Quebec City: unpublished. photographic negatives. This is a set of original negatives of apparently unpublished images of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill taken on 18 August 1943 at the Second World War ‘Quadrant’ conference in Quebec City. Churchill and Roosevelt are prominent in seven of the nine images, pictured variously with Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Governor General of Canada the Earl of Athlone, Princess Alice, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, British Minister of Information Brendan Bracken, and British Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sir Alexander Cadogan.
Particularly compelling are a close shot of Churchill with his cigar smoke trailing across his countenance, of MacKenzie King with his right hand across his forehead as if in amusement or exasperation, of Churchill leaning in toward Princess Alice, of Eden and Roosevelt turned toward one another in conversation, and of just Churchill, Roosevelt, and King, seated together, the Citadel vista in the background, other photographers in the foreground.
These Quebec conference negatives are similar to published images from 18 August 1943, but we find no record of these particular images. Idiosyncrasies and photo-op imperfections of the images – individuals looking away or either too little or too much engaged, etc. – likely prevented selection of these images for publication. Of course, the idiosyncrasies also make these images compelling.
There are two additional negatives. One features U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson walking with Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King beside a train, flanked by Royal Canadian Mounted Police guards. The other image is from the Cairo conference of November 1943. It features a bevy of senior military figures seated and standing around a conference table, at which are seated Chief of Staff General George Marshall, President Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff Admiral William Leahy, Admiral Ernest King, and General Henry “Hap” Arnold. The implication is that the photographer – presumably from the US Signal Corps photographers as evidenced by “C. U.S. ARMY” and a Signal Corps insignia on one negative - was present at both conferences.
The photographs came to us in a worn and age-toned paper sleeve, ostensibly contemporary to the negatives and with “FDR” and “Churchill” written on the outside amid other inscrutable annotations. The negatives measure just under 4 x 5 inches. We commissioned professional, high resolution digital scans of each negative, from which we printed 8 x 10 photographs. As evidenced by excellent 8 x 10 print quality, the negatives are in very good condition. Lesser quality, 4 x 6 contact prints accompanied the negatives. The negatives, smaller prints, larger prints, and original paper sleeve are now housed within archival mylar sleeves within a full-leather binder. A memory stick bearing the high resolution digital scans will be supplied.
Churchill traveled to the August 1943 conference (code-named ‘Quadrant’) aboard the Queen Mary, accompanied by his wife, Clementine, daughter, Mary, and a “formidable team” of more than two hundred. Discussions at Hyde Park, President Roosevelt’s Hudson River home (12-14 August), and in Quebec (17-24 August), included the recent overthrow of Mussolini and battle for Italy, command of the forthcoming cross-Channel invasion, command in South-East Asia, sharing information on development of the atomic bomb, and relations with Stalin. In Quebec Churchill and Roosevelt were accommodated at “La Citadelle”, a residence of the Governor-General. There, on the Citadel terrace, 18 August was “the big day for photographers and newsreel men”. A “group of more than twenty photographers” were ushered by guards “up to the Citadel terrace to photograph the leading figures of the conference.” (Planning Victory: The Quebec Conference – 1943) Among them was the photographer who made the images whose original negatives remarkably survived, and which we offer today. Item #004471