Statement Regarding Winds Message

by Captain L.F. Safford, US Navy
[Before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79th Cong., 1st sess., pursuant to Congressional Resolution 27]


Related Resource: Pearl Harbor Frequently Asked Question



25 January 1946

STATEMENT REGARDING WINDS MESSAGE

by Captain L.F. Safford, USN

PREVIEW
There was a Winds Message. It meant War--and we knew it meant War. By the best estimate that can be made from my recollection and the circumstantial evidence now available, the "Winds Message" was part of a Japanese Overseas "News" Broadcast from Station JAP (Tokyo) on 11980 kilocycles beginning at 1330 Greenwich Civil Time on Thursday, December 4, 1941. This time corresponded to 10:30 p.m. Tokyo time and 8:30 a.m. Washington time, December 4, 1941. The broadcast was probably in Japanese Morse code, and was originally written in the Kata-Kana form of written, plain-language Japanese. It was intercepted by the U.S. Navy at the big radio receiving station at Cheltenham, Maryland, which serves the Navy Department. It was recorded on a special typewriter, developed by the Navy, which types the Roman-letter equivalents of the Japanese characters. The Winds Message broadcast was forwarded to the Navy Department by TWX (teletypewriter exchange) from the teletype-transmitter in the "Intercept" receiving room at Cheltenham to "WA91," the page-printer located beside the GY Watch Officer's desk, in the Navy Department Communication Intelligence Unit under my command. I saw the Winds Message typed in page form on yellow teletype paper, with the translation written below. I immediately forwarded this message to my Commanding Officer (Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes, USN), thus fully discharging my responsibility in the matter.

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PREPARATIONS FOR INTERCEPTION
There are various sources of the so-called "Winds Code," two of which have already been introduced as evidence: Tokyo Circular 2353 on page 154 of Exhibit No. 1 and Tokyo Circular 2354 on page 155 of Exhibit No. 1. The most important source was Commander-in-Chief Asiatic Fleet secret dispatch 281430 of November 28, 1941, addressed for information to the Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet and Commandant 14th Naval District--thus letting them in on the secret. I had taken no action personally on the first tip-off (Tokyo Circular 2354), because I was still awaiting the instruction of higher authority. CINCAF 281430 together with Tokyo Circular 2353 and other collateral intercept information apparently made an impression upon the Director of Naval Intelligence, for he immediately sent word to me, through the Director of Naval Communications, that he wished the Communication Intelligence Organization to make every attempt to intercept any message sent in accordance with the Winds Codes. It was a request from Admiral Wilkinson and an order from Admiral Noyes. I hastened to comply, with the secondary motive that it would be a feather in our cap if the Navy got it and our sister service didn't.

Just about the time I received Admiral Wilkinson's request, I was shown Tokyo to Washington Serial 843, dated November 27, 1941, prescribing a "schedule of (Tokyo News) Broadcasts," which gave me something tangible to work with as well as giving added meaning to the Winds Code. The "November 29 deadline" indicated that the Winds Code might be used to notify overseas officials as to things which would "automatically begin to happen." Tokyo Circulars 2353 and 2354 blueprinted what this action would be. Tokyo Serial 843 implied that such notification would be made. After a conference with my subordinates, I drafted a summary of Tokyo Serial 843

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(or had Kramer do it for me), had it coded in the COPEK system, and released it myself at 6 p.m. (Washington time) on November 28, 1941. This secret message was transmitted "Priority" to the Commandants of the 14th and 16th Naval Districts for action, and to the Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet and Asiatic Fleet for information, and may be identified as OPNAV 282301. This took care of our overseas Communication Intelligence Units: they now had all the available technical information on the subject. I know that they monitored the Tokyo Voice Broadcasts; I also know that Corregidor monitored the Tokyo Morse Broadcasts; in fact, Corregidor and Heeia went beyond their instructions and guarded the Tokyo Broadcasts 24 hours a day. Captain Rochefort and Commander Leitwiler can verify this.

