Québec puzzle –
Russia only major ally now absent
Australia and China join in war conferences now nearing an end
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer
Québec, Canada –
Announcement that Australian representation was being added to the Québec Conference today focused new attention on the absence of Russia, now the only one of the big Allied fighting powers without some representative in the war talks led by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Sir William Glasgow, High Commissioner for Australia in Canada, was due from Ottawa. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox arrived by plane from Washington. And there was some indication that Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, absent from Washington, might have been called into the conference.
Represented now by top men in the Québec war conferences approaching a conclusion were the United States, Great Britain, Canada, China and Australia.
Official sources still denied any connection between the Québec Conference and the Russian withdrawal of Ambassador Maxim Litvinov from Washington. But they admitted that the timing of the announcement raised a multitude of questions as to the impression the Soviet was trying to convey to the world.
Virtually every important war figure in the higher echelons of the British, American and Canadian governments was on hand. Mr. Roosevelt scheduled a series of continuous conferences during the day and it was definitely known that the meetings are at a point of final approval of a master plan for destructive operations against the Axis the remainder of this year.
As the arrivals of new officials here continued so did the air of mystery over the conference of the past seven days. Last night, some officials tacitly advised some of their contacts that today would bring a big announcement. A morning press conference produced the news that Mr. Churchill and Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King were to make an automobile tour of the city.
Chinese Foreign Minister T. V. Soong, lunched with President Roosevelt and was expected to remain for additional talks in the afternoon. Mr. Roosevelt was devoting some time in preparing his Ottawa speech.
May blitz cities
While official sources cautioned against excluding any war theater from speculation, there were increasing indications that an intensification of the aerial offensive against Italy was near. The plans, it was believed, called for such cities as Naples, Brindisi and Taranto to be “Hamburged” from the air, and then, if the Italian government still refused to capitulate, an invasion.
Dr. Soong’s arrival yesterday was followed by a statement from White House Press Secretary Stephen T. Early:
The President expected to confer as soon as possible with Dr. Soong. Mr. Churchill will participate in these discussions which have to do with the plans for the war on Japan, the emphasis being given to that and all points pertaining to the war on Japan.
Yesterday, the conference at the Citadel began right after breakfast. Mr. Roosevelt welcomed Mr. Stimson, then lunched with the Prime Minister and the War Secretary and a number of others.
After lunch, the President drove to the Isle d’Orleans with Mrs. Churchill and inspected several old churches. Lewis O. Douglas, American deputy war shipping administrator, who was once principal of McGill University and who has an intimate knowledge of Québec Province, acted as “guide.”
Hold long parley
After the drive, Mr. Roosevelt joined Mr. Churchill, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, Sir Alexander Cadogan, the Permanent Under Secretary for External Affairs in the British government, and James C. Dunn, State Department political advisor.
The conference began about 5:30 p.m. and lasted far into the night. It obviously involved bigtime foreign policy from the political standpoint.
While the intensive conferences were going on in the Citadel, the armed staff chiefs and many of their aides, including some secretarial help and technical experts, cruised on the St. Lawrence and the Saguenay Rivers. Leaving Saturday night, they returned late yesterday.