Chapter II
Secretary of the Navy


Although this chapter is headed "The Secretary of the Navy" it will not be limited in its coverage to the part that the Secretary played personally in the administration of the Navy Department in World War II.1 It surveys in broad outline the major aspects of the Secretary of the Navy's main functions of policy control, business management, and related matters. Necessarily included is the part that his immediate official family of high level civilian assistants, the Under Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, and the Assistant Secretary for Air played in the administration of the Navy Department. This group, together with their personal staffs and specialist advisers, exercised the civilian control over the Navy Department contemplated by law and well established by custom.

Included, also, will be the Executive Office of the Secretary, the collective term applied to the offices and boards reporting directly to the Secretary or to one of his civilian executive assistants. These were the tools that were provided to assist them in performing their functions. Some of these offices and boards will be described in the chapters dealing with the activities which they coordinated or regulated for the Secretary; others will be described briefly in this chapter.

During World War II, the Secretary of the Navy reported directly to the President, but when the Department of Defense was established in 1947 he became subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. As this change did not take place until several years after the period with which this history deals it can be assumed that unless otherwise stated there was no official in the administrative hierarchy of the government between the President and the Secretary of the Navy.


In the first chapter of this work an analysis of the management responsibilities of the Navy Department revealed that four primary tasks must be performed by its executive organization in order to insure effective administration of the whole establishment, one of these tasks being policy control Policy control was described as the unqualified responsibility and exclusive prerogative of the Secretary of the Navy subject only to the overall authority of the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Policy formulation and control is not, however, a routine activity. Events constantly make new policies or modifications in old policies necessary.

Normally, policy matters reach the Secretary after consideration, planning, and formulation at lower levels. After approval by the Secretary they are put in the form of directives of various kinds for the guidance of the Naval Establishment as a whole or of specified parts of the establishment. Hardly an official paper goes to the Secretary's office that does not touch in some way on policy-making or policy control. This is also true of practically all verbal discussions between the Secretary and his principal assistants. The mere chronological recital of the Secretary's policy decisions would not, however, be a satisfactory way of presenting the history of the administration of the Navy Department during any period of its existence whether in peace or in war. In the interests of leading to an understanding of why things were done as they were, policy decisions must usually be fitted into the history of the organizational components of the Navy Department principally ]affected thereby. This will be the method followed in this work.

The fact that policy control was the exclusive prerogative of the Secretary does not, however, mean that Secretaries during any period of the Navy Department's existence have dealt with only such matters. Improving the organization and management of the Naval Establishment occupied the attention of experienced and forward looking administrators such as Charles Edison, Frank Knox, and james Forrestal, fully as much as policy control. Actually modifications in organization and management always have policy aspects that must be considered by the Secretary. This renders meaningless any attempt to draw a sharp line between policy control and the other activities of the Secretary.

During this period only a few changes had to be made in the organization of the Navy Department; none of a basic nature. One of the most important was the merger in 1940 of the Bureau of Construction & Repair with the Bureau of Engineering to form the Bureau of Ships. In 1942 the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet was combined in one person with the Chief of Naval Operations, but only for the duration of the war. Changes in the internal organization of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations were made from time to time during the war and became permanent. They were mainly in the direction of functionalizing further the


duties of the office under Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations of flag rank. Similar internal organizational changes were made in the bureaus. Proliferation of the Executive Officer of the Secretary became necessary to assist the Secretary in carrying out more effectively his coordinating, investigating, inspecting, and reviewing functions. Radical reorganization of the office of the Chief Clerk of the Navy Department was found necessary in 1941. All of these changes had policy aspects to which the Secretary had to give much personal attention. They will be covered in appropriate places in this history.

Although much of the burden of routine administration was carried for the Secretary by his principal executive assistants and by the Executive Office of the Secretary, there were many things that required his personal attention, such as his relations with the President and attendance at Cabinet meetings, work with Congress, and relations with the Secretaries of the other Federal Departments, principally with the Secretary of War and the Secretary of State. Many of these contacts dropped away after unification and the establishment of the Department of Defense, but during the war they took up a large part of the Secretary's time.

There were, in addition, his daily personal contacts with the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commander in Chief of the Fleet, the Chiefs of the Bureaus, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and with his upper level civilian assistants, not to mention the continuous stream of visitors from outside the Navy Department who had legitimate reasons for seeing the Secretary personally.

Many of these relationships had, during the peace period between the two world wars, been reduced to more or less standardized procedures, but sheer magnitude alone after the war effort got underway demanded new approaches to old problems. it was one thing to manage a naval establishment that during the previous two decades had become fairly well stabilized with about 328,000 people, civilian and in uniform, on its payrolls,2 and quite another to expand the establishment to some five million individuals, including every imaginable profession and occupation, and to adapt the administrative machinery of the Navy Department to the management of an enterprise of this size. This furthermore had to be done under circumstances of urgency and stress without parallel in history and with due regard to the economic,social, industrial, and political life of the country as a whole.

The burden of expanding the Navy to fulfill its wartime mission fell initially on the career personnel of the Naval Establishment, civilian and in uniform, but it was obvious that administrative personnel would have to be augmented greatly at all levels, especially at the highest civilian levels, in


order to develop the country's war potential to the maximum. Fortunately, the Secretaries of this period, because of their wide acquaintance with leaders in business and industry, were well qualified to recruit competent civilians to lend a hand in the administration of the Navy Department.

There were, of course, factors other than magnitude and urgency that made unprecedented demands on the administrative machinery of the Navy Department during World War II. Supporting the combatant forces had, for one thing, grown in complexity and difficulty over the years. Of these, none was of greater significance than the impact of science on modern warfare in creating new weapons and new devices for increasing the destructiveness and speeding up the tempo of war. Scientific research and development brought in its wake administrative problems in the recruitment and training of personnel, and in matériel production that had never been encountered before and that had, during the peace period, been only dimly visualized. The sheer magnitude of the war effort and its effect on the peacetime economy of the nation must, nevertheless, be looked upon as the underlying cause for most of the new administrative problems that the Secretary of the Navy had to face during the war.

Secretarial Backgrounds

A glance at the kind of men who in the past had occupied the office of the Secretary of the Navy will be of interest. Of the 47 men who, up to the end of World War II, held the position, only a few had had naval or related experience that was directly useful to them in the administration of the Navy Department. None was a naval officer. Only two officers are known ever to have been offered the position of Secretary, Commodore John Rodgers and Captain Robert F.Stockton (later Commodore), but both declined appointment.

The early Secretaries were shipping men and as such were familiar with maritime matters. They started with an advantage in administering the Navy Department because of the similarity at that time between merchant ships and naval ships. Among later Secretaries who had had some experience with a direct bearing on naval administration were James K. Paulding, who had been the U.S. Navy Agent in New York from 1824 to 1834 before being appointed Secretary of the Navy in 1838; Gideon Welles, Secretary from 1861 to 1869, who had served as the civilian Chief of the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing from1844 to 1849; Hilary Herbert, Secretary from 1893 to 1897, and Claude Swanson, Secretary from 1933 to 1939, who had been Chairmen of Congressional Naval Affairs committees; Truman H. Newberry, Secretary from 1908 to 1909 and Charles Edison, Secretary from 1939 to 1940, who were advanced from Assistant Secretary


to Secretary. Of all Secretaries of the Navy, James Forrestal had had the most extensive experience fitting him for the position when he became Secretary on the death of Frank Know on April 28, 1944, as he had been Under Secretary of the Navy since August 1940.

After the War of 1812, it became the custom of sometimes using the position as a reward for political services or to strengthen politically the party in power. During the post Civil War period, lawyers seem to have occupied the position more often than any other profession. Political considerations have practically always had something to do with the selection of the appointee. Curiously enough, the Secretaries of the Navy during the Civil War, World War I, and most of World War II were all newspaper publishers: Gideon Welles, Josephus Daniels, and Frank Knox, respectively. All were appointed for political reasons, but their business experience as publishers stood them in good stead when they became Secretary of the Navy.

The trend in recent times has been toward the selection of businessmen as Navy Department administrators. In the ideal Secretary of the Navy there would be a combination of statesman's vision, the politician's shrewd tactical skill, the industrialist's grasp of organization and management, and the engineer's judgment in technical matters; qualities that are indeed difficult to find in one person. The three World War II Secretaries of the Navy had this combination of qualities in varying degrees.

The first of the three World War II Secretaries of the Navy, Charles Edison, was born August 3, 1890, the son of Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor. He was educated as an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 1913 joined his father in Edison Industries. He concentrated more on the business aspects of the various Edison enterprises than on technical matters, but had a keen appreciation and took a great interest in the engineering aspects of industrial management.

His first acquaintance with the Navy came during World War I when his father was Chairman of the Naval Consulting Board and Franklin D. Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Although his father and other members of the family were Republicans he became a Democrat and supported Roosevelt for President. During the early 30's he devoted much time to the recovery agencies set up in New Jersey. This kept him in touch with President Roosevelt, who appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy as of November 1q8, 1937, and Secretary of the Navy on January 2, 1940. He had been Acting Secretary since the death of Claude Swanson on July 7, 1939. Due to the poor health of Secretary Swanson Edison actually performed many of the duties of the office from the time he was appointed Assistant Secretary. He resigned on June 24, 1940, to become a candidate of the Democratic Party for Governor of New Jersey.


Charles Edison excelled in his understanding of the part that engineering and technology play in the creation and operation of the Navy, and in the administration of the Navy Department. His support of the proposal to consolidate the two shipbuilding bureaus and to establish the position of Under Secretary of the Navy to strengthen material procurement practices are indicative of his appreciation of this aspect of Naval Administration. It is difficult to see how the Navy Department could have met its logistic responsibilities during the war without these improvements in organization. He was adept in dealing with Congress as shown by his management in 1940 of the bills authorizing the large naval expansion programs and in obtaining authority to enter into contracts by negotiation rather than by competitive bidding whenever a negotiated contract was advantageous and competitive bidding was impracticable. He sponsored and obtained authorization for other measures that made improvements possible in Navy Department business methods. He was at the helm of the Navy Department during one of its most critical periods when the country's ability to meet a grave national emergency was being reappraised and long range planning was necessary to bring the Navy up to the strength required to carry out its mission.

Pre-Pearl Harbor International Situation

It is desirable at this ;oint to review briefly the march of events in other parts of the world that led to this reappraisal of American national security and readiness for war. Beginning in the early part of the 1930's the rise to power of Hitler in Germany, of Mussolini in Italy, and of the military party in Japan dimmed the vision of a world without wars. The democracies were still hopeful that the League of Nations might prevent the outbreak of war in the immediate future, but the leaders in Germany, Italy, and Japan were all able to convince a large part of their people that their foreign policies must be more aggressive. For Japan, this led to penetration of the Asian mainland and the economic exploitation of China; for Italy, the advance into North Africa and the conquest of Abyssinia; for Germany, a drive for the removal of the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany's first aggressive act was the march into the Rhineland in the spring of 1936. When this went unchallenged by France and England, Hitler took other steps which clearly showed that Germany would not remain satisfied with the boundaries set for her at Versailles. A final effort to appease Hitler was made at Munich on September 29, 1938, when Great Britain, France, and Italy signed a pact ceding the Sudentenland to Germany.

The hope that appeasement would prevent war was shattered when


Germany marched into Poland on September 1, 1939. The conquest of Poland followed quickly, with Russia taking part in the division of the spoils. Great Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. President Roosevelt issued a neutrality proclamation and ordered the Navy to establish patrols to report and track down any belligerent air, surface, or underwater forces approaching the Atlantic coast of the United States or the West Indies. After the brief Polish campaign there was little activity between the belligerents until the late spring of 1940, which encouraged the belief among many Americans that the United States would be able to remain aloof from the war.

Public opinion polls taken during this first year of the war in Europe showed that the great majority of Americans would have been glad to see the conflict end on almost any terms if, thereby, the United States could be kept out of the fighting. The aftermath of World War I was still very fresh in the minds of most Americans, who remembered only that their country's chief reward for coming to the aid of Great Britain and France in 1917 was to be called "Uncle Shylock" after the war. This feeling was offset somewhat by the aversion of Americans to Nazism and its persecution of "inferior" peoples. The Roper poll of September 1939 showed that only 2.5 percent of the people interviewed were in favor of entering the war at once on the side of Great Britain, France, and Poland; 8.9 percent were in favor of furnishing supplies to those countries if it did not involve getting the United States into the war; but the rest voted in favor of remaining aloof from the war by any means that might be devised.

In April 1940, the Germans occupied Norway, the Maginot Line was outflanked, the invasion of Holland, Belgium, and France was started, and the move on Paris began. The British armies, cut off from their French allies, were forced back to the Channel ports and by the end of May had to be evacuated from Dunkirk. A few weeks later the French Government accepted the German terms and surrendered. President Roosevelt then began an active campaign to show the public the dangers that threatened the United States and that rendered isolation from the rest of the world impossible. One of the means he adopted to underline the gravity of the situation was the appointment of two Republicans, Frank Knox and Henry L. Stimson to his Cabinet as Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of War respectively.

The appointments were announced just before the opening of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia to choose the party's candidate for President in the election of November 1940. The position the Republican party would take on foreign policy was expected to be one of the main issues to come before the convention. Accordingly, when President


Roosevelt requested Frank Knox to enter his Cabinet, Knox accepted but proposed that the announcement be postponed until after the convention so that he could attend the convention and fight for a non-isolation plank in the platform and work for Wendell Willkie's nomination as the non-isolationist candidate. In answer, the President argued that, from the point of view of furthering the ends of a non-isolationist foreign policy, it would be better to announce the appointments before the opening of the convention, for that would lessen the criticism that could be directed at him for making the appointment and at Knox for accepting it. The President's wishes prevailed. The Republican convention's nomination of Wendell Willkie relieved Knox of any regrets at not having been able to brought violent protests from many Republican politicians, who felt that these two men had deserted their party at a time when their services were needed to elect Willkie. Many prominent Democrats also criticized the President for the appointments as betrayals of party regularity.

The appointments attracted worldwide attention as both men were prominent Republicans. Stimson had held high office and rendered distinguished service under several Republican administrations; he had served as Secretary of War under William Howard Taft, Governor General of the Philippines under Calvin Coolidge, and Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. Frank Knox had been the Vice Presidential running mate of Alfred M. Landon against Franklin Roosevelt in the Presidential campaign of 1936. Although Stimson and Knox had opposed President Roosevelt's New Deal domestic policies, they had expressed themselves vigorously in favor of his foreign policy and in opposition to the isolationist trend of their own party. The appointments were taken as an attempt on the part of Franklin Roosevelt to remove national preparedness from partisan politics.

The replacement of Edison by Knox should not be looked upon as dissatisfaction on the party of the President with Edison's services. Outstanding as his work had been, retaining him as Secretary of the Navy would have done little to strengthen the President's foreign policy for he already belonged to the non-isolationist wing of the Democratic Party. In order to find a way of vacating the office without an implied criticism of Edison, he was induced to run for Governor of New Jersey in the forthcoming election in November. The argument used was that he was needed to carry New Jersey in the national campaign for President Edison accordingly resigned, leaving the way open for the appointment of Frank Knox. He was successful in his campaign for Governor.

Frank Knox was born on January 1, 1874, and christened William Franklin Knox, although he always signed himself "Frank Knox." After


graduation from Alma (Michigan) College in 1898, he became a reporter on the Rand Rapids Herald, but soon became a newspaper publisher in his own right in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He went form success to success in various cities as a newspaper editor and owner, winding up with a controlling interest, in 1931, in the Chicago Daily News. He was always a belligerent crusader against vice, gambling, and corruption. He joined Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, and in World War I served in France in the field artillery, winding up as Colonel of the 365th FA Reserves. He took an active interest in politics from the time he graduated from college, although he was never elected to office. As mentioned above, he ran with Alfred M. Landon on the Presidential ticket in1936. From the point of view of administrative experience and ability he was highly qualified for the position of Secretary of the Navy, even though he was not elected for that reason alone. He excelled in the fields of business management, in dealing with Congress and other Government departments, and in his handling of public relations. He was a forceful speaker. In his personal relations with his civilian assistants, as well as with those in uniform, he was easy to talk to and commanded their respect, admiration, and even affection.

