DescriptionWinston Churchill Typed Letter Signed. One page, 7.5" x 9.5", "The Casey Villa, Cairo", December 5, 1943, to "His Majesty King Peter II of Yugoslavia", the last king of Yugoslavia. This World War II- dated letter, written while Churchill attended the Cairo Conference, is typed on the British prime minister's stationery, but the address, "10 Downing Street, Whitehall" has been stricken through.
In the letter, Churchill thanks King Peter II, the last monarch of Yugoslavia, for his birthday wishes for prime minister's sixty-ninth birthday. Churchill, only days before suffering two minor heart attacks, writes, "I thank Your Majesty for your kind letter of congratulation and good wishes on my birthday, which I found waiting for me on my return to Cairo. I am much indebted to Your Majesty for sending me the fine symbolic present which accompanied your letter. This gave me great pleasure and I am delighted to accept it. Would Your Majesty please convey to Monsieur Svetozar Puric my congratulations upon the work which he has produced. Your Majesty will, I am sure, have understood how pressed I have been during the present Conferences. Nevertheless, I hope that before I leave we may have an opportunity of meeting again."
A fearless traveler, Churchill took many trips during World War II, attending all thirteen major conferences, including the Cairo Conference from November 23-26, and December 3-7, 1943. Also in attendance at Cairo were Franklin Roosevelt, Chiang Kaisheck (China), and Ismet Inonu (Turkey). One of Churchill's goals for the conference was to convince Turkey to enter the war with the Allies. Though they were not convinced, General Dwight Eisenhower was chosen supreme commander of the upcoming Normandy invasion. Sandwiched between the two sessions of the Cairo Conference was the Teheran Conference in which Churchill and Roosevelt met Joseph Stalin at Teheran and officially recognized Josip Tito, avowed enemy of Nazi Germany, as the leader of Yugoslavia.
The letter is accompanied by a typed draft (with penciled notations and unsigned) of King Peter's original letter to "Mr. Churchill" (n.p., n.d.). In part, "It gives me very much pleasure indeed to offer you my warmest congratulations and my very best wishes on the occasion of your birthday. As a souvenir of your birthday of this year which you are going to celebrate during one of the most memorable conferences in our history, I would wish you to accept a handiwork of a Yugoslav . . . to symbolize the gallantry of those few to whom so much was owned by so many, and who have in these last days given the world a new brilliant instance of their prowess." King Peter II, only twenty years old in 1943 had become king three years earlier. Following the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, King Peter, along with the Yugoslavian government, fled the country for England. While there, Peter studied at Cambridge and joined the R.A.F., never to return to Yugoslavia. Both letters are in fine condition.
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