Churchill's speeches, House of Commons in secret session 20 June

Discussion in '1940' started by Roy Martin, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    During his speech on 18 June 1940, WSC said 'we are to have a secret session on (Thursday) 20th June'.

    Please cancel my message, I have ordered the book.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    I think this may related to keep France in the war by attempting to thwart the armistice after 16 June 1940,when Petain succeeded Reynaud as the Head of the French Government. Weygand as head of the French forces gave the order for a military surrender but referencing the honour of the French Army refused to support the formation of a French Government in exile.

    CDG had already made his call to the French on 18 June 1940 with a speech to the French,the thrust of which was to the effect that "France may have lost a battle but not the war"

    It was a critical period for WSC as armistice negotiations with Germans were not sealed and signed until 22 June 1940 at the Great War Memorial at Rethondes.....although the Battle of France was over, the armistice became effective on 25 June 1940.

    As regards the Lancastria,the loss was only released to the public on Thursday 25 July 1940,approximately five weeks after the events of 17 June 1940.On Friday,the next day,the Daily Mirror ran a headline account of the loss,entitled "2823 lost in Bombed Liner"

    I am presuming that the loss was made public via a H of C statement on the Thursday.However,this was during a period that there were a number of secret sessions in the Commons which drew reported comment from one MP of "Distrust at Debates in Secret".
    Roy Martin likes this.
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    My post as above was in response to Roy's original post involving queries on the subjects covered.
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thank you Harry,
    I have now received the book, which is interesting, if only for what is omitted. There is no full record of the speech that WSC delivered on the 20th; but there are eleven type written pages of points, with hand written amendments. Strangely, these notes do not mention Operation Aerial, which was underway at the time, or the sinking of the Lancastria. So, unless he added these points while on his feet, even the HoC was not told about the two events.
    As I said in my original post, since deleted, someone with the initial M made a statement about the Suffolk Golding Mission during the same Secret Session, without mentioning it by name, or naming the Broompark. I think the 'M' in this case could be Herbert Morrison; though it could have been Harold Macmillan, who first met Lord Suffolk and Major Golding on their return to London. Curious!
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Interesting comment Roy....incidentally what is the title of the book?

    Secret sessions of the would have thought that minutes were taken,say in lieu of Hansard........secret sessions seemed to be those covering predominately foreign affairs.

    The MP who raised the objection to the secret sessions on foreign affairs was Josiah Wedgwood (Labour) Newcastle under Lyme.Attlee replying for the government stated, "I understand it is the desire of the House that it should take place in secret session"
  6. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Junior Member

    I am sure you have seen this but just in case there does seem to be some information held in the Churchill Archives Center at Cambridge University.


    Catalogue description

    speaking notes for secret session speech delivered 20 June

    This record is held by Cambridge University: Churchill Archives Centre

    See contact details

    Reference: EADE 3/1 (click here to view this record in archive's external catalogue)

    Description: speaking notes for secret session speech delivered 20 June

    Date: 1940

    Held by: Cambridge University: Churchill Archives Centre, not available at The National Archives

    NRA catalogue reference: NRA 43161 Eade

    The Papers of Charles Eade

    Title The Papers of Charles Eade

    Reference GBR/0014/EADE

    Creator Eade, Charles

    Covering Dates 1939–1954

    Extent and Medium 2 boxes; paper

    Repository Churchill Archives Centre

    Content and context

    Charles Eade was born 10 June 1903. He pursued a career in journalism and held positions on many newspapers including Deputy Editor of the Sunday Graphic (1933-6), Deputy Editor of the Daily Sketch (1936-8) and then Editor of the Sunday Dispatch (1938-57). Eade also edited Sir Winston Churchill's wartime speeches and Churchill by his contemporaries which was published in 1953. He died on 27 August 1964.

    The collection relates to Charles Eade's connection with Sir Winston Churchill. It includes Eade's diary of meetings with Sir Winston; biographical material about Sir Winston and Sir Winston's own speaking notes for his speech made on 20 June 1940 which Churchill gave to Charles Eade.

    The collection was given to Churchill Archives Centre in 1998 by Charles Eade's daughter, Christine Eade.

    The papers have been arranged in 4 series.

    The collection is owned by Churchill College, Cambridge.

    Access and Use

    The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.

    Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from Charles Eade's own writings must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

    Please cite as Churchill Archives Centre, The Papers of Charles Eade, EADE

    Further information

    The collection has been catalogued and copies of the catalogue are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives.
  7. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thank you Brian and Harry,
    The book was indeed compiled by Charles Eade and is titled Secret Session Speeches by the Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill O.M., C.H., M.P.
    It would seem likely that minutes were not taken. Churchill's draft speech and Herbert Morrison's short speech to the same Secret Session, seem to be the only record, unless I have missed something - not unknown! It would be interesting to know who else spoke - if anyone.

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