Marshall before the Joint Congressional Committee
FROM ‘THE REAL INFAMY OF PEARL HARBOR’PERCY L. GREAVES, JR.
Truman’s quick action had two immediate effects. First, the news of Marshall’s appointment completely blanketed the media publicity that Hurley had hoped would be produced by his resignation and his startling reasons for doing so. Second, it called for a change in Marshall’s schedule and that of the joint Congressional Committee (JCC) investigation of the events preceding the Pearl Harbor attack.
There was just no way Marshall could avoid testifying before the JCC. He had been involved in more of the matters under investigation than any other then living person. He was in good health and could not plead infirmities, as did Hull and Stimson. The Army Pearl Harbor Board had concluded that Marshall had failed to fulfill his responsibilities in a number of respects. However, the pressure of his new assignment to solve the pressing problems in China could be used as an excuse to reduce to a bare minimum the length of his JCC appearance.
To accomodate General Marshall, the Committee’s schedule of witnesses was altered radically so as not to delay his departure for China. On Monday, December 3, 1945, the Committee’s General Counsel, William D. Mitchell, informed the Committee that Marshall would appear on Thursday, December 6th. The impression was given that he could be finished with that week. Mr. Mitchell also informed the Committee:
We would like to call General Gerow [pre-Pearl Harbor Chief of the Army’s War Plans Division] and get as far as we can with him before General Marshall is called, because there are certain things that General Gerow knows that would be well to lay into the record, if we can, before General Marshall is called.
So on Wednesday, December 5th, the previously scheduled witness was put aside to permit General Gerow’s appearance. He made a very striking appearance as he rose to take the oath. He stood erect in the spic and span uniform of a Lieutenant General with a chest full of brightly colored ribbons. He was the epitome of the war hero, which he was. Not only had he fought well for his country, but he was also willing to become the sacrificial lamb for his December 1941 superior, General George C. Marshall.
Gerow to Marshall’s Rescue
Counsel Mitchell accepted without question the Administration’s position on the Pearl Harbor disaster. His examinations of witnesses thus sought to establish it on the record. The Administration position was primarily that of the Roberts Commission. The Pearl Harbor commanders had been adequately alerted and they must therefore assume the primary responsibility for the enormity of the losses. If anyone in Washington had been at fault it might have been General Gerow for not realizing that General Short had failed to obey the commands Washington claimed were in the war warning message of November 27th. This was the message to which Short had replied:
CHIEF OF STAFF
REURAD FOUR SEVEN TWO TWENTYSEVENTH REPORT DEPARTMENT ALERTED TO PREVENT SABOTAGE PERIOD LIAISON WITH NAVY
After Counsel Mitchell had established the fact that General Gerow had led one of the Army Corps in the landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, he had Gerow read the official duties of the War Plans Division. As might be expected, they dealt with the preparation of plans and policies should we be engaged in a war. They said nothing at all about pre-war operations. Another Army Division was actually charged with Operations and Training, but neither Mitchell nor Gerow mentioned this.
Mr. Mitchell’s questioning then revealed that Gerow had participated in the secret international conversations from January 29, 1941, to March 7, 1941, in Washington that led to the ABCAgreement. It was also brought out that he was familiar with the April 1941 conversations in Singapore
to prepare plan for conduct of military operations in Far East on basis of report of Washington conversations.
Mitchell then asked Gerow if he knew of any agreement “which assumed to bind the United States to engage in war against Japan before Japan attacked the United States?” The General replied, “No, sir.” He was also asked if he knew “of any assurances that we had given the British at Singapore of armed support under three or four eventualities?” Gerow responded: “I know of no such assurances, sir.” For Mitchell, that disposed of those matters.
Then, Mitchell pressed his luck a bit too far when he asked:
Mr. MITCHELL: Were any deployments, or steps ever taken by the United States prior to December 7 to put any of those plans into operation? December 7, 1941. You told us the British and Dutch plans were never approved. I want to know whether approved or not approved, the United States ever put those plans, or any part of them into effect before December 7, the joint plans, if you know?
General GEROW: I don’t believe, sir, I can answer that question offhand. We certainly made some preliminary dispositions, so we would be prepared to carry out those plans but without studying the history of the orders prior to December 7, sir, I prefer not to answer that question.
