Atlantic Charter cause for celebration
Saying the United Nations started in Newfoundland might be stretching it a little. However, to state the foundation for the United Nations was laid in Newfoundland is accurate.
A historic meeting between Prime Minister Winston Churchill of England and President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, in Placentia Bay, August 1941, resulted eventually in the establishment of the United Nations. A joint declaration issued by the two world leaders became known as the Atlantic Charter and one of the eight clauses in that indicated such a future organization.
The fifth clause is, “fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field.” The United Nations officially came into being in October 1945 with an interest in many fields. The signatories to the United Nations Declaration subscribed to common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter.
The declaration of the Atlantic Charter by two world leaders is an important event in the history of Canada — probably one of its most important events. It is certainly one that every school child in our nation should know about. This year would be an ideal time for it to be stressed in Newfoundland and Labrador schools.
Apart from learning about it in their classes, it would be a good year to visit the site of the Atlantic Charter Monument in Ship Harbour. It was just off Ship Harbour where the meeting took place and there is an attractive monument there marking the site. It is also a good time for our news media to see that the story is told and all details are known.
This August, the 75th Anniversary of the Atlantic Charter will be celebrated. The Atlantic Charter Foundation Inc. has announced a series of events will take place in St. John’s, Placentia and Ship Harbour.
In St. John’s there will be a conference, a commemorative dinner and other activities. At Placentia there will be tours of the area for conference delegates and a play performed in the Arts Centre. A main event will take place at the Atlantic Charter Site in Ship Harbour on Sunday Aug. 14 with a reenactment of the church service that Churchill and Roosevelt attended. Distinguished speakers will include Celia Sandys, the granddaughter of Winston Churchill, who will be in attendance. These formal activities will be followed by lunch, viewing of historic artifacts and a community garden party.
To start learning about this historic event anyone can go to a website site posted by the Atlantic Charter Foundation Inc. at www.atlanticcharter.ca or to see a link to a recent article in the Globe and Mail about the Charter go to www.placentiahistory.ca. To find about the conference in August email email@example.com or phone 416-979-1875 or 709-2270214.
Tom O’Keefe is the president of the Placentia Area Historical Society