State Villa No 7, where Churchill was taken upon arrival, was a luxurious country house with a more modern bathroom than the one at Chequers, and goldfish in the garden like those at Chartwell. The Soviet leader received Churchill at the Kremlin that evening and, as expected, did not like his news. Stalin exuded displeasure. A man not prepared to take risks could not win a war, he grumbled. Troops must be blooded in battle. Churchill kept his cool. He forbore mention of his host's not-so-distant non-aggression pact with their now shared enemy, and then placated him by divulging plans for Operation Torch, against German forces in North Africa.
Discord continued, but on the last evening, when Churchill came to say goodbye, Stalin softened. He suggested drinks at his house, which was reached by many twists and turns within the Kremlin. His daughter - a handsome redhead, Churchill observed - laid the table while her father uncorked various bottles. The hour that Churchill had planned for extended to seven. Talk and wine flowed freely, and in a moment of rare intimacy Stalin admitted that even the stresses of war did not compare with the terrible struggle to force the collective-farm policy on the peasantry. Millions of kulaks had been, well, eliminated. The historian Churchill thought of Burke's dictum, "If I cannot have reform without injustice, I will not have reform", but the politician Churchill concluded that with the war requiring unity, it was best not to moralise aloudReuse content