ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF MR. KEEFE
The committee report is divided into five parts. Part I deals with the
diplomatic background of the Pearl Harbor attack. Part II describes the
actual attack and its aftermath. Part III discusses responsibilities in
Hawaii. Part IV discusses responsibilities in Washington, and Part V
includes certain recommendations of the committee. Scattered throughout
the entire five sections of the committee report are conclusions with
respect to individuals in charge of carrying out our diplomatic,
military, and naval obligations prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. I
find myself in agreement with most of these conclusions and
recommendations. The voluminous facts contained in the committee report
have been accurately assembled from the enormous record compiled by the
committee. Any criticism which I may have toward the marshaling of facts
in the committee report is directed to the manner in which such facts
have been used to sustain the various arguments and conclusions indulged
in in the committee report.
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-A
It correctly states that both Washington and Hawaii were surprised at
the attack upon Pearl Harbor. It is apparently agreed that both
Washington and Hawaii expected the initial attack to come in the Asiatic
area. What was done in Washington as well as what was done in Hawaii was
admittedly done in the light of the universal military belief that
Hawaii was not in danger from an initial attack by Japan. If this belief
was unjustified, as I believe it was, then the mistake lies on the
Washington doorstep just as much as it does upon that of Hawaii.
Throughout the long and arduous sessions of the committee in the
preparation of the committee report, I continuously insisted that
whatever "yardstick" was agreed upon as a basis for determining
responsibilities in Hawaii should be applied to the high command at
Washington. This indicates in a general way my fundamental objection to
the committee report. I feel that facts have been martialed [sic],
perhaps unintentionally, with the idea of conferring blame upon Hawaii
and minimizing the blame that should properly be assessed at Washington.
A careful reading of the committee report would indicate that the
analysis of orders and dispatches is so made as to permit criticism of
our commands in Hawaii while at the same time proposing a construction
which would minimize the possibility of criticism of those in charge at
I think it is true that none of the military chiefs at Washington or
Hawaii thought the attack would come at Pearl Harbor. I conclude hat
they all thought it would come first in the Far East. Obviously this was
a fatal mistake, and I agree that the mistake was without proper
justification and that neither Hawaii nor Washington should be excused
from criticism for having made it. I think that the facts in this record
clearly demonstrate that Hawaii was always the No. 1 point of danger and
that both Washington and Hawaii should have known it at all times and
acted accordingly. Consequently I agree hat the high command in Hawaii
was subject to criticism for concluding that Hawaii was not in danger.
However, I must insist that the same criticism with the same force and
scope should apply to the high command in Washington. It is in this
respect that I think the tenor of the committee report may be subject to
I fully agree with the doctrine relating to the placing of
responsibility in military officers in the field and their resulting
duty under such responsibilities. I agree that they must properly
sustain this burden in line with the high and peculiar abilities which
originally gave them their assignments.
In the execution of their vitally important duties, however, the
officers at the front in the field are fairly entitled to all aids and
help lad all information which can reasonably be sent to them from the
all-powerful high staff command in Washington. If both commands are in
error, both should be blamed for what each should have done and what
each failed to do respectively. 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.
In order to clearly appraise the contentions herein expressed, I feel
compelled to restate some of the basic military aspects of the Pearl
Harbor disaster as shown by the evidence.
266-B PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
MILITARY ASPECTS OF THE PEARL HARBOR DISASTER
During the year 1941 the United States Pacific Fleet was based in Pearl
Harbor in the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It had proceeded to the Hawaiian
area for Fleet exercises in the spring of 1940. Its scheduled return to
its regular bases on the west coast was delayed from time to time. From
these delays there gradually emerged evidence of the President's
decision to retain the Fleet in the Hawaiian area, to deter Japan from
aggression in the Far East. The Commander in Chief of the Fleet, Admiral
J. O. Richardson, protested this decision with a vigor which caused him
to be relieved of command He believed that the readiness of men and
ships of the Fleet for war operations would impress Japan rather than
its presence in Hawaii, where facilities to render it ready for war were
greatly inferior to those available on the west coast. Richardson was
succeeded in command by Admiral H. E. Kimmel in February 1941. The
appointment of Kimmel was made on his record as a capable officer. There
was no political or other favoritism involved. At this time the decision
to base the Fleet in Hawaii was an established fact. Pearl Harbor was
the only anchorage in the Hawaiian area offering any security. It was
then, however, an extremely deficient Fleet base. Its exposed position
rendered concealment of Fleet movements practically impossible in an
area filled with Japanese agents. The Army's equipment for antiaircraft
defense was meager. The local Army-Navy defense forces did not have
sufficient long-range patrol planes to perform effective distant
reconnaissance, even if the patrol planes of the fleet were made
available to augment the handful of Army reconnaissance planes.
Under these circumstances, the position of the Fleet in the Hawaiian
area was inherently untenable and dangerous. The Fleet would sacrifice
its preparations for war, and its potential mobility in war, if it
concentrated its resources on the defense of its base. Moreover, with
only four tankers suitable for fueling ships at sea, ships of the Fleet
had to come into Pearl Harbor for refueling, to say nothing of
maintenance and repair, and the necessary rest and relaxation of crews.
Once the ships were in Pearl Harbor, with its single channel, they were
a target for any successfully launched air attack from carrier-borne
planes. The severity of the attack might be mitigated, but damage to the
ships found in port was inevitable. To prevent a hostile carrier from
successfully launching planes required that it be first discovered and
attacked. Discovery, other than by lucky accident. Required air
reconnaissance of the perimeter of a circle of 800-mile radius from
Oahu. The Fleet did not at any time have patrol planes sufficient in
number to carry out such reconnaissance. The Japanese task force which
raided Oahu on December 7, 1941, was composed of six carriers. The
Pacific Fleet had on that date three carriers, one of which was on the
Pacific coast for repair, leaving only two immediately available in the
area of a prospective sea engagement. An engagement at sea would have
found the preponderant strength with Japan.
Although the Fleet was placed by the President in the Hawaiian area in
1940 as an implement of diplomacy and as a deterrent to Japan, its
strength was appreciably reduced in April and May of 1941. At that time,
one aircraft carrier, three battleships, four cruisers and eighteen
destroyers were detached from the Pacific Fleet and trans
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-C
ferred to the Atlantic. The President directed the Chief of Naval
Operations to consult the British Chiefs of Staff on the proposal to
effect this transfer. They gave their opinion "that the consequential
reduction in the strength of the United States Pacific Fleet would not
unduly encourage Japan" (exhibit 158, letter from Admiral Danckwerts to
Admiral Turner, April 28, 1941). The transfer to the Atlantic was then
carried out. The Commander in Chief of the United States pacific Fleet
was not asked for his opinion. The Chief of Naval Operations wrote him
about the proposed transfer stating "I am telling you, not arguing with
you" (exhibit 106, letter from Admiral Stark to Admiral Kimmel, dated
April 19, 1941).
The primary mission assigned the Pacific Fleet under existing Navy War
Plans was the making of raids on the Marshalls. These were to divert
Japanese strength from the so-called Malay barrier. No existing War Plan
of the United States in 1941 contemplated that the Pacific Fleet would
go to the rescue of the Philippines or resist Japanese naval forces
attacking the Philippines. The Pacific Fleet was so inferior to the
Japanese Navy in every category of fighting ship that such a mission was
considered too suicidal to attempt. The American public in 1941 was
deluded about the fighting strength of our Fleet in the Pacific, by
irresponsible utterances from men in authority. Japan was under no such
misconception. Her consular agents in the Hawaiian islands needed only
their eyesight, and possibly binoculars to appraise correctly the
strength of the Fleet.
An inferior Fleet, under enemy surveillance in an exposed naval base
without resources to protect it could only avert disaster by. Receiving
the best possible evidence of the intentions of its potential enemy. The
Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet in 1941 recognized that information was
essential to his making appropriate dispositions to meet any crisis. He
formally requested the Chief of Naval Operations that he "be immediately
informed of all important developments as they occur and by the quickest
secure means available"(exhibit 106, Official Letter CINCPAC to CNO,
dated May 26, 1941).