The President

It is in order at this point to sketch in broad outline the relationships during World War II between the Secretary of the Navy and the President, Congress, the heads of other Federal Departments, and wit5h his principal civilian and naval assistants. The Constitution provides that the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, but Presidents have usually left naval administration to their Secretaries of the Navy. In modern times all Presidents, in addition to their official and social relations with the Secretary of the Navy, have maintained contact with the Navy and the Navy Department in varying degrees of closeness through a Naval Aide and through their frequent association with naval officers on the President's yacht. An officer of the Medical Corps of the Navy has also,a t times, been assigned to the White House as the President's physician and has in that capacity played some part in keeping the President in touch with the Navy Department.3

An even more direct link was established by President Roosevelt in July 1942 when, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Navy, he appointed Admiral W.D. Leahy, USN, his Chief of Staff,


with an office in the White House.4 As such, Admiral Leahy became the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hen presided also at the sessions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The latter group consisted of the highest ranking officers of the various branches of the Armed Forces of the United States and Great Britain. A description of the organization and functioning of these groups will be found in the chapter in this work on "External Relations." After his appointment as Chief of Staff,Admiral Leahy saw the President every day, to keep him advised on the progress of the war and on matters under consideration by the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff. He conveyed to them the President's decisions and instructions with respect to the conduct of the war.When important strategical matters were under consideration, the Joint Chiefs of Staff often met in the White House.

Thus, the White House came to play a very active and direct part in the administration of the Navy Department during the war. This did not, however, stem only from the fact that the President had a naval officer on full time duty as his Chief of Staff, and as part of his official family, but also from Franklin Roosevelt's great personal interest and former association with the Navy. In this respect he resembled his cousin Theodore Roosevelt. Both were keenly interested in naval history and both had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy. They knew the Naval Establishment so well that they were in position to act with a background of knowledge of details not normally possessed by occupants of the White House. Both took the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Navy seriously and often, even in minor details, exercised the supreme authority that goes with the title.

Theodore Roosevelt had great confidence in professional naval officers and never relived them of the responsibility of making their own technical decisions. The story is told that on one occasion when the General


Board and the Bureaus were deadlocked over the characteristics of the battleships in a new building program, he sent word that he would preside at a meeting to decide on the characteristics. When he arrived he informed the assembled officers that he had some work to do at the other end of the room but that they were to go ahead with the discussion and to let him know when agreement had been reached; that there would be no adjournment until an agreement had been reached. Needless to say, the differences were soon compromised and the responsibility for the technical decisions was placed where it belonged.

During the short-of-war period before Pearl Harbor the President usually consulted the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark, directly on such matters as the building program, the employment and disposition of the fleet, naval personnel, and similar matters.5 However, in things involving the reaction of Congress and the public to new measures he dealt directly with Secretary Edison and later Secretary Knox. Knox was, for example, very helpful in getting Congress to pass the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941. This did not, however, keep the Secretary from opposing vigorously the shipment of $33 million worth of machine tools to Russia in the fall of 1941 because in his opinion the tools were more urgently needed at home in carrying out the shipbuilding program than by Russia. As a member of the Supply, Priorities, and Allocation Board, Knox voted against the allocation, particularly because Russia had refused to furnish any data to support her claim of urgent need. However, he was overruled by the White House and Russia received the tools.

In matters of policy having possible international repercussions such as, for example, sending an occupation force to Iceland in June 1941, the President was more likely to consult Knox than the Chief of Naval Operations. Often the President used Knox to ascertain public reaction to proposed measures by having him make trial-balloon speeches on the subjects. Knox, a forceful and persuasive speaker, was well suited to bringing out press comment on matters that were new to the public.

Franklin Roosevelt was more given than his cousin to making technical decisions himself, particularly when it came to questions of the


characteristics of naval ships. For one thing, he had a strong predilection for waging antisubmarine warfare with small craft. This partiality went back to World War I when, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he advocated building large numbers of 50-foot motorboats to meet the U-boat menace of that war. It took all the arguments of the technical Bureaus and the General Board, supported by the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels,to build the 110-foot subchasers instead. The professional Navy took the position that for antisubmarine work vessels must be at least large enough to go to sea and to stay at sea in bad weather, and that one element of seakeeping was sufficient size to provide accommodations for a crew large enough to permit watch-standing. Such accommodations could not be provided in 50-foot motorboats. In World War II Franklin Roosevelt again favored small craft of the motorboat type for coastal protection against U-boats. It was only gradually that programs for the construction of more seaworthy vessels such as the PCs, SCs, and DEs received his unqualified support.6

Again, the Alaska class of ships, consisting of three 27,000-ton cruisers mounting 12" guns, was built largely because of the President's insistence on such a design, although there was no enthusiasm in the professional Navy for the type. The ships never had an opportunity to demonstrate their usefulness, for they were completed too late to get into action during the war. Franklin Roosevelt's interest in technical naval matters extended beyond ships. For example, he took an active part in planning the overall features of the new naval hospital to be built at Bethesda, Maryland, later known as the National Naval Medical Center.


The ultimate decision as to the kind of Navy the country is to have rests with Congress. Not only because the money for building and supporting the Navy comes from Congress, but also because all major Navy Department organizational changes are subject to the approval of Congress, in fact, the final form of Navy Department organization is determined by Congress. Matters of this kind have sometimes even originated with Congress, such for example, as the establishment of the Office of Chief of Naval Operations in 1915. Even the actual administration of the Navy Department is, in a measure, under Congressional control because appointments to the highest civilian and military positions in the Navy Department are subject to confirmation by the Senate. In addition, under its investigative powers Congress has frequently examined specific naval happenings, policies, and practices, even to the point of passing judgment


on the design of ships and their equipment. Thus, Congress is in position to exercise final control over all matters concerning the Navy Department and the Navy.

Congress carries out its legislative and investigative functions through committees. Until 1947 naval matters were handled by the Naval Affairs and Appropriations Committees, then the Armed Services Committees took over this function. In turn, the committees leave most of the work and the deciding to their chairmen. Accordingly, from the beginning the chairmen of committees have been potent factors in determining what the Navy is to be in terms of ships, men, shore establishments, and facilities, and also how the Navy Department is to be organized and managed.

Over the years some chairmen of such committees have taken an interest beyond the ordinary in naval matters. Senator Eugene Hale of Maine was such a chairman. He headed the Senate Naval Affairs Committee off and on from 1881 to 1911 and came to regard the Navy as his personal responsibility. His thinking on naval matters was usually sound, but in his search for ways to reduce naval expenditures, he hit upon the idea that the trend toward ever larger and, therefore, ever more expensive battleships could be checked by simply building smaller ones. Against the advice of responsible naval officers, he included in the 1903 Appropriation Act authorization for the construction of the Mississippi and Idaho, battleships of much smaller displacement and of less speed than the current designs. The ships proved unsatisfactory as units of the Fleet and were eventually sold to Greece.

The Navy Department was fortunate in the chairmen who headed the Naval Affairs Committees of the House and Senate during World War II. In the House of Representatives Carl Vinson of Georgia became Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee in 1931 and remained such until the Committee was merged with the House Military Affairs Committee to form the new Armed Services Committee in 1947, whose first chairman he then became. No Member of Congress has ever shown a greater understanding of naval needs and of the part that the Navy must play in shaping the destiny of the country not a greater mastery of the practical politics necessary to get the legislative branch of the Government to recognize these needs than Carl Vinson. The Chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee during this period was David Walsh of Massachusetts. He also was a potent influence in guiding wartime naval legislation through Congress.

In naval matters the principal preoccupation of Congress in time of peace has usually been to keep naval appropriations as small as possible. Consequently, one of the important roles of the Secretary of the Navy during such periods has been to persuade Congress to loosen the purse


Hon. Carl Vinson
Hon. Carl Vinson
Chairman House Naval Affairs Committee, Dec. 1931 until Jan. 1947,
then Chairman of Armed Service Committee.

strings sufficiently to at least keep the Navy from atrophying. This was not, however, a problem that confronted Secretary Knox as Congress, when a war is on, is ready to provide all the funds requested by the Navy.

One of the Knox's tasks in his dealings with Congress was to obtain the legislation necessary to give the Navy Department a freer hand than formerly in the vast field of material procurement. A wide range of legislation was necessary to permit entering into contracts through negotiation instead of through competitive bids, in financing plant extensions and war production with Government funds, and in many other matters that were involved in going from a peacetime to a wartime economy. Much of the


groundwork with Congress on such matters had already been laid by Charles Edison, Knox's predecessor. Both Knox and Forrestal became adept in dealing with the legislative branch of the Government and succeeded in obtaining practically all the legislation they requested.

The personal relations between the Secretary of the Navy and Congress are sometimes strained by the complaints that Members receive from their constituents. Complaints and inquiries on every imaginable subject reach Senators and Representatives in great volume; this was especially true during the war. When the complaints concern the Navy, they are sent to the Secretary of the Navy for investigation and explanation. The Secretary, as a matter of routine, usually sends such letters to the Chief of Naval Operations or to one of the Bureaus for preparation of replies for the Secretary's signature. The Secretary has a vital interest in satisfying Members of Congress that the matter is, at the very least, receiving prompt attention. Both Knox and Forrestal attached great importance to the promptness and thoroughness of such replies, for they realized that much of their personal influence with Congress depended on the satisfactory handling of correspondence of that kind. They required the preparation of replies within twenty-four hours or an explanation why they could not be furnished in that time.

Other Government Departments

Of all the contracts that the Secretary had to maintain with other Government departments, the one with the War Department was the most important. Administrative problems of common interest were handled by the Secretaries, Under Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries of the two Departments. Stimson and Knox met frequently as long as the latter lived. Forrestal, when he succeeded Knox in 1944, continued the personal contact with Stimson. Until then, Forrestal saw more of Robert Patterson, the Under Secretary of War, for both were charged with the matériel procurement functions of their departments. During the early years of the war John J. McCloy, the Assistant Secretary of War, was the opposite number of Ralph Bard, Assistant Secretary of War, was the opposite the Assistant Secretary of War for Air, was the opposite number of Secretaries of the two departments covered much the same fields of activity. The close contracts and frequent meetings between these civilians at the highest level were very helpful in bringing about uniform policies in matters of common interest and in eliminating competition between the Services in many different fields.

Throughout the war the Secretary himself served as the principal liaison with the State Department. Secretaries Hull, Stimson, and Knox


met once a week, and their successors continued the practice. Eventually a State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (abbreviated SWNCC and also known as SWINK) was set up, each Department being represented by an Under Secretary for an Assistant Secretary and a small staff. Subcommittees were appointed for Europe, Latin America, the Far East, the Near and Middle East, military information control, and other foreign policy matters requiring joint action. In implementing the decisions reached at the various top level conferences between the Allies the first steps were usually taken through the appropriate subcommittees of SWNCC. An informal policy committee on Germany was set up under the main Committee as early as the sumer of 1943, to coordinate the plans for the occupation of Germany then being made. The origin and functioning of SWINK are described in the chapter of "External Relations."

Contacts with the other executive departments of the Government were maintained by the Secretary of the Navy at Cabinet meetings. The Secretary established close personal relations with the heads of the war emergency agencies such as the War Production Board, although no regularly scheduled meetings were held. Close liaison was provided by officers assigned for full time duty to many of the agencies.

The cultivation and maintenance of contacts with the general public was nothing new to Frank Knox; as a journalist he had been thoroughly schooled in the importance of public relations. This led him to establish an Office of Public Relations in the Navy Department, reporting directly to him. He held press conferences twice a week, which were normally attended by up to thirty newsmen.

Navy Department Office Buildings

The closeness and frequency of the working contacts between the Chief of so large an organization as the Navy Department and his principal executive assistants depends largely on the ease with which such contacts can be maintained, and this, in turn, depends in a great measure on the physical proximity of their offices. When Frank Knox became Secretary of the Navy in the sumer of 1940, practically all of the Navy Department was still housed under one roof on Constitution Avenue in what came to be known as the Main Navy Building. This building was erected during the early part of World War I to house the expanding Navy Department, which until then had occupied jointly, with the State and War Departments, the State, War and Navy Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, next to the White House. At the same time there was erected for the War Department on Constitution Avenue a building next to and similar to the Navy Department.

These two buildings saw the War and Navy Departments through


World War I and through the peace period between the two wars, although some temporary buildings had been added toward the end of World War I, most of which continued in use right through World War II. A building had also been erected for the War Department in the late 30's at Virginia Avenue and 20th Street, N.W., but this building was turned over to the State Department when the Pentagon went into commission in 1943.

Plans for the dispersal of many Navy Department activities to larger quarters were already underway when Knox took office. The Main Navy Building itself was expanded by adding a floor and a new wing. Some of the overcrowded activities were moved into rented or purchased buildings, others into newly erected temporary buildings, and still others into new buildings of permanent construction. By the end of World War II Navy Department offices were housed in more than 25 buildings or groups of buildings located in Washington and nearby Maryland and Virginia.7 The largest of the new buildings of permanent construction was the Arlington Annex, which had almost as much floor space as the Main Navy Building.

When the Bureau of Naval Personnel moved into the Arlington Annex on completion of the building in October 1941, an office was retained in the Main Navy Building for the Chief of the Bureau who spent some time each day in that office, usually in the morning, in order to facilitate his contacts with the secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and others in the upper executive echelons. Such an office was provided also for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and a few other important executive assistants when their activities were moved out of the Main Navy Building. This was not, however, a completely satisfactory substitute for having all of the administrative activities themselves under one roof as was possible in the case of the War Department when the huge Pentagon building was completed in January 1943.

Policy withy Respect to Personal Contacts

It may be said that when Frank Knox took office in July 1940, the physical layout for maintaining convenient working contacts with his principal executive assistants was still of the best, certainly better than later on. The number of his assistants with whom he had to maintain daily contacts was also still comparatively small in 1940. The most important of these were the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Chiefs of the Bureaus, the Judge Advocate General, the heads of certain boards such as the General Board, Compensation


Board, and others, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy; an Under Secretary was added soon thereafter, and the Assistant Secretary for Air was reestablished a year later. The expansion of the Executive Office of the Secretary also got underway at this time.

During 1940 and the early part of 1941, when the activities of the Navy Department were still being carried on at about the peacetime tempo, the door to the Secretary's office was always open to his principal assistants, both naval and civilian, and to people from the outside who had business with him personally. Knox continued the practice of his predecessors of holding weekly conferences attended by his principal executive assistants, at which matters of policy and general interest were discussed and reports were made by the Bureau Chiefs and others on the progress of production programs. These conferences went under the name of the Secretary's Council meetings. After Pearl Harbor, for security reasons, many subjects of great interest could not be brought up at these meetings; for example, the strategic and logistic situation, and the progress of new weapons and devices under development.

When James Forrestal became Secretary he discontinued the conferences because he felt that they had grown unwieldy with the addition of the many special assistants and advisors that had joined the Secretary's official family by that time. He felt also that they were too time-consuming for the benefit derived therefrom by the participants. He substituted smaller and more select meetings to keep himself in touch with the strategic situation, progress in the anti-submarine war, the bottlenecks in production, and other matters. Some of these meetings were held daily.

