The Charlotte News

Friday, December 5, 1941


Site Ed. Note: On the evening of this day, Cash would receive posthumously the Mayflower Literary Society Cup in Raleigh at the Hugh Morson High School Auditorium. Josephus Daniels, retired as Ambassador to Mexico since the end of October, would replace the planned speaker, Herbert Agar of the Louisville Courier-Journal, who was to give a speech titled "America's Responsibility in World History". Mr. Agar was snowbound in Louisville. The event was covered for The News by Tim Pridgen, whose piece appeared the next day. Both Cash's father, John Cash, and his widow, Mary, attended the ceremony.

The front page today conveys the news of a confidential reply to the President's question re the purpose for the estimated 100,000 new Japanese troop build-up in Indochina. Meanwhile, Domei, the official Japanese news agency, stated that the Hull Ten Points were based on outmoded policy, thus giving rise to speculation that the delayed reply to those points would be negative.

While there is war news everywhere, albeit encouraging to the Allies, in Libya, in Russia, the only news from the Pacific theater is inclined further to war warning, the repatriation of all Japanese nationals on the West Coast of the United States and in Panama, the evacuation of some 4,200 Japanese citizens from Mexico along with the Japanese Foreign Minister stationed there.

Page 13 tells of the Japanese co-opting of a story out of the isolationist Chicago Tribune regarding the preparation of a new AEF to defeat Germany and its plotted trajectory to mid-1943 before reaching readiness, that various Japanese newspapers exploited the story to show both lack of military preparedness by the United States as well as supposed secret plans for invading Japan and Germany. Such demonstrates the probable mindset of a large bulk of the Japanese population two days before their barracuda's coup de main of le lup de guerre, brainwashed as thoroughly as the German population to Anglophobia, both to the perfidious British and the ugly Americans, each horning in on the Asian sphere of influence by manifest destiny belonging properly only to Japan--all quite as preposterous as that which regularly fed the Old South before the Civil War and after it, that God had intended some men to be subordinate to others as demonstrated in the natural order of things visibly shown daily in the cotton, cane, and tobacco tillage, the perpetual ignorance of the slovenly sweat-happy slave, his inherent inability to learn and better himself, his complete subjection being proved a function of perfect natural balance by his willingness to accept it, and if perchance given to resist the natural order, then enforced by God's will via the lash or rope.

The grand Horsemaster, His Highness, the Emperor, and his little Empress, had precisely the same arrogant approach to humanity as did Ol' Massa and his Overseer on the Southern plantation.

Dorothy Thompson today on the editorial page presents a nice synopsis of the war to date and, rather than summarize it, we simply recommend reading it.

Hugh Johnson, as the front page also indicates, publicly resigned his membership in the America First Committee because of its enunciation of policy to seek the defeat of all interventionist candidates for the House and Senate in the 1942 elections.

The editorial column itself is a blank on foreign affairs this day, posting instead one piece on the anti-strike legislation and three on matters of purely local and state interest.

As if time were running out on reporting such mundane affairs, the war-news weary editors seemed to welcome a weekend free from the increasingly incessant press of images cunned of stamping feet and fraising guns strapped high to the robotomorphic horde. Everyone knew by now that war was imminent with Japan, barring a major miracle. Everyone knew that the Japanese had major fleet movements in the Pacific, threatening war against the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, the Malay Peninsula, and Thailand. But no one contemplated the attack to come or that it would occur on Sunday.

No one guessed that a sovereign nation with a dignified past would stoop so low to employ a military "strategy" akin to a peasant's back-alley shell game, a sad irony for the peasant brainwashed from an early age to fight for such a criminal organization, for the concept of achieving Empire, one by design to render riches never to be enjoyed by the lowly human fodder who fought the hardest to achieve it.

This day, ONI and Army intelligence believed they had received the winds execute messages. But the translation did not fit the original text transmitted from the Japanese Foreign Ministry to be transmitted in the event of impending war via weather broadcasts. The message instead was "north wind clear", a mix of the indicator of problematic Russo-Japanese relations, "north wind cloudy", and that of British-Japanese relations, "west wind clear". Most importantly, there was no "east wind rain", indicating probable war with the United States.

Nevertheless, in later testimony, one intelligence officer, Laurence Safford, maintained that he saw this date a winds execute message aimed at Britain and the U.S. No one else, however, confirmed that such a message was ever received and translated, at least until after the attack.

