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PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY
THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 1944
TWENTY-THIRD DAY
                                                            U. S. S. IOWA.

The examination met at 10:50 a. m.

Present:

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

Ship's Clerk Charles O. Lee, U. S. Naval Reserve, reporter.

The examining officer decided to postpone the reading of the record of proceedings of the twenty-second day of the examination until such times 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.

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 Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, Record Page 250.

The witness was duly sworn.

Examined by the examining officer:

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

A. John L. McCrea, Captain, U. S. Navy, Commanding U. S. S. IOWA.

2. Q. What duties were you performing during the calendar year 1941?

A. Until May of 1941, I was attached to the War Plans Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, but was actually doing work for Admiral Stark on a variety of subjects as directed by him. I regard the work which I did for him largely as that required of an Aide. In May, 1941, I was given orders to report to Admiral Stark as Aide.

3. Q. Captain, I will ask you a rather general question, setting forth the various points upon which I believe you are able to testify. The question will not be in any way complete and you need not confine yourself to the points as set forth, which are as follows: The closeness of your association with Admiral Stark to indicate your acquaintance with the matters of major import which were in his mind; anything out of the ordinary which you recall as regards the background and the preparation of the War Plan current in 1941 (WPL-46), discussions as regards probability of the location, in the Atlantic or Pacific, of the war which the plans envisaged; any discussion concerning the appropriateness of Admiral Kimmel's contributory plan WPL-46; any considerations lying behind the transfer of considerable detach-

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meets from the Pacific to Atlantic Fleet in 1941; any discussions or information gained incident to our Federal Government's action in June and July in '41 which lead to freezing Japanese credits, thereby making it difficult for them to obtain important materials; any discussions as concern the participation of the Allies which WPL-46 envisaged (particularly any redistribution of the British naval forces which might affect the situation in the Pacific); any discussion or knowledge which may have been in the background of the Navy Department's negotiations with the War Department concerning the readiness of the Army to meet its commitments in Hawaii. Beginning about September, [274] 1941, any pertinent facts in your recollection as to the background of the various dispatches sent to the Pacific Fleet indicating the imminence of hostilities with Japan; any facts within your recollection concerning the discussions, conferences and negotiations with the State Department concerning our relations with Japan; any discussion or opinion which you heard expressed concerning the probability of Japanese attack against us, points at which such attack might be directed, and the character of such attacks; discussions during 1941 concerning the advisability of continuing to base the Pacific Fleet in Hawaiian waters-particularly as regards the security aspect; discussions or opinions expressed incident to Mr. Kurusu's appearance in Washington as a part of the Japanese Embassy; discussions concerning the use of Army troops in the outlying islands (Midway, Wake, etc.) occurring as the Japanese situation grew very tense in late November. It is in previous testimony that the Pacific Fleet received so many warnings of the imminence of hostilities that the effect was somewhat vitiated and various witnesses have stated that in the minds of many at Pearl Harbor, it amounted to the cry of "wolf". State anything which you recall bearing upon that aspect; any discussion which you recall concerning the phrasing of those various dispatches, and whether or not consideration was given to putting certain war plans in effect wholly or in part; any discussion concerning the adequacy and correctness of WPL-46 as the tense situation grew in the few weeks prior to 7 December; include also what you can remember concerning Admiral Stark's and Admiral Ingersoll's preoccupations during the few weeks preceding the war, insofar as they seemed to you to affect those officers' mental attitudes.

A. At the outset, I should say that I have available no records from which to refresh my memory. It, therefore, must follow that my present recollection of matters, which happened some three years ago, will probably be incomplete and in error in certain details. In order that a more complete understanding may be had of my relationship with Admiral Stark during the critical pre-Pearl Harbor days, I believe it in order to state the nature of this relationship. I reported for duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in October, 1940. I was assigned to the War Plans Division for purposes of record, but to do special jobs for Admiral Stark. In general, my work consisted in assembling for the Admiral, in brief form, reports on matters he had under advisement. My job carried me into all the Bureaus and Offices of the Navy Department where my contacts were generally on a personal basis. Where cognizance overlapped between Bureaus or Offices, I endeavored to get the composite picture. I attended all of Admiral Stark's formal conferences and many of his

