New York: The British Library of Information, 1941. First edition, only printing. Leaflet. This is the first edition, only printing of Churchill's January 9, 1941 speech to the Pilgrims Society (referred to as "the Pilgrims" in the title on the cover) welcoming Lord Halifax as British Ambassador to the United States. Founded in 1902, the Pilgrims Society is an Anglo-American organization whose objective is "the encouragement of Anglo-American good fellowship".
This first edition, only printing of Churchill's January 9, 1941 speech is a four-page folded paper leaflet measuring 9 x 6 inches (22.9 x 15.2 cm) and printed on the first three pages. This example is in near fine condition, particularly given the age and inherent fragility of the format. The pamphlet is crisp and complete, with no spotting, no previous ownership marks, and no appreciable wear. Minor toning shows at the perimeter of the covers, trivial soiling at the top edges of the covers. The leaflet is protected within a removable, clear, archival mylar sleeve.
Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax (1881-1959) became British Ambassador to the United States after the sudden death of Lord Lothian in December 1940. Halifax, then the Foreign Secretary, was appointed only after both Lloyd George and Oliver Lyttelton had been considered, and is an example of the many personalities and considerations Churchill balanced in his wartime coalition government. In choosing the architect of Chamberlain's appeasement policy as ambassador to the one nation Britain most desperately needed to join the war, Churchill is reported as reasoning that Halifax "would never live down his reputation for appeasement which he and the Foreign Office had won themselves" and that "He had no future in this country. On the other hand he had a glorious opportunity in America, for, unless the United States came into the war, we could not win, or at least we could not win a really satisfactory peace." (Gilbert, Volume VI, pages 952-953)
Halifax reluctantly accepted the appointment, allowing the return of Anthony Eden to the Foreign Secretary post, which he had resigned in 1938 in opposition to Chamberlain's appeasement policy. Halifax served as Ambassador to the U.S. until May 1946. In this address to the Pilgrims Society, Churchill calls Halifax "a man of light and learning" and, perhaps anticipating the effect of his new ambassador's pro-appeasement history, Churchill says: "I have often disagreed with him in the twenty years I have known him, but I have always respected him and his actions because I know that courage and fidelity are the essence of his being..." Of the critical relationship between Britain and America, Churchill states: "The identity of purpose and persistence of resolve prevailing throughout the English-speaking world will, more than any other single fact, determine the way of life which will be open to generations, and perhaps to centuries, which follow our own."
This pamphlet is one in a series of Churchill's speeches printed by the British Library of Information in New York. The British Library of Information published thirty-four editions of statements, speeches, and broadcast addresses by Prime Minister Winston Churchill (that number including some variant publications of the same speeches), beginning with his first speech as Prime Minister of 13 May 1940 and ending with the broadcast address of 29 November 1942. These editions were often issued within two or three days of delivery and "reveal the political determination of the British government to bring the inspiration and steadfastness of the Prime Minister and the British nation to an American nation not yet engaged in the war. Indeed, twenty-two of the BLOI speech pamphlets were published before Pearl Harbor." (Cohen, Volume I, p.513, A120)
Reference: Cohen A139, Woods A65. Item #005309