VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 32 POSTED ON: 9/24/2012
The Pearl Harbor Messages by Gregory Douglas ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------- The body of literature on the Pearl Harbor attack is immense. In seeking to explore, in print, the subject, the writer is faced with hundreds of books and literally thousands of magazine articles and official reports that are filled with an enormous number of commentaries, facts and theories. These works fall into two clearly defined categories: pro-Roosevelt and anti-Roosevelt. Pearl Harbor has become a political issue fifty years after the fact and factual reportage has taken a back seat to the maintenance of a myth or its attempted destruction. Rather than cover hundreds of pages of excerpted official testimony, Japanese and American period documents, postwar evaluations, accusations and defenses, perhaps the most simple and direct course is to set out the most important intercepted Japanese secret governmental messages from the beginning of 1941 through the day of the attack on December 7, 1941 (December 8 Tokyo time). These intercepted Japanese messages came from a number of sources but the main ones were the Imperial Japanese Foreign Office (FO in the following compilation), the Japanese Consular Service (CO ) and the Imperial Japanese military (MI-N for Navy). Almost without exception, these intercepts have been previously published in one form or another but they have never been set forth in strict chronological order. Many of the intercepts have appeared in historical works representing the official history and others in the revisionists works. Some have been officially released to the public by U.S. and British intelligence agencies and a few have appeared in German and Soviet records. A number of these intercepts are significant alone but together, they represent a very powerful statement concerning what the United States and Britain knew about the Japanese intentions, who was in possession (and who was not) of this information and, more important, when was this information known. The intercepts will be presented as they were sent by the Japanese but it should be noted here that the British versions of various messages tend to be far more complete and accurate than their American counterparts. The reason for this is that the British had a much larger and efficient code-breaking establishment and the Americans had, and have, a much greater reason for obfuscation. There are two examples of the latter case that should suffice for comparison. In her book "Pearl Harbor-Warning and Decision" by Roberta Wohlstetter published in1962, the author speaks to the subject of the so-called "Bomb Plot" messages. These messages were sent to the Japanese Consul in Honolulu from the Foreign Office and dealt specifically with the movement of shipping at the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. These reports, which were extremely specific, called for daily reports on the movement of all U.S. naval units. Some historians have pointed out that the decoding of these messages should clearly have indicated the extraordinary interest of the Japanese government in the position of these naval units on a daily basis. The argument has been made that these requests, and responses which were also decoded, indicated that Pearl Harbor was a very likely target for a military attack. Mrs. Wohlstetter states on page 213 that "The intercepts picked up between Tokyo and Honolulu formed only a small fraction of a large number of requests for similar information from other important ports in the United States and from the Philippines and the Panama Canal." The clear implication is that some historians have taken the Hawaiian traffic entirely out of context. Mrs. Wohlstetter used the phrase "small fraction" specifically. Among U.S. official records is to be found a report entitled "Consular Shipping Reports" which gives the specific totals of these requests made within the same time frame. Seattle had 6 such requests for shipping information. San Francisco had 18 such requests. Manila in the Philippines, a major U.S. naval base and headquarters of the Asiatic Fleet had 55 requests and, Pearl Harbor had 68 specific requests. There were a large number of requests, as Mrs. Wohlstetter has said, but the impression that Pearl Harbor was only a small part of a whole is entirely incorrect. Since these figures have been readily available since 1945, it is difficult to see how Wohlstetter could have passed over this in such a dismissive manner. (See the Appendix for the original intelligence reports on this subject.) The second example is an official stamp to be found on most of Japanese Navy messages, many of which are extremely important in content, released long after the war by the National Security Agency. These messages, many of which point directly to an attack on Pearl Harbor, are officially stated to have been translated only in 1945! Other, relatively routine and unimportant messages seem not to have been difficult to decode. An official argument has been made that the Japanese altered their codes on December 1, 1941 and the vital pre-Pearl Harbor intercepts could not be deciphered until after the war was over. It is interesting to note that the U.S. Navy was admittedly able to decrypt messages from the same sources in Japan and within six months of the Pearl Harbor attack to learn the Japanese plans for the Battle of Midway. Each intercept will be credited as to its origins and date of transmission. The overall distribution of these messages is indicated in a later passage. It should be noted that there were a very large number of Japanese secret diplomatic and military messages received by U.S. intelligence on a daily basis. It would have proven impossible to decode, translate and distribute all of these within a reasonable time frame. In order to facilitate the work of the translators it was necessary to identify the source of the messages. For example, a message from Japanese Army Headquarters in Tokyo to Shanghai was not as potentially important as a communication from the Japanese Foreign Minister Togo or one from Admiral Yamamoto, Commander of the Combined Fleet. Messages from these sources could be very quickly identified by the receiving body in the United States and given top priority for translation. Most of the intercepts identified as coming from key sources were translated and distributed within two to three days of receipt. As the Pacific crisis deepened, most of the important messages were translated and distributed in one or at the most, two days. Also note that the dates of transmissions found on the following intercepts indicate the date in Japan when the message was sent. Therefore, a critical message with the date of December 6, 1941 would mean December 5, 1941 in the United States. When these messages were prepared for distribution, they were sent out by either the Army or the Navy to the personages listed below. This list is taken directly from several official American sources. In