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Did FDR Know About Pearl Harbor?

             Murrow paced back and forth in his Washington hotel room around 1:00 a. Murrow was the CBS radio newsman and was contemplating something he called "the biggest story of my life." Murrow had just returned from a twenty-five-minute meeting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Oval Study at the White House. A Japanese strike force had assaulted the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor nearly twelve hours earlier. Murrow and his wife were personally invited earlier in the week to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's dinner party, which was to be on Sunday, December 7. When Murrow heard news of the raid, he phoned the White House to see if the dinner was still on. After been told that it was, he and his wife went to the White House. The President was not able to join them because he was meeting with congressional leaders and military advisors. During the dinner the Chief White House usher Howell Crim asked Murrow to stay for an informal meeting with the President. After dinner Murrow sent his wife back to the hotel room and he went to the second floor to the Oval Study. There he meet William Donovan, Roosevelt's Coordinator of Information, and the two men were invited into the study for a midnight snack of sandwiches and cold beer. The Usher Book comprises the only official record of the meeting, which only says the men spent about twenty-five minutes together and no specific details were kept. For years afterwards Murrow wondered whether to run with his story or kept his story to himself since he what he was told was between them as friends. Whatever the great story was, Murrow kept quite and took the secret to his grave. However Donovan has only hinted at what the meeting was about. Donovan said the meeting was mostly about public reactions to the attack. The president asked the two men if America would finally unite and leave their isolationist views after the attack. The two men agreed that America would indeed unite; yet the President still wondered if the public was ready for a declaration of war.

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