Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor
THE FALL OF THE KONOYE GOVERNMENT LED ADMIRAL Stark to send a war warning on October 16, 1941, to Admiral Husband E. Kimmel in command of the Pacific fleet and to Admiral Thomas C. Hart in command of the Asiatic fleet. The first inference in this warning was that war between Japan and Russia was "a strong possibility." But, the warning continued:
Since the United States and Britain are held responsible by Japan for her present desperate situation, there is also a possibility that Japan may attack these two powers. In view of these possibilities, you will take due precautions, including such preparatory deployments as will not disclose strategic intention nor constitute provocative actions against Japan.1
This reflected the estimate of Washington authorities that Japan was most likely to attack Russia at the penultimate moment of Hitler's conquest, in like manner as Mussolini had attacked France. The Pacific commanders were given enough information regarding diplomatic developments to lead them to believe that they knew the situation, but not enough to judge it as effectively as the leaders in Washington. Magic intercepts, the best source of information regarding Japanese intentions, were not transmitted to the commanders. Copies went to only nine persons in Washington, including President Roosevelt, Secretaries Hull, Stimson and Knox, General Marshall and Admiral Stark. General Marshall later said this was necessary to guard a military secret of incalculable value.