The Pittsburgh Press (December 1, 1943)
Chiang also with ‘Big Three’ in Iran, dispatches from Turkey say
By the United Press
Dispatches received in Lisbon from the Middle East today said that President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin have opened a momentous conference in Tehran, Iran, and that Generalissimo and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek were also in the Iranian capital.
The Lisbon daily O Século published a dispatch quoting the Inter-Information Agency of Ankara that the “Big Three” leaders were meeting in Tehran where they had been joined by Laurence Steinhardt, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey.
It gave no indication as to whether Gen. Chiang would participate. American and other Allied shortwave radio transmitters in broadcasts to the world said that the Chinese leader had conferred with Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill in Cairo recently and suggested that he would also meet Premier Stalin.
Sensation for Nazis
Axis broadcasts and copies of German and neutral European newspapers reaching Lisbon indicated that reports of the meeting had created a sensation throughout the Nazi-occupied continent.
Both Axis and neutral accounts agreed on the importance of the reported conference, particularly in that Stalin was said to be participating.
They indicated that Berlin had been taken by surprise. German propaganda for months has hammered at the idea that Stalin could not be brought into agreement with his allies.
Appeasement for Chinese
Radio Tokyo followed the line that Chiang had been included to “appease” the Chinese for their non-participation in the recent Moscow conference of foreign ministers.
Most broadcasts agreed that a communiqué covering at least the Roosevelt-Churchill-Chiang meeting would be issued sometime this week.
Almost all the broadcasts reported the meetings without qualification and said they were “announced” in a dispatch carried by the British news agency Reuters from Lisbon.
Cairo communications cut
An American broadcast to France, typical of all the Allied broadcasts, said that all communications between Cairo and the outside world were cut during the lengthy conference among Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill and Generalissimo Chiang. One of the meetings was said to have been held in a tent in the shadow of the Pyramids.
Mr. Roosevelt and Generalissimo Chiang, who was accompanied by Mme. Chiang, flew to Egypt and Mr. Churchill arrived by ship, the broadcast said.
Broadcast by Dakar
The American broadcast said:
The President of the United States, the British Premier and the chief of the Chinese government, following their meeting in Cairo, are now heading for an unknown destination, in order to meet Marshal Stalin.
The Allied-controlled stations in Dakar and Brazzaville, as well as that in Leopoldville, made similar broadcasts.
The Germans, apparently monitoring a Reuters broadcast to its overseas clients, picked up the British agency’s Lisbon dispatch and reissued it to Nazi foreign clients within a half-hour yesterday, the Office of War Information reported.
Quickly developing their propaganda line, the Germans put out a dispatch under the signature of Dr. Siegfried Horn, DNB’s diplomatic correspondent, saying that the United States and Britain had been forced to “make concessions to the Soviet Union.”
Though his agency relayed the report through the medium of American shortwave broadcasts, Director Elmer Davis of the OWI denounced Reuters’ distribution of the dispatch reporting the three- and four-power meetings as “reprehensible.”
If such a conference had been held, he said, it could be assumed from past experience that some arrangement would be made for a simultaneous announcement “in all the capitals involved.”
Sees broken release
Mr. Davis said:
If that were the case, Reuters broke the release date. If there were no conference, the story would be an invention. Either way, it is equally reprehensible.
Mr. Davis said OWI broadcast the report because, since “everybody else” was handling it, the OWI should “give its own customers something, too.”
The Reuters Agency, according to a Dow Jones report from London, today took exception to the criticism by Elmer Davis, saying he should have made a search for the facts on the Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conference. Reuters said there was no embargo or restriction agreed, or otherwise, on sending anywhere the story of the meeting. The story was the result of spontaneous journalistic enterprise by Douglas Brown, chief of the Reuters bureau in Lisbon. Reuters said it was not allowed to publish the story in London but sent it to clients overseas.
Says Beneš may attend
The Stockholm Svenska Dagbladet reported from Berne that both President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill arrived in North Africa by warship, accompanied by high military authorities and diplomats. The dispatch said that Edvard Beneš, President of the Czech government-in-exile, was expected to attend the meeting involving Marshal Stalin as an observer, while the French Committee of National Liberation would also be represented.
The dispatch said:
The meeting [with Marshal Stalin] is expected to formulate conditions for Germany’s capitulation and probably will result in an Allied declaration to the German people and a similar declaration to the satellites urging the withdrawal of their troops to their own countries.
An earlier Ankara dispatch reported that U.S. Ambassador Steinhardt had returned to Ankara last night after a week-long “mysterious trip” which foreign circles linked with a three-power meeting. The “foreign” sources suggested that Mr. Steinhardt had been summoned to give expert counsel to Mr. Roosevelt in view of Turkey’s possible role in an offensive in Southeastern Europe.
British papers ignore report of parley
London, England (UP) –
British morning newspapers today ignored a Reuters Lisbon dispatch saying that President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had completed conferences at Cairo and printed only Axis speculation on the prospects of a conference.
The BBC also did not carry the Reuters report in either its home or shortwave programs, though some references to the dispatch were made in a program called America Calling Britain, which originates in the United States.