Having ordered the integration of the services and supported the Fahy Committee in the development of acceptable racial programs, President Truman quickly turned the matter over to his subordinates in the Department of Defense, severing White House ties with the problem. Against the recommendations of some of his White House advisers, Truman adjourned the committee, leaving his executive order in effect. "The necessary programs having been adopted," he told Fahy, it was time for the services "to work out in detail the procedures which will complete the steps so carefully initiated by the committee. "1 In effect, the President was guaranteeing the services the freedom to put their own houses in order.
The issue of civil rights, however, was still of vital interest to one of the President's major constituencies. Black voters, recognized as a decisive factor in the November 1948 election, pressed their demands on the victorious President; in particular some of their spokesmen called on the administration to implement fully the program put forth by the Fahy Committee. These demands were being echoed in Congress by a civil rights bloc—for bloc it had now become in the wake of the election that sent Harry Truman back to the White House. No longer the concern of a congressman or two, the cause of the black serviceman was now supported by a group of politicians who, joining with civil rights leaders, pressed the Department of Defense for rapid changes in its racial practices.
The traditionalists in the armed forces also had congressional allies. In all probability these legislators would accept an integrated Navy because it involved relatively few Negroes; they might even tolerate an integrated Air Force because they lacked a proprietary attitude toward this new service; but they would fight to keep the Army segregated because they considered the Army their own.2 Congressional segregationists openly opposed changes in the Army's racial policy only when they thought the time was right. They carefully avoided the subject in the months following publication of the executive order, waiting' bargain until their support became crucial to the success of such vital mid legislation as the renewal of the Selective Service Act and the establishment of universal military training.
At most, Congress played only a minor role in the dramatic changes beginning in the armed forces. Champions of civil rights had little effect on service practices, although these congressmen channeled the complaints of black voted and kept the military traditionalists on the defensive. As for the congressional traditionalists, their support may have helped sustain those on the staff wig resisted racial change within the Army, thus slowing down that service's integration. But the demands of congressional progressives and obstructionists tended to cancel each other out, and in the wake of the Fahy Committee's disbandment the services themselves reemerged as the preeminent factor in the armed forces racial program.
The services regained control by default. Logically, direction of racial reforms in the services should have fallen to the Secretary of Defense. In the first place, the secretary, other administration officials, and the public alike had begun to use the secretary's office as a clearinghouse for reconciling conflicting demands of the services, as an appellate court reviewing decisions of the service secretaries, and as the natural channel of communication between the services and the White House, Congress, and the public. Many racial problems had become interservice in nature, and only the Office of the Secretary of Defense possessed the administrative machinery to deal with such matters. The Personnel Policy Board or, later, the new Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Personnel might well have become the watchdog recommended by the Fahy Committee to oversee the services' progress toward integration, but neither did.
Certainly the Secretary of Defense had other matters pressing for his attention. Secretary Johnson had become the central character in the budgetary conflicts of Truman's second term, and both he and General George C. Marshall, who succeeded him as secretary on 20 September 1950, were suddenly thrust into leadership of the Korean War. In administrative matters, at least, Marshall had to concentrate on boosting the morale of a department torn by internecine budgetary arguments. Integration did not appear to have the same importance to national security as these weighty matters. More to the point, Johnson and Marshall were not social reformers. Whatever their personal attitudes, they were content to let the services set the pace of racial reform. With one notable exception neither man initiated any of the historic racial changes that took place in the armed forces during the early 1950's.