Gerow testified that the November 27th conference “was directed primarily to the message to the Philippines.” He admitted that he later held another conference at which it was “agreed that General Miles would send a message to G-2 of the Hawaiian Department with regard to being on guard against subversive activities.” This had led him to tell the Roberts Commission that he assumed Short’s reply, addressed to the Chief of Staff in reply to No. 472 “was an answer to the G-2 message that was sent out by General Miles.” The number 472 meant nothing to him.
Mr. Mitchell then read part of Secretary Stimson’s report which admitted that Short’s reply:
was susceptible of the interpretation that he was on the alert against sabotage only, and not on the alert against an air raid or other hostile action… a keener sense of analysis and a more incisive comparison of the messages exchanged, would have invited further inquiry by the War Plans Division of General Short and his failure to go on the necessary alert might well have been discovered.
The Chief of this division and certain of his subordinates knew that a report of the measures taken by General Short had been asked for. General Short’s reply was brought to the attention of the chief of the division. A clear and satisfactory reply should have been required. This was not done, and a more efficient functioning of the division would have demanded that a careful inquiry as to the meaning of General Short’s message be made and no room for ambiguity permitted.
Then Mitchell asked the General,
Do you think that is a fair statement of the situation?
General GEROW: Yes, sir; I do, and if there was any responsibility to be attached to the War Department for any failure to send an inquiry to General Short, the responsibility must rest on the War Plans Division, and I accept that responsibility as Chief of the War Plans Division.
Several facts should be pointed out. The details of General Short’s three possible alerts were a matter of record in Washington. So Short’s response specifying the sabotage alert was informing Marshall that he had bunched his planes and placed his ammunition where it was relatively inaccessible. Secretary Stimson, who was responsible'for sending the November 27th messages over Marshall’s signature, saw Short’s answer and did nothing about it. The truth would seem to be that the attention of all these Washington officials was concentrated on the Far East and the Philippines. They actually gave little thought to Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Mitchell questioned General Gerow until 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5, 1945. No Committee member was permitted to question the General or add to what Mr. Mitchell had asked Gerow to spread on the record.
Tender Loving Care for Marshall
General Marshall appeared the next day, Thursday, December 6th. The impression was created that his JCC testimony would be completed that week. He was subjected to a friendly examination all that day by Mr. Mitchell. It was really surprising the number of things the General could not recall, remember or recollect. He did not think our ABC and ADB “conversations” committed us to go to war “prior to our being attacked.” When asked, “Did the Army make any deployments or dispositions of troops pursuant to those plans that you remember prior to December 7, 1941", he replied: “I do not think there were any definite moves unless it may have been.into Iceland and I do not recall that.”
When General Marshall had appeared before the Navy Court of Inquiry onSeptember 2, 1944, he was shown the Japanese intercept setting the deadline of November 29, 1941, and asked whether he had seen or been informed of the contents. He had been trying to keep these Japanese intercepts out of the record. His reply at that time was:
I don’t recall. These were highly secret matters and papers. The papers were carefully guarded, and our War Department copies today do not indicate when I saw them. I am reasonably certain, however, that I did see them or was informed concerning these papers at the time.
When JCC Counsel Mitchell asked him:
Do you remember seeing any of those [intercepts] in which the Japs instructed their Ambassadors here to get an affirmative agreement first by the 25th of November and later at least by the 29th?
General MARSHALL: I remember that very well, sir.
Such were the vagaries of the General’s memory of some of the most important events of his life.
Mr. Mitchell continued his inquiry of Marshall on Friday, December 7, 1945. He did not question him concerning the Pilot message distributed Saturday afternoon, but he did ask if he remembered his “movements on the evening of December 6, as to where you were?”
Marshall answered, “I can only account for them by sort of circumstantial evidence.” He then enumerated a number of places where he was not, ending with “the probability is … we were ~ome.” The General was supposed to have had a duty officer at his office and an orderly at his home who would know where he was at all times when he was not at their location. None of his duty officers or orderlies was ever called.
Mr. MITCHELL: You are sure you were not at the White House that evening?
General MARSHALL: No, sir; not at all.
