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James Forrestal - Opinion on Pearl Harbor Failures

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, disagreed with the Naval Court of Inquiry's opinion.  He issued his own assessment in two differing formats.  One contained no reference to Magic (information which the American government had from breaking Japanese codes and intercepting their messages), while the other one did.

What follows hereafter is the "Fourth Endorsement," referencing Magic.  A memo to the file regarding this document, written by John Ford Baecher, tells us the Fourth Endorsement "was not used because it contained magic; instead the Secy. signed the one of Aug. 13, that the President made public Aug. 29, from which the magic was deleted in the public interest."

No one outside a tight circle of people could know that America was intercepting, and decoding, Japanese messages.

Fourth Endorsement [by the Secretary of the Navy] to Record of
Proceedings of Pearl Harbor Court of Inquiry and Fourth Endorsement to
Admiral Hewitt's Report to the Secretary of the Navy Dated 12 July 1945
[August 1945].

From Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 39, pp. 355-70.

TOP SECRET

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY

Memo for File:

This is the Secy.'s 4th End that was not used because it contained
magic; instead the Secy. signed the one of Aug. 13, that the President
made public Aug. 29, from which the magic was deleted in the public
interest.

JOHN FORD BAECHER, USNR,

Special Assistant to the Secretary.

Subject: Court of Inquiry to inquire into the attack made by Japanese
armed forces on Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941,
ordered by the Secretary of the Navy on 13 July 1944, and further
investigation by Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, U.S.N., ordered by the
Secretary of the Navy on 2 May 1945.

1. Pursuant to Executive order dated 18 December 1941, a commission
headed by Mr. Justice Owen J. Roberts conducted an investigation into
the facts surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The
commission reported its findings on 23 January 1942. The commission
concluded in part that:

"17. In the light of the warnings and directions to take appropriate
action, transmitted to both commanders between November 27 and December
7, and the obligation under the system of coordination then in effect
for joint cooperative action on their part, it was a dereliction of duty
on the part of each of them not to consult and confer with the other
respecting the meaning and intent of the warnings, and the appropriate
measures of defense required by the imminence of hostilities. The
attitude of each, that he was not required to inform himself of, and his
lack of interest in, the measures undertaken by the other to carry out
the responsibility assigned to such other under the provisions of the
plans then in effect, demonstrated on the part of each a lack of
appreciation of the responsibilities vested in them and inherent in
their positions as commander in chief, Pacific Fleet, and commanding
general, Hawaiian Department."

2. Pursuant to precept of the Secretary of the Navy dated 12 February
1944, Admiral Thomas C. Hart, USN (Retired), conducted an examination of
witnesses having knowledge of facts in connection with the Japanese
attack. Admiral Hart completed his examination on 15 June 1944.

3. Public Law No. 339, 78th Congress, approved 13 June 1944, directed
the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, severally, to
proceed forthwith with an investigation into the facts surrounding the
Pearl Harbor catastrophe, and to commence such proceedings against such
persons as the facts might justify.

4. A Court of Inquiry, consisting of Admiral Orin G. Murfin, U.S.N.,
(Retired), Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, U.S.N., (Retired), and Vice
Admiral Adolphus Andrews, U.S.N., (Retired), with Commander Harold
Biesemeier, U.S.N., as Judge Advocate, was appointed on 13 July 1944.
The Court was directed to convene on 17 July 1944, or as soon thereafter
as practicable, for the purpose of inquiring into all circumstances
connected with the attack made by Japanese forces on Pearl Harbor,
Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941; to inquire thoroughly into the
matter, and to include in its findings a full statement of the facts it
might deem to be established. The Court was further directed to state
its opinion as to whether any offenses were committed or serious blame
incurred on the part of any person or persons in the Naval service, and,
in case its opinion was that offenses had been committed or serious
blame incurred, to recommend specifically what further proceedings
should be had.

5. The Court of Inquiry commenced its proceedings on 31 July 1944, and
submitted the record of its proceedings on 20 October 1944. Certain
portions of the record of proceedings before the Court, including the
findings and opinion of the Court, have been classified "TOP SECRET,"
and the balance "SECRET."

6. The net result of the findings of fact and opinion of the Pearl
Harbor Naval Court of Inquiry, as reviewed by Judge Advocate General of
the Navy, and the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval
Operations, and by me, was that the evidence secured by the Court did
not warrant and would not support the trial by general court martial of
any person or persons in the Naval Service.

7. In my Third Endorsement to the Record of Proceedings of the Pearl
Harbor Court of Inquiry, dated 1 December 1944, I found that the
evidence obtained indicated that there were errors of judgment on the
part of Admiral Kimmel and Admiral Stark, but that the investigation had
not gone to the point of exhaustion of all possible evidence.
Accordingly, I directed that further investigation would be conducted by
an investigating officer and that pending the completion of the
necessary further investigation I would withhold decision as to the
institution of any proceeding against any naval officer involved.

8. In order to insure that the further investigation would cover every
material question, I directed that a thorough review be made of the
prior investigations and that an appropriate summary of all information
developed in the prior Naval investigations be prepared. Upon the
completion of this review of prior investigations and after examination
of the report of the Army Pearl Harbor Board, dated 3 December 1944, I
appointed Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, U.S.N., as investigating officer, and
John F. Sonnett as counsel to examine such witnesses and obtain such
other evidence as might be necessary in order fully to develop the facts
in connection with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The further
investigation directed by my precept of 2 May 1945 was completed on 12
July 1945 and the report by Admiral Hewitt was forwarded to the Judge
Advocate General and the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and
Chief of Naval Operations for recommendation and comment.

9. In his Second Endorsement to Admiral Hewitt's Report of further
investigation, dated 10 August 1945, the Judge Advocate General advised,
among other things, that he did not believe that there was sufficient
evidence to warrant conviction of any of the officers concerned of any
offense known to Naval law; that the evidence indicated that the
officers in question lacked superior judgment rather than being guilty
of culpable inefficiency; and that "lack of superior judgment" is not an
offense triable by general court martial. The Judge Advocate General
further advised in his Second Endorsement that: "I am of the opinion
that any such court-martial proceedings prior to the end of hostilities
with Japan is highly impractical and would be detrimental to the war
effort, and further, that any such proceedings during the six months
immediately following the end of hostilities would seriously impair the
efficiency of the Naval service." Notwithstanding the difficulties
pointed out by him, the Judge Advocate General was of the opinion,
however, that the Navy Department is morally obligated to order Admiral
Kimmel tried by general court martial should Admiral Kimmel so insist.
The Judge Advocate General recommended that Admiral Hewitt's
investigation be made available to Admiral Kimmel and his counsel; that
Admiral Kimmel be informed that he is free to make public anything
contained in this record and in prior records as soon as that may be
done without prejudice to the public interests; and that if Admiral
Kimmel insists, a general court martial should be convened to try him
for any alleged offenses he may have committed on or before 7 December
1941.

