5224 S. Annie Oakley Dr.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89120
8 March 1982
Mr. George G. Henriksen
Director, Security Division (G-12)
Headquarters, Naval Security Group
It has been some time since we have touched base. This brings back fond memories to ’63 when I first retired from twenty-nine years active duty and commenced my second career as a Security Specialist within G-12, thanks to your personal interest and sponsorship. Training and experience gained as a member of your staff served me well over the years and followed through to my final Federal retirement of over 44 years in 1978. I will always be grateful for your influence and support.
George, the enclosed letter of 5 Feb 1982 from a Michi WIGLYN finally reached me via NSA and the Naval History Division. This individual is unknown to me. In accordance with current NSGH policy I have not responded to this inquiry. I have no intention of conducting any direct communications or interviews with any media representatives writers, researchers, etc., concerning the Winds Code Execute episode. As in the case of John Toland’s initial inquiry they were and will be, referred to your office.
The probability of additional questions arising out of my released Testimony, i. e., John Costello’s “The Pacific War” suggests the need for advanced prepared answers/material. Some of WEGLYN’s questions are answered within the twenty-one pages of material, plus the three pages of footnotes, as submitted for John Toland’s treatise and cleared by NSGH after minor policy and security deletions. See Nick Ferro’s ltr 23 Jul 1981 and RADM P. W. Dillingham’s ltr of 29 Sep 1981 to Toland in your files.
I have tried to be as factual as possible in recalling the events that transpired over 40 years ago, although limited and impaired by the passage of time, events and age. The more I dwell on this matter the more certain that new questions arise that beg answers. It is indeed regrettable that Ray Schmidt failed to interview “DW” on this matter prior to his death. I felt certain then, and still do, that he might have opened up and revealed the truth and his role in this episode. He visited NSGH on several occasions and it would have been a simple matter to show him my testimony and record his comments. See page nineteen of the twenty-one pages in which I made that specific recommendation while “DW” was still alive.
There are some additional recollections and explanations on my part that may clarify current and anticipated questions or challenges bound to surface:
Q: How was the critical information passed from Station M to OP-20G and if the traffic was copied 2 Dec 1941 why the long delay in acknowledgement on 5 or 6 Dec 1941?
A: Strategic, urgent or priority traffic was transmitted to OP-20G via a direct landline teletypewriter (page printer). If the message as first reported was intercepted on 4, Dec 1941 it would have arrived that same morning within seconds as Safford so testified. If received on 2 Dec 1941 there is no accounting for the delay.
Q: Both Safford and Kramer initially testified that the Winds Code Execute was received on 4 Dec 1941, so why the reference to a possible receipt on 2 Dec 1941, what Proof?
A: Briggs states that in 1960-62, as Officer in Charge of the Naval Security Group Detachment at the depository for all U. S. Naval WWII Communication Intelligence (COMINT) archives, he conducted a search and reviewed all Station M intercept logs and traffic he could locate. He found nothing on the intercept of 4 Dec 1941. He then proceeded to search through material prior to 4 Dec 1941. Thus he discovered the “Orange” operators sign-on and sign-off log sheet for 2 Dec 1941, but no confirming intercepted traffic was located. This led Briggs to assume and conclude perhaps the Winds Code Execute might have been intercepted on 2 Dec and not the 4th. His conclusions were also based on: (1) the Japanese without warning executed a complete Navy-wide call sign and crypto change on 1 Dec 1941 and, based on past historical Japanese Fleet operations and doctrine this could be an additional alert that hostilities were about to be undertaken; and (2) he recalled that it was also on 1 Dec 1941 (2 Dec Tokyo date) that the code message “NIITAKA YAMA NOBORE” (Climb Mt. Niitaka) was transmitted to ADM NAGUMO’s Pearl Harbor Strike Force at the mid-way point, indicating there was no turning back and the attack was confirmed.
In retrospect Briggs now believes these conclusions on his part although the elements were true that he considered, were sufficiently speculative and hypothetical, and lacking in hard evidence. The only positive gain in recovery of the 2 Dec 1941 orange operators watch standers log is the reconstruction of the four-man Orange operators, assigned to the Winds Code Execute mission and proof of the TOYOHATA Press and Weather BC coverage during the period of 1 through 7 Dec 1941.
Q: Why is there no other confirming intercept of the Winds Code Execute message from at least one of the other Navy intercept stations?
A: There is no specific or satisfying answer to this one. Briggs states that when he first reported to Station M in mid-Sep 1941, the only Japanese coverage there consisted of the Tokyo-Washington Diplomatic circuits. With fresh field background he was assigned by the chief in charge to random search. The results revealed solid copy at station M of some Japanese circuits in which other field stations had encountered poor to fade out conditions during the same period. OP-20G evaluated these findings and made certain frequency assignments and, in one instance coverage of the TOYOHATA Press & Weather BC was assigned to Station M. This does not imply that the TOYOHATA coverage at the other field stations was cancelled. It does suggest that this BC frequency intercepted at Station M on 4 Dec 1941 may have experienced a fade out to poor (unreadable) reception on the west coast and in the Pacific areas.