The best evidence of Japanese intentions in the year 1941, available to
the United States Government, were messages exchanged; between the
Government of Japan and her diplomatic consular agents abroad. These
were intercepted by the Army and Navy. These were decoded and translated
in Washington. The President, the Secretaries of State, War and Navy,
the Chief of Staff, and Chief oo Naval Operations regularly received
these intercepted messages.
The President and the other officials receiving the intercepted messages
in Washington prior to December 7, 1941, considered it likely that Japan
would attack the United States. At a meeting of the President and his
so-called War Council on November 25, 1941, according to Mr. Stimson's
notes the President stated: "that we were likely to be attacked perhaps
(as soon as) next Monday" (Stimson Statement, page 47). There was
abundant evidence in the intercepted messages that Japan intended to
attack the United States, Japan had fixed a deadline date of November
25, extended to November 29, for reaching a diplomatic agreement with
the United States. There were at least six Japanese messages emphasizing
this deadline. If the deadline date passed without agreement, the
Japanese government advised her Ambassadors in Washington: "Things are
266-D PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
matically going to happen." The necessity for agreement by the deadline
date was stressed by Japan in these terms: "The fate of Our Empire hangs
by the slender thread of a few days"; "We gambled the fate of our land
on the throw of this die" (exhibit 1, page 137, 93). On November 26,
1941, prior to the advanced "deadline" date, the United States
government delivered to Japan a diplomatic note which the intercepted
messages revealed Japan considered to be a "humiliating proposal",
impossible of acceptance (exhibit 1, p. 195). The intercepted diplomatic
messages further revealed that Japan expected to "rupture" negotiations
with the United States when she replied to the American note of November
26 (exhibit 1, p. 195). To prevent the United States from becoming
unduly suspicious Japan instructed her envoys in Washington to keep up a
pretext of continuing negotiations until this Japanese reply was ready
for delivery (exhibit 1, p. 208). A message from the Japanese government
to its Ambassador in Berlin, sent on November 30, was intercepted and
translated by the Navy in Washington on December 1 (exhibit 1, p. 204).
In this message the Japanese Ambassador was instructed to-
"immediately interview Chancellor Hitler and Foreign Minister Ribbentrop
and confidentially communicate to them a summary of developments. * * *
*Say very secretly to them that there is extreme danger that war may
suddenly break out between the Anglo-Saxon nations and Japan through
some clash of arms and add the time of the breaking out of this war may
come quicker than anyone dreams*. [Italics supplied.]"
The President regarded this message as of such interest that he retained
a copy of it, contrary to the usual practice in handling the intercepted
messages (R. 10887). On December 2, 1941 elaborate instructions from
Japan were intercepted dealing in precise detail with the method of
internment of American and British nationals in Asia "on the outbreak of
war with England and the United States" (exhibit 1, p. 198).
In the "bomb plot" or "ships in harbor" message of September 24 the
Japanese government gave detailed instructions to its Consul-General in
Hawaii as to the character of report it required concerning vessels in
Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was to be divided into five sub areas. An
alphabetical symbol was given each area. The Japanese government
instructed the consul:
"With regard to warships and aircraft carriers, we would like to have
you report on those at anchor (these are not so important) tied up at
wharves, buoys, and in docks. (Designate types and classes briefly.) If
possible we would like to have you make mention of the fact when there
are two or more vessels alongside the same wharf."
This despatch was decoded and translated in Washington on October 9,
1941 (exhibit 2, p. 12).
On September 29, 1941, the Japanese Consul in Hawaii replied to his
government. He established a system of symbols to be used in designating
the location of vessels at key points in Pearl Harbor. This despatch was
decoded and translated in Washington on October 10, 1941.
On November 15, 18, 20, and 29 the Japanese government urgently called
for information about the location of ships in Pearl Harbor (exhibit 2,
pp. 13 and 15). On November 15 the Japanese Consul in Honolulu was
directed to make his "ships in harbor report" irregu-
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-E.
lar but at the rate of twice a week (exhibit 2, p. 13). The reports were
to give vessel locations in specific areas of the harbor, using the
symbols established in September (exhibit 2, p. 15). The greatest
secrecy was enjoined, because relations between Japan and the United
States were described as "most critical." On November 18, the Japanese
Consul General reported to Tokyo the locations of the ships in the
various sub areas of Pearl Harbor, giving minute descriptions of the
courses, speed and distances apart of destroyers entering the harbor
(exhibit 2, p. 15). On November 29 reports were requested even though
there were no movements of ships. These despatches were intercepted,
decoded and translated in Washington on December 3, 4, 5, and 6, 1941.
The "bomb plot" or "ships in harbor" message, and those messages
relating to Pearl Harbor which followed it, meant that the ships of the
Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor were marked for a Japanese attack. Of
other American harbor was divided into sub areas by Japan. In no other
area did Japan seek information as to whether two or more vessels were
alongside the same wharf. Prior to this message Japanese espionage in
Hawaii was directed to ascertain the general hereabouts of the American
Fleet, whether at sea or in port. With this message Japan inaugurated a
new policy directed to Pearl Harbor and to no other place, in which
information was no longer sought merely as to the general whereabouts of
the Fleet, but as to the presence of particular ships in particular
areas of the harbor. In the period immediately preceding the attack
Japan required such reports even when there was no movement of ships in
and out of Pearl Harbor the reports which Japan thus sought and received
had a useful purpose only in planning and executing an attack upon the
ships in port. These reports were not just the work of enthusiastic
local spies gathering meticulous details in an excess of zeal. They were
the product of instructions emanating from the government of Japan in
Tokyo. Officers of the high command in Washington have admitted before
us that this message, if correctly evaluated, meant an attack on ships
of the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor (R. 3036, 4014; 4874; 2100-2102;
1313-11314; 6390, 6094; 5378).
Lt. Commander Kramer of Naval Intelligence in Washington promptly
distributed the Pearl Harbor "bomb plot" message to the President, the
Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Stark, the
Director of Naval Communications, the Director of War Plans, and the
Director of Naval Intelligence (R. 11209). It bore the notation
"interesting message" (R. 11207). It was accompanied by a summary of its
contents as follows:
"Tokyo directs special reports on ships in Pearl Harbor which is divided
into five areas for the purpose of showing exact locations (R. 11207)."
Military Intelligence through Colonel Bratton delivered the 'bomb plot'
message to the Secretary of War, the Chief of Staff, and the Chief of
the War Plans Division (R. 12083). The message was discussed several
times by Colonel Bratton, Chief of the Far Eastern section, Military
Intelligence Division, War Department General Staff, with his opposite
numbers in the Navy Department (R. 12105). They discussed possible
significance of the message, as indicating a plan for an air attack on
ships in Pearl Harbor (R. 12105). In the course of these discussions
Officers in Naval Intelligence stated that
266-F PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
the Japanese were wasting their time in getting such meticulous detail
about the location of ships in Pearl Harbor because the Fleet would not
be in Pearl Harbor when the emergency arose (R. 12105). Despite the fact
that the "bomb plot" message and related intercepts dealing with the
berthing of ships in Pearl Harbor were delivered to General Marshall and
Admiral Stark, they testified before the Committee that they have no
recollection of ever seeing them (R.2911-2912 5787-5792). No intimation
of these messages was given to General Short or Admiral Kimmel in
Hawaii. On the contrary, Admiral Kimmel had been advised by the Navy
Department on February 1, 1941:
"* * * no move against Pearl Harbor appears imminent or planned for in
the foreseeable future (exhibit 15)."
In the days immediately preceding Pearl Harbor, Japan made no effort to
conceal the movements or presence of her naval forces in Southeast Asia
(R. 453). The movements of her troops in Indo-China at that time were
the subject of diplomatic exchanges between the United States and Japan
(Foreign Relations of the United States, Japan, 1931-41, vol. II, p.
779). Yet, the intercepts showed that some Japanese plan went into
effect automatically on November 29 from which Japan hoped to divert
American suspicion by a pretext of continued negotiations. What was its
nature? Only the President and his top advisers in Washington had this
Despite the elaborate and labored arguments in the report and despite
the statements of high ranking military and naval officers to the
contrary, I must conclude that the intercepted messages received and
distributed in Washington on the afternoon and evening of December 6 and
the early hours of December 7, pointed to an attack on Pearl Harbor:
1. The "Pilot Message". This was a message from Japan to her Ambassadors
in Washington advising them that the Japanese reply to the American note
of November 26 was ready and being sent to them in fourteen parts; that
it was to be treated with great secrecy pending instructions as to the
time of its delivery, and that the time for its delivery was to be fixed
in a separate message (exhibit 1, p. 238).