I discussed the situation with Commander Welker, in charge of the intercept and direction-finder stations, and with Chief Radioman Lewis, his technical assistant. Our prospects for interception looked somewhat dubious. We were not encouraged when a day or two later Washington and Rio objected to the new frequency assignments and Rome complained about the poor quality of the Tokyo Voice Broadcasts.

I would like to digress long enough to invite the attention of the Committee to the fact that OPNAV 282301 is not included in the "Basic Exhibit of Dispatches" (Exhibit No. 37), and that Tokyo Serial 843 (JD-1 #6899: SIS #25446) is not included in the "Intercepted Japanese Diplomatic Messages" (Exhibit No. 1). Three other relevant intercepts not appearing in Exhibit No. 1 are also of interest at this point, namely: Washington to Tokyo Serial 1197 of November 27, 1941 (JD-1 #6908: SIS #25476), Rio to Tokyo Serial 482 of November 30, 1941 (JD-1 #6982: SIS #25571), Rome to Tokyo Serial 768 of November 29, 1941 (JD-1 #6981: SIS #25604). These 5 documents should be introduced as evidence for purposes of record.

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Welker, Lewis and I agreed that 5160 kilocycles would probably come in nicely at Manila and at Pearl Harbor. Station JHL was of too low power to reach the greater distances to the continental United States. 9430 kilocycles appeared a bit high for a night frequency in winter, as far as the West Coast was concerned. There did not seem to be a remote possibility of the 11980 kilocycles and 12265 kilocycles being heard by any station in the Pacific Ocean or along either shore at the time of day scheduled. Nevertheless, we decided to have Bainbridge Island monitor the Tokyo Morse Code Broadcasts on the chance that the times given in Tokyo Serial 843 might not be given in Tokyo time or the schedules could be heard because of freak conditions. We did not order Bainbridge Island to monitor the Tokyo Voice Broadcasts because its two sound recorders were guarding the two ends of the Tokyo-San Francisco radio telephone circuit. Our estimates for Bainbridge Island were closely realized: excellent receivability at the wrong time of day and almost a complete "black-out" of reception on the higher frequencies during the period scheduled for the Winds Message broadcast.

We agreed that the best chance of intercepting the listed schedules (other than those on 5160 kilocycles) was on the East Coast of the United States. During the winter months the East Coast had good reception of Tokyo during the few hours included in the schedules. Our best bet was Cheltenham, which had been guarding the MAM (Tokyo) Broadcasts to Japanese Merchant Vessels, so we had up-to-the-minute data on the receivability of Tokyo. According to my memory we decided to play safe and have all East Coast intercept stations monitor the Tokyo Broadcasts. We agreed it would be impossible to hear Voice Broadcasts from Tokyo on the East Coast and therefore did not attempt it. We did not order Guam or Imperial Beach (California) to monitor any of the Tokyo broadcast schedules.

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Commander Welker or I sent TWX messages directing the intercept stations at Bainbridge Island (Washington) and at Cheltenham (Maryland) to monitor the schedules given in Tokyo Serial 843 as first priority and to forward all plain-language Japanese intercepts on these schedules to the Navy Department by teletype. We may have sent these instructions to other stations also. We did not want English or coded messages--only written Japanese. We gave the same instructions to both stations, and sent them out immediately after releasing the previously-mentioned OPNAV 282301.

I have confirmation of the above orders plus knowledge of existing receiving conditions in the monthly reports from Cheltenham, Winter Harbor, and Bainbridge Island, extracts from which are quoted below:

Station "M" (Cheltenham) -- Operations -- November 1941
Receiving conditions throughout the month were very good on all frequencies. Atmospheric disturbances have been at a minimum. Orders received from OP-20-GX at 2315 (GCT) November 28, via teletype to give highest priority to various broadcasts at designated Japanese broadcast stations. These schedules were covered and found to be press broadcasts sent in both Kana and English. Log sheets were forwarded to OP-20-GX daily with regular traffic files.

Station "M" (Cheltenham) -- Operations -- December 1941
Receiving conditions during the month were fair to good on all frequencies. At 2300, 7 December 1941, telephone orders received from OP-20-GX to drop the Tokyo JJC/MAM schedules and assignments; continued watch for Orange activity.