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informal ones. On the other hand, he held many conferences with officials and officers in the Navy Department and with officers of the War Department which I did not attend. About the middle of November, 1940, Admiral Stark informed me that he was going to send me to Manila to take out to the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Asiatic Fleet, the revised War Plans which were then being prepared in the War Plans Division. I was told that I would also deliver a copy of the same plan to the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet. Admiral Stark directed that I keep in close contact with Vice Admiral (then Captain) Turner (who had reported for duty as Director of War Plans about the middle of October, 1940), in order that I would be familiar with the background and considerations upon which these plans were based. This I did. In late November or early December, Captain (then Commander) V. R. Murphy, U. S. Navy, War Plans Officer for the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet, arrived in Washington in connection with his official duties. As the revised plans (I think this plan was officially known as Rainbow 3, and I shall refer to it as such hereinafter) were nearing completion, a number of conferences were held by Vice Admiral Turner which were [275] attended by both Captain Murphy and myself. Free and open discussion was held and "background" notes were made by me in the hopes that I might be able to anticipate questions that might be put to me by Admiral Hart upon delivering the plans to him. Captain Murphy's presence at these conferences on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet, relieved me of any responsibility with regard to that officer. On 13 December 1940, I left Washington with copies of Rainbow 3 for the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Asiatic Fleet. I fell in with Captain Murphy in San Pedro and proceeded by air to Pearl Harbor where I was under orders to report to the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet, for temporary duty. I continued my trip, leaving Pearl Harbor 1 January 1941, arriving Manila 6 January. Almost daily discussions were held with Admiral Hart and his Staff during the next ten days in connection with these plans. I was delayed in Manila awaiting the return of Rear Admiral (then Captain) Purnell from Batavia where he had gone to confer with the Dutch, in order that I might take back to Washington with me the results of his conferences. At Admiral Stark's direction, while in Manila I called on the U. S. High Commissioner, Francis B. Sayre, and General Douglas MacArthur. I acquainted these officials with Admiral Stark's anxiety about the Far East. They, in turn, discussed with complete frankness their own views on the situation. Briefly, the High Commissioner was optimistic and hopeful that hostilities could be avoided. General MacArthur thought war "inevitable". I left Manila about 18 January 1941, arriving in Pearl Harbor a few days later where I reported to the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet (Admiral Richardson). Prior to my departure from Manila, I received a dispatch from Admiral Stark directing that I contact Admiral Richardson's prospective relief, Rear Admiral H. E. Kimmel. I had made many notes while in the East with reference to conditions, personalities, situations, views, etc., etc., and I discussed these matters at a conference, as I recall it now, attended by Admiral J. O. Richardson, Rear Admiral Kimmel, Rear Admiral S. A. Taffinder, Captain W. W. Smith, Captain W. S. De-

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Lany, and Commander Murphy. After this conference, Admiral Richardson gave me certain items which he wished me to take up with Admiral Stark. Admiral Kimmel did likewise. Upon my return to Washington, I told Admiral Stark of the shape my notes were in and told him that I would prepare a formal report on the subject of my trip. He directed that I not prepare a formal report but to submit my notes to him informally. This was done. I have a copy of that report among my personal papers at my home in Washington. One item stands out in my mind with reference to my second visit to Pearl Harbor. The day I left Pearl Harbor, I was in a boat with Rear Admiral Kimmel. He directed that I take out my notebook and record substantially as follows: "Tell Admiral Stark that the Army must realize the shortcomings of the air defenses of Pearl Harbor and get busy and do something about them. Tell Admiral Stark further that I'm not going to get obsessed too much with any one item. Everything indicates that the Army and I will get along well together, but we have not yet gotten down to cases, but, in any event, I repeat they must strengthen the air defenses of Pearl Harbor. I expect to take up with the Army the cooperation of Army and Naval aircraft. I want the Army to feel free to use our fields and I would like to have our land-based planes get experience in using the Army facilities." After the attack on Pearl Harbor, I recalled the vigor with which Admiral Kimmel had remarked to me about the inadequacy of the Army's air defenses of Pearl Harbor that day in January, 1941. After my return to Washington, I continued to work on special projects for Admiral Stark. From time to time the Admiral complained that my office was too far distant from him and that he wanted me more available to him. Rearrangement was finally made of office space and in [276] May I was moved up to the "front office." At the same time, I was issued orders by the Bureau of Navigation to report to Admiral Stark for duty as Aide. There was no appreciable difference between the duties that I performed as Aide to Admiral Stark and the ones that I had been performing under my previous set of orders. Among the many things which I did for Admiral Stark, I prepared rough drafts of answers to personal mail which he received from officers in the field, particularly from Admirals Hart and Kimmel. These officers, being at a distance, wrote rather frequently to Admiral Stark. Many of the items which they mentioned in their letters required that contact be made with the various Bureaus and Offices in the Navy Department. This I did. The drafts of the answers to these letters were always placed in Admiral Stark's hands for revision as he thought necessary. These letters took in a wide range of subjects, the general tenor of which had to do with the preparation of the respective Fleets for war. After Admiral Stark had finished revising the drafts of the letters I had prepared for him, they would be put in smooth form and returned to the Admiral for signature. Upon their return to me for mailing, I invariably noticed that he had included something in the way of a postscript to the effect that "Time is short.", "War may come tomorrow or it may not come for months.", "No one knows when the blow will come or from what direction.", etc., etc. Naturally, certain events occurring in the Summer of 1941, of interest to the office, fix themselves in my mind more clearly than do others. Among them, the GREER incident, which

