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Author Topic: The Missing 1939 Report  (Read 1117 times)

Ric Gillespie

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The Missing 1939 Report
« on: August 14, 2017, 12:42:07 PM »

Not surprisingly, in the wake of the debunking of the photo featured in the infamous History Channel documentary "Amelia Earhart-The Lost Evidence," defenders of the faith have protested that the other evidence presented in the show makes a compelling case that AE and FN were captured by the Japanese. A recent article in the Finger Lakes Times is a typical summation of the argument.

Among other things, the writer says,
"The July 9 History Channel documentary revealed a secret U.S. government report acknowledging Earhart was a prisoner of the Japanese. Unlike a controversial photo shown in the documentary, this revelation hasn’t been debunked.”

So, what's the deal?  Is there, in fact, a secret U.S. government report acknowledging Earhart was a prisoner of the Japanese?  At 06:32 into the show (for the moment, at least, available on Youtube at https://youtu.be/sCS4s4Io9lc) a National Archives finding aid is shown and a particular paragraph is hi-lighted (screen capture attached).  It says,

4.  Record Group Records of the Office of Chief of Naval Operations
Includes a file on Amelia Earhart among the general correspondence of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
This file consists of 170 pages of correspondence and reports relating to the flight of Amelia Earhart but also includes a report, dated January 7, 1939, on information that Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands."


The 170 pages of correspondence and reports is undoubtedly "Report of Earhart Search by U.S. Navy and U.S.Coast Guard 2-18 July 1937"  NND Project 795039. It's the combined reports of the various ships involved in the search. The supposedly missing 1939 report is a bit of a mystery.  There is no indication that the report was secret nor is there any mention of who wrote the report of how many pages it is.  The finding aid does NOT say that the report "acknowledges that Earhart was a prisoner of the Japanese." It's a report ON INFORMATION that Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands. The report may simply be reporting an allegation or it may be reporting on an investigation that found the allegation to be unfounded. 

The specific January 7, 1939 date is interesting.  It's well before hostilities broke out in December 1941 and long before Flight For Freedom was released in 1943. Earhart is supposedly being held prisoner in the Marshalls, not on Saipan.
This seems to be one of the earliest rumors of "Japanese capture."  Can we find mention of an event, newspaper article, or story that may have sparked it?
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Matt Revington

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 02:07:26 PM »

The report isn't really missing, its about notes found in a bottle washed up on the French Atlantic coast which contain a somewhat garbled account of Earhart  being held at Jaliut , the sender was another supposed prisoner on Jaliut who was later made to be a "stokehold" on a Japanese ship going to Europe and who managed to put out the bottles with the stories in them when he was near the French coast. 
Not very credible but certainly one of the early sources of the Japanese capture stories.

You can see the pages among other documents on this link
https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/earhart
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 03:10:56 PM by Matt Revington »
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Bill Mangus

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2017, 03:26:06 PM »

 :)Matt, you are a wonder!! :)
Bill Mangus
Researcher #3054SP
 
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Karen Hoy

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2017, 04:15:26 PM »

According to Wikipedia (and many other sources), Earhart was officially declared dead on January 5, 1939. Is the proximity in dates just a coincidence?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 10:12:13 AM »

The report isn't really missing, its about notes found in a bottle washed up on the French Atlantic coast which contain a somewhat garbled account of Earhart  being held at Jaliut , the sender was another supposed prisoner on Jaliut who was later made to be a "stokehold" on a Japanese ship going to Europe and who managed to put out the bottles with the stories in them when he was near the French coast. 
Not very credible but certainly one of the early sources of the Japanese capture stories.

Great work Matt.  This is strange:

• An unnamed person puts a letter in a bottle.
• A Mr. Barrat finds the bottle while walking on a French beach.
• Barrat gives the bottle and its contents to the local police who send it to Paris.
• The Paris police apparently give it to the Eastern Section of the French Foreign Office.
• The "writer", who is also unnamed, was "allowed" by the Chief of the Eastern Section to read the papers.
• The "writer" then writes this "Report of Amelia Earhart as Prisoner in the Marshall Islands."
• The "writer" says "This communication will in time be delivered to the American Embassy here."

It's not clear to me whether "this communication" refers to the papers found in the bottle or the writer's report.
My guess is that he means the papers in the bottle. I think the "writer" is an intelligence officer ("908 Intelligence") at the American Embassy in Paris. He classifies it as CONFIDENTIAL (not SECRET) and sends it to Washington where it ends up in Record Group 38 - Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

For the French Foreign Office to send this stuff to the American Embassy seems exactly right. This looks like a preliminary heads-up. The Chief of the Eastern Section calls the intelligence guy at the American Embassy and says, "Stop by and I'll show you something that just came in."

