Tag Archives: Fred Goerner

Goerner on Pearl Harbor in San Francisco Chronicle

Readers of this blog know that since its inception in 2012, concurrent with the publication of the first edition of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, I have focused exclusively on the Earhart disappearance, and virtually all of the 285 posts here deal with Earhart and closely related subjects. 

Today we move away from the Earhart case, but only slightly, as we feature a Dec. 1, 1991 San Francisco Chronicle Sunday supplement article about Pearl Harbor by Fred Goerner, the bestselling author of The Search for Amelia Earhart (1966), the foremost Earhart researcher of his or any day, who was also intensely interested in the Pearl Harbor debacle, as he called it, and its possible relationship to the Earhart mess.  (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)

I’ve tried to reproduce the original look of the “This World” Sunday supplement, but it’s better to type out much of copy because the multi-column layout doesn’t allow for easy presentation.  This is the first of two parts.

tary strategists who had been predicting such an attack for 20 years?  If the U.S. military had broken Japanese secret codes, why didn’t somebody know what Japan was going to do?

Six investigations during World War II, and two inquiries in the year after the war, including a joint congressional probe, failed to produce satisfactory answers.  Argument continues, and vicious accusations still abound.  Hundreds of books and articles have been written about Pearl Harbor trying to assign responsibility to individuals and/or departments of the American government and military.  For some the subject is extraordinarily bitter and larded with vituperation. 

There are many who allege President Franklin Roosevelt withheld vital intelligence from Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and General Walter C. Short, commander of U.S. Army forces at Pearl Harbor, to allow the attack to occur as a means of branding Japan as an immoral aggressor and to being America into World War II on a time of passionate patriotism.  Roosevelt was at once one of the most loved and most hated of America’s presidents.  Even 50 years later, dozens of authors and scholars are trying to establish that FDR was somehow a traitor to his country and to the U.S. Navy he loved so much. 

And a recently published book alleges that Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew the Japanese carrier fleet was sailing toward Hawaii but, in order to bring the United States into the war, did not share that intelligence with President Roosevelt.

Only now, 50 years later, are historians beginning to understand what really happened on the morning that changed the world.

The harbor tug USS Hoga (YT-146) sprayed water on the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) following the surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

World War II took more than three years of my own life as I served with the U.S. Navy Seabees in the Pacific, and I had often wondered about the Pearl Harbor debacle.  It was not until 1961, however, that a CBS documentary I was writing brought me into contact with Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who commanded U.S. Pacific naval forces during most of the war.  It began a friendship that lasted until the admiral’s death in 1966.

Nimitz had been ordered to Pearl Harbor to replace Admiral Kimmell, who would receive the bulk of the blame for American unpreparedness, just days after the attack.  Roosevelt directed Nimitz to “get the hell out of Pearl and stay there until the war is won.

On Christmas morning, 1941, the U.S. Navy flying boat carrying Nimitz circled Pearl Harbor.  He could see most of the main anchorage, which was covered with black fuel oil and floating debris.  The capsized battleships Oklahoma and Utah were clearly visible, and farther down the harbor he could see Arizona, West Virginia and California sunk in deeper water with only the topsides exposed.  Dozens of small power boats were circling in the harbor, picking up the bloated bodies of dead sailors who had been blown off their ships by Japanese bombs and torpedoes.  There were 2,403 Americans killed in the attack, including 68 civilians.

Nimitz found Kimmell a disheartened man.  A spent bullet had struck Kimmell during the attack, but he had not been wounded.  He told Nimitz he wished the bullet had killed him.

Kimmell returned to the U.S. mainland in what many considered to be disgrace.  Nimitz restored American confidence, projected American forces across the Pacific and accepted the final Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945.

Nimitz’ Recollections

To my surprise, Nimitz did not consider the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor to be a complete disaster; in fact, he believed it to have been a Japanese strategic failure.  He pointed to the inflexibility of the Japanese plan, with its emphasis upon attacking battleships (most of which were later repaired and saw war action) and ignoring Navy storage tanks, which contained 4,500,000 barrels of fuel oil.  Had those been destroyed, the U.S. victory in the Pacific might have been delayed six months or more.

