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1. SELECTION OF GENERAL SHORT:  General Short was selected for his high 
post of command by General Marshall.  Upon being notified of this 
selection, he was called to Washington to confer with General Marshall, 
to receive special written instructions from him and to confer with the 
sections of the General Staff and particularly the War Plans Division.  
The purpose of this visit and these conferences was to equip him with 
the latest and most  up-to-date information and instructions as to the 
responsibilities of his new command.
Thereafter, General Short proceeded to Hawaii, arriving there on 
the fifth day of February, 1941.  He assumed command on February 7, 
1941.  Both Short and Herron concur that the latter fully advised Short 
of the problems and conditions with which he was confronted.
At the time of General Short taking over command, there existed 
certain basic documents constituting fundamental instructions for his 
guidance in the conduct of the command, such as the Joint Army and Navy 
Plan of 1935.  This was modified by the subsequent agreements between 
Short and Kimmel, Bloch and Short, and Bellinger and Martin.
Coincident with the assumption of command by General Short on 
February 7, 1941, a letter was written on that date by General Marshall 
to General Short comprising a full presentation of the problems 
confronting General Short in his new command.  The letter was based upon 
a conversation with Admiral Stark, then Chief of Naval Operations, and 
said in part:

"Admiral Stark said that Kimmel had written him at 
length about the deficiencies of Army materiel for the 
protection of Pearl Harbor.  He referred specifically to 
planes and to antiaircraft guns...

"What Kimmel does not realize is that we are 
tragically lacking in this materiel throughout the Army and 
that Hawaii is on a far better basis than any other command 
in the Army.  The fullest protection for the fleet is the 
rather and a major consideration for us, there can be little 
question about that; but the Navy itself makes demands on us 
for commands other than Hawaii, which make it difficult for 
us to meet the requirements of Hawaii. ...

"You should make clear to Admiral Kimmel that we are 
doing everything that is humanly possible to build up the 
Army's defenses of the naval overseas installations, but we 
cannot perform a miracle. ...

"... However, as I have already said, we are keeping 
clearly in mind that our first concern is to protect the 

"My impression of the Hawaiian problem has been that 
if no serious harm is done us during the first six hours of 
known hostilities, thereafter the existing defenses will 
discourage an enemy against the hazard of an attack.  The 
risk of sabotage and the risk involved in a surprise raid by 
air and by submarine, constitute the real perils of the 
situation.  Frankly, I do not see any landing threat in the 
Hawaiian Islands so long as we have air superiority.

"Please keep clearly in mind in all of your 
negotiations that our mission is to protect the base and the 
naval concentration and that purpose should be made clearly 
apparent to Admiral Kimmel.  I accentuate this because I 
found yesterday, for example, in a matter of tremendous 
importance that old Army and Navy feuds, engendered from 
fights over appropriations, with the usual fallacious 
arguments on both sides, still persist in confusing issues 
of National defense.  We must be completely impersonal in 
these matters, at least so far as our own nerves and 
irritations are concerned. ..." (R. 14-17)

Thus General Short was provided by his chief with both sound 
advice and an admirable set of clear-cut signposts to guide him.  Such 
being the measure of his instructions, it is interesting to observe in 
what particulars he complied with

Page 67

them or varied from them and the reasons for his actions.  In conformity 
with the instructions as to the Navy, General Short proceeded to 
establish cordial and cooperative relationships, the exact nature of 
which is discussed elsewhere.  By the 19th of February he "had made a 
pretty thorough inspection or survey" (R. 321), and on that date wrote a 
letter to the Chief of Staff as to things that required immediate 
attention, which were:

"As a result of my short study of conditions here I 
believe that the following are of great importance and I am 
taking steps to carry out the necessary changes:

(1) Cooperation with the Navy.
(2) Dispersion and protection of aircraft and of the 
repair, maintenance and servicing of aircraft.
(3) Improvement of the Antiaircraft defense.
(4) Improvement of the Harbor Defense Artillery.
(5) Improvement of the situation with reference to 
(6) Provision for more rapid movement of supplies and 
reserves by improvement in roads and trails.
(7) Bombproofing of vital installations such as 
Command Posts and communication centers.
(8) Increase in the number of Engineer troops."

The interim from February 19 to December 7 is replete with the 
efforts of Short to secure approvals and money for improving the 
defenses of Hawaii.  It is also replete with various instances of his 
being turned down by the War Department, particularly because of lack of 
money in connection with permanent installations.
Undue weight should not be given, however, to the aspects of the 
equipment, as General Marshall said in his letter of February 7th, 
"Hawaii is on a far better basis than any other command in the Army", 
and the fundamental question to be considered is: What did Short do with 
what he had to meet the attack?

Page 68

As elsewhere stated, he was granted his request for the 
construction of many types of installation, including the important 
aircraft warning system.  (See the discussion of supply of equipment and 
construction, and also the delays in construction.) (p. 256)

Again on March 5, 1941, the Chief of Staff wrote General Short as 
to the air situation in clear, unmistakable language:

"I would appreciate your early review of the situation 
in the Hawaiian Department with regard to defense from air 
attack.  The establishment of a satisfactory system of 
coordinating all means available to this end is a matter of 
first priority." (R. 19)

On March 6, General Short wrote General Marshall, with particular 
reference to Aircraft Warning System and the delays in its construction, 
and delays in sites due to the Department of Interior delays:

"One of the first projects which I investigated in 
this department was the Aircraft Warning Service which I 
believe is vital to the defense of these islands.  At the 
present time the maximum distance an approaching airplane 
can be detected is about five miles. The radio detector 
equipment of the Aircraft Warning Service increases this 
distance to one hundred and twenty miles, and in these 
islands, the use of this equipment is the only way by which 
the detection distance can be increased.  With the present 
international situation it seems to me that if this 
equipment is to be used at all the need for it is now here.

"The Navy is vitally interested in this project.  At 
present with the fleet in Hawaiian waters, there is no 
adequate warning service. ... I believe that this matter is 
sufficiently important to be brought to the attention of the 
Secretary of War to see if permission can not be obtained 
from the Secretary of the Interior to construct the 
Haleakala installation without the necessity of submitting 
detailed plans for consideration by the National Park 

"Defense of these islands and adequate warning for the 
United States Fleet is so dependent upon the

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early completion of this Aircraft Warning Service that I 
believe all quibbling over details should be stopped at 
once.  This project was very thoroughly studied by a board 
of officers in this department who made several personal 
investigations of each one of the sites.  Now that basic 
decisions as to locations, types of stations, and general 
plans have been approved by the War Department, I strongly 
recommend that this project be decentralized and that I be 
authorized to give final approval to designs, layouts and 
other details to expedite its completion."

On March 13, General Marshall wrote General Short:

"The progress that you are making in reaching close 
coordination with local naval authorities, and so insuring a 
maximum degree of readiness in your Department, is most 
gratifying. ...

"The several letters which you have submitted to The 
Adjutant General requesting personnel, materiel and funds 
are being processed. To avoid delay in initiating projects 
that may be approved, I am tentatively including $3,000,000 
in the estimates now being prepared."