That reply was undoubtedly the most enigmatic of the whole investigation. It would seem he was not sure.
Asked what he knew about “the 14 part message and the 1 P.M. message,” referring to December 7, 1941, he replied:
On that particular morning I presumably had my breakfast at about eight, and following the routine that I had carried out on previous Sundays, I went riding at some time thereafter.
I think in one of the previous statements I made in this investigation of Pearl Harbor incidents that I said I probably rode at 8:30. Discussions with the orderlies and also evidence that I have seen of other individuals leads me purely by induction and not by definite memory to think that I must have ridden later; just what time I do not know; but between 8 o'clock and the time I went to the War Department I ate my breakfast, I probably looked at the Sunday papers and I went for a ride…
The average length of my rides was about, the time period of my rides is about 50 minutes because I rode at a pretty lively gait, at a trot and a canter and at a full run down on the experimental farm where the Pentagon now is and returned to the house, so I would say that the high probability is that the ride was an hour or less, generally or certainly not longer.
My recollection beyond that is that while I was taking a shower either as I went into the shower or while I was actually taking a shower, word came to me that Colonel Bratton had something important and wished to come out to Fort Myer. I sent word that I was coming to the War Department, so I finished my shower, dressed and left for the War Department.
My average time of taking a shower and dressing would be about 10 minutes, possibly less. As to what time I arrived at the War Department is a matter of conjecture; I have no recollection.
On my arrival there Colonel Bratton handed me these intercepts which included the 14 sections of the Japanese message, and I started reading them through. You recall it is a rather lengthy document and of such a nature that there were portions of it that I read twice.
When I reached the end of the document the next sheet was the 1 o'clock message of December 7.
Mr. MITCHELL: That is the message that directed the Ambassadors to deliver this thing at 1:00 p.m. Sunday to the American Government?
General MARSHALL: Yes, sir, that message. That, of course, was indicative to me, and all the others who came into the room, of some very definite action at 1:00 o'clock, because that 1:00 o'clock was Sunday and was in Washington and involved the Secretary of State, all of which were rather unusual put together.
I think that I immediately called Admiral Stark on the phone, and found he had seen the message, and I proposed a message to our various commanders in the Pacific region, the Philippines, Hawaii, the Caribbean, that is the Panama Canal, and the west coast, which included Alaska. Admiral Stark felt that we might confuse them, because we had given them an alert and now we were adding something more to it.
I hung up the phone, which was the White House phone, and in longhand wrote out the message. My recollection was that he called me back. I am told now that the White House telephone records show that I called him back. I had no recollection of reading the message to him. I thought, on the contrary, he called me just as I finished the message saving the last sentence.
However, one way or the other, there was a call or conversation between Stark and myself, the effect of which was he wished me to add to the message specifically “Show this to your Naval officers,” which I did in longhand.
I then directed Colonel Bratton to take it immediately to the message center and start it. There was a proposal then that we have it typed. The decision was that there was no time for typing, and Colonel Bratton left with the message.
On his return I questioned him as to the length of time involved and I could not make out whether or not he was talking about the time of encoding as well as the time of dispatching and the time of receipt, so I sent him back accompanied by Colonel Bundy, the officer in charge of the immediate details of all Pacific affairs.
They came back and gave me the estimates of the time of deliveries in these various parts of the world. My recollection is that I sent at least Colonel Bundy back again, and I thought Colonel Bratton with him. I believe others state that there was no third trip. There were certainly two-my own recollection is there were three. However that may be, that was the procedure on the dispatching of the message.
Do you wish me to go ahead?
Mr. MITCHELL: Yes.
General MARSHALL: The next information I had was the notification of the actual attack on Pearl Harbor. Of my own recollection I do not recall whether I was at the War Department or at the house. I am told on one side by the Secretary of the General Staff at that time, the Acting Secretary at that time, General Dean, that I had returned to the house. I am told, on the other hand, by my orderly that I was at the War Department. I do not know where I was.
Anyway, shortly thereafter, if not immediately then, I was at the War Department, because it was a very quick drive, and on Sunday there was no traffic. It was a matter of about 7 minutes from my house to the Munitions building.