2. The first thirteen parts of the Japanese reply. This included all but
the last paragraph of the Japanese note handed to the Secretary of State
on December 7 (exhibit 1, pp. 239-244).
3. The fourteenth and last paragraph of the Japanese reply, and the
message to the Japanese Ambassadors which fixed the time for delivery of
the Japanese note as 1 p. M., Washington time, December 7 (exhibit 1, p.
The "Pilot Message" was filed in Tokyo at 6:56 A. M. Washington time
December 6, it was intercepted by the Navy by 7:20 A. M. Washington time
December 6 and forwarded to the Navy Department. It was sent by the Navy
to the Army for decryption and translation about noon, Washington time,
on December 6 (exhibit 41). It was decrypted, translated and distributed
about 3 P. M. Washington time by the Army to Mr. Hull, Mr. Stimson,
General Marshall, the Chief of the War Plans Division, General Gerow,
and the Chief of Military Intelligence General Miles (R. 12050). In the
Navy Department the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Wilkinson,
received the so-called Pilot Message prior to 6 P. M. Washington time
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-G
December 6 (R. 4658). He had previously told his subordinates to be on
the lookout for the Japanese reply and felt sure that he gave
instructions that the Pilot Message was to be delivered to Admiral Stark
(R. 4661 4662). Admiral Turner, Chief of the War Plans Division in the
office of the Chief of Naval Operations, received the Pilot Message" in
the evening of December 6 (R. 5440-5442). Admiral Stark and General
Marshall each deny that on December 6 he had knowledge of the Pilot
Message (R. 3473; 5813). We find on the testimony of General Miles and
Colonel Bratton that the "Pilot Message" was delivered to General
Marshall during the afternoon of December 6, 1941 (R. 3589-3590; 12049-
12050). This Pilot Message bid that Japan's reply to the American note
of November 26 was about to be sent from Tokyo to Washington, and
indicated that a rupture of diplomatic relations or war was a matter of
On the evening of December 6, between 9 P. M. and midnight Washington
time, the first thirteen parts of the Japanese reply to the United
States were delivered to the President, Mr. Knox, the office of the
Secretary of State and the Chiefs of Army and Navy Intelligence (R.
10453-10455; 12052-12054). After reading this message the President
stated "This means war" (R. 12441). He later telephoned Admiral Stark
about the critical turn of events (R. 14757-14759). When Mr. Knox
received the message he called Mr. Stimson and Mr. Hull and arranged a
conference with them for Sunday morning (R. 10675-10681).
Mr. Stimson asked the Navy Department on Saturday evening to furnish him
by 9 A. M. Sunday morning the following information:
"Compilation of men of war in Far East, British, American, Japanese,
Dutch, Russian; *also compilation of American men of war in the Pacific
Fleet, without locations*, and a list of American men of war in the
Atlantic without locations, [Italics supplied, R. 113988.]"
Admirals Stark, Ingersoll and the Secretary of the Navy were consulted
about this request. The Secretary of the Navy directed that the
information be compiled and delivered prior to 10 o'clock Sunday
December 7 (R. 13988). This was done. The compilation showed that
practically all the ships of the Pacific Fleet were in Pearl Harbor
In the early morning of December 7, 1941, about 5 A. M. Washington time,
the message fixing the hour for delivery of the Japanese note as 1 P. M.
Washington time was available in the Navy Department in Washington (R.
10694-10701). This was eight and one-half hours before the attack on
Pearl Harbor. Admiral Stark and his principal subordinates have
testified before us that they had knowledge of this message about 10:30
A. M. (R. 4675, 9146-9148, 10469). This was five and one-half hours
after it had been received in the Navy Department It was about three
hours before the attack. The relation of P. M. Washington time to early
morning in Hawaii was pointed out to Admiral Stark. (R. 9146-9148; 9154-
9156; 9236-9254; 4679; 585) Admiral Stark was urged by the Director of
Naval Intelligence to send a warning to the Fleet (R. 4673). The chief
intelligence officers of the Army had the "1 pm message" by 9 A. M.
Washington time, immediately appreciated its significance, but did not
succeed in bringing it to General Marshall's attention until nearly
several hours later (R. 12077-12078; 12079-12081). Marshall was
266-H PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
in Virginia. No action was taken by the Army until he saw and read the 1
P. M. message and related intercepts, at which time he sent a message to
General Short which went over commercial facilities and was received
after the Pearl Harbor attack (R. 2935-2939; 8396) Admiral Stark took no
action on this information except to agree to the inclusion in the
belated Army message of instructions to General Short to advise Admiral
Kimmel of its contents (R. 5814-5816).
Mr. Hull, Mr. Stimson, and Mr. Knox had the 1 P. M. message at their
conference about 10:30 A. M. Washington time December 7 (R. 10473). The
relation of Washington time to time in Hawaii and the Philippines was
brought to their attention (R. 10473-10475). Mr. Stimson's notes
describing the Sunday morning conference state:
"Today is the day that the Japanese are going to bring their answer to
Hull and everything in MAGIC indicated they had been keeping the time
back until now in order to accomplish something hanging in the air. Knox
and I arranged a conference with Hull at 10:30 and we talked the whole
matter over. Hull is very certain that the Japs are planning some
deviltry and we are all wondering where the blow will strike (Stimson
statement, p. 59)."
The 1 P. M. message was delivered to the President about 10:30 A. M. (R.
Why did the high command in Washington fail to disclose promptly to
Admiral Kimmel, General Short, and other American commanders in the
field the information available in Washington, Saturday night and early
Sunday morning? In seeking the answer to this question we have
encountered failures of memory and changes in sworn testimony. I am
constrained to reach these conclusions:
As a result of his conversation with the President late Saturday night
December 6, Admiral Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, did receive notice
of a critical turn in Japanese-American relations (R. 14757-14759). Even
if it be assumed that he had no inkling until that time of vital
information which had been available to him for at least six hours, the
call from the President should have provoked his active and immediate
efforts to elicit from his subordinates the data which they possessed as
to the immediacy of war. *He failed to make such efforts*. Sunday
morning, when the Saturday messages are known to have come to his
attention together with the 1 P. M. message, he again did not take
action, despite the recommendations of the Chief of Naval Intelligence
that a warning be sent to the Fleet. He failed to exercise the care and
diligence which his position required.
General Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army, had the "Pilot Message"
available to him on the afternoon of Saturday, December 6. This placed
on him an obligation to make sure he would promptly receive the
subsequent information which the Pilot message indicated would be soon
forthcoming. He did not do so. In placing himself outside of effective
contact with his subordinates for several hours on Sunday morning, he
failed to exercise the care and diligence which his position required.
The alleged failure of the chief subordinates of Admiral Stark and
General Marshall to furnish them promptly with the intercepted messages
on Saturday night was unusual for two reasons. First, it was a departure
from the usual routine for the distribution of intercepts. Second, these
two were the only usual recipients of intercepts who testified that the
messages were not brought to their attention on Saturday night. Neither
Admiral Stark nor General Marshall made
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-I
any effort thereafter to ascertain why such a colossal breakdown should
occur in the functioning of their staffs on the eve of war (R. 3490-
I have pointed out that during the critical period prior to the attack,
the Administration in Washington made certain over-all policy decisions
as to how to deal with the Japanese crisis. One decision was that Japan
should commit the first overt act against the United States; and thus
resolve the dilemma in which the Administration's secret diplomacy had
placed it. The other was to be in instant readiness to strike at Japan
to check her further aggression against the British and Dutch in Far
East Asia. Certainly the information and orders sent to General Short
and Admiral Kimmel prior to the attack reflected the policy adopted in
General Short and Admiral Kimmel were not informed about the most
important diplomatic steps in 1941. They were not informed of the
parallel action agreement at the Atlantic Conference or the warning to
Japan which followed. They were not informed of the significant terms of
the American note to Japan of November 26. They were not informed of the
commitment made to Great Britain, as set forth in the Brooke-Popham
telegram of December 6. They did not receive the vital intercepted
Japanese messages or any condensation or summary of them. In response to
Admiral Kimmel's request for information in his letter of May 26, 1941,
he did receive, in July 1941 from the Navy Department the actual text of
seven intercepted Japanese diplomatic messages (exhibit 37, pp. 6-12).
