Pearl Harbor

This is getting pretty far afield so I thought I should at least
change the subject.

There was no initial withdrawal of the Japanese ambassador - it was
the Japanese withdrawing from negotiations with the USA over USA
demands -- essentially Japan declaring that it had given up on finding
compromise and would not accede to USA demands for Japanese troop
withdrawals.

There were two messages related to the negotiations from the Japanese
government to their embassy in Washington. The first was so long and
meandering, that it has to be broken into 14 parts for transmission.
Only in the final and 14th part, which was transmitted more than 24
hours after the first 13 parts were sent, did it direct the withdrawal
from negotiations. This was considered within the Japanese government
as tantamount to a declaration of war and it was felt that the attack
would be dishonorable if it was not communicated to the USA government
before the attack. Thus, there was a second much shorter message that
specifically directed that the withdrawal be communicated to the US
Government, if possible to the US Secretary of State, no later than
1pm later that day, Sunday December 7th. (It was immediately apparent
to the American's reading this message that 1pm in Washington was dawn
in Hawaii and probably the time of an attack.)

There were some other messages sent about the same time including one
ordering the Japanese embassy to destroy all cipher machines and
codes. There were delays in USA decryption and translation of all of
these messages. Then there was delay in getting what was clearly a
threat of war to someone in Washington high enough to take action. But
those were accomplished more than two hours before the attack. (The
Japanese embassy in Washington was by no means immune to bureaucracy
and delay and did not read the messages in time to implement then
before the attack.)

The fastest way to communicate with the US military in Hawaii would
have been analog scrambled telephone which was, correctly, considered
to be insecure and inappropriate for information derived from a Purple
intercept. Such scrambled calls had been unscrambled by other
countries before. So, it was given to the War Department's message
center, who said that it would be delivered directly within a half an
hour, after they encrypted it and sent it by radio. However,
atmospheric conditions blocked that method and the encrypted message
was given by the message center to a commercial wire carrier to send.
It arrived and was printed out at the carrier's office in Honolulu at
7:33am local time, 22 minutes before the first bomb fell. Although
obviously encrypted, it was apparently not marked for any special
urgent handling -- remember the sender had though it would arrive
directly at the military authorities in Hawaii over an hour earlier.
As a result, it was not actually delivered to those authorities until
2:40pm, after the attack was over, and not read until 20 minutes later
after decryption.

Thanks,
Donald