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FECB

The British Far East Combined Bureau (FECB) was set up in Hong Kong in 1934. It came into existence with the need to exploit the interception station built by the Royal Navy there to monitor Japanese secret communications and the interest in decoding the messages by the British Government Code and Cipher School. It was considered vulnerable to the Japanese, who had a substantial presence in China, and was moved to Singapore in 1939. It was moved again, to Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Among its most important staff was Lieutenant Commander Eric Nave (Nave, Eric) of the Australian Navy. He was involved in the breaking of JN-25, the Japanese naval code, late in 1939. Messages from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Yamamoto, Isoruko), the commander-in-chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, to Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (Nagumo, Chuichi) were intercepted and decoded by FECB in November and December 1941, and it is said that they were concealed from the Americans lest British ability to read JN-25 was compromised and also to allow the Japanese attack to force the USA into the war. If hard evidence to support this theory exists it is, unsurprisingly, unavailable.

See also: Espionage; JN-25; Nagumo,Chuichi; Nave, Eric; Pearl Harbor; Yamamoto, Isoroku