A Congressional report produced in 1946 contained a section, a minority report that censured President Roosevelt as bearing responsibility for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some of the arguments presented there seem to echo or elaborate the point that Donald Trump was attempting to make when he cast blame on President Bush for the September 11 attacks. The relevant section from the Pearl Harbor report is contained below:
INVESTIGATION OF THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
REPORT OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE INVESTIGATION
OF THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
The President of the United States was responsible for the failure
to enforce continuous, efficient, and appropriate cooperation among the
Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Staff,
and the Chief of Naval Operations, in evaluating information and
dispatching clear and positive orders to the Hawaiian commanders as
events indicated the growing imminence of war; for the Constitution and
laws of the United States vested in the President full power, as Chief
Executive and Commander in Chief, to compel such cooperation and vested
this power in him alone with a view to establishing his responsibility
to the people of the United States.
As to the power, and therefore of necessity, the responsibility of the
President in relation to the chain of events leading to the catastrophe
at Pearl Harbor, there can be no doubt. The terms of the Constitution
and the laws in this respect are clear beyond all cavil.
The Constitution vests in the President the whole and indivisible
executive power subject to provisions for the approval of appointments
and treaties by the Senate.
The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,
appoints high officers, civil and military.
He is Chief Magistrate in all civil affairs, including those related to
the maintenance and operation of the Military and Naval Establishments.
Under the law he conducts all diplomatic negotiations on behalf the
United States, assigning to his appointee, the Secretary of State, such
duties connected therewith as he sees fit, always subject to his own
instructions and authorizations.
Under the Constitution the President is Commander in Chief of the armed
forces of the United States, and with the approval of the Senate he
appoints all high military and naval officers. He assigns them to their
duties in his discretion except in the case of the Chief Staff and Chief
of Naval Operations-these appointments must approved by the Senate.
And why did the framers of the Constitution vest these immense powers in
one magistrate-not in a directory or a single official checked by a
council, as was proposed in the Convention of 1787?
The answer to this question is to be found in No. 70 of The
Federalist. The purpose of establishing a single rather than a plural
executive was to assure “energy in the Executive,” “a due dependence the
people,” and “a due responsibility.” A plural Executive, it is there
argued, “tends to deprive the people of the two greatest securities they
can have for the faithful exercise of any delegated power, first, the
restraints of public opinion; and, secondly, the opportunity of
discovering with facility and clearness the misconduct persons they
The acts of Congress providing for the organization, operations, powers,
and duties of the Military Establishments under the President
particularized the powers and duties of the President in relation them;
in brief, they empowered him to issue orders and instructions the civil
Secretaries and also directly to the Chief of Staff and the Chief of
Such are the terms of the Constitution and the laws relative to the
From March 4, 1933, to December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was
President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United
States and in him was vested all Executive powers under the Constitution
and the laws.
See President Roosevelt’s failure to enforce cooperation between high military authorities in Washington