Page 317

[293]

PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 1944
TWENTY-SIXTH DAY
                                  HEADQUARTERS, COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC AREA
                                                    AND SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE.

The examination met at 2:15 p. 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-fifth 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.

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. Admiral, please state your name, rank, and present station.

A. William F. Halsey, Admiral, U. S. Navy, Commanding South Pacific Force and South Pacific Area and Third Fleet.

2. Q. Sir, what duties were you performing on 7 December 1941?

A. I was Commander Aircraft Battle Force and Commander Task Force Two.

3. Q. Sir, how long had you been attached to the Pacific Fleet and in what capacity during 1941?

A. During the entire year of 1941, I was in the Pacific Fleet as Comairbatfor. I assumed that command in June, 1940.

4. Q. Sir, will you state, in general terms and as best you can recall, the periods during which you were in Pearl Harbor between the middle of October and the 7th of December, 1941.

A. I should say one-third of the time. I was at sea approximately two-thirds of the time. Prior to November 28, 1941, we had been in port for a normal period. When I left with my task force that morning, I did not let anyone know where we were going until we were clear of the harbor. At this point, I peeled off the battleships and destroyers that were not to accompany us. I went off to the westward and sent them off to the southward and eastward.

5. Q. Sir, on what date did you leave Pearl Harbor prior to December 7?

A. The last date I left prior to December 7 was 28th of November.

Page 318

6. Q Admiral, how would you describe your relations with the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, during the latter half of 1941 with regard to the frequency with which he consulted you and other senior officers of the Fleet; the consideration that he gave to the advice that you and other Flag officers gave him in formulating his decisions?

[294]

A. On return from sea, I would usually fly into port from my carrier Flagship and report immediately to Admiral Kimmel's office. We would have long discussions on the events that had taken place during the period at sea, and he, in turn, would tell me what happened in Pearl, the messages that he had received, the efforts he had been making to straighten out the personnel and materiel situation, what he was doing to try to instill cordial relations with the Army, his personal relations with General Short, and other members of the Army forces. I do not remember whether he held any actual conferences at that time. There were always a number of Flag officers in his office and we had a free and open discussion. As far as I know, I was kept absolutely au courant on everything that was going on. My advice was asked and in some cases it was taken and in some cases it was not. This merely represented a normal difference of judgment between two people. I saw Admiral Kimmel very frequently in a private way. We were close personal friends. I talked to him on these occasions probably more freely then than at any other time. Our personal and official relations were extremely close.

7. Q. Sir, were his conferences with you mainly along the lines of tactical exercises and training of the Fleet, or did they touch on such questions as the security of the Fleet when in port?

A. All subjects. The principal worries at that time were the materiel conditions, the very heavy turn-over in personnel, the question of balancing security against training and how far he could afford to let his trained men go and still have his Fleet ready for instant action. He was constantly going over in his mind how far this should go. I know that he was very much against the transfer of so many trained men and the influx of so many recruits under the conditions that faced us.

8. Q. During the latter half of 1941, what did you consider the primary mission of the Pacific Fleet?

A. To prepare for war against Japan.

9. Q. Do you feel that Admiral Kimmel was of like opinion, that he considered that the primary mission of the Fleet?

A. Absolutely.

10. Q. What were the primary tasks assigned in the War Plans then extant to the Pacific Fleet?

A. I have forgotten the details. The War Plans directed a raid on the Marshall Islands and we played it on the game board before the war. Curiously enough, my first offensive action, after the start of the war, was the bombing of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. This had been proved impossible on the game board.

11. Q. Admiral, what was the condition of personnel of the Fleet during the latter part of 1941 as regards their experience?

A. It was a little bit less experienced than one normally has in peace times, because of the fact there was a great deal of new construction going on and we were required to transfer a large number of key personnel to man this new construction.

Page 319

12. Q. Was much emphasis placed on the training of the Fleet at that time?

A. The Fleet spent approximately two-thirds of its time at sea and during this time we were running under war conditions as regards darkened ship, anti-submarine protection, and so forth. The whole period of ten days at [295] sea was spent in training of personnel in combat duties and the perfection of inter-type tactics.

13. Q. Did you feel that the training of the Fleet was emphasized to an extent that preparedness to carry out war tasks was relegated somewhat to the background?

A. You cannot carry out your war tasks unless your men were trained to fight. In your training, you serve a double purpose: You make fighters out of green men and you add security to your Fleet.

14. Q. In the training schedules, was it your impression that the programs were directly contributory to training for the initial war tasks which might face the fleet?

