Listen to Pt. 1 here: https://parallaxviews.podbean.com/e/dhorne1/
On this edition of Parallax Views, December 7th, 2021 marked the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor the led to the U.S. entry into World War II. Douglas P. Horne, author of The McCollum Memorandum: A Story of Washington D.C. in 1940-41: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Journey from Deterrence to Provocation on the Road to Pearl Harbor, joined me to give a provocative presentation on the long-standing debate around FDR, the McCollum Memo, and the question of advanced foreknowledge of the attacks that was popularized in large part by Robert Stinnett, the late author of Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Habor. Although Stinnett’s book received a fairly even-handed review from the New York Times when it was published, most mainstream historians have since discarded notions of advanced foreknowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor as a fringe conspiracy theory. Douglas P. Horne, however, thinks this is mistaken, although, unlike many who believe in the advanced foreknowledge hypothesis, remains a great admirer of President Roosevelt. For the uninitiated, Horne served on the Assassination Records Review Board and is in large part the reason that the now infamous “Operation Northwoods” documents came to light. He also was in the Navy and spent time at Pearl Harbor in addition to working at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. and the State Department. He is also the author of a previous two-volume work on Pearl Harbor entitled Deception, Intrigue, and the Road to War.
In the second part of this long conversation, we delve into some of the other “Rosetta Stones” of Horne’s book beginning with the at-the-time secretive Argentia conference and, perhaps even more crucially, the MAGIC decrypts. This will take us into the world of American codebreaking as well as that of the British codebreakers at Bletchley Park. We will talk about a conversation had between Winston Churchill and FDR in which the late Roosevelt said he could not “declare war” but that he could “wage war”. We will delve into three particular provocations between the Germany Navy and the U.S. before U.S. entry into WWII, FDR forcing the British to sign off on the Atlantic Charter, an important 15 August 1941 telegram to the Japanese foreign minister, the figure of Hitler’s confidant Sepp Dietrich and how it figures into the story, British decoding/decryption efforts being far ahead of U.S. decoding/decryption efforts and why it matters in the lead up to Pearl Harbor, Horne’s book as arguably being about how the “sausage of” foreign policy is made and produced, Roosevelt “the chess player” wanting to get into the war through the “front door” but (from Horne’s purview and examination of the evidence) going through the backdoor, the shift from deterrence to provocation, making clear the fact the Horne is not making the argument that Pearl Harbor was an “inside job”, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and the Hull Note, contemporary accommodation talks between the U.S. and Japan that FDR reversed position on overnight, the question of why FDR flipped U.S. foreign policy on its head with regards to the issue of accommodation vs. giving the Japanese an ultimatum, Hull’s anger over the ultimatum and his emphatic response to it, the JN-25 code (the Japanese Navy’s fleet operating code), Admiral Yamamoto’s strategy against the U.S. and his miscalculations, what no one knew about the Pearl Harbor attack and how devastating it would be and why, the Pearl Harbor attack order, the 188 codes that if all decrypted would’ve made the Pearl Harbor attack known, the go code “Climb Mt. Niitaka”, the investigations into the Pearl Harbor attacks in the 1940s, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel as the fall guy for the Pearl Harbor attacks, the 1946 Congressional report on Pearl Harbor and an important detail about dates included in the report, British Supply Coordination (the MI-6 spy office in America) in Rockefeller Plaza and the visit of FDR’s son to it, Admiral Stark’s interrogation at the hands of Admiral Kimmel and Stark’s claiming of “executive privilege”, the date of November 26th 1941 and its significance, FDR’s overriding foreign policy goal was to fight Nazi Germany, why couldn’t the attack be intercepted if it was known and why would you not want to (after all, would the attack itself, even if intercepted, not be enough to get the U.S. into the war)?, and much, much more!
A linchpin communication reproduced at the end of the book related to U.S.-Japan relations leading up to Pearl Harbor referencing Hitler’s confidant Sepp Deitrich; reproduced at the end of Horne’s book
FDR and Churchill pictured together at the Atlantic Conference in Argentia, Newfoundland; 1941
A photography of FDR in 1942
Picture from Douglas P. Horne’s collection of photos of decryption machines taken at the Cryptologic Museum
“These are images of the Purple decoding machine that produced all of the MAGIC message traffic of decoded Japanese diplomatic messages.” –
Douglas P. Horne