What strikes me as a dead giveaway that this story is a hoax is that the author of the letter in the bottle apparently did not identify himself.  He names his yacht which sunk (he doesn't say why) and even names the Japanese ship on which he is forced to serve but he doesn't give his own name.  He's a prisoner who wants desperately to escape but he doesn't say who he is. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 10:21:39 AM »

According to Wikipedia (and many other sources), Earhart was officially declared dead on January 5, 1939. Is the proximity in dates just a coincidence?

It is an interesting coincidence. The letter in the bottle says , "The hair is Miss Earhart's and will prove the veracity of this story and that I have seen Miss Earhart supposedly dead."
Did the news that Earhart had been declared dead prompt the hoax?  If so, the hoaxer wasted no time in assembling a fairy elaborate hoax.
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Matt Revington

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2017, 10:35:49 AM »

this was discussed in the old tighar forum in march 1999
"The whole story about the "message in a bottle" is told in Chapter 11 of Amelia Earhart, Her Last Flight by Oliver Knaggs, published in 1983. (Other writers, including Goerner in his first book, mentioned it also).

It all sounded very promising - the writer had his facts right, but like most AE survival stories, it never checked out. The original document was lost during the war, while in the custody of the French district police. A second bottle, said to contain a lock of Amelia's hair, was unfortunately never found (goodbye, DNA test!).

You could look it up.
Cam Warren"

Eric de Bisschop who is mentioned in the post was real person who did sail in that region at that time, he does not validate anything about the note or bottle but does indicate that by the spring of 1938 the Japanese were militarizing the islands and becoming less friendly to westerners in the area.   The fact they let him go despite him have passed close to Mili Atoll makes it less likely  that AE  and FN would have been imprisoned/executed for having landed there the previous year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Éric_de_Bisschop

There is a mention in his wiki article about AE but the link to the reference " Amelia and the French connection" is not active.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2017, 10:36:28 AM »

Not very credible but certainly one of the early sources of the Japanese capture stories.

• An unnamed person puts a letter in a bottle.
• A Mr. Barrat finds the bottle while walking on a French beach.

What strikes me as a dead giveaway that this story is a hoax is that the author of the letter in the bottle apparently did not identify himself.  He names his yacht which sunk (he doesn't say why) and even names the Japanese ship on which he is forced to serve but he doesn't give his own name.  He's a prisoner who wants desperately to escape but he doesn't say who he is.
I agree.  I don’t think a note written in French found on the French coast is credible, especially since the author of it is not identified. You would think someone trying to be rescued would identify himself. A real person can be checked on so not identifying is the giveaway.
Even though parts of the 2nd page are torn off it appears to go into why the story lacked credibility according to M. de Bisschop in the report.
 Based on length of text and what is readable, my guess is that it says something like this(my guesses are underlined) “As far as the story about Miss Earhart and other people kept prisoners at Jaluit is concerned, M de Bisschop said that while possible, ____ ( It seems logical that what typically follows the phrase “while possible” would be why it is not likely.) Then the text picks up with “He said that it was much easier to find someone ____ned than to keep them prisoners”

Then it seems to go into rumors of a white man that visited Jaluit.

3971
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2017, 11:30:14 AM »

Although Bisschop may have been interviewed to check on aspects of the bottle note, it seems the reason the report was classified was the information he provided about the Marshalls, totally unrelated to Earhart.
3971
 
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Daniel R. Brown

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2017, 11:42:39 AM »

Trivia for entertainment purposes only:

Mr. Barrat finds the bottle while walking on a French beach.

French "Mme." indicates Barrat was an adult woman.

He ... even names the Japanese ship on which he is forced to serve...

French "Nippon Nom?" more likely translates as "Japanese Name?", indicating the ship's name was unknown to the notewriter.

The three pieces of paper is confusing: the first might have been just a little slip ("God guide this bottle..."), the third had lengthy writing on both sides, but what was the second piece? Used to wrap the lock of hair? Why waste it on that if "I have only a little paper..."? The need for a second bottle is also confusing; reference to the supposed murdered crew as "Maoris" seems kind of quaint; and the complete anonymity of the notewriter is highly suspicious.

Fun to pick apart though.

Dan Brown, #2408
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Missing 1939 Report
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 08:25:51 AM »

New blog posting on this subject https://tighar.org/wordpress/earhart-project/crickets-and-corrections/

We're going to continue to the hold the History Channel's feet to the fire. On July 9th they fed 4.32 million viewers two-hours of horse manure.  Some small percentage of those people will have become aware that the photo was subsequently debunked but the show undoubtedly gave the thoroughly-discredited Japanese Capture theory a new boost.  We can't reach most of the misled viewers but we can reach those who care enough about the Earhart mystery to follow new developments via the TIGHAR website, Facebook page, and this Forum. We won't change anyone's mind by shouting generalities about sloppy research and conspiracy mind-sets.  We need to calmly address specific points of evidence and show how they are not credible.  In other words, we have to do exactly what critics of the Nikumaroro theory do not, and cannot, do.

As time permits, we'll sift fact from fiction about the supposed eyewitness and the high-ranking American officers who expressed opinions about Earhart's fate. 
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