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Archives treasure #2: Pearl Harbor telegrams

by Brian Zylstra | December 21st, 2012

Pearl Harbor telegram to Gov. Langlie

Dec. 7 marked the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor and other American military installations nearby. A day after the attack in Hawaii, the United States declared war on Japan.

Starting just hours following the Pearl Harbor attack, Washington Gov. Arthur Langlie received a series of telegrams from the U.S. War Department. These telegrams are the second Archives treasure for December. Archives treasures is a monthly blog feature in which we highlight some of the rare, interesting or cool items or collections found in the State Archives.  Readers are polled for their favorite “treasure.”

The first telegram was marked received at 5:11 p.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. It suggested that Langlie “consider preparing the State Guard or other forces at your disposal for cooperation with federal troops operating under the command of the corps area in which your state is located with a view to protecting all structures plants and facilities essential to national defense.”

The second telegram, marked received at 8:38 a.m. on Dec. 8, lists the types of installations vital to the national defense and asks that they be protected: port  facilities, power plants, water plants including dams, munitions plants and important highway bridges.

The third telegram,  marked received at  9:11 a.m. on Dec. 8, requested that “immediate steps be taken to assign properly authorized police officers to all known landing fields for aircraft for protection of field facilities and to hold such aircraft on the fields unless they are aircraft engaged in scheduled air transportation…”

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