10. In the Third Endorsement to Admiral Hewitt's report, dated 13 August
1945, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, concurred generally in the
remarks and recommendations of the Judge Advocate General and expressed
the opinion that the evidence was not sufficient to warrant trial by
court martial of any person in the Naval service in that it would not
sustain the charges required by the Articles for the Government of the
Navy; that with regard to the sufficiency of the evidence to warrant
other proceedings, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet was still of the
opinion that Admiral Stark and Admiral Kimmel, although not culpable to
a degree warranting formal disciplinary action, nevertheless lacked the
superior judgment necessary for exercising command commensurate with
their duties, and that appropriate action, consisting of the relegation
of these officers to positions in which lack of superior judgment might
not result in future errors, had been taken as to Admiral Stark and
Admiral Kimmel, and stated that no further action was recommended. The
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, also advised, in the Third Endorsement,
that in any event he considered it impracticable to bring Admiral Stark
or Admiral Kimmel to trial prior to the termination of hostilities with
Japan because such proceedings would almost certainly involve disclosure
of information which would be detrimental to current military operations
and to national security measures. He concurred in the opinion of the
Judge Advocate General that the Navy Department is morally obligated to
order Admiral Kimmel to trial before a general court martial should
Admiral Kimmel so insist, but stated that this action should not be
taken until after the completion of hostilities with Japan. He concurred
in the further suggestions of the Judge Advocate General that Admiral
Hewitt's investigation be made available to Admiral Kimmel and his
counsel and that Admiral Kimmel be informed that he is free to make
public anything contained in this record and in prior records as soon as
that may be done without prejudice to national security.

11. The comments of the Judge Advocate General and of the Commander in
Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, in their endorsements
to the Pearl Harbor Court of Inquiry record, and in their endorsements
to the report by Admiral Hewitt, are approved subject to the following
remarks:

(a) Court of Inquiry Finding II. This finding states, in substance, that
the presence in Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 of Task Force One and
the battleships of Task Force Two was necessary.

The essential point here rests in Admiral Kimmel's statement to the
effect that he would not have had the Fleet in Pearl Harbor had he
anticipated an air attack. The Second Endorsement indicates that the
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, does not entirely "go along" with the
opinion of the Court that the information available to Admiral Kimmel
did not require any departure from his operation and maintenance
schedules. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, states further in this
connection that Admiral Kimmel could have rotated the "in port" periods
of his vessels in less routine manner, so as to have made it impossible
for the Japanese to have predicted when there would be any vessels in
port, and that this would have made the Japanese task less easy. I
concur in the comments of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, as to this
finding.

(b) Court of Inquiry Finding III. This finding states that,
"Constitutional requirements that war be declared by Congress . . ."
make it difficult to prevent an attack and precluded offensive action as
a means of defense, and that Admiral Kimmel had the responsibility of
avoiding overt acts.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, comments that this gives an
unscrupulous enemy a great advantage, and that the Constitutional
requirement preventing offensive action as a means of defense was a
definite handicap. It does not appear that there was any proximate
causal relationship between the Constitutional requirement and the
instant disaster. The Constitutional inhibition and the injunction as to
overt acts did not preclude either long distance reconnaissance or a
sortie by the Fleet. Further, it appears that prior to 7 December 1941,
Admiral Kimmel did not regard this Constitutional provision or his
responsibility to avoid overt acts as sufficient to prevent the issuance
of orders to bomb unidentified submarines found in operating areas.

(c) Court of Inquiry Finding IV. This states that Admiral Bloch was
subordinate to Admiral Kimmel, and was charged with the task of
assisting the Army in the defense of Pearl Harbor and, consequently,
Admiral Bloch had a responsibility for naval measures concerned with
local defense.

It should be noted in this connection that Admiral Hewitt found:

"75. No patrol planes were under the command of Admiral Bloch. The only
Navy planes suitable for long distance reconnaissance were the Pacific
Fleet patrol planes.

"76. The Pacific Fleet patrol planes were under the control of Admiral
Kimmel, and he had the responsibility for their utilization. They were
operated after 22 November 1941 in accordance with schedules approved by
him at that time, which were not revised prior to the attack. The
schedules stressed training operations. They did not provide for distant
reconnaissance from Oahu."

(d) Court of Inquiry Finding V. The court here finds that relations
between Admiral Kimmel and General Short were friendly, cordial and
cooperative; that they invariably conferred when important messages were
received, and that each was sufficiently cognizant of the measures being
taken by the other.

In this connection the following conclusions by Admiral Hewitt are
approved:

"1. The basic war plans and the local defense plans were sound and were
designed to meet, with the available means, various types of attack,
including an attack such as the one which was delivered. The basic war
plans and the local air defense plans were not operative in time to meet
that attack. The Rainbow Five war plans presupposed the existence of a
state of war. The local air defense plans presupposed agreement between
the local commanders that an attack was imminent. Neither of these was
the case prior to the attack.

"2. The system of command in effect in the Hawaiian area was that of
mutual cooperation and not unity of command. Cooperation between the
local Army and Navy commanders required agreement as to the imminence of
attack, which presupposed the possession and exchange of information
concerning Japanese intentions and movements of Japanese naval forces.

"3. A full exchange of information is necessary to the effective
exercise of Joint Command. While there was a considerable exchange of
information between various Army and Navy intelligence agencies there
was no organized system to ensure such exchange."

The evidence obtained by Admiral Hewitt indicates that there were
informal arrangements for the exchange of intelligence by the Army and
Navy at Hawaii, which included the transmission to the Army of some
information concerning Japanese ship movements. The evidence obtained
both by Admiral Hewitt and by the Naval Court of Inquiry indicates,
however, that neither Admiral Kimmel nor General Short was sufficiently
informed of the degree of readiness put into effect by the other. It
appears that after receipt of the "war warning" and prior to 7 December
1941, Admiral Kimmel and General Short conferred on several occasions.
They discussed the reinforcement of Midway and Wake. It does not appear
that they discussed the conditions of readiness placed in effect or to
be placed in effect, or the question or advisability of placing in
effect air reconnaissance. General Short testified before the Naval
Court that after a conference with Admiral Kimmel, he placed in effect
Army Alert No. 1 (the anti-sabotage alert). Admiral Kimmel testified
that he did not know what alert the Army had in effect, and that he made
no specific inquiry of General Short in this connection.

That there was not full mutual exchange of intelligence also appears
from the evidence. Admiral Kimmel received dispatches after 27 November
1941 relating to Japanese destruction of codes and instructions to
United States outlying islands to destroy classified material. He
testified before the Naval Court that he did not direct that these be
furnished to General Short, and that he did not know whether or not they
were furnished to him. General Short testified that he had not seen
these dispatches.

In view of these facts, I cannot agree with the above finding by the
Court of Inquiry. The system of mutual cooperation, of joint command,
was not working effectively it failed. In this connection the following
conclusion of Admiral Hewitt is approved:

"War experience has shown that: The responsibility for final major
decisions must devolve on one person; that is, there must be unity of
command."

However, in respect of the above conclusion of Admiral Hewitt, it is
important to point out that the experience of this war has conclusively
demonstrated that there is no inconsistency between the existence of two
or more separate military or naval organizations as the functioning
forces and an effective exercise of unity of command in a theater or in
an operation. Practically all of the major operations of this war have
been accomplished by two or more distinct military organizations, some
even belonging to diverse nations, but all acting under a unified
command. In such an operation, the commanders of the several forces and
their staffs must function in close physical proximity, usually in the
higher echelons sharing a common headquarters or command post.