On March 15, General Marshall again wrote General Short as to the 
Aircraft Warning Service, showing the delays due to the necessity of 
getting approvals from the Department of Interior regarding matters 
pertaining to its National Park Service:

"The War Department appreciates fully the necessity 
for the early establishment of the aircraft warning service 
stations I the Hawaiian Department.  However, it will be 
necessary to comply with certain fixed regulations in those 
cases where facilities are to be established on lands 
pertaining to the Department of the Interior.  The National 
Park Service officials are willing to give us temporary use 
of their lands when other lands are not suitable for the 
purpose, but they will not waive the requirements as to the 
submission of preliminary building plans showing the 
architecture and general appearance. They are also very 
definitely opposed to permitting structures of any type to 
be erected at such places as will be open to view and 
materially alter the natural appearance of the reservation.

"I have given these matters my personal attention and 
have conferred with officials of the National Park Service.  
War Department radiogram of March 12, 1941, outlines what 
appears to be the most practical solution at this time.

Page 70

On March 15 General Short wrote General Marshall a letter showing 
full appreciation of the necessity for the dispersion and the protection 
of aircraft.  Among other things he said:

"On all fields the planes have been kept lined up on 
the field where they would suffer terrific loss.  As I wrote 
you in my letter of February 19th some work has been done 
towards the preparation of emergency fields on outlying 
islands, but in no case have arrangements been complete for 
the dispersion of the planes in the vicinity of the field or 
the preparation of bunkers to protect them.  I asked for 
money and Engineer troops to do this work. The pursuit 
planes must necessarily be protected on the Island of Oahu 
on account of their limited cruising radius."  (R. 21-22)

In this letter he also discussed at length the question of anti-
aircraft defense.

On March 28, 1941, General Marshall replied to this letter as 

"Your proposal for relieving congestion by the 
construction of one additional field and by the dispersion 
of grounded aircraft in protected bunkers at existing 
airfields is undoubtedly sound.  As soon as you have 
submitted sufficient details to support the defense of the 
anticipated expenditures, funds for those purposes will be 
included in estimates."

On April 14, General Short again wrote General Marshall and 
amongst other things reported progress, as follows:

"Knowing that you are very much interested in the 
progress that we are making in cooperating with the Navy, I 
am enclosing the following agreements made with them:

"1. Joint Coastal Frontier Defense Plan Hawaiian 
Department and Fourteenth Naval District.  Annex No. VII, 
Section VI, Joint Security Measure.

"2. Agreement signed by the Commander of the Hawaiian 
Air Force and Commander, Naval Base Defense Air Force to 
implement the above agreement.

"3. Field Orders No. 1 NS (Naval Security) putting 
into effect for the Army the provisions of the joint 

"I have found both Admiral Kimmel and Admiral

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Bloch very cooperative and we all feel steps have been taken 
which make it possible for the Army and Navy Air Forces to 
act together and with unity of command as the situation 

"We still have some detail work to do with reference 
to coordinating the air force and the antiaircraft defense.  
I hope we shall arrive at something on that in the near 
future.  The more I go into the details the more I am 
becoming convinced that it will be necessary for us to set 
up an air defense command."  (R. 26-27)

On May 2, 1941, Short wired General Marshall as to the sums of 
money needed for the construction of airports and other defense projects 
totaling over $27,000,000.  General Short followed this up with a letter 
on May 2 to General Marshall in further explanation of his radiogram 
forwarding supporting data.

On May 5, 1941, General Marshall wrote General Short acknowledging 
the receipt of these estimates and supporting data, saying:

"The matter of locating strongpoints at various points 
throughout the Island looks sound to me, and authority to go 
ahead on the leasing of land parcels was radioed on April 
22nd.  War Plans and the Air Corps are still looking into 
the matter of the additional airdrome on Oahu, and I expect 
to have an answer for you in a short time.


"It is most gratifying to have you say that everything 
is going along extremely well and do not hesitate to write 
at any time."  (R. 28)

On May 29, 1941, General Short furnished General Marshall a 
complete report on current maneuvers, the plans for the organization of 
the ground and the construction of field fortification, and the plans 
for repelling a serious attack, and reporting his theory of the defense 
of Hawaii, saying:

Page 72

"My theory of the defense of Hawaii is based upon the 

"1. Complete organization of the ground at all important 

"2. Holding of the most important field fortifications 

"3. Holding of large mobile reserves centrally located with 
sufficient motor transportation to move all reserves at 
once if necessary.

"4. Detailed plans for the employment of reserve with 
complete reconnaissance and reserves actually rehearsed 
in carrying out of the plans.

"5. All troops to be highly trained in delaying action and 

On July The Adjutant General sent General Short the following 

"For your information stop Deduction from information 
from numerous sources is that the Japanese government has 
determined upon its future policy which is supported by all 
principal Japanese political and military groups stop This 
policy is present one of watchful waiting involving probably 
aggressive action against the maritime provinces of Russia 
if and when the Siberian garrison has been materially reduce 
in strength and it becomes evident that Germany will win a 
decisive victory in European Russia stop Opinion is that Jap 
Activity in the south will be for the present confined to 
seizure and development of naval comma army and air bases in 
Indo China although an advance against the British and Dutch 
cannot be entirely ruled out stop The Neutrality pact with 
Russia may be abrogated stop They have ordered all Jap 
vessels in US Atlantic ports to be west of Panama Canal by 
first of August stop Movement of Jap shipping from Japan has 
been suspended and additional merchant vessels are being 
requisitioned end."

This wire contained notation by the Chief of Staff of July 7, 

On July 11, 1941, General Short asked the location of a new 
airfield on the Island of Oahu.

On July 25, 1941, General Short reported to General

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Marshall the Joint Air Arrangements of the Army, Navy, and 
exchange of facilities such as airfields.  On July 25, 1941, a very 
significant message was sent by the Chief of Staff and the Chief of 
Naval Operations as a joint dispatch to General Short warning him of the 
application of economic sanctions against Japan on July 26, particularly 

"Chief of Naval Operations and the Army Chief of Staff 
do not anticipate immediate hostile reaction by Japanese 
through the use of military means, but you are furnished 
this information in order that you may take appropriate 
precautionary measure against any possible eventualities."

On August 19, 1941, General Marshall wrote General Short as to the 
establishment of an airfield base for the 15th Pursuit Group and his 
reasons for so doing. This brings to conclusion the communications 
between the Chief of Staff and General Short to October 1, 1941.

2. SHORT'S STAFF:  Short brought one, Colonel Phillips to Hawaii with 
the view to making him his Chief of Staff, and to train him for that 
assignment he placed him successively in various sections of his General 
Staff.  On November 1 Colonel Phillips was made Chief of Staff.  
Evidence indicates that Phillips failed to measure up to that most 
responsible and important assignment -- the "alter ego" of the 
Commanding General; that he was but a weak echo of his Commander and 
failed to furnish him, as his principal adviser, with vigorous and 
candid advice of high professional character and with a competent vision 
and knowledge of what was taking place or might take place.

His administration of the staff, as we view it, was weak

Page 74

and reflected itself in the work of the several General Staff sections 
and in the output thereof as a whole.  While the various Assistant 
Chiefs of Staff testified that harmony existed, the results are more 
important in their conclusive effect that there was a lack of requisite 
harmony and teamwork and it was quite evident to the Board that their 
testimony was colored by their very evident loyalty to General Short.
Phillips was recognized by the staff as without force and far too 
weak for a position of such importance. [1] Short's selection of 
Phillips appears to have been a mistake.  An examination of Phillips' 
testimony as to his conception of his duty and what he did and failed to 
do in aiding Short to competent decisions in critical situations, is 
sufficient evidence of the matter.  (R. 1134-1144)  In justice to 
Phillips it should be pointed out that while he was Chief of Staff he 
never was present at important Navy conferences, (R. 393-394, 534), and 
that information of important and vital events came to him second-
Although Short did not insulate himself from his staff, he had 
Phillips conduct most of the staff conferences and apparently rarely 
dealt with his principal staff officers.  He delegated to his staff 
little more than mere routine duties.  His direct relationship with his 
G-2 seemed particularly inadequate in view of the then existing tense 
situation.  (R. 393, 519, 520, 521)  Although he frequently visited and 
consulted with his principal subordinate commanders he held no periodic 
conferences, and his second


[1] R. 265, 1408-1409, 1946, 1977-1978, 2625-2626.

