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CASABLANCA SCENE OF CRUCIAL NAVAL BATTLE

F.D.R. Explains to Petain

WASHINGTON--The White House disclosed tonight that President Roosevelt had sent to Marshal Petain, French Chief of State, an explanation of the American invasion of French North Africa and that Petain replied with a pledge to "defend

The letters from the President were delivered simultaneously with the American invasion of North Africa last night, according to White House Press Secretary Stephen T. Early.

Petain replied quickly to the Chief Executive, telling him he regarded the American action "with stupor and sadness."

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"I have read you message," he said. "You invoke pretexis which nothing justifies. You attribute to your enemies intentions which have not been manifested in acts."

"France and her honor are at stake," said the Marshal. "We are attacked, we shall defend ourselves. This is the order I am giving."

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