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PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 1944
FOURTEENTH DAY
                                                          NAVY DEPARTMENT,
                                                          Washington, D. C. 

The examination met at 11:25 a. m.

Present:

Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, and his counsel and assistant counsel.

Jesse Lee Ward, Jr., Yeoman Second Class, U. S. Naval Reserve, took seat as reporter and was warned that the oath previously taken was still binding.

The examining officer decided to postpone the reading of the record of proceedings of the thirteenth day of the examination until such time as it shall be reported ready, and in the meantime to proceed with the examination.

No witnesses not otherwise connected with the examination were present.

Rear Admiral W. S. Pye, who had previously testified, was called before the examining officer, informed that his oath previously taken was still binding, and stated that he had read over the testimony given by him on the eleventh day of the examination, pronounced it correct, was duly warned, and withdrew.

A witness called by the examining officer entered and was informed of the subject matter of the examination as set forth in the preface to the testimony of Rear Admiral W. W. Smith, Record Page 32.

The witness was duly sworn.

Examined by the examining officer:

1. Q. Please state your name, rank, and present station?

A. Vincent R. Murphy, Captain, U. S. Navy, Head of the Post-graduate School, Annapolis, Maryland.

2. Q. Where were you stationed on 7 December 1941?

A. I was a member of the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Kimmel's Staff as Assistant to the War Plans Officer.

3. Q. Where were you at the time the Japanese air attack was launched against Pearl Harbor on that date?

A. I was the Staff Duty Officer, and when the attack was launched was in the War Plans Office, at the Submarine Base.

4. Q. What was the nature of your duties as Staff Duty Officer?

A. They were the usual duties of a Staff Duty Officer, to represent the Commander-in-Chief in his absence, to act on routine matters that might come up, to act on non-routine matters in the absence of the Commander-in-Chief, if they came within the confines of established policy; to refer matters not under my immediate knowledge

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to the appropriate member of the Staff who had cognizance, if such matters came up; and to keep the Commander-in-Chief informed of unusual or untoward circumstances.

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5. Q. Will you please expand your answer just a little bit to include your authority and duties in connection with the Fourteenth Naval District, if any?

A. The Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District, commanded a task force under the Commander-in-Chief which was charged with the naval defense of Pearl Harbor. He came under the Duty Officer's cognizance the same as any other task force commander or any other unit of the Fleet.

6. Q. At what time and date did your tour of duty commence?

A. As well as I remember, the time of relieving for Duty Officers was after working hours which, on Saturday, would have been around 12:30, when the Chief of Staff went home-on Saturday.

7. Q. At what time on the morning of December 7th did Admiral Kimmel, or a member of his Staff senior to you, appear at the Headquarters so as to relieve you of these extraordinary functions?

A. The first member of the Staff was Captain, now Rear Admiral McMorris, who I would estimate arrived about five minutes after the attack started, which would be around 8:00 o'clock. Admiral Kimmel arrived, I would say, about ten minutes after that, but that could be in error ten minutes either way because I was very busy and he could have easily come in and I wouldn't have seen him. I think Admiral McMorris met Admiral Kimmel when Admiral Kimmel came in.

8. Q. Captain. what information with respect to the international situation in the Pacific was furnished you when you went on watch as a Staff Duty Officer?

A. There was no specific information furnished me as Staff Duty Officer, because I was already cognizant of most of the general picture, anyway, by virtue of my connection with War Plans. I was furnished with a memorandum from Captain McMorris giving me the dispositions of the ships and forces of the Fleet, and giving me instructions that if war were declared or an attack took place, the general idea of what to do with the ships. That idea, as well as I recall, was to get Admiral Halsey's forces, which had been at Wake and which were or would be, out of fuel, back into Pearl Harbor and get them fueled ready to conduct the first operation of the War Plans. Admiral Brown's force was then at Johnston Island, as I recall, getting ready to conduct a practice landing operation. Another force under Admiral Newton, I think it was a task group under Admiral Brown, was delivering planes, or on the way to deliver planes at Midway. The general plan was to get all those ships back and fueled and proceed with our War Plans. I had that information in a memorandum from Captain McMorris. I was also furnished information that locked in the Operations Office was a chart showing what we thought to be the location of the force which was operating under radio silence-Admiral Halsey's force.

