Celebrating 75 years of the Atlantic Charter meeting

It's been 75 years since former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt met in Ship Harbour to discuss what would become the Atlantic Charter.

Winston Churchill's great-grandson visited Ship Harbour to help recognize the anniversary

People gathered in Ship Harbour to mark 75 years since the Atlantic Charter 2:23

It was a meeting to remember on August 14, 1941, when former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt met in the small community of Ship Harbour, on the eastern shore of Placentia Bay, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The two met to discuss issues that would build crucial trust between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The result of these talks was the Atlantic Charter: a joint declaration with eight principles, including the right for all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live, along with a wish "to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them."

Winston Churchill's great-grandson, Duncan Sandys, speaking about the Atlantic Charter talks in Ship Harbour. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Winston Churchill's great-grandson, Duncan Sandys, visited Ship Harbour this weekend to celebrate the significant anniversary. He said the Atlantic Charter is still important today.

"This document is a great document," he said.

"It has lasted for the ages, it will last for the ages and it will be one of these documents — like Magna Carta — that in hundreds of years time people are still talking about."

Near the Atlantic Charter memorial is Joe's Beach, where it is believed Churchill walked and tossed stones into the ocean during the three-day meeting in 1941.

On Sunday, Sandys walked the same path as his great-grandfather.

"It's very moving that I was there 75 years after he was here," Sandys said.

"But for me, being here now, this is all fun and lots of play. Whereas for him, there were serious world issues and the discussion."

Hundreds of people, including familiar political faces Bob Rae and Jack Harris, gathered in the tiny Newfoundland community of Ship Harbour on Sunday to commemorate the historic Atlantic Charter meeting. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Nicole Walsh is part of the organizing committee who worked for a year to pull off the anniversary celebration.

She said it can be overwhelming to think about two of the world's most powerful leaders from history meeting not far from where she calls home.

"It's almost a little intimidating, [but] it's nice to even just go out and sit on the beach at Joe's Cove and kind of close your eyes and picture where everything happened and where Winston Churchill came to shore," she said.

"It put us on the map, so it's pretty great."

Groups are calling on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to make Aug. 14 Atlantic Charter day. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

With files from Jeremy Eaton