Page 75

in command, General Burgin, was not taken into his confidence as to 
existing conditions nor was his advise sought.  (R. 2625)


There is no question that Short made many demands for equipment, 
defense construction, and personnel.  He was active and diligent in this 
matter.  Except as to aircraft and anti-aircraft, his command appears to 
have been well supplied.  In many instances, long delays were incurred 
in the approval of defense construction and making funds available 
therefor and some of the recommended defense construction was 
disapproved by the War Department.

4. SHORT'S REORGANIZATION OF DIVISIONS: Short converted the square 
division, known as the Hawaiian Division, into two triangular divisions 
and equipped them with unusually heavy fire power in both artillery and 
machine guns as a basis for future expansion in time of war.

General Maxwell Murray, commanding the 25th Division, testified:

"General Grunert: And in your division you had what 

"General Murray: I had the Eighth, Eleventh, and 
Thirteenth Field Artillery, but it is not generally known 
that we had practically doubled the gun strength of the 
brigade before the 75-mm. gun batteries;  the Eighth and the 
Thirteenth were 75-mm. gun regiments, and each of those 
batteries had eight guns to the battery instead of four.  
The Eleventh was the 155-howitzer regiment, but they were in 
addition manning two batteries of 155 guns, and some 240-mm. 
howitzers.  The 75 regiments both had 240-mm. howitzers 
assigned to them, too." (R. 3076-77)

Page 76

5. SHORT'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NAVY: Turning from Short's efforts to 
build up the physical installations and equipment of Hawaii and his 
staff, and the successful conversion of his single square division into 
two triangular division on which his staff seemed primarily engaged, we 
come to his actions with the Navy.  Acting upon General Marshall's 
instructions and admonitions of February 7, 1941, which seemed to 
greatly impress him, Short succeeded in establishing an amiable 
relationship with Admiral Kimmel, Admiral Bloch and Admiral Bellinger.
As stated hereinafter, he entered into a series of agreements with 
the Navy.  Suffice it to say that these agreements, while admirable in 
concept and in many particulars equally admirable in the proposed plan 
of administration, under the handicap of joint action by cooperation 
instead of unity of command, were of quite limited effectiveness because 
neither the Army nor the Navy had sufficient means to properly implement 
The agreements were difficult of execution.  To make them 
effective would have taken skilled professional officers of both 
services, guided by a well organized composite staff, and practiced in 
operational tests.
The agreements themselves were not to go into effect until either 
a period of strained relations occurred, or M-Day was declared, or in 
the actual event of war.  Neither the Army nor Navy seemed to appreciate 
this defect.
Short apparently mistook the conduct of "war by contrast" for a 
conduct of "war by command".
Even without the full means of putting these agreements physically 
into effect, had the equipment and material available been utilized, had 
there been in existence a

Page 77

detailed plan of operation of the staff and lower echelons, and had 
sound judgment been exercised in the selection of the alert, the 
disaster of Pearl Harbor undoubtedly would have been materially 
mitigated, if not wholly avoided.

(For a full discussion of the agreements see p. 88 to p. 97.)


A further step, and one of great import, taken by Short was the 
study that he initiated through his staff with a view to abandoning the 
Field Order No. 1, in vogue under the regime of General Herron, and 
substituting his temporary Standard Operating Procedure, which was 
published tentatively on July 14, 1941.  The final draft of this vital 
document came out on November 5, 1941 (R. 283), and provided for three 
types of alerts, which are defined by Short as follows:

"Our Alert No. 1 was a defense against sabotage, 
espionage, and subversive activities without any threats 
from the outside.

"Alert No. 2 included all these sabotage measure in 
No. 1, and, in addition, defense against air attacks and 
surface and submarine attacks.

"Alert No. 3 was a defense against an all-out attack 
where everybody moved to their battle stations and carried 
out their duties as if there was a possible attempt at 
landing in sight."  (R. 283)

Short says that he sent ten copies to the Navy.  (R. 395, 400) He 
says he sent a copy to Washington. (R. 431) Alert No. 1 was purely 
antisabotage.  Its effect when executed was to concentrate the planes in 
groups, wing-tip to wing-tip, where they were vulnerable from the air 
but less vulnerable from sabotage on the ground.  He said he did this 
because of

Page 78

his deficiency of personnel in protecting his planes against sabotage.  
If they had been put in dispersed position about the fields within 
bunkers, they would have been less vulnerable to wholesale destruction 
from the air.  This alert concentrated equipment and personnel and in 
effect set up almost perfect conditions for a successful enemy air 
Alerts Number 2 and Number 3, on the contrary, constituted wide 
dispersion of men and equipment in battle positions, with ammunition at 
the guns and troops and planes in positions of readiness for action and 
maximum protection.  Under Alert Number 1, the earliest time in which 
planes were planned to get off the ground was four hours, while under 
Alerts Number 2 and Number 3 available aircraft is ready and can take to 
the air in from seven to eight minutes.  Likewise, in connection with 
putting into action the antiaircraft guns and other similar 
establishments, the contrast between Alert Number 1 and Alert Numbers 2 
and 3 was the difference between minutes and hours.
As the entire attack upon Pearl Harbor did not extend beyond 
approximately three hours, it is obvious that the selection of the 
correct alert was vital.  Historically, and by way of precedent, Short 
had before him the action of General Herron in the preceding year of an 
all-out alert under Field Order No. 1 of Herron by which complete 
dispersal of planes and troops and guns was effected, with ammunition at 
the guns.  The record shows (Colonel Capron and other witnesses - r. 
1398, 2025, 2720, 2728, 2772-2773, 3096-3097) that there was no 
disturbance of the civilian population as a result of the action by 
Herron.  This is significant, in view

Page 79

of the fact, as will later appear, that General Short gives that 
explanation as one of his primary reasons for the selection of Alert 
Number 1, because he might alarm the population.  (R. 427-428, 532-533)
It should be kept in mind that the civilian population was 
accustomed to the continued movements of the Army and Navy in their 
frequent maneuvers and practice operations.  Much of the civilian 
population in this instance was living practically in the midst of one 
of the greatest military and naval installations anywhere, so that their 
state of mind would be far different from that of people on the mainland 
unaccustomed to such sights.  Then, too, the newspapers ofttimes 
contained much more exciting news, threats and disturbing events, than 
anything that an alert could stir up, either by the Army or Navy or 
both.  The explanations therefore lacks both substance and credibility.
At this point the question of sabotage which led to the selection 
and implementation of Alert No. 1 should be examined. No single instance 
of sabotage occurred while Short was in command up to December 7.  It 
was true that there were 35,000 aliens of Japanese origin and there was 
a total of 160,000 or about 37% of the population of Japanese origin 
affiliations (R. 289), but in no case was there any instance of 
misbehavior, despite a very exhaustive investigation being made 
constantly by the F.B.I. and by G-2, as well as by Naval Intelligence.
We have investigated the state of mind and the information as to 
the actions of the Japanese population in an endeavor to understand why 
it was that General Short adopted his antisabotage alert on November 27 
in the face of the

