Day 66: Visit of General Charles De Gaulle
The submarine France is a working aluminum model, loosely based on the French submarine Surcouf. It was built by an unknown French petty officer in Bizerte, Tunisia, while it was under occupation. It includes French Tunisian coins used as washers below deck.
Given to FDR by General Charles de Gaulle during a visit to Washington, D.C., in July 1944, President Roosevelt instructed his grandson Curtis—who was living in the White House at the time—to bring the submarine to the David Taylor Model Basin. There Curtis witnessed the sub in action as it submerged, fired its guns, and launched its torpedoes.
The president then gave the model to Curtis. When Eleanor Roosevelt suggested that he could not give away a state gift, FDR said de Gaulle was president of the French Committee for Liberation, not a head of state.