The Yalta Conference Cloak
The photos of the Big Three at the Yalta Conference are well-known, but have you ever looked closely at what FDR was wearing?
In contrast to the double-breasted coats worn by Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt wore a distinctive wool and velvet cloak during his trip to the Crimea, Ukraine, in February 1945.
The garment is a U.S. Navy regulation officer’s boatcloak. President Roosevelt’s was made at the Naval Clothing Depot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City in August 1942. It is a standard officer’s boatcloak, ordered and unaltered for FDR’s use.
The cloak is designed to be worn during movement by a boat to protect the wearer from the cold and his clothing from the effects of spray. It opens at the front and is fitted with two frogs (knotted lengths of braided cord), which engage to secure the cloak closed. The relative ease with which such a cloak could be put on and taken off made wearing it an attractive alternative to a more conventional garment—especially for someone whose ease of movement was hampered by the effects of polio.
Roosevelt wore similar boatcloaks during other trips he made during his Presidency. The image of FDR in these cloaks is one of the most enduring of the war years.
Photo Gallery -FDR meets with the Big Three, the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia during his Yalta Conference Trip
-from the FDR Library