In the week before the attack he received the text of another
intercepted message describing the Japanese intrigue in Thailand. Kimmel
testified that he believed that he was getting all pertinent information
affecting the Pacific Fleet. This was the assurance Admiral Stark had
given in response to the definite request in the letter of May 26, 1941.
The Intelligence Officer of the Pacific Fleet, Captain Layton, wrote to
Captain McCollum, his opposite number in Naval Intelligence in
Washington, on March 11, 1941, to urge that intercepted Japanese
diplomatic traffic be sent to the Fleet. McCollum's reply satisfied
Layton that the Fleet would receive diplomatic traffic which affected
its actions (R. 12923). But the vital intercepts were not sent to
Admiral Kimmel or General Short. The fact that a few intercepts were
sent to Admiral Kimmel shows that the withholding of others was not
attributable to fear of the security of Naval communications and
consequent prejudice to the Secret of Magic. The "bomb plot" message and
related intercepts would have been of incalculable value both to General
Short and Admiral Kimmel. Yet they were given no intimation of their
The message of November 27 to Admiral Kimmel warned him of the
threatened Japanese move in southeast Asia and ordered him to be ready
to execute a Fleet offensive against the Marshalls required by War
Plans. Readiness for an offensive at some distance from Hawaii precluded
concentrating the limited resources of the Fleet; upon the defense of
its base, which no despatch from the Navy Department mentioned as a
point of attack. The offensive missions prescribed by the War Plans
required the full use of the patrol planes of the Fleet. These planes
were recently acquired and required alterations and maintenance work to
put them in shape for war. The planes were too few for full distant
searches from Hawaii. Partial
266-J PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
searches were properly considered of doubtful value and involved the
risk of making the planes useless for the reconnaissance required in the
raids on the Marshalls at the time when they would be needed. Task
forces at sea and patrol planes going to and from outlying islands
carried out such distant reconnaissance as was feasible. As suggested by
the Navy Department on November 27, the two carriers of the Pacific
Fleet were sent on missions to outlying islands. Lacking air protection
the battleships appeared better disposed in port than at sea. The fuel
limitations and other logistic deficiencies of the Pacific Fleet were so
acute that it was physically impossible to keep the whole Fleet or major
portions of it, at sea for extended intervals The disposition of the
ships and the use of patrol planes on and after November 27 were logical
and reasonable in view of the message of that date.
On the evening of December 6, in response to Secretary Stimson's request
and at the direction of Secretary Knox, the Navy Department compiled
from its records a summary showing that all the major ships of the
Pacific Fleet were in Pearl Harbor. At this time the information
available in Washington showed that war was only hours away. Yet the two
Secretaries and the high command made no effort to direct any change in
the dispositions of the Fleet as shown in the Navy Department summary.
They took no steps to furnish Admiral Kimmel the information which they
possessed as to the imminence of war. Consequently they deprived him of
any chance to alter his dispositions in the light of that information. I
conclude that Secretaries Stimson and Knox and the high command in
Washington knew that the major units of the Fleet were in Pearl Harbor
on December 6-7, 1941, and were satisfied with that situation.
The message of November 27 to Admiral Kimmel illustrates one feature of
the pre-Pearl Harbor plan of action of the Administration. The Fleet was
to be in readiness for offensive raids on the Marshalls to counter the
Japanese advance in southeast Asia. The message sent to General Short by
General Marshall on November 27, 1941 shows the other feature of the
Administration's plan of action-to make sure that the Japanese would
strike first so that the offensive by the Fleet would be approved by the
American public. The message to General Short stated:
"If hostilities cannot, repeat cannot be avoided the United States
desires that Japan commit the first overt act. This policy should not,
repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of action that
might jeopardize your defense. Prior to hostile Japanese action you are
directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem
necessary but these measures should be carried out so as no, repeat not,
to alarm the civil population or disclose intent (exhibit 32 p. 7)."
General Marshall testified that instructions about the "overt act" were
put into the message on the personal order of the President (R 3443-
3447). In addition the War Department sent three other messages to the
Army and Army Air Forces in Hawaii, on November 27 and 28, all of which
were directed to sabotage and subversive activities. One of these
messages from the War Department on November 28 stated:
"Protective measures should be confined to those essential to security,
avoiding unnecessary publicity and alarm (exhibit 32, p. 13)."
The Navy Department also cautioned Admiral Kimmel against committing the
first overt act. On November 29 he received from the
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-K
Navy Department the substance of the Army's message to General Short
with the additional directive-
"Undertake no offensive action until Japan has committed an overt act
(exhibit 7, p. 38)."
On November 27, 1941, General Short reported to General Marshall the
measures he had taken in response to General Marshall's message. His
reply specifically referred to General Marshall's message by its number:
It stated: "Report Department alerted to prevent sabotage, liaison with
the Navy. Reurad four seven two twenty-seventh" (exhibit 32, p. 12). The
Chief of the War Plans Division of the Army, General Leonard T. Gerow,
saw General Short's reply, noted and initialed it (exhibit 46). This
reply was routed by General Gerow to General Marshall, Chief of Staff.
Some question has arisen as to whether General Marshall in fact actually
saw General Short's reply in order that the reader may have the exact
facts, I desire to report the evidence, question and answer, beginning
page 1420 of the printed record:
"Mr. KEEFE. NOW with the country on the brink of war, General Marshall,
you laving the then impression as you have stated it a few moments ago,
that Japan was liable to precipitate war by attacking any time any
place, it would be highly important to the Chief of Staff to see to it
that the orders which he had given were carried out, would it not?
"General MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. Now when General Short's message came back the evidence
indicates, somewhat inconclusively perhaps, that it was part of three or
four papers, the top one being the reply of MacArthur, then Short, then
a route sheet, the MacArthur message being on top and that bears your
endorsement with your initials.
"General MARSHALL Correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. Your initials do not appear on the Short message but they do
show the initials of the Secretary of War and the War Plans Department,
General Gerow. Now am I correct in the assumption from an understanding
of your evidence on that point that you think you must have seen the
Short message although you did not initial it, having initialed the top
"General MARSHALL. That was my assumption, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. Well, is that a mere assumption or is it a fact?
"General MARSHALL. I stated I did not recall, sir; that I must assume
that I had seen it.
"Mr. KEEFE. Well, if you saw that Short message, General Marshall, as
Chief of Staff it imposed some responsibility upon you, did it not?
"General MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. It was addressed to you as Chief of Staff, was it not?
"General MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. And the very telegram itself indicates that it is in
response to the command order which you had issued to him?
"General MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. And it was a message which attempted on the part of Short to
convey to you as Chief of Staff the nature of the alert under which he
"General MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. That was his response to your order?
"General MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. Now, I have read the various statements, General Marshall,
that you have made at various times in connection with this matter. You
recall that when you were before the Army board first you were somewhat
confused about those things because you thought that at some time in
November there had been a change in alert numbers. Do you remember that?
"General MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. NOW, it is perfectly clear now that a reading of this
message indicates that there isn't any alert number specified in Short's
"General MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. SO that puts that out of the picture, doesn't it?
266-L PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
"General MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. So we get down to the simple fact that here is a message
from your commanding general in the bastion of defense in the Pacific to
which all of our defenses, as you have testified, were tied, in which he
tells you that he is alerted to prevent sabotage, liaison with Navy. Now
in all fairness, General Marshall in the exercise of ordinary care as
Chief of Staff ought you not to have proceeded to investigate further
and give further orders to General Short when it appeared that he was
only alerted against sabotage?
"General MARSHALL. As I stated earlier, that was my opportunity to
intervene and I did not do it.
"Mr. KEEFE. Well, now, you say that was your opportunity. That was your
responsibility, was it not?
