XXI. CONFERENCES BETWEEN ADMIRAL KIMMEL AND GENERAL SHORT AFTER NOVEMBER 27th

 

Admiral Smith said that the Roberts' Report was incorrect; Admiral Kimmel and General Short, he "estimates," conferred every day between November 27th and December 7th (page 546). He present at some of the staff conferences (page 547).

He said that the Roberts' Report was incorrect in stating that Admiral Kimmel did not inform himself of measures taken by General Short; Admiral Smith was present at most of the conferences, and had been early directed by Admiral Kimmel to cooperate with the Army (page 550); also, Short informed himself of Kimmel's actions (page. 551).

He stated that within twenty‑four hours of the receipt of the "war warning," Admiral Kimmel and General Short conferred. General Short had been promptly advised of this message (page 561).

 

Commander Harold S. Burr, then Naval Liaison Officer for the Commandant at the headquarters, Commanding General Hawaiian Department, while at CincPac Headquarters in the presence of Capt. Earle received from Lt. Com­mander Layton a copy of the "war warning" dispatch of 27 November (Ex­hibit 17, Naval Court of Inquiry) with instructions to deliver it to General Short. Commander Burr could not locate General Short or the Chief of Staff and left the dispatch. with the Senior Officer Present, Lt. Col William Donnegan,       G‑3, explaining its urgent nature. Commander Burr stated that on the following day Col. Donnegan told him that the dispatch had been delivered to General Short. (pages 877‑8)

 

He did not recall "the details" of that conference. He thought that the message was intended to put them on their toes and to get them ready to carry out the War Plan.

 

Admiral Kimmel, according to Admiral Smith, had a shock in the week preceding Pearl Harbor when orders were received from the Navy Depart­ment to prepare a plan immediately for bringing all of the Marines off of the outlying islands and Marine and Navy planes and replacing them with soldiers and with Army planes. As Admiral Smith remembered it, practi­cally the entire week before Pearl Harbor was spent with the two staffs together. He said "the Army was undecided whether to put P‑39's or P‑40's on these islands. We told them that any planes they put on Wake would remain there for the duration, in case of war, because they would have to take off from a carrier and could not come back, and we had no means of putting a ship in there to bring them off, and during the discussion of this, with General Short and his staff, the Commanding General of the Army Air Force (General Martin) and Admiral Pye were present, and also Admiral Wilson Brown, the War Plans Officer, the Operations Officers, and I believe Admiral Bloch. Admiral Kimmel said, "What can I expect of Army fighters on Wake?" And General Martin replied, "We do not allow them to go more than fifteen miles off shore." That was a shock to all of us, and Admiral Kimmel's reply was, "Then, they will be no damn good to me." The exchange was never made because the war broke before‑hand. The only dispute between the Army and Navy over that exchange was that General Short said, "If I have to man these islands, I shall have to command them." Admiral Kimmel replied, "No, that won't do. If the Army commanded one of the islands, I wouldn't be able to get a ship into one of the ports." or words to that effect, and General Short said, "Mind you, I do not want to man these islands, I think they are better manned by Marines, but if I man them, I must command them." That was as near to a dispute between General Short and Admiral Kimmel as I ever saw, but the plan was made and submitted but never carried out." (p. 40‑41)

Concerning the "war warning", Admiral Smith said that it was received somewhere in the mid-afternoon on the 27th of November. General Short was immediately sent for and a conference was held. By six o'clock that evening, the Army was on the march, unfortunately what they did was to station men at the public utilities, the reservoirs, and the bridges. In other words, they alerted against sabotage because it was the consensus of opinion

 

450                               CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION PEARL HARBOR ATTACK

 

from this dispatch that attacks would be against the Philippines, Thailand, the Kra Peninsula, and possibly Borneo. What was considered most likely by the Navy was a submarine attack on our forces at sea and by the others sabotage on the Japanese population. The war warning, he said, was carefully considered by the assembled Army and Navy officers so as to determine its exact meaning He thought that the question of the defense of Pearl Harbor, in the light of that warning, was never raised except as to the danger of sabotage. The question of possible attack by air did not arise. Admiral Smith was not apprised of the contemplated action of the Army and did not believe that Admiral Kimmel had been advised. Admiral Bloch was at the conference, but Admiral Smith recalled no discussion of measures to be taken by Admiral Bloch's task force in light of the warning. Admiral Smith did not recall what condition of readiness was set for ships in port. He said the ships at sea were apprised of this warning.

Admiral Smith said that the operating schedule for ships which had been previously issued was not departed from except that the ENTERPRISE was sent to deliver planes to Wake. He said that as a result, at the time of the war warning, two of the three task forces were at sea; Admiral Pye's task force returned about the 5th of December, he thought, and also part of Admiral Halsey's task force; Admiral. Brown's task force departed on the 4th of December, he had the LEXINGTON and some cruisers and destroyers, but no battleships; the net result of the adherence to the operating schedules previously issued was that there was a movement of ships inward to port rather than the deployment involving movement outward. Admiral Smith said that it might very well be that these plans had been known to the Japanese and that they chose their time to attack when two task forces were scheduled to be in port.

The war warning, Admiral Smith said, did not indicate to him that there would be an attack on Pearl Harbor. He knew that a greater part of the approaches to Pearl Harbor were not covered by any reconnaissance, but recalled no discussion at the conferences concerning this fact. (p. 50‑53)

 

General Short stated that after a conference with Admiral Kimmel he placed his anti‑sabotage alert into effect. According to Admiral Smith and Colonel Phillips, the Army went on the anti‑sabotage alert on November 27th (pages 537, 479). General Short stated that he also conferred with Admiral Kimmel on December 1st, 2nd and 3rd (page 251), they talked over every phase of what they were doing (page 242).

Admiral McMorris recalled that at about this time a conference was held between Admiral Kimmel and General Short regarding utilization of Army aircraft to strengthen defenses at Midway and Wake (page 889).

 

Admiral Brown said that he had overheard Admiral Kimmel frequently question General Short as to the Army's adequacy to defend Pearl Harbor against enemy air attack and that General Short had replied that his equipment was wholly inadequate and that he had done everything possible to try to have it increased.

Admiral Pye said that he personally attended no conferences in which the situation was discussed by the Army High command; his conferences with Admiral Kimmel were concerned with Fleet operations. (p. 149)

Captain Murphy said that after the receipt of the war warning he, Captain Smith, Captain McMorris, Captain DeLany, and Captain Layton, were called into Admiral Kimmel's office, and he read the dispatch and asked for their opinion. Admiral Kimmel said that he would have a further conference that afternoon. Captain Murphy said that he thought that at that conference the decision was made to reinforce Wake and to send some planes to Midway. (p. 197).

 

Admiral Bellinger did not see the warning dispatches (Exhibits 15 and 17) before December 7th, and between November 27th and December 7th did no confer with the Army Air Force Commander regarding long range reconnaissance (page 672).

Admiral Bloch recalled no discussions concerning unity of command (page 395).