Station "W" (Winter Harbor) -- Operations -- December 1941
Receiving Conditions in General. Daily attempts were made to intercept Tokyo and Osaka channels employed to Europe, but only on a few occasions was any intercept possible.

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Station "S" (Bainbridge Island) -- Operations -- November 1941
During the month of November a sharp increase has been noticed in the amount of message traffic sent on the Kana General Information Broadcasts. Where before we seldom averaged more than one or two such messages monthly, it is now not unusual for two or three such messages to appear daily. These messages are sent in both number code and Kana.

On 28 November, a directive was received by TWX from Op-20-GX which called for coverage of the following stations at times specified, with priority transmission of intercepted material by TWX. Times listed were given as PST. Because the use of PST time designation is unusual, we asked for a verification, but were told that time zone was uncertain and verification was not possible.

PST
(GCT)
STATION
FREQUENCY
0100
(0900)
JVJ
12275
0130
(0930)
JUO
9430
0200
(1000)
JVJ
12275
0300
(1100)
JHL

5160

0400
(1200)
JHL
5160
0500
(1300)
JHL
5160
0530
(1330)
JHP
11980

Since the time zone indicated was not certain we were faced with the possibility that the time could be either GCT, PST, zone -9, or even a combination of these. As soon as the directive was received we started copying all broadcasts of this same type which were readable at "S". We found that in some cases other stations were tied in with the Stations listed in the original directive, and that although we could not copy the station listed we could copy the cornetted channel carrying the same broadcast. The stations and time that we can copy are listed below. Time used is GCT.

GCT STATION
FREQUENCY
CORNETTED WITH
0000
JVJ
12275
JUP
0030
JUD
15880
JVJ/JAU2
0100
JUD
15880
JVJ
0130
JVJ
12275
0200
JVJ
12275
0230
JVJ
12275
JUP/JUD
0300
JVJ
12275
JUD
0330
JVJ
12275
JUD
0400
JVJ
12275
0430
JVJ
12275
0500
JVJ
12275
JUD
1300
JHL
5160
2200
JVJ
12275
2300
JVJ
12275
2330
JVJ
12275

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At my instructions, or at least with my concurrence, Commander Welker consulted with his opposite number in the War Department, Captain Schukraft, and ascertained that the Army was monitoring for the Winds Message at San Francisco, and possibly elsewhere, but was not monitoring for the Winds Messages anywhere on the East Coast of the United States. I do not know what sort of instructions the Army gave its intercept stations. I do not know why the Army failed to monitor for the Winds Message on the East Coast of the United States: Colonel Sadtler or Colonel Schukraft may remember. I believe that the above-mentioned conference was held before we issued instruction to our own intercept stations.

The F.C.C. was requested by the War Department to monitor for the Winds Message on the Tokyo Voice Broadcasts and was given the code words of Tokyo Circular 2353 but without their meaning. The F.C.C. was not furnished the Tokyo Broadcast Schedules nor any mention of the fact that the Winds Message could come by Morse code. The F.C.C. was requested to monitor the Winds Message at its monitor station at Portland, Oregon, and also at one of its monitoring stations on the East Coast of the United States. The latter request was not complied with because the F.C.C. doubted if voice broadcasts from Tokyo could be heard on the East Coast of the United States. The F.C.C. monitor station at Honolulu also monitored for the Winds Message, at the request of the local military authorities. The F.C.C. monitor station at Portland, Oregon, could not possibly have intercepted the same Winds Message that Cheltenham did because Cheltenham was monitoring for Morse code, exclusively, and the F.C.C. station at Portland was monitoring for voice, exclusively.

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In addition to the stations previously named, the Winds Message was monitored for at the following localities, to my personal knowledge:

Heeia, T.H.
(U.S. Navy)
Voice only
Corregidor, P.I.
(U.S. Navy)
Voice and Morse
Singapore
(British Intelligence)
-?-
Australia
(Australian Intelligence)
-?-
Java
(NEI Intelligence)
-?-

Intercept stations in Canada, England, and China probably watched for it too. And, of course, the Japanese diplomatic and consular stations listened for the Winds Message themselves on their own receiving sets.

