VISITING HARRY, DECEMBER 1951-JANUARY 1952
LESS than two months after his return to Downing Street, it was clear that Churchill's hopes of relaxing the tensions of Cold War would not easily be achieved. He had won the election, he dominated his government and his international reputation was formidable, but his health was not good, close allies in Europe were suspicious of his ideas, and his own Foreign Office (FO) had a very different plan of campaign for dealing with the Soviets. Early friendly gestures from Moscow had evaporated in the vitriol of the UN Assembly and Churchill himself had quickly retreated from his initial talk of a Summit. To an extent all these problems were of secondary importance to him, for he had never intended to talk to Stalin except in agreement with the Americans and had yet to meet President Truman. As the Washington visit drew closer however it became clearer that the Americans too had little desire for any conference with the Soviets, let alone a Summit based on the highly personal approach to diplomacy taken by Winston Churchill.
Churchill's purpose in visiting America, as he never tired of repeating, was not to 'transact business' but to 'establish intimate relations' with Truman.1 He told the US Ambassador Walter Gifford pointedly that there should not be an 'agenda meeting', forcing the frustrated Gifford to turn to the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, William Strang, to try to discover which topics were likely to be discussed in Washington. The State Department were familiar with Churchill's preference for diplomatic talks which ranged widely and freely, unconstrained____________________