The information then came in in fuller detail, and telephone communication was established and I talked to General Short’s Chief of Staff, Colonel Phillips. You could hear the explosions at the time.
Mr. Mitchell had one other very interesting and revealing exchange with the General.
Mr. MITCHELL: Did you have your staff organized at that time so that if an especially significant or important intercept was made of a Jap message, was there anyone on duty who had authority, if they were unable to reach you, to send a warning message out?
General MARSHALL: No, sir, I don’t think there was a set-up for that special purpose. We had always had an arrangement there whereby the officer on the receiving end, at the central point in the War Department, knew where the principal people were, where to reach them. In my own case, for example, during that period and for about a year thereafter, I always maintained an orderly at the house at the telephone. If I left the house to go to a moving picture, which was about the only place I went, he was there and knew where to reach me…
Mr. MITCHELL: If they had not been able to reach you on the morning of the 7th, or at any time when an important message came in, was there anybody but yourself that had authority to send a warning message to the outlying post?
General MARSHALL: Yes. The authority was vested, for instance, in the Deputy Chief of Staff [Major General William Bryden]. Or even the head of War Plans Division.
Not according to Army regulations.
There is no dispute about that, I do not think, because the actions always had been on a very decentralized basis…
Mr. MITCHELL: But the War Plans Division would have operations authority to send a message that involved action?
General MARSHALL: Yes, sir.
Mr. MITCHELL: Was the Deputy Chief of Staff the only other one that had authority to send a message without reaching you?
General MARSHALL: I think that would be the accurate way of stating it, sir.
Mr. MITCHELL: I have, of course, been speaking of the military officers. The Secretary of War, if he had information, for instance, he wouldn’t have had to ask your permission. He would have directed an order.
Secretary Stimson, if this thing had come to him, and he had felt a warning ought to be sent out, he would have authority to send it out?
General MARSHALL: Yes, sir.
Mr. MITCHELL: Did you have any talk on the morning of the 7th with Secretary Stimson before the news of the attack came in?
General MARSHALL: I don’t recall it. He was at the State Department I knew, but I can’t recall that I saw him before lunch.
This interchange raises more questions than it answers. Under the Army order of Command, orders could be sent to Short only by the Commander in Chief, Roosevelt, the Chief of Staff, Marshall, or his Deputy, Bryden. Neither Stimson nor Gerow were in the line of command. That was why they had to send the “war warning” message they sent on November 27th over the name of Marshall. Another question raised but not answered was: How did Marshall know Stimson was at the State Department on the morning of December 7th? That meeting was arranged Saturday night after the three Secretaries were informed of the first thirteen parts of the Japanese reply. If Marshall knew of that meeting on the morning of the 7th, he would have had to have known of the 13 parts delivered on the night of the 6th.
More Tender Loving Care
Mr. Mitchell finished his friendly inquiry in the middle of the afternoon of Friday, December 7, 1945. The questioning then passed to the tender, admiring care of the Democratic members of the Committee. The Vice Chairman, Representative Jere Cooper, asked General Marshall if, in the weeks before the attack, he had been “kept fully advised as to the diplomatic developments.” Marshall replied:
I was kept fully advised; and so far as Mr. Hull personally is concerned, I remember hearing him say with considerable emphasis in those last days apropos of his discussions with the Japanese envoys, “These fellows mean to fight and you will have to watch out.”
The VICE CHAIRMAN: You heard him say that?
General MARSHALL: I heard him say that and I have a very distinct recollection of it.
At another point, the General stated that the Japanese
had committed themselves to the war, I think, on the assumption that the collapse of Russia was going to take place in the next 2 weeks. It did not take place. Had they not attacked on December 7, had they waited, for example, until January 1, there is a possibility that they would not have launched the attack, I do not know, because it appeared quite a definite possibility that Russia might get to her feet, which she did.
As the usual time of adjournment, 4 p.m., approached, and the fifth of the six Democratic Committee members was about to start his questioning, the Committee Chairman, Senator, later Vice President, Alben Barkley, interposed:
The CHAIRMAN: Before you begin, Senator, may I ask General Marshall, for the benefit of the committee and to determine about its sittings a little later today and tomorrow, in an effort to conclude with you what are your plans, as far as you have made them, to leave for China?