the main, vital intercepts were sent, without fail, to all of those on this list. It has been an important part of the establishment story that messages of critical importance either could not be translated until just after the attack or, much more conveniently, not delivered to the parties listed. The National Security Agency has stated officially that all of the pre-Pearl Harbor original intercepts were destroyed at a point in time when the official investigations into the disaster commenced during the course of the Second World War. Confirmation of receipt by various officials also vanished at the same time. This cannot come as a surprise to anyone acquainted with the usual behavior of the White House, its occupants and servitors. President Roosevelt Secretary of State, Cordell Hull Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox Chief of Staff of the Army, George Marshall Chief of Naval Operations, Harold Stark Secretary of War, Henry Stimpson Chief of the War Plans Division, U.S. Army, Brigadier General Leonard Gerow Acting Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, Brigadier General Sherman Miles Chief, Far Eastern Section G-2, Colonel Rufus Bratton Chief, Navy Communications Division, Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes Director of Naval Intelligence, (until October 15, 1941, Captain Alan Kirk) Captain T.S. Wilkinison Chief of Navy War Plans, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner Chief of Far East Section, Office of Naval Intelligence, Commander Arthur McCollum Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, Rear Admiral Royal Ingersoll There were others who also saw these intercepts but this list represents the main recipients. Some mention has been made by establishment historians that Roosevelt was cut off from receiving many of these documents because military authorities feared that lax security at the White House might have compromised their codebreaking successes. There is no proof whatsoever that this statement is correct and in retrospect it appears to be just another attempt to comfortably distance the President from the realities of the intercepts. The number of intercepts from all sources runs into the thousands. Many were administrative or historically unimportant. The ones chosen here have been selected because of what they clearly show and they are in chronological order so that the reader can see exactly what information was available to the Roosevelt Administration and the senior command levels of the American military in the months and weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack. Also noted are the vital intercepts dealing specifically with Pearl Harbor that were not sent to the Hawaiian commanders although known in Washington to Roosevelt's senior military commanders, General George Marshall and Admiral Harold Stark. Other messages of considerable importance that indicate the probability of war but that do not deal with Pearl Harbor are marked with a *. This information, serious as it was, was never conveyed by any means to the Hawaiian commanders by their respective commands in Washington. They are included in this section as a brief sampling of a very large and significant body of intercepts that had been decoded, translated and disseminated to those leading Roosevelt administration figures noted above. The most important messages referred to in this study were Japanese Naval Operations messages. These coded messages were sent in what the United States Intelligence community called "JN- 25", JN standing for Japanese Navy. This system was what was called a "code book system", very similar to one that had been used by the American military from 1898 and discontinued in 1917 because it was not considered a secure code. The JN-25 code had a dictionary of 33,333 words and phrases, each one of these given an arbitrary five figure number. To these numbers were added random numbers that were contained in a second code book. The main code book was changed on December 1, 1940 and the secondary book was changed every three to six months. When the Japanese changed their main code in 1940, they permitted the continued use of the secondary book for a period of two months until new books could be issued. Since both the U.S. and British had broken the original code book as well as the secondary codes, they were very quickly able to read the new code. In mid-January, 1941, the United States government gave the British two of the new JN-25B code books and all the material they needed to easily decode the new Japanese operational codes. The Japanese Navy issued a new secondary, or random, code book on August 1, 1941, and were scheduled to issue another change on December 1, 1941. It is very important here to note that the Strike Force assigned to attack Pearl Harbor, sailed from Japanese waters on November 26, 1941 and was at sea on December 1, the day the codes were supposed to be changed. Therefore all coded messages sent to this Strike Force from Naval Headquarters in Japan were sent in the old codes which had been broken by both the U.S. and British. Tokyo radio relayed hundreds of important messages to Vice Admiral Nagumo, commander of the Strike Force, clearly indicating Pearl Harbor as the target of the attacking fleet between November 26 and December 7, many of these messages being sent several times to insure delivery. Of these hundreds of messages, all of which were intercepted, decoded and read at the time, only about 20 are currently available in the U.S. National Archives. As has been said previously, the NSA has stated that all the pre-Pearl Harbor intercepts have been destroyed and what now exists in their records are reconstructions of the originals. The U.S. Navy has a large file of various intercepts stored at a secure facility at Crane, Indiana, but these, according to the Navy, cannot be released because of what is euphemistically called national security, even after a lapse of fifty years. This is exactly the same rationale given for the refusal by both the CIA and the U.S. Army Intelligence Command to release certain postwar documents about the fate of Heinrich Müller. Note that all the dates on the following messages were on Japanese time, one day ahead of American time. ________________________________________________________________ MI-N Origin: Chief of Staff, Combined Fleet To: All Fleet Chiefs of Staff Date: September 9, 1941 As conditions become more and more critical, each and every ship and unit will aim at being fully prepared for commencing war operations by the first part of November. Individual ships and units will speed up battle preparations while carrying out all scheduled drills and training to the fullest extent so as to achieve maximum fighting power and to enable them to perform their duties to perfection. In this connection, your especial attention is called to the necessity of completing all personnel changes ordered August 3rd as speedily as possible, so as to leave no personnel deficiency problems. * FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: September 24, 1941 Henceforth, we wish you to make reports concerning naval vessels in the harbor to the best of your ability. 