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    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Signed "Short Snorter" From the Historic Teheran Conference.
    -Signed on a series 1935 one dollar silver certificate. 6" x 2.75".
    -With old fold creases, signatures slightly faded, else very good.

    The Teheran Conference was the first WWII meeting of the "Big Three" countries - Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. It was at this conference that the leading powers planned the final strategy for defeating Nazi Germany and her allies. The conference was held November 28 to December 1, 1943 and was attended by Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt and their combined staffs. This short snorter was signed en route to the conference by Roosevelt and several of his aides including Harry Hopkins, Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, Major General E. M. Watson, Dr. Ross McIntire, Admiral William Leahy, and several other military men. The verso of the bill bears the heading "Special Mission 22/11/43". Roosevelt has signed his full signature about two thirds of the way down the bill.

    A short snorter is a banknote which circulated during World War II and the Korean War upon which signatures were exchanged between those traveling together or meeting up at different events. The practice was widespread during WWII and also served as the basis of an informal drinking club where those without had to buy a round for the others. It is certain that short snorters bearing FDR's signature are few and far between, and this rare example made all the more significant with the association with the historic Teheran Conference.

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    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.


    An amazing and extremely rare and special World War II memento, a United States of America one dollar silver certificate (one dollar bill) series 1935 signed by FDR and several key advisors and aides en route to the historic Teheran Conference of Allied powers via Cairo, Egypt November 22, 1943. The actual Teheran Conference of November 28 to December 1, 1943  followed FDR's meetings in Cairo with the major Allied war leaders: British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff for the Allied Powers. Franklin D. Roosevelt as President and Commander in Chief boldly signs the verso of the one dollar United States silver certificate , also signed by FDR's "Chief of Staff" Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, FDR's key advisor Harry L. Hopkins, FDR's Naval aide Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, FDR's physician Vice Admiral Ross McIntire, military aide and appointments secretary Major General E. M. "Pa" Watson and several others, including the crew members of the transport plane which flew the Presidential party from Tunis, Tunisia to Teheran, Iran, such as United States Army Major George H. Durno, and members of the Secret Service detail that accompanied the President, such as Robert R. Hastings. On the verso oblong at top of the one dollar silver certificate is the inscription: "Special Mission 22/11/43" under which the signatures follow in various ink styles. FDR writes his full signature two-thirds of the way down on the verso of the one dollar silver certificate in flowing black fountain pen ink. Here is how FDR's "Chief of Staff" Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy describes this important and "Special Mission" in his book I was There on pages 195-196: "Roosevelt was in high spirits. He was looking forward to his first meeting with Premier Stalin. The President would use a plane when necessary, but a sea voyage was his favorite way of traveling. He had his mess in the captain's cabin where his personal staff – Harry Hopkins, Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, Dr. Ross McIntire, Major General E. M. ‘Pa' Watson, and I – had our meals with him. We usually had an apéritif before dinner and frequently saw a moving picture in the President's quarters immediately afterward. After dinner with Roosevelt, the entire Presidential party boarded a four-engine transport plane and left at 10:30 p.m. for Cairo. Sleeping in the chair of a transport plane was not restful, which is a polite understatement, and I was more than pleased when we landed at 9:30 a.m., Cairo time, November 22, on a British airfield about fifteen miles from the city. We had flown over a portion of the Sahara Desert, which gave one a picture of utter desolation, and then, a couple of hundred miles down the Nile Valley, where the land was green with fertility and humming with industry. My first view of the Pyramids from an altitude of 8,000 feet was disappointing, due to the reduction of their size by distance. When we reached Cairo we found that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Mme. Chiang were already there and that the Prime Minister and his staff had been in Cairo for two days. We had no doubt that Churchill had used the two extra days to good advantage. The President and a few others of us were quartered at a villa belonging to United States Minister Kirk. We were looking forward to a busy and probably controversial conference. The Prime Minister, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten Hopkins, and I dined with the President the first night at Cairo. The Combined Chiefs came in after the meal and we got down to business quickly. Mountbatten outlined his plans and his needs for the Burma campaign which had been assigned to him at the Quebec Conference held in August, 1943. He made an excellent presentation of his problem, which I believed would be solved by his energy and aggressive spirit." [emphasis added, as the dollar bill was signed by FDR and his special party en route to Cairo on November 22, 1943]. President Roosevelt's official "Log of the President's Trip to Africa and the Middle East/ November-December, 1943" states on pages 20-21: "10:40 p.m.: The President's plane departed El Aouina airport (Tunis) for Cairo.  Passengers in the President's plane were: The President, Mr. Hopkins, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Brown, Admiral McIntire, General Watson, Lieut-Comdr. Fox, Secret Service Agents Reilly, Spaman and Fredericks and Steward Prettyman.  This plane had two sleeping berths, so the President and Mr. Hopkins turned in soon after their departure from Tunis./ Except for Admiral Leahy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff party had proceeded on to Cairo earlier in the day. Lieutenant Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., U.S.N.R., left his father at the El Aouina airport, to proceed and rejoin his ship at Gibraltar.  The MAYRANT had been damaged by enemy bombers at Palermo and. was due to leave Gibraltar soon for a U.S. Navy yard for repairs./ Monday, November 22nd. Enroute Tunis to Cairo, and at Cairo./ 9:35 a.m.: The President's plane landed at Cairo West airport (a Royal Air Force field). This was some two and one-half hours after plane number two of our party had arrived from Tunis, and the late arrival caused some concern at the field as to the President's safety. Two different groups of fighter-planes had been at appointed rendezvous at the scheduled times but each failed to make contact and eventually had to return to their base for refueling.  