I do not find, however, that Admiral Kimmel is open to criticism for
having failed to advise the Army at Pearl Harbor that a submarine
contact had been made on the morning of 7 December 1941, shortly prior
to the air attack. The evidence obtained by Admiral Hewitt supports the
following conclusion by him, which is approved:

"26. The attempt to obtain confirmation of the reported submarine attack
on Pearl Harbor was proper, although it should have been effected in
plain language. Adequate naval action was taken in sending out the ready
destroyer. This information was of no immediate interest to the Army
unless it in fact indicated imminency of an air attack, an assumption
which was not necessarily logical. In any event, confirmation was not
received until the air attack had commenced."

(e) Court of Inquiry Finding VI. This states in substance that
unavoidable deficiencies in personnel and material had a bearing on the
effectiveness of the local defense of Pearl Harbor.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, points out, however, that the
pertinent question is whether Admiral Kimmel used the means available to
the best advantage. I concur in this comment of the Commander in Chief,
U.S. Fleet.

(f) Court of Inquiry Finding VII. The Court finds that Japan had an
initial advantage because of the Japanese Fleet's numerical superiority,
and the superiority of Japanese espionage.

The comment in the Second Endorsement on this point is confined to the
general statement that factors such as those referred to by the Court
will always place this nation at a disadvantage during a period of
strained relations. This finding, of course, in general was correct.
Nevertheless, as applied to the specific issues here presented, it
overlooks the fact that:

(1) The numerical superiority of the Japanese Fleet was well known to
Admiral Stark and to Admiral Kimmel, and this fact was taken into
account in the war plans;

(2) Although unquestionably the United States was placed at a
disadvantage in restraining Japanese espionage activities, the Navy and
War Departments were nevertheless not without important Intelligence
advantages of their own which were not availed of to the fullest extent.

(g) Court of Inquiry Finding VIII. This states that it was the direct
responsibility of the Army to defend Pearl Harbor Naval Base, and that
the Navy was to assist only with the means provided the Naval District.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, is in agreement with "the
fundamental concept of naval warfare" discussed by the Court, but takes
a more realistic view on this point. He points out that Admiral Kimmel
was fully aware that in view of the weakness of local defense, the Fleet
had to be employed to protect Pearl Harbor. With this I concur. It is to
be noted, moreover, that under the defense plan the Navy was responsible
for the maintenance of distant reconnaissance.

(h) Court of Inquiry Finding IX. The Court finds that the air defense
plans were defective because of the necessity for reliance upon Fleet
aircraft which could not be made permanently available for local
defense.

The Second Endorsement states that the Court has over-stressed the fact
that the only patrol planes in the area were Fleet planes, that it was
sound policy to place all such aircraft at Admiral Kimmel's disposal,
that it was his responsibility to allocate the planes as best he could,
that the available aircraft had to be employed in the manner best suited
to the danger that threatened; that it is doubtful whether with the
available forces it would have been possible to destroy the carriers
before they launched their planes, except by a lucky chance; that
Admiral Kimmel was not sufficiently alive to the situation, not entirely
due to his own fault; and that this had a bearing on the amount of
damage resulting from the attack. I concur in the comments of the
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, with respect to this finding.

(i) Court of Inquiry Findings IV, VIII, IX. Based on these findings the
conclusion of the Court is that Admiral Bloch satisfactorily performed
his duties.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, concurs. This conclusion is
approved.

(j) Court of Inquiry Finding X. This holds adequate and effective
Admiral Kimmel's provisions for the security of the Fleet at sea.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, concurs. This finding is approved.

(k) Court of Inquiry Finding XI. The substance of this finding is that
Admiral Kimmel was maintaining the highest condition of readiness called
for by the information available to him, and that a higher condition of
readiness would have added little to the defense.

In the Second Endorsement it is pointed out that in fact the condition
of readiness being maintained at the time of the attack was only that
condition which is normally maintained when in port. This is maintained
on the assumption that the shore defenses are adequate to protect the
Fleet. Such was not the case at Pearl Harbor, as Admiral Kimmel knew.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, further states that he does not
agree with the conclusion of the Court that a higher condition of
readiness would have added little to the defense, and is of the view
that the information available to Admiral Kimmel called for a tightening
up of the defense precautions as 7 December approached. With the
comments of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, I concur.

(l) Court of Inquiry Finding XII. The Court here finds that there was no
information indicating that Japanese carriers were on their way to
attack Pearl Harbor, and that it was not possible to prevent or to
predict that attack.

The Second Endorsement to the Naval Court record states on this point:
"There was information that might logically have been interpreted as
indicating that an attack on Hawaii was not unlikely, and that the time
could be predicted within fairly narrow limits."

It is to be noted that one of the principal matters covered in Admiral
Hewitt's investigation was the information available to Admiral Kimmel,
particularly during the critical period from 27 November to 7 December
1941, concerning the location and movements of Japanese naval forces.
This information, which consisted principally of daily radio
intelligence summaries setting forth the results of monitoring Japanese
naval communications and estimates by the Fleet Intelligence Officer, is
set forth in some detail at pages 112-114, inclusive, of Admiral
Hewitt's report. It there appears that there was an unusual change in
Japanese naval radio calls on 1 December 1941; that this was regarded as
indicating an additional progressive step in preparing for active
operations on a large scale; that on 2 December 1941 Admiral Kimmel
conferred with his Fleet Intelligence Officer as to the whereabouts of
Japanese fleet units, and that during that conference Admiral Kimmel
noticed and commented on the absence of information in the Fleet
Intelligence Officer's written estimate as to Japanese Carrier Divisions
1 and 2, which consisted of four carriers. (It has since been learned
that those four carriers were among the six carriers which in fact were
then on the high seas heading toward Pearl Harbor.) The other Japanese
carriers were located by the Fleet Intelligence Officer in his written
estimate, in Japanese home waters, with the exception of possibly one
carrier in the Marshalls. In his testimony before Admiral Hewitt, the
Fleet Intelligence Officer described his conversation with Admiral
Kimmel on 2 December 1941 as follows:

"Mr. SONNETT. Will you state the substance of what he said and what you
said, as best you recall it?

"Captain LAYTON. As best I recall it, Admiral Kimmel said, "What! You
don't know where Carrier Division 1 and Carrier Division 2 are?" and I
replied, "No, sir, I do not. I think they are in home waters, but I do
not know where they are. The rest of these units, I feel pretty
confident of their location." Then Admiral Kimmel looked at me, as
sometimes he would, with somewhat a stern countenance and yet partially
with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Do you mean to say that they could
be rounding Diamond Head and you wouldn't know it?" or words to that
effect. My reply was that, "I hope they would be sighted before now" or
words to that effect....

"Mr. SONNETT. Your testimony, Captain, was not quite clear to me,
arising out of your description of Admiral Kimmel's twinkle in his eye
when he spoke. What I am trying to get at is this: Was the discussion
about the absence of information concerning Cardivs 1 and 2 a serious or
a jocular one?

"Captain LAYTON. His question was absolutely serious, but when he said
"Where are Cardivs 1 and 2?" and I said, "I do not know precisely, but
if I must estimate, I would say that they are probably in the Kure area
since we haven't heard from them in a long time and they may be
refitting as they finished operations only a month and a half ago," and
it was then when he, with a twinkle in his eye, said "Do you mean to say
they could be rounding Diamond Head?" or words to that effect. In other
words, he was impressing me on my complete ignorance as to their exact
location.