For the most part those racial issues that did involve the Secretary of Defense centered on the status of the Negro in the armed forces in general and were extraneous to the issue of integration. One of the most persistent status problems was classification by race. First posed during the great World War II draft calls, the question of how to determine a serviceman's race. and indeed the related one of who had the right to make such a determination. Remained unanswered five years later. In August 1944 the Selective Service System decided that the definition of a man's race should be left to the man himself. While this solution no doubt pleased racial progressives and certainly simplified the induction process, not to speak of protecting the War Department from a ticklish court review, it still left the services the difficult and important task of designating racial categories into which men could be assigned. As late as April 1949 the Army and the Air Force listed a number of specific racial categories, one of which had to be chosen by the applicant or recruiter—the regulation left the point unclear—to identify the applicant's race. The regulation listed "white, Negro, Indian (referring to American Indian only), Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, East Indian, etc.," and specifically included mulattoes and "others of negroid race or extraction" in the Negro category, caving other men of mixed race to be entered under their predominant race. 3
The regulation was obviously subject to controversy, and in the wake of the President's equality order it is not surprising that some group—a group of Spanish-speaking Americans from southern California, as it turned out—would raise the issue. Specifically, they objected to a practice of Army and Air Force recruiters, who often scratched out "white" and inserted "Mexican" in the applications of Spanish-speaking volunteers. These young men wanted to be integrated into every phase of community life, Congressman Chet Holifield told the Secretary of Defense, and he passed on a warning from his California constituents that "any attempt to forestall this ambition by treating them as a group apart is extremely repellent to them and gives rise to demoralization and hostility."4 If the Department of Defense considered racial information essential, Holifield continued, why not make the determination in a less objectionable manner? He suggested a series of questions concerning the birthplace of the applicant's parents and the language spoken in his home as innocuous possibilities.
Secretary Johnson sent the congressman's complaint to the Personnel Policy Board, which, ignoring the larger considerations posed by Holifield, concentrated on simplifying the department's racial categories to five—Caucasian, Negroid, Mongolian, Indian (American), and Malayan—and making their use uniform throughout the services. The board also adopted the use of inoffensive questions to help determine the applicant's proper race category. Obviously, the board could not abandon racial designations because the Army's quota system, still in effect, depended on this information. Less clear, however, was why the board failed to consider the problem of who should make the racial determination. At any rate, its new list of racial categories, approved by the secretary and published on 11 October, immediately drew complaints from members of the department. 5
NAVY CORPSMAN IN KOREA attends wounded from the 1st Marine Division, 1950. [Photograph not included.]
The secretary's racial adviser, James C. Evans, saw no need for racial designations on departmental forms, but knowing their removal was unlikely in the near future, he concentrated on trying to change the newly revised categories. He explained to the board, obviously unschooled in the nuance of racial slurs, that the word "Negroid" was offensive to many Negroes. Besides, the board's categories made no sense since Indian (American) and Malayan were not comparable to the other three entries listed. Why not, he suggested, settle for the old black, white, yellow, red, and brown designations?6
The Navy, too, objected to the board's categories. After consulting
a Smithsonian ethnologist, the Under Secretary of the Navy suggested that
the board create a sixth category, Polynesian, for use in shipping articles
and in forms for reporting casualties. The Army, also troubled by the categories,
requested they be defined. The categories were meant to provide a uniform
basis for classifying military personnel, The Adjutant General pointed
out, but given the variety and complexity of Army forms—he had discovered
that the Army was using seven separate forms with racial entries, each
with a different procedure for deciding race—uniformity was practically
impossible without a careful delineation of each category.7
Its ruling under attack from the services, the board made a hasty appeal to authority Its chief of staff, Vice Adm. John L. McCrea,8 recommended that the Army and Navy consult Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary for specific definitions of the five racial categories. That source, the admiral explained to the Under Secretary of the Navy, listed Polynesian in the Malayan category, and if the Navy decided to add race to its shipping articles, the five categories should be sufficient. The board, he added, had not meant to encourage additional use of racial information. The Navy had always used the old color categories on its shipping articles forms, the ones, incidentally, favored by Evans, and McCrea thought they generally corresponded to the categories developed by the board.9 The admiral also suggested that the Army use the color system to help clarify the board's categories. He offered some generalizations on specific Army questions: "a) Puerto Ricans are officially Caucasian, unless of Indian or Negro birth; b) Filipinos are Malayan; c) Hawaiians are Malayan; d) Latin Americans are Caucasian or Indian; and e) Indian-Negro and White-Negro mixtures should be classified in accordance with the laws of the states of their birth.''10 The lessons on definition of race so painfully learned during World War II were ignored. Henceforth race was to be determined by a dictionary, a color scheme, and the legal vagaries found in the race laws of the several states.