Time is always at a premium for high government officials such as the Secretary of the Navy, especially under the pressure of war. This made it necessary eventually, to place limitations on the policy of an open door to the Secretary's office. To conserve their own time, both Knox and Forrestal made use of their naval aides and their civilian special assistants to screen visitors and to review and pre-digest for them much of the paper work before it reached their desks. While the arrangement was very helpful as a time saver for the Secretary, it had its disadvantages. It erected a wall around the Secretary which made access to him difficult even for those who had urgent business with him, with the result that the Secretary often acted on incomplete information. All too often the personal opinions and bias of the screeners and digesters influenced unduly the decisions made by the Secretary. This is a basic hazard to sound Navy Department Administration.

Another facet of this problem is the hardy perennial of whether a Chief of Bureau, for example, before seeing the Secretary, should be required to clear the purpose of his visit with an intermediary such as the


Chief of Naval Operations, an Assistant Secretary, or some member of the Secretary's official family. Insistence on preliminary clearance is an old technique for controlling the Secretary of the Navy and is likely to succeed with a new Secretary. After a Secretary becomes familiar with the Navy Department he sooner or later discovers where to turn to reliable information and advice. Officials of high rank, especially those from civilian life, also come to realize that an open gangway to their offices is the only way to get information on all sides of a controversial subject.

Assistant Secretaries

Modifications in the executive organization of the Navy Department have usually been associated with national emergencies. There was no Assistant Secretary of the Navy until the Civil War underlined the need for such an assistant. When Gideon Welles took office as Secretary of the Navy in 1861, he immediately requested Congress to authorize the position, and selected Gustavus V. Fox to fill it. Fox had served 18 years as midshipman and officer in the regular Navy and had resigned in 1856 to go into business. When he became Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1861 he brought to the office a combination of naval and business experience that was exceptional and of just the kind needed to help the Secretary in administering the affairs of the Navy Department.

The position was allowed to lapse in 1869, but was reestablished in 1890 mainly to make a civilian of appropriate rank available to take over the Secretary's functions of civilian control during his absence. Additional duties were gradually assigned to the Assistant Secretary, such as handling shore establishment matters, civilian personnel in general, and the housekeeping of the Navy Department.

During World War II, Lewis Compton was Assistant Secretary of the Navy from February 9, 1940 until January 10, 1941. He had actually been Edison's special assistant since the middle of 1937 and had had a hand in planning shore establishment expansion during Edison's tenure as Assistant Secretary and later as Secretary of the Navy. COmpton was Acting Secretary from June 24, 1940 when Edison's resignation became effective, until January 10, 1941, when he resigned to make room for Ralph Bard who took office on February 24, 1941. Bard, an investment banker from Chicago, had been associated with Frank Knox in various activities, some of them of a civic nature. When James Forrestal was appointed Secretary of the Navy after the death of Frank Knox in 1944, Bard moved up to Under Secretary on June 24, 1944 and was succeeded as Assistant Secretary by H. Struve Hensel on January 30, 1945.


Lewis Compton, Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Feb. 1940-Jan. 1941
Lewis Compton
Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Feb. 1940-Jan. 1941.

The office of Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air was created by Congress in 1926 after the Bureau of Aeronautics had been added in 1921 as one of the Bureaus of the Navy Department. As an economy measure the position was allowed to lapse in 1931 and was not reestablished until September 5, 1941, when Artemus Gates, and New York banker, was appointed to fill it. Gates had rendered conspicuous service as one of the early naval aviators in World War I. John L. Sullivan succeeded Gates when the latter was advanced to Under Secretary on July 3, 1945.

Under Secretary of the Navy

The position of Under Secretary of the Navy was created as the outcome of recommendations made to Congress by Charles Edison during the


Ralph Bard, Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Feb. 1941-June 1944;  Under Secretary, June 1944-June 1945
Ralph Bard
Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Feb. 1941-June 1944;
Under Secretary, June 1945-June 1945.

last months of his tenure of office as Secretary of the Navy in the spring of 1940. James Forrestal was the first incumbent of the position. He took office on August 22, 1940. When Frank Knox died on April 28, 1944, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy, and Ralph Bard was advanced to Under Secretary on June 24, 1944. The circumstances that led up to the creation of the office will be reviewed briefly. Some mention will be made also of the events that had a bearing on the rehabilitation of the Navy after its period of stagnation following World War I.

The Navy between World Wars I and II

The Naval Limitation Treaties beginning with the Washington Treaty in 1922 had ushered in a period of parsimonious appropriations for the


Navy. The Fleet was not even kept up to the tonnage allowed by the treaties. This, notwithstanding the fact that the planners in the Navy Department and at the Naval War College were pointing out that strengthening the Fleet, especially with respect to auxiliary ships and naval aviation, was essential to the carrying out of hits mission in any future war in which the United States might find itself engaged, particularly a war in the Pacific. Other deficiencies such as the lack of advanced bases and necessary improvements in the shore establishments were also pointed out by the Bureaus and the planners. A few new ships were built during the 1920 decade but not in sufficient numbers or kind to even make good the obsolescence of old ships.

The Navy made a long stride toward emerging from this state of stagnation when President Roosevelt allotted $238 million of the funds appropriated in the National Industrial Recover Act8 of June 16, 1933 to the Navy Department for "the construction of certain vessels, the construction whereof conforms to the London Naval Treaty." This referred to the London Treaty of 1930. Included in the program were aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, gunboats, and naval aircraft. Additional NRA funds were made available also for certain long overdue improvements at navy yards and other shore establishments. The Vinson-Trammell Act of March 27, 1934 went further and authorized building the Navy up to treaty strength in all respects, but did not appropriate money for the purpose; additional legislation was necessary to begin actual construction. The withdrawal of Japan from the naval limitation agreements in 1936 removed some of the obstacles to strengthening the defenses in the Pacific, but very little money was appropriated for the purpose. Much was said about fortifying Guam, but no work was started.

The deterioration of the international situation in general, the further penetration of Japan into Asia, and the bombing of the USS Panay in 1937 gave additional impetus to the plans for strengthening the Navy and for providing air bases in the Pacific. The outbreak of war in Europe was the final event that committed the President and Congress to a naval building program of sufficient size when completed to make possible simultaneous naval campaigns in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. On June 14, 1940, Congress authorized a building program known as the 11% Naval Expansion Act.9 On July 19, 1940, an additional program representing a 70% increase in ships and naval aircraft was authorized, which became known as the Two-Ocean Navy Act.9

During the months preceding the authorization of these programs certain administrative matters came to a head that had, for many years, been under consideration and discussion in the Navy Department and in


Congress. One was the need in the organization of the Navy Department of staff machinery to coordinate for the Secretary of logistic functions of the Bureaus, and to serve as a central point of contact for those having business with the Navy Department in matters of matériel procurement. Another was the place of the Chief of Naval Operations in the area of logistics planning and procurement. That office was charged by law with the preparation and readiness of plans for the use of the Fleet in war. This covered responsibility for the consumer logistics of the Navy; decisions as to the what, when and where of the matériel and personnel needed by the Operating Forces. The Bureaus had the responsibility for filling these logistic needs. They had, for many years, performed this function competently and creditably within the limits of the funds made available to them by Congress, but they did not admit that the CNO had authority to give them orders in such matters; they contended that orders could be given them only by the Secretary of the Navy.

There had, however, never been any lack of cooperation on the part of the Bureaus with the Chief of Naval Operations in carrying out his wishes with respect to the modernization, alterations, and repairs of ships, the priority to be observed in the use of funds for such purposes, the determination of overhaul schedules and the distribution of ships to Navy Yards for overhaul, and the officer and enlisted strength of the Navy. The Bureaus had in fact cooperated wholeheartedly with the Chief of Naval Operations in all matters having to do with the coordination of produce4r logistics with consumer logistics. In the matter of building programs and the characteristics of ships, the CNO also had the last word before the recommendations of the General Board went to the Secretary of the Navy. Although the Bureaus did the spade work in designing the ships, the Bureaus were willing to comply with the desires of CNO in all such matters on a cooperational basis, but were opposed to any extension of the CNO's authority to give them orders. President Roosevelt was also opposed to granting additional powers to the Chief of Naval Operations because he felt that thereby civilian control of the Navy Department would be jeopardized.

The Chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, Carl Vinson, introduced a bill, H.R. 9266, early in 1940 "to provide for the reorganization of the Navy Department," on which extensive hearings were held. Among other things, the bill proposed the abolition of the Bureau System, and the establishment in its place directly under the Secretary of the Navy, of an Office of Naval Material paralleling the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

During the hearings on the bill, the Bureau Chiefs and others in the upper administrative levels of the Navy Department expressed themselves with practical unanimity in opposition to the Vinson proposal. They preferred


Artemus Gates; Asst. Secretary of the Navy for Air, Sept. 1941-June 1945; Under Secretary, July 1945-Dec. 1945
Artemus Gates
Assist. Secretary of the Navy for Air, Sept. 1941-June 1945;
Under Secretary, July 1945-Dec. 1945.

that no change be made at all, but if any were made the majority favored strengthening the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. The Secretary of the Navy, Charles Edison, wrote to Carl Vinson early in January 1940 that he considered the plan sound in its recognition of the need for coordinating the matériel functions of the Navy Department, but that he wished to submit an alternative plan, viz, the authorization of an Under Secretary of the Navy to strengthen matériel procurement. This led to additional hearings, with the result that the Vinson plan was abandoned, and under date of June 20, 1940 the Office of Under Secretary of the Navy was created by Congress. James Forrestal was appointed the first Under Secretary of the Navy and took office on August 22, 1940.


H. Struve Hensel; Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Jan. 1945-Feb. 1946
H. Struve Hensel
Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Jan. 1945-Feb. 1946.

A dramatic touch would be given to this history if the statement could be made that with the authorization and appointment of an Under Secretary of the Navy, an immediate remedy had been found for the headaches connected with carrying out the huge naval expansion programs that had been authorized; but such was not the case. A year and a half was to elapse before the Office of Procurement and Material was set up on January 30, 1942 to implement the philosophy of coordinated material procurement that had so often been under discussion in the Navy Department. As might have been expected, no one had any clear-cut ideas as to just what the duties of the Under Secretary should be, nor as to what authority would have to be delegated to him by the Secretary in order to bring about the improvements in material procurement contemplated.


Allocation of Duties of Secretary of the Navy,
Under Secretary, and Assistant Secretary.

On August 23, 1940 (the day after James Forrestal took office) Secretary Knox issued the following memorandum allocating duties and responsibilities to the Secretary, the Under Secretary, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The Assistant Secretary for Air is not mentioned because that office was not reestablished until a year later, on September 5, 1941.

August 23, 1940


Subject: Allocation of Duties and Responsibilities of Secretary,
Under Secretary, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

  1. Duties and responsibilities are specifically assigned as follows:


      The Budget
      The Joint Board
      The General Board
      Naval Petroleum Reserves
      Legislation (Policy)
      Public Relations
      Technical Aide (Naval Research Laboratory)


      Liaison with Departments and Industrial agencies other than the Budget, Army, and Labor
      Legal Matters (Routine Legislation)
      Judge Advocate General
      Tax Questions
      Compensation Board
      Naval Examining Board
      Naval Retiring Board
      Board of Medical Examiners


      Commissioned and Enlisted Personnel
      Shore Establishments Division
      Civil Employees
      Labor Liaison
      Shore Stations Development Board
      Army and Navy Munitions Board
      The Chief Clerk's Office
  2. The above division of duties will go into effect at once.



John L. Sullivan; Asst. Secretary of the Navy for Air, July 1945-June 1945
John L. Sullivan
Asst. Secretary of the Navy for Air, July 1945-June 1946.
(After the war he became Under Secretary and Secretary of the Navy.)

The memorandum is quoted in full as it lists the offices existing at that time which, together with later additions, were known as the Executive Office of the Secretary. It will be noted that it was not a list of offices only, but included also the allocation of responsibility for the performance of certain functions of the Navy Department, such as the handling of legislation (policy), liaison with other agencies, dealing with tax questions, etc. The allocation of duties to the civilian executive assistants was never rigidly adhered to, as the law permitted the Secretary to distribute duties among them as he saw fit. For example, on September 24, 1940, within a


month of the date of this memorandum the item of "commissioned and enlisted personnel" was transferred from the Assistant Secretary's office to the Secretary's office. This area of responsibility will receive further mention later on.

The memorandum was addressed to "Chiefs of all Bureaus, Boards and Offices, Navy Department, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps." No General Order was issued, informing the naval service at large of the addition of an Under Secretary to the hierarchy of civilian executive assistants. The new office was not mentioned in the Secretary of the Navy's Annual Reports for the Fiscal Years 1940, 1941, and 1942. This leads to the conclusion that the office had to find its own field of usefulness and that the Navy Department was not dependent on the new office for getting the new building programs underway, much as it benefited later by the administrative machinery for matériel procurement that had been added.

It is of interest to mention in this connection the extraordinary feat of the Navy Department in getting the huge shipbuilding programs underway so promptly in the summer of 1940 after Congress made money available for the purpose. Both Frank Knox and James Forrestal were so new to the Navy Department at the time that they could have had little appreciation of the engineering and administrative achievement that this represented.

Initiation of Emergency Shipbuilding Program

The achievement was so impressive that Congressman George J. Bates of Massachusetts had this to say about it on the floor of the House of Representatives:10

". . . within a week following June 26, 1940, the date of the signing of the First Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Act, 1941, which carried funds for combatant tonnage authorized under the 11 percent and earlier acts, contracts had been placed for the construction of 68 vessels. So also with the vessels authorized by the 70-percent act, contracts were let for the construction of no less than 199 combatant ships on the very same day the money became available by act of Congress on September 9,1940.

Thus, in a period of less than 3 months after the enactment of the 11-percent act on June 14, 1940, marking the commencement of the emergency shipbuilding program, the Bureau of Ships placed more than $4,000,000,000 worth of contracts for the construction of naval vessels. Only those conversant with the tremendous amount of preliminary work involved in the letting of contracts can appreciate that magnitude of this accomplishment. The Navy literally did the impossible--or at least a job that had previously been considered impossible."

This was a tribute, particularly to the leadership of Charles Edison, as the preliminary work had been done during his regime as Secretary of the Navy.


The Paramount Task

Getting those first programs underway was, however, only the beginning of the logistic task that lay ahead for the Navy Department. Compared to any previous undertaking of that kind, $4 billion for new construction represented a program of fantastic proportions, and yet before the war was over the four technical Bureaus, Ships, Aeronautics, Ordnance, and Yards & Docks, were to spend close to $65 billion of matériel undertakings of one kind or another. The paramount task of the Secretary of the Navy was actually building, equipping, manning, and supporting the fleet that was needed to encompass the defeat of Germany and Japan. Fortunately, the Secretary was able to concentrate on this sector of the Navy Department's war effort because the responsibility for policy control and strategic decisions was assumed largely by President Roosevelt himself. His way was also made easy in a field that in peacetime is often beset with time-consuming difficulties, namely, persuading Congress to provide the money needed to create and support the Navy. Congress, without much argument throughout the war, was ready to appropriate the money and to pass the legislation requested by the Secretary of the Navy.

In naval command matters after Pearl Harbor the Secretary of the Navy had an assistant of superlative competence in Fleet Admiral E.J. King, USN, who reported for duty as Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet on December 20, 1941, with headquarters in the Navy Department.11 The President had personally selected Admiral King for this position. He was, in addition, appointed Chief of Naval Operations on March 18, 1942. This dual assignment was sponsored by Secretary Knox on the recommendation of the General Board. Admiral King was extraordinarily well qualified for both positions, which left the Secretary with few worries about the performance of the top level naval command functions. Thus, throughout World War II, the Secretary of the Navy and his civilian executive assistants were able to concentrate on the logistic aspects of Navy Department administration. The Secretary's right arm in handling such matters was the Under Secretary of


the Navy, James Forrestal. When Forrestal was moved up to fill the vacancy caused by the sudden and unexpected death of Frank Knox on April 28, 1944, he brought to the Office of the Secretary of the Navy experience and understanding the problems of naval administration that were exceptional in the annals of that office.