Page 80

increasing international tension, and of his own estimate and that of 
the Navy that an air attack was the most dangerous for of attack likely 
to be encountered.  We  therefore resorted to the testimony of a great 
variety of witnesses in all walks of life in Honolulu, resident there 
during 1941, and inquired of their feelings and views and the whole 
situation as to the Japanese population.
We could find no substantial evidence of any fear by these 
witnesses, including some of the best-informed leaders in the civil life 
of the Islands, that the Japanese would commit acts of sabotage.  Their 
knowledge was based upon long residence in the Islands and experience 
with the Japanese.  Governor Poindexter, newspaper editors like Raymond 
S. Coll, of the Honolulu Advertiser, United States District Attorney 
Angus Taylor, Shiver, head of the F.B.I., General Wells, executive vice-
president of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, and Walter Francis 
Dillingham, president of the Oahu Railway and Land Company and owner or 
director of many other enterprises in the Islands, concurred with many 
other witnesses such as ranch owners, government officials, leaders in 
business, that the risk of sabotage, so long as the Army and Navy were 
in a predominant position, before an actual landing and show of success 
by the Japanese, was a relatively minor matter.  However, the Army was 
sabotage-minded.  There appeared to be no substantial basis for this 
fear other than speculation as to what a large body of citizens and 
aliens of Japanese ancestry might do in case of stress.

Page 81

7. NAVY LONG-DISTANCE RECONNAISSANCE:  He assumed that the Navy was 
conducting long-distance reconnaissance, and in this he was joined by a 
large group of ranking subordinates, but an inquiry by him, if it had 
been made, would have soon revealed the fact that his assumption that 
the task forces went out for conducting reconnaissance at long distance 
was not true.  Such reconnaissance as they were conducting was only 
incident to the maneuvers of the task forces of the fleet, who were 
operating for training purposes and were looking for Japanese submarines 
so as not to interfere with their training operations. The Navy was 
submarine- and training-minded.  (R. 1527, 1600, 1725, 1773, 1802)
It should have been apparent upon examination of the facts by him 
that any such operations of the task forces were not only intermittent 
and limited in scope but they could not possibly cover the entire 360 
degrees around the Island.  A further understanding by him of the actual 
facts would have disclosed very promptly, as it did to his air force 
subordinates, that the Navy did not have any means for such long-
distance reconnaissance, even though under the agreements the Army on 
call was to supply a substantial portion of the long-range aircraft for 
this purpose.  In fact, the Army had at the time of Pearl Harbor 
available for this purpose only six planes capable of this work.
The Navy acceptance of responsibility for long-distance 
reconnaissance is set forth in paragraph 18(I) of the Joint Coastal 
Frontier Defense Plan, which provides:

Page 82

"18. NAVY.  The Commandant, FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT, shall 
provide for:


"i. Distant reconnaissance." (R. 1745)

The purpose of long-distance reconnaissance, which the Navy 
assumed in its agreements with the Army, was to discover hostile naval 
forces and particularly carriers before they could launch an attack.  
The area of search extended two to six hundred miles from the shore.  It 
was assumed by Short that the presence of task forces of the Navy at sea 
insured such reconnaissance being conducted.  Long-distance 
reconnaissance was obviously the very heart of the defense of Oahu 
because upon its results would depend not only the opportunity to 
destroy the carriers and carrier-borne planes of the Japanese but also 
put the forces on Oahu on the alert for an effective reception of the 
attack if it got through.  But, as elsewhere stated, this long-distance 
reconnaissance was not being conducted by the Navy and such air 
reconnaissance as was being conducted was for the purpose of clearing 
the area of submarines where the fleet was in training.  The inshore 
reconnaissance by the Army, up to twenty miles from shore, was 
substantially for the same purpose.
The record showed it was the well-considered estimate of the Army 
and Navy commanders and their staffs that carriers and their supporting 
craft would attempt to approach Pearl Harbor, arriving in position at 
dark preceding the dawn of the day on which the attack was to be made.  
(R. 106)  Under the protection of darkness 300 additional miles could be 
covered so that at dawn the attack could be launched within

Page 83

approximately 300 miles from shore.  This is apparently substantially 
what actually did happen.  (Roberts Record 556-F)
The conception and estimate of the situation was correct; steps 
taken to meet it were either absent completely or so defective as to 
amount to little.  The Navy had available for long-distance 
reconnaissance, from November 27 to December 7, 1941, 50 PBY's and the 
Army had six heavy bombers while at least 270 planes would have been 
required as a minimum for conducting such a reconnaissance if a 360-
degree area around Oahu was to be covered.  (R. 1762, 1766) It is 
significant that in the joint Army-Navy plan of 1935 distant 
reconnaissance was made a mission of the Army but Short and Bloch agreed 
early in 1941, in the joint plan for the defense of the Hawaiian 
frontier and for the employment of the Army-navy Air Forces, to place 
the responsibility for distant reconnaissance on the Navy, leaving to 
the Army reconnaissance only about 20 miles from shore.  This is due to 
the fact that almost all of the planes suitable for distant 
reconnaissance were naval.  This Joint Coastal Frontier Defense Plan was 
O.K.'d by Kimmel and approved by the War Department.
The result was that the critical band of sea around Hawaii (the 
600- to 900-mile area) was not patrolled.  Observations therein was 
infrequent and incidental.  Admiral Kimmel reached a decision that the 
few planes available would be wholly ineffective for this purpose and 
employed them otherwise.  (R. 1763)
Both Admiral Kimmel and General Short were conversant with these 
conditions.  (R. 375, 1763, 4438-4439) It was obvious,

Page 84

therefore, that a Japanese task force with carriers could launch an 
attack upon Oahu with a reasonable certainty of success since its 
discovery prior to such launching would have been purely accidental and 
its chances of discovery remote.
An early alert by the Navy to the Army would have permitted of a 
dispersion of its planes with the result that they could have been 
aloft, ready to intercept the attack, and the damage done would have 
been greatly lessened.
The remaining factor for reconnaissance and detection was in the 
Aircraft Warning System, which was a responsibility of the Army. [1] The 
Army had put into operation in the fall of 1941, on a training basis, 
which was operating for all practical purposes, a number of mobile radar 
sets and an aircraft information center.  That it was in operating 
condition, even with the state of training of the personnel that then 
existed in late November and early December 1941 was amply proven by the 
successful operation of the system during previous tests and exercises 
and of the station that discovered the attacking Japanese force 132 
miles from the Island and the correct interpretation by the two enlisted 
men operating the station, who duly reported the presence of a strange 
force but were told by an inexperienced and only partially trained Air 
Force lieutenant to "forget it".  This was at 0702 on December 7, 1941.
If this information had been transmitted to the Air Force and to 
the Navy the latter would have had the anti-aircraft weapons on its 
ships in action, since only three to five minutes were required for that 
purpose, the Army anti-aircraft

[1] See p. 147 for complete study of construction difficulties of 
an aircraft warning system, signal difficulties, and how the enemy fleet 
was discovered.