1. Pearl Harbor itself is to be divided into sub-areas. (These may be abbreviated as you see fit) Area A: Waters between Ford Island and the ammunition storage areas. Area B: Waters adjacent to Ford Island to the south and west, opposite to Area A Area C: East Loch Area D; Middle Loch Area E: West Loch and the routes into the harbor proper 2. Regarding naval units and aircraft carriers, we wish reports on those at anchor (not of primary importance), berthed at piers, buoys and in drydocks. (Request brief descriptions of ship types and classes. Please specify if two or more ships are moored at the same pier.) Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO From: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo, Japan Date: September 29, 1941 The following codes will be used hereafter to designate the location of vessels: 1. Repair dock in Navy Yard: (the repair basin referred to in my message to Washington #48) KS 2. Navy dock in the Navy Yard (the Ten Ten Pier): KT 3. Moorings in the vicinity of Ford Island: FV 4. Alongside at Ford Island: FG (East and west sides will be differentiated by A and B respectively.) Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N From: Commander in Chief, 6th Fleet To: All 6th Fleet Submarines Date: November 10, 1941 Maintain wartime radio silence on short-wave commencing midnight, November 11. * FO From: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Hong Kong Date: November 14, 1941 Though the Imperial Government entertains great hopes from the Japanese-American negotiations, they do not permit an optimistic outlook for the future. Should the negotiations in Washington collapse, the international situation in which the Empire will find itself will be one of great crisis. It is, accordingly, the foreign policy of the Empire, insofar has it has been determined through the cabinet, that our attitude towards China is as follows; a. We will completely destroy British and American power in China. b. We will seize all enemy concessions and rights (customs and natural resources) in China. c. We will take over all rights and interests owned by enemy powers, even though they might have connections with our Chinese government, but only if this should prove necessary. In achieving these goals in China, we will avoid, insofar as possible, exhausting our military forces. Thus we will deal with a world war on a long time basis. Should our reserves for total war and our future military strength lessen in the China theater, we have decided to reinforce these forces from the whole Far Eastern area. This has now become the fundamental policy of the Empire. Therefore, in consideration of the desirability to lighten our personnel and material loads, we will encourage the activities of prominent Chinese in their efforts within the occupied territories to the fullest extent that we may do so. Japan and China, working in cooperation, will take over foreign military bases (Russian, British and American) and thus establish a firm peace throughout the entire Far East. At the same time, we place great importance on the acquisition of natural resources (especially those located in the presently unoccupied areas). In order to accomplish, the cabinet agrees in unison that a certain relaxation of present regulations concerning the cooperating Chinese officials, must be permitted. Please, however, wait for specific instructions from us before altering any of the present policies. * FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: November 15, 1941 As relations between Japan and the United States are most critical, make your 'Ship in Harbor' report irregular but at the rate of twice a week. Although as you are no doubt aware, please take extra care in insure secrecy. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: November 18, 1941 Please make report on the following areas as to the units at anchor in them: Area "N", Pearl Harbor, Mamala Bay and the adjoining areas. (These investigations must be made in all secrecy.) Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: November 18, 1941 1. The naval units at anchor in Pearl Harbor on the 15th were as I advised you in my message 219 of that date. Area A: A battleship of the Oklahoma class entered and one tanker departed. Area C: 3 heavy cruisers at anchor 2. On the 17th, the carrier Saratoga was not in the harbor, the carrier Enterprise or a similar type was in Area C. Two heavy cruisers of the Chicago class, one of the Pensacola class were tied up at docks "KS". 4 merchant vessels were anchored in area D. 3. At 10:00 AM on the 17th, 8 destroyers were observed entering Pearl Harbor. Their course was as follows: In single file at a distance of 1,000 meters apart and at a speed of 3 knots per hour, entered Pearl Harbor. From the Harbor entrance through Area B to the buoys in Area C, where they moored. They changed course 5 times, approximately 30 degrees each time. The time elapsed was one hour. One of these destroyers entered Area A passing the water reservoir on the east side. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N Origin: Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet (Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto) To: CIC 2nd Fleet CIC 3rd Fleet CIC 4th Fleet CIC 11th Air Fleet CIC 1st Air Fleet CIC Southern Expeditionary Fleet Date: November 20, 1941 This dispatch is Top Secret To be decoded only by an officer This order effective as of the date within the text to follow. At midnight, November 21, repeat November 21, carry out Second Phase of preparations for opening hostilities. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Ambassador, Washington Date: November 19, 1941 Regarding the broadcast of a special message in an emergency In case of emergency (danger of cutting of our diplomatic relations) and the cutting off of international communications, the following warning will be added in the middle of the daily Japanese language short wave news broadcast: 1. In case of a Japan-U.S. relations in danger HIGASHI NO KAZEAME (East Wind Rain) 2. Japan-U.S.S.R. relations: KITANOKAZE KUMORI (North Wind Cloudy) 3. Japan-British relations: KITANOKAZE KUMORI (West Wind Clear) This signal will be given in the middle and at the end as a weather forecast and each sentence will be repeated twice. When this is heard, please destroy all code papers, etc. This is as yet to be a completely secret arrangement. Forward as urgent intelligence. * FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Ambassador, Washington Date: November 19, 1941 When diplomatic relations are becoming dangerous we will add the following at the beginning and end of our general intelligence broadcasts. 1. If it Japan U.S. relation HIGASHI 2. Japan Russia relations KITA 3. Japan British relations (including Thai, Malaya and NEI) NISHI The above will be repeated five times and repeated five times at beginning and end. Relay to Rio de Janeiro, BA., Mexico City and San Francisco. * CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: November 24, 1941 Strictly Secret. 