James Forrestal was born on February 15, 1892 in Beacon, New York. After graduating from High School in 1908 he followed newspaper work for several years and then entered Dartmouth in 1911. He transferred to Princeton the next year and at once went out for the "Daily Princetonian." Its chairman that year was Ferdinand Eberstadt, who was to become one of his closest friends and associates in later years. Eberstadt's name will occur frequently in these pages as he was always ready to devote time to Forrestal's Navy Department problems. Forrestal did not wait to take his degree at Princeton, but in 1916 entered the investment banking house of William A. Read & Company which shortly became Dillon, Read & Company. He was associated with that company throughout his business career.

When the United States went to war in 1917 he enlisted in the Navy as a seaman and applied for naval aviation training. On the completion of his training he became Naval Aviator No. 154 and was commissioned Ensign. He was ordered to duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, from which he emerged after the Armistice as a Junior Lieutenant. He then returned to the Bond Department of Dillon, Read & Company. He rose to the top rapidly and became its President in 1938, a wealthy man. In June 1940 he accepted the invitation of President Roosevelt to become one of his administrative assistants in the White House to work on liaison with the agencies dealing with Latin-American economic relations. It is said that he was not happy in the assignment.12 At any rate, when the President on August 5, 1940 nominated him for the post of Under Secretary of the Navy he accepted and was sworn in on 22 August. Probably the last thing that Forrestal expected was that he would spend the rest of his life in the service of the government, but so it turned out. Overworked and broken in health, he met a tragic death on May 21, 1949.

Most of James Forrestal's activities as Under Secretary of the Navy were connected directly or indirectly with the naval logistics of World War II. His approach to this aspect of Navy Department administration was essentially that of the investment banker. He introduced and made extensive use of statistics and fiscal controls for managing these far flung activities. His interest in the engineering and technical aspects of logistics was, however, never very great. Evidence of this can be seen in Executive Order #9635 of 29 September 1945, which he authored, prescribing certain changes in


the organization of the Navy Department and in its administrative procedures. The first sentence of the Order reads, "In order to provide for the more effective integration of its activities the Navy Department shall hereafter be organized to take cognizance of the major groupings of 'military matters.'" There is nowhere in the Order any mention of engineering and technology.

He seems to have taken good engineering in the Navy for granted; whether in the operating forces, in the technical Bureaus, or in the Shore Establishment. It is to be assumed, of course, that he knew that the superior ships, weapons, and aircraft of the Navy could not have been produced without the availability of high grade engineering talent in the technical Bureaus and in the Fleet. Whether the upper echelons in Navy Department administration can safely continue to take good engineering for granted without the former incentives for b ringing it about remains to be seen.

Forrestal excelled in the ability to analyze administrative problems and to think constructively about the business aspects of naval administration. He also had the statesman's vision of the role that the United States would be called on to play after the war. This was, however, a side of his versatility which did not find influential expression until after the period with which this history deals.

Both Knox and Forrestal recognized the importance, in fact the indispensability of the staff work being done for them by the existing mechanisms in the Navy Department, is known collectively as the Executive Office of the Secretary. It was the business of these offices to assist the Secretary in coordinating, reviewing, investigating, and in other respects helping him to administer the Navy Department, particularly in exercising civilian control over its activities. Both Secretaries expanded the usefulness of the officers and added units to meet new administrative situations with a view especially to improving the business management of the Navy Department. It is timely at this point to describe the functions of these offices, their historical background, and their expansion during World War II.

The Executive Office of the Secretary

When the Navy Department was established in 1798, the Secretary of the Navy needed only a few clerks to assist him in carrying out his comparatively simple duties, but even by the end of the War of 1812 the work of the office had grown to the point where a board of naval officers, known as the Navy Commissioners, had to be provided to help him in administering the Navy Department. The Bureau system was substituted for the Navy Commissioners in 1942, but the Navy was still so uncomplicated


that the Secretary could manage the overall administration of the Navy Department and the coordination of the Bureaus with the aid of a competent Chief Clerk, did not throw an excessive administrative load on the Secretary of the Navy personally. Gideon Welles had, however, early in the war, acquired an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and a legal assistant, the latter to advise him on contractual matters and to interpret the laws applying to the Navy. The number of bureaus had also been increased in 1962, as will be described in the chapter on the "Bureau System."

Nothing reveals more strikingly the growth in modern times of the task of administrating the Naval Establishment than a comparison between the personnel employed in the Navy Department in Washington at the height of the Civil Ware and the corresponding personnel at the height of World War II, eighty years later. Both wars lasted about four years and taxed the national economy of their day to the utmost. The Navy played a crucial role in winning the Civil War just as it did in winning World War II.

At the height of the Civil War, 89 persons were employed in the Navy Department in Washington, consisting of the Secretary of the Navy, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Bureau Chiefs, naval officers in the bureaus or directly under the Secretary, and civilian employees, such as draftsmen, clerks, and messengers. The civilian personnel had increased from 39 in 1860 to 66 in 1865, and are included in the total of 89 people. The Navy itself had grown from some ninety ships and 10,000 officers and men at the beginning of the war to a Navy of more than 680 ships and some 62,000 officers and men, including marines, at the end of the war.13

The statistical summary at the end of Chapter I of this work shows that the Navy at its peak during World War II numbered in excess of 4 million people in uniform. Personnel employed in the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. consisted at the peak of almost 19,000 civilians, and in excess of 13,000 officers and 19,000 enlisted personnel--a total of about 51,500 people.14

The ratio of all personnel in the Navy Department in Washington to naval personnel in the field was therefore about one to 700 in the Civil War and about one to 70 in World War II. This difference is some measure of the growth in the complexity of naval warfare, of the enormous demands made by the combat forces in modern warfare on the supporting forces


behind the lines, and perhaps of the growing tendency of government to centralize and over-organize.

After the Civil War the Navy went through a period of stagnation which was reflected also in the administration of the Navy Department in Washington. The position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy was abolished and not revived until 1890. The Chief Clerk of the Navy Department remained as the Secretary's principal civilian assistant and became a powerful figure in its overall administration, particularly because of the element of continuity which he provided. The legal adviser who had been added during the Civil War developed into the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. The rejuvenation of the Navy in the 1880's with the emphasis on mechanization such as the substitution of steam for sail, and steel for wood, ushered in great technological changes in ships and in their operation. These increased the administrative burdens of the Secretary, with the result that over the years various boards and officers were created to assist him in carrying out his responsibilities.

By September 1, 1939, the date used in this work as the beginning of World War II, the following known collectively as the Executive Office of the Secretary were functioning in this manner. They reported directly to the Secretary or to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The order in which the offices are set down is no indication of their relative importance, but it is approximately the order in which they were established.

Chief Clerk
Judge Advocate General
Board of Inspection and Survey
Naval Examining Board
Board of Medical Examiners
Naval Retiring Board
General Board
Compensation Board
  Army and Navy Joint Board
Army and Navy Munitions Board
Budget Officer
Shore Establishment Division
Office of Petroleum Reserves
Shore Station Development Board
Statistical Division

These may be called the tools available to Frank Knox for managing the Naval Establishment when he became Secretary of the Navy in July 1940.

With the exception of the Chief Clerk's office, none were operating activities. That office was partly an operating unit because among other duties it ran the housekeeping of the Navy Department. Except for a few small appropriations made directly to the Secretary, none of these offices received direct appropriations from Congress. Practically all performed staff services, of one kind or another, for the upper level civilian executives of the Navy Department. Some exercised fiscal control for the Secretary over the expenditure of the funds appropriated by Congress to the bureaus. A bureau had, for example, to obtain clearance from the Shore Station Development Board before making sizable expenditures for plant expansions and


betterments at navy yards. Fiscal control was exercised also by the Secretary through the Navy Department budget officer who was charged with reviewing and determining for the Secretary the amounts to be included in the annual naval estimates before they were sent to the Bureau of the Budget, on their way to Congress. Broadly speaking, the various units of the Executive Office performed for the Secretary coordinating, reviewing, inspecting, investigating, and other similar functions fundamental to civilian control of the Naval Establishment.

The following list comprises the units of the Executive Office of the Secretary toward the end of the war on March 10, 1945.15 If compared with the 1939 list, it provides a revealing overall picture of the growth in the diversity of staff assistance found necessary by the Secretary to administer the Navy Department in World War II. Each of these offices was placed directly under one of the four highest civilian officials in the Navy Department: the Secretary, the Under Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, or the Assistant Secretary for Air. Assignments followed no invariable rule and were changed from time to time. On being advanced from Assistant Secretary to Under Secretary, Ralph Bard, for example, carried most of his offices with him.

Administrative Office
General Board
Judge Advocate General
Office of General Counsel
Board of Inspection and Survey
Office of Procurement and Matériel
Office of Budget and Reports
Division of Shore Establishments and Civilian Personnel
Shore Station Development Board
Coordinator of Research and Development
Office of Patents and Inventions
Army and Navy Munitions Board
Army and Navy Joint Board
Office of Management Engineer
Lend-Lease Liaison Office
Industrial Survey Division
Industrial Incentive Division
  Board of Production Awards
Office of Public Relations
Office of War Savings Bonds
Office of Naval History
Office of Navy Photographic Services
Office of Petroleum Reserves
Division of Training Liaison and Coordination
Transportation Branch
Naval Examining Board
Board of Medical Examiners
Naval Retiring Board
Naval Retiring Review Board
Board of Review, Discharges and Dismissals
Naval CLemency and Prison Inspection Board
Board of Decorations and Medals

Some of these offices will be described elsewhere in this history under the activities which they coordinated or the staff services they performed for the Secretary, such, for example, as the General Board, the Office of Procurement and Material, the offices of the Judge Advocate General and the General Counsel, the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development, the Shore Establishment Division, the Lend-Lease Liaison Office,


Army and Navy Munitions Board, and others. Some will be reviewed briefly in this chapter. More than passing mention in this chapter is indicated for the Office of the Chief Clerk, not only because of its seniority and importance but more particularly because it was Secretary Knox's first point of attack when he began the drive for improving the management methods of the Navy Department.

Management Surveys

Of immediate concern to Frank Knox when he became Secretary of the Navy in July 1940 was the organization of the Navy Department as a whole and the mechanisms provided to assist him in carrying out his personal responsibilities as Secretary of the Navy. It took no more than the briefing on the working of the Naval Establishment given him when he accepted the appointment to convince him that he had undertaken an administrative task of major proportions. He at once resorted to a practice commonly followed by the heads of large enterprises in the business and industrial world of employing outside management engineers from time to time to make surveys for them of their own organizations. In line with this practice he requested a firm of management consultants with whom he had dealt before to enter into a contract with the Navy Department to survey the organization and management of the office of the Chief Clerk of the Navy Department.16

However, before he was able to put the management engineers to work officially he came in for a little education on one of the handicaps to administrative efficiency imposed by law on the departments of the Federal Government, a law no doubt sponsored originally by government employees themselves. This was the Act of Congress of April 6, 1914, stipulating "that no part of any money appropriated in this or any other Act shall be used for compensation or payment of expenses of accountants or other experts in inaugurating new or changing old methods of transacting the business of the United States . . . unless authority for employment of such services or expenses is specifically fixed therein. . . .17 To meet these requirements authority was hastily obtained from Congress to spend %5,000 on such work; a pitifully inadequate sum even to start the surveys.

After modifications in the law, a contract was made with the Booz firm "to render such consulting and management engineering services with relation to the transaction of the business of the Navy Department, its bureaus and offices, and headquarters of the United States Marine Corps as may be required by the Secretary of the Navy."18 The Navy Department continued to make use


of the services of management engineers and other consultants throughout the war. Surveys were eventually made of practically all of the offices and bureaus of the Navy Department, with recommendations for improving their organizations and practices. These reports will be referred to as appropriate in later chapters dealing with the history of the organizational components of the Navy Department.

In the late summer of 1940, the management engineers began studying the Office of the Chief Clerk. The Chief Clerk and his office had had an uninterrupted existence since the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798. Some very competent men had occupied the position over the years and had left their imprint on the administration of the Navy Department. It was staffed entirely by civilians. The Chief Clerk had the responsibility for the overall operation of the buildings occupied in Washington by the Navy Department proper, their housekeeping, office space assignments, mail and telephone service, garage service for official vehicles, cafeterias, and many other similar duties. He acted upon the appointment and all changes in status of the civilian employees of the Navy Department and of Marine Corps Headquarters. He was the Senior Member of the Navy Department Personnel Classification Board which studied and allocated all Navy Department and field service positions within the purview of the Classification Act of 1923. He controlled the expenditures of the small appropriations "Contingent Navy" and "Miscellaneous Expenses" made directly to the Secretary by Congress. All printing for the Navy Department was subject to his approval. The custody of the records and files of the Secretary's office and the receipt, distribution, and transmission of official mail and correspondence of that office were also his responsibility. In 1938 the Chief Clerk received the highest salary of any Civil Service employee in the Naval Establishment, viz., $7,000 a year.

The management consultants made a preliminary report on the office in January 1941, stating that the elements of administration of this sector of the Navy Department were scattered, neglected, ill-supervised and ill-serviced, that space needed for expansion was receiving little attention from anyone and that records were accumulating at a rate ten times their disposal rate, with 16% of the floor space of the Main Navy Building being used for record storage. Communications were uncoordinated and constituted a major bottleneck. Effective security measures were non-existent and many other important matters of like nature were receiving inadequate attention.

It is significant that in general the sectors of the Navy Department, bureaus, and other offices in the Navy Department, that were administered by naval officers where rotation of administrative personnel was the rule, were fond by the management consultants in better shape and less in


need of overhauling than those, such as the Chief Clerk's office, which were completely staffed and managed by civilians and, therefore, operated without benefit of rotation of supervisory personnel. This might have been expected, as the rotation of officers provides a continuous flow of new ideas into an organization. Maintaining the status quo in organizations, practices, and standards of performance is also not nearly so sacred to naval officers as it is to civilian employees, especially to those of long service. The reaction of career civilian employees was usually found to be antagonistic to change, especially to changes that might affect the job security of individuals, This is a perfectly human reaction and lies at the root of many of the evils of bureaucracy.

Administrative Office

To remedy the unsatisfactory conditions the consultants recommended as a first step the appointment of an Administrative Officer of rank and experience to take over the duties of the Chief Clerk.19 This was done as of July 1, 1941. The title, "Chief Clerk," was dropped, and the activity renamed "Administrative Office." The work of the office was consolidated under a few major heads so as to avoid having the Administrative Officer deal with too many individuals. One problem was to find suitable individuals to fill the supervisory positions. So far as possible, they were selected from Civil Service personnel already employed in the Navy Department. Others were filled by Naval Reserve Officers with experience in office management in civil life. It was realized that most of the Reserve Officers, would return to civilian life after the war. An effort was, therefore, made from the beginning to locate and train qualified Civil Service personnel for the supervisory positions.

In addition to an Administrative Office, which handled broadly, the functions formerly performed by the Chief Clerk, the Office of Management Engineer was established to make available to the Secretary and the various Bureaus and offices of the Navy Department consulting and advisory service on organizational and management matters, with the object of eliminating non-essential work, simplifying essential work, and improving the utilization of personnel.

In 1947 an Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy was added at the executive assistant level, filled by an employee with Civil Service


status, in order to provide continuity in the handling and further improvement of the administrative work of the Executive Office of the Secretary. The Administrative Office and Management Engineer, among other activities, were placed under the Administrative Assistant; so also was the Office of War Savings Bonds.