The President's plane, it developed, had detoured southward as far as latitude 28E-00'-00" north and had then turned northward and followed the course of the River Nile up to Cairo. This route took them over the Sphinx and the Pyramids./ The air distance from Tunis to Cairo, over the route flown by the President's plane, was 1851 miles./ The President was met at Cairo West airport by Major General Ralph Royce, U.S.A., Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, and his Chief of Staff, Brigadier General G. X. Cheaves, U.S.A./ The Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek and their party had arrived in Cairo from Chungking the evening before our arrival (on November 21st.). Prime Minister Churchill and his party also arrived in Cairo on November 21st." FDR and Churchill met initially in Cairo, Egypt, then continued on to Teheran for the Big Three conference with Premier Josef Stalin of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As Fleet Admiral Leahy describes first hand above, FDR and his Presidential party reached Cairo early in the morning of November 22, 1943. It was during this important travel in the air that the one dollar silver certificate or "short snorter" was passed around the transport plane on the long flight and signed by the President and his party, consisting of his most trusted aides and advisors. Also present for the Cairo meetings were Generals George C. Marshall, Joseph Stilwell, Claire Chennault, Albert Wedermeyer and Lord Louis Mountbatten (Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC). With little ado, the Combined Chiefs of Staff got down to business on the afternoon of November 22, 1943. The opening days of SEXTANT – the American-British-Chinese phase – saw the Anglo-American staffs in daily session from November 22 to November 26, 1943. The British and Americans clashed over Churchill's continued pleas to attack Southern Europe instead of France, while the British tried to derail what they saw as the American obsession with aiding Chiang in China. On November 27, 1943 FDR and his party continued on to Teheran for the President's critical first meeting with Joseph Stalin, where the Allies cemented their plans for Operation Overlord.  The historic and vastly significant international conference at Teheran, Iran, took place between November 28 and December 1, 1943. The conference was the first full face to face meeting between the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and the Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. The chief discussion centered on the "second front" in wartime Europe. Stalin agreed to an eastern offensive to coincide with the forthcoming invasions of German-occupied France. Though military questions were dominant, the Tehran Conference saw more discussion of political issues than had occurred in any previous meeting between Allied governmental heads. Not only did Stalin repeat his desire that the Soviet Union should retain the frontiers provided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939 and by the Russo-Finnish Treaty of 1940, but he also stated that it would want in addition the Baltic coast of East Prussia. Though the settlement for Germany was discussed at length, all three Allied leaders appeared uncertain; their views were imprecise on the topic of a postwar international organization; and on the Polish question the Western Allies and the Soviet Union found themselves in sharp dissension, when Stalin expressed his continued distaste for the London Polish government. On Iran, which Allied forces were partly occupying, they were able to agree on a declaration (published on December 1, 1943) guaranteeing the postwar independence and territorial integrity of that state and promising postwar economic assistance. The actual declarations from the Teheran Conference read: "THE TEHERAN CONFERENCE/ (United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union) Agreements on War and Peace. December 1, 1943)/ DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS/ We-The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, have met these four days past, in this, the Capital of our Ally, Iran, and have shaped and confirmed our common policy./ We express our determination that our nations shall work together in war and in the peace that will follow./ As to war-our military staffs have joined in our round table discussions, and we have concerted our plans for the destruction of the German forces. We have reached complete agreement as to the scope and timing of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west and south./ The common understanding which we have here reached guarantees that victory will be ours./ And as to peace-we are sure that our concord will win an enduring Peace. We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the good will of the overwhelming mass of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations./ With our Diplomatic advisors we have surveyed the problems of the future. We shall seek the cooperation and active participation of all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are dedicated, as are our own peoples, to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them, as they may choose to come, into a world family of Democratic Nations./ No power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by land, their U Boats by sea, and their war plants from the air./ Our attack will be relentless and increasing./ Emerging from these cordial conferences we look with confidence to the day when all peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny, and according to their varying desires and their own consciences./ We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose./ DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS REGARDING IRAN/ The President of the United States, the Premier of the U.S.S.R., and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, having consulted with each other and with the Prime Minister of Iran, desire to declare the mutual agreement of their three Governments regarding their relations with Iran./ The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom recognize the assistance which Iran has given in the prosecution of the war against the common enemy, particularly by facilitating the transportation of supplies from overseas to the Soviet Union./ The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they are agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption./ With respect to the post-war period, the Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are in accord with the Government of Iran that any economic problems confronting Iran at the close of hostilities should receive full consideration, along with those of other members of the United Nations, by conferences or international agencies held or created to deal with international economic matters./ The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are at one with the Government of Iran in their desire for the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. They count upon the participation of Iran, together with all other peace-loving nations, in the establishment of international peace, security and prosperity after the war, in accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all four Governments have subscribed./ WINSTON S. CHURCHILL/ J. STALIN/ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT." Truly a one of a kind, historic, and fabulous item from FDR during his flight between Tunis, Tunisia and Cairo, Egypt, to stage preparatory meetings for the first Big Three meeting of World War II that followed in Teheran, Iran.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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