1. According to normal practice, the fleet leaves Pearl Harbor, conducts maneuvers and forthwith returns. 2. Recently, the fleet has not remained for a long period of time nor conducted maneuvers in the neighborhood of Lahaina Roads. Destroyers and submarines are the only vessels who ride at anchor there. 3. Battleships seldom, if ever, enter the ports of Hilo, Hanaleo or Kaneohe. Virtually no one has observed battleships in maneuver area. 4. The manner in which the fleet moves: Battleships exercise in groups of three or five, accompanied by lighter craft. They conduct maneuvers for roughly one week at sea, either to the south of Maui or to the southwest. Aircraft carriers maneuver by themselves, whereas seaplane tenders operate in concert with another vessel of the same class. Airplane firing and bombing practice is conducted in the neighborhood of the southern extremity of the island of Kahoolawe. The heavy cruisers in groups of six carry on their operations over a period of two or three weeks, doubtless going to Samoa. The length of time that they remain at anchor in Pearl Harbor or tied up at docks is roughly four or five days at a stretch. The light cruisers in groups of five spend one to two weeks in operation. It would seem that they carry on their maneuvers in the vicinity of Panama. The submarines go out on 24-hour trips Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. The destroyers, in addition to accompanying the capital units of the fleet, carry on the personnel training activities in the waters adjacent to Hawaii. Minelayers (old-style destroyers) in groups of three or four have been known to spend more than three weeks in operations in the Manila area. Furthermore, on the night of the 23rd, five minelayers conducted mine laying operations outside Manila Harbor. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N Origin: Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet To: All Flagships Date: November 25, 1941 From November 26, all ships of the Combined Fleet will observe radio communications procedures as follows: 1. Except in extreme emergency, the Main Striking Force and its attached force will cease communicating. 2. Other forces are at the discretion of their respective commanders. 3. Supply ships, repair ships, hospital ships, etc., will report directly to parties concerned. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders Roosevelt-Churchill Conversation of November 26, 1941 This conversation is taken directly from a German transcript of a trans-Atlantic scrambled telephone conversation initiated by British Prime Minister Winston Spencer-Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt. The original was taken down in English and a German translation is in the German State Archives. It is included here, as are other non-Japanese reports, because this material is directly relevant in a chronological sense. Conversation Participants A=Franklin Roosevelt, Washington B= Winston Churchill, London B: I am frightfully sorry to disturb you at this hour, Franklin, but matters of a most vital import have transpired and I felt that I must convey them to you immediately. A: That's perfectly all right, Winston. I'm sure you wouldn't trouble me at this hour for trivial concerns. B: Let me preface my information with an explanation addressing the reason I have not alluded to these facts earlier. In the first place, until today, the information was not firm. On matters of such gravity, I do not like to indulge in idle chatter. Now, I have in my hands, reports from our agents in Japan as well as the most specific intelligence in the form of the highest level Japanese naval coded messages (conversation broken) for some time now. A: I felt this is what you were about. How serious is it? B: It could not be worse, A powerful Japanese task force comprising (composed of) six of their carriers, two battleships and a number of other units to include (including) tankers and cruisers, has sailed yesterday from a secret base in the northern Japanese islands. A: We both knew this was coming. There are also reports in my hands about a force of some size making up in China and obviously intended to go (move) South. B: Yes, we have all of that. (Interruption) ..are far more advanced than you in our reading of the Jap naval operations codes. But even without that, their moves are evident. And they will indeed move South but the force I spoke of is not headed South, Franklin, it is headed East.. A: Surely you must be...will you repeat that please? B: I said to the East. This force is sailing to the East...towards you. A: Perhaps they set an easterly course to fool any observers and then plan to swing South to support the landings in the southern areas. I have... B: No, at this moment, their forces are moving across the northern Pacific and I can assure you that their goal is the (conversation broken) fleet in Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor. A: This is monstrous. Can you tell me...indicate...the nature of your intelligence? (conversation broken) reliable? Without compromising your sources... B: Yes, I will have to be careful. Our agents in Japan have been reporting on the gradual (conversation broken) units. And these have disappeared from Japanese home waters. We also have highly reliable sources in the Japanese foreign service and even the military... A: How reliable? B: One of the sources is the individual who supplied us the material on the diplomatic codes that (conversation broken) and a Naval officer whom our service has compromised. You must trust me, Franklin and I cannot be more specific. A: I accept this. B: We cannot compromise our codebreaking. You understand this. Only myself and a few (conversation broken) not even Hopkins. It will go straight to Moscow and I am not sure we want that. A: I am still attempting to...the obvious implication is that the Japs are going to do a Port Arthur on us at Pearl Harbor. Do you concur? B: I do indeed. Unless they add an attack on the Panama Canal to this vile business. I can hardly envision the canal as a primary goal, especially with your fleet lying athwart their lines of communications with Japan. No, if they do strike the canal, they will have to first neutralize (destroy) your fleet (conversation broken). A: The worse form of treachery. We can prepare our defenses on the islands and give them a warm welcome when they come. It would certainly put some iron up Congress' ass (asshole). B: On the other hand, if they did launch a bombing raid, given that the aircraft would only be of the carrier-borne types, how much actual damage could they inflict? And on what target? A: I think torpedoes would be ruled out at the outset. Pearl is far too shallow to permit a successful torpedo attack. Probably they would drop medium bombs on the ships and then shoot (conversation broken) damage a number of ships and no doubt the Japs would attack our airfields. I could see some