The large number of high level, high salaried positions that were created to handle the work formerly done by the Chief Clerk's Office provides an interesting sidelight on the cost consciousness and economy mindedness in an earlier era of Navy Department career personnel, both civilian and in uniform. It remains to be seen, however, whether this trend will result in the long run in more economical, more progressive, and more efficient operation of the Navy Department.

A Budget Office was added to the Executive Office of the Secretary when the Bureau of the Budget was established by Congress in 1921. The Budget Officer reported directly to the Secretary. He obtained from the Bureaus and other offices their respective estimates of the funds needed for their work during the coming fiscal years. The Bureaus had to justify the estimates before the Budget Officer, who organized and submitted them to the Secretary for review and approval prior to transmittal to the Bureaus of the Budget. He was the Secretary's personal representative in justifying the Navy Department's estimates before the Bureau of the Budget and the Appropriation Committees of Congress. The Bureaus also had to appear before the Bureau of the Budget and Congress to support their estimates. The preparation and justification of estimates had grown enormously in size and complexity by 1940, but to nothing like the proportions reached later. During the War the Bureau of the Budget had little choice but to go along with the requests for funds submitted by the Armed Services.

A Statistical Division was one of the executive offices of the Secretary in 1940. All of the Bureaus and the Marine Corps had statistical sections to meet their own needs, but the Secretary needed in addition a central office to consolidate, correlate and coordinate statistical information for the Navy Department as a whole. The work of the division was eventually divided between the Budget Office, where its part developed into the report Section of that office and the Office of Procurement and Material where, under the guidance of experts, great improvements were made in the gathering and application of statistics so as to make them more reliable and useful in arriving at administrative decisions and executive action. The Bureaus continued to operate statistical sections of their own under improved techniques recommended by OP&M.


Boards, from earliest times, have been used extensively to assist the Secretary of the Navy in administering the Navy Department. An early


example was the Board of Navy Commissioners which served in this capacity form 1815 to 1842. Boards are of various kinds as to purpose: advisory, investigative, inspective, quasi-operational, etc.; many Boards have become permanent parts of the administrative machinery of the Navy Department. Those tabulated previously, under the heading, 'Executive Office of the Secretary,' were of this kind. Service on mot of the Boards constituted full-time duty for its members. In the case of others, such as the Army and Navy Joint Board, the Army and Navy Munitions Board, and the Shore Station Development Board, service was in addition to other duties; but, such Boards had permanent secretariats headed by officers.

Boards were frequently of an ad hoc nature, appointed to perform a specific task, or to study some specific subject for the Secretary, and after having made their reports were automatically dissolved. Other Boards were convened annually, but with different membership each year. After having performed the duty for which assembled they also were dissolved. The most important of this type were the annual selection boards, which recommended to the Secretary the officers it considered best fitted for promotion.

Another type was the Wage Board of Review, appointed annually by the Secretary as the final step in fixing the wages to be paid civilian working forces in the naval shore establishments during the next year. The composition of this Board was unique; it had a naval officer as its senior member, the Chief Clerk of the Navy Department until that position was abolished, one other civilian employee of the Navy Department, and two representative of organized labor as its other members.

The Board of Inspection and Survey dated back to the procedures adopted for determining conformity with plans and specifications of the first steel ships built for the Navy in the 1880's. Its normal function was the inspection of new ships and aircraft on delivery, and ships in service at least every three years. In addition, special inspection jobs were assigned to it from time to time by the Secretary. It has headed by a senior Rear Admiral, and consisted of a group of officers on full-time duty, and others assigned to it for additional temporary duty. The Board operated at times under the Chief of Naval Operations, but during world War II reported directly to the Secretary of the navy.

Among the oldest of the Boards were the Naval Examining Board, the Board of Medical Examiners, and the Naval Retiring Board, all having duties as indicated by their names, in connection with determining the professional and physical fitness of officers for promotion, and their eligibility for retirement if not found physically fit. Depending on the nature of the cases, they reported their findings to the Secretary, either directly or through channels such as the Judge Advocate General.


The limited time and opportunity available during World War II for indoctrinating and training men fresh from civilian life for the exacting service of the Navy was largely responsible for many of the disciplinary problems that arose during the war. The Navy Department had therefore to keep its disciplinary procedures under constant review, in order to ensure that the guarantees of justice and fair dealing contemplated by law and tradition in the treatment of naval personnel were carried out. A school of Naval Justice was established to provide indoctrination and advanced instruction in the application of naval justice. A text on the subject was officially adopted for distribution to All Ships and Shore Stations. A Naval Clemency and Prison Inspection Board, a Board of Review, Discharges, and Dismissals, and a Naval Retiring Review Board were set up as units of the Executive Office of the Secretary to handle such matters. Thousands of cases of disciplinary action were reviewed and a large number of General Court Martial sentences were reduced or the prisoners restored to duty.

It is the general feeling of the career personnel of the Navy that more injustice was done during World War II through too much clemency and leniency toward the deliberately undisciplined than through too much severity toward those whose infractions of discipline sprang mostly from ignorance and inadvertence. A major cause for criticism of the Navy's administration of justice was concentration of General Courts Martial in centers like San Francisco and failing to keep the public informed of the general problems.Rumor, hearsay, and "sea tales" of convicted individuals built up a large amount of misrepresentation and public misconception as to naval justice.

In order to ensure uniform practices in the award of decorations and medals a Board of Decorations and Medals was set up and worked closely with the Bureau of Naval Personnel in such matters. These various Boards having to do with punishments and rewards had their greatest usefulness toward the end of the war when problems connected with demobilization and veteran benefits began to come to the front.

In order to stimulate the production of water materials, an Industrial Incentive Division was set up as one of the Executive Offices to keep under constant review the incentive plans and procedures of the Navy Department. It obtained reports on the use of equipment under combat conditions; it released action photographs and motion pictures; it organized material exhibits and prepared posters for use in speed-up campaigns; it made arrangements for combat personnel to visit and give talks at important war production plants, and took charge of the "E" ceremonies after the Board of Production Awards had selected the plants for award.

The latter Board appraised and evaluated the performance of both commercial and government plants on the basis of the quantity as well


as the quality of the war materials produced. Producers considered worthy of special recognition were authorized to fly a flag carrying the letter "E", standing for "Excellence." These awards had a marked influence on the morale of working personnel from the highest to the lowest. Great care was taken to prevent cheapening the award.

The Shore Station Development Board consisted of part-time representatives of the Bureaus and of the Chief of Naval Operations, with a full-time Secretariat. It reported directly to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The Board made plans and formulated long range policies for developing and equipping naval shore establishments, including advanced bases. Its detailed plans were often based on the recommendations of ad hoc boards or committees appointed by the Secretary to study specific problems and needs of the Navy, such as the report of the Rodman Board and of the Hepburn Board. These will be dealt with in the chapter on "Logistics." The Board had the task of coordinating the interests and requirements of the Bureaus, of setting priorities for the programs, and of making budgetary recommendations to finance the programs.


Office of Petroleum Reserves. This office had various titles. It went back to the time just after World War I when certain mineral lands were transferred to the Navy Department as reserves. The office was included in 1927 as part of the Executive Office of the Secretary. A directive of June 6, 1944 redefined the duties and functions of this office under the title of Director of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves. It assumed customy of the reserves in the name of the Secretary of the Navy and formulated plans and programs for the exploration, prospecting, protection, conservation, and operation of the reserves and for the production of oil therefrom.

Coordinator of Research and Development. The need of some specific mechanism in the Secretary's Office for coordinating the research and development activities of the Navy Department as a whole became pressing when civilian scientists, in June 1940, were mobilized under the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), later expanded into the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). Early dealings with the civilian scientists underlined the advantages inherent in providing a single point of contact for them in the Navy Department. To accomplish these ends a Coordinator of Research and Development was established on July 12, 1941 as one of the Executive Offices of the Secretary. The circumstances leading up to the creation of the Office, its functions and procedures, are covered in some detail in the chapter on "Research and Development."


The Office was the forerunner of the Office of Naval Research established after the war.

Office of Patents and Inventions. That Office was established to encourage and assist government employees to obtain patents for their ideas and at the same time to protect the government's interests in such patents. The Office worked closely with the OSRD to insure that the government's interests in the multitude of inventions coming out of the government-sponsored and financed OSRD laboratories were protected. The functions of the Office were in a sense a sector of the broader activities of the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development, although set up and operated as a separate office directly under the Secretary.

Office of Navy Photographic Services consolidated in one place services of this kind that had been set up in most of the bureaus and in Marine Corps Headquarters. The Office was eventually transferred to the Bureau of Aeronautics as it was more nearly an operating than a staff activity. That bureau was its principal user in connection with photographic reconnaissance work.

The Office of Public Relations has already been mentioned. There was never any letup in pressure from the press for more and more information on every detail of the Navy's operations during the war. Practically the only instance of basic disagreement between Secretary Knox and Admiral King arose over the question of how much information to give the press on the current war situation, the details of actions with the enemy, and the plans for future operations. Secretary Knox naturally saw such matters from the point of view of the press, Admiral King from the point of view of a naval officer having tremendous responsibilities for the success of each step in the several campaigns underway in the Pacific and the Atlantic and for the lives of naval personnel, and therefore of keeping our enemies in the dark on every aspect of our operations that might be helpful to them. In the opinion of Admiral King, any information for example, that might reveal to the Germans the techniques and devices used to spot their submarines and that might lead the Japanese to suspect that their codes had been broken was to be avoided at all costs. Admiral King's views in such matters finally prevailed. The head of the Office of Public Relations was eventually required to report both to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations.

Office of Naval History. As told in the Foreword to this work, certain historians as well as the Director of the Budget became impressed through their studies during the short-of-war period in 1940 and 1941 with the dearth of information relating to government administration and the steps taken to solve the problems of administration during former national emergencies. In order to guard against similar gaps in the history of


World War II, the idea was conceived after Pearl Harbor, and brought to the attention of President Roosevelt by Mr. Harold Smith, the Director of the Budget, and by others, of recording during the progress of the war the history of the administration of the established government departments, the reasons for the creation of the various war emergency agencies and the story of their administration, and the history of the operations of the armed forces; in other words, to write the history of World War II while in the making.20 President Roosevelt approved the idea, but the details of carrying out the program were left to the respective government departments and emergency agencies.

An Office of Naval Records and Library had been functioning in the Navy Department for many years. Its principal duties were gathering and archiving naval records and documents, editing and publishing naval records from time to time, and providing the government and the public with library services. Naval documents relating to the Quasi-War with France and with the Barbary Pirates were edited and printed during the 1930's. The Office had previously published the naval operational records of the Civil War. A few monographs on World War I operations were published. The official records of naval operations, World War I, had been assembled for publication, but funds for their printing had never been provided.

The staff of the Office of Naval Records and Library was very small and in no position to undertake the task of writing the Naval History of World War II, but its personnel was expanded by Commodore Dudley W. Knox, USN (Ret.), the Head of the Office, to handle increased archiving and library work and to provide special historical research and writing service to CNO and COMINCH when requested from time to time. The work of the Office was greatly hampered during the war by inadequate office space and frequent moves.

Under date of 9 June 1942, the Secretary of the Navy informed all naval activities that Lt. Commander Samuel E.orison, USNR, had been assigned "the task of gathering the pertinent facts and preparing therefrom the history of the U.S. Navy during the present war."21 The task assigned


to Morison contemplated that he would devote his attention primarily to the part that the Fleet played in the war as implied in the title of his work: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II.

The writing of the history of naval administration in World War II was initiated in somewhat different terms in a directive signed by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard on 26 February 1943: "A program for recording the administrative experience of government agencies during the wear period has been requested by the President, and is being carried out under the general direction of the Bureau of the Budget. The Navy Department's participation in this program will be under the supervision of Dr. Robert G. Albion, who will develop the required data and summaries relative to the administrative experience of the Navy Department during the present war. It is expected that this work will be of current value as the war progresses. . . .22

In order to coordinate the history-writing program as a whole, the Office of Naval History was established on 12 July 1944 under the Executive Office of the Secretary, with Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, USN (Ret) as its Director, and Commodore Knox as its Deputy Director. Shortly after the end of World War II, the Office of Naval History, the Office of Naval Records and Library, and certain other similar activities were merged or transferred to DCNO (Administration) and designated "The Naval History Division."23

The basic purpose of the history-writing program, as set forth in various directives, was to ensure that the lessons to be learned from the war would not be lost. To this end it was decided to gather and make available factual material for both current and future official use. Of immediate concern to the administrative history program was the processing of source material into usable form rather than its publication as popular reading. Recording the history was to consist of documentation with narratives linking the documents together, prepared by each major component of the Naval Establishment, including the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. These narratives were to bring the source material into manageable form and to provide interpretive digests of the most significant events and the reasons so far as ascertainable for the changes made in the organizations of the activities and in their practices and procedures. The original of each narrative was to lodge in the Office of Naval History, with duplicates retained in the office of origin.


A detailed directive, Serial 7152, of October 29, 1943, prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library, and issued by COMINCH, prescribed the form which War Diaries, Ships' Logs, Submarine Reports of War Patrols, and Action Reports were to take. These reports were of great assistance in writing the History of Naval Operations. No similar detailed directive was ever issued as a guide for preparing administrative data and narratives.

It was realized that the enormous range and magnitude of the administrative activities of the Naval Establishment would present major difficulties in writing a well balanced and accurate history of naval administration condensed sufficiently to be of use to Navy Department executives in the future, but this was of the essence of the administrative part of the history-writing program.

Altogether some 150 historians, most of them as Reserve Officers, recruited largely by the offices to which they were assigned, were eventually working on the program in the Navy Department, in the Shore Establishments, and in the Fleet. A few were employed on a contract basis. It was not until after the war that career naval officers in limited numbers became available for participation in the history-writing program.

The Office of Naval History was expected to assist the various activities in organizing the work and in finding competent personnel to write the first draft narratives. The Office was expected also to follow up on the progress being made on the program. In these respects, performance did not come fully up to expectations, as some of the activities did not start on the narratives until after the war.

Responsibilities for Personnel

Early in this chapter the statement was made that the Secretary's policy decisions, when of such importance as to warrant inclusion in this work, would usually be woven into the history of the organizational units of the Navy Department principally affected thereby. There was, however, one area of Secretarial responsibility that does not lend itself to this treatment; namely, filling upper level billets in the Fleet, in the Shore Establishment, and in the Navy Department itself, particularly when changes in such assignments were made for other than routine reasons. Another similar area involved the steps that the Secretary had to take from time to time to examine possible derelictions of duty at the highest levels and to act on the findings of the boards appointed to investigate such matters. During the short-of-war period and after the attack on Pearl Harbor Secretary Knox was confronted with a number of such situations, although President Roosevelt himself made many of the policy decisions that were


involved. The best place to record these important incidents in the history of the administration of the Navy Department in World War II is in this chapter.

Responsibilities of this kind involved the management of the human element in the Navy, the most important of all the factors having a bearing on the effectiveness of the Naval Establishment in carrying out its mission and tasks. Although the Secretary can and does delegate to others much of his authority in such matters he cannot delegate his responsibility for the end results. This is not to say that the Chief of Naval Operations, the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the Judge Advocate General, and the various bureaus do not also have major responsibilities for naval personnel at all levels, but the final responsibility rests with the Secretary. Frank Knox became aware of this very soon after he took office.

Immediately after the appointment of James Forrestal as Under Secretary, he issued the memorandum quoted earlier in this chapter distributing the duties and functions of the Secretary's office to the Secretary, the Under Secretary, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. "Commissioned and Enlisted Personnel" was placed under the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. However, situations arose within a month, which demonstrated that the Secretary could not delegate to someone else the responsibility for making crucial decisions in such matters as the appointment, promotion, personnel, and other similar matters having to do with the personnel in uniform. Responsibility for "Commissioned and Enlisted Personnel" was thereupon again placed directly under the Secretary of the Navy.

