8. Epilogue

What was it that so aroused the anti-Rooseveltians, leading them to suspect that it was "skullduggery" and gross negligence in Washington that was responsible for the Pearl Harbor disaster?

Why did the President, his closest associates in the White House, and the officers in the top-level positions in the Army and in the Navy, generate so much suspicion in the minds of the Republicans? Why such reluctance to have an investigation to explain why the U.S. forces were caught by surprise at Pearl Harbor? This is a point which I do not think is explained in the literature and which ought to be. Why did the President and his administration allow so much suspicion to grow up in the minds of the Republicans by the questions which the latter raised after 7 December 1941 and which they continued to raise throughout the war? Could this have been avoided? It is my opinion that i was this refusal to explain, this subjection to continued "needling" of the President and the Democrats by the Republicans throughout the war that aroused the gravest suspicions that there was indeed gross negligence in the White House and at the highest executive levels, and maybe greater derelictions to be hidden. The adamant resistance the President and the Democratic Administration had to maintain against Republican pressure for Congressional hearings on this point and the reasons therefor were quite obvious: we now know that such hearings would have "let the cat out of the bag"--that the U.S. was reading all the Japanese cryptocommunications between the Foreign Office and its embassies, legations, and consulates abroad. The Japanese would have changed their system without delay. It


is inconceivable, the Administration believed, that the secret could have been kept even if all the hearings were in Executive Sessions. They felt and were warranted in feeling that Hearings on the subject would be disastrous during the war: too much vital information on the subject would have leaked out. It is true that the Japanese had been alerted during the war by the Germans; they were told, in fact--and nobody knows to this day just how the Germans found out--that we were reading Japanese diplomatic messages. All this appears in the PHR and makes interesting reading. But it is astonishing that even after they were told, the Japanese just simply refused to believe the story and continued to use the system. (Neither, for that matter, did the Germans put much credence in the suspicions, forwarded by Marshall Rommel from Africa, that the British must be reading his messages; Rommel felt that this and only this could account for his continuing defeats in North Africa after 1943! Have these two episodes any lessons for us? Yes, indeed! Cryptographers become enamored of their inventions and their minds become polarized in a sort of conviction that the systems they have concocted are invincible. It happened to us, too! I can remember the mental shock I had when indubitable evidence was placed before me showing that the Germans were reading the enciphered code system we were using for communications between U.S. Army Observer with the British Expeditionary Forces in North Africa in 1942-3 and Washington!


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