A. Absolutely.

15. Q. Sir, in general terms, would you tell what transfers of units of the Fleet were made from the Pacific Fleet to other areas during the latter part of 1941?

A. There were three battleships, one carrier out of the four we had, and a number of cruisers and destroyers, the exact number I do not remember. This produced a decided weakening of the Pacific Fleet and left it, according to my recollection, less strength than the Japanese Fleet.

16. Q. Did you feel that these transfers incapacitated the Pacific Fleet for carrying out the tasks assigned to it in the war plans?

A. I felt that it militated against our chances of success in carrying out these plans.

17. Q. Sir, do you know what Admiral Kimmel's reaction was to the transfer of these units of his Fleet?

A. I remember very distinctly that he was very much against the transfer; he deplored it.

18. Q. Do you recall what steps he took to call that to the attention of higher authority?

A. I am not certain on that, but, as I remember it, there was an exchange of rather heated dispatches on the subject.

Note: upon his return to Washington, the examining officer caused a search to be made of the flies of dispatches between the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, during the year 1941, in the Office of the Director of Naval communications, Navy Department, and was unable to find any dispatches fitting this description.

19. Q. During 1941, what was your estimate as to the suitability of basing the Fleet at Pearl Harbor rather than on the West Coast of the United States?

A. Based on the fact that I thought that the Japs would strike without declaration of war, I thought the closer we had the Fleet to the Japanese the better off we were. I believed that Pearl Harbor was the second best place and Manila the first place.

20. Q. Sir, do you know what Admiral Kimmel's estimate was along those lines as to the wisdom of basing the Fleet at Pearl Harbor?

Page 320

A. No, I do not remember. I knew there had been some discussion about Admiral Richardson and Admiral Kimmel's point of view on the subject. I've forgotten the exact status of it.

21. Q. Did you ever recommend to Admiral Kimmel that the Fleet be moved to Manila as you suggested in your previous answer?

A. I do not remember so doing.

[296]

22. Q. Do you recall, from your close association with Admiral Kimmel, whether or not he was so much preoccupied in his daily problems of training, keeping up materiel, that he did not give sufficient thought to the international situation, the possible imminence of hostilities, and was thus preoccupied about the wrong things?

A. I distinctly know that the international situation was constantly before us and constantly being discussed, as were the probabilities or possibilities of an attack. There was a continuous flow of messages from many sources which might be called "wolf" messages. There were many of these and, like everything else that's given in superabundance, the senses tended to be dulled, but the possibilities of the international situation were constantly before our minds during our working hours.

23. Q. Sir, I hand you a copy of a dispatch dated 16 October 1941, which is Exhibit 6 before this examination. Do you recall the approximate time that you first saw this dispatch?

A. I believe I saw this dispatch soon after its receipt.

24. Q. Do you recall any conferences that Admiral Kimmel had with his Staff or with Army officials at which you were present at which this dispatch was discussed?

A. I am sure that I, personally, discussed the dispatch with him and members of his Staff, but I can not be sure of any general conference on the subject.

25. Q. Sir, at that time, what was your interception of the wording "preparatory deployments" in this dispatch?

A. I believe that was taken up and it was decided that the task forces at sea and in port were acting in a preparatory deployment, ready to go in case the order was given. Submarines were sent to the Far East, as were B-17's. This took away a lot of our attack force from Hawaii. Submarine patrols were established at Midway and Wake, and again the question of air fields on Midway and Wake was brought prominently forward. The question of placing combatant planes in both Midway and Wake was brought to the front. The only planes available for use in Midway and Wake were sent; that is patrol planes. This further weakened the reconnaissance from Hawaii.

26. Q. Admiral, in your own estimation, insofar as you can recall, were those the proper measures and dispositions for the Commander-in-Chief to take in consequence of that dispatch of 16 October?

A. Yes. In addition to that, a great effort, I remember very distinctly, was made to get ground armament to the outlying islands. Guns and ammunition were taken, on Admiral Kimmel's own initiative, and placed in these islands. Just where they came from, I've forgotten at this moment. I remember there was a great deal of talk about that and the question of authority for placing them in the outlying islands. Admiral Kimmel took the authority and placed them.

Page 321

27. Q. Do you recall that some weeks elapsed between the dispatch of 16 October and any further dispatches of a warning nature?

A. I believe so. This particular dispatch, I remember, was taken very seriously by everybody-the war warning-and, to the best of my recollection, it was some time before we began to be bombarded with dispatches.

28. Q. During that period of some weeks, did it occur to you that you had a right to expect something further from the Navy Department indicating whether they wished the preparatory deployments continued or that they should really rescind that directive?