Q: What happened to all the traffic copied at Station M on the dates of the reported intercept of 4 Dec 1941? Did Station M keep copies of the logs and traffic up to a certain date then forward them to OP-20G?
A: It is believed that in the case of traffic intercepted on 4 Dec 1941, as soon as Safford confirmed he had a genuine advance teletype copy of the reported intercept he immediately contacted the station and requested back up of the complete logs and all traffic for that particular date and period on the TOYOHATA coverage. Later he is reported to have ordered a further search of all traffic for the entire week of 1 through 7 1941. This may account for the fact that no copies of the logs or intercepted traffic could be found in station M files. Those particular papers, logs and intercepts believed pertinent to the Winds Code Execute were bundled up and sent to the Congressional Hearings by Safford at a later date. He stated this was the last time he ever saw the Winds Code Execute. It is significant that none of this material ever found it’s way back to OP-20G or the depository for all WWII COMINT archives.
Some additional information may be found in copies of correspondence between Roy Shoals and the undersigned which passed via NSGH. These are Shaol’s letter to Briggs dated 15 Aug 1981, and Briggs’s letter to Shoals dated 16 Sep 1981. The last paragraph of my ltr reads: “OP-009C has my permission to reproduce this for their records if they so desire.” Shoals permission for release of his comments and information may be necessary.
Well George, I trust this will be of some assistance to you and your staff. Hopefully it will not burden you.
21 August 2022 at 15:23
Very interesting testimony. Thanks, Mario.
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22 August 2022 at 00:20
Ditto to James R. King’s statement. This is “very interesting testimony.”
I forgot that Ralph T. Briggs retired to Las Vegas and not to Oklahoma City as I mentioned in an earlier reply. I was living in San Diego at the time I had a brief telephone conversation with him (late 1980’s or early 1990’s).
Captain Safford gave at least two different dates (re the receipt of the winds execute) in his Pearl Harbor testimony that began with the Hart Inquiry, later to the Army Pearl Harbor Board, the Navy Court of Inquiry, then to the Hewitt Inquiry, and finally to the JCC. I’ve read all of Safford’s testimony to these various investigations. I’ve also indexed it.
I believe U.S. Navy (and perhaps Army) intercept stations were advised the winds execute message would be sent via Com16’s 011422 of 1 Dec. 1941. It is an interesting fact that although the JCC had been furnished a textual version of this Com16 dispatch, NO questions were asked of Captain Safford about this dispatch by any of the ten members of the JCC during his testimony before that investigation! Safford appeared before the JCC starting on 1 February 1946 (PHA08, pp. 3555-3591); 2 February (3593-3671); 4 February (3674-3740); 5 February (3741-3813), and 6 February (3842-3893).
Quoting a Tokyo broadcast, Com16 011422 states “there may be important” news” to be broadcast on “Jig Victor Jig (JVJ) at 0700 and 0730 and gives three frequencies on which that “important news” was to be broadcast. Those frequencies are: 7327, 9430, and 12275. Com16’s 011422 clearly states the broadcast times for this “important news” are TOKYO and not Greenwich times. (A photostatic copy of Com16 011422 was not published anywhere in the 39 volumes of the Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings. The message is quoted, however, in PHA06, pp. 2702-2703, and PHA18, p. 3304.)
Were Intercept station documents destroyed in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor? You bet! I have testimony from various witnesses. One of those witnesses is then Captain Joseph J. Rochefort. I came across JJR’s statement (combined with then Lieutenant L.A. Lankford) within the past 21 days. This Rochefort/Lankford statement is NOT published in the 39-vollumes of PHA. To quote the “General Statement”: “In the afternoon of the 7th of December 1941 I turned all hands that we could spare on a burning party because we thought a landing was imminent. I burned everything that was important so that nothing could be found out. We burned all that afternoon and the next day and burned until everything was gone.” (Either my wife or I scanned this document into one of our laptop computers at Archives II in College Park, on 12 June 2015. I had no prior recollection of having read this statement.)
We can be assured that one aspect of the Rochefort/Lankford statement is false. U.S. war plans prepared prior to 7 Dec. 1941 (in Washington and on Oahu) did not foresee a landing in the Hawaiian Islands of anything but “minor forces.” In December 1941, no one was in a better position than Commander Rochefort to realize a Japanese landing would not be attempted in the Hawaiian area. (While CNO ordered Guam to destroy its codes and secret papers on 4 Dec. 1941, no such order was issued to HYPO or CAST—or even Wake Island at that time.)
Andy McKane, 1420 (Hawaiian time), 21 August 2022.