Official: Prime Minister: correspondence. [there are some later administrative notes in the file].

Reference code: CHAR 20/20

Part of: CHAR 20
Next record: CHAR 20/21A-C
Previous record: CHAR 20/19

Date: Jan 1941 - Dec 1941

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Physical: 1 bound file and 1 folder (76 folios)
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Contained records

Reference Record Date
CHAR 20/20/1-2 Letter from King George VI (Sandringham [Norfolk]) to WSC on the improvement in his health after a rest at Sandringham; mentions a prospective visit to Sheffield [Yorkshire] and thanks WSC for his help with the Christmas Day broadcast. [signed manuscript]. 02 Jan 1941
CHAR 20/20/3-4 Letter from [1st Lord] Beaverbrook [earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Aircraft Production] to WSC declining to undertake the Chairmanship of the Import Executive as he does not like committee work, and asking to be released from his ministerial obligations. [signed typescript]. 03 Jan 1941
CHAR 20/20/5-6 Letter from WSC to "Max" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Aircraft Production] stating: "Your resignation would be . . . regarded as desertion . . . If I am to accept as final your refusal to take the Chairmanship of the Imports Executive . . . I will myself take your place"; asks him to reconsider giving up his ministerial post. [draft carbon]. [Jan 1941]
CHAR 20/20/7 Letter from WSC to "Max" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Aircraft Production] refusing to let him go, stating "you [would] deprive me [and] the Government of services [which] are irreplaceable . . . abandon the ship now - Never!" [manuscript copy, annotated: "hold"]. 06 Jan 1941
CHAR 20/20/8 Letter from WSC to "Max" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Aircraft Production] accepting his resignation: "You must not forget in the face of petty vexations the vast scale of events and the brightly-lighted stage of history upon which we stand." [manuscript copy]. 07 Jan 1941
CHAR 20/20/9-10 Letter from "Max" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Aircraft Production] to WSC explaining why he resisted becoming part of the War Cabinet, and why he now wishes to resign. [signed typescript]. 06 Jan 1941
CHAR 20/20/11 Letter from WSC to the First Lord [of the Admiralty, A V Alexander, later 1st Lord Alexander of Hillsborough] informing him that it is: "the duty of the naval authorities to carry out the approved policy of the transference of men from other shipbuilding and ship-repairing tasks to merchant ship repair work". [typescript copy]. 02 Apr 1941
CHAR 20/20/12-15 Letter from WSC to King [George VI] on the consequences of the Royal Navy engaging the French ship Dunquerque: stating that if France declared war or handed over her Fleet and bases to Germany, Britain would need US aid, but that this is unlikely because there was little reaction to the bombardment of Oran [Algeria], and the USA has made strong representations to Admiral [Jean] Darlan [Vice-Premier of Vichy France]. [draft carbon]. 05 Apr 1941
CHAR 20/20/16-17 Letter from WSC [to King George VI] asking for permission to meet with President [Franklin Roosevelt] off Newfoundland [Canada]; stating that he should like to be accompanied by the 1st Sea Lord [Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound], the Chief of Imperial General Staff [General Sir Alan Brooke, later 1st Lord Alanbrooke of Brookeborough] and Air [Chief] Marshal [Sir Wilfrid] Freeman [Vice-Chief of Air Staff], leaving Lord Privy Seal [Clement Attlee] in charge of the Government; and that he will meet General [Claude] Auchinleck [Commander-in-Chief Middle East] before he departs. [carbon]. 25 Jul 1941
CHAR 20/20/18-19 Letter from King George VI (Windsor Castle [Berkshire]) to WSC agreeing to his arrangements for a meeting with President [Franklin] Roosevelt. [signed typescript]. 25 Jun 1941
CHAR 20/20/20-21 Letter from WSC (10 Downing Street) to [Clement] Attlee [Lord Privy Seal] hoping he will put the offer of Chairmanship of the Assistance Board before "our friend" [unidentified, ?Sir Horace Wilson]. [manuscript copy in the hand of Prime Minister's Private Secretary John Peck with envelope]. 26 Jul 1941
CHAR 20/20/22 Letter from Clement Attlee [Lord Privy Seal] (11 Downing Street) to WSC requesting a meeting as "the suggested change would hinder not help us in our task" [?offering Sir Horace Wilson Chairmanship of the Assistance Board]. [signed manuscript]. 26 Jun 1941