9. Q. Were you familiar with the Fleet Intelligence Officer's estimate of the location of Japanese Army and Navy forces?

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A. Insofar as I know, I was. There may have been something hat the Fleet Intelligence Officer told other people that he did not tell me, but if there was, I don't know about it.

10. Q. Did you keep advised daily of the situation as he viewed it?

A. To the best of my recollection, the Fleet Intelligence Officer reported every morning to Admiral Kimmel and summarized the situation for him. Captain McMorris was generally present at those conferences, I was not, but Captain McMorris made it a point to inform me, as to what went on. I am not [197] sure whether Captain McCormick was in on those conferences or not.

11. Q. Did you feel at that time that yon had all the information of that type that it was necessary for you to have in order to properly perform your duties as Staff Duty Officer?

A. I felt, at that time, that I had all the information that was available, but I know of no Staff Duty Officer, or any Commander-in-Chief, who could ever feel that he had all the information that was necessary.

12. Q. Had you been advised of the receipt, in the week preceding the attack, of the dispatch containing a war warning received from the Chief of Naval Operations?

A. Yes, sir, I had.

13 Q. Had you been advised of the Commander-in-Chief's views with respect to the significance of the information that was available to him and his Staff, concerning the international situation?

A. Not altogether. When the message came in, I was sent for, and to the best of my recollection, Captain Smith, now Rear Admiral Smith; Captain McMorris; myself, Captain, now Rear Admiral W. S. DeLany; and, I think, Layton, the Intelligence Officer,-were called into Admiral Kimmel's office and he read the dispatch to us and he passed it around and ho said, "What do you think of it?" As well as I recall, each one expressed an opinion, and then Admiral Kimmel said that he would have a conference later on in the afternoon, with his principal commanders, on the subject. I do not believe that Admiral Kimmel gave us, at that time, a complete or even a partial picture of his reaction to the message-inasmuch as none of us had had time to study the message in any detail. Later that afternoon, I would estimate around 4:00 o'clock, there was another conference that I think I attended for part, but whether I was there for the entire time, I can't recall. The best of my recollection of that conference is that it was attended by the same people who came that morning, and I think Admiral Calhoun was there. I think Captain Earle, Chief of Staff, Fourteenth Naval District, represented Admiral Bloch, but that is subject to correction because there were many conferences and I can't separate them in my mind-each one. At that conference, I believe the decision was made to reenforce Wake particularly, with planes and radar gear and to send some planes to Midway, which consisted of one patrol squadron, as I remember it, and some fighters, to be delivered by the LEXINGTON. The movement to Wake was made with particular emphasis on secrecy, particularly inasmuch as my recollection of the war warning message specifically warned us against any overt act.

14. Q. Were you, at that time, familiar, Captain, with the Army's responsibility in connection with the defense of Pearl Harbor?

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A. I was familiar with the provisions of Joint Action of the Army and Navy, which made the Army responsible for the defense of Naval bases-I interpreted that to include Pearl Harbor.

15. Q. Were you familiar with the Army's setup so as to know just how capable they were of fulfilling their obligations under the Plans and Joint Action?

A. They only feature that I was familiar with was their general airplane picture, and their anti-aircraft gun picture. As I recall it they had around 200 fighting planes and about 30 or 40 bombers, and I think the figure was 56 anti-aircraft guns, although it could have been 37.

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16. Q. Were you advised as to their condition of readiness, or condition as to alertness on that morning?

A. As well as I recall, the condition of readiness was prescribed by the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District.