Page 85

system could have been alerted and many of the Army planes dispersed and 
some could have gotten off the ground.
The only other reconnaissance instrumentality available was that 
being operated by the Navy.
It was functioning officially in the latter part of 1941 and was 
constantly supplying information of the greatest value to important 
naval commanders, a part of which information was communicated to 
General Short by Admiral Kimmel.  (R. 1771-1772)
The one notable and tragic exception was the failure to advise 
General Short that on or about November 25 a Japanese task force was 
discovered in the Marshall Islands, in which force there were reported 
as present two or three carriers, 15 to 20 submarines, and possibly 
other vessels.  (R. 361)  About the first of December radio contact was 
lost with this force as it apparently went into radio silence, which was 
known to be by the Navy the third and last and most dangerous phase of 
the movement of the enemy fleet.  (R. 1654-1655, 1662)  The loss of such 
contact of a threatening fleet in the year preceding was the occasion 
for a directive from Washington for an all-out alert by which all troops 
went into the field with live ammunition and remained there for six 
So here again, as in the case of the Army radar system, there was 
a failure of transmission of the information by the Navy to the Army as 
the Army had failed to transmit its radar information on the morning of 
December 7th to the Navy.  Such a Japanese task force in the Marshall 
Islands was 72 hours away from Pearl Harbor and nearly a thousand miles 
closer to Pearl Harbor than the Japanese fleet resident in Japan, from 

Page 86

the main attack was expected if it ever did arrive. (R. 106-107)
After extensive testimony had been given before this Board on the 
Jaluit task force and the fact that there was long belief that it was 
from Jaluit that the attacking force had moved against Pearl Harbor, 
there was produced in Hawaii the more certain proof that this force had 
assembled at Tankan Bay in northern Japan and had moved from that point 
eastward and then southward for the attack, leaving Tankan Bay on the 
27th-28th of November 1941.  If this proof be accepted of the later 
naval witnesses as against the testimony of the earlier naval witnesses, 
who seemed equally well informed, it does not change the situation.  The 
Navy failed to give the Army a very vital and important piece of 
In conclusion, the last elements in the tragic situation was the 
failure of the subordinate officers of the Navy to report to the Army 
the presence in the outer harbor, on the early morning of December 7, at 
about 0630, of a Japanese submarine which was sunk by naval action (the 
destroyer "U.S.S. Ward" and a naval patrol plane) about 0633 to 0645 
hours, which would have indicated that something was on the move and the 
whole naval and military establishment should have been correspondingly 
alerted.  The "Ward" reported this action to the Naval Chief of Staff.  
The Army was not notified.  (R. 536-537; Roberts Record 1725)
The situation as to this reconnaissance is best set forth in 
excerpts in testimony from senior commanders.  The 

Page 87

long-distance patrol of the Navy consisted of only two or three PBY's 
and it was "nothing to amount to much."  (R. 1820)  General Martin said: 
"I complained to Admiral Bellinger about the lack of patrolling that was 
being done.  'Well', he said, 'this is all that I have.  This is all I 
can put up'." (R. 1822)

"General Frank: But so far as there having been a 
reconnaissance for the actual protection of Oahu, such 
continuous reconnaissance had not been done?"

"Admiral Bloch: That is correct; and that was a matter 
subject to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.  I think 
that might as well be cleared.  He would be the man to order 
that, in my opinion."  (R. 1527)

As to Army reconnaissance, General Mollison testified that such 
reconnaissance as was being conducted from Bellows Field did not operate 
on Sundays, saying, "I'm sure it did not. It may have on this Sunday, 
but I doubt very much if it did."  (R. 812)  So far as inshore patrol is 
concerned, he said that the Army Air Forces did so little that it would 
amount to "a token payment only".  (R. 824)

"General Rudolph: On that particular Sunday morning I 
understood they didn't have a boat out -- an airplane, 
seaplane." (R. 1232)

"General Frank: But you understand that they were not 
out on that morning?"

"General Rudolph: So I was informed."  (R. 1233)

"General Grunert:  Then, according to the instructions 
under which you were functioning you had no responsibility 
for distant air reconnaissance?

"Admiral Bloch:  There was no distant air 
reconnaissance ordered in that order.  That is the only 
order that I know which was operative.

Page 88

"General Grunert:  But actually was there some distant 
air reconnaissance being made from time to time or 

"Admiral Bloch: I do not know.  I do not know whether 
there was or not.  That would not be under me." (R. 1484)

With reference to distant reconnaissance, means of performing it 
under the joint air agreement, Admiral Bloch testified:

"So I had no implements to perform distant 
reconnaissance in the 14th Naval District force." (R. 1484)

"General Grunert:  Do you know on the morning of the 
7th of December whether any such planes were in the air on 
any reconnaissance mission?

"Admiral Bloch: I hear planes taking off.  I do not 
know exactly what missions they were on, but there were 
planes in the air." (R. 1494)

So now let us turn to the agreements upon which Short placed such 
reliance for protection by Naval long-distant reconnaissance and joint 
air action with the Navy.

8. AGREEMENTS BETWEEN ARMY AND NAVY:  The basic document governing the 
relationship of the Army and Navy in the formulation of defense plans 
for the Hawaiian Islands is contained in the document entitled "War 
Plans, Joint Action of the Army and Navy, 1935".  This was prepared in 
pursuance of the directive of the Rainbow War Plan.  It covers the over-
all policies of the functions and agreements between the Army and Navy 
as to their relative responsibilities in the Joint Coastal Frontier 
Defense Plan, Hawaiian Coastal Frontier.
The category of defense in this document which applied to Hawaii 
was Category D.  This category was defined as "Coastal Frontiers That 
May Be Subject to Major Attack." Under this

Page 89

category the coastal defense areas should, in general, be provided with 
means of defense, both Army and Navy, required to meet enemy naval 
operations preliminary to joint operations.  All available means of 
defense will generally find application.  ... In addition, antiaircraft 
defense of important area outside of harbor defenses should be 
organized; ... Long-range air reconnaissance will be provided. ... (Page 
And the purpose of coastal frontier defense was stated to be 
"Protecting our Military and Civil Installations and Facilities; ... 
Insuring the security of those portions of our coastal frontiers which 
are vital to military, industrial and commercial operations."
It was also provided that there be furnished "a communication and 
intelligence system to include an aircraft warning service among the 
elements of the land defense with provision for the prompt exchange of 
information or instructions with the Navy."  This was a responsibility 
of the Army.
Pursuant to the foregoing plan, an agreement was entered into 
entitled "Joint Hawaiian Coastal Frontier Defense Plan." (Prepared by 
the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, and the Commandant, 14th 
Naval District.)  This agreement was signed by Admiral Bloch and General 
Short and provided the fundamental plan for the defense of Hawaii.
The third agreement was that entitled "Joint Air Agreement", 
signed March 28, 1941.  This document was prepared by Major General 
Martin, U.S. Army Air Force, and Admiral Bellinger, as Base Defense Air 
Force Commander, and signed by Admiral Bloch and General Short.  It 
provided for the combined air action as follows:

Page 90

"Joint air attacks upon hostile surface vessels will 
be executed under the tactical command of the Navy.  The 
Department Commander will determine the Army Bombardment 
strength to participate in each mission, etc."