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took place, as I recall it, in early September. There had been sinkings of our merchant ships in the Atlantic, notably the ROBIN MOOR, and ships under Panamanian registry in which operators in this country had an interest. The building program was under almost daily discussion. The Congress was demanding a report from the Navy Department on the GREER incident. Everything possible was being done to put Midway and Wake into operation as effectual staging points for our aircraft to the Far East. Reenforcements and materials were being sent to the Far East. Harbor improvements were undertaken in Guam. The Marines were withdrawn from Shanghai. We were trying to get authority from the Congress to arm the merchant ships. Aid to Great Britain and Russia was under study, etc., etc. The Cabinet change in Japan, which occurred about the middle of October, 1941, created very much of a stir in the office. Everyone I sensed that war was not far off. I recall that following that change, a dispatch was sent to the various Fleet Commanders to the effect that the Cabinet changes pointed the fact that war with Japan was a definite possibility. As I recall it, Mr. Kurusu arrived in Washington early in November, 1941, ostensibly on a peace mission. It was known, however, to us that the Japanese were pressing to the southward along the Asiatic mainland. It seemed only a matter of a short time until Japan would be in a position to strike at the Kra Peninsula. Negotiations in Washington with Japan's diplomatic representatives were gradually breaking down. On 27 November 1941, a dispatch was sent to all Fleet Commanders which opened up with a statement more or less reading as follows: "This is a war warning." The dispatch then went on to state that while war might be expected at any point, it seemed more probable that it would take place in an attack on the Philippines or the Kra Peninsula. An earlier dispatch had mentioned Guam as a possible point of attack by Japan. There was discussion, as I recall it, as to whether or not the opening sentence, set forth above, should be included in this dispatch. I recall that Vice Admiral Turner was firmly of the opinion that it should be included; that he felt that the seriousness of the situation warranted this language. To this, Admiral Stark agreed. The wording of that dispatch left a profound impression with me. because I [277] remember the thought flashing across my mind that it was a strong statement to make; that it went the whole way, and that if nothing eventuated, confidence in the Navy Department's estimate in future matters might suffer in consequence. I further recall that when the attack on Pearl Harbor did occur, I felt how correctly Vice Admiral Turner had interpreted events and that his foresight had been of a particularly high order. Three or four days before Pearl Harbor, as I recall it, another dispatch was sent from the Navy Department to the Fleet Commanders to the effect that Japanese diplomatic officials in London, Manila, Hong Kong, etc., had been given orders to destroy all their codes and secret papers. With that, everyone in the office felt that war was a matter of a few days. I have given the above background in order that it may be available in evaluating the answers which I shall give with reference to the questions just put to me. I feel that my relations with Admiral Stark during the period in question were reasonably close. We discussed. from time to time, in the office, in his home, and

