Part Four: Final Decade
Good Times and Bad
...The conversation between Churchill and Ben-Gurion lasted about twenty minutes, Montague Browne reported to the Foreign Office later that day. Ben-Gurion had told Churchill ‘that in his view Iraq would “survive” and be strong enough to contain her own Communists’. He was ‘more doubtful about the survival of Jordan which hung on the life of one brave man, to wit, the King’. Ben-Gurion also told Churchill ‘that Egypt was slowly preparing for war, that they had twenty and possibly more MIG 19 fighters which were better than anything the Israelis had, and about 200 Russian Army and Airforce instructors’.
He added that he had asked Harold Macmillan ‘to make available suitable weapons to deal with the air side’.
Yitzhak Navon later recalled the subsequent conversation:
Churchill said that he was always a friend of the Jewish people and Zionism, and Ben-Gurion responded with expressions of admiration for his friendship and his stand during the Second World War as a leader of the free world which was saved, thanks to him. He told of his stay in London during the Blitz and the impressions he gained of the courageous stand of the British people.
...During lunch I sat next to the Great Man, at his right, and he rose with his glass of hock and turning to me he said, ‘Kay, let us drink to your great President, and—and ours.’ I think it was his delicate way of expressing his fervent wish for a union of Great Britain and the United States as a beginning for a Union of all the Democracies.
...Before Randolph and I departed for London we sat in the garden with Sir Winston & his lovely Clemmie and he praised our Constitution as one of the finest political documents but, ‘I think our Parliamentary system of Government is a cut ahead of yours. In our system if you win a war the Queen or King is cheered; if you lose it, Parliament fails.’ Then looking at me with that look in his eyes which he saw into the far off future, he said, ‘Kay, you know I love your country—half mine—but I warn it from becoming stripped bare by the curse of plenty.’
...Twenty-two years later, McCormack Smyth was a founder member of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy, based in Toronto, Canada (President, F. Bartlett Watt).