On December 1, 1941, I was shown the translation of Tokyo Circular 2444 (Exhibit No. 1 - page 209), advising that London, Hongkong, Singapore and Manila had been ordered to destroy their code machines, and instructing Washington to retain its machine regardless of other instruction. The significance of the Winds Message now became very clear to me and I began to take the matter most seriously. So did Colonel Sadtler, over in the War Department. The only means by which Tokyo could announce its decisions of peace or war to its overseas diplomatic representatives who had destroyed their regular codes was by means of the emergency Winds Code. This applied to London and the Far East but not to Washington. Higher authority in the War and Navy Departments likewise took a greatly increased interest in the Winds Message, and began heckling me as to the possibility of having missed it. I instituted a daily check of the incoming teletype messages to see that our intercept stations were doing as much as could be expected of them.

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One evening, about December 1, 1941, I drove out to Station "M" at Cheltenham, Maryland, and remained until about midnight. The primary purpose of my visit was to inspect the new landline telegraph for direction-finder control which had been completed at Cheltenham and the Navy Department, which was scheduled to be placed in service on December 1, 1941, but which had been delayed by installation difficulties at some of the outlying stations. I made a personal check of the Winds Message watch and, as I recall, found that Chief Radioman Wigle was monitoring the Tokyo News Broadcasts 24 hours a day and had assigned qualified Kana operators to this duty. I have further documentary proof that Cheltenham was monitoring the Tokyo broadcasts in the fact that between 1200 and 1500 GCT, on December 6, 1941, Cheltenham intercepted and forwarded to the Navy Department Tokyo Serials 902-2 and 904, plus two other messages. This is entered in the GY log for December 6, 1941: Items Nos. 6609, 6610, 6618, and 6619. These messages were transmitted by Station JAH (Tokyo) to San Francisco on 7630 kilocycles. The Tokyo-San Francisco circuit was not a regular Cheltenham assignment.

I may summarize the preparations for interception by stating that the United States Navy listened for the Winds Message at Cheltenham, Maryland, and did everything that it possibly could to intercept it elsewhere, and that the other Services did all that they considered reasonable.

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INTERCEPTION
There is no basis for assuming that the Winds Message had to be sent on a Voice Broadcast. In 1941, the Japanese Government was sending out "General Information Broadcasts" as well as "Domei News" to its Diplomatic and Consular Officials in foreign lands. This was partly to give speedier service, partly to permit use of the Japanese Morse Code and the Kata-Kana form of written Japanese, and partly to be independent of foreign communication systems in emergency. Each office had its own Japanese radio operator and its own short-wave receiving set. We knew it. The United States Government was doing the same thing itself, with a Navy radio operator serving at each post. The German Government was doing likewise but was a bit ahead of us, with machine reception. We used to "sample" these broadcasts periodically until the F.C.C.'s Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service came into existence and relieved the U.S. Navy of this duty. I wish to reiterate that neither Japan, the United States, nor Germany was dependent on Voice broadcasts for direct communication from the seat of government to overseas officials. The radio schedules listed in Tokyo Serial 843 were in Morse (i.e., dot-and-dash) code exclusively: either Japanese Morse, International Morse, or both. We expected that the Winds Message would be sent in Morse Code--and it was. If the Winds Message had been sent on a Voice broadcast the U.S. Navy would have missed it, unless it came on a schedule receivable at Pearl Harbor or Corregidor.

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The original documents giving details of the interception of the Winds Message are not available. Therefore it is necessary to reconstruct the situation from circumstantial evidence and by process of elimination. Collateral information has been plotted or recorded on a single sheet, a reduced-size photograph of which is appended. This graph tells the story better than words and shows just what actually happened. It should convince the most skeptical. As I have previously testified, the frequency, distances, and time of day were such that the Winds Message could be heard on the East Coasts of the United States and Canada, while it was a physical impossibility for it to be heard (except under freak conditions) on the West Coast of the United States and Canada, Pearl Harbor, Manila, Java, and Singapore. Everything checks perfectly: there is no element of doubt as to conditions of radio wave propagation.

