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You say that President Roosevelt characterized it as kind of a hot potato
politically, but at the same time she was free to give it her. . .
She was free unofficially to give it her blessing and to use her then enormous
influence to bring people together under her auspices.
You must have felt that you were really gaining ground in your efforts.
Well, I did, but Pearl Harbor made me feel that everything was going to be put off a
long time, and indeed it was.
In January of '42 I went again to a dinner at the White House which Mrs. Roosevelt
had invited me to on behalf of an organization called the International Students
Service. Things were rather grim and anxious. I remember sitting next to Attorney
General Biddle, and I see that I have written that I thought he seemed like a special
privilege through birth to money man, who was intellectual without experience in
dealing with large-scale world affairs or national ones. He seemed condescending and
inexperienced about the world but liberal in his basic thinking. This sound like a
very harsh judgment of him; I don't know whether I was right or not.
Did you get involved in this student effort as a result of this dinner?
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