In any event, the intelligence officers regarded it by this point as inconsequential as they had already confirmed the dispatch of coded messages to instruct the destruction of codes in the Japanese consulates in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Batavia, and Washington. As the purpose of the winds code was to instruct that very act, they were now deemed superfluous by the military. Admiral Kimmel in Hawaii was made aware of this crucial instruction to destroy all diplomatic codes and so it was deemed no longer necessary to alert further on this particular issue.

As we have suggested, however, a reasonable query may be made as to whether there was something else within "east wind rain" than merely the prospective instruction to destroy codes, as previously intercepted, that in addition this message was a weak attempt by the Japanese to assuage conscience over the concept of a sneak attack and to state within that simple code phrase not just the fact of cessation of diplomatic relations and war imminent with the U.S., but also the actual place and date of the attack, that also the original message was in fact the implementing message. For that to be the case with any impact on American intelligence, it would for its decoding only have required someone with some rudimentary knowledge of the Bible. So, perhaps it was a cynical gesture by the Japanese, leaving, as was their custom, matters to destined fate and the whimsy of the gods to determine the good or bad blessing on their calculated venture afoot. Should someone at ONI or Army Intelligence have had the eye to spot down the issue, then fatalistically the Japanese would have blinked and turned around?

Josephus Daniels, father of Jonathan Daniels, we reiterate, was, by the dint of fate of a snowstorm in Kentucky, the replacement speaker in Raleigh at the presentation of the Mayflower Cup to Cash. Or, was that the whole story? Did the President intercede at the last minute, as he had on July 4 at the request of Ambassador Daniels, to enable Mary to obtain her exit visa from Mexico by a "cooked up" State Department document? Did he ask his old boss to give this speech for reasons of further communication of something to the Japanese military?

Deemed more important than the winds execute message was the interception of messages between the Japanese Consulate in Hawaii and Tokyo regarding the movement of ships in Pearl Harbor. Admiral Kimmel later testified that these messages per se were not so crucial as the urgent desire expressed by Tokyo to have the information they contained constantly refreshed. Unfortunately, however, this batch of messages, dated December 3 and 4, was not fully decoded and translated, despite active effort to do so, until December 10.

Meanwhile, at sea, the Isabel reached its destination between Hainan and Hue this day, and was promptly ordered by Admiral Hart back to home port in Manila. The remainder of the "three little ships" executive order would never be carried out.

The Japanese First Air Fleet headed for Oahu now lost three of its oil tankers which needed to break away from the main Task Force and head south to rendezvous for the return leg of the voyage. This departure meant that fuel supplies could not be replenished as before and thus any consumption of fuel must be by the book, no high speed chases, no maneuvering to avoid observation--no room, in short, for the slightest deviation from the set course as calculated precisely in advance.

The carrier Lexington, one of four carriers which the Japanese most hoped to bag in Pearl Harbor, became the other of only two now operating from the Harbor, propitiously to depart; it left this day, along with three heavy cruisers and several destroyers, to deliver reconnaissance planes to Midway.

Another Task Force led by the Indianapolis and five older destroyers also departed Pearl this date. At its head was Vice-Admiral Wilson Brown who had expressed the opinion previously that no air attack on Pearl Harbor was reasonably probable, not only because of the problems of floating the planes 4,000 miles into position and then, after an attack, getting them back onboard and making away without being caught and destroyed at sea, but moreover because, he believed, Japanese pilots were inferior to American pilots. He based this latter opinion on the ephemeral notion expressed to him by a Singer Sewing Machine Company executive in Japan, that the company refused to allow its employees to use Japanese commercial aircraft because of their inferior pilots.

Admiral Halsey's Enterprise Fleet delivering planes to Wake Island received a report this day that a submarine had been spotted south of Hawaii. Indeed, nine submarines operated just off the West Coast of the United States and three were operating in the Hawaiian Islands themselves by December 5. Two destroyers this day picked up sonar soundings on what at first appeared to be a submarine lurking within five miles of Pearl Harbor. The second destroyer asked permission to drop depth charges but the squadron leader denied that permission on the basis that the ping was from a blackfish, not a submarine.

Instead, more likely, it was a loose fish sounding out its prey, that not observing with sufficient perspicacity its environs and thus soon to be caught in the Sea-Tiger's jaws.

Success at criminal enterprise, however, finds its eventual misfortune. The Indianapolis, one day, would have another and most fateful cruise.

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