A. As I remember, that very point was discussed time and time again, and [297] the point was also brought up that they should give us more information or rescind the directive.

29. Q. Sir, I hand you a dispatch from the Chief of Naval Operations to CinCPac, and other addresses, dated 24 November, 1911, which is Exhibit 7 before this examination. Do you recall when you first saw that dispatch?

A. I believe I saw this dispatch very shortly after its receipt and it caused a tremendous amount of figuring on where the Japs were likely to strike. Because of Guam and Philippines being mentioned in the dispatch, we probably thought more along those lines than of a surprise attack on Hawaii.

30. Q. Admiral, did you feel that this dispatch, in effect, continued the directive of the previous dispatch in regard to deployments?

A. That is a very difficult question to answer. I would say that we felt, during this whole period, that we were subject to imminent war, and that the measure that had already been taken was sufficient at that time, with the means at hand.

31. Q. Sir, do you recall being present at any conferences that Admiral Kimmel or members of his Staff had with their opposite numbers of the Army after the receipt of this dispatch or at which this dispatch was discussed?

A. There was one conference that I recall very well. That happened on the 27th day of November. I believe there were preliminary ones before that conference and that it came to a head that day. The decision was made to send fighting planes to Wake. The field was just then ready for use.

32. Q. Sir. I hand you a dispatch from the Chief of Naval Operations to CinCPac, dated 27 November, which is Exhibit 8 before this examination. Do you recall when you first saw that dispatch?

A. I probably saw this dispatch at the conference that took place on the morning of the 27th of November. I might add that I was with Admiral Kimmel from about nine o'clock that morning until about six o'clock that evening.

33. Q. Sir, at that time, what was your interpretation of the sentence in this dispatch which reads to the effect that certain deployments were to be carried out?

A. I'm afraid at that particular time I didn't give much thought to that sentence. I had a very precise task given me to carry fighter planes for the defense of Wake Island, where the air field was just about ready. There was a discussion in which General Short, General Martin, and some other Army officers, and Admiral Kimmel, Admiral Brown, Admiral Bellinger, and possibly some more, and I took part. It centered

Page 322

on what planes should be used for this purpose. I remember very distinctly General Martin proposing that we use some of the old combatant Army planes because those were the ones we could afford best to lose. General Short countered with the proposition that if we are going up against the Japanese we wanted the best we had instead of the worst and we would use the best Army planes. I then brought out the fact that I had been informed that the Army was not allowed to fly their pursuit planes farther than fifteen miles from the coast for reasons of security of personnel. General Martin stated this was a fact and immediately, because of that and their lack of experience of flying over water, it was decided to send either Navy or Marine planes. The Marine planes were finally selected and for security reasons it was necessary to get those planes on board the ENTERPRISE at sea the next day without anyone knowing where they [298] were going. This required a tremendous amount of planning and subterfuge before we hit on a scheme for flying these people aboard. We told them they were going out for two or three days' maneuvers. At the same time, to show the Army that it was possible to fly Army fighter planes off carriers, it was arranged to take two Army fighter planes aboard from the dock and fly them of at sea to land in Honolulu. This again required much planning so as not to excite people and break the security. We worked over this until about six o'clock in the evening before plans were completed. We sailed the next morning. I was probably too fully occupied that day to think much about that sentence.

34. Q. Do you recall that the Army participation in outlying island defense was the subject of a dispatch of 27 November, other than the one before you?

A. I recall there had been some discussion of Army units going to outlying bases and that Admiral Kimmel had looked on outlying bases as part of the Fleet, and, for that reason, he wished to confine the forces ashore to Marines and naval personnel, insofar as practicable. It soon became evident that such a process could not be carried out and certain bases, according to my recollection, were finally picked out to be garrisoned by Army forces.

36. Q. Admiral, do you feel that the dispatching of Marine planes to Wake was a consequence of this dispatch that you have had before you or had that been decided before the dispatch arrived?

A. I believe it was precipitated by this dispatch and the fact that the air fields were just ready at that time. In other words, it was a hurry-up move. One more reason for that was the fact that my task force was due to proceed to sea on the 28th of November and in order not to violate security, they wanted to make it appear a perfectly natural move.

36. Q. In other words, under the published employment schedules, you were due to go out on the 28th?

A. Exactly.

37. Q. Sir, on the mission to Wake Island, what were your orders in the event of sighting Japanese forces?

A. I believe I got the finest orders that were ever given to a man. I waited until the conference was over and I asked Admiral Kimmel, "How far do you want me to go?" He said, "Use your common sense."

