Nov 29, 2008

The Last Peaceful Weekend

Official Washington at the Limo Level was quieter on Saturday, Nov. 29, 1941. The President was away after a meeting with Hull, Stimson, Admiral Harold R. Stark, and Army Chief George C. Marshall. The Friday conference was to float his idea of a note to Emperor Hirohito, urging  conciliation. War Secretary Stimson  opposed it. He wanted to strike at the Japanese fleet in the South China Sea. The others preferred an ultimatum saying America would fight if the southern fleet passed a certain line.

 In Toland's words, " Roosevelt didn't feel like arguing. He agreed.  He was impatient to take his sinus problem to Warm Springs...". 

It was a vacationy time in the Capitol. Marshall had just returned from Florida and was trying  to get back up to speed on what had been  happening with  this Japan thing.

Not so at Station Hypo,  Admiral's Kimmel's   code-breaking shop at Pearl Harbor where fleet intelligence officer Ed Layton and  chief cryptanalyst Joe Rochefort were hustling  to answer a pertinent question from scanty evidence. They  knew where a few of the Jap carriers were. Where were the others?"  Layton and Rochefort spent the weekend in the office.

Around 43 degrees north,  Admiral Nagumo nodded appreciatively at seeing the meteorologists' early  weekend reports. Odds suggested better weather  for midweek when his Kido Butai would arrive at its final refueling station.


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