"General MARSHALL. You can put it that way, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. Well, I don't want to put it that way. I am asking you. You
used the words "that was your opportunity," I do not want an opportunity
to arise in the future discussion of this matter to have a conflict of
words and not to be able to understand just want you meant. Do I
understand that your use of the word "opportunity" is synonymous with
"General MARSHALL. Mr. Keefe, I had an immense number of papers going
over my desk every day informing me what was happening anywhere in the
world. This was a matter of great importance. It had gone into the
machine, it had been sent out, the acknowledgments had come back. They
passed the important messages over my desk. I noted them and initialed
them; those that I thought the Secretary of War ought specifically to
see I put them out for him to see, to be sure that he would see it in
case by any chance he did not see the same message.
"I was not passing the responsibility on to the Secretary of War. I
merely wanted him to know.
"Now the same thing related to these orders of the War Department. I was
responsible. I was responsible for the actions of the General Staff
throughout on large matters and on the small matters. I was responsible
for those, but I am not a bookkeeping machine and it is extremely
difficult, it is an extremely difficult thing for me to take each thing
in its turn and give it exactly the attention that it had merited.
"Now in this particular case a very tragic thing occurred there is no
question about that, there is no question in regard to my responsibility
as Chief of Staff. I am not attempting to evade that at all, but I do
not think it is quite characterized in the manner that you have
"Mr. KEEFE. Well, now, let me put it in another way. You have now stated
it was your responsibility as Chief of Staff to see to it that General
Short out there in Hawaii, which you have described as being your
bastion of defense, to see that he was alerted, and if he misinterpreted
your order to see that that order was carried out.
"General MARSHALL. That is my responsibility, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. Now, I have stated it correctly, haven't I?
"General MARSHALL. Yes, sir, you have."
Subsequently, in the same examination (printed record pp. 1422-1423)
General Marshall stated that General Gerow had a direct responsibility
in this matter and that he had full responsibility as Chief of Staff.
General Marshall was very fair. He admitted that a tragic mistake had
been made, and while it was the direct responsibility of General Gerow,
Chief of War Plans, to have "caught" General Short's reply and to have
immediately advised his Chief of Staff, yet General Marshall as Chief of
Staff did assume over-all responsibility for failure of the Washington
headquarters to interpret and evaluate General Short's reply and to see
to it that he was on an all-out alert in accordance with the command
directive issued in the message from Marshall to Short on November 27.
The Secretary of War saw, noted and initialed General Short's reply.
(Exhibit 46). It was the responsibility of General Marshal] to see that
Genera] Short was properly alerted (R. 3723). General Short, after being
ordered to report his state of readiness to General Marshall, was
entitled to assume that this state of readiness was satisfactory to the
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-M
Chief of Staff unless he heard to the contrary (R. 3443). Neither
General Marshall, General Gerow nor Secretary of War Stimson made any
criticism or suggestion to General Short about the condition of his
alert in Hawaii in the ten-day period prior to the attack. Because of
their silence General Short was led to believe that the Chief of Staff
approved his alert against sabotage. I believe that Secretary Stimson,
and Generals Marshall and Gerow, understood the nature of his alert
which was plainly indicated in the reply itself, I further believe they
were satisfied with General Short's alert until the blow fell on Hawaii.
On June 17, 1940, General Marshall had placed the Hawaiian Department on
all-out war alert by the following message (exhibit 52):
"Immediately alert complete defensive organization to deal with possible
trans-Pacific raid comma to greatest extent possible without creating
public hysteria or provoking undue curiosity of newspapers or alien
agents. Suggest maneuver basis. Maintain alert until further orders.
Instructions for secret communication direct with Chief of Staff will be
furnished you shortly. Acknowledge."
General Marshall followed up this alert with great care and received
considerable detailed information about it. (Exhibit 52.) He described
the information which caused the alert in 1940 in a letter to the
Commanding General in Hawaii, General Herron, as follows:
"You have no doubt wondered as to the alert instructions sent to you on
the 17th. Briefly, the combination of information from a number of
sources led to the deduction that recent Japanese-Russian agreement to
compose their differences the Far East was arrived at and so timed as to
permit Japan to undertake a trans-Pacific raid against Oahu, following
the departure of the U. S. Fleet from Hawaii.
"Presumably such a raid would be in the interest of Germany and Italy,
to force the United States to pull the Fleet back to Hawaii.
"Whether the information or deductions were correct, I cannot say. Even
if they were, the precautions you have taken may keep us from knowing
they were by discouraging any overt act (exhibit 52, p. 13)."
On November 27, 1941, the information which General Marshall had showed
a far more severe crisis in Japanese-American relations than existed in
June of 1940. As his letter to General Herron shows he felt that this
all-out alert in Hawaii in 1940 may have discouraged. the Japanese from
attacking that area. Yet he did not repeat on November 27, 1941, his
message of June 17, 1940, to Hawaii with its clear-cut order:
"*Immediately alert complete defensive organization to deal with
possible trans-Pacific raid*." He assigned as a reason for not doing so,
the fact that in the message of November 27, 1941, "you had to include
instructions of the President regarding overt acts" (R. 3975).
Mr. Stimson describes the preparation of the Army message of November 27
to General Short as follows:
"If there was to be war, moreover, we wanted the Japanese to commit the
first overt act. On the other hand, the matter of defense against an
attack by Japan as first consideration. In Hawaii because of the large
numbers of Japanese habitants, it was felt desirable to issue a special
warning so that nothing would be done, unless necessary to defense, to
alarm the civil population and thus possibly precipitate an incident and
give the Japanese an excuse to go to war and the chance to say that we
had committed the first overt act (Stimson statement, p. 21-22)."
Again on December 7, Mr. Stimson noted in his diary:
"When the news first came that Japan had attacked us, my first feeling
was of relief that the indecision was over and that a crisis had come in
a way which would
266-N PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
unite all our people. This continued to be my dominant feeling in spite
of the news of catastrophes which quickly developed (Stimson statement,
The same fear of publicity, alarm, or anything which might savor of a
first overt act by the United States, rather than by Japan, is reflected
in the President's message to High Commissioner Sayre in the Philippines
on November 26, 1941. After describing the crisis in Japanese-American
relations, the President directed Mr. Sayre to impress upon the
President of the Philippines "the desirability of avoiding public
pronouncement or action since that might make the situation more
difficult" (R. 13861-13862).
On Saturday night December 6 the President read the first 13 parts of
the final Japanese diplomatic note, remarked "This means war," and
decided to get in touch with the Chief of Naval Operations (R. 12442,
12443). He learned that the Chief of Naval Operations was at the
theater. He then stated that he would reach the Admiral later, that he
did not want to cause public alarm by having the Admiral paged. The fact
that the Admiral had a box reserved was mentioned. The President did not
wish him to leave suddenly because he would surely be seen and undue
alarm might be caused (R. 12444).
General Marshall failed to use the scrambler telephone on his desk to
call General Short in Hawaii on Sunday morning December 7, nearly two
hours before the attack, and give him the same information which he sent
in the delayed telegram which reached General Short after the attack.
General Marshall testified that among the possible actors which may have
influenced him against using the scrambler telephone was the possibility
that the Japanese could construe the fact that the Army was alerting its
garrisons in Hawaii as a hostile act (R. 3390).
"The Japanese would have grasped at most any straw to bring to such
portions of our public that doubted our integrity of action that we were
committing an act that forced action on their part (R. 3193)."
The concept of an "incident" as a factor which would unify public pinion
behind an all-out war effort either in the Atlantic or Pacific had
influenced the thinking of officials in Washington for a long time. Many
plans which might have produced an incident were from time to time
discussed and considered. As early as October 10, 1940 Secretary Knox
had advised Admiral Richardson, then Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific
Fleet, of a plan the President was considering to shut off all trade
between Japan and North and South America. This would be accomplished by
means of a patrol of American ships in two lines extending from Hawaii
westward to the Philippines, and from Samoa toward the Dutch East Indies
(R. 792). This plan was to be instituted in the event Japan retaliated
against Great Britain upon the reopening of the Burma Road scheduled for
October 17, 1940 (R. 792). Admiral Richardson was amazed at this
proposal and stated that the Fleet was not prepared to put such a plan
into effect, nor for the war which would certainly result from such a
course of action (R. 793).
