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Did U.S. leaders know that war was coming? (part 3)

continued from part 2

4. Account of the Delivery of the Long 14 Part Message; the Short Implementing Message.

The first 13 parts of the long reply of the Japanese finally terminating the relationships with the United States began to come in in translated form from the Navy on the afternoons of December 6, and the 13 parts were completed between 7:00 and 9:00 the evening of December 6. Colonel Bratton, Chief of the Far Eastern Section of the Intelligence Branch of War Department G-2; was the designated representative for receiving and distributing to the Army and to the Secretary of State copies of messages of this character received from the Navy. The Navy undertook to deliver to the President and to its own organization copies of similar messages.

Colonel Bratton delivered a copy of the first 13 parts between 9:00 and 10:30 p.m., December 6, as follows:

To Colonel Smith (now Lt. Gen. Smith) Secretary of the General Staff in a locked bag to which General Marshall had the key. He told General Smith that the bag so delivered to him contained very important papers and General Marshall should be told at once so that he could unlock the bag and see the contents.

To General Miles by handing the message to him, by discussing the message with General Miles in his office and reading it in his presence. He stated that General Miles did nothing about it as far as he knows. This record shows no action by General Miles.

Thereafter he delivered a copy to Colonel Gailey, General Gerow's executive in the War Plans Division.

He then took a copy and delivered it to the watch officer of the State Department for the Secretary of State and did so between 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.

Therefore, Colonel Bratton had completed his distribution by 10:30, had urged Colonel Smith, Secretary to General Staff, to communicate with General Marshall at once, and had discussed the matter with General Miles after reading the message. This record shows no action on the part of General Smith and none by General Miles. Apparently the Chief of Staff was not advised of the situation until the following morning.

In the meantime, as the testimony of Captain Safford shows, the following action was taken with the distribution of the same 13 parts of the message by the Navy which clearly indicates its importance.

Captain Safford testifies that the first 13 parts came in on the afternoon of December 6 and were translated to English and delivered to the Army to Major Doud by 9 o'clock Saturday night, December 6. This portion of the message was distributed as follows: Commander Kramer consulted with the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Wilkinson, and was directed to go to the White House to deliver a copy. He then delivered a copy to Admiral Wilkinson at his house. As the President was engaged, Kramer gave a copy to the White House Aide, Admiral Beardall. When Kramer reached Admiral Wilkinson's house he also gave a copy to Admiral Turner, Director of War Plans. He delivered the final copy by midnight to Admiral Ingersoll, who read it and initialed it. Admiral Wilkinson phoned Admiral Stark, as did also Admiral Turner. Admiral Stark ordered Kramer to be at his office at 9:00 Sunday morning. Kramer came back to the Navy Department about 1 a.m. to see if part 14 had come in, but it had not.

When part 14 did come in it was ready for delivery to the Army in English by 7:15 a.m., December 7.

The net result was that no one took any action based upon the first 13 parts until the 14th part came in and the Army took no action on that until between 11:30 and 12:00 on the morning of December 7, or about 13 hours after the first 13 parts came in which clearly indicated the rupture of relations with the Japanese.

Nothing more was done with this clear warning in the first 13 parts of the long message until the following events occurred.

Colonel Bratton received from a naval officer courier between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. on the Sunday morning of December 7, the English translation of the 14th part of the long message and the short message of the Japanese directing the Ambassador to deliver the long message at 1 p.m. on December 7 and to destroy their codes. Colonel Bratton immediately called General Marshall's quarters at 9:00 a.m. General Marshall was out horseback riding and he asked that he be sent for. General Marshall called him back between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. General Marshall came into his office at 11:25 a.m., of which there is a contemporaneous written record maintained by Colonel Bratton. In the meantime, Colonel Bratton called his Chief, General Miles, and reported what he had done. Neither General Miles nor General Gerow were in their office on Sunday morning. General Miles arrived at the same time as General Marshall at 11:25 a.m. The Chief of Staff prepared a message to General Short and called Admiral Stark, who said he was not sending any further warning but asked General Marshall to inform the Navy in Hawaii through Short.

x The answer to the following question on the record has not been supplied this Board:

"Why were not the first 13 parts, which were considered important enough by the Navy to be delivered to the President and every one of the important Admirals of the Navy, delivered by the War Department officers to the Chief of Staff, and his attention called to it so that he could have taken some sort of action upon it?"

The only possible answer lies in the testimony that Colonel Smith, Secretary to the General Staff was told about 9 p.m. December 6 that there was an important document and that General Marshall should see it right away. There is no proof that Colonel Smith did so act except that from General Marshall, which shows that he was not advised of this situation until the following morning when he received a message from Colonel Bratton between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., December 7.

The record shows that subordinate officers who were entrusted with this information were so impressed with it that they strongly recommended that definite action be taken.