The Secretary has major responsibilities, particularly in connection with the promotion and assignment to duty of the higher officer echelons. The promotion of officers as distinguished from their assignment to duty is regulated by law. The system is described in some detail in the chapter on "The Bureau of Naval Personnel."

The assignment of officers to duty, whether afloat or ashore, is a separate and distinct function from their promotion, although some billets carry with them temporary promotion to higher rank. Assignments to duty are not governed by law except that there are limitations as to the kind of duty to which officers of the Staff Corps and other specialist officers may be detailed. A few billets at the highest level are also restricted to officers having stipulated qualifications and who are not below certain ranks. Subject to these limitations the Secretary has full authority to choose the officer for assignment to any billet in the Naval Establishment; however, he usually takes a hand only in filling the billets of major importance such as the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Commanders of the various Fleets and of their principal


subdivisions, Chiefs of Bureaus and other Navy Department offices, Commanders of Sea Frontiers, Commandants of Naval Districts, Superintendent of the Naval Academy, and others of like importance.

The Secretary of the Navy seldom has sufficient personal knowledge of the qualifications of all eligibles to rely solely on his own judgment in picking the individual best qualified to fill an important position. This is particularly true of a newly appointed Secretary, but he has various sources of information about officers to assist him in making a choice, including their fitness reports. For practical as well as psychological reasons the Secretary seldom makes an important assignment without obtaining the views and recommendations of responsible individuals in the naval service. The Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel have traditional, even if not statutory, responsibilities for advising the Secretary in such matters. They are normally consulted by the Secretary before any appointment to an important flag officer billet is made. When a vacancy as chief of bureau or of some other office in the Navy Department becomes imminent the retiring chief is usually also given an opportunity to make recommendations as to a suitable successor.

President Roosevelt himself took an active part in selecting naval officers for key positions. He felt himself qualified to do this because of his wide acquaintance with naval officers, stemming from his eight years of service as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Woodrow Wilson administration. He know personally a good many officers in his own age group. These officers reached flag rank during the 30's and became eligible for filling the more important positions in the Navy at the outbreak of World War II.

Just as the Secretary had certain responsibilities in connection with the promotion of officers to flag rank and their assignment to duty so he also had responsibilities in connection with the detachment of officers from key positions if made for other than routine reasons. Here again, President Roosevelt's personal intervention in such matters is evident. Instances of this kind were, however, very rare during World War II. Admiral E.J. King became Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, Admiral C.W. Nimitz of the Pacific Fleet, and Admiral R.E. Ingersoll of the Atlantic Fleet within a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and so remained throughout the war, with the exception of Admiral Ingersoll, who, after the winning of the battle of the Atlantic, was transferred to what had become the more important billet of Commander Western Sea Frontier. Admiral H.R. Stark was the Chief of Naval Operations at the outbreak of the war but was detached March 26, 1942 and assigned to duty as Commander in Chief U.S. naval Forces In Europe on March 30,. 1942. The circumstances leading up to this reassignment will be covered in the chapter on "CNO-COMINCH."


Admiral James O. Richardson
Admiral James O. Richardson
Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, Jan. 1940-Feb. 1941;
Member General Board, March 1941-May 1942;
Executive Vice President Navy Relief Society, May 1942-November 1945;
Assigned additional duty Member of Special Joint Board to study question of unification.

U.S. Fleet Commanders

There were, however, a short time before and just after Pearl Harbor, two outstanding instances of the detachment of Fleet Commanders from their commands by the Secretary of the navy under circumstances other than routine. The first was the removal of Admiral J.O. Richardson from command of the United States Fleet early in 1941. The President decided to base the Fleet in the Hawaiian Islands, with Secretary Knox concurring


in the decision. Admiral Richardson believed that basing it on the West Coast would better serve the handling of the tense diplomatic situation with Japan and at the same time would facilitate the rapid and sound preparation of the Fleet for eventualities.

His removal from command carried with it no suggestion of incompetence as he was universally regarded as one of the ablest naval officers of his time. The circumstances leading up to his detachment will be briefly recited, as they are of significance in the history of the administration of the Navy Department just before and at the outbreak of the war.

Admiral Richardson had been chosen by the President for command of the United States Fleet and took command on 6 January 1940, about four months after World War II had broken out in Europe. Shortly thereafter, he became aware that a White House-Navy-State Department policy was in the making to base the main strength of the naval forces in the Pacific on Pearl Harbor instead of on the West Coast of the United States as it had been theretofore. In May 1940, after conducting fleet maneuvers to the eastward of the 180th meridian, he was informed that the return of the Fleet to the West Coast from Pearl Harbor would be postponed indefinitely. In reply to his questions, "Why are we here?," Admiral H.R. Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, informed him under date of 27 May 1940, "You are there because of the deterrent effect which it is thought your presence may have on the Japs going into the East Indies."24

It will be recalled that in the spring of 1940 the situation, with respect to Japanese penetration of China and southeast Asia, was worsening steadily and acts of aggression were on the increase. Outrages against American persons and property in China continued without abatement and the military party in Japan became firmly seated in the saddle. In Europe the democracies were about to experience their darkest hour with the fall of France, the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk, the mounting losses in merchant ships, and the intensification of air raids on the United Kingdom. At this time United States naval forces in the Atlantic were active in "patrolling," in effect, escorting merchant ships, and were being strengthened by transfers of combatant units form the Pacific to the Atlantic fleet and by new construction coming out of the shipyards.

In reply to Admiral Stark's letter, Admiral Richardson gave it as his opinion that a war with Japan, if it did come, would be a long one; that it might last upward of five years, possibly ten years; and that the existing war plans were defective and obsolete. He objected to basing the Fleet on Pearl Harbor for several reasons: the harbor would be overcrowded,


necessitating the anchoring of the overflow in unprotected Lahaina Roads; the ships would be w,000 miles from the main sources of consumable supplies, equipment, repair facilities, and operating personnel; the Fleet train would be entirely inadequate to perform the service of supply; and morale would be impaired by keeping the Fleet personnel at so great a distance from their homes; above all, logistically the Fleet was not ready for battle, but could be readied more quickly and easily on the Pacific Coast with its superior navy yard and commercial facilities than at Pearl Harbor.

He made a visit to Washington in July and again in October 1940 to press his views on the President, the Navy Department, and the State Department. He continued to hold to the opinion that the military party in Japan would fear a well serviced fleet on the West Coast more than an under-manned and unprepared fleet at Pearl Harbor.

There can be no question that under the existing conditions of unreadiness and overcrowding the location of the Fleet at Pearl Harbor 2,00 miles nearer Japan that it would have been on the West Coast immeasurably simplified the task of the Japanese on December 7, 1941 in inflicting serious damage on the Fleet, with only negligible damage to their own striking force.

Although the President, Secretary Knox, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Stark, had the highest opinion of Admiral Richardson's professional ability and integrity in carrying out a policy in which he did not believe, it was felt that he should be assigned to other duty. He was accordingly detached from command of the United States Fleet on 1 February 1941 and ordered to the General Board in the Navy Department where he served with distinction throughout the war.

Admiral H.E. Kimmel was selected to relieve him, and took command on the same day that Admiral Richardson was detached. He continued Admiral Richardson's drive for correcting the logistic deficiencies of the Fleet, and of the Hawaiian Islands as a naval base, and continued an intensive fleet training program. In carrying out this program he was handicapped by a constant and abnormally high turnover of naval personnel due to the calls on the Fleet for skeleton crews for ships under construction in the United States. In April and May of 1941 the strength of the Fleet was also appreciably reduced by the transfer to the Atlantic of one aircraft carrier, three battleships, four cruisers, and eighteen destroyers.

Actually, he found himself on the horns of a dilemma: whether to expend precious matériel and to exhaust personnel on measures to provide readiness to meet a possible and what seemed to be an unlikely surprise attack, or to concentrate on training at the expense of round-the-clock readiness. The latter was chosen as the wiser, in fact the only


Admiral Husband E. Kimmel
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel
Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, Feb. 1941-Dec. 1941.

practicable course, in view of existing personnel and matériel shortages making full scale, full time patrol and other readiness measures impossible.

He did not know just what the policy with respect to Japan was in Washington. The diplomatic negotiations with Japan were largely in the hands of President Roosevelt himself. SO far as was discernible to Admiral Kimmel the policy seemed to be to make no more concessions to Japan in the Far East, but to commit no act that the American public might later criticize as having been provocative. So far as he seems to have known that was the whole of the policy.

A lesson to be learned from the short-of-war period in 1941 is the vital necessity for a clear and definite understanding between the military


and the political branches of the government in times of international tension as to the course being pursued in diplomatic negotiations and the objectives being sought.

Pearl Harbor Attack

The United States was catapulted into World War II by a surprise attack by Japanese aircraft on Pearl Harbor at 7:55 on Sunday morning, 7 December 1941. The Hawaiian defense forces were caught off guard and not in a state of readiness to repel an attack. The Fleet suffered heavy damage with severe impairment of its fighting strength, but could inflict only minor damage on the Japanese forces.25

The President had to take immediately certain steps demanded by the National interest, as the public was shocked and completely bewildered by the treachery and success of the attack. In the public mind Pearl Harbor was a catastrophic defeat for the Navy with the Navy more blameworthy for unreadiness than the Army. It was necessary for one thing to guard against loss of public confidence in the Navy as the Navy was the main bulwark of national defense against attacks from overseas. As a step toward reassuring the country on that score it was considered of cardinal importance to determine who was responsible for the lapse in vigilance and for the unreadiness of the armed forces in Hawaii for a surprise attack at a critical time in the negotiations with Japan.

The situation was not an easy one for Washington to face, as it was complicated by delicate political and military considerations. One question would surely be asked: how well had the commanders in Hawaii been kept informed by Washington of the diplomatic negotiations with Japan in the months preceding the attack? However, to reveal all of the details of the negotiations would alert the Japanese to the fact that their secret communication codes, both military and diplomatic, had been broken.* If they became aware of this they would immediately change the basic structure of their codes and would in the future exercise greater caution in the used of coded communications. This would destroy the tremendous strategic and tactical advantage held by the United States in being able to read Japan's secret messages.

Neither was it considered wise to air publicly any matters that might be exploited by the opposing party in Congress as discreditable to the Roosevelt administration. The Democratic Party had been continued in power in the elections of the year before and would have the responsibility

[* The term "broken" should be interpreted cautiously: the diplomatic PURPLE code was being read by Naval Intelligence faster than by the Japanese Embassy; however, the naval JN-25 code messages were only partially readable and the sheer quantity of messages resulted in a large backlog of untranslated messages. --HyperWar]


for the conduct of the war in which the United States now found itself engaged. These were all matters in which the National interest was of greater importance than the fastening of blame on individuals.

In order to obtain first hand information on conditions at the scene of the disaster, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox made an immediate visit to Hawaii. He flew to Pearl Harbor on 9 December and on his return to Washington on 15 December recommended to the President the forthwith detachment of Admiral Kimmel from command of the Pacific Fleet.This recommendation was carried out, leaving Vice Admiral W.S. Pye in acting command until the arrival on 31 December 1941 of Admiral C.W. Nimitz, the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief.

In this way the Navy Department took the initial step in the endeavor to determine any individual responsibility for the lack of alertness to a possible surprise attack. It may be mentioned that there was a definite agreement between the War and Navy Departments, fully understood and so recognized by the Commanders of the armed forces in Hawaii, that the Army was responsible for the defense of Hawaii, including ships at anchor in Hawaiian waters.26 However, neither the Army nor the Navy, in Washington or in the field, at that time or later, attempted to evade or to pass to the other service responsibility for anything connected with the Pearl Harbor disaster.

The Investigations. On 16 December, 1941, the day after Secretary Knox returned from Pearl Harbor, the President, by Executive Order,appointed a commission headed by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Owen J. Roberts27

"to ascertain and report the facts relating to the attack made by Japanese armed forces upon the Territory of Hawaii on 7 December, 1941.

The purposes of the required inquiry and report are to provide bases for sound decisions whether any derelictions of duty or errors of judgment on the part of the United States Army or Navy personnel contributed to such successes as were achieved by the enemy on the occasion mentioned; and if so, what the dereliction or errors were and who were responsible therefor."

The Roberts Commission held its first meeting in Washington on 17 December and after four days of hearings, flew to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 21 December, where it continued its meetings. The commission made its report on 23 January 1942.


The composition of the Roberts Commission was unusual in that it was a mixed body consisting of a civilian, two Army officers, and two naval officers. Its Judge Advocate was a civilian. The Commission began its investigation without the power to swear witnesses. This was corrected in a few days by a Joint Resolution of Congress authorizing the COmmission to subpoena witnesses and to administer oaths. It will be noted that the instructions to the Commission made no mention of high level civilians such as the officials of the State, War, and Navy Departments who might have had responsibilities for keeping the commanders in the field informed form day to day of the status of diplomatic relations with Japan and who were in general responsible for the administration and policy decisions of their departments.

There is no record as to just what prompted the President to appoint a Commission of this kind, but one can guess at the reasons. In addition to those already mentioned, immediate steps to inquire into the catastrophe were necessary in order to forestall a Congressional investigation that would probably not have been able to control the security angles of the disclosures, and would thereby have added to the difficulties of fighting the war. A purely civilian body, even if bipartisan, might have been looked upon as a device for covering up mistakes in the handling of the diplomatic negotiations with Japan. Furthermore, a civilian group would not have been considered competent to pass on the military aspects of the attack. A military court of inquiry on the other hand would have been suspected of whitewashing the military people in Washington and in Hawaii. A mixed commission, therefore, appeared to be the best solution.

The Roberts Commission absolved Washington from any major responsibility for the unreadiness of the armed forces in Hawaii to meet the attack, and laid the blame for not being on the alert and ready for an attack on the doorstep of the Army and Navy Commanders in Hawaii. Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter C. Short were relieved of their commands before the Commission made its report. This was to be expected, as the country had lost confidence in them and their heads had to fall. For the reasons already mentioned, they could not be brought to trial by general court-martial at that time. Even if a court-martial had cleared them of the charge of neglect that were already identified in the public mind with responsibility for the disaster.This was especially true of Admiral Kimmel, as the Fleet had been the principal target for the attack. Neither Admiral Kimmel nor General Short received any further duty assignments.font size=-1>28


The Report of the Roberts Commission was, however, far from satisfactory to the Armed Services. Neither was it convincing to civilians with inquiring minds. The belief grew that it was unjust to the military commanders, Admiral Kimmel and General Short, and that all facts having a bearing on the unreadiness of their forces had not been brought out by the Commission. Seven later investigating bodies made inquiries into the attack and matters relating thereto.29 All except the Roberts Commission made their investigations and reports toward the end or shortly after the war.

The investigations culminated in Hearings begun in November 1945 and concluded in July 1946 before a Joint Committee of Congress pursuant to S. Con. Res. 27 (79th Congress). The Hearings were printed by the Government Printing Office in 39 volumes (called Parts), with a final volume, sometimes cited as Volume 40, entitled "Report" which contains the report of the Joint Committee on the attack, "and events and circumstances relating thereto, and additional views of Mr. Keefe together with the minority views of Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Brewster." Embodied in these volumes are the reports of the Roberts Commission and of the other bodies that investigated the attack.

It does not lie within the province of this work to analyze or to evaluate these reports. They are readily available to those who are interested. As an integral part of the history of administration of the Navy Department in World War II, it is however appropriate to recite briefly the reasons for the Navy Department investigations and the action taken on the reports of the investigating bodies. In the interests of continuity and clarity, the investigations will be dealt with as a whole at this point instead of being brought into the text chronologically.