Page 323

38. Q. Admiral, had you discussed with Admiral Kimmel the matter of safety of the outlying islands, Wake, Midway, Johnston, and so forth, in the event of war with Japan?

A. Many times.

39. Q. Would you please state his feelings in the matter. Was he seriously concerned therewith?

A. He was very seriously concerned over the matter. He felt the personnel and materiel was entirely inadequate for the task imposed. Very shortly before, say, sometime in the early Fall, General Price of the Marines, who was at that time in command of the Marines on the West Coast, I think, which included the Hawaiian Department, came out. Admiral Kimmel, in my presence, asked him to make a very thorough study of the defenses of Midway and Wake while he was there, told him about his grave doubts as to our ability to defend them with what we had; and asked for his advice and assistance on anything that could be done to improve the defenses. He stressed, particularly. that it must be done with what we had or what we might take from the common pool. It was a constant source of worry.

[299]

40. Q. Do you recall any plans that Admiral Kimmel had for using Fleet units in the event of hostilities to aid in the protection of these islands?

A. I do not recall any plans but I am quite certain that he would not have split his Fleet and let it be taken in detail by sending a portion out to a given island. He might have sent the whole Fleet out. I say "the whole Fleet"; I mean a sufficient task force.

41. Q. As regards our commitment of considerable forces, including troops and planes on Wake, do you recall any disagreement between Admiral Kimmel and the Navy Department?

A. The Navy Department had specified a certain garrison of troops for Wake and I believe Admiral Kimmel enlarged the garrison out there, strengthened the garrison, without authority from the Navy Department. I also believe that the placing of the twelve Marine fighter planes was done on his own initiative.

42. Q. Admiral, reverting to the wording of the dispatch of 27 November, do you recall your own reaction when you read the words "war warning"?

A. I remember very distinctly my reactions to that whole day. I was very serious about it and probably shaking a little bit. I felt that we were going to be in a fight before I got back to Pearl. The words "war warning" probably had some effect on my feelings.

43. Q. Did you have time, on that day, for any thought concerning the security of Oahu, Pearl Harbor, and so forth?

A. No, sir, I was entirely surrounded by thoughts of my own task force, getting out without people knowing what I was doing.

44. Q. As regards your own task force, upon putting to sea, did you institute any security measures advanced over those which had been in effect while at sea for some time previously?

A. Immediately on clearing the channel, I diverted the battleships, three in number, cruisers and destroyers, under Admirals Draemel and Kidd, and told them to carry out exercises in a certain area. I then headed West with the remainder of my task force. As soon as we were out of sight of the remainder of the task force, I sent a signal

Page 324

to put war heads in all torpedoes; to regard any submarine seen as hostile and sink it; armed the planes with bombs; gave orders to shoot down any plane seen in the air that was not known to be one of our own. We went into Condition 3, as I remember it, and kept that the entire way out until we got close to Wake and then I went into Condition 2. In other words, I tried to make full preparations for combat. I also ordered ready ammunition for all guns. I might add one other thing. I carried out morning and afternoon searches to three hundred miles, as I remember it, for any sign of hostile shipping. I kept a combat patrol over the ships at certain times.

45. Q. Admiral, referring back to your answer a few minutes ago that you felt that on 27 November the United States and Japan would be at war before you returned from your mission to Wake, did you have an opportunity to communicate that feeling to Admiral Kimmel, and, if so, do you recall his reaction to your expressions?

A. I did not intend to convey the idea that I thought they would be at war before I got back, but I felt that there was a very grave possibility that I might be attacked or attack before I returned. I thought it might precipitate war.

46. Q. Did you have an opportunity to express that opinion to Admiral Kimmel before you sailed?

[300]

A. Insomuch as I asked him how far I should go, I think I expressed my opinion.

47. Q. Did he give his reaction to your expression?

A. It was perfectly understood by me when he told me to use my common sense.

48. Q. Admiral, I hand you a dispatch from Chief of Naval Operations to CinCPac, and other addressees, dated 3 December, which is Exhibit 11 before this examination. Did you have any information of the receipt of this before December 7?

A. I did not see it.

49. Q. Admiral, I'll ask you a hypothetical question. If you had seen this dispatch on 3 December, what would have been your reaction to it?

A. It would have been cumulative information that had been progressing for months that we were about to have a fight.

50. Q. Would this dispatch have indicated to you that the beginning of hostilities was extremely imminent?

A. Not necessarily, in view of all the other dispatches that had been coming in and the various personal letters, O. N. I. Bulletins, and various things.