The board's rulings, unscientific and open to all sorts of legal complications, could only be stopgap measures, and when on 4 January 1950 the Army again requested clarification of the racial categories, the board quickly responded. Although it continued to defend the use of racial categories, it tried to soften the ruling by stating that an applicant's declaration of race should be accepted, subject to "sufficient justification" from the applicant when his declaration created "reason to doubt." It was 5 April before the board's new chairman, J. Thomas Schneider,ll issued a revised directive to this effect.12
The board's decision to accept an applicant's declaration was simply a return to the reasonable and practical method the Selective Service had been using for some time. But adopting the vague qualification "sufficient justification" invited further complaints. When the services finally translated the board's directive into a new regulation, the role of the applicant in deciding his racial identity was practically abolished. In the Army and the Air Force, for example, recruiters had to submit all unresolved identity cases to the highest local commander, whose decision, supposedly based on available documentary evidence and answers to the questions first suggested by Congressman Holifield, was final. Further, the Army and the Air Force decided that "no enlistment would be accomplished" until racial identity was decided to the satisfaction of both the applicant and the service. 13 The Navy adopted a similar procedure when placed the board's directive in effect. 14 The new regulation promised little comfort for young Americans of racially mixed parentage and even less for the services. Contrary to the intent of the Personnel Policy Board, its directive of again placed the burden of deciding an applicant's race, with the concomitant complaints and potential civil suits, back on the services.
At the time the Army did not see this responsibility as a burden and in its quest for uniformity was willing to assume an even greater share of the decision. making in a potentially explosive issue. On 7 August the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, asked the Personnel Policy Board to include Army induction centers in the directive meant originally for recruiting centers only.15 In effect the Army was offering to assume from Selective Service the task of deciding the race of all draftees. The board obtained the necessary agreement from Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, and Selective Service was thus relieved of an onerous task reluctantly acquired in 1944. On 29 August 1950 The Adjutant General ordered induction stations to begin entering the draftee's race in the records.16
The considerable staff activity devoted to definitions of race between 1949 and 1951 added very little to racial harmony or the cause of integration. The simplified racial categories and the regulations determining their application continued to irritate members of America's several minority groups. The ink was hardly dry on the new regulation, for example, before the director of the NAACP's Washington bureau was complaining to Secretary of the Air Force Thomas K. Finletter that the department's five categories were comparatively meaningless and caused unnecessary humiliation for inductees. He wanted racial entries eliminated.17 Finletter explained that racial designations were not used for assignment or administrative purposes but solely for evaluating the integration program and answering questions from the public. His explanation prompted much discussion within the services and correspondence between them and Clarence Mitchell and Walter White of the NAACP. It culminated in a meeting of the service secretaries with the Secretary of Defense on 16 January 1951 at which Finletter reaffirmed his position.18
Another problem involving the Secretary of Defense concerned restrictions placed on the use of black servicemen in certain foreign areas. The problem was not new. Making a distinction in cases where American troops were stationed in a country at the request of the United States government, the services excluded black troops from assignment in some Allied countries during and immediately after World War II.20 The Army, for example, barred the assignment of black units to China (the Chinese government did not object to assignment of individual black soldiers up to 15 percent of any unit's strength), and the Navy removed black messmen from stations in Iceland.2l Although these restrictions did not improve the racial image of the services, they were only a minor inconvenience to military officials since Negroes were for the most part segregated and their placement could be controlled easily. The armed forces continued to exclude black servicemen from certain countries into 1949 under what the Personnel Policy Board called "operating agreements (probably not in writing)" with the State Department.22 But the situation changed radically when some of the services started to integrate. Efficient administration then demanded that black servicemen be interchanged freely among the various duty stations. Even in the case of the still segregated Army the exclusion of Negroes from certain commands further complicated the chronic maldistribution of black soldiers throughout the service.
