[. . .] during US Naval History Symposium.
I then asked:
"As a particular point I would like to ask this: in the Truman library there is a file of messages going between the White House Map Room and President Truman in Potsdam in July, 1945.
"One of these messages appears to have been an intercept of a Japanese diplomatic message. Because on 13th July, 1945 a top secret message was transmitted to Truman advising him that by special courier an Ultra intercept of a Japanese diplomatic message was being sent to him urgently.
"However, this Ultra message is not in the Truman library files, so my question is, what was the message?"
A gentleman sitting in the front row to my right answered immediately that he was himself one of the cryptanalysts whose job it was to decode the Purple messages. He clearly remembered the message in question and remembered decoding it and sending it to the White House and wondering what action was taken on it. He never heard. It was a message to the effect that the Japanese were trying to surrender.
Then Admiral Layton, sitting in the front row to my left, answered that he knew even more details and he quoted that telegram from memory. The gist of it was that the Purple messages from the Japanese ambassador in Moscow to Tokyo had been intercepted and decoded in which he reported his attempts to get the Russian government to mediate. The Russian government had assured Japan that they would mediate between Japan and the United States (but of course they never did).
These revelations produced a buzz of interest in the rest of the audience, about seven hundred people. Sitting about ten rows behind me Mr. Cunliffe of the National Archives Modern Military Records Division then announced that in fact about three hundred pages of the MAGIC intercepts relating to the period June to August, 1945 have been de-classified in the Magic intelligence summaries in the National Archives holdings. "The specific Magic intercepts concerned are at present being reviewed for declassification."
He then, after the meeting broke up, approached me privately and said that he would ensure that I was informed when that declassification review had been completed.