Allied leaders met in three (well, four considering Potsdam) conferences to discuss the future after the war -- the Casablanca conference in 1943, the Tehran Conference in 1943, and Yalta Conference in 1945. However, looking at the map, these locations seem problematic.

Tehran, being in Iran, seems (relatively?) easily accessible for Stalin, but how did Churchill and Roosevelt cross Europe (mostly controlled by axis), and parts of Asia to reach Tehran? Same question with Yalta, especially since Eastern Europe was being teared apart in 1945 by the approaching Red Army, and the retreating Nazi Army.

How were the locations decided, and how did each of 3 nations ensure that the respective leaders could reach safely to and from the conference venues?

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    You haven't even mentioned Casablanca, the first time all three met: history.stackexchange.com/questions/10905/… Feb 26, 2016 at 5:08
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    @PieterGeerkens Wow. It's a double surprise - I have to (embarrassingly) admit that I had no idea that Casablanca conference existed (and I call myself a history enthusiast, heh!) and that a very similar question has been asked about it. Should we merge questions? Leave this open/closed?
    – taninamdar
    Feb 26, 2016 at 5:12
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    @PieterGeerkens - Stalin did not visit Casablanca. Roosevelt and Churchill had also met before in the US/Canada
    – Oldcat
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:22
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    @PieterGeerkens: In the link you used, I wrote: "America's President Roosevelt and Britain's Winston Churchill held a conference in Casablanca, Morocco. Russia's Stalin declined to attend (citing the fighting at Stalingrad)." So it was not "all three."
    – Tom Au
    Feb 26, 2016 at 19:34
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    This question is similar to mine, but not the same, and should not be merged, IMHO.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 26, 2016 at 19:35

2 Answers 2


By counterintelligence and air superiority.


The Axis allegedly was planning to assassinate Allied leaders at the Tehran Conference. The plot was never tried. However, it would have never worked because Soviet intelligence had intercepted the plans.

Furthermore, the Allies had air superiority and didn't have to worry about something like the P-38 interception of the plane carrying Admiral Yamato. Roosevelt went by plane and sea. Churchill risked U boats and went by sea.


Stalin was reluctant to travel long distances, and given the Soviet Air Forces' unreliability, probably went overland at least part of the way.


The Soviet dictator refused to travel further than the Black Sea Resort, Yalta, in the Crimean Riveria (then part of the Soviet Union, now part of Ukraine) for the next summit and, once again, Churchill and Roosevelt were both the ones taking long and tiring trips to attend the Yalta summit.

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    Stalin only visited places that were under Soviet control. Yalta, Tehran, Potsdam.
    – Mohair
    Feb 26, 2016 at 19:09
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    AFAIR Roosevelt went to Casablanca by sea and Stalin flew part of the way to Tehran. Feb 27, 2016 at 7:42
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    Sikorski , Sanjurjo, Balbo, Wingate, military/political leaders dying air crashes KItchner sunk on his way to Russia. These conferences were not without risk,
    – pugsville
    Feb 28, 2016 at 22:12
  • I've seen it claimed that Stalin was afraid to fly in the same way as a number of ordinary people are. I don't have a citation to prove it though.
    – Henry
    Feb 16, 2019 at 0:30

The Allies had sufficient control of the Atlantic Ocean for FDR and Churchill to arrive safely at Casablanca by sea in 1943 (the routes were "safe enough" for over 100,000 Allied troops). Getting to Casablanca was more problematic for Stalin, which is why he didn't attend. The theoretical danger was by land or air, but as people pointed out in the answer to my question, that wasn't a real danger.

To get Stalin's attendance, the other choices, Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam catered to him. Again the safer routes were by sea, although with the Allies' foothold in Italy, both sea and air routes over the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal or over the Middle East to Tehran and Yalta were reasonably safe. Potsdam was in Germany, after it surrendered, and only Japan remained.

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