damage there but I don't think either an airfield or a battleship could sink very far. What do your people give you as the actual date of the attack? B: The actual date given is the eighth of December. That's a Monday. A: The fleet is in harbor over the weekend. They often sortie during the week... B: The Japs are asking (conversation broken) exact dispositions of your ships on a regular basis. A: But Monday seems odd. Are you certain? B: It is in the calendar. Monday is the eighth. (conversation broken). A:...then I will have to reconsider the entire problem. A Japanese attack on us, which would result in war between us...and certainly you as well...would certainly fulfill two of the most important requirements of our policy. Harry has told me repeatedly...and I have more faith in him than I do in the Soviet ambassador...that Stalin is desperate at this point. The Nazis are at the gates of Moscow, his armies are melting away...the government has evacuated and although Harry and Marshall feel that Stalin can hang on and eventually defeat Hitler, their is no saying what could transpire (happen) if the Japs suddenly fell on Stalin's rear. In spite of all the agreements between them and the Japs dropping Matsuoka, there is still strong anti-Russian sentiment in high Japanese military circles. I think that we have to decide what is more important...keeping Russia in the war to bleed the Nazis dry to their own eventual destruction (conversation broken) supply Stalin with weapons but do not forget, in fact he is your ally, not mine. There is strong isolationist feelings here and there are quite a number of anti-Communists... B: Fascists... A: Certainly, but they would do all they could to block any attempt on my part to do more than give some monetary assistance to Stalin. B: But we too have our major desperations, Franklin. Our shipping upon which our nation depends, is being sunk by the huns faster than we could ever replace (conversation broken) the Japs attack both of us in the Pacific? We could lose Malaya which is our primary source of rubber and tin. And if the Japs get Java and the oil, they could press South to Australia and I have told you repeatedly, we cannot hold (conversation broken) them much but in truth I cannot deliver. We need every man and every ship to fight Hitler in Europe...India too. If the Japs get into Malaya, they can press on virtually unopposed into Burma and then India. Need I tell you of the resultant destruction of our Empire? We cannot survive on this small island, Franklin, (conversation broken) allow the nips (knips?) to attack, you can get your war declaration through your Congress after all. (conversation broken) A: Not as capable as you are at translating there messages and the army and navy are very jealous of each other. There is so much coming in that everyone is confused. We have no agents in place in Japan and every day dozens of messages are (conversation broken) that contradict each other or are not well translated. I have seen three translations of the same message with three entirely different meanings (conversation broken) address your concern about British holdings in the Pacific...if the Japanese do attack both of us, eventually we will be able to crush them and regain all of the lost territories. As for myself, I will be damned glad to be rid of the Phillipines.(sic) B: I see this as a gamble (conversation broken) what would your decision be? We cannot procrastinate over this for too long. Eleven or twelve days are all we have. Can we not agree in principle now? I should mention that several advisors have counseled (advised) against informing you of this and allowing it to happen. You see by notifying you where my loyalty lies. Certainly to one who is heart and soul with us against Hitler. A: I do appreciate your loyalty, Winston. What on the other hand, will happen here if one of our intelligence people is able to intercept, decipher and deliver to me the same information you just gave me? I cannot just ignore it...all of my intelligence people will know about it then. I could not ignore this. B: But if it were just a vague message then? A: No, a specific message. I could not just sweep it under the rug like that (conversation broken). B: Of course not. I think we should matters develop as they will. A: I think that perhaps I can find a reason to absent (leave) myself from Washington while this crisis develops. What I don't know can't hurt me and I too can misunderstand messages, especially at a distance (conversation broken) B: Completely. My best to you all there. A: Thank you for your call. Following the receipt of this message on November 26, Roosevelt spoke with his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. Hull had been working with Japanese diplomats, attempting to find a modus vivendi or a diplomatic solution to the growing crisis that Roosevelt's machinations had created. After the conversation with the President, Hull at once drafted and gave to the Japanese Ambassador a Note. This has been called the Ten Point Memorandum and it amounted to an ultimatum to the Japanese government. Three of the ten points were absolutely impossible for the Japanese government to accede to and Hull knew this when he presented the Note: 3. The Government of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from China and Indochina. 4. The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will not support- militarily, politically, economically- any government or regime in China other than the National Government of the Republic of China with capitol temporarily at Chunking. 5. Both Governments will give up all extraterritorial rights in China. The Japanese official view of this document was completely negative and it resulted in a declaration of war. On November 27, 1941, the following message was sent by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Stark, to Admiral Husband Kimmel, CIC Pacific Fleet. It should be noted when reading this that Admiral Stark was in constructive possession of copies of all the intercepted and decoded messages contained in this study. From CNO To: CIC Pacific Fleet This is to be considered a war warning. Negotiations with Japan looking toward stabilization of conditions in the Pacific have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days. The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of naval task forces indicates an amphibious expedition against either the Philippines Thai or Kra Peninsula or possibly Borneo. Execute an appropriate defensive deployment prepatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL 46. Inform District and Army authorities. A similar warning is being sent by War Department. SPENAVO inform British, Continental Districts Guam Samoa directed take appropriate measures against sabotage. On the same day, the following cable was sent by George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army, to General Walter Short, the Army commander in Hawaii. As in the case of Admiral Stark, General Marshall was in constructive possession of all