CBC Digital Archives

Churchill, Roosevelt hold war conference in Quebec City

The Algonquin called it Québec, or "where the river narrows." On a rocky point high above the St. Lawrence, French explorer Samuel Champlain founded the first permanent French settlement in North America on July 3, 1608. In 2008, Quebec City celebrates the 400th anniversary of Champlain's feat, and the CBC Digital Archives takes a walk through the city's storied streets and its remarkable history.

Canada's contribution to the war effort doesn't end with fighting men, munitions and meat. In the late summer of 1943, it also provides the location for a planning conference between the Allies' two largest powers. Quebec City is hosting U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their chiefs of staff for discussions on war strategy. In this CBC Radio clip, Churchill praises the city's "splendid setting" before thanking Canada for its war efforts.
• The 1943 conference was code-named Quadrant. It is also known as the First Quebec Conference because a second conference took place in the city one year later.

• Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King hosted Churchill and Roosevelt, but did not participate in the conferences. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, King accepted this because he felt he had a more important role to play as go-between for the two leaders.

• In 1998 Quebec City unveiled a statue commemorating the two Quebec conferences. It depicted Roosevelt and Churchill, but not King. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said Quebec's National Capital Commission was "trying to rewrite history" by excluding King. Others, including Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard and historian David Woolner, argued that the statue was meant to celebrate the two leaders and their conferences in Quebec.

• Winston Churchill's Dec. 30, 1941 address to the Canadian parliament can be heard here.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: Aug. 31, 1943
Speaker: Winston Churchill
Duration: 8:17
Photo: Library and Archives Canada

Last updated: August 19, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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