The Hart Inquiry. In the belief that after the war there was likely to be a public investigation of the disaster, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox directed Admiral Thomas C. Hart, USN (Ret.), by precept dated 12 February 1944, to examine witnesses and to take testimony "pertinent to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." The underlying reason for this inquiry was that many persons whose testimony might be of value were on dangerous


assignment and might not be living to give testimony at some future time. The inquiry was commenced on 12 February 1944 and was concluded on 15 June 1944. Admiral Hart was not directed to submit findings nor to make recommendations with respect to appropriate further action, but only to examine witnesses and to record their testimony.

The Navy Court of Inquiry. Admiral Kimmel and General short were in the meantime clamoring for an opportunity to appear before regularly constituted military courts-martial to clear their records and reputations of any charge of dereliction of duty. Largely as a result of their efforts Congress passed a law which extended the statue of limitations affecting the possible prosecution of any person connected with the Pearl Harbor catastrophe and directed the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to proceed forthwith with an investigation into the facts surrounding the catastrophe and to commence proceedings against such persons as the facts might justify.30

A Court of Inquiry was accordingly ordered by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal which began holding sessions on 24 July 1944 and concluded its inquiry on 19 October 1944. The court was ordered to "inquire into the attack made by Japanese armed forces on Pearl Harbor . . . on 7 December 1941 . . . and will include in its findings a full statement of the facts it may deem to be established. The court will further give its opinion as to whether any offenses have been committed or serious blame incurred on the part of any person or persons in the naval service, and in case its opinion be that offenses have been committed or serious blame incurred, will specifically recommend what further proceedings should be had."31

The court rendered the opinion that, based upon the facts established, no offenses had been committed nor serious blame incurred on the part of any person or persons in the naval service, and recommended that no further proceedings be had in the matter. In accordance with the usual practice the report of the court was forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy via the Judge Advocate General and the Chief of Naval Operations-Commander in Chief. The JAG was of the opinion that the evidence secured by the court did not warrant and would not support trial by General Court-Martial of any persons in the naval service. In this opinion Admiral King concurred and so did Secretary Forrestal eventually.

The proceedings, with lengthy endorsements thereon, went back and forth between Secretary Forrestal and Admiral King several times. The Secretary of the Navy and the White House were anxious to furnish the


press as much information as possible about the findings of the court, but Admiral King pointed out the dangers of giving any part of the proceedings unrestricted publicity during the wear because this would certainly lead the Japanese to suspect that their codes had been broken. He felt, also, that plain language reproductions of messages that had been sent in United States codes, of which there were many instances in the proceedings of the court, would lead to breaking these codes, as the Japanese undoubtedly had in their files for comparison the enciphered versions of these messages. As a result of his representations, security considerations governed all information brought out by the Court of Inquiry that was released to the public at the time.

Admiral King went into the proceedings at great length. He differed with the Court on some of its findings and on the interpretation of many of the facts adduced. He expressed the opinion that any dereliction on the part of Admiral Stark and Admiral Kimmel were faults of omission rather than faults of commission,b ut that these faults were such as to indicate that the officers lacked the superior judgement necessary for exercising command commensurate with their rank and recommended that both be restricted to duties in which lack of superior judgement would not result in future errors.

Admiral Kimmel was never given a duty assignment after Pearl Harbor, but Admiral Stark was kept was kept on duty continuously throughout the war. At the time of this recommendation he was actually in command of United States Naval Forces In Europe, with headquarters in London. For his good work in the European Theater he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on the recommendation of Admiral King, thus making it clear that King had changed his mind with respect to Admiral Stark's capacity for exercising superior judgement.

Secretary Forrestal, in an endorsement dated 1 December 1944, stated, "I find that evidence obtained to date indicates that there were errors of judgement on the part of Admiral Kimmel and Admiral Stark. I am not satisfied, however, that the investigation has gone to the point of exhaustion of all possible evidence. . . . Pending the completion of the necessary further investigation into this matter I withhold decision as to the institution of any proceeding against any naval officer involved."

The Hewitt Inquiry. Under date of 2 May 1945, Secretary Forrestal appointed Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, USN to undertake the further investigation referred to in his endorsement of 1 December 1944. It is not clear why so much time elapsed between the Secretary's decision to make such an investigation and the appointment of Admiral Hewitt as the investigating officer. Admiral Hewitt made his report under date of 12 July 1945. It included the testimony of several officers who had not been called upon


to testify by the Court of Inquiry, but did not materially add to or change anything that was brought out by the Court of Inquiry. Admiral King's endorsement on the report reiterated his opinion that the evidence was not sufficient to warrant trial by court martial of any person in the naval service in that the evidence would not sustain the charges required by the Articles for the Government of the Navy.

In order to carry out the mandate of Congress contained in the Act of 13 June 1944, inquiries were conducted, also, by the War Department through the Army Pearl Harbor Board (20 July 1944 to 20 October 1944), the Clarke Inquiry (24 September 1944 to 4 August 1945), and the Clausen Investigation (23 November 1944 to 12 September 1945).

Under date of 13 August 1945, Secretary Forrestal took final action on the investigations made by the Navy Department. He directed that Admiral Kimmel and Admiral Stark be not assigned to any positions in the United States Navy requiring the exercise of superior judgement. He directed, also, that the appropriate committees of Congress be fully acquainted with the Navy's investigations, and that disclosures of the facts brought out be made public so far as possible without injuring current military operations or the national security. The Secretary's action was approved and released by President Truman under date of 29 August 1945. Japan had by that time surrendered, making it possible to remove the secret classification of the proceedings, testimony, and findings of the various investigations.

The next step was the appointment, buy a concurrent resolution of Congress dated 11 September 1945, of a Joint Congressional Committee to investigate the Pearl Harbor attack, as only through such a committee could all of the information available in the War, State, and Navy Departments be brought together and correlated.

Joint Congressional Committee. The investigation by the Joint Congressional Committee was made up of members from both political parties, The Committee was made up of members form both political parties, with Democrats in the majority. The Democratic Party had been in power since 1933 and was responsible for the foreign policy of the United States, and for the administration of the executive departments of the Government throughout the eight years preceding the attack. That party remained in power, also, throughout the war. It was human for the majority of the Committee perhaps to slant the investigation and its findings in the direction of making out as good a case as possible for the Roosevelt administration. It was human, also, for the minority to be biased in the other direction.

Congressman Frank B. Keefe, a Republican member, who, however, signed the majority report, had this to say: "The Committee report, I


feel, does not with exactitude apply the same yardstick in measuring responsibilities at Washington as has been applied to the Hawaiian commanders. I cannot suppress the feeling that the Committee report endeavors to throw as soft a light as possible on the Washington scene.32 He commented on the procedures of the Roberts Commission as follows: "General Marshall and Admiral Stark were witnesses at the first meeting of the Commission. Their testimony was not given under oath and was not recorded. Neither was that of their chief subordinates, Admiral Richmond K. Turner and General Leonard T. Gerow. The Commission examined General Short and Admiral Kimmel under oath in Hawaii. They were not permitted to be present during the testimony of other witnesses to examine or cross-examine them or to know what evidence had been presented."33

The minority report of two of the Republican senators on the Committee, Senators Homer Ferguson and Owen Brewster, was even more critical of the investigation as conducted, and of the conclusions of the majority saying that they were illogical and unsupported by the evidence presented, and that the conclusions as to the diplomatic background of the attack were based upon incomplete evidence.34

War Warnings

We will now return to the short-of-war period before the attack and to the steps taken by Washington particularly toward the end of the period to warn the commanders of the armed forces in Hawaii of mounting tension in the negotiations with Japan and that an attack somewhere in the Pacific was imminent. These warnings are often referred to as the "War Warnings." The strategic concept for a war with Japan in the Pacific has a bearing on the ineffectiveness of the war warnings and will be mentioned briefly.

Among the earliest modern war plans made by the Navy Department after the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 were those visualizing the possibility of such a war, and that for the United States it would be principally a naval war. Judging from the history of the past it was assumed that Japan would start the war without a formal declaration of war. Speculation as to the place where the attack would be made formed part of all such planning. It had to be assumed by the United States planners that a number of months, estimated from six to nine,would be needed after the outbreak of war before the United States Fleet would be able to


take the offensive in a westward movement in the Pacific, because advanced bases and adequate service forces would first have to be provided, before the Fleet could slip the tether trying it to a home base.

The logistic deficiencies of the United States Navy in these respects were common knowledge and well known to the Japanese would take advantage of this situation by first consolidating her position in Southeastern Asia, the Philippines, and the East Indies before attacking the Pacific Fleet. Actually, Japan was able to make simultaneous, successful attacks in all of these areas, but the strategic policy of dispersing her efforts in this manner was one of the causes for her final defeat.

A step by step advance in the Pacific with consolidation of the gains made before taking the next step was considered by the American planners to be the logical strategy for Japan to pursue. All of this added up in their minds to the unlikelihood of hostilities beginning with an attack on Pearl Harbor. Nevertheless, there seems to have been complete awareness in Washington as well as in Hawaii of the possibility of such an attack, and that if it came it would be devastating. A few examples that this possibility was on the minds of top level people having responsibilities in the matter will be mentioned.

The Chief of Naval Operations warned the Commandants of all naval districts on 1 April 1941, that on week-ends and holidays particularly, steps be taken for proper watches and precautions against attack.35 In Washington, Secretaries Knox and Stimson, General Marshall and Admiral Stark, and in Hawaii, General Short and Admiral Kimmel discussed at length the peril to the Fleet from an enemy attack on Pearl Harbor. Major General F.L. Martin, commanding Army Air Force in Hawaii, and Rear Admiral P.N.L. Bellinger, Commander Naval Base Defense Air Force, made a joint estimate dated 31 March 1941, in which they stated that "the most likely and dangerous form of attack on Oahu would be an air attack . . . launched from carriers," and that if launched at daw2n there was a high probability that it could be delivered as a complete surprise.36 Later, General Martin advised General Short that the most probable approach of the Japanese carrier force would be from the northwestward. The Basic Navy War Plan RAINBOW 5, issued 26 May 1941, explicitly envisaged the possibility of a surprise attack on the Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Pacific Fleet's Operation Plan, promulgated 21 July by Admiral Kimmel, stated that the enemy's initial action would be "possibly raids or straight attacks on Wake, Midway, or other United States outlying possessions."37


Despite all of these speculations and warnings, the danger toward the end of the summer of an attack, such as was actually delivered on Sunday morning, 7 December, seems to have been considered unlikely by responsible officers, both in Washington and in Hawaii. Admiral Stark wrote to Admiral Kimmel on 17 October 1941, "Personally, I do not believe the Japs are going to sail into us."38 Captain Charles H. McMorris, Admiral Kimmel's War Plans Officer, expressed the opinion in a conference with him and General Short the first week in December, that there would never be an attack on Pearl Harbor by air.39 Rear Admiral Vincent R. Murphy, former Assistant War Plans Officer, on Admiral Kimmel's staff, summarized succinctly at the Hart Inquiry in 1944 the prevailing view on the subject. In reply to the question, "What were your views at that time with respect to such a surprise air attack?" he answered, "I did not think that such an attack would be made. I thought that it would be utterly stupid for the Japanese to attack the United States at Pearl Harbor . . . I thought that the Japanese would probably have gone into Thailand and Malaya and even the Dutch East Indies. . . . I did not think they would attack at Pearl Harbor because I did not think it was necessary for them to do so . . .40 The thinking of the planners on Admiral Kimmel's staff could not take the offensive in a war in the Pacific until the deficiencies in the Service Forces, particularly in auxiliaries and tankers, had been made good, and that it would take some months before this could be brought about.

The most serious lapse in administrative foresight with which Washington was charged by the Joint Congressional Committee, particularly in the minority report, was the failure to keep Admiral Kimmel and General Short fully informed of the day by day deterioration in the prospects for a peaceful settlement of the tense situation in the Pacific, and finally of the collapse on 6 December of all hopes for such a settlement.*

The events and the interpretation of events by responsible people in Washington, and the information furnished and not furnished to the Commanders in Hawaii during the period from 27 November to 7 December 1941 are covered in great detail in the "Report" volume of the "Hearings Pearl Harbor Attack." Extensive references are made in that volume not only to the hearings before the Joint Committee but, also, to the testimony brought out by the seven previous investigations. The student will, however, find contradictory testimony on many points, as might be expected.

The Commanders in Hawaii testified that all through the summer and fall of 1941 they were not kept fully advised of the information obtained


by Washington through intercepted coded messages sent by Japan to her diplomatic and consular representatives all over the world. They claimed that if this information, and particularly the information contained in the messages intercepted during about the last ten days of peace, had been very different from what it was and would have resulted in standby readiness and other appropriate dispositions for meeting a surprise attack. This may be looked upon as largely optimistic hindsight, but during the ten days prior to the attack there were a number of instances of information available in Washington which was withheld, at least in part, or couched in imprecise language which might have changed the opinion of the Commanders in Hawaii with respect to the improbability of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. A few examples will suffice to illustrate the arguments made in that respect.

There was first the increasing preoccupation of Tokyo with the exact location of ships at Pearl Harbor, beginning with an intercepted despatch of 24 September 1941 to the Japanese consul in Honolulu. Many such messages were intercepted, the last on 6 December 1941, but Admiral Kimmel seems not to have been kept informed of this growing interest with respect to the location of ships at the piers, docks, and anchorages in Pearl Harbor.41

The so-called "deadline messages" were another group, knowledge of which would, according to their testimony, have warned Admiral Kimmel and General Short of the impending danger of an attack. The first of these was one from Tokyo to the Japanese Embassy in Washington, intercepted on 5 November 1941. It referred to the then current diplomatic negotiations between the two countries. It contained the statement, "Because of various circumstances, it is absolutely necessary that all arrangements for the signing of this agreement be completed by the 25th of this month." This deadline was referred to in several messages. An intercepted message of 22 November 1941 extended the deadline date from 25 November to 29 November. This message contained the significant sentence, "After that things are automatically going to happen."

Largely because of the implications contained in that message, the below "war warning" was sent to Admiral Kimmel by the Navy Department on 27 November so as to reach him before the cut-off date of 29 November.42


"This despatch is to be considered a war warning X Negotiations with Japan looking toward stabilization of conditions in the Pacific have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days X The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of naval task forces indicates an amphibious expedition against either the Philippines Thai or Kra peninsula or possibly Borneo X Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL46 X Inform district and army authorities X A similar warning is being sent by War Department X Spenavo inform British X Continental districts Guam Samoa directed to take appropriate measures against sabotage.

Copy to WPD, War Dept"

Admiral Kimmel testified that if he had known of the deadline messages, he would have read the "war warning" message with great understanding of the imminence of hostilities. The "war warning" message was confusing in itself. WPL 46, referred to in the despatch, was a part of the overall plan of action to be placed in effect by United States forces in association with the British and Dutch after war had actually broken out. The meaning of this party of the despatch was,therefore,not clear. Clarification might well have been requested by Kimmel. Pearl Harbor was not mentioned as one of the places against which an aggressive move might be expected, although other areas were specifically named. This strengthened the belief of the Commanders, in hawaii that Washington also considered an attack on Pearl Harbor unlikely.

On the same day the following dispatch was sent to General Short by the War Department:

"Negotiations with Japanese appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot, repeat can not, be avoided the U.S. desires that Japan commit the first overt act. This policy should not, repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of acton that might jeopardize your defense. Prior to Japanese hostile action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary but these measures should be carried out so as not, repeat not, to alarm the civil population of disclose intent. . . ."

It will be noted that it differed form the warning sent to Admiral Kimmel, but that it also contained instructions that were confusing, particularly the following: "Prior to Japanese hostile action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary, but these measures should be carried out so as not, repeat not, to alarm the civil population or disclose intent." How was General Short to know in advance the time that hostile action would be taken by Japan?

