An Unplanned Life: A Memoir by George McKee Elsey

By George McKee Elsey

An Unplanned Life is the scintillating memoir of George Elsey, a small-town child from western Pennsylvania who, at age twenty-four, used to be assigned to Franklin Roosevelt’s top-secret intelligence and communications heart within the White residence. As an officer within the U.S. Naval Reserve, Elsey helped short the president and his senior affiliates on warfare occasions. He and his map room colleagues acted because the secretariat for Roosevelt’s cabled exchanges with Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek; filed files of “summit conferences”; and saved in safes plans for destiny operations. He additionally traveled with the president with a view to code and decode the categorised messages that flowed among the presidential educate or send and the White House.

Elsey’s tasks persevered with Harry Truman’s succession to the presidency. He decoded the well-known message from Secretary of warfare Henry Stimson reporting the losing of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and carried it to President Truman. In 1947, he shed his Naval Reserve uniform and joined the White House’s civilian employees as assistant to the distinct advice to the president. In 1949, he turned administrative assistant to the president, and, in 1952, he grew to become a member of the Mutual safety company employees. in the course of these years, he grew very just about Harry Truman, and hence, an incredible section of An Unplanned Life pertains to his reports then.

In the 1st postwar iciness, Elsey used to be often the single employees member who observed President Truman at the USS Williamsburg. In September 1946, Elsey submitted a report back to Truman on U.S.-Soviet relatives, which got here to be popular because the “Clifford-Elsey Report.” offering Truman with notes for a few 200 of his “back-of-the-train” casual talks, Elsey performed an element within the top remembered characteristic of the “Whistle-Stop crusade” that led to “the political disenchanted of the century.” as well as his years on the White condo, Elsey additionally touches on his post–White residence years—his time in inner most undefined, his months with Clark Clifford whilst Clifford used to be making an attempt unsuccessfully to extricate the US from Vietnam, and his lengthy organization with the yankee crimson Cross.

An Unplanned Life is an interesting examine the lifetime of a rare person who performed an enormous and exceptional half in varied presidents’ judgements and affected the process our state. someone with an curiosity in historical past will locate this memoir interesting and invaluable.

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Roosevelt, rarely at a loss for words, had nothing he felt he could say at his scheduled press conference on the twenty-seventh. ” This brought hoots of laughter from the reporters crowded around his desk in the Oval Office. No other questions on Italy were asked. Standing behind the press gang, I reflected that he’d done it again. By a seemingly nonchalant remark, he had evaded discussion of matters for which we embarrassingly had no contingency plans. I was also amused by all the laughter. A mild witticism, if uttered by a big shot, is thought to be very funny.

Him,” of course, was the enemy. While German subs continued to be a serious menace, May 1943 was, in fact, a real turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic. Convoys month by month reached Europe with steadily diminishing losses. A second turning point was in Africa. I was standing the evening watch alone when the door was flung open. In zoomed Churchill. ” I handed him a copy of a dispatch from Allied Headquarters that I had just received announcing the surrender of the last German forces in North Africa.

There were also fundamental differences of opinion between the two men. Hopkins shared Roosevelt’s disdain for the State Department. ” This reference to the theft of classified messages by a code clerk in the American embassy was a brush-off. The fact was that Roosevelt preferred to handle foreign affairs that interested him and ignore the rest. ” and wanting to be sure that State was kept informed. ) The Leahy-Hopkins situation festered for months. On the eve of 26 An Unplanned Life Churchill’s third visit in May 1943, Leahy’s aide unburdened himself on me.

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