"Mr. SONNETT. He was conscious, therefore, of your lack of information
about those carriers?

"Captain LAYTON. This incident has been impressed on my mind. I do not
say that I quote him exactly, but I do know that he made such a
statement to me in a way to point out to me that I should know where
they are but hadn't so indicated their location."

It is to be noted further that, as set forth in Admiral Hewitt's report,
the daily communication intelligence summaries received by Admiral
Kimmel stated, on December 3rd, that: "Almost a complete blank of
information on the carriers today. Lack of identifications has somewhat
promoted this lack of information. However, since over 200 service calls
have been partially identified since the change on the first of December
and not one carrier call has been recovered, it is evident that carrier
traffic is at a low ebb," and that the daily summaries delivered to
Admiral Kimmel thereafter, and prior to the attack, indicated that there
was no information as to Japanese carriers.

In view of the foregoing, I do not approve the above finding by the
Naval Court of Inquiry. I concur entirely in the comment of the
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, concerning this finding. I am of the
view that the information as to the location and movements of the
Japanese naval forces which was received by Admiral Kimmel during the
week preceding the attack, coupled with all the other information which
he had received, including the "war warning" and other messages from the
Chief of Naval Operations, should have been interpreted as indicating
that an attack on Hawaii was not unlikely and that the time of such an
attack could be predicted within fairly narrow limits.

(m) Court of Inquiry Finding XIII. It is here stated that Admiral
Kimmel's decision not to conduct daily long-range reconnaissance was
sound; that there were insufficient planes for this purpose; and that
such use of available planes was not justified.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, in his endorsement to the Naval
Court record points out that Admiral Kimmel had a difficult decision to
make in this matter of reconnaissance, and that there were many factors
to be considered. He states further, however, that after considering all
of the information that was at Admiral Kimmel's disposal, it appears
that Admiral Kimmel was not on entirely sound ground in making no
attempt at long-range reconnaissance, particularly as the situation
became more and more tense in the few days immediately preceding the
Japanese attacks. This comment adds that it is obvious that the means
available did not permit an all-around daily reconnaissance to a
distance necessary to detect the approach of carriers before planes
could be launched, but that there were, however, certain sectors more
dangerous than others which could have been covered to some extent, and
that such particular cover would have been logical in the circumstances
known to Admiral Kimmel in late November and early December. Attention
is called to the fact that Admiral Richardson had maintained distance
reconnaissance, using the few patrol planes at his disposal, to cover
the most dangerous sectors in rotation, and that these patrols were
discontinued when or shortly before Admiral Kimmel relieved Admiral
Richardson.

In addition to these comments, with which I concur, it may be noted that
Admiral Kimmel himself had maintained a partial long range patrol in the
summer of 1941 on the basis of Intelligence received and reported by
Admiral Bloch at that time.

The following findings by Admiral Hewitt in connection with the question
of air reconnaissance are approved:

"77. Admiral Kimmel testified before the Naval Court of Inquiry that he
decided on November 27th that there should be no distant reconnaissance.

"78. There is no evidence of any specific discussion between Admiral
Kimmel and members of his staff on or after the receipt of the "war
warning," as to the advisability or practicability of long range
reconnaissance from Oahu. The War Plans Officer thought that the subject
must have been discussed, but could recall no specific discussion. The
Commander of the Fleet patrol planes, who had not been informed of any
of the significant warning messages, testified that Admiral Kimmel had
no such discussion with him.

"87. The Fleet patrol planes available at Oahu in the week preceding the
attack were not sufficient to have conducted 360 degree reconnaissance
daily for more than a few days.

"89. There were sufficient Fleet patrol planes and crews in fact
available at Oahu during the week preceding the attack to have flown,
for at least several weeks, a daily reconnaissance covering 120 degrees
to a distance of about 700 miles.

"90. The sectors north of Oahu were generally recognized as being the
most likely sectors from which a Japanese attack would come, if the
Japanese were to attack Pearl Harbor.

"91. If a daily distant reconnaissance had been flown from Oahu after 27
November 1941, with the available patrol planes, the northern sectors
probably would have been searched.

"101. The Japanese carriers launched their planes from a position 200
miles due north of Oahu."

(n) Court of Inquiry Finding XIV. This states in substance that the Army
radar detection system was ineffective.

The evidence supports the substance of the comment on this finding,
which is made in the Second Endorsement; that is, that although the
radar detection system in operation at Pearl Harbor was in an embryonic
state, nevertheless, even in its then condition it could have and should
have served to give at least an hour's warning of the attack. I concur
in this comment and also approve the following conclusion by Admiral
Hewitt:

"15. The aircraft warning system was being operated by the Army during
certain periods of the day primarily for training purposes, and,
although not fully developed, could have served to give some warning of
the approach of Japanese aircraft."

(o) Court of Inquiry Finding XV. This states that the best professional
opinion in the United States and Great Britain, prior to 7 December
1941, was that an aircraft torpedo attack under conditions of shoal
water and limited approach such as those which obtained at Pearl Harbor,
was not practicable, and that the Japanese attack was successful
principally because of the employment of a specially designed torpedo,
which was a secret weapon.

The only comment in the Second Endorsement on this finding is that: "It
is evident in retrospect that the capabilities of Japanese aircraft
torpedoes were seriously underestimated." The principal point upon which
the Court of Inquiry seems to rest its finding is the further finding
that it was not believed by American and British naval authorities at
that time that torpedoes could be successfully launched from aircraft in
waters as shallow as those at Pearl Harbor. As a basis for this view the
Court relies upon a letter by the Chief of Naval Operations early in
1941 in which he indicated that torpedoes could not be successfully
launched from airplanes in water under a minimum depth of 75 feet (water
at Pearl Harbor being approximately 45 feet). It is noted that the Court
also refers to a subsequent letter put out for the Chief of Naval
Operations in June, 1941, by Admiral Ingersoll, which is in conflict
with the Court's finding. This letter stated, among other things, that:
"It cannot be assumed that any capital or other valuable vessel is safe
when at anchor from this type of attack if surrounded by water at a
sufficient distance to permit an attack to be developed and a sufficient
run to arm the torpedo." This letter also advised that torpedoes
launched by the British at Taranto were, in general, in 13-15 fathoms of
water, although several may have been launched in 11-12.

The records of the Navy Department indicate that in April, 1941, there
was circulated in the Department an intelligence report which described
the demonstration of an aerial torpedo in England. It appears from this
report that the torpedo described was equipped with special wings, and
that it required no greater depth of water for its successful launching
than the depth at which it made its normal run.

It further appears from the records of the Navy Department that the
British reported aircraft torpedo attacks during the year 1940 in which
torpedoes were successfully launched in 42 feet of water.

Finally, there is evidence in the record to indicate that nearly a year
prior to the actual attack, the feasibility and even the probability of
an airplane torpedo attack upon Pearl Harbor was contemplated. Secretary
Knox's letter of January, 1941, listed an air torpedo attack as second
only to air bombing in order of probability in a list of the types of
attack upon Pearl Harbor which he considered likely. His letter had been
previously cleared with Admiral Stark, and was received in February by
Admiral Kimmel.

In view of the foregoing, the finding of the Court of Inquiry is not
approved.

