only to go down to the Grand Ballroom for the full dress meetings. He was so extremely ill that at one point Dr. McIntire wanted him to be moved to the Navy Communications ship, U.S.S. Catoctin, which was moored at Sevastopol eighty miles away. (It was considered unsafe to bring the ship to Yalta because of the danger of lingering German mines, and signal corps men had laid land lines from the Livadia Palace to the ship so that Roosevelt could have his own channels of communication.) Hopkins attended none of the big dinners at Yalta—in fact I believe he was not permitted so much as a taste of vodka—so that his condition at least became no worse and he was able to stick it out to the end. James F. Byrnes has written, "Members of our delegation frequently held meetings there [in Hopkins' bedroom] because Dr. McIntire insisted he remain in bed."

Robert Hopkins was the only son at this conference but there were three daughters, Anna Boettiger, Section Officer Sarah Churchill Oliver (of the W.A.A.F.) and Kathleen Harriman. Roosevelt's party also included James F. Byrnes, Edward J. Flynn and Steve Early, who saw to it that this conference got much better press coverage than had any of its predecessors despite the fact that Roosevelt firmly refused to permit even the wire service men—"the three ghouls"—to go along with him.

The President and Prime Minister arrived at Yalta on Saturday, February 3. Stalin and his party arrived early Sunday morning and he

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