cuba heritage .com - Cuban History, Architecture & Culture
Cuban Cigar gifts and the German risk
United Kingdom/Cuba 1941
On 7 November 1941, John Martin, Churchill’s Principal Private Secretary, sent the Prime Minister a minute relating to two recent gifts of cigars from Brazil. He noted that, “In view of the German record in matters of this kind, there is undoubtedly an element of risk...and it does not seem to be a risk which you should take.” He suggested three alternatives: the cigars could be exchanged at a reputable dealer’s for reliable stock and sold to unsuspecting customers; they could be exchanged with cigars owned by Lord Rothschild and smoked by him; or they could be destroyed or smoked by any of Churchill’s staff who were prepared to take the risk. From his marginal annotations, it is clear that Churchill considered the first option to be “lousy” and the second to be unacceptable. He minuted back, “If these cigars are not thought safe for me, they are not safe for anyone, and had better be destroyed.”

A small example from a huge collection, but I think it illustrates the range of material that survives in the Churchill Papers. Yet the Churchill Papers are only part of the story, for the Archives Centre now houses the papers of some 570 prominent individuals: politicians, civil servants, diplomats, military commanders, and scientists. What unites them all is that they are the records of people who have shaped public life, or have been in a position to observe such major change, in the Churchill era and beyond. They include: Sir Eric Phipps, British Ambassador to Berlin in the 1930’s; Sir John Colville, Winston Churchill’s Private Secretary; Field Marshal Lord Slim, commander of the British armies in Burma during the Second World War; Sir John Cockcroft, who won the Nobel Prize for disintegrating atoms; and Rosalind Franklin, whose pioneering research led to the discovery of DNA.
by Allen Packwood, Churchill College, Cambridge University project about Winston Churchill and Cuba
Article ID 544
First Article 708 of 815 Last
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