(p) Court of Inquiry Finding XVI. The Court here finds that Admiral
Kimmel's decision to continue preparation of the Fleet for war, made
after receiving the 24 November dispatch, was sound in light (a) of the
approval of the steps which he had taken after the dispatch of 16
October which advised that hostilities were possible, and (b) the
information then available to him including Admiral Stark's letter of 17
October 1941 and the dispatch of 24 November, 1941, which stated that a
surprise aggressive movement in any direction, including attack on the
Philippines or Guam, was a possibility.

The Second Endorsement summarizes the Court's finding and underscores
that portion of the 24 November dispatch which indicated that: "A
surprise aggressive movement in any direction, including attack on the
Philippines or Guam is a possibility . . ."

It should be further noted that Admiral Kimmel testified that the words
"A surprise aggressive movement in any direction, including attack on
the Philippines or Guam," meant to him that any attack other than on
those two places would be on foreign territory, but that the words also
included the possibility of a submarine attack on the Hawaiian Islands.

The Court refers in its finding to a part of a personal letter sent by
Admiral Stark to Admiral Kimmel on 17 October, in which Admiral Stark
stated: "Personally, I do not believe the Japs are going to sail into us
and the message I sent you merely stated the possibility; in fact, I
tempered the message handed me considerably." However, the letter also
continued: "Perhaps I am wrong, but I hope not. In any case, after long
pow-wows in the White House, it was felt that we should be on guard, at
least until something indicates the trend." To the letter was annexed a
postscript, stating in part: "General Marshall just called up and was
anxious that we make some sort of reconnaissance so that he could feel
assured that on arrival at Wake, a Japanese raider attack may not be in
order on his bombers. I told him that we could not assure against any
such contingency, but that I felt it extremely improbable and that,
while we keep track of Japanese ships so far as we can, a carefully
planned raid on any of these island carriers in the Pacific might be
difficult to detect. However, we are on guard to the best of our
ability, and my advice to him was not to worry."

It is noted that the Court does not specifically deal with the question
of the soundness of Admiral Kimmel's decision to continue preparation of
the Fleet, in the light of the highly important information which he
received from the Chief of Naval Operations and otherwise during the
critical period after the "war warning" of November 27th.

(q) Court of Inquiry Finding XVII. The Court here finds that there were
good grounds for believing that the Japanese would attack in the Far
East.

In respect of this finding, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, points
out that the Far East was the most probable scene for the initiation of
Japanese operations, and that they were in fact initiated there. He
notes further that all concerned recognized the possibility that such a
commencement of hostilities would be accompanied by an attack upon Pearl
Harbor. He adds that this latter possibility was considerably
strengthened by information available at Washington, all of which was
not available to Admiral Kimmel.

It appears from the evidence obtained in Admiral Hewitt's investigation
that the possibility that the commencement of hostilities by Japan would
include an attack upon Pearl Harbor was also strengthened by information
received by Admiral Kimmel on and after the war warning of November
27th. The estimates that had been made in the War Plans, which had been
approved by Admiral Kimmel, of course contemplated that in the event of
war with the Japanese a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was distinctly
possible. The information received by Admiral Kimmel as to the location
and movement of Japanese naval forces was, at the least, consistent with
these estimates. The following conclusion of Admiral Hewitt in this
connection is approved:

"23. The information as to Japanese naval forces which was available to
the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, emphasizing the movement of
forces to the southward, tended to concentrate his attention on the
probability of Japanese attacks on the Philippines and Malaysia. The
information which was received by Admiral Kimmel during the first week
of December 1941 indicated, however, that on December 1st there was an
unusual change in Japanese radio call signs, that, on the basis of all
information up to December 2nd, no reliable estimate could be made of
the whereabouts of four of Japan's ten carriers, and that there was no
information as to any of the carriers thereafter. The absence of
positive information as to the location of the Japanese carriers, a
study of the movement which was possible to them, under radio silence,
through the unguarded areas of the Pacific, and a due appreciation of
the possible effects of an air attack should have induced Admiral Kimmel
to take all practicable precautions to reduce the effectiveness of such
an attack...."

(r) Court of Inquiry Findings XVIII and XIX. These state in substance
that Admiral Stark's failure from 26 November to 7 December 1941 to
transmit to Admiral Kimmel important information in his possession,
obtained from intercepted Japanese diplomatic messages, and summarized
in the addendum to the Court's findings of facts, constitutes a military
error.

The comment of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, as to this finding
was to the effect that Admiral Stark was at fault in failing to give
Admiral Kimmel an adequate summary of information available in
Washington.

The endorsement of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, on the Naval
Court of Inquiry Record, further pointed out that Rear Admiral
Wilkinson, former Director of Naval Intelligence, was not available to
the Court as a witness. It was noted that these findings, and the
conclusions of the Court based thereon, were concerned principally with
the handling of enemy information in the Navy Department, and that
consequently, it would seem essential to a thorough exploration of the
facts to have the testimony of the Director of Naval Intelligence, who
was largely responsible for handling this information. It was concluded
that the failure to obtain this testimony was unfortunate.

With this comment by the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, I concurred. It
further appeared to me that the testimony of Captain McCollum, who was
assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, and who, according to
other testimony in the record, had important duties in connection with
the handling of such intercepted enemy information, would be most
helpful. Captain McCollum was also unavailable as a witness to the
Court. I ascertained that at the time both Rear Admiral Wilkinson and
Captain McCollum were actively engaged in combat operations against the
enemy, and would be so engaged until some date in the future. From the
nature of the duties which these officers were performing in their
assignments, I determined that in view of the paramount present needs of
the war effort, their testimony in this matter could not then feasibly
be obtained.

During his later investigation, Admiral Hewitt was able to obtain the
testimony of Admiral Wilkinson and of Captain McCollum, as well as other
testimony bearing upon this finding of the Court of Inquiry. The
following conclusions of Admiral Hewitt in this connection are approved:

"5. Information was promptly and efficiently obtained by the United
States Navy and Army intelligence organizations in Washington,
concerning the Japanese Government's actual views as to the diplomatic
negotiations and its intention to wage war, by means of interception,
decryption, and translation of Japanese diplomatic messages.

"6. The information which was obtained in Washington by the War and Navy
Departments from Japanese diplomatic messages was fully exchanged. The
information which was obtained by the Navy Department as to Japanese
naval movements was available to intelligence officers of the War
Department in Washington. The War Department had information which led
that Department to believe that Japanese naval forces were in the
Marshalls in November, 1941. This appears from a War Department dispatch
of 26 November 1941 to General Short, information to Admiral Kimmel,
concerning a special photographic reconnaissance to be flown over Truk
and Jaluit, in order to obtain information, among other things, as to
the number and location of naval vessels. The reconnaissance was not
flown because the special Army planes were not made ready....

"8. The information obtained by the Navy Department from intercepted
Japanese diplomatic messages was adequately disseminated within the Navy
Department.

"9. Although Admiral Kimmel some months before had made requests that he
be kept fully informed on subjects of interest to the Fleet and as to
all important developments, the Chief of Naval Operations did not
communicate to him important information which would have aided him
materially in fully evaluating the seriousness of the situation. In
particular, the failure to transmit the State Department message of
November 26th and to send, by telephone or other expeditious means,
information of the "1 p.m." message and its possible import, were
unfortunate.

