Attack on Pearl Har­bor, and an on­go­ing in­jus­tice re­mem­bered.

Re­mem­ber­ing the grim day and an on­go­ing in­jus­tice

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By James A. Lyons James A. Lyons, a re­tired U.S. Navy ad­mi­ral, was com­man­der in chief of the U.S. Pa­cific Fleet and se­nior U.S. mil­i­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions.

The 75th an­niver­sary of the Im­pe­rial Ja­panese sur­prise attack on Pearl Har­bor will soon be re­mem­bered again as a “Day of In­famy.” On Dec. 7, 1941, Ja­pan launched over 350 air­craft from six car­ri­ers, flaw­lessly ex­e­cut­ing Adm. Isoroku Ya­mamoto’s strike plan “Z” and suc­ceeded in crip­pling the U.S. Pa­cific Fleet.

How could the com­man­ders in Hawaii be so un­pre­pared when in Wash­ing­ton both the Army and Navy in­tel­li­gence or­ga­ni­za­tions had bro­ken key Ja­panese diplo­matic codes, in­clud­ing the high level “Pur­ple” code in which Ja­pan was con­duct­ing its peace ne­go­ti­a­tions with the United States? Whether the Ja­panese naval code “JN-25” was bro­ken prior to the attack re­mains un­known.

In their new book, “A Mat­ter of Honor,” by An­thony Sum­mers and Rob­byn Swan, the au­thors pro­vide in­for­ma­tion never be­fore re­vealed. The au­thors make the case for restor­ing the per­sonal rep­u­ta­tion, honor and ranks of the two Pearl Har­bor com­man­ders who were un­justly made the scape­goats.

The sec­ond new book, “Into the Lion’s Mouth” by Larry Loftis, dis­cusses the most suc­cess­ful Bri­tish dou­ble agent, “Dusko Popov,” the real life in­spi­ra­tion for Ian Flem­ing’s James Bond and Popov’s re­la­tion­ship to Pearl Har­bor. In short, the Ja­panese were fas­ci­nated by the Bri­tish sur­prise air strike at Taranto, which de­stroyed the Ital­ian Fleet pri­mar­ily by drop­ping tor­pe­does in rel­a­tively shal­low water. They pre­pared ques­tions and passed them to Ger­many who in turn gave them to Popov. He turned them over to the FBI on his ar­rival in New York in Au­gust 1941. The U.K. raid on Taranto be­came the blue­print for the Ja­panese sur­prise attack on Pearl Har­bor. Mr. Loftis con­tends that J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI Di­rec­tor, never turned over the ques­tions to the mil­i­tary or to the pres­i­dent. For­mer CIA Di­rec­tor Wil­liam Casey made the same charges in 1988 and blamed Hoover for fail­ing to share the in­for­ma­tion with the mil­i­tary. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Mr. Sum­mers and Ms. Swan, Hoover did turn over para­phrased ver­sions of the ques­tion to mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence who failed to rec­og­nize the sig­nif­i­cance of this in­for­ma­tion.

Of the eight of­fi­cial in­quiries, the most bi­ased con­ducted was by Supreme Court Jus­tice Owen Roberts shortly fol­low­ing the attack. Nei­ther Adm. Hus­band E. Kim­mel, the com­man­der in chief of the Pa­cific Fleet, or Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Short, who was re­spon­si­ble for the de­fense of Hawaii, re­ceived any in­for­ma­tion from the de­crypted codes which would have alerted them to the Ja­panese fleet’s in­ten­tions. Yet the Roberts com­mis­sion de­clared Adm. Kim­mel and Lt. Gen. Short derelict in car­ry­ing their du­ties and held them solely re­spon­si­ble for the Pearl Har­bor dis­as­ter. None of the 10 Wash­ing­ton of­fi­cials au­tho­rized to re­ceive the de­crypted in­for­ma­tion was held ac­count­able. Cover up?