51. Q. Admiral, after you sailed with your task force on November 28, 1941, did you receive from the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, or higher authority, any additional warnings or instructions with respect to the security of your task force or similar directive?

A. I did not. I considered that Admiral Kimmel had faith in what I was doing and he didn't consider any further instructions than the ones he had given me were necessary.

52. Q. Did you receive, officially, any additional information with respect to the international situation or other intelligence?

A. Nothing official that I recall. However, we were naturally reading the press and we had some garbled message about the Japanese Fleet being near Palau. That came, as I remember it, in a press dispatch.

Page 325

53. Q. Sir, in addition to these warning dispatches that were received by the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, what other sources of information did he have as regards the possibilities of a surprise attack, or the movement of Japanese vessels, or the general international situation, that would cause him to feel concern for the safety of his Fleet in Pearl Harbor?

A. Everyone that came through Honolulu of any importance from the Far East was always interviewed by Admiral Kimmel or some of his Staff, usually by Admiral Kimmel, himself. There were letters being passed back and forth at all times between Washington and Admiral Kimmel, and it is my impression that there were certain O. N. I. and intelligence information coming out. Just how that arrived, I'm not quite sure, whether it came in dispatch form, or not.

54. Q. Sir, did you feel, at that time, that the sum total of the Commander-in-Chief's intelligence reports was at all adequate? In other words, did you feel that the Commander-in-Chief was fairly well informed as to what the Japs were doing or did you feel that you were operating in the dark there?

A. I did not feel that we were well informed on what the Japs were doing and I felt that we were operating in the dark. I had the personal feeling, entirely personal, that they knew a lot more in Washington than we knew out there and that we should have been informed.

[301]

55. Q. Do you recall any discussions that you had with the Commander-in-Chief along that line, whether any steps were being taken to improve the situation?

A. I recall, vaguely, discussions along that line and damning them for not letting us in on the information. I believe Admiral Kimmel said he would demand or had demanded that they give him more information.

56. Q. Sir, in your discussions with the Commander-in-Chief and members of his Staff, do you recall that any particular consideration was given to the recent history of the Axis Powers of indulging in surprise attacks?

A. We, of course, were all cognizant of the Jap's attack on the Chinese and again on the Russians, and we felt sure that they would pull something like that, but we thought it would take place in the Far East rather than Honolulu, except by submarines, which was the gist of the conversation. We underestimated their ability to operate carriers, or we did not give it enough consideration.

57. Q. Do you recall, personally, being particularly impressed by what you had heard of Yamamoto's characteristics?

A. Yes, I remember we credited him with being probably a very good fighter and having a great dislike for the Americans.

58. Q. Did you know, at the time, of his long connection with the Japanese naval air build-up?

A. Yes, I believe I did. I'm not sure.

59. Q. Sir, what was your estimate, during the three months preceding 7 December 1941, as to the probability or possibility of a surprise attack by the Japanese on the Fleet based at Pearl Harbor?

A. My estimate was that they would probably attack by subs off Pearl Harbor and throw the weight of their main attack into the Philippines or down the South Coast of China towards Malaya.

Page 326

60. Q. Sir, can you amplify that just a bit, going into the reasons behind that estimate or the considerations upon which that estimate was based?

A. It was based on the fact that they had a strong Army near at home, that they needed oil, they probably needed rubber, that these were close aboard where they could easily exploit them and they could exploit any attack that they made. That they could not, thank God, or did not, exploit a successful attack on Pearl.

61. Q. Did you know at that time whether or not Admiral Kimmel's own estimate was similar to yours?

A. I believe that was the general feeling amongst nearly every one there.

62. Q. Was this a subject of frequent discussion among members of his Staff and the Flag officers of the Fleet?

A. It was a subject of discussion by all hands around there.

63. Q. In addition to the answers that you have made to the last three questions, can you give any other reasons why the senior officers in Pearl Harbor were not more apprehensive of a surprise air attack there? The particular significance lies in a Joint Estimate by Army and Navy Air Officers made back in March, 1941.