17. Q. I am still speaking of the Army.

A. I was not aware of the details of their condition of readiness.

18. Q. Did you know whether they had been alerted at all, or not?

A. I did not.

19. Q. Were you familiar with the radar and air warning net setup of the Army?

A. Only vaguely. I knew that seven or eight stations were in process of being set up. How many of them were actually set up, I did not know.

20. Q. Did you know, the morning of the 7th of December, whether any of them were operating or not?

A. I did not.

21. Q Did you have any other instructions or information with respect to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet's plans for immediate action to be taken in event of sudden starting of war, that is, other than the instructions that were given you by Admiral McMorris?

A. The instructions which would govern the situation that actually occurred were contained in the Joint Plan for the Defense of Hawaii, I have forgotten the name, and under that there was a specific plan for the defense of Pearl Harbor which charged the Commandant. Fourteenth Naval District, with responsibility for the Fleet's part of that defense, with the distribution of ships in the Harbor, to assist in repelling anti-aircraft attack, with the prescribing of conditions of readiness for the situation, as he might see it.

22. Q. I show you Exhibit 4 before this examination. Do you identify it?

A. Yes.

23. Q. Is that the plan to which you have just referred?

A. Yes.

24. Q. Were you, at that time, or had you, at that time, been advised as to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet's views with respect to a surprise air attack on the vessels and installations at Pearl Harbor?

A. Not specifically. I mean by that, by association with the Staff, particularly the War Plans branch, I was, I think, generally familiar with the Commander-in-Chief's views, but I was not specifically advised as to his views of a sudden attack.

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25. Q. What were your views, at that time, with respect to such a surprise air attack?

A. I did not think that such an attack would be made. I thought that it would be utterly stupid for the Japanese to attack the United States at Pearl Harbor. I thought it was questionable whether they should attack even the Philippines. I thought that the Japanese could probably have gone into Thailand and Malaya, and even the Dutch East Indies. I doubt if the United States would have declared war under those circumstances. I thought that the [199] Japanese Staff was faced with the proposition of guessing what the reaction of the United States might be if they did not attack the United States and proceeded with their plans; and, having to weigh that possibility, against their open flank if they left the Philippines. I thought that the Japanese, who, in my opinion, generally follow the book, might attack the Philippines, just by virtue of being afraid to leave an open flank-I did not think they would attack at Pearl Harbor because I did not think it was necessary for them to do so, from my point of view. We could not have materially affected their control of the waters that they wanted to control, whether or not the battleships were sunk at Pearl Harbor. In other words, I did not believe that we could move the United States Fleet to the Western Pacific until such time as auxiliaries were available, as the material condition of the ships were improved, especially with regard to antiaircraft, and until such time as the Pacific Fleet was materially reenforced. I thought it was suicide for us to attempt, with an inferior fleet, to move into the Western Pacific.

26. Q. Did you recognize, at that time, the possibility of such an attack?

A. Yes.

27. Q. With respect to the security of the vessels at Pearl Harbor, did you have an instructions other than those contained in Exhibit 4?

A. Not that I recall.

28. Q. Did you at that time, feel that the provisions of Exhibit 4 adequately covered the situation?

A. I felt that the provisions of Exhibit 4 covered the situation as well as it could, with the other considerations which entered into the picture, those considerations being the forces available, our own War Plans, which required almost immediate movements to the attack, and, the requirements of training in a Fleet which contained a considerable portion of new officers and men, and which was very deficient in antiaircraft defense. The question of patrol plane, all-around search, had come up many, many times. Much thought had been given to it. It was a question of wearing out our planes over a considerable period of time, wearing out our pilots, and not knowing when to expect a declaration of war, to find ourselves completely worn out by practicing for war, including the psychological aspects thereof, and unable to fight it when it came.

29. Q. Do you remember the use of the word "deployment" in the message which contained a war warning?

A. Yes, sir.

30. Q. What was your reaction when you saw that word?

A. The first time I saw that word, the word "defensive" or "defense" was out of place in the message, as I recall it. It said, "Take defensive

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deployment for the tasks of Rainbow 5". My thought was that "defensive" was not in that, in its right place, that the message should be: "Take deployment for the defensive tasks of Rainbow 5".

