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a summary by Jack McKillop of the book by Henry C. Clausen and Bruce Lee

This article contains information from a book entitled PEARL HARBOR FINAL JUDGEMENT by Henry C. Clausen and Bruce Lee published by Crown Publishers, Inc in 1992 (ISBN 0-517-58644-4). According to the data on the dust cover:

"In 1944, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, knowing that high-ranking members of the military had testified falsely before the various bodies investigating Pearl Harbor, selected a lowly major and young lawyer named Henry C. Clausen and gave him extraordinary authority to go anywhere and question anyone under oath, from enlisted personnel right up to Chief of Staff George C. Marshall. To this day, no member of the public knows the full story of Clausen's investigation. Over seven months during 1944 and 1945, Clausen traveled more than 55,000 miles (88,512 km) to interview and obtain sworn affidavits from nearly one hundred Army, Navy, civilian, and British personnel. Many of these people never testified before any other inquiry, including Congress. Clausen wore a self-destructing case containing ultrasecret decoded Japanese messages that forced witnesses to tell the truth and opened files that revealed a massive, inconceivable failure to exploit the priceless intelligence obtained by the United States in the months prior to Pearl Harbor.

"Clausen presented an 800-page report to Secretary of War Stimson - but because his report was Top Secret, he did not write a conclusion. That conclusion, and in fact Clausen's entire Top Secret report, would have torn apart the government of the United States and revealed the breathtaking secret capability of the Allies to crack Japanese and German codes. Henry Clausen is the last major living witness, the one person who can reveal, fifty years afterward, the real truth about Pearl Harbor.

"His 'final judgement' puts an end to all the conspiracy theories mistakenly based on perjured testimony and self-serving misinformation that continue to pollute the historical record.

"Henry C. Clausen lives and practices law in San Francisco.

"Bruce Lee, who lives in New York City, has been editor-researcher for Cornelius Ryan, the editor of Gordon Prange and Admiral Layton, and is regarded as a major figure in military history."

Clausen states that he took an affidavit from Major General Charles D. Herron who had commanded the Hawaiian Department from October 1937 until relieved by General Short on 7 February 1941. One of the problems in the transfer of command was that Herron was scheduled to depart on the same ship that brought Short and his wife to Hawaii and that gave Herron less than 2-1/2 days to brief Short. To make it easier for Short, Herron had his staff prepare a briefing book that was sent to San Francisco thereby allowing Short time to become familiar with the command. "Upon my meeting Short when he arrived," said Herron, "I asked him whether he had read the papers and material. He replied that ....he had not given them much time while en route." Short stated that he read a novel, OLIVER WISWELL, during the trip.

According to Herron, he did what he could in the limited time available including giving Short a briefing on the staff officers. According to Herron, "I told him of my estimate as to the efficiency of the staff officers and, with respect to G-2 (Intelligence), that Colonel George W. Bicknell, a Reserve Officer, was an experienced and qualified, efficient man for that position, and that it had been my intention to make him my G-2. I further told him of the G-2 work being done, of the liaison with the Navy, the FBI, and related sources of information, of the defense plans [for Pearl Harbor], of my experience with the ALL-OUT alert of 1940...." Bicknell had been involved in intelligence as far back as World War I.

One of the reasons given for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was that the military was afraid of scaring the civil population by holding an ALL-OUT alert. Yet on 17 June 1940, the War Department had ordered a trial alert as an exercise based on war games that had shown that the best way for an unknown enemy to devastate the fleet in Pearl Harbor would be a surprise aerial attack. The actual order for the alert from Washington had read:

"Immediately alert complete defensive organization to deal with possible trans-Pacific raid, to the greatest extent possible without creating public hysteria or provoking undue curiosity of newspapers or alien agents. Suggest maneuver basis. Maintain alert until further orders. Instructions for secret communications direct with Chief of Staff will be furnished you shortly. Acknowledge."

Herron had conducted the maneuvers successfully and the civilian population had been unconcerned.