[302]

A. The question of an air attack on Pearl was always at the forefront of everybody's mind. I merely say, in my own personal opinion, I did not think an air attack was coming. I thought it would be a submarine attack. There was constant drilling in air defense and tracking, both day and night, in port and at sea. If it was in port, all types of Navy and Army planes were flown over the Fleet for recognition purposes. Attacks were sent in against Pearl from carriers a hundred or hundred and fifty miles at sea, for purposes of drill and anti-aircraft defense. Sleeve and drone firing, of course, was always taking place. There were constant drills with such radars as we had at that time in tracking planes. We had no means of determining the altitude of a plane from radar in those days. I, personally, used a squadron of planes, flying them from a carrier, a distance of a hundred miles on one air level, bring them up a thousand feet, and fly them back. I did that from 1,000 feet to 20,000 feet to see if they could determine some method of finding their altitude. We finally did get a very rough method. Using curves, we could pick out the plane's altitude, but that was predicated on the fact that he was flying at the same level. It was very rough. The point I'm trying to bring out is that we were all very conscious that we were going to be attacked, either at sea or in port, and constant drills were held day and night on account of this. I felt that with the radar protection we had, that any attack coming in would probably be picked up. As we all know, it was picked up and did not get to the proper authorities.

64. Q. Prior to your going to sea on 28 November, were you particularly in touch with the state of development and efficiency of the Army's radar system?

A. We were a bit perturbed about the Army radar equipment because, at that time, there had been a very close cooperation and almost unity of command between the Army and the Navy. This was insisted upon by Admiral Kimmel, and we felt that possibly they weren't using the best methods in plotting radar. We had had a great deal

Page 327

more experience with it than the Army. I discussed it with Admiral Kimmel and I believe it was at his direction that I sent my communication officer, who, at that time and still is, one of the best radar practical men-not a technician-we have in the Fleet, to work with the Army. Again, to the best of my recollection, he made some very valuable suggestions which were adopted.

65. Q. Did he happen to report to you that the Army was very backward in their preparations with radar?

A. He did.

66. Q. Do you recall that estimate, mentioned just previously, having been the subject of discussion between senior officers at any time during the months preceding 7 December (the Army and Navy Air Estimate of March 30, 41)?

A. My recollection is poor on that subject, but I feel quite certain that it was discussed.

67. Q. Admiral, in answer to an earlier question, mention was made of the employment schedules of units of the Fleet based at Pearl Harbor. Do you recall approximately how often those were published and disseminated?

A. I'm not sure whether it was monthly or quarterly; quarterly, I think.

68. Q. Do you recall the classification that was given to these schedules and how wide a distribution was made?

A. No, but it had a fairly wide distribution until the word went around that people were talking too much in Honolulu. Again my recollection is a little faulty, but I think one or two officers were threatened with court-martials because their wives knew too damn much.

[303]

59. Q. Was the distribution limited after that situation was brought to light?

A. I think so, very decidedly. I remember, very distinctly, Admiral Kimmel got out a very strong letter or order on the subject, and after that things tautened up very considerably.

70. Q. What was your own reaction to the wisdom of publishing and giving fairly wide circulation to these employment schedules?

A. I never had any particular reaction to it. I never trusted, and do not today trust, any of the people of Japanese descent who are in the Hawaiian Islands. Anyone from anywheres in the neighborhood of Honolulu can see the Fleet coming in and going out. By using a little deduction, they could figure out what was going on. I don't think these employment schedules had very much to do with it. As a matter of fact, both sides of the entrance to Pearl Harbor were lined with Japanese every time we went in and out. I say "lined", there were a few of them always playing around.

71. Q. Sir, do you know whether any consideration was ever given to the point that the publication of the employment schedules would give notice quite far in advance of the presence of units in Pearl Harbor which might be of great value to the enemy?

A. They undoubtedly would, but I had not given that any consideration at that time.

72. Q. During the few days in late November, while your task force was in Pearl Harbor, do you recall any conversation or did you give any thought yourself toward a departure from the scheduled employ-

Page 328

ment by virtue of which all fleet units would have been out of Pearl Harbor?

A. I do not and I did not.

73. Q. Admiral, upon what branch of the Armed Services of the United States did the primary responsibility for the defense of Pearl Harbor rest?

A. The Army. However, by direction of Admiral Kimmel, the Commandant of the Fourteenth District was made a semi-task force commander under the Army and controlled the Fleet anti-aircraft batteries and defenses of the Fleet within Pearl. I might add, after reading the order (Exhibit 4), the Commandant of the District exercised this control through the Senior Officer Present Afloat, excluding the Commander-in-Chief.

74. Q. Admiral, during the months immediately preceding 7 December 1941, what was your own estimate as to the ability of the Army to fulfill its commitments to protect Pearl Harbor against air attack?

A. I did not think they had the proper equipment or enough of equipment to defend it.

75. Q. Sir, could you elaborate on that just a bit as to the specific deficiencies that existed at that time?

A. I did not think their anti-aircraft artillery was of the proper calibre or in sufficient quantity to properly protect Pearl Harbor. We were all short of fighting planes, including the carrier-based planes, and Army pursuit planes.