"Defensive air operation over and in the immediate 
vicinity of Oahu will be executed under the tactical command 
of the Army.  The Naval Base Defense Officer will determine 
the Navy fighter strength to participate in these missions.  
With due consideration to the tactical situation existing, 
the number of fighter aircraft released to Army control will 
be the maximum practical.  This force will remain available 
to the Army for repeated patrols or combat or for 
maintenance of the required alert status, until, due to a 
change in the tactical situation, it is withdrawn by the 
Naval Base Defense Officer and reverts to Navy control."  
(Roberts Record 555)

This Joint Air Agreement of March 21, 1941, signed by Bloch and 
Short, was implemented by certain additional documents signed by 
Bellinger and Martin as operating plans.  The date of these operating 
plans was April 9,  1941.  (Roberts Record 556a-0 vol. 5)
Under this agreement Admiral Bloch, not an air officer, was acting 
on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief in signing the document, and there 
operated under him Admiral Bellinger, who had the command of the planes, 
so far as the Navy could implement the Agreement, as Commander of the 
Air Base Force.  Bellinger, however, was under the command of Admiral 
Kimmel, and Bloch, who was charged with the responsibility for the 
operation orders and plans of operation for the base defense air force, 
had no air force with which to implement the Agreement.  Bellinger had 
the job to do and such means as existed to do it with was Fleet 
aviation.  Bloch had supervisory control over Bellinger, but the 
Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Kimmel, had to approve the Agreement. (R. 

Page 91

Bloch was called upon to designate the condition of readiness of 
the aircraft, but did not have control of the aircraft, the readiness of 
which he was to determine.  The confusion inherent from the Navy's 
organization is best expressed in the following question:

"General Grunert:  Who would the Commander-in-Chief of 
the Pacific Fleet hold responsible in case something went 
wrong?  Would he hold you or Bellinger?

"Admiral Bloch: I do not know."  (R. 1522)

This agreement was the result of a report of a Joint Army and Navy 
board dated October 31, 1941, convened to prepare recommendations 
covering the allocation of aircraft operating areas in the Hawaiian 
Islands.  This report was signed by Major General Martin and Admiral 
Bellinger. (R. 1581)
Under such circumstances the Army had a difficult time in 
determining under which of the three shells (Kimmel, Bloch, or 
Bellinger) rested the pea of performance and responsibility.
Plans which must wait to be put into practice and only become 
operative when war strikes under all the unexpected and changing 
conditions of an attack inevitably prove unsound in practice.  The basic 
difficulty of the Short-Bloch-Kimmel agreements was inherent in all such 
agreements, as they constituted a vain paper attempt to predict war 
procedure without having properly tested out the proposed arrangements 
in training and by joint staff action to see if they were practical 
The proof of the soundness of the plans is whether they work, and 
the Short-Bloch-Kimmel agreements were never tested out far enough to 
find out if their plans were sound in practice.  There was inadequate 
practice of them to enable

Page 92

the respective organizations to acquire that automatic facility in their 
execution so that the plans would be carried out effectively despite all 
the stresses, strains and unexpected developments to personnel and 
equipment that were incident of a conflict.  We desire to emphasize this 
synthetic structure of agreements and plans based upon them.  The 
following analysis of these agreements shows that:
There were two joint agreements.  The first was known as the Joint 
Coastal Frontier Defense Plan.  It was based on the war plan and the 
"Joint Action of the Army and Navy" of 1935.  The second agreement was 
the Joint Air Force Agreement signed by Admiral Bloch and General Short 
and based upon it as Appendix #7 was an operating plan worked out by 
General Martin and Admiral Bellinger.
As Admiral Bloch said:

"Ordinarily it would no be operative."  (R. 1478)

He also testified:

"The plan was never operative as a plan because the 
War and Navy Departments never ordered it to become 
operative, either in part or in whole.  The local commanders 
never mutually agreed to have it become operative in part."  
(R. 1474)

And again he testified:

"General Russell:  So that respecting missions of the 
Army and Navy, according to your construction of the 
Agreement, reconnaissance missions were not effective until 
December 7, 1941?

"Admiral Bloch: Under the circumstances that obtained, 
that is the way it happened.  I will say that I accepted the 
responsibility I that agreement for distant reconnaissance 
for the Navy, and I did my utmost to implement my 
responsibility by demanding patrol planes for that purpose, 
but I never had any; I never had one."  (R. 1487)

The agreements entered into between the Navy and the Army

Page 93

had two basic defects.  First, they did not become operative until an 
emergency arose.  The agreements said (paragraph 15(c), 2):

"Such parts of this plan as are believed necessary 
will be put into effect prior to M-Day as ordered by the War 
and Navy Departments or as mutually agreed upon by local 
commanders."  (R. 1584)

The local commanders as testified to by Admiral Bellinger were 
understood to be General Short and Admiral Bloch.  These commanders 
apparently took no action to "mutually agree" to implement parts of the 
plan and, evidently were going to let the agreements go until an 
emergency arose, when they became operative automatically. As Admiral 
Bellinger testified:

"That could have been done at anytime by the 
commandant of the 14th Naval District, who was Commander, 
Naval Base Defense Air Force, if it was approved by and 
agreed upon by General Short."  (R. 1591)

But it was not done.  The selection of M-Day to initiate the 
putting of the joint plan and agreements thereunder into effect 
according to the terms of the agreement just quoted was a function of 
the War and Navy Departments.  They took no action to put it into effect 
although a copy of this agreement was forwarded to the War Department 
and presumably to the Navy Department.  (R. 1474)
The consequence was that not until the morning of December 7th did 
the agreement become operative, when it was too late to have gotten the 
benefit of the cooperative action that it implied, and the training 
which would result from this close teamwork by the Army and Navy.  As 
Admiral Bellinger testified:

"The Commander, Naval Base Defense Air Force, did not 
have the authority to place that organization in the 
functioning status, except in case of an actual emergency." 
(R. 1582)

Page 94

This brings us to the second defect: unit of command.  If that had 
been put into effect as provided in paragraph 9(b) of the Joint Hawaiian 
Coastal Frontier Defense Plan this air agreement would have become 
effective by reason of such unity of command.  As Admiral Bellinger 
against testified:

"I was not satisfied with the setup under the estimate 
and directives concerning the Naval Base Defense Air Force.  
I thought that it was necessary to have a unity of command 
to make such an operation a success.

"General Frank:  You mean a unity of command before 
something happened?

"Admiral Bellinger: Yes

"General Frank:  Rather than when it happened?

"Admiral Bellinger: Yes." (R. 1589)

Under the Joint Hawaiian Coastal Frontier Defense Plan the unity 
of command and could be put into effect either by the President of the 
United States or by joint agreements of the Secretary of War and the 
Secretary of the Navy or when the commanders of the Army and Navy forces 
agreed that the situation required unity of command who was to exercise 
it.  No one of these agencies took steps to effectuate what all of the 
witnesses have concurred in stating was the principal cause of 
difficulties on December 7, 1941, and the events leading up to and 
causing those difficulties, that is, unity of command.  (R. 1587-1588)

It is interesting to observe the reason why this air agreement was 
not put into effect, in addition to lack of equipment to make it 
effective.   As Admiral Bellinger testified:

"The placing of the Naval Base Defense Air Force 
organization into a functioning status

Page 95

would have necessitated the substantial cessation of 
training activities in order to concentrate on defense."  
(R. 1582)

Likewise General Short testified:

"General Martin and I talked over the situation and we 
felt that we should do nothing that would interfere with the 
training or ferrying group.  The responsibility was 
definitely on the Hawaiian Department.  It was up to us to 
get the ships there and get them there without loss; and we 
could not do it if we started them out with untrained crews.

