An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt meeting with British and American war correspondents at the Casablanca Conference on 24 January 1943
London: British Official Photograph issued by Photographic News Agencies, Ltd., published by The Daily Telegraph, 1 February 1943. Photograph. This original press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt meeting with British and American war correspondents on 24 January 1943, the last day of the Casablanca Conference. The gelatin silver print on matte photo paper measures 8 x 10.125 in (20.3 x 25.7 cm). Condition is very good. The paper is crisp and clean with only minor edge wear, a loss to the upper right corner confined to the margins, pin holes at all corners, a crease to the lower right corner, and light cockling. This press photo was once a part of the working archives of The Daily Telegraph. The verso bears a copyright stamp identifying it as a hand-numbered “British Official Photograph” issued by “Photographic News Agencies, Ltd.” A “Published” stamp of The Daily Telegraph is dated “1 FEB 1943”. Additionally, the verso features handwritten printing notations, and the remnants of a typed caption. This photograph is housed in a removable, archival mylar sleeve within a rigid, crimson cloth folder.
From 14-24 January 1943, two months after the Anglo-American landings in French North Africa, the Allied leaders met in Casablanca, Morocco, to plan Allied military strategy. Stalin was invited but declined to attend allegedly due to the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad. The Conference determined that invasion of Sicily would follow North Africa, addressed force deployments and lines of attack in the Far East, and agreed on concentrated bombing of Germany. Perhaps most important, Roosevelt and Churchill resolved to demand “unconditional surrender” from Germany, Italy, and Japan as the necessary precursor to postwar peace – a policy that aroused criticism and controversy both during and after the war.
This photo captures the two Allied leaders in the garden of the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca where they held a press conference for fifty Allied newspapermen. Roosevelt read out a prepared statement in which he outlined the events of the Conference and “The determination that peace can come to the world only by the total elimination of German and Japanese war power” and “the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.” (Gilbert, Vol VII, p309) Churchill appealed directly to the agents of the press to “Give them the picture of unity, thoroughness and integrity of the political chiefs." (ibid.) Of this meeting with the press Churchill told Roosevelt, “We charmed them all right.” (Roberts, Walking with Destiny, p.768)
During the first half of the twentieth century, photojournalism grew as a practice, fundamentally changing the way the public interacted with current events. Newspapers assembled expansive archives, with physical copies of all photographs published or deemed useful for potential future use, their versos typically marked with ink stamps and notes providing provenance and captions. Photo departments would often take brush, paint, pencil, and marker to the surface of photographs themselves to edit them before publication. Today these photographs exist as repositories of historical memory, technological artifacts, and often striking pieces of vernacular art. Item #005569