At­lantic Char­ter cause for cel­e­bra­tion

The Compass - - ED­I­TO­RIAL -

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. at­lantic­cha­r­ or to see a link to a re­cent ar­ti­cle in the Globe and Mail about the Char­ter go to www.pla­cen­ti­ahis­ To find about the con­fer­ence in Au­gust email at­lantic­cha­r­ or phone 416-979-1875 or 709-2270214.

Tom O’Keefe is the pres­i­dent of the Pla­cen­tia Area His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety

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