Nimitz also felt Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the Japanese attacking force commander, had missed the opportunity to truly disable American forces by limiting the attack to two air strikes.  Had the Japanese plan been more bold, an invasion and occupation of the Hawaiian Islands might have succeeded.  That would have been a complete disaster for the United States.

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, circa 1942, the last of the Navy’s 5-star admirals. In late March 1965, a week before his meeting with General Wallace M. Greene Jr. at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Nimitz called Goerner in San Francisco. “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese,” Goerner claimed Nimitz told him.

As to Kimmel’s responsibility for American unpreparedness for the air attack, Nimitz would not assign it.  He called it a hazard of command and he indicated it could have happened to anyone, himself included.  He stressed that almost everyone in the U.S. military had believed the Japanese would strike at Malaya and probably Guam and the Philippines.  That was a fatal estimation.  Instead of stretching its imagination — planning for what the Japanese could do — American military intelligence was busy speculating about what the Japanese would do. 

Nimitz felt it might be considered a blessing that Kimmel had not gotten brief notice of the true Japanese intention.  He might have commanded the American fleet to sail for open water, and had the Japanese planes bombed and torpedoed the ships there, they would have been lost forever in deep water and the human casualties would have been much greater.

Nimitz also believed that ignorance and arrogance — both American and Japanese — played major roles in Pearl Harbor.  In 1941, Americans were generally ignorant about Japan and its people, believing America completely superior in leadership, equipment and fighting ability.  The prevalent military and civilian attitude was that Japan would not dare attack America.

At the same time, many in Japan saw America as a weak and divided nation that could never match Japan in spirit and willingness to sacrifice.  Japan believed it could overwhelm American forces early in a war, and that America would ask for peace on Japan’s terms.

Nimitz did not accept any of the theories about a Roosevelt conspiracy to withhold information obtained through secret Japanese codes, but he believed it would be many years, perhaps several decades, before highly classified records dealing with American cryptology activities prior to Pearl Harbor would be released and the full truth known.  When that day arrived, he admonished, historians should pay particular attention to what exactly the British cryptologists knew before the attack. 

Kimmel’s Agony

In the winter of 1967, I journeyed to see Admiral Kimmel at his home in Groton, Connecticut.  It was a cold, snowy day, well matched to his attitude.  He was brought into the small living room in a wheelchair.  His balding head glistened in the overhead light, and he squinted at me as if trying to determine whether I was friend or foe.  At 85, the fire still burned.

Adm. Husband E. Kimmell told Fred Goerner in 1967 that FDR was “a damned traitor” and put Adm. Harold Start, the chief of naval operations in 1941, in the same category.  “Stark picked me up when I returned to D.C. from Pearl Harbor, and he lied about everything,” Kimmel said. 

To call Kimmel bitter is an understatement.  He raged at me.  He called Roosevelt a “damned traitor,” and put Adm. Harold Start, the chief of naval operations in 1941, in the same category.  “Stark picked me up when I returned to D.C. from Pearl Harbor, and he lied about everything,” Kimmel said. 

Kimmel believed that Roosevelt, Stark and Army Chief George Marshall had purposely withheld vital intelligence that would have given him a chance to prepare for the Japanese air attack, and then they had made him the scapegoat, ruining his career and abandoning him to be scorned by history.  He told of vile letters he and his family had received over the years and said lies had been told about him and repeated as truth by the media.  In anecdote, Kimmel’s wife, Dorothy, was supposed to have returned from Hawaii by plane, mumping wounded Americans so her furniture could accompany her.  The truth was, Dorothy Kimmel has not been at Pearl Harbor.  The entire story was fabricated.

For more than two hours, Kimmel wove an intricate scenario of disappearing records, reluctant witnesses, deceit and chicanery.

His voice became a shout as he said, “That’s why I’m still living.  I’m going to be vindicated!  Some people are working on it right now.”

Kimmel died five months later, without the vindication he so wanted.  (End of Part I.)

