Once upon a time, Winston Churchill’s cigars were considered a national secret at times, the country’s intelligence agency had to launch a “security for Prime Minister’s cigars” campaign!
Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a special person because he led England in the worst period when Nazi Germany was going to “swallow” all country, contributed to the Allies. The image of Churchill was the man always appeared with a cigar on his hand or mounted on his lips. Churchill helped to won in the war with Nazi in World War 2.
Churchill Cigars – Precious gift from across the ocean
On March 27, 1941, the Cuban Government then informed UK Ambassador George Ogilivie Forbes in La Habana: the Cuban National Tobacco Industry Committee decided to give British Prime Minister Winston Churchill a gift. especially because “there has been a defense of democracy”.
It was a precious red wooden barrel with 5-foot-high (the unit of length for England: 1 foot = 30.5 cm). Inside were 2,400 La Habana cigars (the best cigars in the world and only available in Cuba). Immediately, Ambassador Forbes immediately returned to London to report. In the Ambassador’s own opinion “one should not refuse such an expensive and valuable gift”.
On April 8, 1941, at the formal handover ceremony in La Habana, Ambassador Ogilivie Forbes witnessed first-class gifts on his eye: Outside the precious wooden gift box inlaid with beautiful paintings of the landscape. Caribbean tropical nature.
Inside the box were 4 very beautiful wooden casks containing famous cigars of the time: H. Upmann, Por Larranaga, Ramon Allones, Romeo y Julieta, El Rey del Mundo and Hoyo Monterrey!
Prime Minister Churchill knew and really loved Cuban cigars. During the war years, cigars helped Churchill to relieve from stress, keep stability and balance the mind when solving complex problems. Especially, when British Cities have been bombarded by Hitler‘s Army
For him, cigars were the need and equally important as food and water. Cigars are always the “fuel” you needed to top up before making any strategic decisions. Since then, every day, every hour, the British Prime Minister was waiting for the ship to bring these gifts!
Campaign “Security for the Prime Minister’s cigars”
Knowing the importance of cigars to the Prime Minister, British Intelligence was very concerned about the security of this luxury smoking device. Earlier, the British Ambassador to La Habana reported: Cuba has arrested a series of foreign nationals who have recently illegally entered the country.
Among them are many Europeans. The exclusion of the devious and cunning Nazi spies will take advantage of this opportunity to murder Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Churchill’s eagerness was hit by a cold water when Prime Minister John Colville’s announcement: Scotland Yard has officially advised the Prime Minister: “Temporarily, do not smoke cigar gifts”. Very likely, during the production process, some toxic substances were secretly put into cigarettes by Germans.
During the war, all possibilities were possible. The Government members all agreed with that recommendation from the Security Agency. But at that time, no one knew how to stop the Prime Minister from touching the cigar. Churchill was someone who did not like to wait.
The more the Red Cross’s international charter ship carrying gifts across the Atlantic that made it the closer to get to the UK, the more anxiety for government members and security guards increased.
Thinking at last, the Office of the Prime Minister and British Intelligence also found a solution: Do not let the Prime Minister know the date when the gift ship arrived. Processing finished, then will report later!
For months, the Prime Minister’s Office, MI-5 (British Intelligence Counterintelligence Bureau), Royal Envoy and Britain’s leading anti-poison experts focused on testing.
The difficulty was that there were so many cigars and not all were peeled to see (because with peeling cigars were thrown away, and they couldn’t be reused). They randomly assigned 47 cigars of each casket, performing very careful biological and chemical tests.
Finally, the Commission concluded: “The concentration of toxic substances and bacteria in cigar gifts from Cuba did not exceed the norm!”.
The stressful meeting ended in part thanks to … cigar!
On the afternoon of September 19, 1941, a very important meeting took place at No.10 Street of Downing. At this meeting, the British Defense Council discussed an issue that had contributed to changing the outcome of the war at that time: Should the Soviet Union help fight Nazi Germany?
The heads of the military faction, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff, said that more or less the help would undermine the combat power and defenses of the British army.
Contrary to popular belief, Churchill said that “London needs to eliminate the possibility of Moscow’s refusal to ask for help!” Later, that decision proved to be correct but at that time, members of the Defense Council had a long and intense debate.
Opposition. Supporter. Neither party gave in to either. The meeting was in a stalemate and seemed to be at a dead end.
n the most dramatic time, Churchill suddenly made an unexpected decision: “Stop arguing. 2 hours off for dinner. Then continue … meeting all night! “.
And the Prime Minister went out to dinner with his wife (called Lady Klemmy). After dinner, the Prime Minister took all members of the Defense Council into the room to the left of the Prime Minister’s palace to present his new collection of premium Cuban cigars.
Lord Balfur (then Deputy Minister of the Air Force) recalled: “Towards the ministers, the Prime Minister solemnly said:” Gentlemen! I will now do an experiment that is considered dangerous: Try these cigars.
Although the security side has checked it out, it may still be overlooked. Therefore, the test results may satisfy you, but may be the opposite! After that, I want to entertain you this premium cigar! ”
Pausing for a moment, the Prime Minister continued with the voice of a playwright: “Every cigar can contain some poison.” Not excluding the possibility that just a few days after smoking the cigar, I would have to lie in a coffin to the monastery with a deep row of curses! ”… Afterwards, the members of the Defense Council returned. Back to the large meeting room. They enjoyed the La Habana cigars invited by the Prime Minister.
Lord Balfur went on to say: “Within half an hour, the British Council of Defense had finished discussing all the complex issues that had been argued forever, tense and very hard.
Helping Russia was also decided smoothly. Even very quickly and thoroughly. All members of the Defense Council are … alive and healthy! “.
Later, the cigar gift to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was so great that the British Government had to make a rule for presenting cigars to the prime minister. This state document clearly states:
1. If a gift with a trustworthy brand of advertising and a cigar is properly assessed as high quality, then the Prime Minister receives the gift (and the Prime Minister must pay customs duties on his own when the gift is sent) from abroad).
2. If the gift is sufficiently reliable but it is found through an inspection that the cigar is not of good quality, it shall be transferred to a hospital for handling (in this case, the Prime Minister is not required to pay Customs duty).
3. When gifts are as advertised but for other purposes, the Prime Minister does not accept gifts (with some exceptions, gifts may not be returned to the sender and taken to the hospital for handling).
Until now, more than 60 years later, the secret of the cigar of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has just been released!
(Acording to Inosmi)