The Wash­ing­ton of­fi­cials au­tho­rized to re­ceive the de­crypted “Pur­ple” in­tel­li­gence, re­ferred to as “Magic,” in­cluded the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ge­orge Mar­shall; Chief of Naval Op­er­a­tions Harold Stark; Chief of Navy War Plans RADM Rich­mond K. Turner; Brig. Gen. Gerow; head of Army War Plans; heads of both Army and Navy In­tel­li­gence, Sec­re­tary of War (Army) Stim­son; Sec­re­tary of Navy Knox; the pres­i­dent and the Sec­re­tary of State Cordell Hull.

The pres­i­dent only saw brief sum­maries of “Magic” de­coded in­for­ma­tion and at times only re­ceived ver­bal brief­ings. Fur­ther, Mar­shall and Stark at one point de­nied the pres­i­dent and sec­re­tary of State any “Magic” in­for­ma­tion for four months be­cause they didn’t trust peo­ple around them. Of course, one per­son who did see Magic was Win­ston Churchill. The U.S. pro­vided three “Pur­ple” ma­chines to the U.K. to fa­cil­i­tate their break­ing of the code. An­other ma­chine went to the U.S. Army and two went to the Navy. In­ter­est­ing, one “Pur­ple” ma­chine was sent to the naval sta­tion CAST at Cavite in the Philip­pines for use by Gen. Dou­glas MacArthur and Adm. Harold Hart. As­ton­ish­ingly, none were pro­vided to the Hawaii Com­man­ders Adm. Kim­mel and Lt. Gen. Short. What use MacArthur made of the Pur­ple in­tel­li­gence is un­known. Fur­ther, he was un­pre­pared for the Ja­panese attack that de­stroyed our FAREAST Air Force at Clark AFB nine hours af­ter the attack on Pearl Har­bor. He was never held ac­count­able.

One other as­pect that is sel­dom men­tioned is that the Dutch Army crypt­an­a­lysts had also bro­ken the Ja­panese diplo­matic code “Pur­ple.” Ac­cord­ing to Brig. Gen. El­liot Thorpe, USA (ret.) when he was the army at­tache in Java, Gen. Tec Pooten, CINC of Far East Dutch Army, pro­vided him a de­crypted mes­sage from Tokyo to the Ja­panese Am­bas­sador in Bangkok which told of the up­com­ing attack on Hawaii, Philip­pines, Malaysia and Thai­land. Af­ter send­ing four mes­sages about the up­com­ing attack, Thorpe as he re­called was di­rected by our War Depart­ment to send “no more on this sub­ject.”

“Magic” de­crypted in­for­ma­tion held a wealth of in­for­ma­tion. There was the “bomb plot” grid mes­sage #83 of Sept. 24, 1941, which di­vided the fleet an­chor­ages in Pearl Har­bor into bomb­ing sec­tors. We also had the Nov. 30, 1941 mes­sage to des­ig­nated Ja­panese Em­bassies to de­stroy their codes, files, etc. Wash­ing­ton cleared of­fi­cials also had the 14-part mes­sage on Dec. 6 1941, the Ja­panese re­sponse to the sec­re­tary of State’s Nov. 26 ul­ti­ma­tum, ceas­ing all ne­go­ti­a­tions to which Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt re­marked, “This means war.” Yet none of this crit­i­cal in­tel­li­gence was passed to the Hawaii Com­man­ders. As an aside, Churchill was get­ting much of this in­for­ma­tion as well. We do know it was his goal to in­volve “iso­la­tion­ist” Amer­ica in the war.

The three prin­ci­pals that should have been held ac­count­able were Gen. Mar­shall, Adm. Stark and Adm. Turner, who as­sumed re­spon­si­bil­ity for dis­tribut­ing the de­crypted in­for­ma­tion for the Navy. It clearly is time for Adm. Kim­mel and Lt. Gen. Short to have their honor, rep­u­ta­tions and ranks re­stored. It is a mat­ter of honor for the Navy, Army, and coun­try to cor­rect this ter­ri­ble in­jus­tice.


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