 

State Dept. 1960 message presages Japan AE denials

Fred Goerner’s first investigative visit to Saipan in June-July 1960 made serious noise in newspapers here and around the world, as the witnesses he interviewed revealed a completely different reality about what happened to Amelia Earhart than the official U.S. propaganda that had been perpetrated and accepted by the masses since 1937 

In July 1960, Goerner wrote in Chapter 15 of The Search for Amelia Earhart,U.S. Congressman J. Arthur Younger, of San Mateo, California, responded to the international headlines generated by the once-obscure newspaper in his district by asking the U.S. State Department to open all its Earhart files to the public, and to request an official statement from Japan.

Goerner continued:

In early August, the Japanese Foreign Office announced through the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo that it had completed an exhaustive investigation “which revealed no basis whatsoever for the rumor the Japanese had executed Amelia Earhart at Saipan.”  It added that all available Japanese records had been searched and all former officers and officials were reached during the investigation.  The report was transmitted to the State Department by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. . . . The State Department also denied it held any classified information on Earhart.

The message above (click for larger view), dated July 15, 1960 and sent to Secretary of State from a State Department official named only Macarthur and titled Embassy Telegram 121, was a prelude to the early August statement referenced by Goerner.  It came from the Japanese Foreign Office and dishonestly and flatly denied Japan’s involvement with the execution of Amelia Earhart.  I don’t have the August message in my files, but this one tells the same story just as convincingly.  

“FONOFF [foreign official] informed us today that preliminary search of Japanese files has uncovered no indications Amelia Earhart was executed by Japanese,” the message begins, all in upper case.  Please click on the image if it’s not easy to read clearly on your monitor.

Fred Goerner with witness Dr. Manuel Aldan on Saipan, June 1960.  Aldan was a dentist who worked on Japanese officers, who told him of the woman flier in custody on Saipan, who they called “Earharto.”  (Courtesy San Francisco Library Special Collections.)

“The Japanese response was what we expected in 1960,” Goerner wrote in Search. . . . “However, the Japanese even then were careful to state Amelia had not been ‘executed at Saipan in 1937.’  Other possibilities were not discussed.” 

This document appeared in the July 1995 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. In an editor’s note Bill Prymak added at the bottom, he wrote, Why would the U.S. Government still be chasing Amelia when they declared her down at sea in 1937?? [sic] Note July 15, 1960 date above.

Ron Reuther’s 1995 tribute to Fred Goerner

Ron Reuther was among the first members of Bill Prymak’s Amelia Earhart Society, and was perhaps the most cerebral and historically erudite of all.  Reuther often provided previously unknown background information that brought new perspectives to heated discussions, and was known to introduce new and enlightening topics that enhanced learning.

Reuther founded the Oakland Aviation Museum in 1981, directed the San Francisco Zoo from 1966 to 1973, and helped to catalog and prepare Fred Goerner’s papers for their placement at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Undated photo of Ron Reuther in front of the Western Aerospace Museum in Oakland, California, where Amelia Earhart’s plane was kept prior to her 1937 flight. Reuther was a founding member of the Amelia Earhart Society and was a committed naturalist who directed the San Francisco and Philadelphia zoos, among others. (Photo by Lea Suzuki, San Francisco Chronicle.)

While director of the San Francisco Zoo, Mr. Reuther took a sickly baby gorilla named Koko into his home and, with his children’s help, nursed her back to health.  A few months later, a Stanford psychology graduate student who had been studying the zoo’s apes asked for permission to work with Koko.  Mr. Reuther agreed and the student, Penny Patterson, began a life’s work teaching American Sign Language to Koko and researching apes’ capacity for language.  