"That had a great deal to do with my decision to go 
into Alert No. 1 rather than Alert No. 2 or No. 3." (R. 286)

"As I say, none of these fixed stations was in 
operation.  We had gotten, along in November, the mobile 
stations, and as soon as we got them we started using them 
right away; and when this message of the 27th came along, I 
prescribed that the Aircraft Warning Service would function 
those hours (4:00 to 7:00 A.M.). In addition to that, they 
had their normal training.  They trained then from 7 to 11, 
and they had maintenance work, work of the kind, from 12 to 
4."  (R. 298)

"By making it 4 hours (time for aircraft to get into 
the air) it gave the possibility to the men going ahead with 
recreation and athletics without being worried about getting 
that alert.  They could go right ahead with their normal 
functions.  They might have been out on a problem where it 
would take them an hour to get back in."  (R. 460)

"Alert No. 2 would have practically stopped the 
training of the Air Corps and the Antiaircraft Corps.  It 
would not have interfered seriously with the training of the 
infantry divisions."  (R. 528)

The reason for not so doing is shown in Kimmel's 

"We wanted to maintain our training status.  Up to the 
last minute we had received no orders to mobilize."  (R. 

Admiral Kimmel observed that while the responsibility was on the 
Commandant, 14th Naval District and himself, on behalf of the Navy, for 
putting this plan into effect, yet it would have been necessary to refer 
to Washington for a decision.  When asked why this would be so, he said:

Page 96

"It would have alarmed the population.  It might have 
been considered by Japan an overt act.  It would have tended 
to upset the Japanese-American relations, which we had been 
enjoined to maintain in status quo; and it would have 
required, so far as the Navy is concerned, certain movements 
of the fleet and certain action which should not have been 
taken without reference to the Department." (R. 1756)

Therefore it is apparent that the local commanders waited for 
Washington and Washington took no action under the Joint Hawaiian 
Coastal Frontier Defense Plan, relying upon Hawaii to do so; and that in 
turn meant that the Martin-Bellinger Air Plan of Cooperation, which 
depended upon the Joint Hawaiian Coastal Frontier Defense Plan, did not 
go into operation.
The second reason why the air plan was ineffective was that 
Admiral Bloch, Commandant of the 14th Naval District, as testified by 
Admiral Kimmel, "had no planes assigned to him at that time."  (R. 
1751), so that he could do nothing to carry it out.  As to the Army, 
Admiral Kimmel pointed out:

"There weren't any general headquarters Army aircraft 
available in Hawaii, and we knew that there weren't going to 
be any."  (R. 1753)

When asked why the Navy accepted responsibility for distant 
reconnaissance without any effective means of carrying it out, Admiral 
Kimmel testified "he accepted responsibility for distant reconnaissance, 
because he couldn't do anything else and be sensible."  (R. 1753)
Admiral Bellinger confirms Admiral Kimmel's statement of long-
distance reconnaissance means not being available.  (R. 1595, 1606)  
Therefore, paragraph 18 in the air agreement providing the Navy will 
furnish distant reconnaissance was without effect.  (R. 1605-1606) Bloch 
had no planes and such planes as Bellinger had were under command of 
Kimmel and were

Page 97

being used for other purposes in connection with reconnaissance with the 
fleet for protecting maneuver areas against submarines.

For the dual reason that the instrumentalities were not available 
and to the extent that any planes were available the use of them would 
have interfered with training, and for the further reason that the 
agreements were not to go into effect until an emergency, the Joint 
Hawaiian Coastal Frontier Defense Plan and the Martin-Bellinger Air 
Agreement signed by Short and Bloch were ineffectual.  The Army and Navy 
agreed that when and if the time came that they had to put the plan into 
effect, the documents could only show what the working scheme would be.  
The inherent weakness in making such plans was the fact of their not 
being operative in time to meet the attack.  Neither the local 
commanders nor Washington took steps to make them operative as they 
could have done.  (R. 1606-1607, 1609)  However, unity of command in 
Washington would have been a condition precedent to unity of command in 

9. ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION: The best indication of what the Army and 
Navy recognized as the primary danger to the defense of Hawaii is found 
in the estimate of the situation in the implementing, operating plans 
signed by Bellinger and Martin on April 9, 1941, in execution of the 
Joint Air Agreement of March 21, 1941.  This estimate was prophetic in 
its accuracy and called for vigorous implementation to meet the worst 
the enemy could do, as estimated in this document.  The document says:

"b. In the past Orange (Japan) has never preceded 
hostile action by a declaration of war.

"c. A successful, sudden raid against our

Page 98

ships and naval installations on Oahu might prevent 
effective defensive action by our forces in the Western 
Pacific for a long period.

"d.  It appears possibly that Orange (Japan) 
submarines and/or an Orange fast raiding force might arrive 
in Hawaiian waters with no prior warning from our 
intelligence Service. ...  II(s) Orange might send into this 
area one or more submarines, and/or one or more fast raiding 
forces composed of carriers supported by fast cruisers. ... 
III(b) It appears that the most likely and dangerous form of 
attack of Oahu would be an air attack.  It is believed that 
at present such an attack would most likely be launched from 
one or more carriers, which would probably approach inside 
of 300 miles.  ... (o?) In a dawn air attack there is a high 
probability that it would be delivered as a complete 
surprise in spite of any patrols we might be using and that 
it might find us in a condition of readiness under which 
pursuit would be slow to start. ..."  (Roberts Record 556-D-

It is also significant that in this estimate of the situation it 
was stated:

"Any single submarine attack might indicate the 
presence of a considerable undiscovered surface force, 
probably composed of fast ships accompanied by a carrier." 
(Roberts Record 556-F)

It will be recalled that a submarine appeared off the entrance to 
Pearl Harbor and was sunk at about 6:45 a.m. on December 7th, but was 
not reported by the Navy to the Army. Such a report would have been a 
sure warning of an hour before the attack of what was coming as 
recognized by paragraph 3(d) of the Estimate of the Situation, forming a 
part of the Martin-Bellinger Plan.

In reviewing the situation as Short knew it in order to judge of 
the information that he had upon which to premise a successful course of 
action, it is necessary both to take into consideration the background 
in the first chapter and of the official communications of those 

Page 99

of the situation at the time.
It will be recalled that Ambassador Grew had warned that State 
Department on January 27th by wire of the possibility of an air attack 
upon Pearl Harbor.  This possibility had already been apparently 
thoroughly considered by the War and Navy Departments, and it had been 
concluded that that was the strongest danger to Hawaii.  In early 
January, Admiral Richardson, with the concurrence of Admiral Kimmel and 
General Herron, had written at length to the Navy Department on this 
subject, with particular reference to the weaknesses of the Army 
defenses against air attack.  This letter and the resulting 
correspondence between the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of 
War must be read in light of the Joint Army and Navy Defense Plan of 
1935, which places upon the Army the following mission:

"b. Army - Hold Oahu against attacks by land, sea and 
air forces and against hostile sympathizers."

