by Fletcher Prouty
The World War II Cairo conference between Pres. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek ended on Oct. 26, 1943. That evening I was given orders to
fly a group of participants from Cairo to Tehran. Up to that time, I had not been aware
that there was going to be a Big Four meeting of the Super-Powers in Tehran.
As I went out to the plane that morning to get it ready to go, two limousines came from
the city. They were T. V. Soong’s Chinese delegates. I flew them to Tehran that day.
En route, I stopped at Habbaniyah in Iraq for refueling, and while on the ground an Air
Force B-25 arrived with an old friend of mine flying it, and with L. Col. Elliott
Roosevelt, the President’s son. I introduced him and Roosevelt to the Chinese, and vice
I don’t know whether any of you ever realized this, but years later the fact that
Elliott Roosevelt had gone to the Tehran conference brought up one of the most amazing
untold facts in our history. I can only imagine why more had not been written about it.
Because Elliott had met Stalin in Tehran with his father in 1943, in late 1946, Gardner
Cowless, publisher of LOOK magazine asked him to go to Moscow to interview Stalin.
Roosevelt accepted this offer and did interview Stalin there. At the end of a long
interview, he turned to the Generalissimo and asked one more question, “Why is it that
my mother has never been permitted to visit Moscow even though she has made three very
formal applications for the trip?”
Stalin glared at Elliott and said, “You don’t know why?”
Elliott replied, “No!”
Quickly, Stalin responded, “Don’t you know who killed your father?”
Stalin rising from his chair, continued, “Well, I’ll tell you why I have not invited her
here. As soon as your father died, I asked my ambassador in Washington to go immediately
to Georgia with a request to view the body.” Stalin believed that if Gromyko could see
the body he would confirm that the cerebral hemorrhage that had caused his death had
caused extensive discoloration and distortion.
Elliot responded that he knew nothing about that and then Stalin said, “Your mother
refused to permit the lid of the coffin to be opened so that my ambassador could see the
body.” Adding “I sent him there three times trying to impress upon your mother that it
was very important for him to view the President’s body. She never accepted that. I have
never forgiven her.”
This forced Elliott to ask this last question, “…but why?”
Stalin took a few steps around the office, and almost in a rage roared, “They poisoned
your father, of course, just as they have tried repeatedly to poison me.”
“They, who are they,” Elliot asked
“The Churchill gang!” Stalin roared, “They poisoned your father, and they continue to
try to poison me…the Churchill gang!”
I had heard, while in Tehran, that Roosevelt and Churchill had had a strenuous argument
in front of Stalin and Chiang during the conference on the subject of decolonialization
of South East Asia. I have read it in a government publication of the time. Then, this
account of Elliott’s visit to Moscow in 1946 was written and signed by him and appeared
in the February 9, 1986 issue of the nationwide Sunday Supplement magazine “PARADE.”
We all know that there are amazing stories that can not be found in the history books.
That is what I am saying here. Most students have not been able to learn that Chiang
Kai-shek was a member of this Four Power Conference in Tehran. But, I was there. I had
flown the Chinese delegates there from Cairo, and I have read it in a Congressional
Committee Report, “The U. S. Government and the Vietnam” Part 1-1945-1951″ by the U. S.
Government Printing Office, 1984.
Both sources have been in the public domain for more than 10 years. Why haven’t we seen
them, on campus, in the History books and in classes?
In 1953, in a toast before the New York Press Club, John Swinton, former Chief of Staff
of the New York Times and the “Dean of his Profession” stated: (part extracted)
“If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four
hours my occupation would be gone. The business of journalists is to destroy the truth;
to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell this country and this
race for their daily bread. We are the tools and vessels for rich men behind the scenes.
We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our
possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual
From my own experience, I know that there are countless journalists who could say that.
Just consider what they said about Oliver Stone’s Film “JFK” and about my own book “JFK,
the CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy.”“`
L. Fletcher Prouty