General MARSHALL: All I can do, sir, is have a plane in readiness as soon as you release me.
The CHAIRMAN: So your plans are to go forward at once as soon as we are completed?
General MARSHALL: Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN: Would it be agreeable for the Committee to sit a little later than 4 o'clock today to accommodate General Marshall, in the hope we might conclude with him tomorrow?
Senator GEORGE: Mr. Chairman, we ought to go on a reasonable length of time.
Senator BREWSTER: I suggest 4:30.
The CHAIRMAN: Well, we will go at least until 4:30.
Senator Lucas and Representative Murphy then each asked a few questions and the Friday session ended at 4:35 p.m. with:
Mr. MURPHY: Had you any warning, General, or any reason to expect on the night of December 6 or on the early morning of December 7 that there was any general urgency requiring you to be at the War Department earlier than the hour you did arrive there on the morning of December 7?
The record at that point had Marshall arriving at his office at shortly before 11:30 a.m. on December 7. “On that particular morning I presumably had my breakfast at about eight, and following the routine that I had carried out on previous Sundays, I went riding at some time thereafter.”
General MARSHALL: I had no such conception or information. Mr. MURPHY: Did you at any time prior to December 7 ever have anyone tell you that the fleet, the United States Fleet in the Pacific Ocean, was not able to take care of itself in the event of an attack?
General MARSHALL: I do not think I ever did, sir. I had heard a discussion by Admiral Richardson as to the requirements that the fleet had to have to be built up before taking out to sea and be properly supplied.
Mr. MURPHY: I have no other questions, Mr Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN: The Committee will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
The Investigation Begins
Fortunately, the Republicans did not yield to pressure. This author, as Chief of the Minority Staff, working with Senator Ferguson, had prepared a whole blue book of pertinent questions to be asked the General. Due to the sudden death of his father, Senator Brewster was unfortunately absent. So Representative Gearhart opened the questioning on Saturday morning.
The General admitted that he thought:
the Japanese were engaged in a campaign southward… We had in mind the possibility of an effort on the Panama Canal. We had in mind the possibility of an effort to strike a blow at our air plants in Seattle, at our air plants in San Diego, and we had in mind the possibility of a blow in the Central Pacific, in the Hawaiian district.
We thought the latter was the most improbable…
We thought it was impregnable against a Japanese landing expedition.
When the Congressman informed Marshall that Gerow in testifying had “accepted full responsibility for not having acted on the inadequacy, as he called it,” of Short’s November 27th report, Marshall replied:
I was not present in the room and I admire very much his attitude.
When the Congressman persisted in wanting to know why Marshall did not take exception to Short’s reply, the General answered:
I can only say, sir, that that was my opportunity to intervene and have a further check made and I did not take it. Just why I do not know.
The General asserted that Short had been
issued a command and directed to do something… Once you issue an order, amendments or, you might say, codicils are very dangerous business when it is an operational order.
When asked why more of the information he had was not forwarded to Short, he replied:
The point, I think, that should be made clear, if possible, is that you must avoid confusing the commander with a mass of data.
When pressed further he admitted:
I would say offhand that the messages you just read would have been helpful to General Short, but particularly more so to Admiral Kimmel.
When the Congressman read some of the Army Pearl Harbor Board’s conclusions on Marshall’s failures, his reply was that Short had been given
a direction to do something which was an alert against the possibility or probability of war. He was a responsible commander; he had a definite task.
The real question was whether or not Marshall had been a “responsible commander.
Attempt to Rescue Marshall
Then, at midmorning, Senator Ferguson, at the end position behind the Committee table, took over. This author, with his collection of questions and documents, was at his elbow. We had a host of important questions to ask that the Committee’s Counsel and Democratic Party members had failed to raise. Ferguson persisted until Marshall had to admit it was his responsibility and his alone to have alerted Short. Additional admissions by Marshall and conflicts in testimony were spread on the record to the embarrassment of the Administration’s friends. The Saturday afternoon hours rolled by until the following intercession took place:
The CHAIRMAN: May the Chair ask at this moment, it is practically 4 o'clock-whether the committee desires to sit longer today? I frankly, was hoping we might conclude with General Marshall today on account of his matters but whether we can is not within my control.
