JANUARY 28, 1943
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday afternoon I had the great pleasure of seeing our son Jimmy's executive officer, who is here for a few days getting certain things straightened out for their raider group. He told me how they recruited for the group. This time it is composed of boys from both coasts, which I think is a very good thing, since the more boys from different parts of the country become intimately acquainted, the better. This young officer has been in the Marine Corps for several years and I am sure that he is very thorough in his work.
Four of us sat around the radio in my sitting room last night and listened for an hour to the various stories of the past ten days. The fact that my husband was in Casablanca was, of course, no surprise to me, but it was amusing this morning to have the various people in the house exclaim with surprise over the destination of his trip. The household, of course, had to know that the President was away, but they were evidently completely surprised to find that he had been in Africa.
My husband has never enjoyed the mere sense of flight the way I do, and I am quite sure that having to start out at 4:00 a.m. was not a great pleasure to him. At the first opportunity we have for frivolous conversation, I am going to find out whether he has already been made a "short snorter." If he has, I shall use all my ingenuity to catch him someday separated from his bill.
For those who may not know what this means, I should explain that you are a "short snorter" when you fly across an ocean, and the fraternity has grown quite large of late. One of the rules is that a new member must pay a dollar to every member present at his initiation. If he is ever separated from his bill, which all members are supposed to carry on their persons, and he cannot produce it within a given number of minutes, he must again pay a dollar to all members present for his infraction of the rule.
I feel a great sense of gratitude to both the press and the radio chains for the wonderful way in which the story of this conference was guarded until the release date. With so many people knowing this story for such a long time, I think it speaks well for our common sense that there was so little conversation about it, and that the responsible people whose job it is to give out news, were so careful and lived up so meticulously to their pledge of secrecy.