The Winds Message could be heard also in the North Atlantic Ocean, British Isles, and Western Europe, but it could not be heard in Burma, Australia, or in Rio de Janeiro. It was sent on the so-called "European Schedule" of Tokyo's big foreign broadcasting station "J-A-P" and was intended for London. We knew that the Japanese Ambassador in London had destroyed his secret codes three days previously: this was the only way that Tokyo could get news to him secretly. Reception or non-reception at other points was irrelevant. Tokyo knew full well, before the Winds Message was sent, that it probably would not be received in Washington or in Rio. That was immaterial--the Winds Message was intended for London. Our ability to intercept it was due partly to good luck, partly to my foresight, and partly to the high quality of the Navy operators and receiving apparatus at Cheltenham.

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The Winds Message broadcast was forwarded by teletype (TWX) from Cheltenham to the Navy Department (Op-20-GY) shortly before 9:00 a.m. on December 4, 1941. Kramer distinctly recalls that the Winds Message was shown to him by the GY Watch Officer after 8:30 a.m. on that date. It was my recollection, as stated in previous testimony, that I had first seen the Winds Message a little after eight a.m. on December 4, 1941. The Winds Message broadcast was about 200 words long, with the code words prescribed in Tokyo Circular 2353 appearing in the middle of the message, whereas we had expected to find the code words of Tokyo Circular 2354 in a Morse broadcast. All three "code words" were used, but the expression meaning "North Wind Cloudy" was in the negative form.

When I first saw the Winds Message, it had already been translated by Lieutenant Commander Kramer, in charge of the Translation Section of the Navy Department Communications Intelligence Unit. Kramer had underscored all three "code phrases" on the original incoming teletype sheet. Below the printed message was written in pencil or colored crayon in Kramer's handwriting, the following free translations:

"War with England (including NEI, etc.)
War with the U.S.
Peace with Russia."

I am not sure of the order; but it was the same as in the broadcast and I think England appeared first. I think Kramer used "U.S." rather than "United States." It is possible that the words "No war," instead of "Peace," were used to describe Japan's intentions with regards to Russia.

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"This is it!" said Kramer as he handed me the Winds Message. This was the broadcast we had strained every nerve to intercept. This was the feather in our cap. This was the tip-off which would prevent the U.S. Pacific Fleet being surprised at Pearl Harbor the way the Russians had been surprised at Port Arthur. [The editor cannot help commenting on this statement: Neither Capt. Safford, nor anyone else in the United States could possibly have had this particular reaction to this message. War with Japan was widely anticipated by this time ("War warning" messages had been sent to the Pacific commands the previous week), but the target of any Japanese attack on the U.S. was almost universally expected to be the Philippines. I will refrain from commenting on what this patently untrue interpretation suggests about Capt. Safford's agenda or the veracity of the rest of his statement. --pwc] This was what the Navy Communication Intelligence had been preparing for since its establishment in 1924--War with Japan!

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DISTRIBUTION
I immediately sent the original of the Winds Message up to the Director of Naval Communications (Read Admiral Noyes) by one of the officers serving under me and told him to deliver this paper to Admiral Noyes in person, to track him down and not take "no" for an answer, and, if he could not find him in a reasonable time to let me know. I did not explain the nature or significance of the Winds Message to this officer. In a few minutes I received a report to the effect that the message had been delivered.

It is my recollection that Kramer and I knew at the time that Admiral Noyes had telephoned the substance of the Winds Message to the War Department, to the "Magic" distribution list in the Navy Department, and to the Naval Aide to the President. For that reason, no immediate distribution of the smooth translation of the Winds Message was made in the Navy Department. The six or seven copies for the Army were rushed over to the War Department as rapidly as possible: here the Navy's responsibility ended. The individual smooth translations for authorized Navy Department officials and the White House were distributed at noon on December 4, 1941 in accordance with standard operating procedure. I have no reason for believing that the Army failed to make a prompt distribution of its translations of the Winds Message.

I am thoroughly satisfied in my own mind that Admiral Noyes telephoned to everyone on his list without delay: I cannot bring myself to imagine otherwise. There is some question as to whether the Admiral was understood, but this only shows the unreliability of telephone messages. Any misunderstanding of what Admiral Noyes said was of negligible effect because written translations of the Winds Message were distributed within

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2 or 3 hours of his telephone calls. In fact it was not until 1944 that any suggestion or criticism was offered that any official on the "Magic" distribution list -- Navy, Army, State Department, or White House -- had not been notified that the Winds Message had been received or that the Winds Message had been translated in any terms other than War and Peace.

My final verification of the fact that the Winds Message translation was typed and distributed lies in the fact that about December 15, 1941, I saw a copy of it in the special folder of messages which were being assembled for Admiral Noyes to present to the Roberts Commission. I checked these over with Kramer for completeness as well as for the elimination of irrelevant material. Kramer told me in 1944 that he had shown Assistant Secretary Forrestal a special set of Pre-Pearl Harbor messages about December 10, 1941, when Secretary Knox was making his personal investigation at Pearl Harbor, and that he discussed those messages with Mr. Forrestal for about two hours. This set of messages was apparently the basis and possibly the identical file that was given Admiral Noyes and shown to the Roberts Commission via Admiral Wilkinson. This was the last time I saw the Winds Message. I believe that the translation of the Winds Message was given the JD-1 Serial number of 7001, because this number is missing and unaccounted for, and comes within the range of messages translated on December 3 and 4, 1941.

The distribution of the Winds Message was the responsibility of Naval Intelligence and not Naval Communications. I had no responsibility in the matter after forwarding the original message to Admiral Noyes and after checking Kramer's "folder" to see that the messages were presented in a logical and understandable order.

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ACTION TAKEN AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE WINDS MESSAGE
About an hour after I had sent the original Winds Message up to Admiral Noyes I received a call from him on the inter-phone to the effect that we ought to tell Guam to burn their excess codes and ciphers. I replied that I was in full agreement but there were other odds and ends to be taken care of, and that I would have some messages ready for his approval by noon.

As a direct results of the Winds Message and other contemporaneous information from intercepted Japanese messages, I prepared the following secret messages:

OPNAV 041754 (Priority) -- Not yet introduced as evidence
OPNAV 042000 (Priority) -- Not yet introduced as evidence
OPNAV 042017 (Deferred) -- Page 44 of Exhibit No. 37
OPNAV 042018 (Deferred) -- Not yet introduced as evidence
OPNAV 042019 (Deferred) -- Not yet introduced as evidence

I took four of these messages up to Admiral Noyes' office, cleared them through the Assistant Director of Naval Communications (Captain Joseph R. Redman) and made an appointment to see the Admiral with his secretary, as per office instruction. I was called to his office shortly before 3:00 p.m.

OPNAV 041754 was a correction to a previous Priority message, and was sent in response to a Priority service message requesting verification of the last four groups of ONPAV 040343 (page 43 of Exhibit No. 37). I released this message myself during the noon hour to save time.

OPNAV Priority 042000 for action of CINCPAC, CINCAF, COM 16, COM 14, Guam and Samoa, made a "new Intelligence" cipher effective immediately and directed the immediate destruction of the old cipher by Guam and Samoa. This message was released by Admiral Noyes himself, and is the most

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important of the five which were sent on this occasion because the precedence did give some idea of urgency.

OPNAV Deferred 042017, for action of Guam and for information of CINCPAC, CINCAF, COM 14 and COM 16 was sent in the new cipher made effective by OPNAV 042000. It directed Guam to destroy excess cryptographic aids and other secret matter. This message was rewritten by Admiral Noyes and was released by Admiral Ingersoll. My original wording was much stronger than the message actually sent, because I had directed the destruction of everything except the system in which sent and the current edition of the Direction Finder Code. However, I was not trying to use this message as the vehicle for a war warning as I had the day before in OPNAV 031855 (page 41, Exhibit No. 37). I was just trying to insure that Guam "stripped ship" before a Japanese Commando-raid from Saipan, 100 miles away, captured a complete allowance of codes and ciphers, a matter for which I was officially responsible. Admiral Noyes made no mention of a war warning when he directed me to prepare this message and I feel sure he did not have any such warning in mind when he toned down my original draft. This message had to be sent "for Information" to CINCPAC, and others, as notification that Guam's allowance of codes and ciphers was being reduced, and as a reminder to Guam to notify the addressees what systems would be available for its future communications. This message was sent DEFERRED to insure that OPNAV 042000 would arrive well in advance and thus avoid confusion and unnecessary messages at this critical time.

OPNAV 042018 and OPNAV 042019 are not important except that they help establish the date the Winds Message was intercepted and the time and date that the unsent warning message, prepared by Commander McCollum, was seen by me.

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EVALUATION OF THE WINDS MESSAGE
Evaluation of the Winds Message was not based on JD-1 #6850 and #6875 alone. CINCAF 281430 gave much stronger translations of Tokyo Circulars 2353 and 2354, which dispelled any doubt as to whether or not WAR was meant by the literal translation:

"Japan -- (blank) relations are in danger."
This message contained official British translation furnished by Singapore, from which I quote:

"NISHI NISHI ENGLAND INCLUDING OCCUPATION OF THAI OR INVASION OF MALAY AND N.E.I."

That means war, no matter how worded. No one disputed this British translation in November-December, 1941: in fact our own translation was considered consistent with it.

Two confirmations of the British translation came from the official Netherlands East Indies Government translations of Tokyo Circulars 2353 and 2354. Colonel Thorpe, the Senior Army Intelligence Officer in Java, sent an official message via the Navy addressed to General Miles, the Chief of Army Intelligence in Washington, which is a matter of record in previous Pearl Harbor investigations. This message may be identified as Alusna Batavia 031030 dated December 3, 1941. I quote from this message:

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"FROM THORPE FOR MILES WAR DEPT. CODE INTERCEPT:
JAPAN WILL NOTIFY HER CONSULS OF WAR DECISION IN HER FOREIGN BROADCASTS AS WEATHER REPORT AT END.
EAST WIND RAIN UNITED STATES;
NORTH WIND CLOUDY RUSSIA;
WEST WIND CLEAR ENGLAND WITH ATTACK ON THAILAND MALAY AND DUTCH EAST INDIES".

Copies of this message were circulated in the Navy Department, and the Chief of Naval Operations was indicated as receiving a copy.

Consul General Foote, our Senior Diplomatic Representative in the Netherlands East Indies, on December 4, 1941 (Java time), which is December 3, 1941 (Washington time), sent a similar message to the Secretary of State, from which I quote:

WHEN CRISIS LEADING TO WORST ARISES FOLLOWING WILL BE BROADCAST AT END WEATHER REPORTS:
ONE EAST WIND RAIN WAR WITH UNITED STATES,
TWO NORTH WIND CLOUDY WAR WITH RUSSIA,
THREE WEST WIND CLEAR WAR WITH BRITAIN INCLUDING ATTACK ON THAILAND OR MALAYA AND DUTCH INDIES.

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WHEN THREAT OF CRISIS EXISTS FOLLOWING WILL BE USED FIVE TIMES IN TEXTS OF GENERAL REPORTS AND RADIO BROADCASTS:
ONE HIGASHI EAST AMERICA,
TWO KITA NORTH RUSSIA,
THREE NISHI WEST BRITAIN WITH ADVANCE INTO THAILAND AND ATTACK ON MALAYA AND DUTCH INDIES.

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This message was received in the State Department at 9:19 a.m., on December 4, 1941 (Washington time). Copies were forwarded to the War and Navy Departments by the State Department Liaison Officer, Mr. Orme Wilson. They were given a wide circulation in the Navy Department.