Would the committee feel justified in sitting longer if there is a chance to conclude with General Marshall or not?
Senator FERGUSON: There isn’t a chance, unless the committee is willing to sit well into the evening.
The CHAIRMAN: The Chair would not want to compel the Senator from Michigan to tell how long it will take.
Senator FERGUSON: I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN: In view of the fact that we cannot conclude with General Marshall, what is the wish of the committee as to recessing now?
The VICE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Chairman, might I inquire something of General Marshall. I understand he stated yesterday his plane was waiting, ready to take him to his duties in China.
General MARSHALL: It will have to continue to wait. I am to be at your disposal until you have finished.
The CHAIRMAN: Under those circumstances, the committee will recess until 10 o'clock Monday morning.
Senator Ferguson continued questioning Marshall all day Monday and all Tuesday morning. At the opening of the Tuesday afternoon session, the Chairman stated:
The President has asked General Marshall to come down to the White House at 3:15 for a conference on his mission to China. Therefore, the committee will have to excuse General Marshall at 3 o'clock in order that he may fill that engagement. If he has not concluded his testimony at that time we shall have to excuse the General in order that he may fill that engagement, with the understanding, of course, that he may resume at his convenience, but in all likelihood not today. The Chair might express the hope that we may conclude with the General by the time he has to fill that engagement. Senator will you proceed?
“Spy” at Pearl Harbor Probe
Senator Ferguson finished shortly thereafter and Congressman Keefe took over the questioning. He was a lawyer by profession and a tall man with broad shoulders and a deep voice when he wanted to use it. He had hardly gotten warmed up when General Marshall left for the White House and General Miles assumed the JCC witness seat. While Senator Ferguson was questioning Miles, Senator Lucas interrupted to raise a question about this author’s presence at the Committee’s table. He asked:
just who the gentleman is and what right he has to sit alongside the committee table and chuckle at a member of the United States Senate … I think it is about time that the committee find out just who he is, or what his business is.
Senator FERGUSON: I would be glad to tell the Senator and the committee. His name is Percy Greaves. He is with Senator Brewster and has charge of Senator Brewster’s files in this case…
understand Senator Brewster will be here tomorrow.
On this particular day, in view of Senator Brewster’s absence, Senator Ferguson had moved over into Senator Brewster’s seat. In order to be next to Senator Ferguson, this author had moved from his usual seat at the end of the table, around the corner to Senator Ferguson’s seat behind the table. Thus this author was sitting in a Committee member’s seat and could have been taken for a member of the Committee.
Senator Lucas then wanted to know:
Was he [Greaves] the Republican National Committee research man in the campaign of 1944? Let him answer that.
Senator FERGUSON: Is that your position?
Mr. GREAVES: I was with the Republican National Committee up until the end of last year.
Senator LUCAS: This is a nonpartisan hearing.
The CHAIRMAN: In view of that information, would it be out of place to inquire who has compensated Mr. Greaves for the services he has rendered to Senator Brewster or Senator Ferguson?
Senator FERGUSON: He is not rendering any services for me.
Senator LUCAS: Not much.
Senator FERGUSON: He is here with papers, but he is with Senator Brewster. You have to confer with Senator Brewster. He will be glad to tell you.
The CHAIRMAN: He has been sitting by the Senator from Michigan during these whole hearings and apparently prompting the Senator in the interrogatories he has addressed to the witnesses. Maybe that is not a service to the Senator from Michigan and the Senator will have to be the judge of that, but it has been a matter of common observation that that has transpired ever since we began the hearing. I do not object to it personally. I do not care how many assistants any member of this committee may have or desire, or need, but it is not at all out of place that the committee know who it is and who is compensating anybody who is assisting any Senator, in order that the whole facts may be known.
The incident was a one-day press sensation. At the close of the session, reporters crowded about this author. The Washington Times-Herald carried a four column picture of the JCC showing this author sitting next to Senator Ferguson with Senators Lucas and George in the background. The headline read, “ 'Spy' Identified at Pearl Harbor Probe.” New York’s PM referred to this author as “the mysterious 'sixth Senator' “ whose “Incognito Is Punctured.”
When Senator Brewster returned, we met with Senator Robert A. Taft, Senate Minority Leader. At this meeting it was agreed that this author should continue in his regular seat. Funds for his services and that of his staff had been raised privately by John T. Flynn. It was decided to place Greaves on Senator Brewster’s personal payroll and Greaves was asked to prepare a memorandum on the incident for Senator Brewster. In this memorandum, this author stated that he never had any intention to
reflect on any Members of the United States Senate by thought, word or action… As you know I receive no compensation from Republican Party sources and had not for many months before I entered your service. My activities with you have not been of a partisan or a political nature.
I sincerely hope that my conduct has not caused you any embarrassment and that my services meet with your satisfaction.
This was placed in the record by Senator Brewster. Senator Lucas proposed to find out more about this author in executive session but no more was heard about it.
Foiled Counsel Resigns
The above incident was an unsuccessful attempt to stop the Republican Senators from having at their elbows the assistance that was needed to break through the rather obvious attempt of the Majority Party to cover up the Administration’s role in precipitating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while failing to provide the Hawaiian Commanders with the materiel and available information that could have enabled them to repel that attack. The hearings had been scheduled to last only four weeks. The Committee’s friendly counsel, Mitchell, and his chief assistant Gerhard A. Gesell, later rewarded with a Federal judgeship, were to do most of the selection and questioning of witnesses. The Committee members were expected to be mere observers, asking only occasional questions. As shown by the tender, admiring care of General Marshall, the JCC Counsel had little thought of prying into matters which might embarrass the Administration or reflect on the reputation of FDR or his appointees.
The Democratic Majority had refused to supply any staff to the Republican Minority. In an attempt to have a real investigation of facts the Administration had hoped to suppress, John T. Flynn had privately raised the funds to supply the Minority with a staff of seven. With this aid the Minority was able to break the situation open. Daily hearings were held from November 15, 1945, to February 20,1946, followed by two short reopenings in April and May. The final printed hearings with exhibits, which included the hearings and reports of the previous secret and top secret investigations, ran to 44 volumes. While many pertinent witnesses were not called and much relevant material was suppressed, the printed record was replete with material those responsible for the Pearl Harbor disaster had hoped would never see the light of day.
Within a week after the Greaves incident, JCC Counsel Mitchell and his assistant threw in the sponge and resigned effective January 5, 1946. The Committee then had to find a new General Counsel and a new Associate General Counsel. A recess of one week was called so the new committee staff could become familiar with the record.
Marshall Released to China
General Marshall resumed the witness seat on Wednesday, December 12, 1945. Representative Keefe then resumed his questioning of Marshall with increasing vigor. He spent all that day getting previously missed information into the record.
He would not let the General evade his responsibility for his many failures to act when his action was called for. He would not let the General evade his responsibility for his unexplained unavailability during the evening of December 6th and the early morning hours of December 7th. He questioned Marshall also on the selection of the members of the Roberts Commission which had whitewashed Washington officialdom while placing the full blame on Kimmel and Short. At this point Senator Barkley intervened:
The CHAIRMAN: The Chair would like to suggest that the hour of adjournment has come. Unless we can conclude with General Marshall in a few minutes, we will have to recess.
I don’t know what the chances are to conclude.
Mr KEEFE: Well, Mr. Chairman, I confess I am not quite through.
The CHAIRMAN: Then we might as well recess.
Mr. Keefe finished up on Thursday morning and at noon General Marshall was released to fly to China to make his contribution to the Communist victory over Chiang Kai-shek. Through the efforts and persistence of Senator Ferguson and Representative Keefe, the likelihood that the JCC would ever reach the same conclusions as the Roberts Commission had been forever demolished. For interesting accounts of their contributions, the reader is referred to the pertinent pages (pp. 448-451) of this author’s chapter on “The Pearl Harbor Investigations” in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, edited by Harry Elmer Barnes, and John Toland’s Infamy (pp. 161-170). A minor slip in Toland’s book has Marshall’s testimony starting on “Tuesday morning, December 6.” Actually December 6 was a Thursday. The pressure to finish with him in two days of friendly questioning was thwarted. Marshall’s six days of testimony changed the tenor of the entire investigation.