On February 11, 1941, the Chief of Naval Operations in a Memorandum for
the President, described the President as considering a plan to send a
detachment of vessels to the Far East and perhaps to permit a "leak"
that they were going out there (exhibit 106). He quoted the President in
the same memorandum as stating that he
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-O
would not mind losing one or two cruisers, but that he did not want to
take a chance on losing five or six. Again, in a letter of April l9,
1941 the Chief of Naval Operations quoted the President as saying to
"Betty, just as soon as those ships come back from Australia and New
Zealand, or perhaps a little before, I want to send some more out. I
just want to keep them popping up here and there and keep the Japs
guessing (exhibit 106)."
On May 24, 1941, Admiral Stark wrote Admiral Kimmel-
"Day before yesterday the President gave me an overall limit of 30 days
to prepare and have ready an expedition of 25,000 men to sail for and to
take the Azores. Whether or not there would be opposition I do not know
but we have to be fully prepared for strenuous opposition (exhibit
On July 25, 1941 the Chief-of Naval Operations wrote Admiral Kimmel to
the effect that he might be called upon to send a carrier-load of planes
to Russia via one of the Asiatic Russian ports (exhibit 106). "I don't
know that you will, but the President has told me to be prepared for it,
and I want you to have the thought." Admiral Kimmel replied to this
suggestion as follows:
"I entertain no doubt that such an operation, if discovered (as is
highly probable), will be tantamount to initiation of a Japanese-
American war. If we are going to take the initiative in commencing such
a war, I can think of more effective ways for gaining initial advantage.
In short, it is my earnest conviction that use of a carrier to deliver
aircraft to Asiatic Russian ports in the present period of strained
relations is to invite war. If we have decided upon war it would be far
better to take direct offensive action. If for reasons of political
expediency, it has been determined to force Japan to fire the first
shot, let us choose a method which will be more advantageous to
ourselves (exhibit 106)."
On July 31, 1941, Admiral Stark sent Admiral Kimmel a copy of a letter
to Captain Charles M. Cooke as follows:
"Within 48 hours after the Russian situation broke I went to the
President, with the Secretary's approval, and stated that on the
assumption that the country's decision is not to let England fall, we
should immediately seize the psychological opportunity presented by the
Russian-German clash and announce and start escorting immediately and
protecting the Western Atlantic on a large scale; that such a
declaration, followed by immediate action on our part, would almost
certainly involve us in the war and that I considered every day of delay
in our getting into the war as dangerous and that much more delay might
be fatal to Britain's survival. I reminded him that I had been asking
this for months in the State Department and elsewhere, etc., etc., etc.
I have been maintaining that only a war psychology could or would speed
things up the way they should be speeded up, that strive as we would it
just is not in the nature of things to get the results in peace that we
would, were we at war.
"The Iceland situation may produce an "incident". You are as familiar
with that and the President's statements and answers at press
conferences as I am. Whether or not we will get an "incident" because of
the protection we are giving Iceland and the shipping which we must send
in support of Iceland and our troops, I do not know-only Hitler can
answer (exhibit 106)."
Again Admiral Kelly Turner, War Plans Officer for the Chief of Naval
Operations stated, in describing United States-British Staff
conversations on War Plans in 1941:
"It was felt by the Naval Department that there might be a possibility
of war with Japan without the involvement of Germany, but at some length
and over a considerable period this matter was discussed and it was
determined that in such a ease the United States would, if possible,
initiate *efforts to bring Germany into the war against us in order that
we would be able to give strong support to the United Kingdom in Europe*
(testimony of Admiral R. K. Turner before Admiral Hart, Pp. 251, 252,
question 10, exhibit 144). [Italics supplied.]
266-P PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
On November 29, 1941, the Chief of Naval Operations sent a despatch to
the Commander in Chief of the Asiatic Fleet which commenced with this
"President directs that the following be done as soon as possible and
within two days if possible after receipt this despatch (exhibit 37, p.
The President's directions were that the Commander in Chief of the
Asiatic Fleet was to charter three small vessels to form a "defensive
information patrol." The minimum requirements to establish these ships
as United States men of war would suffice in manning them. These
requirements were: command by a Naval officer and the mounting of a
small gun and one machine gun. The employment of Filipino crews with the
minimum number naval ratings was authorized. The ships were to observe
and report by radio Japanese movement in the West China Sea and Gulf of
Siam. The President prescribed the point at which each vessel was to be
stationed. One vessel was to be stationed between Hainan and Hue; one
between Camranh Bay and Cape St. Jaques; one off Pointe De Camau
(exhibit 37, p. 39). All these points were clearly in the path of the
Japanese advance down the coast of Indo-China, and towards the Gulf of
Siam. The Navy Department did not originate this plan (R. 11351). The
Navy Department would not have directed it to be done unless the
President had specifically ordered it (R. 11351). Admiral Hart was
already conducting reconnaissance off that coast by planes from Manila
(R. 11350). So far as the Navy Department was concerned, sufficient
information was being received from this air reconnaissance (R. 11351).
Had the Japanese fired upon anyone of these three small vessels, it
would have constituted an overt act on the part of Japan (R. 11352).
AFTERMATH OF THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
Eleven days after Pearl Harbor, the Roberts Commission was appointed by
the President to find the facts about the Pearl Harbor attack. Its duty
"to provide bases for sound decisions whether any derelictions of duty
or errors of judgment on the part of United States Army or Navy
personnel contributed to such successes as were achieved by the enemy *
* * and, if so, what these derelictions or errors were, and who were
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 Turner
and General 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.
The Commission knew that Japanese messages had been intercepted and were
available, prior to the attack, to the high command in Washington. It
did not inquire about what information these intercepts contained or who
received them. Mr. Justice Roberts testified before this Committee: "I
would not have bothered to read it (the intercepted Japanese traffic) if
it had been shown to us." (R., vol. 47, p. 8836). Misleading statements
made to the Roberts Commission by high ranking naval officers in
Washington to the effect that
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-Q
Admiral Kimmel had all the information available to the Navy Department
(R.4891-4900, 4893, 4895, 5021-5022) went unchallenged.
The Roberts Commission's failure to inquire into the Japanese intercepts
and their distribution and evaluation in Washington, prevented it from
correctly assessing responsibility for the disaster. The facts were then
fresh in the minds of key witnesses in Washington. They could not then
have honestly forgotten their whereabouts at important times. When the
Roberts Commission bypassed the facts about the intercepted messages, it
nearly buried the truth about Pearl Harbor. Its report became the
indictment of two officers based upon incomplete evidence.
The Roberts report was published January 25, 1942. General Short,
reading it in the press, was dumbfounded and immediately called his
friend General Marshall on the telephone to inquire whether he should
retire. Marshall advised him to "stand pat," but told Short he would
consider the telephone conversation "authority" for Short's retirement
if it became necessary (R. 8446). On the same day, the Secretary of the
Navy directed that Admiral Kimmel in San Francisco be informed that
Short had submitted a request for retirement (exhibit 121). This
information was immediately telephoned to Kimmel. Kimmel, who had not
previously thought of retiring, construed the telephone message as a
request that he do so and submitted a formal request for retirement
dated January 26, 1942. General Short, who thought it was not fair to
General Marshall to have to act only on the basis of a telephone
conversation, sent to Marshall a formal request for retirement in
writing, addressed to the Adjutant General dated January 25, 1942. On
January 26 General Marshall recommended to Secretary of War Stimson that
General Short's application for retirement be accepted "today" but that
it be done "quietly without any publicity at the moment" (R. 8459)
Admiral Stark requested the Army to keep him advised about Short's
retirement as he proposed to "communicate this fact to Admiral Kimmel in
the hope Kimmel will likewise apply for retirement" (R. 8459). However,
on January 28, 1942, he sent a telephone message to Kimmel to the effect
that the previous telephone notification about Short's retirement was
not intended to influence him. Thereupon Admiral Kimmel submitted his
letter of January 28, 1942, to the Secretary of the Navy, in which he
stated: "I desire my request or retirement to stand, subject only to
determination by the Department as to what course of action will best
serve the interests of the country and the good of the service" (exhibit
The President personally directed the method of handling the requests
for retirement of Kimmel and Short. On January 29, 1942, he instituted a
three-point program for dealing with the matter. The Army and Navy were
to act together. After a week's waiting they were to announce that
Kimmel and Short had applied for retirement and that their applications
were under consideration. After another week had passed, public
announcement was to be made that the applications had been accepted with
the condition that acceptance did not bar subsequent court-martial
proceedings. Court-martial proceedings, however, were to be described as
impossible without the disclosure of military secrets. The wording of
the condition in the acceptance was troublesome to the Administration.
