Pearl Harbor Attack No Surprise

Roger A. Stolley

Historians are still arguing over whether President Franklin Roosevelt knew in advance that Japanese forces were about to launch a devastating attack against the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.

Mr. Roger A. Stolley, a resident of Salem, Oregon, has something important to add to this discussion. In the following essay, which first appeared in the Salem daily Statesman Journal, December 7, 1991, he provides personal information to confirm that Roosevelt not only anticipated the Japanese attack, but specifically ordered that no steps be taken to prevent it. (Mr. Stolley's essay is reprinted here with grateful permission of the author.)

John Toland, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who addressed the October 1990 IHR conference in Washington, DC, tells us that Stolley's essay "rings true."

Each year near the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, I get angry at the lie perpetrated upon the U.S. people that it was a surprise attack.

It may have been a surprise to the U.S. people, but it certainly was not a surprise to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the select few persons who surrounded him or the U.S. Army intelligence officer working under his direct orders.

I previously worked in a civilian capacity for LTC Clifford M. Andrew, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, who temporarily was assistant chief of Staff, military intelligence, general staff, United States Army.

My employment ended with Andrew on May 15, 1966, when a bullet entered the back of his head, ending his life.

Upon at least three occasions in his home in Tigard [Oregon] he related to me the history of his military life and personal involvement in the actions of Roosevelt and other officials surrounding the Pearl Harbor attack. He said:

Anything I now tell you I will deny ever saying. I am still subject to military court martial for revealing the information. The American public is completely ignorant of those affairs that occur behind the scenes in top American government positions and offices. If you try to tell them the truth, they won't believe you.

Five men were directly responsible for what happened at Pearl Harbor. I am one of those five men ... We knew well in advance that the Japanese were going to attack. At least nine months before the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor, I was assigned to prepare for it.

I was operating under the direct orders of the President of the United States and was ordered not to give vital intelligence information relating to the whereabouts of the Japanese fleet to our commanders in the field.

We had broken the Japanese code ... We'd been monitoring all their communications for months prior to the attack ... It was a lie that we didn't have direct radio communications with Washington, D.C.

It was at least 48 hours before the attack that I personally received the most tragic message of my life ... which was Top Secret and coded, which my radio operator handed to me. I had the code book and decoded it. The basic text of the message ran: "The Japanese will attack at (the approximate time). Do not prepare retaliatory forces. We need the full support of the American nation in a wartime effort by an unprovoked attack upon the nation in order to obtain a declaration of war."

That message and my 40 file cabinets of top secret information on Pearl Harbor were taken out and burned by myself and two other witnessing intelligence officers so that the Congressional investigation could not get to the truth as to what actually did happen at Pearl Harbor.

For the people of the United States both then and now I feel sorrow, for a people to have been so misled, to have been lied to so much, and to have so thoroughly believed the lie given to them.

Pearl Harbor is an example of how a small group of men in control of government has the power to destroy the life, property, and freedom of its citizens. How can this nation, or any nation, survive when its electorate is uninformed, that government hides the truth, labels it top secret, and destroys it.

From The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1992 (Vol. 12, No. 1), pages 119-121.