Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

The Ultimate Secret of Pearl Harbor

Franklin Roosevelt

by Revilo P. Oliver

PERHAPS THE most exhilarating message ever read by American Military Intelligence was one sent by the Japanese government to their Ambassador in Berlin (as I recall), urging him not to hesitate to communicate certain information by telegrams and assuring him that “no human mind” could decipher messages that had been enciphered on the Purple Machine. That assurance justified the merriment it provoked, but to those who thought about it, it was also a grim warning that the fact that it had been read so easily in Washington was a secret that must never be disclosed. The methods of analysis that had permitted human minds to do what the Japanese believed impossible naturally showed why the complicated device that Americans called the Purple Machine had been vulnerable to that analysis, and therefore indicated how it would be possible, with the electronic equipment even then available, to produce enciphering machines that would be proof against such analysis. The comforting axiom that what man’s ingenuity can do, man’s ingenuity can undo, is not strictly correct, and in dealing with certain of the more intricate problems encountered, analysts were grimly aware that they were working close to the frontiers of the human mind. If an alert enemy learned what it had been possible for them to do, he might well have the ingenuity to make such accomplishments impossible in the future. That has happened.

In that sense, the secret of Pearl Harbor should have been kept, if possible. Everyone now knows, of course, that the message to the Japanese Ambassador in Washington, warning him that Japan was about to attack the United States, was read by Military Intelligence not long after the Ambassador himself received it, and that the frantic cover-up, involving some successful lying about details, was intended, not to preserve that secret, but to protect the traitors in Washington who made certain that the Japanese attack, which they had labored so long to provoke, would be successful and produce the maximum loss of American lives and destruction of American ships. It would not have been necessary to divulge the military secret to expose the treason and punish the traitors.

In January 1941, almost eleven months before Pearl Harbor, preparation for it began in Washington when Franklin D Roosevelt summoned the Portuguese Ambassador to the United States and, enjoining him to the utmost secrecy, asked him to inform Premier Salazar that Portugal need have no concern for the safety of Timor and her other possessions in Southeast Asia; the United States, he said, had decided to crush Japan forever by waiting until her military forces and lines of communication were stretched to the utmost and then suddenly launching an all-out war with massive attacks that Japan was not, and could not be, prepared to resist. As expected, the Portuguese Ambassador communicated the glad tidings to the head of his government, using his most secure method of communication, an enciphered code which the Portuguese doubtless imagined to be “unbreakable,” but which Roosevelt well knew had been compromised by the Japanese, who were currently reading all messages sent in it by wireless. The statement, ostensibly entrusted in “strict secrecy” to the Portuguese Ambassador, was, of course, intended for the Japanese government, and, as a matter of fact, it became certain that the trick had succeeded when the contents of the Portuguese Ambassador’s message to Salazar promptly appeared in a Japanese message enciphered by the Purple Machine. Roosevelt had only to wait for Japan to act on the “secret” information about American plans thus given her, and to order naval movements and diplomatic negotiations that would appear to the Japanese to confirm American intentions.

The fact that I have just mentioned is really the ultimate secret of Pearl Harbor, and seems to have been unknown to Admiral Theobald when he wrote his well-known book on the subject. The treason of our great War Criminal could have been exposed without disclosing that Japanese or even Portuguese messages had been read by Military Intelligence. That the statement had been made officially to the Portuguese Ambassador would not have been denied by his government, and the public could have been left to assume that the Japanese had learned of the threat through their spies in Lisbon, and that American Intelligence knew of the efficiency of Japanese espionage in Portugal.

The implication would have been made obvious by other facts that were matters of common knowledge in military circles, but had been successfully concealed from the American victims of the depraved creature they had elected to the Presidency. As is now well-known, he had, beginning in 1934, meddled assiduously in the diplomatic affairs of Europe, in conspiracy with a person of half-English ancestry named Winston Churchill, to get a war against Germany started in Europe to please his Jewish owners and gratify his own nihilistic lusts. When the gullible Poles had been successfully cozened by promises they should have known to be absurd, and when Chamberlain proved himself a cheap politician instead of a statesman and, yielding to the pressures of aliens, involved his nation in an immoral war against its own best interests, the criminal in the White House began at once to seek means of inflicting disaster on the Americans.

His first plan was defeated by the prudence of the German government. While he yammered about the evils of aggression to the White Americans whom he despised and hated, Roosevelt used the United States Navy to commit innumerable acts of stealthy and treacherous aggression against Germany in a secret and undeclared war, hidden from the American people, hoping that such massive piracy would eventually so exasperate the Germans that they would declare war on the United States, whose men and resources could then be squandered to punish the Germans for trying to have a country of their own. These foul acts of the War Criminal were known, of course, to the officers and men of the Navy that carried out the orders of their Commander-in-Chief, and were commonly discussed in informed circles, but, so far as I know, were first and much belatedly chronicled by Patrick Abbazia in Mr Roosevelt’s Navy: the Private War of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1939-1942, published by the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis in 1975. The shocking facts are reported in that book, with only daubs of rhetorical whitewash applied perfunctorily here and there to disguise a little the hideous caput mortuum of the traitor, but with no intention to deceive an alert and judicious reader.

Although the U.S. Navy’s acts of outrageous piracy on the high seas were successfully concealed from the majority of the American people before Pearl Harbor, they were, of course, well known to the Japanese, and partly account for Roosevelt’s success in deceiving them with his “confidences” to the Portuguese Ambassador. Of course, using the Navy, which then had a long and honorable tradition of implicit obedience to its Commander-in-Chief; for secret aggression was quite different from arranging surprise attacks in the Pacific with armies embarked on transports to be immediately landed in Asia, but it may be that the Japanese did not see that difference, given the great and unbridgeable difference between the mentalities of the two races, or, if they did, it may be that they assumed that when Roosevelt was ready to attack them, his power over the American press and communications would enable him to simulate an attack they had not in fact made. That the deception was successful was, of course, shown in December 1941, when they made a desperate effort to avert the treacherous blow they feared.

In 1945 it did not seem unreasonable to anticipate that when Americans learned that the vilest of traitors himself was guilty of the “infamy” of which he had accused the Japanese — that he had knowingly contrived the death of the Americans who perished in the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines — that their lives and fortunes had been sacrificed to inflict indescribable suffering on almost all the civilized peoples of Europe — that the “war guilt,” of which so much has been said in the verbal excrement thrown in their faces by their domestic enemies, was really the guilt of the American people, though unwittingly incurred — it did not seem unreasonable, I say, to predict that the Americans would have sufficient manhood and intelligence to inflict on their betrayers a signal and exemplary chastisement that would be forever memorable.

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Source: America’s Decline, Historical Review Press Edition p. 12 ff.

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