Herron reiterated to Clausen his statement that he had briefed Short about "the relations and cooperation which had existed with the Navy, of the civilian population, of the Japanese situation, of the assumption that alien agents conducted for the Japanese government." Herron also took Short on a tour around Oahu, showed Short the Army installations and "gave him my ideas of possible attack and defense of that island."

Then Herron stated, "Following my talks with General Short at the time, he did not ever ask my opinion, or for information, or correspond with me on the subject of command or related problems."

Another incident involving Short was the rewriting the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) involving alerts. In the SOP dated 14 Jul 1941, Number 1 alert was the highest alert and Number 3 the lowest. This is the SOP that was on file in Washington. On 5 November 1941, Short and/or his staff rewrote the SOP reversing the numbers, i.e., Number 1 alert was the lowest and Number 3 the highest; this revised SOP was never sent to Washington. Clausen asked Herron if this was a normal procedure; Herron responded, "The Commander may and should take whatever action he believes dictated by necessity, but must so report to the War Department at the earliest possible moment." When the War Department sent a war warning to Hawaii on 27 November 1941, Short had ordered his Alert Number 1. Washington thought that this was the maximum effort but under Short's new SOP this was a minimum alert.

According to Clausen, Herron further stated, off the record, that he did not feel that Short was up to the job. Herron stated that Short, a specialist in training troops, was in the last post of his career and did not want the Hawaiian command; he thought it beneath him. Short was supported in this by his wife who believed that after spending all those years as an Army wife, she deserved better than to be taken away from her friends and relatives and isolated in a distant post in Hawaii. Both General and Mrs. Short had been hoping for a post in Washington or at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Herron went on to say that after he reported to his new post in Washington, he received reports that Short was very nonchalant about his duties in Hawaii. Supposedly, Short's wife would call him frequently and complain vehemently about life in general and he would leave to go home and calm her down regardless of what he was working on.

Another thing that bothered Herron was that Short promoted Colonel Kendall J. Fielder to be his G-2. Herron's G-2 was Colonel Bicknell who had established excellent relations with the Navy, FBI, FCC monitoring station, the British, etc. whereas Fielder was inexperienced with intelligence matters. Clausen states that there two reasons for this move. Bicknell was a Reserve Officer recently recalled to active duty, a rough-tough man who was more like a cop. Fielder was a West Point graduate, smooth, polished, urbane, a 10-handicap golfer and a good dancer. Whenever Short was busy, someone had to accompany Mrs. Short to social events; that someone was Colonel Fielder. Such was Army life in 1941.

In Jul 1941, Colonel H.S. Burwell, Air Corps, had completed a special investigation of the Hawaiian Department and reported many deficiencies in the command; one of the major issues was the mind-set of both the Hawaiian Department and Hawaiian Air Force. Among other things, the report stated:

1. The Air Force staffs were unable to understand the immediate need for steps to prevent sabotage, but a "considerable portion of the Command" failed to comprehend the realities of modern warfare. As Burwell put it: "[They] do not see the mental picture of the interplay of relations now existing between intercontinental theatres of war and our local sphere of action."

2. The Hawaiian command was not alert to the possibility that the American Forces in Hawaii might have to react quickly in the event of a surprise enemy attack. This was especially true in the event of "an abrupt conflict with Japan."

3. The causes for these failures were those of the ingrained habits of peacetime. There was a carefree sense of "no worry" that was created by the isolation of a tropical island with a large force of troops stationed on it. This meant that operations and supply functions received priority attention from Short's staff, and there was "relative inattention accorded in peacetime to intelligence functions."

4. The troops had lost their "aggressive initiative." The posture of the command was one of a purely defensive attitude. Nor was there any evidence by which Burwell could ascertain that the command itself had any "critical concern for the future."

5. In other words, Burwell's inspection report said that Short's command was lazy and ill prepared for the outbreak of a war that everyone believed was coming. Worse, nothing was being done to change the situation. The Army's Hawaiian command was a perpetual happy hour.

from: Jack McKillop, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
This material originally appeared on the World War II Discussion List, .
submitted by: Steve Greenhow, Austin, Texas, USA

see also:

Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings Website

New Mysteries of Pearl Harbor by François Delpla

Return to Delpla main page

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