Link o' the day: Churchill and FDR on Basic English

Posted on July 21, 2015 by Tommy McGuire
Labels: link

And then I found this missive in the collection of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. (It contains a copy of the note Churchill sent on 20 April 1944, the reply from FDR June 5, 1944, and some other related things.)

Churchill (So much for automatic text recognition; the original was typed by an English speaker even if the text page doesn't look like it.):

When I was with you in the United States last August you expressed to me your interest in Basic English. The Cabinet Committee which I appointed here to consider the possibilities of Basic and means of promoting its wider use have reported and we have adopted the recommendations they have made. I thought it might be of interest to you to see the Report and am sending you copies.


If the United States authorities feel able to give their powerful support to the promotion of Basic English as a means of international intercourse, I feel sure that that would ensure its successful development. My conviction is that Basic English will then prove to be a great boon to mankind in the future and a powerful support to the influence of the Anglo-Saxon peoples in world affairs.


...Incidentally, I wonder what the course of history would have been if in May 1940 you had been able to offer the British people only "blood, work, eye water and face water", which I understand is the best that Basic English can do with five famous words....

As an aside, the website for the FDR library at Marist College seems radically broken.

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