Secret papers reveal drunken wartime meeting between Churchill and Stalin

The account of Winston Churchill's drunken wartime meeting with Stalin.
The account of Winston Churchill's drunken wartime meeting with Stalin. Photo: The National Archives

Details of a drunken wartime meeting between former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and leader of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin have been revealed as previously secret files have been published by the National Archives.

The account says Churchill was surrounded by "innumerable bottles", and "complaining of a slight headache".

According to the account's author, there was little military talk, but Stalin did give Churchill a "long lecture" on the benefits of the Soviet Union.

Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at a conference in Yalta, 1945. Credit: Pixfeatures/DPA

In further secret files also reveal details of a cross-dressing British intelligence officer, who caused embarrassment to his political masters through his penchant for dressing up.

Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke was a key figure in the Second World War, gathering intelligence in the Middle East.

Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke photographed by Spanish police dressed as a man and as a woman.
Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke photographed by Spanish police dressed as a man and as a woman. Credit: The National Archives/PA Wire

He was arrested by Spanish police whilst dressed as a woman, files showed that Lt Col Clarke was supposed to maintain a low profile, travelling undercover as a war correspondent for The Times newspaper.

He had apparently stopped off in the Spanish capital on his way to Egypt in October 1941.

Released with a fine, Winston Churchill sent instructions to get Lt Col Clarke to the safety of Gibraltar as quickly as possible.

The archives also show that King Edward VIII was secretly bugged by his own ministers during the final days before his abdication.

King Edward VIII told Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he intends to marry the American divorcee Wallace Simpson in 1936.
King Edward VIII told Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he intends to marry the American divorcee Wallace Simpson in 1936. Credit: PA/PA Archive

Papers, which have been kept secret for more than seven decades, showed that Home Secretary Sir John Simon instructed the General Post Office (GPO) to covertly monitor the King's calls.

It suggests an extraordinary breakdown of trust between Edward and his ministers as he struggled to choose between his country and the woman he loved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Files also showed that the MI6 drew up a secret hit list of key German figures to be assassinated in preparation for the D-Day landings.

Targets included senior Gestapo officers in France as well as logistics experts, considered vital to the movements of the German troops who would confront the Allied invasion force.