|Libellé||Conférence au sommet entre les 3 puissances occidentales aux Bermudes|
|Synopsis||The Bermuda Summit was the brainchild of Sir Winston Churchill and a major initiative of his second term as Prime Minister. In the aftermath of Stalin's death and the Russian development of a hydrogen bomb, he hoped to gain President Eisenhower's support for a top-level dialogue with the new Soviet leadership.|
Churchill celebrated his 79th birthday on the eve of the Bermuda Conference. The meeting had initially been planned for the summer, but was postponed after Sir Winston suffered a serious stroke.
The French attended the summit at the request of the Americans. The French Premier Laniel attended, but was taken ill on the second day and was thereafter represented by his foreign secretary, Bidault. Interestingly, Churchill's choice of reading en route to the Conference was C S Forester's 'Death to the French'.
The Conference is not generally regarded as having been successful. It did lead to an inconclusive four-power summit meeting with the Russians at Foreign Secretary level in Berlin, but Eisenhower was extremely critical of Churchill's wish to pursue a dialogue with the new Soviet leadership, and was resistant to information sharing in the nuclear sphere.
There can be no doubt that Churchill relished reprising his wartime role on the international stage, but he was also motivated by a desire to break the stalemate of the Cold War and avert a possible nuclear war. Such an achievement would have crowned his career and established him as a great peacemaker as well as war leader. It was not to be, although several scholars have pointed out that the Bermuda Conference did set the precedent for future Cold War summits.