"10. Admiral Kimmel, nevertheless, did have sufficient information in
his possession to indicate that the situation was unusually serious, and
that important developments with respect to the outbreak of war were
imminent. This included the "war warning" message and similar important
messages which were sent by the Chief of Naval Operations.

"11. The available information in the possession of the Commander-in-
Chief, Pacific Fleet, as to the existing situation, particularly the
"war warning" message, was not disseminated to all of his important
subordinate commanders whose cognizance thereof was desirable. Thus
Admiral Bellinger, who commanded the patrol planes, and Admiral Newton,
who was at sea with a carrier and other units, were not informed of this
and other important messages."

12. The following conclusions by Admiral Hewitt concerning the
intelligence secured by tapping the wires of the Japanese Consulate
General at Hawaii and by intercepting cable messages of the Japanese
Consulate General are approved.

"Conclusion 12: Despite the fact that prior to the attack the telephone
lines of the Japanese Consul General at Honolulu were tapped and that
various of his cable messages were secured at Honolulu, no information
was obtained prior to December 7th which indicated the likelihood of a
Japanese attack. The legal restrictions which denied access to such
cable messages were a definite handicap to the intelligence agencies in
the Hawaiian area.

"Conclusion 13: Although various messages of the Japanese Consul General
at Honolulu, which indicated Japanese interest in specific locations of
ships in Pearl Harbor, were intercepted by radio intercept stations of
the Army and Navy and decrypted prior to the attack, this information
was not transmitted by the Navy Department to Admiral Kimmel. Certain
other messages which were intercepted by the Army prior to 7 December
1941, indicated the likelihood of attack on Pearl Harbor but were not
decrypted or brought to the attention of the Navy prior to the attack,
apparently because the Army did not have sufficient personnel for such
work."

13. In its final opinion and recommendation, the Court of Inquiry finds
that no offenses have been committed or serious blame incurred on the
part of any person or persons in the Naval service, and recommends that
no further proceedings be had in the matter.

With respect to this opinion and recommendation of the Court of Inquiry,
I concur in the comment expressed in paragraph 5 of the Second
Endorsement that the Navy cannot avoid a share of responsibility for the
Pearl Harbor incident, and that the disaster cannot be regarded as an
"act of God" beyond human power to prevent or mitigate. Whether or not
it is true, as stated in the Second Endorsement, that the Country as a
whole is basically responsible in that the people were unwilling to take
adequate measures for defense until it was too late to repair the
consequences of their failure so to do, it appears that the Navy as a
whole, although its ranking officers were fully informed of the most
recent developments in the science of warfare, failed to appreciate the
true significance of those developments until their impact had been felt
by a blow struck at a substantial portion of the Fleet. By the same
token, although the imminence of hostile action by the Japanese was
known, and the capabilities of the Japanese Fleet and Air Arm were
recognized in war plans made to meet just such hostile action, these
factors did not reach the stage of conviction in the minds of the
responsible officers of the Navy to an extent sufficient to impel them
to bring about that implementation of the plans that was necessary if
the initial hostile attack was to be repelled or at least mitigated.
That this is so is manifested in the case of the instant disaster in
several important respects.

(a) The destructive potentiality of air attack was not properly
evaluated, although there was ample information available on this
subject in the reports of action by and against the British. That this
information was recognized is shown by the inclusion in war and defense
plans of appropriate provisions for defense against this type of attack,
but that it was not fully appreciated is shown by the fact that these
selfsame provisions were not put into effect until the initial attack
had been successful.

(b) In respect of unity of command, again all of the plans made adequate
provision for joint action, mutual interchange of intelligence, and the
fullest utilization of all of the available resources of both the Army
and Navy; in practice, none of these measures came into being to any
appreciable extent prior to the attack.

(c) Within the Navy itself, the organization was such as to submerge the
Chief of Naval Operations in a multiplicity of detail pertaining to the
procurement and material programs incidental to the rapid expansion of
the Navy. This precluded him from giving to war plans and operations the
undivided and continuing attention which experience has shown they
require, and tended to dull his perception of the critical significance
of events.

In making these observations, I am not unmindful of the usual advantage
of hindsight, nor do I overlook the fact that this war has proved that
any carrier strike, when pressed home with resolution, is almost
impossible to deflect. After giving due consideration, however to all
these factors, I am of the opinion that there were, nevertheless, areas
in which sound military judgment dictated the taking of action which,
though it might not have prevented or defeated the attack would have
tended materially to reduce the damage which the attack was able to
inflict. Such action was not taken, and the responsibility must center
upon the officers who had it in their power, each within his respective
sphere, to take appropriate action.

14. I concur, therefore, with the opinion expressed in paragraph 5 of
the Second Endorsement to the Court of Inquiry record that it is
pertinent to examine the possible courses of action which Admiral Stark
and Admiral Kimmel, as the responsible officers, might have taken to
lessen the success of the initial Japanese blow.

(a) In paragraph 5 of the Second Endorsement, it is pointed out that
Admiral Stark failed to give Admiral Kimmel an adequate summary of
information available in Washington, particularly in respect of:

(1) The State Department reply of 26 November 1941 to the Japanese,
which was regarded by the Japanese as an ultimatum;

(2) The intercepted Japanese message inquiring as to the disposition of
ships within Pearl Harbor;

(3) The implementation of the "winds" message;

(4) In failing to appreciate the significance of the "one p.m. message"
[and in failing to get] it to Admiral Kimmel by the quickest means
available.

(5) Finally, it is pointed out in this section of the Second Endorsement
that there is a certain sameness of tenor in the communications sent by
Admiral Stark to Admiral Kimmel which failed to convey the sense of
intensification of critical relations between Japan and the United
States.

I concur generally with these comments except as to (3) and (5). In
connection with the failure of Admiral Stark to advise Admiral Kimmel of
the implementation of the "winds" message, the following conclusion by
Admiral Hewitt is approved:

"7. Although the Japanese Government established in their diplomatic
messages a code, known as the "winds" code, to be used in radio
broadcasts in order to convey information to its representatives as to
the status of relations between Japan and other countries, no message
was intercepted prior to the attack which used the code words relating
to the United States."

Although there may be some basis for the comment that prior to 27
November 1941 there was a certain sameness of tone in the communications
sent by Admiral Stark to Admiral Kimmel, it should be noted that the
message of November 27 was stronger than any message which Admiral Stark
sent previously to Admiral Kimmel. That message read as follows:

"This dispatch is to be considered a war warning X 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 X The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization
of naval task forces indicate an amphibious expedition against either
the Philippines (printed in ink, "Thai") or Kra Peninsula or possibly
Borneo X Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to
carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL 46 X Inform district and Army
authorities X A similar warning is being sent by War Department X
Appropriate measures against sabotage."

Concerning the other comments by the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, it
might be added that Admiral Stark's omission consisted not only in the
failure to transmit fully to Admiral Kimmel certain of the available
information, but also in the failure properly and speedily to evaluate
that information, particularly on 7 December 1941.