the decoded intercepts listed in this study plus a great many more. No 472 November 27, 1941 Negotiations with Japan appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot, repeat, cannot be avoided, the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act. This policy should not, repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of action that might jeopardize your defense. Prior to hostile action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary but these measures should be carried out so as not, repeat not, to alarm civil population or disclose intent. Report measures taken. Should hostilities occur you will carry out the tasks assigned in Rainbow Five so far as they pertain to Japan. Limit dissemination of this highly secret information to minimum essential officers. Note: Establishment defenders have made a great deal of these two so-called "war warnings" and have often and vociferously stated that these warnings were more than sufficient to alert the Hawaiian commanders to the perils of an impending war. The failure of these commanders, Admiral Kimmel and General Short, to properly react to these "war warnings" permitted the Japanese Main Strike Force to wreak havoc on an undefended Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt's defenders stoutly maintain. Given the large number of very telling intercepts received in Washington, these two brief and relatively uninformative messages most certainly did not indicate to the Hawaiian commanders the very serious nature of Japanese interest in the Pearl Harbor naval base, an interest that was plainly evident in Washington. Both the American President, General Marshall and Admiral Stark were fully briefed in a very timely fashion about the contents of these intercepts and their obviously willful failure to notify those military officers who had the most direct concern is nothing more nor less than criminal negligence. MI-N Origin: First Secretary, Navy Minister To: CIC Main Strike Force Date: November 27, 1941 Although there are some indications of several U.S. ships operating in the Aleutian area, the shipping in the Northern Pacific appears to be Russian in origin. These are the Usbekistan of about 3,000 tons, speed about 12 knots and the Azerbaidschan of about 6,114 tons, speed about 10 knots or less. The former left San Francisco on the 12th and the latter on the 14th. Both are westbound Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: November 29, 1941 We have received your reports on ship movements but in future, please report even when there are no movements. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: November 28, 1941 Re your message #243. Intelligence of this kind which is of major importance, please transmit to us in the following manner: 1. When battleships move out of the harbor, if we report such movement but once a week, in the interim, the vessels could not only be in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands, but could also have traveled far. Use your judgment in deciding on reports covering such movements. 2. Report on the entrance of departure of capital ships, and the length of time they remain at anchor from the time of entry into Pearl Harbor until their departure. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: November 28, 1941 Military Report. 1. There are eight "B-17" planes at Midway and the altitude range of their antiaircraft guns is 5,000 meters. 2. Our observations at the Sand Island maneuvers are: Number of shots 12; interval of flight 13 seconds; interval between shots 2 minutes; direct hits none. 3. 12,000 men (mostly Marines) are expected to reinforce the troops in Honolulu during December or January. 4. There has usually been one cruiser in the waters about 15,000 meters south of Pearl Harbor and one or two destroyers at the entrance of the harbor. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Embassy, London Date: December 1, 1941 Please discontinue the use of your code machine and dispose of it immediately. In regard to the disposition of the machine, please be very careful to carry out the instructions you have received regarding this,. Pay particular attention to taking apart and breaking up the important parts of the machine. As soon as you have received the telegram with the one word SETJU in plain language and as soon as you have carried out the instructions, wire the one word HASSO, also in plain language, Also at this time, you will of course burn the machine codes and YU GO No 26 of my telegram. (The rules for the use of the machine between the head office and the Ambassador resident in England.) * CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 1, 1941 Re your #119 Report on ship maneuvers in Pearl Harbor. 1. The place where practice maneuvers are held is about 500 nautical miles south-east of here. Direction based on: (1) The direction taken when the ships start out is usually southeast by south and ships disappear beyond the horizon in that direction. (2) Have never seen the fleet go westward or head for the Kaiwi straits northward. (3) The west sea of the Hawaiian Islands has many reefs and islands and is not suitable as an ocean maneuver practice area. (4) Direction of practice will avoid all merchant ship routes and official routes. Distance based on: (1) Fuel is plentiful and long distance high speed is possible. (2) Guns cannot be heard here. (3) In one week's time, (actually the maneuver mentioned in my message #231 were for the duration of four full days of 144 hours), a round trip to a distance of 864 nautical miles could be reached (if speed is 12 knots), or 1152 nautical miles (if speed is 16 knots), or 1440 nautical miles (if speed is 20 knots) is possible, however, figuring 50% of the time being used for maneuver technicalities, a guess that the point at which the maneuvers are held would be a point of about 500 miles from Pearl Harbor. 2. The usual schedule for departure and return of the battleships is: leaving on Tuesday and returning on Friday, or leaving on Friday and returning of Saturday of the following week. All ships stay in port about a period of one week. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Embassy, Washington Date: December 2, 1941 1. Among the telegraphic codes with which your office is equipped, burn all but those now used with the machine and one copy each of the "O" code (Oite) and abbreviating code (L). (Burn also the various other codes which you have in your custody.) 2. Stop at once using one code machine unit and destroy it completely. 3. When you have finished this, wire me back with the one word HARUNA. 4. At the time and in the manner you deem most proper, dispose of all files of messages coming and going and all other secret documents. 