31. Q. Did you think that the presence of heavy ships in Pearl Harbor amounted to a defensive deployment, insofar as they were concerned?

A. I thought it amounted to a defensive deployment for the tasks assigned in Rainbow 5, in that our plan called for the immediate movement of those ships to the attack. I felt that the risk, if it were greater in [200] Pearl Harbor than it might have been at sea, had to be weighted against the advantage of an immediate moment. Had those ships been at sea, it would have been necessary to bring them back in to port and refuel them, and get them ready to move. I, personally, wanted to move fast; I felt that our original plan was bold for the forces we had available and that a great deal depended on speed in its execution.

32. Q. Did you then think that those words "defensive" and "deployment" in any way meant security measures?

A. I was not sure, but I interpreted them to leave it open to us. I was doubtful.

Ship's Clerk Charles O. Lee, U. S. Naval Reserve, took seat as reporter and was warned that the oath previously taken was still binding.

33. Q. Captain, I refer back to your statement when you were giving your estimate of the situation as regards the possibility of surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor. Did I understand you correctly to say that in formulating your estimate you considered that the Fleet was not ready to make any westward move, because of the lack of auxiliaries and lack of material readiness on the part of vessels of the Fleet,

A. I said that and I would like to add to that that we were, in the Pacific, an inferior Fleet. I saw nothing in the Far East that could necessarily have tied up parts of the Japanese Fleet to allow us even approach equality.

34. Q. Captain, at that time, was it the belief of the members of Admiral Kimmel's Staff that the Japanese were obtaining rather full intelligence as to the condition of the Pacific Fleet?

A. There was a general impression that the Japanese could know everything that they wanted to know about the Pacific Fleet.

35. Q. In view of those two answers, why was not the possibility more seriously considered that the Japanese High Command would be rather anxious to disable the Fleet at Pearl Harbor before it could remedy these deficiencies which precluded it from striking westward?

A. I do not know what the general Staff reaction to that possibility was. For my own part, and I may have been guided more by a political analysts than a military one, I did not think that they would attempt to do it.

36. Q. Captain, had you, at that time, formulated any opinion as to the efficiency of the Japanese naval air arm?

A. Yes.

37. Q. Would you please state what your opinion was at that time?

A. My original opinion was that it was poor. That opinion was altered by a conversation with Admiral Yarnell. I then thought that

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Japanese aviation was probably pretty good, but nowhere near approaching our own.

38. Q. Did you consider it capable of performing the tasks that it did perform on the 7th of December?

A. Yes.

39. Q. Did that consideration enter into the formulation of your opinion as to the possibility or probability of an attack on Pearl Harbor?

A. Yes.

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40. Q. Captain, with respect to your duties as the Staff Duty Officer, what instructions did you have or what did you consider to be your duty in connection with advising the Army Command on Oahu of any matters of importance that came to your attention?

A If anything unusual had come up during my tour of duty, I would advise Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District, who would have advised the Army, as he was charged under Joint Action of the Army and Navy with dealings with the Army.

41. Q. Captain, when did you first receive notice of a contact with any Japanese forces on the morning of 7 December 1941?

A. I would say somewhere around 7:20 or 7:25.

42. Q. What was the nature of that contact?

A. It was a report of the Duty Officer of the Fourteenth Naval District to the Assistant Duty Officer, to the effect that a submarine had been sunk by the WARD or had been attacked and sunk by the WARD in the Defensive Sea Area.