5. Summary

Now let us turn to the fateful period between November 27 and December 6, 1941. In this period numerous pieces of information came to our State, War and Navy Departments in all of their top ranks indicating precisely the intentions of the Japanese including the probable exact hour and date of the attack.

When subordinate officers were prevented from sending this information to the Hawaiian Department, by arrangement with their opposite numbers in the Office of Naval Intelligence, upon learning that the Navy had this information in Hawaii, an apparently innocuous telegram was dispatched by G-2 to Colonel Fielder, G-2 in Hawaii, telling him to see his opposite number in the Office of Naval Intelligence, Commander Rochefort, to secure information from him of importance.

The story of the message of November 27 takes on a whole new aspect when the facts are really known as to the background of knowledge in the War Department of Japanese intentions. At the time the Chief of Staff drafted the message of the 27th on the 26th, he knew everything that the Japanese had been proposing between themselves for a long period of time prior to that day, and knew their intentions with respect to the prospects of war. The message of the 27th which he drafted in rough and which was apparently submitted to the Joint Board of the Army and Navy, therefore could have been cast in the clearest sort of language and direction to the Hawaiian Department.

It was no surprise that the Japanese would reject the Ten points on November 26; that course of events had been well pictured by complete information of the conversations between the Japanese Government and its representatives available to the Government of the United States.

To clinch this extraordinary situation we but have to look at the record to see that the contents of the 13 parts of the Japanese final reply were completely known in detail to the War Department, completely translated and available in plain English, by not later than between 7 and 9 o'clock on the evening of December 6 or approximately [3:30 P.M.] Honolulu time. This information was taken by the Officer in Charge of the Far Eastern Section of G-2 of the War Department personally in a locked bag to Colonel Bedell Smith, now Lt. Gen. Smith and Chief of Staff to General Eisenhower, who was then Secretary to the General Staff, and he was told that the message was of the most vital importance to General Marshall. It was delivered also to G-2 General Miles, with whom it was discussed and to the Executive, Colonel Gailey, of the War Plans Division, each of whom was advised of the vital importance of this information that showed that the hour had struck, and that war was at hand. Before 10:30 o'clock that night, this same officer personally delivered the same information to the Secretary of State's duty officer.

General Marshall was in Washington on December 6. This information, as vital and important as it was, was not communicated to him on that date by either Smith or Gerow, so far as this record shows. When the final part 14 came in on the morning of December 7 and with it the short message directing the long message be delivered to the Secretary of State at 1 p.m., December 7, 1941 it was then that this same officer, Colonel Bratton of G-2, took the initiative and went direct to General Marshall, calling him at his quarters at Fort Myer and sending an orderly to find him, where he was out horseback riding. When he finally did reach him on the phone, General Marshall said he was coming to the War Department. He met him at about 11:25 a.m., after which time the message of December 7 was formulated by General Marshall in his own handwriting. It failed to reach its destination due to sending it by commercial Western Union RCA. It arrived several hours after the attack.

This brings us to the "winds" message. The "winds" message was one that was to be inserted in the Japanese news and weather broadcasts and repeated with a definite pattern of words, so as to indicate that war would take place either with Great Britain, Russia, or the United States, or all three.

The Federal Communications Commission was asked to be on the outlook for these key words through their monitoring stations. Such information was picked up by a monitoring station. This information was received and translated on December 3, 1941, and the contents distributed to the same high authority. The Navy received during the evening of December 3, 1941, this message, which when translated said, "War with the United States, War with Britain, including the NEI, except peace with Russia." Captain Safford said he first saw the "winds" message himself about 8 a.m., on Thursday, December 4, 1941. It had been received the previous evening, according to handwriting on it by Commander Kramer, who had been notified by the duty officer, Lt. (jg) Brotherhood, USNR, who was the watch officer on the receipt of this message.

It was based upon the receipt of the message that Captain Safford prepared five messages between 1200 and 1600 December 4, ordering the destruction of cryptographic systems and secret and confidential papers on the Asiatic stations. Captain McCullom of the Navy drafted a long message to be sent to all outlying fleet and naval stations. This was disapproved by higher naval authority. This message was confirmation to Naval Intelligence and Navy Department Communications Intelligence Units that war was definitely set.

This "winds execute" message has now disappeared from the Navy files and cannot be found despite the extensive search for it. It was last seen by Commander Safford about December 14, 1941, when he collected the papers together with Commander Kramer and turned them over to the Director of Naval Communication for use as evidence before the Roberts Commission.

There, therefore, can be no question that between the dates of December 4 and December 6, the imminence of war on the following Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, was clear-cut and definite.

Up to the morning of December 7, 1941, everything that the Japanese were planning to do was known to the United States except the final message instructing the Japanese Embassy to present the 14th part together with the preceding 13 parts of the long message at one o'clock on December 7, or the very hour and minute when bombs were falling on Pearl Harbor.

(Transcribed and uploaded by Larry W. Jewell)