Reuther was also a friend of Fred Goerner, and six months after the groundbreaking author of The Search for Amelia Earhart finally lost his battle to cancer, Reuther penned an eloquent tribute to the late author and researcher, which was published in the July 1995 edition of the Amelia Earhart Newsletter

“Fred Goerner”
by Ronald T. Reuther

May 31, 1995

Amelia Earhart researcher and author Fred Goerner died after a four-year battle with stomach cancer on Sept. 13, 1994 at his home in San Francisco at the age of 69.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1926, he moved to Los Angeles with his family at the age of seven, where his father worked in motion pictures and recording work.  His father, also a cellist, later appeared with Artie Shaw’s Orchestra in the early 1940s.  Fred served three years in the U.S. Navy Seabees during World War II, some of this time on assignment on Pacific islands.  He was a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara majoring in speech and held a master’s degree from the University of Utah.  He taught a year at Westminster College, and then went to work for a Salt Lake City television station.  He spent five years doing newscasts, sports shows, children’s programs and, for a time, hosting late night movies.  In 1960 he was hired by KCBS Radio in San Francisco where one of his assignments was as a staff reporter.  There he wrote and produced KALEIDOSCOPE, a weekly feature dealing with the colorful past and present of San Francisco.  He also wrote and produced other features for the CBS Radio DIMENSION series. Goerner became a familiar voice on KCBS, co-hosting a 1960’s talk show, Spectrum 74 on which he interviewed celebrities from John F. Kennedy to Jayne Mansfield. 

Goerner won a much-coveted Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for his report on a World War II bomber and its crew discovered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  He also became a licensed private pilot.

Earhart Remains? San Francisco: Radio newsman Fred Goerner of KCBS, San Francisco, examines box containing what he believes to be remains of aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator here.  The box was shipped here for examination by Univ. of Calif. anthropologist Prof. Theodore McCown who will attempt to make positive identification.  Goerner found remains in graves on Saipan Island after months of investigation.  (Photo circa November 1961.)

Fred became best known for his exhaustive investigation of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. His book The Search for Amelia Earhart, published in 1966 by Doubleday, became popular and was widely read.  In his book, Fred theorized that Earhart and Noonan were on a secret mission, were captured by the Japanese, and died in captivity on Saipan.  Neither the United States nor the Japanese government ever admitted this was the case, however, and the mystery remains unsolved.  On the day of his death, Fred tape recorded that hebelieved that Amelia Earhart and Noonan were not on a secret mission for the U.S. military, because the military didn’t have the dollars.”  He stated he believes they collected white intelligence. ”  He also believed they landed on one of five small reefs between Howland Island and the northern Phoenix Islands and that it is possible the plane is still there.  Other researchers with access to Fred’s correspondence and records may be able to determine why Fred no longer thought they went down in the Marshall Islands.  It is still possible they were then taken from the Marshall Islands and later to Saipan.

Starting in 1960 with an article that appeared in the San Mateo Times.  Fred became vitally interested in determining what might have happened to Amelia and Noonan and their Lockheed 10-E.  He completed a total of six trips to various Pacific Islands and many trips to other locations tracking down information and to interview literally thousands of people involved in or having information about the famous pilot and navigator, their airplane and its equipment, and their last flight.  This resulted in the publication of The Search for Amelia Earhart and significantly increased the public’s interest in the story.

Fred, a meticulous and thorough researcher and author, continued his normal employment as a broadcaster, but became in demand as a speaker and correspondent on the subject of Amelia’s last flight.  His recall of fact and event was remarkable and obvious when he spoke.  Fred became a friend of Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the American Naval Forces in the Pacific during World War II, as a result of his research in the Earhart affair.

Goerner’s research of the story continued after his book’s publication and up to his death, as he corresponded with people and agencies around the world in pursuit of more information and the truth of the story.  Many later authors were stimulated to initiate their study of and writing about the Earhart/Noonan story by Fred’s book.

Goerner participated in a number of symposia on the subject.  He intended to write a sequel to his book, but never did.  He did write some articles and was frequently interviewed and quoted by other authors and journalists.

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, circa 1942, the last of the Navy’s 5-star admirals. In late March 1965, a week before his meeting with General Wallace M. Greene Jr. at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Nimitz called Goerner in San Francisco.  “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese,” Goerner claimed Nimitz told him. The admiral’s revelation appeared to be a monumental breakthrough for the determined newsman, and is known even to casual observers of the Earhart matter. “After five years of effort, the former commander of U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific was telling me it had not been wasted,” Goerner wrote.

As a result of his experiences with the Earhart story, he became interested in several related subjects: intelligence in general and specifically in the Pacific; the background and history of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941; the disappearance of Lt. Col. Pete Ellis, USMC; FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt); the Japanese and especially their war and activities in the Pacific; the U.S. Navy; the battle of Tarawa in World War II; and in aviation.  He also intended to write books on Pearl Harbor, and on Ellis, but never did.

He did produce and narrate a major documentary film on the U.S. Marines and the battle of Tarawa.  He also recorded and cataloged a major collection of World War II music and songs.

After recurring problems and operations for cancer, his strength ebbed notably in the last year of his life.  On the day of his death he tape recorded his last comments on the Earhart and Noonan mystery.

Fred accumulated an excellent library (some 800 volumes) and frequently underlined and wrote comments in the margins of the books, some very rare, that related to the above subjects.  His voluminous correspondence, many feet of audio taped interviews (20 volumes), 101 other tapes on Earhart/Noonan; and many 16mm films on the same subjects were given to the Admiral Nimitz Museum.

He arranged most fittingly that his material go to the museum in the Nimitz State Park in Fredericksburg, Texas, Admiral Nimitz’s birthplace and hometown.  He had visited and lectured there in the last two years of his life.

His widow, Merla Zellerbach Goerner, completed her husband’s wishes and the world now has the Goerner collection available for study in combination with other related materials in the Nimitz Museum.

Goerner is survived by his widow, a son Lance, stepchildren Gary and Linda Zellerbach, and two grandchildren.  (End of Reuther tribute.)

Ron Reuther passed away on Oct. 4, 2007.  For more on Reuther’s work in Earhart research, please click here.  Goerner’s name and record are ubiquitous in Earhart history since 1960.  Please click here for Goerner-related stories on this blog.

Kanna’s letter among first of GI Saipan witnesses

Today we return for further examination of the remarkable deposit of evidence that American miliary personnel provided to Earhart researchers that solidified the undeniable fact of the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.

In my March 13, 2020 post, Veterans recall seeing Earhart photos on Saipanwe began with Ralph R. Kanna, of Johnson City, New York, assigned to the Army’s 106th Infantry Regiment on Saipan, who was among the first of the former GIs to contact Fred Goerner during his early Saipan investigations.  In 1961, Kanna told Goerner that as platoon sergeant of his intelligence unit on Saipan, his duty was to insure [sic] that we would take as many prisoners as possible for interrogation purposes. 

In this undated photo from the mid-1960s, Fred Goerner holds forth from his perch at KCBS Radio, San Francisco, at the height of his glory as the author of The Search for Amelia Earhart.

The below letter from appeared in the July 1996 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters.  The headline is taken directly from the AES original; editor Bill Prymak’s note that the letter was sent to Fred Goerner in the mid-1960sis incorrect.  Kanna sent the letter sometime in 1961, as noted in Goerner’s 1966 classic, The Search for Amelia Earhart.  Underline emphasis in original, boldface emphasis mine unless noted. 

Dear Mr. Goerner: 

I assume this letter will be of some importance to you.  In it I shall endeavor to state some facts concerning the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

I was Platoon Sergeant of the I & R Platoon of Headquarters Co. of the 106th Infantry, 27th Inf. Division during the assault on Saipan.  It was my duty at the time to insure (sic) that we would take as many prisoners as possible for interrogation purposes.

This photo accompanied the original July 1996 AES Newsletter presentation of Ralph Kanna’s letter to Fred Goerner circa 1961.

On Saipan we captured one particular prisoner near an area designated as Tank Valley.”  This prisoner had in his possession a picture which showed the late Amelia Earhart standing near Japanese aircraft on an airfield.  Assuming the picture of the aircraft to be of value, it was forwarded through channels to the S-2 (Intelligence Officer).   

But more important, upon questioning this prisoner by one of our “Nesei Boys” (interpreters), he stated that this woman was taken prisoner along with a male companion and subsequently he felt that both of them had been executed.

