The Second Japanese Army Cipher Conference 1944

Last Updated: 16 Mar 2017
On the anniversary of the second Japanese Army Cypher Conference our Historian Tony reflects on who attended and what they were served for dinner.

The second Japanese Army Communications Conference (JAC) held in Arlington Hall in Virginia, in March 1944 was significant not just because it codified sharing arrangements which would be carried through into what eventually became the UKUSA Five Eyes partnership, but because so many of the architects of post-war signals intelligence came together: William Friedman and Solomon Kullback from the US; John Tiltman and "Jumbo" Travis from the UK; Ed Drake from Canada.

Attendees at 2nd Japanese Army Cipher Conference, Arlington Hall Station March 1944:

1 Col J H Tiltman (GCCS);  2 Col W Preston Corderman (SSA);  3 Cdr E Travis (GCCS);  4 MGen H C Ingles (US Army Comms);  5 BrigGen E Stoner (US Army Comms);  6 Col C W Clarke (USA G-2);  7 Mr W F Friedman (SSA) 8 Cdr J N Wenger (OP-20-G); 9 LtCol E M Drake (DU) ;  10 (LtCol Earle F Cook (SSA) ;  11  LtCol B DeF Bayly (BCS);  12 Maj P Lewis (GCCS);  13 LtCol S Kullback (SSA); 14 Joe Hooper (GCCS);  15 Capt J R Mackay (DU);  16  Col Frank Bullock (CBI);  17 Col Telford Taylor (USA G-2 rep in UK); 18  LtCol A Sinkov (CBB);  19 Col P Marr-Johnson (WEC);  20 Maj G G Stevens (GCCS LO  in SSA);  21 Capt S R I Clark (CBB);  22 Maj J J Martan (CBI);  23 LtCol E Crankshaw (GCCS);  24 S/Ldr C A Ronning (DU);  25 Maj D W Cameron (DU);  26 Maj R H Pick (DU);  27 Col H M O'Connor (Senior GCCS LO), Washington;  28 Maj W M Allen (GCCS);  29 Maj William Perdue (USA G-2) 30 Col S P Collins  (SSA);  31 Cdr C A Ford (OP-20-G);  32 Cdr W A Wright (USCG));  33 Tony Kendrick (GCCS intelligence in XU);  34 Lt F E Maloney (SSA) ;  35 LtCol H McD Brown (SSA)

Others present at the Conference, not in photo:

LtCol S Clark (CBB);  Maj K J Maidment (GCCS rep in BSC NY), LtCol W M Allen (WEC), LtCol H Sayer (GCCS); US Army - LtCol J E Slack, C H Judson, J J Morton


GC&CS = Government Code & Cypher School, British Sigint centre;  SSA = Signal Security Agency, US Army Sigint centre;  OP-20-G = USN Sigint centre; DU = Discrimination (& Examination) Unit, Canadian Sigint Bureau;  CBI = China Burma India, US Sigint Delhi centre; CBB = Combined Bureau Brisbane, joint USArmy /Australian Sigint Centre; WEC = Wireless Experimental Centre, UK Delhi Sigint centre;  XU = Examination Unit, Canadian cryptanalytic unit.

I'm not concerned today with the weighty affairs discussed at the 2nd JAC, but with the social event which accompanied it.  A copy of the menu for the Conference dinner gives an insight into the culinary and entertainment treats offered to delegates.

I have been to many conferences and have enjoyed many conference dinners, but I have never been served green turtle soup, with or without sherry, and I cannot remember cauliflower balls au gratin ever gracing the table.  As for the entertainment: was "GI Fun" a stand-up comedian?  What did the exclusively male and mainly military audience make of the "Jitterbug Couple" and their swing quartet?  

We will probably never know, unless somebody's private diary surfaces, but it is interesting to note that somebody thought that "The Power of Concentration" would be an appropriate variety turn at the greatest gathering of Five Eyes cryptologists during the Second World War.