Seventy Years Of Infamy

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – Franklin D. Roosevelt was a transformational president, who also sought neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the war in Europe.

Roosevelt slowly weighed his option in going to war until Germany and its ally, Italy, joined forces with Japan by mid-September 1940.

But Roosevelt, in documents disclosed in the book, “Day of Deceit, The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor” written by U.S. Navy veteran and journalist Robert B. Stinnett (First Touchstone, 2001), followed the “eight-point actions” promoted by Lt. Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East Desk of the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. before joining World War II.

The “eight-point actions” would provoke Japan to attack the U.S. The U.S. would only join the war if “Japan commits the first overt act,” which would unite America behind him. Among the “eight-point actions” were denials of Japan’s basing arrangements with British and Holland and trade embargo by the British Empire.

This defensive (no pre-emptive strike) strategy was costly and made a fool of military commanders in Pearl Harbor, who were not properly given the information from Washington of the surprise attack on that fateful day of Dec. 7, 1941 that killed thousands of U.S. servicemen on board several warships, including SS Arizona.

Hawaii has its own radio communication, “Station H.” But it could not decode Japan’s naval communications that can only be transcribed by “Station US” in Washington.


Stinnett suggested that if Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the first Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) only listened to a public CBS Radio Bureau broadcast by Cecil Brown in Singapore on Dec. 6, 1941 Hawaii time, he would have learned that “[t]he British military is prepared for a Japanese surprise move over the weekend. Soldiers and sailors have been recalled to their barracks and ships. Brown reported that American reconnaissance planes had sighted a strong force of Japanese warships and troop transport heading for invasion beaches in central Malaya (now Malaysia).”

McCollum circulated a seven-page memo on Oct. 7, 1940 – exactly a year and two months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor — that war with Japan was inevitable and that the U.S. should provoke it at a time, which suited U.S. interests.

While I don’t begrudge President Roosevelt for embracing these eight-point actions, which Japan could do without by simply abandoning their imperialist’s aims, the provocation of the U.S. for Japan to declare war against the U.S. was indeed troubling.
So that Japan would have to “draw the first blood” from U.S., President Roosevelt and McCollum and the think tank in the White House made Pearl Harbor a bait by not alerting the military commanders in the Pearl Harbor of the possible impending surprise attack by Japan.

Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter Short, Commander of U.S. Army’s Hawaiian Department at Fort Shafter, Oahu, were the last to know about the surprised 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 bombing of the Pearl Harbor!

Admiral Kimmel was supposed to have a golf game with General Short on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 at 9:30 that morning on the nine-hole Army course at Fort Shafter. But the relaxation promised by the vistas of fairways and tees vanished with the 7:45 a.m. phone call from Commander R. Murphy of the War Plans Office for U.S. Fleet, reporting the discovery of an enemy submarine in the Pearl Harbor entry channel.


As Kimmel was “preparing to leave his quarters, bombs began to fall on his warships. The USSArizona exploded in a giant fireball. Kimmel witnessed the terrible destruction from the lanai of his home while he awaited his driver,” according to Stinnett.

By January 1941, the general attack plan was leaked to U.S. Embassy staff in Tokyo Max W. Bishop by Peruvian Minister to Japan, Dr. Ricardo Rivera Schreiber.

When U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew radioed the information to U.S. State Sec. Cordell Hull, McCollum told Kimmel it was just a “rumor.”

After he took command as CINCPAC in mid-February, 1941, Kimmel felt that he was not getting intelligence. So, he radioed Admiral Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C., who told him, “Naval intelligence is fully aware of its responsibility in keeping you informed.”

On May 26, 1941, Kimmel radioed again, “Cardinal principle: inform the Commander-in-Chief of Pacific Fleet immediately of all important developments as they occur by the quickest means available. His requests were ignored.”

Officials in Washington did not want the Hawaiian commanders, Kimmel and Short, to independently learn of Japan’s plan to attack Hawaii and derail a clear-cut overt act of war by Japan.


On Nov. 17, when Grew reported to Washington of a “sudden military or naval action by Japan,” Navy officials declared the North Pacific a “Vacant Sea” and ordered all U.S. and allied shipping out of the waters. An alternate trans-Pacific route was authorized through the Torres Strait in the South Pacific between Australia and New Guinea “so that the track of the Japanese task force would be clear of any traffic.”

Two weeks before the attack of Pearl Harbor, Kimmel ordered without White House approval a search for a Japanese carrier force north of Hawaii in the precise area where Japan planned the launch site.

When the White House military officials learned of the movement of Kimmel’s warships, it ordered Kimmel quickly back to Pearl Harbor.

The attack was over in less than two hours.

By Dec. 16, 1941, Admiral Kimmel was relieved of his command and demoted to rear admiral.

The Kimmel and Short families asked Congress in 1995 to produce Japanese naval intercepts and testimonies of U.S. Navy radio traffic technicians, who were able to break the radio codes of Japan’s war plan that were never provided to the commanders before the attack to prove that there was a conspiracy to expose Pearl Harbor to attack in order to thrust America into the war. Requests to restore their ranks posthumously to the pre-Pearl Harbor attack were rejected.

The families were not even given the chance to question the “Vacant Sea” order. (

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