He was directed, also, to undertake only such defensive measures as would not alarm the civil population. Obviously, the only measures that the Commanders in Hawaii could have taken, other than reconnaissance, to defend themselves against an attack, was to place their forces in a state


of round-the-clock standby readiness. Such a measure would have had to include the abandonment of the usual weekend routine of leave, liberty, recreation, and no drills. The first of these weekends fell on November 29-30, only a few days after the messages were received. In a comparatively small community such as Oahu, where the Army and Navy constituted a considerable percentage of the population, abandoning the usual weekend routine would have attracted immediate attention and would certainly have alarmed the population. The hands of the Commanders in Hawaii were, therefore, effectively tied by this stipulation. It is, furthermore, not likely that such a measure, if put into effect by Kimmel and Short, would have been tolerated by the White House, as it would have been contrary to the basic policy of taking no steps that might be looked upon as provocative.

The most serious administrative lapse charged against the authorities in Washington by the Joint Committee, particularly by its minority members, was the failure to inform Admiral Kimmel and General Short of the implications contained in a long Japanese message consisting of 14 parts, the first 13 of which were intercepted and decrypted by naval communications in the early evening of 6 December. This message from the Tokyo foreign office to the Japanese Ambassador in Washington was an unfavorable reply to the State Department's note of 26 November. The translation of the first 13 parts was in the hands of President Roosevelt between 9 and 10 o'clock that evening. After reading it he said in substance, "This means war." It was read that evening, also, by Harry Hopkins, Secretary Knox, and a number of the principal assistants of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Staff of the Army. Admiral Stark could not be reached immediately, but the President himself, later in the evening, told him over the phone of the alarming turn that the relations with Japan had taken.43

Secretary Knox immediately arranged a meeting with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Secretary of State Cordell Hull for Sunday morning at 10 o'clock at the State Department. No steps were taken that evening to inform Admiral Kimmel and General Short of the seriousness with which Washington viewed the position that Japan had taken.

At about 3:00 A.M. on 7 December, the 14th and last part of the message was intercepted and decrypted. The most significant part of the entire dispatch was contained in the last sentence: "The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the American Government that in view of the attitude of the American Government, it cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations."

Shortly after that the following dispatch was intercepted and decrypted:


"Will the Ambassador please submit to the United States Government (if possible, to the Secretary of State) our reply to the United States at 1:00 P.M. on the 7th, your time." Within the hour, also, a final Japanese message was intercepted, directing the Ambassador after deciphering the messages sent that night, to destroy at once the remaining cipher machine or machine codes, and secret document.4 The translated copies of these messages became available in the Navy Department at about 9:00 A.M. and were delivered to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where a meeting was in progress, at about 10:30 A.M. The reason for the delay in delivering the messages is not clear. Within about ten minutes they were sent also to Secretary Hull at the State Department and to an aide at the White House. In the course of delivery to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and to Secretary Hull's aide, mention was made that 1:00 P.M., Washington time, was about dawn at Honolulu, but no one seems to have divined that this hour pointed to an attack on Pearl Harbor.

General Marshall did not attend the meeting at the State Department, but shortly after the meeting read copies of the messages. At about 11:30 A.M. he had telephone conversations with Admiral Stark about the messages. Thereupon he prepared in longhand the draft of a warning message to the Army commands in the Pacific, including the Hawaiian command, as follows: "The Japanese are presenting at 1:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time, today what amounts to an ultimatum. Also, they are under orders to destroy their code machine immediately. Just what significance the hour set may have,we do not know, but be on alert accordingly."45 Admiral Stark offered to get this message to Hawaii immediately as the Navy Department had direct telephone communication facilities with Admiral Kimmel, but General Marshall informed him that he would send the dispatch. It will be remembered that the Army had the responsibility for the safety of ships in Hawaiian ports. The message was accordingly sent by cable by the War Department, but did not reach General Short until after the attack was underway.46

The Lessons of the Pearl Harbor Experience

The lessons to be learned from the Pearl Harbor experience cover a wide range of problems involved in achieving and maintaining readiness to meet successively a surprise attack from an unscrupulous aggressor. They have been mentioned or can be inferred form a perusal of the foregoing


pages, and are discussed in great detail in the "Report" volume of the Joint Congressional Investigating Committee.

The most important is, perhaps, that in making plans for defense in a period of international tension a prospective aggressor should be considered capable of resorting to any course of action that is a possibility no matter how illogical and contrary to his own interests that course may seem to be. Possibilities should not be ignored because they are improbabilities. This, however, may not be so simple as it sounds. The means for resistance are seldom so abundant as to permit planning, training, and full commitment against all possibilities without impairing the effectiveness of defense measures that can be planned for use against the probable.

The war warnings do not seem to have been taken as seriously by the commanders in Hawaii nor in Washington as they should have been, with the result that the facilities available for defense against a surprise attack were not utilized to the full.

The Pearl Harbor experience has been recited in some detail because it forms an important sector of the history of administration of the Navy Department in World War II. It has been placed in this chapter because the Secretary of the Navy has the responsibility for assigning personnel to the highest positions in the Navy and because all major decisions in the Pearl Harbor matter and its aftermath were made by the President or by his deputy, the Secretary of the Navy. It is appropriate to take up next the administrative mechanisms of the Navy Department which existed or were provided for the performance of the command task of the Navy Department during World War II.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)


1. For this history World War II covers the period from the invasion of Poland by German on 1 September 1939 to VJ-Day, when Japan surrendered on 14 August 1945. There will, hover be some overlap at both ends. The Secretaries of the Navy during this period were Charles Edison from 7 July 1939 to 24 June 1940, Frank Knox from 11 July 1940 to the date of his death on 28 April 1944, and James Forrestal from 17 May 1944 to 17 September 1947.

2. This was the approximate number on 1 July 1940.

3. Presley M. Rixey, Carey T. Gryson, Joel T. Boone, and Ross T. McIntire, all officers of the Medical Corps of the Navy, were the White House physicians under President Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, respectively.

4. William Daniel Leahy, born Hampton, Iowa, on 6 May 1875, graduated from Naval Academy, 1897. Saw active service in Spanish-American War on USS Oregon at Battle of Santiago 3 July 1898 and during Philippine Insurrection and Boxer Uprising, followed by duty on various ships, at the Naval Academy. Assistant Director of Gunnery Practice and Engineering Competitions, and in bureau of Navigation. During World War I in the Patrol Force. Atlantic Fleet and in command of a troop transport. Between World Wars, Director of Gunnery, command of ships, protecting American interests Near East, command of Mine Squadron, C.O. New Mexico, Chief of Bureau of Ordnance 1927-31, Commander destroyers, Scouting Force, Chief of Bureau of Navigation 1933-35, C-in-C Battle Force 1936, Chief of Naval Operations 2 Jan. 937 to 1 Aug 1939 when he was retired in rank of Admiral, and appointed Governor of Puerto Rico. He was appointed United States Ambassador to France on 23 November 1940 and remained in that post until 20 July 1942 when he was recalled to active duty as Chief of Staff to President Roosevelt in the latter's capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army and Navy. He was senior member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a member of the Combined Chiefs of STaff during the war and was promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral as of 15 December 1944. His resignation as Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army and Navy was accepted on 25 March 1949 but he remained on active duty in an advisory capacity in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. Died 20 July 1959.

5. Harold Raynsford Stark, born Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 12 Nov. 1880, graduated Naval Academy 1903. Duty in various ships, C.O. of destroyers, engineer officer cruiser Brooklyn, Naval Torpedo Station. Command Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet. From November 1917 to April 1919, on staff in London of Admiral W.S. Sims, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European waters during World War I. Between the two World Wars served as executive officer West Virginia, Inspector of Ordnance, Dahlgren and Indian Head, Chief of Staff to Commander Destroyer Squadrons Battle Fleet, aid to Secretaries Adams and Swanson, C.O. West Virginia, Chief of Bureau of Ordnance, and Commander Cruisers Battle Force. Appointed Chief of Naval Operations 1 Aug. 1939, with the rank of Admiral. When the duties of CNO were combined with those of Commander-in-Chief U.S. Fleet under Admiral King on 12 March 1942, Stark was assigned to duty as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, with headquarters in London, and so served until 15 August 1945. He was then assigned to advisory duty in the office of the CNO until 1 April 1946, when he retried in the rank of Admiral.

6. Fleet Admiral King--A Naval Record, p. 447, W.W. Norton & Co., New York.

7. Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, September 1944.

8. 48 Stat. 195.

9. 54 Stat. 394 and 779.

10. Congressional Record, Vol. 90--Part 6, p. 7594, September 7, 1944.

11. Ernest Joseph King, b. Lorain, Ohio, Nov. 23, 1878 graduated Naval Academy 1901. Duty in various ships, instructor in ordnance and gunnery at Naval Academy, engineer officer USS New Hampshire; flag secretary to Rear Admiral Hugo Osterhaus when C-in-C Atlantic Fleet 1911-1912; C.O. destroyers Cassin and Terry and division commander, 1914-1916. During World War I assistant chief of staff to Admiral H.T. Mayo, C-in-C Atlantic Fleet. Head of Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, 1919-1921; C.O. supply ship Bridge; Comsubdiv 11 and 3, Comsubbase New London, 1923-1925; in charge of salvage of S-51 and S-4, C.O. airplane tender Wright, 1926-1928, during which time qualified as naval aviator at Pensacola; Assistant Chief Buaer, 1928-1929, C.O. Naval Air Station Norfolk, C.O. USS Lexington for two years, Naval War College course, and Chief Buaer with rank Rear Admiral, 1933. Com. Aircraft of Base Force, Scouting Force and Battle Force 1936-1939; General Board; Com. Patrol Force Dec. 1940, C-in-C Atlantic Fleet with rank of Admiral, 1 Feb. 1941. C-in-C, U.S. Fleet 20 Dec. and assumed command 30 Dec. 1941. Also Chief of Naval Operations from 18 Mar. 1942; held both positions throughout World War II. Fleet Admiral, 17 December 1944. Relieved 15 December 1945. Died 25 June 1956.

12. Walter Millis, ed., Forrestal Diaries. The Viking Press, New York. October 1951.

13. "A Brief History of the Organization of the Navy Department," Captain A.W. Johnson, USN, Senate Document No. 284, also U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, December 1912, pp. 13-26.

14. "Civilian Personnel at Naval Shore Establishments," September 1946, p. 4; compiled by Office of Industrial Relations, Navy Department.

15. United States Government Manual--1945--through March 10, 1945.

16. Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Management Engineers, Chicago.

17. Section 5, 38 Stat. 335.

18. NOd Contract No. 1968 of 17 March 1941.

19. Rear Admiral Henry Williams (C.C.), USN, was appointed Administrative Officer of the Navy Department in the Secretary's letter of June 24, 1941. He had had extensive experience in such work on a number of tours of duty in the Bureau of Construction and Repair. He was at the time the Administrative Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Ships. Mr. Ben Abbott, an upper level civilian employee of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts became his principal assistant. Vice Admiral Henry V. Butler, USN (Ret) relieved Rear Admiral Williams on March 2, 1942, when the latter was transferred to the newly created Office of Procurement and Material.

20. The United States at War--Bureau of the Budget, June 1946, published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., gives a detailed account of the origin and development of the history-writing program.

21. Lt. Commander Morison was at the time the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University, and was the author of a number of outstanding historical works. He had a hand in initiating the history-writing program, and after being assigned to this duty spent much time during the war with the Operating Forces. He was promoted through the grades, reaching the rank of Rear Admiral after retiring. He began the work as a Naval Reserve Officer on active duty, but after retirement continued the work on a contract basis. As of 1958 he had completed 12 of the 14 volumes comprising the "History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II." The history of the Service Forces afloat was written after the war by Rear Admirals Worrall R. Carter and Elmer E. Duvall in two volumes entitled Beans, Bullets and Black Oil and Ships, Salvage and Sinews of War

22. Dr. Robert G. Albion, Professor of History at Princeton University at the time, later Professor of Oceanic History at Harvard University, was employed as a civilian on an intermittent per diem basis. His services were terminated in 1950.

23. The history of the Office of Naval Records and Library and of other similar activities in the Navy Department is a long one and is covered in a typescript Manuscript by Captain J.W. McElroy, USNR, dated June 1, 1946, on file in the Rare Book Collection of the Navy Department Library.

24. Interrogation of Admiral Richardson on "Pearl Harbor attack," Part I, pp. 253-341; documents including his correspondence with Admiral Stark in Part 14, pp. 923-1000.

25. The operational aspects of the attack are covered by Rear Admiral Samuel E. Morison in Volume III, "The Rising Sun in the Pacific," of his History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. (Little, Brown & Co., 1945).
[Also see Hearings, Part 3, p. 1242). To the question by Senator Ferguson ". . . that would include the actual protection of the Fleet in Pearl Harbor?" General Marshall replied, "Yes, sir; specifically that." (Hearings, Part 3, p. 1243).

27. The other members of the commission were Admiral W.H. Standley, USN, former Chief of Naval Operations; Admiral J.M. Reeves, USN, former Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet; Major General Frank R. McCoy, USA; and Major General Joseph T. McNarney, USA. Mr. Walter Bruce Howe, a civilian lawyer, was the Judge Advocate of the commission.

28. General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines was overtaken in a similar state of unreadiness when his aircraft were caught on the ground at Clarke Field and offered little resistance to the Japanese air attack, although he had some nine hours of warning that an attack was impending. He was kept on duty in the Philippines and was later advanced to positions of even greater importance and responsibility. [See HyperWar for the official histories describing these events. --HyperWar]

29. The following were the investigating bodies and the dates of their investigations:

  1. The Roberts Commission inquiry, commenced 18 Dec. 1941, concluded 23 Jan. 1942.
  2. The Navy Hart inquiry, commenced 12 Feb 1944, concluded 15 June 1944.
  3. The Army Pearl Harbor Board, commenced 20 July 1944, concluded 20 Oct 1944.
  4. The Navy Court of Inquiry, commenced 24 July 1944, concluded 19 Oct 1944.
  5. The Army Clarke Inquiry, commenced 14 Sep 1944, concluded 4 Aug 1945.
  6. The Army Clausen Investigation, commenced 23 Nov 1944, concluded 12 Sep 1945.
  7. The Navy Hewitt Inquiry, commenced 14 May 1945, concluded 11 July 1945.
  8. "Hearings before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Congress of the United States, Seventy-Ninth Congress," contained in 39-volumes (called Parts) with a 40th volume entitled "Report" containing the report of the Joint Committee "and additional views of Mr. Keefe together with minority views of Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Brewster." Washington: Government Printing Office, 1946. Cited as "P.H. Attack."

30. Public Law 339, 78th Congress approved June 13, 1944.

31. The members of the Court were Admiral Orin G. Murfin, USN (Ret.); Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, USN (Ret.); and Vice Admiral Adolphus Andrews, USN (Ret.). Admiral Murfin was the President of the Court.

32. Pearl Harbor Attack, "Report," p. 266-A.

33. Ibid., p. 266-P.

34. Ibid., pp. 493-573.

35. P.H. Attack, Part 14, p. 1395.

36. Ibid., Part 33, pp. 1300-1303.

37. Ibid., Part 33, pp. 930 and 988.

38. P.H. Attack, Part 16, p. 2214.

39. Ibid., Part 7, p. 2942.

40. Ibid., Part 26, p. 207.

41. Pearl Harbor Attack. "Report," p.182-190. The majority report of the Joint Committee had this to say on the subject: "We are of the opinion, however, that the berthing plan and related despatches should have received careful consideration and created a serious question as to their significance. Since they indicated a particular interest in the Pacific Fleet's base, this intelligence should have been appreciated and supplied to the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet and the Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department for their assistance along with other information and intelligence available to them in making their estimate of the situation."

42. P.H. Attack, Part 14, p. 1406.

43. Pearl Harbor Attack, "Report," p. 528 and subsequent pages.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation