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What role can Britain play in the world? I know where I’d look for inspiration

The key is to recapture the creative ideas and skilful diplomacy exhibited in a summit 80 years ago, says a former head of the Foreign Office

By Peter Ricketts  

Photo: Terry Mathews / Alamy Stock Photo

The post-war international order began to take shape aboard two warships anchored in Placentia Bay, Canada, 80 years ago in the summer of 1941. This was the setting for the first of the great Churchill/Roosevelt wartime summits. The result was a shared vision of the future peace, set out in a joint declaration known as the Atlantic Charter. Much of it was drafted by the British diplomat, Alexander Cadogan.

This document served as a blueprint for the great surge of institution-building in the late 1940s. Churchill and Cadogan persuaded Roosevelt to sign up to the concept of a…

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