The following pages provide a remarkable account of the 54 year-old Winston Churchill’s 54 day visit to the USA in 1929. Prior to his arrival in the United States, Churchill spent several weeks in Canada.
While in Canada the markets continued to rise. The peak of the Dow Jones Industrial index coincided with Churchill’s arrival in Seattle,Washington. During his entire stay the market sank further and further, crashing on October 29, 1929.
The following day he returned home to London.
DJ 355 RR 175 UT 131
VOLUME 1.821 MILLION*
The four Churchill men departed England for their trip to Canada and the United States aboard the ocean liner Empress of Australia.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (2R) sitting with his son Randolph Churchill (L), brother Maj. John Churchill (R) and nephew John Churchill
Accompanying Winston Churchill was his younger brother, Major “Jack” John; age 49, Winston’s son Randolph; age 18, and Jack’s son, Johnny; age 20.
* DJ Dow Jones Industrial Index RR = Railroad stocks UT Utilities Also shown is the volume of the shares traded on that day.
DJ 344 RR 172 UT 125
VOLUME 1.478 MILLION
After the foursome arrived in Quebec, Canada, they toured the city and began their meetings with key business and finance people.
The Canadian Pacific railroad management placed a stenographer-typist aboard the train at Churchill’s disposal for the journey across the continent.
Bernard Baruch was Churchill’s “favorite American.” After completing this book, you’ll no doubt understand why. Baruch had persuaded Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel to lend their mutual friend, Churchill, his private railway car.
The car was elegant, complete with double beds, private bathrooms, a parlor, a dining room, which Winston converted into an office, a kitchen, servants’ quarters, a refrigerator, fans, and a wireless radio system.
The radio, he wrote Clementine, was especially useful:
“The wireless is a great boon, and we hear regularly from Horace Vickers about the stock markets. His news so far has been entirely satisfactory.”
Jack Churchill was Horace Vickers’ partner in one of the largest stock market firms in London – the firm of Vickers da Costa! The firm had been forced to change its’ name in 1917 after a wave of anti-German sentiment forced the resignation of all owners in firms of German birth. Previously the firm was known as Nelke, Phillips and Bendix. In 1888, Paul Nelke, joined the firm of FS Phillips & Co. and the firm was renamed Nelke, Phillips and Bendix. Nelke had left Germany for London to take advantage of the recently installed telegraphic link between New York and London.
Horace Cecil Vickers got his start in “the business” at the tender age of 12 as a clerk on the London Stock Exchange. At age 47, Vickers now played a key role in the economic blizzard the Churchill brothers were planning.
Also involved in Churchill’s scheme was Harry Duncan McGowan. In a letter he wrote to his wife, Churchill claimed that Vickers and McGowan were key players in his activities.
Sir Harry Duncan McGowan
In the letters he sent Clementine, Churchill did not lay everything on the table, instead they were couched with meanings she most likely knew how to interpret.
For example, from Canada, in August, he wrote his wife, “This ‘mass of manoeuvre’ is of the utmost importance & must not be frittered away.” He claimed to be investing in the market, with Baruch by his side, little doubt remains about the type of investments he claimed he was making.
Vickers, for his part went on to help found the London Stock Exchange firm of Vickers, da Costa. Churchill’s network, to conduct his financial war against the USA, was intricate and far-reaching. Vickers’ strategic role was perhaps second only to Baruch.
Baruch’s business and Wall Street connections, plus the assistance he received in the form of his three brothers having their own brokerage firms on Wall Street helped Churchill’s strategy immensely.
Vicker’s son, Ralph Cecil Vickers, took over the helm in 1972. In 1984 Citicorp took control of Vickers da Costa. According to Vickers da Costa Group’s “background and organisation – structure and history”: purchase of Vickers da Costa is just part of Citicorp’s program to expand its activities of the Group, and lesser percentages in the London Stock Exchange and United States operations.
Horace Vicker’s daughter, Joan Vickers, was titled Baroness in 1974, she had served as a Conservative MP from 1955 through 1974.
Charles Michael Schwab
As for the 67-year-old Charles Michael Schwab, Churchill owed him a great deal. Schwab had been President of Carnegie Steel from 1897 through 1903. From 1903 until his death in 1939 he headed, the company he founded, Bethlehem Steel.
In 1915 Schwab committed himself to assisting England in the war effort by building submarines at Churchill’s request. Schwab assembled the submarines in Montreal to avoid any conflict with the official “neutral” position the USA had taken during the early stages of war in Europe. For his continued support of England, Schwab was given the title of vicepresident of the Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain in 1926. Schwab retained the title until his death in 1939.