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On August 1941, two of history’s greatest defenders of democracy, Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt, at the crucial time in history when democracy was in peril, braved the enemy submarine threat on the Atlantic to meet near Placentia, to, among other things, plot to rid Newfoundland of democracy when the time arrived for its return. Sounds inconceivable? Possibly a little crazy? Don’t brush it off lightly. Because that is exactly what modern day Confederation conspiracy promoters claim.

They declare this meeting was held “... after (the Americans) had built five of their largest military bases in the world in Newfoundland, and having spent hundreds of millions of dollars here, the two leaders decided that democracy would not be allowed to return to Newfoundland in order to protect their interests.”

But wait a minute; democracy’s duo met here when? August 1941. This cannot be right. The American bases had not yet been built and less than $50 million, rather than hundreds of millions of dollars, had been spent by the Americans up to that date. When all the Newfoundland bases were completed, they were a far cry from the five largest in the world. In total acres for U.S. bases: Jamaica boasted 31,409; Trinidad 25,752, and Newfoundland, 4,547.

Apart for the documented evidence contradicting this in Churchill’s memoirs, there is the Anglo-American Bases Act of July 11, 1941, giving the Americans 99-year leases on bases in Newfoundland.

What nobody told the Newfoundlanders was that Churchill, with Roosevelt’s approval, included the provision that when democracy was restored in Newfoundland “...wherever in the Act the words ‘the Government of the United Kingdom’ occur in relation to the Newfoundland territory leased, the Agreement shall be interpreted to mean the Government of Newfoundland and the Agreement shall then be construed accordingly.”

This is certainly not the protection for Newfoundland’s rights that two leaders would show if planning to deprive Newfoundland of its democracy. The Confederation conspiracy theory is built upon a host of similar combinations of fact, fiction fancy and exaggerations. In this widely publicized story, fictional claims are added to the fact that the two leaders met in Newfoundland. The result of combining the one fact surrounded with exaggerated fiction is an unsupported and fabricated version of history. Historic records annihilate the basis for the Roosevelt-Churchill involvement in the Confederation conspiracy theory. The same is true for the entire theory.

Jack Fitzgerald

St. John’s

Organizations: Anglo-American

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Placentia, U.S. Jamaica United Kingdom

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Recent comments

  • W McLean
    February 12, 2013 - 10:03

    Never ceases to amaze how quickly someone like Jack Fitzgerald will be attacked for injecting facts, and debunking myths, in local political and historical debates.

  • Jay
    February 12, 2013 - 08:58

    What's wrong, Jack. Have the sales of your own book stalled? Or are you just fed up with Malone because he beat you to the punch? Jack, we can't stick to the facts, because, except for yours and Joey's, they are hidden. That's what conspiracists do. There were numerous examples of trickery around theconfederation battle. One only has to look at the question on the ballot to see the bias promoted by the pro-confederation forces.

  • Grassy Knoll
    February 12, 2013 - 08:43

    Facts are boring, who could be bothered. But conspiracy theories are more entertaining and some are profitable.

  • Colin Burke
    February 12, 2013 - 08:19

    Theodore?? Roosevelt.

    • Russell Wangersky
      February 12, 2013 - 08:40

      That's my mistake - brain cramp. Mr. Fitzgerald's letter merely said Roosevelt and Churchill, but we add first names and I added the wrong one. Russell Wangersky

  • NF for NF
    February 12, 2013 - 07:31

    It is quite clear that Jack knows jack. Here he goes again standing on his soapbox wringing his hands pretending to be an honest-to-goodness historian. Jack is a purveyor of Pulp Faction, blurring the lines of popular fiction with sporadic haphazard injections of fact so long as it can be researched by someone else and paraphrased by Jack himself. I am tired of these attacks by the Confederate forces whose interpretation of the historical record seem to be still spurred on by the Great Confederate Joey Smallwood. In fact dig deep enough into Jack's history one will find that he served the master Confederate. It is time that we look back on this period with objectiveness and maturity that it deserves. Stop rewriting our history to fit neatly into the Canadian Paradigm. Newfoundland's history simply does not. Our history deserves better treatment than the public maleficent musings of the Confederate hordes who attack people's interpretations that contradict their own especially when one's own work is lacking in objectivity.

    • Mr.Shea
      February 12, 2013 - 08:56

      I remember the good ol' day's..I'd puff up my chest & walk accross the floor...oops that was a mistake!

    • Mr.Shea
      February 12, 2013 - 08:56

      I remember the good ol' day's..I'd puff up my chest & walk accross the floor...oops that was a mistake!