The President, Secretary Stimson, Secretary Knox, and Attorney General
266-R PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
labored over the language (R. 8462, 8464, exhibit 171). The
Administration wanted to avoid public criticism for having barred court
martial proceedings. On the other hand, it did not wish to stimulate the
public or the two officers to expect or demand court-martial proceedings
(R. 8464, 8467). Finally language as suitable as possible was agreed
upon. The phrase to be used in accepting the retirement applications was
"without condonation of any offense or prejudice to future disciplinary
action." Admiral Kimmel and General Short were each retired by letters
so worded, dated respectively, February 16 and February 17, 1942. The
Secretary of the Navy, in announcing the Navy's action, stated that he
had directed the preparation of charges for court martial of Admiral
Kimmel alleging dereliction of duty. The public were informed that a
trial could not be held until such time as the public interest and
safety would permit.
The public reaction was as planned. Kimmel and Short were considered
solely responsible for Pearl Harbor. The Roberts report considered by
Justice Roberts as only an indictment, became, in effect, a conviction.
The two officers were helpless. No court martial could be had. They had
no way of defending themselves. They remained in ignorance of what
evidence the Roberts Commission had heard. Admiral Stark wrote to
Admiral Kimmel on February 21, 1942:
"Pending something definite, there is no reason why you should not
settle yourself in a quiet nook somewhere and let Old Father Time help
the entire situation which I feel he will-if for no other reason than he
always has (exhibit 121)."
The high civilian and military officials in Washington who had
skillfully maneuvered Kimmel and Short into the position of exclusive
blame knew at the time all the hidden facts about Pearl Harbor, at least
as much and probably mole than this investigation has been able to
uncover. As the two-year statutory period for instituting court-martial
proceedings was about to expire, Kimmel and Short were requested by the
Secretaries of War and Navy to waive the Statute of Limitations. Admiral
Kimmel did so but with the provision that any court martial be held in
"open court" (exhibit 171). General Short did likewise (R. 8496-8499).
Similar requests were not made of other officers, not even of those who
before this Committee publicly accepted responsibility for certain
failures of the high command in Washington.
In June of 1944 the Congress directed the Secretaries of War and Navy to
conduct investigations into the Pearl Harbor attack. The War Department
denied the Army Board of Investigation access to the intercepted
messages. General Miles, Director of Military Intelligence, at the time
of Pearl Harbor, was ordered by General Marshall not to testify on the
subject of the intercepts (R. 11843). For a considerable period the Navy
Court of Inquiry was denied access to the same material (exhibit 195).
After repeated demands by Admiral Kimmel, the Navy Department released
this restriction upon its own Court. The War Department finally followed
the same course. For the first time, late in the Board's proceedings,
Army officers were permitted to testify before the Army Board as to all
details regarding the intercepts (R. 12035). But many important Army
witnesses had already testified under the limitations previously
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-S
In the fall of 1944 the Army Board and Navy Court made their reports to
the Secretaries of the War and Navy. These reports were critical of the
conduct of Admiral Stark and General Marshall. The findings were not
made public. The Navy Court exonerated Admiral Kimmel. Admiral Kimmel's
request to read its report was refused by the Secretary of the Navy (R.
6811). The Secretaries of War and Navy instituted further secret
investigations dispensing with the services of the three-man Board and
Court previously established, and each entrusting the conduct of
proceedings to a single officer. Admiral Kimmel's request to be present
at the further Navy investigation, to introduce evidence, to confront
and cross-examine witnesses was denied by the Secretary of the Navy (R.
6812). The affidavits and testimony at the further investigations
contain many instances where witnesses gave evidence materially
different from that which they had previously sworn to before the Army
Board and the Naval Court. These changes were especially marked in
testimony of certain key witnesses on the subject of the dissemination
and evaluation of the intercepted messages in Washington. Again, before
this Committee these same witnesses further changed their testimony from
that worn to twice previously, or pleaded lapses of memory.
The record of the high military and civilian officials of the War and
Navy Departments in dealing with the Pearl Harbor disaster from
beginning to end does them no credit. It will have a permanent bad
effect on the morale and integrity of the armed services. The
Administration had ample opportunity to record and preserve all the acts
about Pearl Harbor, even if their public disclosure needed to wait upon
the war's end. This was not done. The policy adopted was to lace the
public responsibility for the disaster on the commanders in the field,
to be left there for all time. The policy failed only because
suppression created public suspicion, and the Congress was alert.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This investigation has not brought to light all the facts about Pearl
Harbor. We have been denied much vital information. Mr. Stimson did not
answer certain important interrogations which, in consideration of the
state of his health, were submitted to him in writing. He has also
denied to the Committee his diary entries for the days December 2 to
December 6, 1941. These were significantly omitted from his written
statement. Mr. Hull's health permitted only a brief appearance before us
and no examination by the minority members of he Committee. Written
interrogatories were submitted as to when le first saw or obtained
information as to the contents of certain vital intercepted messages,
including the 1 P. M. Message. Mr. Hull answered: "I do not recall the
exact times that I first saw or learned of the contents of the messages
you cite" (R. 14316). "I do not recall" was an answer frequently
received from other important witnesses. Messrs. Maxwell Hamilton,
Eugene Dooman and Stanley Hornbeck, State Department officials who
played important roles in 941 in our Far Eastern diplomacy, have not
testified. We have been denied Ambassador Grew's diary. In December 1941
General Bedell Smith was secretary to the General Staff of the Army. He
did not testify. His possible knowledge of the distribution of
266-T PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
messages to General Marshall on Saturday evening, December 6, was not
investigated. Admiral (then Captain) Glover was the duty officer in the
office of the Chief of Naval Operations on December 6 1941. His log for
that night contained the vital information about Mr. Stimson's interest
in precise locations of the ships of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Glover
sent the Committee a telegram but did not testify. Mr. Welles' memoranda
of Atlantic Charter conferences was obtained from State Department only
after his oral testimony before us had been completed.
On the evidence before us I concur in the findings of the committee with
respect to responsibilities of our commanders in Hawaii. I believe that
the "mistakes of judgment" referred to in the committee report are
directly related to the failures of the high commands in Washington to
have their organizations fully alerted and on a war footing and that
those in command at the Washington level must bear their full share of
the responsibility for the tragedy of Pearl Harbor.
I further conclude that secret diplomacy was at the root of the tragedy.
The United States had warned Japan that an advance to Malaya or the
Dutch East Indies would mean war with this nation The President gave
Great Britain assurances of our armed support in such event. What Japan
and Britain knew, our commanders in the field and our own people did not
know. Washington feared that national unity could not be attained unless
Japan committed the first overt act. Accordingly, the Army in Hawaii was
put on an anti-sabotage alert, a defensive posture containing the least
possible risk of incident in Hawaii which Japan might claim was an overt
act by the United States. The mobilization of American public opinion in
support of an offensive by the Pacific Fleet against Japan was to be
accomplished, if at all, by a message to Congress "at the last stage of
our relations, relating to actual hostilities." This message was to be
the prelude to hostilities by the United States if Japan attacked the
British and the Dutch at the outset of the war and did not attack this
nation. A direct attack by Japan against the United States at the outset
of hostilities would make such a message unnecessary. Mr. Stimson's
diary describes the plan succinctly: "The question was how we should
maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without
allowing too much danger to ourselves." In formulating this plan
undoubtedly Washington was influenced by public promises to keep us out
of war unless attacked.
With full knowledge of Japan's intentions prior to the attack,
Washington had one plain duty to the American people. That duty was to
inform them of their peril. This was not done. Washington had a further
duty to make sure that our forces were ready to meet the attack by
furnishing their commanders afield and afloat with all available
information, or by evaluating that information and giving them
appropriate clear and categoric instructions.