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elsewhere, the proximity of war. I retain the impression that during the Summer and Fall of 1941, he felt war was "just around the corner" I also retain the impression that he was doing everything in his power to push all matters having to do with getting the Navy ready for war. The hurrying of new construction ships, planes, etc., came under his particular scrutiny. Turning now to specific answers to the questions put: (a) I do not recall the background and the preparation of the War Plan current in 1941 (WPL-46). It must be remembered that I was not then attached to the War Plans Division, and that any knowledge that I might have of such a plan would be only incidental (b) I know of no discussion concerning the appropriateness of Admiral Kimmel's. Contributory Plan, WPL-46. (c) I do not recall any discussions concerning the participations of the Allies which WPL-46 envisaged with reference to the redistribution of British naval forces which might affect the situation in the Pacific. (d) I recall no discussions concerning the adequacy and correctness of WPL-46 as the tension grew in the few weeks prior to 7 December 1941. (e) I do not recall details of discussions with relation to the transfer of detachments from the Pacific to the Atlantic Fleet in 1941 although I do know such discussions were held. (f) I do not recall any discussions or information incident to the Federal Government's action during the summer of 1941 which led to the freezing of Japanese credits. (g) I do not have any knowledge as to the Navy Department's negotiations with the War Department concerning the readiness of the Army to meet its commitments in Hawaii. I do know, however, that those matters were under discussion from time to time. (h) I do not have direct knowledge of any discussions, conferences, or negotiations with the State Department concerning our relations with Japan. Such conversations would come under the purview of the Central Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. (i) I do not recall any discussions or opinions expressed concerning the probability of a Japanese attack on us or the point of attack. I might add that I think that most naval officers thought that war with Japan, if and when it came, would come without formal declaration and very little notice. I retain the impression that the general thought was that Japan would strike either in Guam, the Philippines, or the Kra Peninsula. (j) I do not recall any discussions during 1941 concerning the advisability of continuing to base the Pacific Fleet in Hawaiian waters, particularly as regards the security aspect. (k) I do not recall any discussions or opinion expressed as to Mr. Kurusu's appearance in Washington as a part of the Japanese Embassy. (l) I do not recall any discussions concerning the use of Army troops in the outlying islands (Midway, Wake, etc.) as the situation grew tense in late November. (NOTE: The fact that I do not recall the discussions referred to above does not in any way preclude their having taken place. On the contrary, [278] I know that Admiral Stark was in daily contact with those under whose jurisdiction such discussions would naturally come.) (m) As I look back on it now, I do not believe that so many warnings were issued to the Fleet that these warnings could be regarded as the cry of "wolf". It seems to me that matters got progressively worse during the Summer and Fall of 1941, and that warnings were issued accordingly. I am not insensible, however, to a confused state of opinion that appeared in the public press

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from day to day. As a naval officer, I am also not insensible to the fact that "standing by" is very difficult. If officers in the Fleet got the impression that "wolf" was being cried and that the number of warnings being sent were too numerous, the thought I have in the matter is that those in the Navy Department whose job it was to evaluate the situation thought things were rapidly and progressively approaching a serious state. This proved to be the case. (n) As I look back at it now, the entire year of 1941 was devoted wholeheartedly by everyone in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations with whom I came in contact to getting ready for war. Everyone seemed to feel that war was in the immediate offing; that there was little that could be done to stop it. On the other hand, everyone was hopeful that in some manner war could be avoided. By the Fall of 1941, while our position with respect to Japan was growing more tense, it must be remembered that no warlike actions had been taken by Japan against us in the Pacific, whereas in the Atlantic our merchant ships were being sunk and relations with Germany were rapidly approaching the breaking point. In other words, the Atlantic problem was already with us. (o) I do not recall that Admiral Stark and Rear Admiral Ingersoll were preoccupied with any matters aside from those in hand during the few weeks preceding the war. Because of the nature of my duties, I came in closer contact with Admiral Stark than I did with Rear Admiral Ingersoll. However, it is my distinct impression that both of these officers felt that war with Japan and Germany was only a matter of a short time. I retain the decided impression that in the year preceding Pearl Harbor, both of these officers were doing their utmost to strengthen the naval service in every respect against the day when war would become a reality.

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

The witness stated that he had nothing further to say.

The witness was duly warned and withdrew.

The examination then, at 11:45 a. m., was adjourned to await the call of the examining officer.


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