Churchill and Stalin’s “savage” binge

23rd May, 2013 by Rupert Millar

A recently declassified Foreign Office letter from the second world war describes a late night drinking session between wartime leaders Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

Sir Winston ChurchillThe memorandum was written by Sir Alexander Cadogan and was part of a highly sensitive document that has only just been declassified.

Cadogan also described how Churchill liked to engage his guests at mealtimes with, “irreverent and irresponsible discourse.”

The description of the session with Stalin is contained in a letter to Lord Halifax, who was at the time ambassador to the US.

Apparently written in the late 1940s, it must refer to Churchill’s visit to Moscow in the summer of 1942.

“Nothing can be imagined more awful than a Kremlin banquet, but it has to be endured,” wrote Cadogan.

“Unfortunately Winston didn’t suffer it gladly. However, next morning he was determined to fire his last bolt and asked for a private talk, alone with Stalin. This was fixed for 7pm.”

Cadogan then writes that he was summoned to the pair’s room later that evening and found the table groaning under the weight of “foods of all kinds crowned by a suckling pig, and innumerable bottles.”

He said that Stalin made him drink something “pretty savage”, while Churchill, who was by this time complaining of a slight headache, “seemed wisely to be confining himself to a comparatively innocuous effervescent Caucasian red wine.”

The party continued until 3am with Stalin extolling the merits of the Soviet Union and everything as, “merry as a marriage bell”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

Events and Trips Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
East Scotland, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 16th October 2017

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 21st October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more