CHAR 20/20/23 Letter from WSC (10 Downing Street) to [Clement] Attlee [Lord Privy Seal]: "I feel most strongly that the change I indicated to you ought to be made" and asking for Attlee's assistance in the matter [?offering Sir Horace Wilson Chairmanship of the Assistance Board]. [copy]. 26 Jun 1941
CHAR 20/20/24 Note from WSC to the Chancellor of the Exchequer [Sir Kingsley Wood] asking if there is truth in the rumour that Sir Horace Wilson [Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury and official Head of HM Civil Service] holds weekly meetings of Heads of Departments to teach them how to act. [initialled] Annotated answer by "K W": "There is no truth in this". 30 Jul 1941
CHAR 20/20/25-27 Letter from "K W" [Sir Kingsley Wood, Chancellor of the Exchequer] (11 Downing Street) to WSC setting out arguments against the dismissal of the Permanent Secretary of the Treasury [and official Head of HM Civil Service, Sir Horace Wilson], as advised by Clement Attlee [Lord Privy Seal]; states that responsibility for actions should be borne by the Minister. [initialled manuscript]. 27 Jul 1941
CHAR 20/20/28-31 Minute [from WSC] to Chancellor of the Exchequer [Sir Kingsley Wood] favouring the appointment of [Sir James] Grigg [Permanent Under-Secretary of State for War] over [Sir Arthur] Street [Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Air] to the post [of Head of HM Civil Service]; mentions that Permanent Secretary to the Treasury [and Civil Service Head, Sir Horace Wilson] has "a very bad record and is the object of widespread distrust". [typescript copy] Encloses note from the Lord Privy Seal [Clement Attlee] on Civil Service resistance to Government decisions, blaming the "[Sir] Warren Fisher regime continued by Horace Wilson", suggesting replacing Wilson with Street. [typescript copy and manuscript original, not in Attlee's hand]. 26 Jul 1941
CHAR 20/20/32 Letter from Queen Elizabeth [wife of George V] (Windsor Castle [Berkshire]) to WSC asking him to read her notes for her broadcast to the United States. She explains that her notes are "not very polished - a good deal of my own" but that she wishes to thank the women of the United States for their help and sympathy and to encourage them to further efforts and ends by wishing him a successful voyage. Signed manuscript annotated "Mrs [Kathleen] Hill". 02 Aug 1941
CHAR 20/20/33-34 Copy of a letter from WSC to Queen Elizabeth [wife of King George V] thanking her for showing him the script of her broadcast to the United States, which he thinks is "exactly what is needed" although he has suggested a few alternatives [not present]. He thanks her for her good wishes on his voyage [to the United States] and says that he hopes "our friend" [President Roosevelt] has progress in mind. Carbon typescript. Two copies, one signed by WSC. 03 Aug 1941
CHAR 20/20/35 Letter from WSC to [General Sir Archibald] Wavell [Commander-in-Chief, ?India] expressing admiration for his "character, conduct and military capacity". [copy, possibly incorrectly dated]. [19] Sep 1941
CHAR 20/20/36-37 Letter from WSC [to King George VI] accepting the appointment of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, but suggesting he does not take up the position until the war has ended. [carbon]. 22 Sep 1941
CHAR 20/20/38-39 Letter from [President] Franklin Roosevelt (The White House, Washington [United States]) to WSC commenting on [Lord Louis] Mountbatten's usefulness to the US Navy, "the Jap situation", and a matter concerning US relations with Vichy France. [signed manuscript with envelope]. 15 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/40-42 Letter from WSC to General [Claude] Auchinleck [Commander-in-Chief Middle East] criticising [Air Marshal Sir Arthur] Tedder's [Air Officer Commanding in Chief, RAF, Middle East] estimate of strength; looking forward to receiving news of Operation Crusader as "the whole immediate future of the war" depends on it; and suggesting that although troops are preparing for Norway they could easily be diverted to Africa if necessary. [copy]. 