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PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY
FRIDAY, MAY 5, 1944
THIRTY-FIFTH DAY
                                                        NAVY DEPARTMENT,
                                                        Washington, D. C. 

The examination met at 9:45 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 thirty-fourth 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. Sir, will you state your name, rank, and present station.

A. Wesley A. Wright; Commander, U. S. Navy; duty at the Navy Department.

2. Q. What duties were you performing on 7 December 1941?

A. I was Assistant Communication Officer on the Staff of Admiral Kimmel, on temporary duty with the Fourteenth Naval District Communication Intelligence Unit.

3. Q. Please state, briefly, what experience you have had with Combat Intelligence work, particularly with regard to detection and location of enemy ships by instrument.

A. Actually none in the traffic analysis field, which includes the location of forces by instruments. However, I had had, at that time, about nine years' experience in other closely related branches of Communication Intelligence work.

4. Q. Sir, will you make a brief statement on the means of detection and location of enemy ships that were available to CinCPac on the morning of 7 December 1941, including in your answer the general opinion among communication officers as to the relative merits of the different instruments you describe?

A. The Fourteenth Naval District Communication Intelligence Unit had available a small DF net, consisting, as I remember, of two DY's, one DT, and one large CXK on Oahu; a DY on Palmyra, and

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one on Midway. I feel that I am not a very good witness for the question because, as I stated before, my experience has been largely in other C. I. activities. Commander Williams, who has been ordered to duty here, was handling the traffic analysis end of the job, and, I believe, can answer this question much more satisfactorily.

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5. Q. Can you answer the last part of the question, on the general opinion of the communication officers as to the relative merits of the DY and CXK?

A. Yes. The DY's and the DT's are such smaller instruments and they are capable of much quicker manipulation. As a consequence, a bearing can be obtained on a short transmission much more readily and with an experienced operator satisfactory bearings can be obtained. The CXK is a much larger and much more difficult instrument to operate, but, on a long transmission, it is likely to give you a more satisfactory bearing in that it has a unilateral feature which will determine the hemisphere of the bearing almost without doubt.

6. Q. Is it practicable to obtain unilateral bearings on a DY or DT?

A. It is my belief that, with experienced operators, it is practicable to obtain unilateral bearings on a DY and also on a DT. In general of course, we hope not to have to depend upon a single instrument. If a small net is available the necessity for unilateral or "sense" determination is not as important.

7. Q. Sir, on the morning of 7 December, were the DY operators at Pearl Harbor qualified to report unilateral bearings from the DY?

A. Yes, in my opinion, the operators were qualified to report unilateral bearings.

8. Q. Under the circumstances obtaining on Oahu on 7 December, what instrument of the various ones available would be the most reliable for determination of a bearing of the Japanese carriers, if they were transmitting freely enough for obtaining results?

A. I should think that if enough bearings were obtainable the CXK would be the better instrument. I say "enough bearings" because with any DF instrument, any one bearing is likely to be considerably in error.

9. Q. Sir, where were you at the time of the attack on 7 December, and what was your station for the remainder of the morning?

A. I was in the Mess Hall at the Submarine Base, that is, the Commander-in-Chief's Staff Mess, at the time of the attack. Commander Williams was eating breakfast with me. I directed that he immediately get over to the Communication Intelligence Unit in the Administration Building, Navy Yard, find out as much as he possibly could about the composition and location of the attacking force, and telephone the information to me at Commander-in-Chief's headquarters in the Submarine Base Administration Building; I immediately went there and made telephone contact with the Communication Intelligence Unit. I remained in this building for the remainder of the morning.

10. Q. Will you give a brief narrative account of reports received, regarding the location of the Japanese ships from which the aerial attack was launched, at the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, Headquarters, including in your answer an account of what information was disseminated by the Commander-in-Chief's Headquarters to the United States forces that were seeking out the enemy ships?

A. It is my belief that an early arbitrary assumption that the surface forces were actually to the southward affected all of the subsequent reports.

