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PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1944
THIRTY-EIGHTH DAY
                                                        NAVY DEPARTMENT,
                                                        Washington, D. C. 

The examination met at 9:40 a. m.

Present:

Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, and his 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-seventh 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. What is your name, rank, and present station?

A. Roland Munroe Brainard; Vice Admiral, U. S. Navy, Retired; serving as senior member of the Joint Production Survey Committee under the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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

A. I was Director of the Ship Movements Division, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington.

3. Q. Please make a brief statement setting forth the duties of the Ship Movements Division along functional lines as applying to movements of ships in the Pacific Ocean during, say, the last six months of the calendar year 1941.

A. The general functions of the Ship Movements Division involved preparation of the publications "Operating Force Plan", "Assignment of Vessels to Fleets and Forces", "Assignment of Vessels to Districts", assignment of home ports; and collaboration and coordination with the Fleet Maintenance Division of overhauls, schedules of Fleet activities as submitted by the Commanders of the forces afloat, these tentative schedules being submitted to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and circulated for the approval or modifications by the divisions under the CNO and final approval; then returned to the forces afloat by the Chief of Naval Operations; scheduling and itinerarying of NTS ships. the recording and accountability of ship locations in rather detailed form as the result of position reports and location

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reports from the ships operating individually and from Fleet units, as reported by Fleet Commanders. During the period of my incumbency, a War Information Room was started under the late Rear Admiral F. T. Leighton for the purpose of plotting and keeping track of all combatant ships of the navies of the world. Also a section of Convoy and Routing, as now called, whose duties were the plotting [400] and as close an accountability as possible to keep track of the merchant shipping of the world. Positions of our own naval vessels also was obtained through a movement report system. Information on merchant shipping and foreign shipping and, men-o-war was obtained through the various sources of O. N. I., naval observers at ports of the world, Naval Attaches, Maritime Commission, and other such sources. The acquisition of small craft was accomplished by the NTS Section which, later, grew into a sizable division, and the assignments to Districts and Sea Frontiers was determined by the Chief of Naval Operations as set forth in the publication previously mentioned as prepared and distributed by this Division.

4. Q. As regards the assignment of important naval units in the various Fleets and Forces; were those decisions made within your Division or subject to the requirements and directives of Naval Operations' echelons above that Division?

A. They were made by higher echelons than my Division, and my Division was the recording or the agency which prepared the summarized paper of assignment of vessels to the Fleet, Divisions, and so forth.

5. Q. In that function of assignment of units, which would seem to come somewhat under policy, were you usually consulted and was your advice freely asked?

A. In the case of smaller units, District craft, and up to and including the suggestions as to the composition of destroyer divisions and their assignment, of individual ships to the Divisions, or Divisions to Squadrons; yes. In the case of larger units, cruisers, carriers, battleships, their assignment to Fleets was determined by policy plan, strategy, as well as by upper echelons.

6. Q. I show you four documents, exhibits in this examination, Nos. 25, 26, 28 and 29, which are the Employment Schedules of the last quarter of the calendar year 1941 for the Pacific Fleet. Do you recall if Naval Operations made any changes in those schedules as submitted?

A. I do not recall of any changes. It was the procedure that tentative schedules prepared by the forces afloat, submitted to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and reviewed by the several divisions thereof as to general features, for conflict, if any, with overhaul periods at yards, gunnery and engineering training periods, and if no modifications, or such modifications as might have been proposed by any division, be reviewed by the Chief or Assistant Chief of Operations, and approval or suggested modification returned to the forces afloat.

7. Q. Did that working method apply to the preceding parts of calendar year 1941?

A. It was the general procedure that I found in existence there and it was continued right straight through until the 7th of December, at least,

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8. Q. Was Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, authorized to make considerable changes in the operating schedules as long as the ships movements were confined to the general vicinity of Hawaiian waters?

A. It was my understanding, yes, sir; he could modify, interchange periods of activity. The general, overall guiding idea was that a certain amount of training in gunnery, tactics, engineering, and other activities should be accomplished in the year. A rather general freedom of action was given to the senior Fleet Commanders.

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9. Q. As applying to this particular period, October to December, inclusive, 1941, do you recall if any considerable chances were actually made by the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific?