76. Q. What thoughts had you as regards the efficiency of the Army to properly use such equipment as they did have?

A. I had no direct knowledge of their efficiency, but I had seen them, [304] watched them, in other places, and I thought they could use the equipment they had efficiently.

77. Q. You have testified as regards your knowledge of the defensive qualities of the Army radar system. Will you, similarly, cover what within your recollection you estimated the efficiency of the Army pursuit on Oahu?

A. The old time Army pursuit pilots on Oahu were undoubtedly very good. There were a number-and I do not know the exact percentage-of brand new pilots who had just completed basic training and were in Oahu in a semi-training status at that time. These pilots had to be depended upon for part of the defense.

78. Q. Admiral, did the Army have on Oahu anything that resembled what we now know as fighter direction?

A. They were attempting to establish it. I'm a little bit balled up; I don't know whether it happened before or after December 7. I know they were trying to get going. To the best of my recollection, I believe they were attempting to assemble something resembling our fighter direction. We used our planes and carriers to train them.

79. Q. Did you, at the time, consider that the system would have been effective in repelling an attack?

A. Probably not.

80. Q. Admiral, prior to 7 December, what information did you have as to what distance aerial reconnaissance was being carried out around Oahu?

Page 329

A. I was cognizant of the daily plan for reconnaissance. This came out each day showing sections covered by the Army and sections covered by the Navy and the type of plane that was covering. I was also cognizant of the fact that the search planes available were limited in number, had been run very hard. It became a question, and a very serious question, and occasioned many discussions between Admiral Bellinger and Admiral Kimmel whether they should use a plane continually and keep a full coverage and have them all go to pieces at once, or put out the best partial covering they could and keep the planes in shape so that they could be used in case of necessity. Attempt was made to provide two full crews for each plane and the plane was put on a six-days basis. They ran for six days, no Sundays and holidays were counted, and one day off for upkeep and repair by the crew The only long-distance Army bombing planes we had were the B-17's, and most of them had been flown out to the Philippines. As a matter of fact, we had practically none left, as I recollect. The other plane the Army was using for reconnaissance was a B-18, which was very slow and very limited in its search area. As a consequence of this, instead of having a perfect 360 degree search that we should have had, the search was limited to certain sectors thought to be most dangerous and a form of rotational search was put in those sections with the planes that were available. The Fleet operating areas were searched daily.

81. Q. Admiral, I hand you Pacific Fleet Confidential Letter, 2CL-41 (Revised), which is Exhibit 4 before this examination. Were you familiar with that in the months preceding 7 December?

A. Yes, sir.

82. Q. Sir, at that time, did you consider this an adequate security plan?

A. I did.

83. Q. Was this plan being fully carried out as stated in the letter immediately prior to your departure on 28 November?

[305]

A. To the best of my knowledge, yes.

84. Q. Sir, when your task force was in port, immediately prior to your departure on 28 November, did you feel that your force was reasonably secure in Pearl Harbor?

A. I did.

85. Q. Admiral, what was the location of your task force at the time of the attack on the morning of 7 December?

A. We were returning from Wake and some 150 or 175 miles from the entrance to Pearl.

86. Q. Were your planes still aboard your carrier at that time?

A. No, the planes had been flown off at various positions. First, a scouting flight for sixty degrees, as I remember, on either bow; that was followed up by other planes to return to land at Ford Island. I think we flew them off 200 or 250 miles at sea. I had some planes left on board.

87. Q. What was the first information you received of the Japanese attack?

A. I had left the bridge for the first time since we had departed Pearl Harbor, gone down and taken a nice bath and shave, and was sitting

Page 330

down to a comfortable breakfast. They brought me a message that read: "AIR RAID. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." My first impression was that my own planes were being attacked because I had sent them in without any notice. I had not broken radio silence since we left Pearl. They tried to persuade me differently and until the second message came in, I didn't believe them.

88. Q. What action did you take upon receipt of those messages, did you make an attempt to communicate with your planes?

A. The planes, I knew, had landed or were landing at that time. There was no necessity for trying to communicate with them. Depending upon where the attack had come from, they were probably better placed at Pearl Harbor than they would be with me for attacking the enemy. My recollection is that I sent a request in that if not needed, my planes be directed to join me.