5. Burn all the codes which telegraphic official KOSAKA brought you. (Hence, the necessity of getting in contact with Mexico mentioned in my #890 is no longer recognized.) * FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: December 2, 1941 Because of the present situation, it is vital to get reports on all naval units, aircraft carriers and cruisers. From this moment on, please advise on a daily basis. Advise in any circumstance if there are any observation or barrage balloons above Pearl Harbor or if there are any indications if these will be placed into operation. Also please advise if the naval units are provided with anti-torpedo nets. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 2, 1941 Activities Pearl Harbor as of 8 AM, November 28: Departed: 2 battleships Oklahoma and Nevada 1 carrier Enterprise 1 heavy cruiser 12 destroyers Arrived: 5 battleships 3 heavy cruisers 3 light cruisers 12 destroyers 1 seaplane tender Ships entering port today are those which left on November 22. Ships in port on the afternoon of November 28 are as follows: 6 battleships ( 2 Maryland Class, 2 California class 2 Pennsylvania class) 1 carrier ( Lexington) 9 heavy cruisers (5 San Francisco class, 3 Chicago class, Salt Lake City) 5 light cruisers (4 Honolulu class and Omaha) Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N Origin: Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet To: All CICs, Combined Fleet Date: December 2, 1941 This dispatch is Top Secret To be decoded only by an officer This order is effective on 1730 on December 2. Climb Niitakayma 1208, repeat, 1208 Note: This was the order to follow through on the pending attack. Admiral Yamamoto had previously ordered Vice Admiral Nagumo, commander of the Main Strike Force that was headed for Pearl Harbor, to await his signal. Yamamoto was awaiting the outcome of the Japanese- American diplomatic talks in Washington. 1208 refers to December 8th. The 8th of December in Japan was the 7th in Hawaii. CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 3, 1941 Ships in Pearl Harbor on afternoon of November 29, District A (between Naval Yard and Ford Island) KT (docks northwest of Naval Yard): Pennsylvania and Arizona FV (mooring posts): California, Tennessee, Maryland. and West Virginia KS (naval yard repair docks): heavy cruiser Portland In docking areas: 2 heavy cruisers and one destroyer; Also in harbor: 4 submarines, 1 destroyer tender, 2 patrol boats, 2 fleet oilers, 2 repair ships and 1 minesweeper District B (northwest area of Ford Island) FV (mooring posts): Lexington Also in area: Utah (target ship), 1 light cruiser (San Francisco class) 2 light cruisers (Omaha class), 3 gunboats District C (East Loch) 3 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers (Honolulu class), 3 gunboats District D (Middle Loch) 12 minesweepers District E (West Loch) No units No changes observed by afternoon of December 2. So far they do not seem to be alerted. Shore leaves as usual. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 3, 1941 (Military Secret) From Ichiro Fujii to the Chief of #3 Section of Military Staff Headquarters. 1. I wish to change my method of communicating by signals to the following: I. Arrange the eight signals in three columns as follows: Meaning Signal Battleship divisions : Preparing to sortie : 1 including scouts and : : screen units : : _________________________________________________________________ A number of carriers : Preparing to sortie : 2 _________________________________________________________________ Battleship divisions : All departed between : : 1st and 3rd : 3 _________________________________________________________________ Carriers : Several departed : : between 1st and 3rd : 4 __________________________________________________________________ Carriers : All departed between : : 1st and 3rd : 5 __________________________________________________________________ Battleship divisions : All departed between : : 4th and 6th : 6 __________________________________________________________________ Carriers : Several departed : : between 4th and 6th : 7 __________________________________________________________________ Carriers : All departed between : : 4th and 6th : 8 __________________________________________________________________ 2. Signals. I. Lanikai Beach. House will show lights during the night as follows: Signal One light between 8 and 9 PM 1 " " " 9 and 10 PM 2 " " " 10 and 11 PM 3 " " " 11 and 12 PM 4 II. Two lights between 12 and 1 am 5 " " " 1 and 2 am 6 " " " 2 and 3 am 7 " " " 3 and 4 am 8 III. Lanikai Bay (between Waimanalo and Kailua Beaches on east coast of Oahued.) during daylight. If there is a "star" on the head of the sail of the Star Boat, it indicates signals 1,2,3 or 4. If there is a "star" and a Roman numeral III it indicates signal 5,6,7 or 8. IV. Lights in the attic window of Kalama House (a beach village on east coast of Oahu, 1 mile northwest of Lanikai, ed) will indicate the following: Times Signal 1900-2000 3 2000-2100 4 2100-2200 5 2200-2300 6 2300-2400 7 0000-0100 8 V. KCMB (a Honolulu radio station, ed.) Want Ads A. Chinese rug, etc. for sale, apply P.O. Box 1476 indicates signal 3 or 6. B. CHIC., CO farm etc. apply P.O. Box 1476 indicates signal 4 or 7. C. Beauty operator wanted etc. apply P.O. Box 1476 indicates signal 5 or 8. 3. If the above listed signals and wireless messages cannot be made from Oahu, then on Maui Island, 6 miles to the northward of Kula Sanatorium at a point halfway between Lower Kula Road and Haleakala Road (latitude 20º 40' N, Longitude 156° 19' W. , visible from seaward to the northeast and southwest of Maui Island) the following signal bonfire will be made daily until your EXEX signal is received: Time Signal From 7-8 3 or 6 From 8-9 4 or 7 From 9-10 5 or 8 Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 3, 1941 Air patrols in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor unknown, but so far no indications of sea patrol flight being conducted. It seems that occasional patrols are being made to Palmyra Johnston Midway Islands Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N Origin: Bureau of Military Preparations (Navy) To: Naval Attaché, Washington Naval Attaché, Mexico (copy to Naval Attaché, London) Date: December 5, 1941 This message is Bureau of Military Preparations Serial #311. Dispose of the Cipher Machine and all its Rules for Use at once. * CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 5, 1941 1. During Friday morning, the 5th, the three battleships mentioned in my message #239 arrived here. They had been at sea for eight days. 2. The LEXINGTON and five heavy cruisers left port on the same day. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 6, 1941 On American continent in October, the Army instituted training of barrage balloon troops at Camp Davis, NC. For hundred to five hundred balloons being considered for use in defense of Hawaii and Panama. So far as Hawaii is concerned, our investigations indicate no mooring fixtures have been installed and no units assigned for these duties. Also, no signs of such balloons and no training for personnel. Assumed that the probability is excellent now for a surprise attack on these targets. It is our belief that the battleships do not have torpedo nets. Actual details not available. Report will follow. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders FO Origin: Foreign Office, Tokyo To:: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii Date: December 6, 1941 Please notify at once with reference my message 123 any movements of the fleet subsequent to the fourth. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 6, 1941 1. On night of the fifth, one submarine tender accompanied the battleships entering the harbor. The following units observed at anchor in the harbor on the sixth: 9 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 3 submarine tenders, 17 destroyers. In addition, 4 light cruisers, 2 destroyers in dry-docks. Note: Heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers have departed previously. 2. No observation of reconnaissance by naval air units. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 6, 1941 Activities at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 5: Arrived: Oklahoma and Nevada which have been absent for 8 days, Departed: Lexington and 5 heavy cruisers Ships in harbor as of 6 PM December 5: 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 16 destroyers In docks: 4 light cruisers (Honolulu class), 5 destroyers Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 6, 1941 No balloons No torpedo-defense nets deployed around battleships No indications from enemy radio interceptions that ocean patrol flights are being made in Hawaiian island area Lexington left harbor yesterday December 5, local time and recovered planes. Enterprise is believed operating at sea with her aircraft aboard Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N Origin: CIC Combined Fleet To: CIC Main Strike Force Date: December 6, 1941 The last carrier has left the target area. Its destination is not known but presumed to be moving towards south. Lack of carriers diminishes targets but also diminishes enemy airpower. Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders CO Origin: Japanese Consulate, Honolulu, Hawaii To: Foreign Office, Tokyo Date: December 6, 1941 Utah and seaplane tender entered harbor evening of December 5 (Left harbor on December 4) Ships in harbor as of December 6, 9 battleships 3 light cruisers 3 seaplane tenders 17 destroyers In docks: 4 Light Cruisers, 3 Destroyers All carriers and heavy cruisers are at sea No indication of alerts in fleet Ohau is quiet and no blackout Intercept not furnished to Hawaiian commanders MI-N Origin: CIC Combined Fleet To: The Combined Fleet Date: December 6, 1941 On last December 3rd, when I was granted an audience with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, the Imperial Rescript, sent under separate wire, was bestowed upon me, which I hereby respectfully pass on. I wish to add that on this occasion, I humbly answered the Imperial words with the following promise. "I am overwhelmed to receive, prior to the declaration of war, such a gracious Imperial Rescript. I humbly accept Your Majesty's order and promise that every officer and man of the Combined Fleet is ready to give all their body and soul to achieve the goal of this expedition in answer to the Imperial Command." Supplement: Imperial Rescript I, the Emperor, on the occasion of ordering the expedition, leave the matter up to you, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet. The responsibility of the Combined Fleet is indeed a great one as the entire rise or fall of our nation rests on its success or failure. You, the Commander-in-Chief, must prove my trust by summoning all your resources acquired during the many years of training of our fleet towards advancing on the enemy to annihilate it, and to prove to the whole world the greatness of our forces. Until recently, speculation that President Roosevelt and his top military leaders had been forewarned of the Japanese strike have been just that: speculation. Now, with more and more incriminating documentation becoming available, the speculation is rapidly hardening into certainty. The chronicle of the successful U.S. and British intercepts of Japanese diplomatic and military coded messages prior to the Pearl Harbor attack have shown with devastating clarity that the American President was fully aware of the gravity of the diplomatic crisis with Japan that he had engineered and was also fully and completely aware of the impending attack on the Hawaiian bases of the American military. Not only did Roosevelt have prior knowledge of this attack but there is a growing body of evidence that others in his administration were also privy to this information. Certainly, it is obvious that Winston Churchill knew as did a number of his senior advisors and we now know that Adolf Hitler and his top leadership were aware of the imminent attack. In point of fact, it seems very clear that the only responsible senior officials of the American government who did not know about this, and who certainly should have been the first to have been notified by Roosevelt, were Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short, the commander of the Pacific Fleet and the U.S. Army facilities at Pearl Harbor respectively. The deliberate and willful withholding of absolutely vital information, information well known to Roosevelt and his cohorts, from the commanders most directly responsible for the well-being and defense of the Pacific Fleet is nothing short of criminal dereliction of duty and an excellent case could be made for charging the President with treasonable activity. A number of postwar writers have been employed to protect the maintenance of Roosevelt's reputation as well as the reputations of a number of very senior members of his political and military staff in the matter of the Pearl Harbor attack. To accomplish this whitewash, these writers have accused the outrageously scapegoated Hawaiian commanders of negligence and dereliction of duty and have insisted that their cashiering after the attack was entirely justified. For this reason, they believe, any retroactive rehabilitation of the two officers is contraindicated. Their views have been eagerly endorsed by the governmental agencies who would have to perform the rehabilitation. No government has ever admitted it was wrong. This is called institutional maintenance and has been prevalent since men left their caves. In fact, if Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces had received specific intelligence information concerning this pending attack from a source that he could only consider entirely reliable, eleven full days before this attack, and made no effort whatsoever to notify those commanders against whom the Japanese attack was clearly aimed, the only conclusion to which a reasonable person could arrive is that the sole responsibility for the results of the disastrous attack must lie on Roosevelt's shoulders and on his shoulders alone. In this matter, rehabilitation of the reputations of both of the Hawaiian commanders, Admiral Kimmel and General Short by the U.S. Government is not only a moral obligation but a legal necessity.
Pages to are hidden for
"The Pearl Harbor Messages"Please download to view full document