16 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/43-57 Letter from WSC to President [Franklin Roosevelt] outlining various plans and proposals concerning: attacking the German and Italian armies in Libya; French North Africa; Norway; British contributions to the Soviet war effort; defending Great Britain from a possible German invasion; placing United States forces in Northern Ireland [Ulster]; the command structure in the Middle East and the roles of the Air Force and Navy; the effect of victory in Libya on Italy and Turkey; landing tanks; the British and Imperial Armies; the Japanese threat. [copy possibly produced for WSC's "Second World War"]. 20 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/58-60 Letter from WSC to Max, [1st] Lord Beaverbrook [earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Supply] on efforts to conceal "Crusader" [British North African operation] and let "Ajax" [a planned landing at Trondheim, Norway] become public; refuses to allow him to resign from the Defence Committee. [carbon, annotated by WSC]. 26 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/61 Note from "B" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Supply] to WSC resigning from the Defence Committee on the grounds of "continuing and violent attacks of asthma". [manuscript, annotated by WSC]. 25 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/62 Note from "B" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Supply] to WSC commenting on leaks of future campaigns to attack in Libya and not in the west, suggesting deception techniques, and commenting on his character: "I am a victim of the Furies." [typescript]. 25 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/63 Minute from "B" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Supply] (Shell Mex House, London) to WSC protesting that a divergence in views, or Beaverbrook's departure from the Government, will not institute a separation between them, so he asks for WSC's support. [typescript annotated by WSC]. 26 Oct 1941
CHAR 20/20/64 Letter from WSC (10 Downing Street) to "Max" [1st Lord Beaverbrook, earlier Sir Max Aitken, Minister of Supply] congratulating him on his mission to Moscow [Soviet Union]; chastising him for making public his desire to retire; reassuring him that his colleagues are not conspiring against him and advising him not to get so agitated. [manuscript copy in Prime Minister's Private Secretary John Peck's hand]. 30 Oct 1940
CHAR 20/20/65-67 Letter from WSC [to King George VI] requesting permission to visit President [Franklin] Roosevelt in Washington [United States], with the 1st Sea Lord [Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound] and the Chief of Air Staff [Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal], whilst Anthony Eden [later 1st Lord Avon, Foreign Secretary] is in Moscow [Soviet Union] visiting Marshal Stalin; adds in post script that he will delay the journey until Germany and Italy declare their intentions towards the United States. [copy, with manuscript annotations by Francis Brown]. 08 Dec 1941
CHAR 20/20/68 Letter from King George VI (Windsor Castle [Berkshire]) to WSC on the loss of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales, and the news about the American battleships. [signed manuscript]. 10 Dec 1941
CHAR 20/20/69 Letter from WSC [to King George VI] acknowledging that the loss of two battleships [Repulse and Prince of Wales] is "a very heavy blow", particularly to forces in the Far East, nevertheless "I am enormously relieved at the extraordinary changes of the last few days". [carbon]. 12 Dec 1941
CHAR 20/20/70 Note between [WSC's secretaries] "Jo" [Sturdee, later Lady Onslow] and [Lettice] Marston [later Lettice Shillingford] on putting an item [a December 1941 letter from King George VI] away in the Archives. [manuscript]. 24 Feb 1953
CHAR 20/20/71-72 Note from "J R C" [John Colville, Prime Minister's Principal Private Secretary] to WSC on keeping a December 1941 letter from King George VI in WSC's private papers. [manuscript with envelope]. 24 Feb [1953]
CHAR 20/20/73-75 Menu, guest list of 32 and seating plan for official luncheon onboard the Prince of Wales; diners included: WSC, President [Franklin Roosevelt], Admiral Ernest King (Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet), Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound (1st Sea Lord) and General George Marshall (US Chief of Staff). [accompanied by later note]. 10 Aug 1941
CHAR 20/20/76 Note from "T L R" [Leslie Rowan, Prime Minister's Private Secretary] to WSC dated 4 March and stating: "You asked me to let you see this again". Annotated by WSC: "To be kept secret for many years". c 1941