The evidence shows that the State Department reply to the Japanese of 26
November 1941 was in fact regarded by them as an ultimatum that it was
known in the Navy Department before 1 December 1941 that the Japanese
regarded the reply as unacceptable; that it was known, as early as 1
December 1941, that the Japanese proposed to strike without warning. It
was further known that subsequent to their receipt of the State
Department's note the Japanese were directing their emissaries in the
United States to do everything in their power to allay any suspicion of
a hostile Japanese move. Against this background, there was received on
6 December 1941, in the Navy Department, an intercepted Japanese message
to their emissaries here, which stated that a 14-part reply to the State
Department's note of 26 November 1941 was being transmitted, and further
that a specific time for delivery of this reply would be transmitted
from Tokyo by a separate message. This message, together with the first
thirteen parts of the Japanese reply were all available at the Navy
Department by 2100 hours of 6 December 1941. The language of the
thirteen parts of the Japanese reply then available indicated that the
reply constituted a final breaking off of relations. All this pointed to
the conclusion that a surprise attack was to be simultaneous with the
delivery of the Japanese message. Thus, while it was not known on 6
December precisely when the attack was to be delivered, there was ample
evidence to base the conclusion that a surprise move was due within
narrow limits of time.

On the morning of December 7th, by 10:30, Admiral Stark had all fourteen
parts of the Japanese reply, which in its entirety made explicit the
breaking off of relations. He had as well the direction for the delivery
of that reply at one p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and there was
information available to him that this time corresponded to dawn at Oahu
and the middle of the night in the Far East. Although, as found by
Admiral Hewitt, no one stated that this indicated an air attack at Pearl
Harbor, yet all of these factors pointed to the possibility of such an
attack. An acute sensitivity to the tautness of the situation would have
dictated at least a plain language telephone communication to Admiral
Kimmel, which might have provided a warning sufficient to bring about
some material reduction in damage inflicted by the Japanese attack.

(b) I concur with the comments set forth in paragraph 5(b) of the Second
Endorsement to the Naval Court of Inquiry record. It is there stated
that Admiral Kimmel, despite the failure of Admiral Stark to keep him
fully informed, did have indications of the increasing tenseness of
relations with Japan. In particular, it is pointed out that he had the
"war warning" message on 27 November, the "hostile action possible at
any moment" message on 28 November, the 3 December message that the
Japanese had ordered destruction of codes, and the messages of 4 and 6
December concerning destruction of United States secret and confidential
matter at outlying Pacific Islands.

In addition, it might be pointed out that Admiral Kimmel in his personal
letters, which are a part of the record before the Court, and as well in
the war plans approved by him, explicitly recognized the possibility of
attack upon Pearl Harbor by air; and, that the information received by
Admiral Kimmel concerning the location and movement of Japanese naval
forces after 27 November 1941 should have been evaluated, as previously
pointed out, as indicating the continued and increasing possibility of
such an attack. It is to be especially noted that while Admiral Kimmel
was directed in the war warning message of 27 November 1941, and again
on 28 November when the Army message was relayed to him, to execute an
appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks
assigned in the Navy Basic War Plan, the chief action taken by him was
carrying forward the arrangements for the reinforcing of and continuing
the limited air patrols from the outlying islands, ordering on 28
November, the depth bombing of submarine contacts in the Oahu operating
area, and engaging in unproductive conferences with General Short. He
continued in effect the primary fleet activity of training and the
lowest condition of readiness (Condition III) of the fleet in port. He
neither ordered long-range air reconnaissance from Oahu to any extent
nor advised his fleet air wing commander of the receipt of the war
warning message. His failure to take other and more effective action is
neither explainable nor excusable by any ambiguity in the meaning of or
disagreement as to what would constitute an "appropriate defensive
deployment." Admiral Kimmel could have referred to the initial tasks
stated in the war plan of maintaining fleet security at bases and
guarding against submarine attack by Japan, and if he did not know what
was meant by the phrase "appropriate defensive deployment," he should
have asked the Chief of Naval Operations for an explanation.

The Second Endorsement to the Naval Court states that Admiral Kimmel
could and should have judged more accurately the gravity of the danger
to which the Hawaiian Islands were exposed, and that certain courses of
action were open to him, viz.:

(1) He could have used the patrol aircraft available to him to conduct
long-range reconnaissance in the more dangerous sectors, and thus made
the Japanese task more difficult, whether or not this would have
resulted in the detection of the approach of the Japanese carriers;

(2) He could have rotated the "in port" periods of his vessels in a less
routine manner, and thus made it more difficult for the Japanese to have
predicted when there would be any vessels in port;

(3) He could have maintained a higher condition of readiness under which
Naval planes would have been in the air during the early morning period
ships' batteries would have been fully manned, and damage control
organizations fully operational.

Admiral Hewitt's report concludes in part:

"The absence of positive information as to the location of the Japanese
carriers, a study of the movement which was possible to them, under
radio silence, through the unguarded areas of the Pacific, and a due
appreciation of the possible effects of an air attack should have
induced Admiral Kimmel to take all practicable precautions to reduce the
effectiveness of such an attack. The measures which reasonably were open
to him were:

"(a) Establishment of long distance air reconnaissance, covering the
most probable approach sectors to the extent possible, on a reasonably
permanent basis, with available planes and crews.

"(b) Establishment of a higher condition of anti-aircraft readiness, at
least during the dangerous dawn hours.

"(c) Establishment of a higher degree of damage control readiness by
ships in port, particularly during the dangerous dawn hours.

"(d) Installation of anti-torpedo nets to protect the larger vessels in
port.

"(e) Maintenance of a striking force at sea in readiness to intercept
possible attack forces.

"(f) Maintenance of the maximum force of the Fleet at sea, with entry
into port at irregular intervals.

"(g) Checking with Army as to readiness of anti-aircraft defense and
aircraft warning installations."

I concur with these comments as to the various courses of action which
Admiral Kimmel could and should have taken. The evidence indicates
clearly, however, that his most grievous failure was his failure to
conduct long-range air reconnaissance in the more dangerous sectors from
Oahu during the week preceding the attack. That this is so is manifest
from the evidence obtained by Admiral Hewitt and from his following
conclusion, which is hereby approved.

"Conclusion 14. The only practicable sources from which Admiral Kimmel
could have secured information, after the receipt of the "war warning,"
as to the approach of the attacking force, were the aircraft warning
service, traffic analyses of Japanese naval communications, and distant
air reconnaissance from Oahu."

During the critical period after November 27 the limitations of the
aircraft warning service and of radio intelligence were evident; the
only remaining practicable source upon which Admiral Kimmel was entitled
to rely for information as to the Japanese naval movements was distant
air reconnaissance which, covering the most probable approach bearings,
would as Admiral Hewitt concluded have had a reasonable chance of
success. The failure to detect the approach of the Japanese task force
contributed more to the success of the Japanese attack than did any
other single factor.

In addition to the courses of action referred to by the Commander in
Chief, U.S. Fleet and by Admiral Hewitt, it was of course always open to
Admiral Kimmel also to take steps to increase cooperation between his
organization and the Army command, and to attempt to achieve effective
joint command. That conditions were ideal for his accomplishing such an
objective is indicated by the evidence in the record and the finding of
the Court that the social relationship between him and General Short was
excellent. The need for Admiral Kimmel taking such measures existed from
the time he took command of the Pacific Fleet. It increased in urgency
as the 7th of December, 1941, approached.

15. The Second Endorsement of the Commander-in-Chief? U.S. Fleet, to the
Naval Court record concludes that:        .

"6. The derelictions on the part of Admiral Stark and Admiral Kimmel
were faults of omission rather than faults of commission. In the case in
question, they indicate lack of the superior judgment necessary for
exercising command commensurate with their rank and their assigned
duties, rather than culpable inefficiency.