43. Q. Please state what action you took, based on that report.

A. At that time, I was in the process of getting dressed in my quarters. Lieutenant Commander Black gave me the report. He was Assistant Duty Officer. And I said, "Did he say what he was doing about it? Did he say whether Admiral Bloch knew about it, or not?" And he said, "No." I said, "While I'm finishing dressing, call him and see what he's doing about it and whether or not he's called Admiral Bloch." I finished dressing, Black came back and said he had dialed and dialed and the line was busy. It was a dial telephone system. I said, "All right, you go to the office and start breaking out the charts and positions of the various ships; I'll dial one more time and then I'll be over." I dialed the phone and it was busy. I then dialed the operator-it was a local dial system-and told him to tell the Duty Officer to call me immediately and to break in on any conversation he might he holding unless it was of supreme importance. I went to the office and as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. I answered the phone and it was Ramsey-now Captain, L. C. Ramsey, from PatWingTwo. He said he had a report from a patrol plane to the effect that a submarine had been sunk in the Defensive Sea Area. I said, "I have just had a report that I have not been able to get any more details on," and told him what the report was. At that time, the phone rang from the Fourteenth Naval District and the Duty Officer was on the phone. He said that Admiral Bloch had been informed, that he had ordered the ready-duty destroyer out to assist the Ward and to investigate, and had ordered the stand-by destroyer to get up steam. I said, "Had you any previous details or any more details of this attack?" He said, "The message came out of a clear sky. There was no word of preliminary search or chase of any kind." I then called Admiral Kimmel and

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gave him both messages and told him that Admiral Bloch knew it and of the ready-destroyer being ordered out and of the stand-by destroyer getting up steam. He said, "I will be right down." About that time and I'm not sure of the sequence, Ramsey called again and said that he had nothing further and did I have anything further. I said, "No," but I thought it might be wise for him to make his search planes avail able in case the Admiral wanted them. About that time, the phone rang again; it was the Duty Officer of the Fourteenth Naval District. He said that he had another message from the WARD saying that she was towing a sampan into Honolulu Harbor and requesting a Coast Guard tug be sent to his assistance. I called Admiral Kimmel and gave him that message. Before I finished that message, the yeoman [202] came in, said, "There's a message from the signal tower saying the Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor and this is no drill." I gave that message to Admiral Kimmel, either directly on that one call or a call immediately thereafter. I do not recall exactly whether it was the same call or thereafter. I then told the Communications Officer to send a dispatch to Chief of Naval Operations, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, with priority of the Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, over the Chief of Naval Operations, and to our forces at sea: "JAPANESE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NO DRILL." I then called Ramsey and said, "How many planes have you got available"-no, I'll correct; I told the yeoman to call the signal tower and ask if the Pearl Harbor Defense Plan had been executed, and he said it had been by Admiral Bloch. I called Ramsey and said, "How many planes have you got available?" He said, "I don't think I have any, but I'm scraping together what I can for search." I then called all the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, some I called myself and some the yeoman called, using every phone we had in the office. I distinctly remember talking to Captain Smith myself. By that time, Captain McMorris came in, either just preceded or followed by the Admiral, I don't recall, and we drafted a more formal dispatch to the forces at sea, giving them instructions and information from then on, the duties were largely taken over by the regular Staff and the War Plans Division helped in advising the other people who had the immediate direction of events.

44. Q. Upon receipt of the contact report, did you formulate any opinion as to its significance with respect to other possible enemy movements?

A. Yes. The contact itself was about the third or fourth of a series of such contacts. All previous ones had, insofar as actual proof is concerned, turned out to be negative. This one, I thought, might be the real thing, but I wanted some information leading to why he thought he had sunk a submarine so that I could formulate whether there was a submarine there or whether there wasn't a submarine there. As in previous contacts, we had never been able to definitely establish that there was a submarine there. I did not interpret the submarine attack as possibly being accompanied by an air attack on Pearl Harbor. I will say this: I had less doubt about the authenticity of this attack than I had had about some of the others.

45. Q. Did Admiral Kimmel express his views as to what significance should be attached to the contact when you notified him of it?

A. He said, "I will be right down." That's all he said.

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46. Q. Did you notify anyone other than Admiral Kimmel of this contact, prior to the launching of the air attack?

6. No.

47. Q. Where were you, physically, during the performance of the duties which you have just recounted?

A. In the Commander-in-Chief's Offices, in the Submarine Base Building at the Submarine Base. I was actually in the outer offices.