From time to time I have told these facts to associates, and they finally have convinced me to write you.  I obtained your address from an article in the NY Herald Tribune of Nov. 25, 1961.  The article stated your interest in this case.

My memory is not accurate as to dates and times of the actual contact with the prisoner, but I had only three interpreters during my tour as Platoon Sergeant of the Intelligence Section.  They were: Mr. Roy Higashi; Mr. William Nuno; Mr. Richard Moritsugu.  I am sure that if contact could be made with these persons they would corroborate my story.  I assure you I am not a crank.

This picture I spoke of must be somewhere in U.S. government files.  I wish you continued success in your investigation, because I am positive that your assumptions are correct.

Ralph R. Kanna

The names Kanna provided Goerner were three men who had served as interpreters for his unit.  Goerner located only one of them, Richard Moritsugu, in Honolulu, whose voice “quavered and broke” on the phone when Goerner asked about Saipan and Sergeant Kanna.  Moritsugu told Goerner he had no desire to discuss the war.

The late Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps during the World War II, told Fred Goerner in a 1971 letter that Amelia Earhart died on Saipan.

Several other former GIs later contacted Goerner, among them ex-Marines Everette Henson Jr. and Billy Burks, whose stories are well known to those who’ve read Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart, Truth at Last or this blog. 

Later, 26 such individuals reached out to Thomas E. Devine in response to his plea at the close of his 1987 book, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident.  Their stories were recorded in our 2002 book, With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart, and especially Truth at Last, in which I devoted an entire chapter, “Saipan Veterans Come Forward,” to chronicling this phenomenon so unique to the Earhart disappearance, one that the establishment deniers, haters and nay sayers have no coherent response to.

These were just some of the American witnesses to the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.

Goerner’s ’68 appeal to House members, conclusion

We continue with the conclusion of Fred Goerner’s July 1968 presentation to a group of Republican House members, which was, inexplicably, chaired by Kentucky Governor Louie Broady Nunn.

During his four-page presentation, “Crisis in Credibility—Truth in Government,” Goerner succinctly laid out the facts that revealed the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan that he’d found during his four investigative forays to Saipan during the early 1960s, a remarkable story that made The Search for Amelia Earhart a bestseller.  Goerner did his all he could to win the assembled Congressmen, most of whose names remain unknown, to the cause of securing justice for the doomed fliers.  It remains the closest thing to a fair hearing the truth in the Earhart disappearance has ever received by a U.S. government group of any kind. 

We continue with Fred Goerner’s transcript:

With a copy of that memorandum in hand, I polled the members of the Government information Subcommittee, and found shock and disbelief.  Not one of the Congressmen or any member of their staffs had communicated or even intimated such an attitude to the Navy Department.  The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld of Illinois and The Honorable John E. Moss of California, Chairman of the Committee, vowed to get an answer.

Donald Rumsfeld, now 88 and retired, served as Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under Gerald Ford, and again from January 2001 to December 2006 under George W. Bush.  He is both the youngest and the second-oldest person to have served as Secretary of Defense.  He also knew much about Fred Goerner’s work on the Earhart case, and was intimately involved with 9-11, another Big Lie and sacred cow in America’s history.  

Three months ago the matter reached a confrontation in the office of the Secretary of the Navy where apologies were issued to me and to the members of the Government Information Subcommittee and the offending memorandum was withdrawn from the file.  During the process two Navy officers accused each other of being the source of the wretched character assassination.

How and why such a spurious document reached the head of a file being declassified after thirty years for the edification of my fellow journalists still has not been explained.  I am now considering a legal suit to be filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco to determine that fact.

But what of the justice of truth for Miss Earhart and Captain Noonan.  At this moment two high-ranking former military officers and two highly-placed civilians (the names are in the hands of Congressman Rumsfeld) stand ready to reveal the truth if long-standing security restrictions which bind them can be removed.  In spite of this testimony, the Navy Department maintains there are NO restrictions; however, the Navy’s cognizant authority will not issue a letter to that effect to free the men.   Why such deception after thirty-one years?  What possibly about Earhart and Noonan could be that important?

