The following is a statement by D. W. Wigle regarding radio intercept operations a Cheltenham, Maryland.
11 December 1945
Statement of Lieutenant D. W. Wigle.
I was assigned to the Naval Radio Station Cheltenham, Maryland as Chief Radioman in charge of the Intercept Activities at that station in May 1940 and remained in that capacity until 1 October 1942.
The primary assignments at Cheltenham were coverage of European, South and Central American Diplomatic traffic and clandestine stations in those areas. Other assignments were given from time to time and changed as conditions demanded. Most of the traffic was transmitted by high speed and recorded on ink tape although some traffic was copied manually.
Operators’ logs were kept on all positions but traffic was not copied in these logs. Operators’ logs were kept primarily for the purpose of research, to determine receiving conditions, to enable the various intercept stations to have a record of assignment coverage, and to keep a check on the various operator’s efficiency. The logs lost their usefulness in a few weeks and were not retained longer than six months.
Traffic was copied on regular message blanks, en original and two carbon copies. From Cheltenham the original and one carbon copy of traffic, as well as the original of the operators’ logs, were sent to the Navy Department daily by messenger. Pencil memoranda only was kept on the high-speed tape recordings as this operation was considered routine. A teletype to the Navy Department was available for high priority traffic or information. As with the operations’ logs, one copy of all traffic was retained at the station for purposes of research, analysis, and for re-copy in the event of non-delivery of the original at the Navy Department. As with the operators’ logs, the station file of traffic lost it’s value in a few weeks and was destroyed not later than six months after receipt. To the best of my memory, retention of a copy of traffic and operators’ logs was the custom at most intercept station. I cannot recall if a directive to that effect was received or not. Inked tape recordings were destroyed after they were transcribed.
Some Japanese Diplomatic traffic was copied on the International circuits in Continental code as a matter of research and to keep operators busy during slack periods. This traffic, however, had a very low priority and the volume was very small.
Cheltenham was equipped to record voice transmissions and this recording was carried out in connection with our regular assignments and for research purposes. Such recordings were always forwarded to the Navy Department for analysis. I do not recall any Japanese language recordings being made. Cheltenham was never given any directive to record Japanese voice transmissions. There were no personnel at Cheltenham capable of understanding or speaking Japanese.
To the best of my knowledge Cheltenham was not, during the period immediately preceding Pearl Harbor Day; i.e., for 28 November 1941 to 7 December 1941, given any additional Japanese morse or voice assignments.
The above statements are true to the best of my knowledge and memory.
D. W. WIGLE,
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