Those who find in various instances of poor coordination between the
services the causes of Pearl Harbor are satisfied with a superficial
explanation. The state of readiness of our armed forces in the field was
a refection of over-all policy adopted on the highest level in
Washington. The President had delivered to him the Japanese intercepted
messages and possessed much more information about Japanese plans and
intentions than any field commander. He gave most minute
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-U
directions to commanders in the field, even as to the scouting positions
of individual ships, when he thought such directions necessary. A merger
of the armed forces and unity of command in Hawaii in November and
December, 1941, could not have eliminated the dangers in the policy of
maneuvering Japan into striking the first blow. That policy would still
have shaped the orders given, as well as the information sent to a
single commander in the field.
Those who find American public opinion responsible for Pearl Harbor
accept an entirely false theory. Enlightened public opinion is based on
accurate public information. The American people, if kept well informed
of their real diplomatic position, do not need an incident to unite
them. If foreign policy and diplomatic representations are treated as
the exclusive, secret information of the President and his advisers,
public opinion will not be enlightened. The very nature of the
consequent public alarm places the armed forces of the' Nation in
effective readiness and may even deter an enemy from executing its
planned attack. The best deterrent to a predatory Japan in late 1941 was
a thoroughly informed and obviously alerted America.
In this connection it will be noted that when the reports of the Army
Board and the Navy Court of Inquiry were submitted to President Truman
on August 30, 1945, he made the following statement:
"I have read it (the Pearl Harbor reports) very carefully, and I came to
the conclusion that the whole thing is the result of the policy which
the country itself pursued. The country was not ready for preparedness.
Every time the President made an effort to get a preparedness program
through the Congress, it was stifled. Whenever the President made a
statement about the necessity of preparedness he was vilified for doing
it. I think the country is as much to blame as any individual in this
final situation that developed in Pearl Harbor."
An examination of the facts ought to compel any person to reject this
conclusion. The record clearly demonstrates how the Army and Navy get
the funds needed for national defense. The Army and Navy are required to
submit their respective estimates each year to the Bureau of the Budget.
This Bureau acting for the President conducts hearings and finally makes
recommendations to the President as to the amounts to be recommended to
the Congress for appropriation. The Congress is in effect the people of
America. The record discloses that in the fiscal years 1934 to 1941,
inclusive, the Army and Navy jointly asked for $26,580,145,093. This is
the combined total of Army and Navy requests made to the Bureau of the
Budget. In the same period the President recommended to the Congress
that it appropriate to the combined services $23,818,319,897. The
Congress actually made available to the Army and Navy in this period
$24,943,987,823. Thus it is apparent that the President himself
recommended to the Congress in the fiscal years 1934 to 1941, inclusive,
that it appropriate for the Army and Navy $2,761,826,033 less than had
been requested by the Army and Navy. The people's representatives in the
Congress gave to the Army and Navy in the form of appropriations and
authorizations for expenditure $1,256,667,926 more than the President
had recommended in his budget messages to the Congress.
The mere recital of these undisputed figures should dispose of the
contention that "the country is as much to blame as any individual in
this final situation that developed in Pearl Harbor." I am including
herein for ready reference a complete statement:
266-V PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
Asked Budget Congress
1934 $320,900,513 $280,746,841 $280,066,381
1935 305,271,321 288,960,155 283,862,094
1936 361,351,154 331,799,277 363,224,957
1937 467,022,915 391,065,510 401,914,645
1938 468,204,851 436,495,336 439,872,423
1939 630,803,130 598,016,016 611,848,391
1940 1,019,342,730 995,442,760 970,822,098
1941 13,612,977,763 13,067,553,812 13,487,184,058
Total 17,185,874,377 16,390,079,707 16,828,795,047
Total both services 17,185,874,377 16,390,079,707 16,828,795,047
9,394 271,553 7,428,240,190 8,115,192,776
Total 26,580,145,930 23,818,319,897 24,943,987,823
Roosevelt cut. $2,761,826,033.
Congress restored: *$1,256,667,926* of the Budget cut.
Another subject that has been bandied about the country for a number of
years relates to what has been frequently referred to as the failure or
refusal of Congress to fortify the island of Guam. The contention has
been made that Congress refused to appropriate money to fortify the
island of Guam and that as a result of such failure the entire war in
the Pacific in its initial stages was lost to the Japanese
The fact is that no proposal was ever submitted to the Congress
involving the fortification of Guam. The Navy did request an
appropriation of five million dollars for the purpose of dredging the
harbor at Guam (Stark testimony, record pp. 6546-6547). The first
request of the Navy was rejected by the Congress. Thereafter, the
appropriation requested by the Navy was passed with only one vote
against it. The dredging operation was being carried on when war broke
out with Japan.
It is interesting to note that "Rainbow No. 5", which is the Joint
Chiefs' of Staff worldwide war plan, placed the island of Guam in
Category "F" (record p. 6535). The following questions and answers tell
"Mr. KEEFE. NOW, I would like to ask a question which bothered me with
respect to your Rainbow No. 5, which places the island of Guam in what
is called Category F.
"Admiral STARK. I have the category here.
"Mr. KEEFE. Now will you state for the record what Category F means?
"Admiral STARK. Yes, sir. We have that, I am sure. This is out of Joint
Action, Army and Navy, and refers to degrees of preparation, and they
are put in categories of defense, A, B, C, D, E, and F.
"Mr. KEEFE. Well, take Guam to start with. That is in F. Now give us
what Category F means.
"Admiral STARK. Category F: "Positions beyond the continental limits of
the United States which may be subject to either minor or major attack
for the purpose of occupation but which cannot be provided with adequate
defense forces. Under this category the employment of existing local
forces and local facilities will be confined principally to the
demolition of those things it is desirable to prevent falling into the
hands of the enemy."
"Mr. KEEFE. Then, so far as Guam was concerned, at the time this basic
war plan was devised it was the considered opinion of both the Army and
Navy that it could not be defended and it therefore was placed in
Category F that required those on the island, through demolition or
otherwise, to destroy anything of value to the enemy and to permit it to
"Admiral STARK. Yes, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. And to surrender?
"Admiral Stark. Yes, sir.
"Mr. KEEFE. That is right, is it not?
PEARL HARBOR ATTACK 266-W
"Admiral STARK. That is correct, yes, sir (record, p. 6537)
"Mr. KEEFE. Now, at the time of the attack on Guam and the capture of
Guam by the Japs were improvements on the harbor being made at that time
or had they been completed?
"Admiral STARK. They had not been completed. Of course, I recall very
clearly the legislation with regard to that. I do not know just what
their status was at is moment. I had obtained from Congress the
appropriation, I believe it was $6,000,000, for certain improvements to
the harbor. You recall the first year lost it by six votes, and the
following year it went through almost unanimously, by one vote being
opposed to it. Just how far we had gotten along with that I do not
recall at the moment.
"Mr. KEEFE. With those improvements completed, Guam would still be in
category F, would it not?
"Admiral STARK. In the same category, Category F. The improvements were
not such as improved the defense of Guam but very little.
"Mr. KEEFE. Even with the improvements that were requested and
contemplated the Island of Guam, in the opinion of the Joint Army and
Navy Board, could not be successfully defended due to the power that
Japan had in the mandated islands surrounding it, is that right?
"Admiral STARK. That is correct (record, p. 6547)."
These simple facts as disclosed to the public for the first time in
these hearings should effectively dispose of the contention that
"Congress refused to fortify the Island of Guam, and hence the United
States suffered tremendous loss in the initial stages of the war with
Japan." In the future the people and their Congress must know how close
American diplomacy is moving to war so that they may check its advance
if imprudent and support its position if sound. A diplomacy which relies
upon the enemy's first overt act to insure effective popular support for
the nation's final war decision is both outmoded and dangerous in the
atomic age. To prevent any future Pearl Harbor more tragic and damaging
than that of December 7, 1941, there must be constant close coordination
between American public opinion and American diplomacy.
Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, firstname.lastname@example.org. Created: 12/5/96 Updated: 12/5/96