13. Q. Sir, you also stated in that answer that there was a report in that the carriers had been sighted South. Can you give any further information as to the source of that report and its evaluation by the officers on duty at CinCPac Headquarters?

A. I believe I stated that the report was pretty definitely discounted by the Fleet Intelligence Officer. He brought it to my attention and made the statement that he thought it was an erroneous report.

14. Q. What evaluation was given to the CXK bearing that you received from Lualualei?

A. I'm afraid I can only answer that from my own reaction. I was a little disturbed, but felt it was probably an erroneous bearing, and when it was called to my attention by the Fleet Radio Officer. I requested that, if possible, we get some more bearings from the CXK to substantiate that.

15. Q. Was that done?

A. It was attempted but I don't believe we received any more bearings.

16. Q. Can you state to whom the information of the CXK bearing to the North was passed?

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A. We were primarily interested in learning as much as we could of he composition and the location of the attacking surface forces. In general, the information coming over indicated that there were at least your carriers, including the AKAGI and KAGA, by identified radio calls. The bearings [381] obtained on this force seemed to indicate that they were nearly due South, distance pretty well undetermined, but estimated in the neighborhood of between 250 and 300 miles. Conflicting reports were coming in from other sources, one of which stated that the carriers were sighted close to Oahu. This was questioned at length by the Fleet Intelligence Officer and the Fleet Communication Officer. During this time, I found out that no bearings were being received from Lualualei where the CXK was installed, and also found out that the Army megga telephone line between the Fourteenth Naval District Administration Building and Lualualei was out of commission. I suggested to the Fleet Radio Officer that contact could be established by radio. This was done and at least one bearing report came from this source. I remember distinctly only one bearing being called to my attention by the Fleet Radio Officer. This bearing was in direct conflict with the previous evidence that the force was to the South. The bearing received, as I remember it, was almost exactly due North, either 359, 000, or 001. The latter half of the question, as to how much of this information was transmitted to our own forces, I am unable to answer.

11. Q. Am I correct in understanding that you have no information as to whether or not this CXK bearing was sent out to any of the searching forces?

A. My understanding is that it was not, but I believe that that knowledge has come to me subsequently.

12. Q. Sir, in your previous answer, you stated that all of the earlier reports prior to the receipt of the bearing from Lualualei indicated that the force was due South. Can you give any explanation of why the reports all took that trend?

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A. It was passed by me to the Fleet Intelligence Officer, then Lieutenant Commander Layton, and I assumed it was further passed by the Fleet Radio Officer to either the Chief of Staff or to the Admiral, him self.

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17. Q. Do you have any definite information as to whether the CXK bearing went to higher authority, other than the Radio Officer and Intelligence Officer?

A. Nothing definite; no. In addition to that, I did report this bearing to Fourteenth Naval District Unit.

18. Q. Sir, with regard to the various reports that were coming from the DY unit and one report that you mentioned from the CXK unit, can you give the approximate or relative times at which they were received, and was the source of the bearing called to the attention of all who received the information?

A. I'm afraid I can not give very definite times, but I believe that the record of the information exchanged on that day will show the times. My recollection is that we were getting the first bearings at about eight-thirty, Hawaiian time, and we continued to get bearings until afternoon.

19. Q. Do you know at approximately what time within that period this CXK bearing came in?

A. I'm afraid I cannot give a positive answer. As I remember, it was after the second dive bombing attack, which should have been in the neighborhood of 11:15. I think that can be checked by the records.

20. Q. Do you have any information as to the latter part of the previous question, on whether or not the recipients of this information were fully advised as to its source?

A. They were not advised. In any DF work, the question of bilateral or unilateral nature of the bearing is left up to the operator and the DF plot to determine. They are best suited to do the job and are depended on to furnish the correct bearing.

21. Q. In other words, the officers who received this information at CinCPac Headquarters received them as bearings and not knowing that some were received on an instrument that has a bilateral feature and another on an instrument having a unilateral feature?

A. That is correct.

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 examining officer then, at 10:20 a. m., adjourned until 9:30 a. m., tomorrow.


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