Theresa May’s official gift to Trump is copy of 1941 Atlantic Charter

Theresa May’s official gift to Donald Trump will be a copy of the 1941 Atlantic Charter signed after US came to Britain’s aid during our Darkest Hour – in a pointed gesture highlighting values of international agreement

  • The 1941 Atlantic Charter set out goals for post-war world, agreed by UK and US
  • Specifically called for countries to ‘endeavour to further’ liberalisation of trade
  • Document was agreed by Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • It paved the way for the United Nations and post-war international settlement

Theresa May’s official gift to Donald Trump today will remind him of the value of preserving international trade and diplomacy.

In a pointed gesture, the Prime Minister will hand the US President a copy of the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which is widely seen as paving the way for the creation of the United Nations and the post-war international settlement.

The document, agreed by Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is regarded as one of the most significant steps in setting up the transatlantic ‘special relationship’.

It specifically calls for the two countries to ‘endeavour to further’ the liberalisation of trade, whereas Mr Trump has ignited trade wars with China and Mexico.

To mark his current state visit to Britain, he will be presented with a reproduction of Winston Churchill’s personal copy of the Charter, containing corrections he made in red pencil.

Theresa May’s official gift to Donald Trump, pictured together in July 2018, today will remind him of the value of preserving international trade and diplomacy

In a pointed gesture, the Prime Minister will hand the US President a reproduction of Winston Churchill’s personal copy of the 1941 Atlantic Charter (pictured), which is widely seen as paving the way for the creation of the United Nations and the post-war international settlement

Downing Street also risked igniting a sexism row by giving Melania Trump a ‘bespoke No 10 tea set’ designed by Emma Bridgewater. The US First Lady will be hosting a children’s party with Philip May while their spouses meet for talks at No 10 today.

Asked why Mr Trump was being given a historically significant gift, while his wife was being given a tea set, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘I think they are both gifts which have been carefully chosen.’

What is the 1941 Atlantic Charter? 

The 1941 Atlantic Charter was a declaration issued by Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt which affirmed the UK and US’ aspirations for the world after WWII. It was created in August that year.

It had eight points, including self-determination, the reduction of trade restrictions, and the disarmament of aggressor nations. 

A month later, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia, the USSR and representatives from the government-in-exile of France also signed up to the principles of the document.

In January 1942, these countries among many others signed the Declaration by United Nations, which became the basis of the modern United Nations.

During the visit to Downing Street, the Mays and Trumps will view the Sussex Declaration – a rare copy of the American Declaration of Independence on sheepskin parchment.

The document, dating back to the 1780s, is one of only two ceremonial manuscript copies written on parchment, the other is in the US National Archives in Washington.

The two countries are to explore options for the document, on loan from the West Sussex Record Office, to form part of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026, potentially by allowing it to travel to the US.

The US visitors will be treated to a three-course lunch in the state dining room at Number 10, consisting of Paignton harbour crab, turnip and chilled crab bisque, followed by dry-aged Lake District beef fillet, aubergine and miso puree, roasted garlic and ceps with an Eton mess with peach for dessert.

While the official bilateral meetings between the US and UK delegations take place, Mr May and Mrs Trump will take tea together in the Terracotta Room, be given a tour of the state rooms by historian Sir Anthony Seldon, and attend a garden party for families of staff from No 10 and the US Embassy.

The document, agreed by Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is regarded as one of the most significant steps in setting up the transatlantic ‘special relationship’. Pictured: Roosevelt and Churchill during the Atlantic Conference in August 1941

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