Recently declassified Foreign Office documents from the second world war revealed a letter describing a late night drinking session between Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Both leaders were known to “enjoy” their drinks. A memo written by Sir Alexander Cadogan was part of a sensitive document that has just been declassified. Cadogan revealed how Churchill liked to engage his guests at mealtime with “irreverent and irresponsible discourse.”
In a letter to Lord Halifax who was ambassador to the US at the time, Cadogan described a session with Stalin. Written in the late 1940’s it must refer to Churchill’s visit to Moscow in the summer of 1942. Cadogan wrote “Nothing can be imagined to be more awful than a Kremlin banquet, but it has to be endured.” He continued “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 7 pm.”
Cadogan then writes that he was summoned to the room later that evening and found the table groaning under the weight of “foods of all kinds crowned by suckling pig and innumerable bottles.” He said Stalin made him drink something “pretty savage”, while Churchill, who was by this time complaining of a slight headache, “seemed wisely to confining himself to a comparatively innocuous effervescent Caucasian red wine.” The party continued until 3 am when Stalin extolled the merits of the Soviet Union and everything as “merry as a marriage bell.”