89. Q. Can you make a statement as to what part the ENTERPRISE planes took in the hostilities on that date?

A. I can give you a very vivid description that was given me by my Flag Secretary, who is an aviator. He was riding in a rear seat with the Group Commander and as they approached Pearl he saw all the anti-aircraft in the air. His first impression was, "My God, the Army has gone crazy, having anti-aircraft drill on Sunday morning." They got in a little bit closer and he said he saw a plane playing around and he thought, "Here's one of these fresh, young Army pilots coming down playing around, breaking orders." He said just at that time he happened to be looking at the wing and saw a piece of the wing begin to fly off. Just then the plane went by and almost took his head off. He looked up and saw a red ball on it. Then he tried to unlimber his gun and couldn't get it unlimbered. They then went through the damnest amount of anti-aircraft fire and bullet fire that he had ever seen, before or since, and finally got in to the field at Ford Island. Nearly all the ENTERPRISE planes had a similar experience. Some few shot down Jap planes and some few were shot down.

90. Q. Were any of your planes lost, other than by enemy action?

A. Quite a number of them were shot down by our own anti-aircraft fire.

[306]

91. Q. Admiral, was any investigation convened to determine the facts surrounding the shooting down of our own planes by our own gun fire?

A. No investigation, insofar as I know, was called, nor was any necessary. In time of war, you don't have time to go into formal investigation in an affair of that kind, where the reason was so perfectly apparent to anyone. After going through the bombing they had, they were all trigger-happy and shooting at anything that came in.

92. Q. Were you greatly surprised when you learned how ineffective the Army opposition to the attack on 7 December actually was?

A. I don't know if I gave the matter any great consideration, as I was fairly busy from that time on for about six weeks. However, I was always dubious of the ability of anti-aircraft to prevent an attack coming in. It was not until I came down here and saw the effects of the ninety millimeter batteries, when properly handled, and after wards the effects of the new armament that we have on our ships today, that I believed that anti-aircraft could be effective. I'm convinced

Page 331

that it is effective now. The talk at that time was principally about the number of planes that had been shot up on the ground, been caught flat-footed, and the good work that the few pilots who got in the air had done. Looking back on it, I probably was surprised at the ineffectiveness of the whole defense.

93. Q. Admiral, while you were last in port, prior to 7 December, or at any time previously, did it occur to you that the Fleet should be protected by anti-torpedo baffles while berthed in Pearl Harbor?

A. It did. I was strongly in favor of having them.

94. Q. Do you recall whether their absence was due to the opposition of any Commander toward having them in the water or was it because of the unavailability of the material?

A. My impression was that it was due, principally, because of the unavailability of the material. There undoubtedly was opposition on the part of some because it certainly slowed down mooring and slowed down the sortie, unmooring.

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 made the following statement: One of the most vivid recollections I have of events prior to 7 December 1941 were the unceasing requests by the Commander-in-Chief and his subordinate commanders for personnel and materiel, with very little apparent results. Admiral Kimmel was insistent that there should be the closest cooperation between the Army and Navy. He, personally, spent a great deal of time socially with General Short. In golf, and other forms of exercise, I was present on many occasions when this took place. This enabled them to discuss things in an informal way, and by getting to know each other they were better able to understand the other man's thoughts. At this time, there were many Army officers that went to sea with the task forces to obtain a first-hand knowledge of what the Navy was doing. At the same time, many naval officers went on maneuvers with the Army. There were many training directives issued by the Commander-in-Chief in an effort to [307] make the Fleet a potent force and ready for any emergency which might arise. Ships were shorthanded; trained personnel not available. There was, at this time, a continuing influx of new material into the Fleet which required specialized training for efficient operation. As a result, many training schools were locally established in order to maintain the efficiency of the Fleet. There was a constant effort on the part of the Commander-in-Chief and Commander Aircraft Battle Force to obtain a sufficient number of aircraft to keep the carrier complements continually filled and to permit establishment of training and replacement squadrons. This was not successful. Many requests were also made for the Department to develop new aircraft which was so vitally necessary for carrier operations in the face of possible enemy opposition. I have seen statements that task force organizations were changed radically after the 7th of December, 1941. The task force I took with me to Wake remained practically intact under my command

Page 332

for six months after that date. The LEXINGTON Task Force, under Vice Admiral Wilson Brown, U. S. Navy, was of similar constitution. This Force was ferrying fighter planes to Midway, and at sea on December 7, 1941. From December 7, 1941, until the present day, Task Forces of the Pacific Fleet are fundamentally the same. Added power is given by fast battleships and new cruisers, both sadly lacking in the early days.

The witness was duly warned and withdrew.

The examining officer then, at 5:05 p. m., adjourned until 10 a. m tomorrow.


This HTML document was created by GT_HTML 6.0d 12/23/96 6:35 PM.