My own evaluation of the foregoing, on December 4, 1941, was about as follows:

(A) The Basic Japanese War Plan was divided into 3 categories or provided for 3 contingencies, any or all of which might be followed, namely:
(1)
(2)
(3)

War with the United States
War with Russia
War with England including the invasion of Thailand and the capture of Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.
(B) The Winds Message gave us the answer in all 3 cases: Affirmative for the 1st and 3rd categories, and Negative for the 2nd.
(C) The Winds Message was probably a "Signal of Execute" of some sort

The "Signal of Execute" theory received strong confirmation from a secret message received from the Philippines in the early afternoon of December 4, 1941. This message informed us that the Japanese Navy had introduced a new cipher system for its so-called "Operations Code" at 0600 GCT that date. This time was 7 1/2 hours before the Winds Message was broadcast. I might add that there was only one J-A-P European broadcast per day, so the times coincided as closely as possible. I would like to add

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also that my subordinates on Corregidor spotted and reported this change only nine hours after it was made. The message may be identified as Commandant 16th Naval District Priority 041502 dated December 4, 1941, and was addressed to Naval Operations and the Commandant 14th Naval District but not to the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. So far as I know, this message has not been introduced as evidence before any previous investigation of the Pearl Harbor disaster. In fact, this is the first time it has ever been mentioned except to Admiral Hart. The unusual hour and unusual date at which the Japanese Navy changed its "Operations Code," combined with the Winds Message and other collateral information available in the Navy Department, made this message highly significant as the probable "Signal of Execute" to the Japanese Navy. Up till now the Winds Message has had to bear a double burden in my testimony.

As I have previously testified, we expected that if the Japanese did suddenly attack the United States this attack would come on a week-end or national holiday. In fact, a warning message to this effect had been sent out in April, 1941 (page 1 of Exhibit No. 37). The War Department over-emphasized the imminence of War as forecast by the "November 29, deadline" and predicted that the Japanese would strike during the week-end of November 29-30, 1941. The Navy Department estimated the situation more accurately -- the Japanese armada which had been concentrating for the Southern invasion was too far from any conceivable objective to give serious consideration to this date. Also the covering Naval forces were not yet deployed and other signs indicated that the U.S. Army estimate was a bit premature.

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The next week-end, December 6-7, 1941, was just the reverse. The Winds Message and the change of the Naval Operations Code came in the middle of the week: 2 days to Saturday and 3 days to Sunday. It was unthinkable that the Japanese would surrender their hopes of surprise by delaying until the week-end of December 13-14, 1941. This was not crystal gazing or "intuition" -- it was just the plain, common sense acceptance of a self-evident proposition. Colonel Sadtler saw it, and so did Captain Joseph R. Redman, U.S.N. -- according to Colonel Sadtler's testimony in 1944, before the Army Board of Investigation. The Japanese were going to start the war on Saturday December 6, 1941, or Sunday, December 7, 1941. The War and Navy Departments had been given 72 hours' advance notification of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese themselves.

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Notes: Although Captain Safford is highly regarded as the "father" of US Navy communications intelligence, his statement is extremely controversial and does not represent the opinion of the Naval Historical Center.

For further information on the “Winds” code messages, see: Dept. of Defense. The “Magic” Background of Pearl Harbor. vol.5. (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1978): pp.51-54, “Part D-Special Studies, The ‘Winds’ Code.” The text accompanying “Part-D” includes the following remarks: “It will be apparent from the foregoing that American intelligence agencies throughout the world were maintaining a constant watch in order to intercept a ‘Winds’ code message which would indicate that Japan was breaking off relations with the United States. However, the Federal Communications Commission has no record of intercepting a message other than those mentioned above which indicate, after the attack on Pearl Harbor had already begun, that Japan would break off relations with England. Furthermore, there is no document in American Communication Intelligence files which indicates receipt of any ‘Winds’ code message announcing the severance of relations between Japan and the United States. The preliminary ‘Winds’ code messages pointed only to the breaking of relations with Great Britain, Russia, or the United States, and gave no hint as to the possibility of an attack upon Pearl Harbor. In the light of all other evidence available concerning Japan’s intentions to go to war, it is apparent that even if the ‘Winds’ messages had never existed, United States’ authorities would have been just as well informed of Japan’s intentions to go to war.“

Documents referred to by Captain Safford in the above essay should be located in Record Group 457 at the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.


Source: "Collection of Papers Related to the 'Winds Execute' Message, U.S. Navy, 1945," SRH-210, located in [http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/457.html] Record Group 457 at the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.