The Winds Message broadcast was forwarded by teletype (TWX) from Cheltenham to the Navy Department (Op-20-GY) shortly before 9:00 a.m. on December 4, 1941. Kramer distinctly recalls that the Winds Message was shown to him by the GY Watch Officer after 8:30 a.m. on that date.
It was my recollection, as stated in previous testimony, that I had first seen the Winds Message a little after eight a.m. on December 4, 1941. The Winds Message broadcast was about 200 words long, with the code words prescribed in Tokyo Circular 2353 appearing in the middle of the message, whereas we had expected to find the code words of Tokyo Circular 2354 in a Morse broadcast. All three “code words” were used, but the expression meaning “North Wind Cloudy” was in the negative form.
When I first saw the Winds Message, it had already been translated by Lieutenant Commander Kramer, in charge of the Translation Section of the Navy Department Communications Intelligence Unit. Kramer had underscored all three “code phrases” on the original incoming teletype sheet. Below the printed message was written in pencil or colored crayon in Kramer’s handwriting, the following free translations:
“War with England (including NEI, etc.)
War with the U.S.
Peace with Russia.”
I am not sure of the order; but it was the same as in the broadcast and I think England appeared first. I think Kramer used “U.S.” rather than “United States.” It is possible that the words “No war,” instead of “Peace,” were used to describe Japan’s intentions with regards to Russia.
“This is it!” said Kramer as he handed me the Winds Message. This was the broadcast we had strained every nerve to intercept. This was the feather in our cap. This was the tip-off which would prevent the U.S. Pacific Fleet being surprised at Pearl Harbor the way the Russians had been surprised at Port Arthur. [The editor cannot help commenting on this statement: Neither Capt. Safford, nor anyone else in the United States could possibly have had this particular reaction to this message. War with Japan was widely anticipated by this time (“War warning” messages had been sent to the Pacific commands the previous week), but the target of any Japanese attack on the U.S. was almost universally expected to be the Philippines. I will refrain from commenting on what this patently untrue interpretation suggests about Capt. Safford’s agenda or the veracity of the rest of his statement. –pwc] This was what the Navy Communication Intelligence had been preparing for since its establishment in 1924–War with Japan!
I immediately sent the original of the Winds Message up to the Director of Naval Communications (Read Admiral Noyes) by one of the officers serving under me and told him to deliver this paper to Admiral Noyes in person, to track him down and not take “no” for an answer, and, if he could not find him in a reasonable time to let me know. I did not explain the nature or significance of the Winds Message to this officer. In a few minutes I received a report to the effect that the message had been delivered.
It is my recollection that Kramer and I knew at the time that Admiral Noyes had telephoned the substance of the Winds Message to the War Department, to the “Magic” distribution list in the Navy Department, and to the Naval Aide to the President. For that reason, no immediate distribution of the smooth translation of the Winds Message was made in the Navy Department. The six or seven copies for the Army were rushed over to the War Department as rapidly as possible: here the Navy’s responsibility ended. The individual smooth translations for authorized Navy Department officials and the White House were distributed at noon on December 4, 1941 in accordance with standard operating procedure. I have no reason for believing that the Army failed to make a prompt distribution of its translations of the Winds Message.
I am thoroughly satisfied in my own mind that Admiral Noyes telephoned to everyone on his list without delay: I cannot bring myself to imagine otherwise. There is some question as to whether the Admiral was understood, but this only shows the unreliability of telephone messages. Any misunderstanding of what Admiral Noyes said was of negligible effect because written translations of the Winds Message were distributed within
2 or 3 hours of his telephone calls. In fact it was not until 1944 that any suggestion or criticism was offered that any official on the “Magic” distribution list — Navy, Army, State Department, or White House — had not been notified that the Winds Message had been received or that the Winds Message had been translated in any terms other than War and Peace.
My final verification of the fact that the Winds Message translation was typed and distributed lies in the fact that about December 15, 1941, I saw a copy of it in the special folder of messages which were being assembled for Admiral Noyes to present to the Roberts Commission. I checked these over with Kramer for completeness as well as for the elimination of irrelevant material. Kramer told me in 1944 that he had shown Assistant Secretary Forrestal a special set of Pre-Pearl Harbor messages about December 10, 1941, when Secretary Knox was making his personal investigation at Pearl Harbor, and that he discussed those messages with Mr. Forrestal for about two hours. This set of messages was apparently the basis and possibly the identical file that was given Admiral Noyes and shown to the Roberts Commission via Admiral Wilkinson. This was the last time I saw the Winds Message. I believe that the translation of the Winds Message was given the JD-1 Serial number of 7001, because this number is missing and unaccounted for, and comes within the range of messages translated on December 3 and 4, 1941.
The distribution of the Winds Message was the responsibility of Naval Intelligence and not Naval Communications. I had no responsibility in the matter after forwarding the original message to Admiral Noyes and after checking Kramer’s “folder” to see that the messages were presented in a logical and understandable order.