"7. Since trial by general court martial is not warranted by the
evidence adduced, appropriate administrative action would appear to be
the relegation of both of these officers to positions in which lack of
superior judgment may not result in future errors."

16. In his endorsement to Admiral Hewitt's report the Commander-in-
Chief, U.S. Fleet, states in part:

"I concur in general in the remarks and recommendations of the Judge
Advocate General as expressed in the second endorsement. In answer to
the specific questions asked in the first endorsement, the following
opinions are submitted:

"(a) I am of the opinion that the evidence is not sufficient to warrant
trial by court martial of any person in the Naval Service, in that the 
evidence will not sustain the charges required by the Articles for the
Government of the Navy.

"(b) With regard to the sufficiency of the evidence to warrant other
proceedings, I am still of the opinion, which I have previously
expressed, that Admiral Stark and Admiral Kimmel, though not culpable to
a degree warranting formal disciplinary action, were nevertheless
inadequate in emergency, due to the lack of the superior judgment
necessary for exercising command commensurate with their duties.

"(c) Appropriate action appears to me to be the relegation of both of
these officers to positions in which lack of superior strategic judgment
may not result in future errors. The action has been taken in the case
of both Admiral Stark and Admiral Kimmel. No further action is
recommended.

"(d) For the reasons stated by the Judge Advocate General, I consider it
impracticable to bring Admiral Stark and Admiral Kimmel, or either one
of them, to trial prior to the termination of hostilities with Japan,
nor are court martial or other proceedings (prior to the termination of
hostilities with Japan) advisable because such proceedings would almost
certainly involve disclosure of information which would be detrimental
to current military operations and to national security measures."

17. The Judge Advocate General in making his endorsement to Admiral
Hewitt's report states in part:

"1. Subject report clarifies obscure points and supplies omissions in
the earlier investigations. It is considered that this and former
investigations, taken together, present as clear a picture of the
pertinent facts as will ever be adduced. With this report, therefore, I
believe the investigation of the Pearl Harbor attack should be
considered completed.

"2. Admiral Hewitt's report brings out and confirms a distinction which
impressed me at the time of studying the earlier investigations, a
distinction which does much to clarify thinking on the question of
placing responsibility for the Pearl Harbor disaster. It appears that
there was no lack of appreciation on the part of any of the responsible
officers that war was coming, and coming quickly, during the critical
period immediately preceding 7 December 1941. The point on which those
officers failed to exercise the discernment and judgment to be expected
from officers occupying their positions, was their failure to
appreciate, from the information available to them, that Pearl Harbor
was a likely target for aerial attack and their failure to take the
necessary steps to prevent or minimize such a surprise attack. Each of
these officers, in estimating the critical situation, demonstrated a
poor quality of strategical planning, in that he largely ruled out all
possible courses of action by which the Japanese might begin the war
except through an attack in the Western Pacific.

"3. I do not believe that the lack of more complete understanding and
co-operation between Admiral Kimmel and Lieutenant General Short had any
great effect on the ultimate result; for it is abundantly shown that
they each entertained the same fallacious views, and closer
understanding would most likely merely have strengthened those views.
Likewise, I submit that the importance of information from Japanese
sources has been overemphasized; for had more basically sound principles
been observed, the Pearl Harbor disaster would not have occurred. The
security of Pearl Harbor was the very core of our Pacific strategy, a
fact which did not receive sufficient consideration in the strategic
concept of responsible officers.

"4. In answer to the specific questions asked in the first endorsement,
the following opinions are submitted:

"(a) As is more fully developed in the answer to question (b), it is not
believed that there is sufficient evidence to warrant conviction of any
of the officers concerned of any offense known to naval law.

"(b) Under the facts of this case, there are only two offenses which are
worthy of consideration: (1) Neglect of Duty and (2) Culpable
Inefficiency in the Performance of Duty. Under either charge it would be
necessary to define the duty of the officer concerned, and to show that
it was his duty to follow a course of action other than the one he did.
In my opinion this would be impossible, as the acts of omission of these
officers do not rise above the status of errors of judgment. No clearly
defined duty can be established which was neglected or improperly
performed. As stated by Fleet Admiral King, in his endorsement on the
findings of the Court of Inquiry, the evidence in the case boils down to
the fact that the acts of the officers in question "indicate lack of
superior judgment necessary for exercising command commensurate with
their rank and their assigned duties, rather than culpable
inefficiency." "Lack of Superior Judgment" is not an offense triable by
general court-martial.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"(d) The requirements of 39th Article for the Government of the Navy and
Section 346 of Naval Courts and Boards pertaining to the rank of members
of a general court-martial will make it most difficult to constitute a
court for the trial of the officers here concerned during war time or
during a period of six months after the cessation of hostilities. Many
of the officers of appropriate rank, both on the active and the retired
lists, would be disqualified because of interest in the subject matter,
the probability of being called as a witness, or by virtue of having
been connected with one of the investigations into the matter. If more
than one of the officers in question are brought to trial, an entirely
new court would be necessary in each case, as members who had tried a
former case arising out of the Pearl Harbor attack would be subject to
challenge. The summoning of the necessary witnesses would result in
temporarily removing from their duty stations many of the key officers
in the naval organization. For the foregoing reasons, I am of the
opinion that any such court martial proceedings prior to the end of
hostilities with Japan is highly impractical and would be detrimental to
the war effort, and further, that any such proceedings during the six
months immediately following the end of hostilities would seriously
impair the efficiency of the naval service."

18. On the basis of the record, findings, opinion, and recommendation of
the Court of Inquiry, the First Endorsement of the Judge Advocate
General thereto, and the Second Endorsement of the Commander in Chief,
U.S. Fleet, thereto; the record, findings, and conclusions of Admiral
Hewitt, and the Second and Third Endorsements thereto; and on the basis
of the foregoing comments, I conclude that:

(a) Then Rear Admiral Claude C. Bloch discharged his duties adequately.

(b) Then Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Admiral Harold R. Stark,
particularly during the period from 27 November to 7 December 1941,
failed to demonstrate the superior judgment necessary for exercising
command commensurate with their rank and their assigned duties.

(c) Both of these officers having been retired, appropriate action
should be taken to insure that neither of them will be recalled to
active duty in the future for any position in which the exercise of
superior judgment may be necessary.

(d) The appropriate committees of Congress should be fully acquainted
with the Navy's investigations into this matter, and public disclosure
of the facts concerning the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, obtained in
these investigations, should be made as soon as such action can be taken
without injuring current military operations or the national security.

19. Accordingly, I direct:

(a) Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, USN (Retired), shall not hold any
position in the United States Navy which requires the exercise of
superior judgment.

(b) Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN (Retired), shall not hold any position
in the United States Navy which requires the exercise of superior
judgment.

(c) The appropriate committees of Congress will be fully acquainted with
the Navy's investigations into this matter, and public disclosure of the
facts concerning the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, obtained in these
investigations, will be made as soon as such action can be taken without
injuring current military operations or the national security.

JAMES FORRESTAL,
Secretary of the Navy.


Media Credits

Fourth Endorsement of the Secretary of the Navy, online U.S. National Archives.

 

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