The following quote is from a man who a dozen years ago served in one of the highest and most responsible positions in this country/is top intelligence gathering department: “It was well known within high ranking intelligence circles that Miss Earhart, at the time of her disappearances was under government instructions to fly over and observe suspected Japanese military developments in the islands of the Pacific.  There were some serious blunders made by the Navy in their attempt to provide Miss Earhart with proper guidance following the completion of her observations and the Navy was determined to conceal their participation and failure in this part of the operation.  The concealment of errors is congenital with the armed services and particularly so in connection with any covert type of operation such as this was.  The mission was not specifically for the United States Navy, but rather was ordered at the request of the highest echelons in the government.”

Fred Goerner, right, with the talk show host Art Linkletter, circa 1966, shortly before the establishment media, beginning with Time magazine, turned on Goerner and panned his findings, telling readers, in essence, “Move along, Sheeple, nothing to see here.”

In other words, when the full truth regarding Earhart and Noonan is known, a new view of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the years before Pearl Harbor will emerge.

Should that be classified because of national security?  I believe not.

I would like to ask you to make the obtaining of justice for Miss Earhart and Captain Noonan the business of the Republican Party this year, but I will not be that foolish.  I do ask, however, (The Scripps League of Newspapers joins me) that the Republican platform reflect a constructive concern for the American public’s right to know.

Listen to our youngsters cry, Tell it like it is.”  They have seen our hypocrisies and they want better from us.  There is a great yearning in our country for a clean, emancipating wind of truth.  And the political party that first fully realizes that fact will, in the vernacular, have it made!  Continually one hears today the question, “What has happened to patriotism in America?”

Trust, belief and confidence are at the heart of patriotism, and those American strengths have been severely shaken in recent years by literally hundreds of incidents of news manipulation, deception, double-talking and double-dealing by the executive branch of our government.  The spirit of patriotism must be restored in this country, but it cannot be rekindled by propaganda or simply by telling Americans they should be patriotic because it’s the thing to do.  It will only be regenerated when Americans are convinced their government is making every effort to truthfully inform them in every area of national concern and when they once again believe their national leaders are pursuing with dedication the principles of human behavior upon which the Constitution of The United States was created.

Foul! many will cry.  My God, what about secrets of state and national security.  If we have to tell everything we know, you might as well hand the country over to our enemies.

Nonsense,  is the answer to that.

Two men who knew plenty more than they ever revealed about the fate of Amelia Earhart: Secretary of the Interior Henry Mogenthau, Jr. (left) and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1934. Neither man ever revealed his knowledge nor was called to account for his role in the Earhart disappearance, her death on Saipan or the subsequent cover-up that continues to this day.

The protection of information vital to national security must be maintained.  What must be eliminated is the temptation to use “national security” as a cover to manipulate facts or hide information in the interest of vague political and diplomatic pragmatisms which are intended to protect individuals or organizations from the consequences of responsibility.

What can be done to diminish the gap and improve relations between government and the public?

Increase the purview and investigatory ability and authority of the Foreign Relations and Government  Information Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations of The House of Representatives.

Insure [sic] by legislation that control of that Committee always remains in the hands of the Minority,  so the ability to investigate cannot be frustrated by partisanship.  Plug the loopholes in the Freedom of Information law by establishing a board with a representation of security-cleared journalists who can determine what is and is not being served by the label, national security.

(These suggestions and many more are contained in a new book titled, CRISIS IN CREDIBILITY, written by Bruce Ladd, Jr., of Washington, D.C.  It should be read by every person who seeks public office.)

My appearance before this committee is a clear tribute to the degree of freedom we enjoy in America and I am grateful.  The best way we can protect that freedom is to make sure we are told the truth.  All of it.

Thank you.  (End of Goerner presentation.)

Goerner’s riveting presentation to the lawmakers produced nothing of significance; the sacred cow was sacrosanct, then and now.  None of his suggestions were ever acted upon and the serious allegations he made about the Navy’s key role in Earhart’s alleged secret mission remain unproven but quite possible.  

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