A U.S. official familiar with the discussions says they were part of "intensive efforts" to dissuade Musharraf from declaring emergency rule.
"There was never a green light," the U.S. official told The Journal.
However, one of Musharraf's closest advisers says U.S. criticism of the impending move was muted, leading some senior Pakistanis to interpret it as a sign they could proceed.
Friday Pakistan's new Supreme Court declared Musharraf's seizure of emergency powers was legal. It came just one day after the court ruled against another challenge to the general's re-election last month.