48. Q. You've mentioned difficulties in telephone communications on that morning. Can you tell me anything concerning the general inadequacy of wire communications in and about Pearl Harbor, including those to the Army?

A. I made some investigation of this when I was War Plans Officer for the previous Commander-in-Chief. At that time, I can best describe the communications system, particularly with respect to communication with the Army, as almost non-existent. There was projected, at that time, the building of a communication center in which a tie-in with the Army circuits would be provided. That building, I believe, was almost complete at the time [203] of the attack, but I do not believe that the facilities or the installations had been completed, although I am not-or was not, familiar with the details of the arrangement. I would say that the methods of communication were most unsatisfactory, in that all the communication that I had with the Fourteenth Naval District was by telephone, and likewise with the Army. There was a Harbor defense circuit by radio in which all ships were connected and which was tied-in with the Army anti-aircraft system and with the plane system. I mean by the "plane system", with the control of aircraft in flight, particularly fighters. I've forgotten the frequency that circuit was on.

49. Q. Was it effective, as yet?

A. I believe it was, Admiral, but I'm not sure.

50. Q. The difficulties of the telephone system, I understand to lie in the fact that everything was via the usual peacetime switchboard arrangement and there was nothing corresponding to a battle telephone circuit?

A. There was not.

51. Q. Was that also true with communications to the Army and did they involve the commercial switchboard in Honolulu?

A. I don't know, sir.

52. Q. Referring to your estimate to the effect that the Japanese would attack someone else in the Far East and they would probably not attack the United States. Did you see a dispatch from the Department of about 3 December concerning some steps that the Japs were taking with their communication equipment?

A. I did.

53. Q. Did seeing that dispatch alter your mental attitude as to the direction in which a Japanese attack might take?

A. No, sir. I considered it a routine precaution in case the United States or Great Britain should declare war and unexpectedly take over the Japanese diplomatic residences.

The examining officer did not desire to further examine this witness.

The examining officer informed the witness that he was privileged to make any further statement covering anything relating to the subject matter of the examination which he thought should be a mat-

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ter of record in connection therewith, which had not been fully brought out by the previous questioning.

The witness made the following statement: I would like to say this That the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet was confronted with an almost irreconcilable situation in that he had a Fleet which was badly in need of training and materiel improvement, particularly with respect to new planes and new pilots in the patrol squadrons, as well as ships themselves. He had to guess how much training he could do and include in it the possibility of maintaining a continuous alert, which would be destructive both in materiel and, in my opinion, even more important, the morale of the Fleet. I do not believe that any force can maintain, for a long period, an attitude of complete defensive readiness without severe loss of morale. I think that these considerations weighed heavily upon the Commander-in-Chief's mind.

(Examination by the examining officer continued.)

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54. Q. Were those thoughts which you have just expressed with you during that period, November-December, '41?

A. Yes, sir.

55. Q. Did anything occur to you which would have remedied those circumstances and conditions?

A. Only the thought: "If I can only have full information."

56. Q. Did you advocate, or even seriously consider in your own mind, definite steps toward basing the Fleet on the Pacific Coast instead of at Hawaii?

A. I had advocated those steps in my capacity as War Plans Officer for Admiral Richardson. I did not advocate it, as well as I recall, later, because I thought the matter had been settled.

The witness was duly warned and withdrew

The examining officer then, at 12:35 p. m., took a recess until 2:50 p. m., at which time the examination was reconvened.

Present: The examining officer, his counsel and assistant counsel, and the reporter.

No witnesses not otherwise connected with the examination were present.

Captain Vincent R. Murphy, U. S. Navy, who had previously testified, was called before the examining officer, informed that his oath previously taken was still binding, and stated that he had read over the testimony given by him on the fourteenth day of the examination, pronounced it correct, was duly warned, and withdrew.

The examination then, at 2:52 p. m., was adjourned to await the call of the examining officer.


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