The question comes up concerning whether there were any records or any logs maintained which would have listed intercepted messages sequentially and permitted any investigator later on, or which would have assisted any investigator later on, in locating those messages and determining whether one was missing. Do you have any knowledge about that, Mr. Briggs?
Unfortunately, I do not recall whether we numbered them at our Station before we packaged and sent them in or not. My memory fails me on that point. But it appears to me that, once it got downtown, the people in the traffic analysis section certainly put a number on them or some way put some accounting number to keep them in a sequential series they wanted to. And specifically by the country that we were covering, by the frequency they were on, and by the station, at least, which they were intercepted from. So there would have been at least three categories at a minimum, they would have been filed under. And, I would assume, not knowing what we did at that time downtown, they would have been numbered in some sequential manner, yes. But not from our end. I don’t recall that we did anything other than bundle them up and retained a station copy for a long time in our files until it was necessary to send that in, too.
Did you destroy your copy?
I never destroyed any copy.
In fact, as I say, the station didn’t destroy any copies at that time, as I recall. What copies we did hold were later carted off for the archives. Hence, I wouldn’t have found my log entry out at Crane. So I assume on the basis of the Crane entry, log sheet was there, there should have been a copy from the station file.
Let me ask you to make a generalization. Let me ask you to give me your opinion about any kind of coverup. If someone had intentionally destroyed all copies of the message and wanted to prevent any future researcher from locating that winds execute message or to hide the fact that we did intercept it, why didn’t they destroy your log entry?
In short, if there was a conspiracy, why didn’t they do a thorough job of it?
That’s a very good question. I think the answer to that, as far as I’m concerned, is that they never got ahold of the log sheet. The log sheet wasn’t sent in to them. If it was, it didn’t become a part or parcel of the material which had been sent down to the commission. They probably were more interested in the actual traffic intercepted rather than log entries at that time. It being that log entries were merely a record of the station itself and its coverage during the period in time that we were intercepting various circuits.
Are there any other intercept operators, or is there any other officer alive today, who you think would be helpful in corroborating what you’ve said?
I think probably the only one who could collaborate a portion of what I have attested to here would be Darryl Weigel himself. Darryl has probably already been interviewed and Darryl and I conferred before I had talked to Captain Safford, and he was trying to determine what we meant by BAMS broadcast and I couldn’t recall what BAMS broadcast stood for and that was after I had talked to…this is before I talked to Safford…before Safford to call me in. So Darryl didn’t know about my intensive research and collaboration, shall we say, with Captain Safford. And I never to this day conferred with Darryl to bring out the facts as I’ve just reported. But I’m sure that Darryl, if he heard this recording which I think would be the appropriate for him to hear first– could recall many of the facets of information which I have just reported. And in fact he might be able to allude to other information which I failed to recall. OK?
When you talked with Captain Harper, Mr. Briggs, you said that he told you someday you might be able to understand why he was required to give you this edict not to testify before the commission. Since that time–and there have been some 30 years pass– have you come to any conclusion about why you were not allowed to give your testimony or to support and assist Captain Safford in his efforts?
Yes, I think that’s a very good question. You know, I felt that I had a very strong rapport with Captain Harper. But on the occasion of this meeting he was visibly disturbed and shook and highly irritated. And I can assume that this is because he’d gotten a call from high authority, which he failed to reveal. And his reference to someday I might understand, would probably be in reference to the fact that if the hearings were drawn out long enough and the truth became known later, maybe some people or some person could tell us what happened to it. I think that’s what he had in mind. I wish he were alive today and could be interrogated–or interviewed, rather; we say interrogated so much over at ONI, I get that phrase in here too often when I really mean interview– I wish he were here to be interviewed today. I think he would at this point in time clear the matter up as to who called he was…who called him…who sent the directive down that I was not to appear. But there was such urgency and concern voiced by him that I not appear, that he just wasn’t the same person that I normally knew in my day to day contact.
Who might have been hurt by some kind of revelation of that nature? Would it have hurt the intelligence business? Would it have hurt the Navy?
I don’t think it was a question of who it would hurt. I think it was a question of who it would reveal had not acted properly upon receipt and who had failed to take the necessary measures to prepare for eventual confrontation with Japan, which this message was clearly was an indication of. I think that is the real concern. Somebody, some person or persons unknown to me to this day must have been responsible for the actual withholding of this message, or destruction of this message or its failure to be revealed.
l-to-r (front): CRM Wood (in-charge), class #2; Marks, class #10, Ted Hoover, class #10; Sid Burnett, class #8; Victor Long, class #8. l-to-r (standing): CRM Wigle, class #3; Jensen; John H Gelineau, class #10; CRM Joe Edens, class #11; Orvill L. Jones, class #10; Carl Laven Congdon, class #8; Benjamin. Picture taken in front of EMQ at Libugon Hill, Guam.