A. In the early part of the year, schedules were in general made out according to types, in making their preliminary schedules to the Commander-in-Chief. Around the middle of the year, a task organization was set up, to the best of my knowledge, by the Commander-in-Chief, himself. From about the middle of the year through the remainder of the year, it is my recollection that the units of the Pacific Fleet operated mainly and generally in task groups with the consequent greater freedom of action that that organization allowed. They were grouped with units of the various types, which made their disposition easily handled and permitted the conduct of exercises with rather considerable facility.

10. Q. In fulfilling that function of the Ship Movements Division, which kept track of the actual locations of ships belonging to the Pacific Fleet, what information was available in addition to the approved schedules of employment?

A. The movement report system was the only other means of following more in detail the location of ships than as indicated in the schedule. This was a somewhat elaborate system, including code groups and line numbers of sheets prepared in advance by the Fleet Commanders and forwarded to the interested agencies, both afloat and ashore, and, in the case of movements in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands of the Fleet units, reports were often not received until the movement had been made. A prompt report was generally received from individual ships in free route and from ships in the Naval Transportation Service under the control of the Chief of Naval Operations. The Commander-in-Chief, as I recall, was given freedom of movement to use and move ships in the Hawaiian area as he pleased.

11. Q. Then was it true that there was a considerable time lag between the actual change in location of various Fleet units and the date on which your Division was informed concerning that?

A. There was a variable time lag; yes, sir. In some cases, it was several days, and in other cases it might be a matter of hours, depending upon the radio schedule reporting the movements message and the time filed.

12. Q. For example, did the Ship Movements Division know, at the time, when a group of vessels commanded by Admiral Halsey sailed from Pearl Harbor, approximately 1 December '41, for the purpose of landing an aircraft reenforcement upon Wake?

A. I do not recall knowing of that movement before or while it was being carried out. In a recent examination of records available to me, dispatch No. 280627 CR 0750 shows the contemplation of such a

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movement, but I found no indication thereon of my having seen it, and the daily movement sheets, information and address changes, from 21 November to 10 December, inclusive, show movements of the WRIGHT, but no carrier, between Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Midway.

13. Q. Reverting to your testimony concerning the "War Information Room", were you, during November and December of '41, kept in close touch with all the information available in the Department concerning locations of Japanese naval units?

A. I'm not quite sure I was. By frequent visits, I kept myself in close touch with the information received and plotted by the War Information Room, who, in turn, received their information from such sources as O. N. I., naval observers, and what was made known to them through the communications system.

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14. Q. At the time, did you think that your War Information Room was receiving absolutely all Japanese information available in the Department?

A. To the best of my knowledge, they were, or should have been, by existing arrangements.

15. Q. During, say, November-December, 1941, were you a part of and in close association with the Officers of Naval Operations who assisted its Chief in the formation of policies, making large decisions on the distribution of ships, and so forth?

A. No, sir, not as a general rule.

16. Q. Did you have any particular touch with the War Plans Division during that time?

A. Yes. There were visits to my office by Captain R. K. Turner, head of the War Plans Division, and of myself to his office, and we were together generally at the Secretary's morning conference and occasional gatherings in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations of certain division heads for discussions or decisions on various matters, through I do not feel that I was in on all the higher policies.

17. Q. I hand you three dispatches, which are Exhibits 6, 7 and 8 before this examination. Were you cognizant of these dispatches, as they were sent, or did you have any part in the drafting thereof?

A. I don't recall and have not yet found indication of having any participation in the drafting of these dispatches or of having seen them at that time. The general conditions of the increasing tension with Japan, as indicated therein, was a matter of my general knowledge. As to the question of war warnings, I knew definitely of a set of war warning dispatches prepared and held in readiness to be dispatched to merchant shipping, and that, for a period of two or three weeks prior to December 7, we were restraining entry into the Western Pacific of merchant vessels and vessels of our NTS Service, in order that they might not be trapped.

18. Q. I gather from your foregoing testimony that the Ship Movements Division was primarily a record-keeping agency, and something of an information bureau, available to proper authorities as regards the location of shipping. further, that neither your Division nor you, yourself, in person, did belong to the policy-making portion of the Office of Naval Operations or participate in broad decisions of the Office; is that correct?

A. Yes, sir. I was not in on questions of broad general policy.

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

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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.

Rear Admiral Walter S. Anderson, U. S. Navy, who had previously testified, was called before the examining officer, informed that his oath previously [403] taken was still binding, and stated that he had read over the testimony given by him on the thirty-seventh day of the examination, pronounced it correct, was duly warned, and withdrew.

The examination then, at 10:35 a. m., was adjourned to await the call of the examining officer.


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