General Marshall testified, however, as follows:

"We anticipated, beyond a doubt, Japanese movement in 
Indo-China and the Gulf of Siam, and against the Malay 
Peninsula.  We anticipate an attack on Hawaii; the reason 
being that we thought, with the addition of more modern 
planes, that the defenses there would be sufficient to make 
it extremely hazardous for the Japanese to attempt such an 
attack."  (R. 9)

As a result, Secretary of Navy Knox wrote to Secretary of War 
Stimson on January 24, 1941, in part as follows:

"My Dear Mr. Secretary:

"The security of the U.S. Pacific Fleet while in Pearl 
Harbor and of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base itself, has been 
under renewed study by the Navy Department and forces afloat 
for the past several weeks.  This reexamination has been, in 
part, prompted by the increased gravity of the situation 
with respect to Japan, and by reports

Page 100

from abroad of successful bombing and torpedo-plane attacks 
on ships while in bases.  If war eventuates with Japan, it 
is believed easily possible that hostilities would be 
initiated by a surprise attack on the fleet or the naval 
base at Pearl Harbor.

"In my opinion, the inherent possibility of a major 
disaster to the fleet or naval base warrant taking every 
step as rapidly as can be done, that will increase the joint 
readiness of the Army and Navy to withstand a raid of the 
character mentioned above.

"The dangers envisioned in their order of importance 
and probability are considered to be:

(1) Air bombing attack
(2) Air torpedo-plane attack
(3) Sabotage
(4) Submarine attack
(5) Mining
(6) Bombardment by gunfire

"Defense for all but the first two appears to have 
been provided for satisfactorily."

It will be noted that an anxiety of Secretary Knox was as to air 
attack and that he was satisfied that precautions as to sabotage were 
sufficient by the Army.  It will be recalled that Admiral Richardson's 
letter stimulating this letter of Secretary Knox was based on 
Richardson's personal inspection and knowledge of the Army situation.
Secretary Knox concludes his letter with the following 
recommendations to the Army:

"Assign the highest priority to the increase of 
pursuit aircraft and anti-aircraft artillery, and the 
establishment of an air warning net in Hawaii...that the 
Army and Navy forces in Oahu agree on appropriate degrees of 
joint readiness for immediate action in defense against 
surprise aircraft raids against Pearl Harbor."

"(5) That joint exercises, designed to prepare Army 
and Navy forces in Oahu for defense against surprise 
aircraft raids, be held at least once weekly so long as the 
present uncertainty exists."

So this letter clearly outlined the considered judgment

Page 101

then existing that the most serious threat was an air attack and 
that all means should be taken to implement against it.

On February 7, 1941, the Secretary of War replied to this letter 
of the Secretary of the Navy under the subject "Air Defense of Pearl 
Harbor, Hawaii," and said:

"In reply to your letter of January 24, 1941, regarding the 
possibility of surprise attacks upon the fleet or naval base at Pearl 
Harbor, I wish to express complete concurrence as to the importance of 
this matter and of the urgency of our making every possible preparation 
to meet such a hostile effort..."

"(6) With respect to your other proposals for joint defense, I am 
forwarding a copy of your letter and of this reply to the Commanding 
General, Hawaiian Department, and am directing him to cooperate with the 
local naval authorities in making those measures effective."

On the same day another communication was addressed to General 
Short, and this time by General Marshall:

"Admiral Stark said that Kimmel had written him at length about 
the deficiencies of Navy materiel for the protection of Pearl Harbor.  
He referred specifically to planes and antiaircraft guns."

"The risk of sabotage and the risk involved in a surprise raid and 
by submarine, constitute the real peril of the situation.  Frankly, I do 
not see any landing threat in the Hawaiian Islands, as long as we have 
air superiority."

And not satisfied with this first letter, General Marshall on 
March 5, 1941, again addressed General Short, saying:

"I  would appreciate your early review of the situation in the 
Hawaiian Department with regard to defense from air attack.  The 
establishment of a satisfactory system of coordinating all  means 
available to this end is a *matter of first priority*."

And to that General Short replied on March 15, 1941, at length 
with reference to the vulnerability of Hawaii to air attack and the 
measures being taken to meet this situation.

Page 102

He points out that antisabotage measures and suppression of local 
disorders could be handled by battalions of National Guard, which come 
from the Islands.  The rest of the letter dealt with defenses against 
air attacks.  His estimate of the situation was:

"The most serious situation with reference to an air attack is the 
vulnerability of both the Army and Navy air fields to the attack."

Short realized the necessity for the dispersion of planes, the use 
of emergency fields on the outlying islands and the preparation of 
bunkers to protect the dispersed planes, as he discusses such a problem 
at length and its solution.  (R. 21-25)

On April 14, 1941, Short wrote the Chief of Staff sending him the 
Joint Coastal Frontier Defense Plan, Hawaiian Department and 14th Naval 
District, Annex No. VII, Section VI, Joint Security Measures; Agreement 
signed by the Commander of the Hawaiian Air Force and Commander, Naval 
Base Defense Air Force to implement the above agreement, and Field 
Orders No. 1-NS (Naval Security) putting into effect for the Army the 
provisions of the Joint Agreement.  (R. 26-27)

He also stated that Admiral Kimmel and Admiral Bloch and himself 
felt all steps had been taken "which make it possible for the Army and 
Navy Air Force to act together with the unity of command as the 
situation requires." (R. 27) [1]

This statement was in error at the time it was made, as the 
agreements could not be implemented for lack of means to do so in any 
material way and there was no unity of command, none


[1] Excerpts from letter dated April 14, 1941 (R. 27)

Page 103

proposed and none was ever put into effect under these agreements.  
Open hostilities were necessary to make the agreement operative.

This communication was acknowledged by General Marshall on May 

This brings us to the estimate of the air situation thus 
transmitted to the Chief of Staff on April 14th as indicating the best 
judgment in estimating the situation by General Martin and Admiral 
Bellinger and approved by General Short and Admirals Kimmel and Bloch.

It is a familiar premise of military procedure in estimating a 
situation *to select the most dangerous and disastrous type of attack 
the enemy may make and devote your primary efforts to meeting this most 
serious of the attacks*.   (R. 1121, 2662)  In the present instance, it 
was clearly recognized, not only in the foregoing correspondence, but in 
this formal joint estimate by the Army and Navy of the situation, *that 
the most serious attack to be met by the Army and Navy was an air attack 
by Japan*.  Herewith is the following statement from that estimate 
signed by the Army and Navy through General Martin and Admiral Bellinger 
and approved by Kimmel, Short and Bloch.  This estimate is prophetic in 
its accuracy and uncanny in its analysis of the enemy's intention.  

"2. Assumptions:


c. The Hawaiian Air Force is primarily concerned with the 
destruction of hostile carriers in this vicinity before they approach 
within range of Oahu where they can launch their bombardment aircraft 
for a raid or attack on Oahu.

e?.  Our most likely enemy, Orange, can probably employ a maximum 
of six carriers against Oahu.


c. ... The early morning attack is, therefore, the best plan of 
action open to the enemy.

"2. a. The most favorable plan of action open to the enemy, and 
the *action upon which we should base our plans of operation*, is the 
early morning attack in which the enemy must make good the following 
time schedule:

(1) Cross circle 881 nautical miles from Oahu at dawn of the day 
before attack.

(3) Launch his planes 233 nautical miles from Oahu at dawn the day 
of the attack.


"4. ... The sole purpose of the existence of the military 
establishment on Oahu, ground, and air, is for the defense of Oahu as an 
outlying naval base. ..."

"It has been said, and it is a popular belief, that Hawaii is the 
strongest outlying naval base in the world and could, therefore, 
withstand indefinitely attacks and attempted invasions.  Plans based on 
such convictions are inherently weak and tend to create a false sense of 
security with the consequent unpreparedness for offensive action."

Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, Created: 12/12/96 Updated: 12/12/96