The interservice and departmental aspects of the problem involved Secretary of Defense Johnson. Following promulgation of his directive on racial equality and at the instigation of his Personnel Policy Board and his assistant, Najeeb Halaby, Johnson asked the Secretary of State for a formal expression of views on the use of black troops in a lengthy list of countries.23 Such an expression was clearly necessary, as Air Force spokesmen pointed out. Informed of the consultations, Assistant Secretary Zuckert asked that an interim policy be formulated) urgent had the problem become in the Air Force where new racial policies and assignments were under way.24
For his part the Secretary of State had no objection to stationing Negroes in any of the listed countries. In fact, Under Secretary James E. Webb assured Johnson, the State Department welcomed the new Defense Department policy of equal treatment and opportunity as a step toward the achievement of the nation's foreign policy objectives. At the same time Webb admitted that there were certain countries—he listed specifically Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and British possessions in the Caribbean—where local attitudes might affect the morale of black troops and their relations with the in. habitants. The State Department, therefore, preferred advance warning when the services planned to assign Negroes to these countries so that it might consult the host governments and reduce "possible complications" to a minimum.25
This policy definition did not end the matter. In the first place the State Department decided not to restrict its list of excepted areas to the six mentioned. While it had no objection to the assignment of individual Negroes or nonsegregated units to Panama, the department informally advised the Army in December 1949, it did interpose grave objections to the assignment of black units.26 Accordingly, only individual Negroes were assigned to temporary units in the Panama Command.27
Yet for several reasons, the services were uneasy about the situation. The Director of Marine Corps Personnel, for example, feared that since in the bulk reassignment of marines enlisted men were transferred by rank and military occupational specialties only, a black marine might be assigned to an excepted area by oversight. Yet the corps was reluctant to change the system.28 An Air Force objection was more pointed. General Edwards worried that the restrictions were becoming public knowledge and would probably cause adverse criticism of the Air Force. He wanted the State Department to negotiate with the countries concerned to lift the restrictions or at least to establish a clear-cut, defensible policy. Secretary Symington discussed the matter with Secretary of Defense Johnson, and Halaby, knowing Deputy Under Secretary of State Dean Rusk's particular interest in having men assigned without regard to race, agreed to take the matter up with Rusk.29 Secretary of the Navy Francis P Matthews reminded Johnson that black servicemen already numbered among the thousands of Navy man assigned to four of the six areas mentioned, and if the system continued these men would periodically and routinely be replaced with other black sailors. Should the Navy, he wanted to know, withdraw these Negroes? Given the ''possible unfavorable reaction" to their withdrawal, the Navy wanted to keep Negroes in these areas in approximately their present numbers.30 Both the Fahy Committee and the Personnel Policy Board made it clear that they too wanted black servicemen retained wherever they were currently assigned.3l
Maj. Gen. James H. Burns, Secretary Johnson's assistant for foreign military affairs, put the matter to the State Department, and James Evans followed up by discussing it with Rusk. Reassured by these consultations, Secretary Johnson issued a more definitive policy statement for the services on 5 April explaining that "the Department of State endorses the policy of freely assigning Negro personnel or Negro or non-segregated units to any part of the world to which US forces are sent; it is prepared to support the desires of the Department of Defense in this respect."32 Nevertheless, since certain governments had from time to time indicated an unwillingness to accept black servicemen, Johnson directed the services to inform him in advance when black troops were to be dispatched to countries where no blacks were then stationed so that host countries might be consulted. This new statement produced immediate reaction in the services. Citing a change in policy, the Air Force issued directives opening all overseas assignments except Iceland to Negroes. After an extended discussion on the assignment of black troops to the Trieste (TRUST) area, the Army followed suit.33
25TH DIVISION TROOPS UNLOAD TRUCKS AND EQUIPMENT at Sasebo Railway Station, Japan, for transport to Korea, 1950. [Photograph not included.]
Yet the problem refused to go away, largely because the services continued to limit foreign assignment of black personnel, particularly in attache offices, military assistance advisory groups, and military missions. The Army's G-3, for example, concluded in 1949 that, while the race of an individual was not a factor in determining eligibility for a mission assignment, the attitude of certain countries (he was referring to certain Latin American countries) made it advisable to inform the host country of the race of the prospective applicant. For a host country to reject a Negro was undesirable, he concluded, but for a Negro to be assigned to a country that did not welcome him would be embarrassing to both countries.34 When the chief of the military mission in Turkey asked the Army staff in 1951 to reconsider assigning black soldiers to Turkey because of the attitude of the Turks, the Army canceled the assignment. 35
Congress was slow to see that changes were gradually transforming the armed services. In its special preelection session, the Eightieth Congress ignored the recently issued Truman order on racial equality just as it ignored the President's admonition to enact a general civil rights program. But when the new Eighty-first Congress met in January 1949 the subjects of armed forces integration, the Truman order, and the Fahy Committee all began to receive attention. Debate on race in the services occurred frequently in both houses. Each side appealed to constitutional and legal principles to support its case, but the discussions might well have remained a philosophical debate if the draft law had not come up for renewal in 1950. The debate focused mostly on an amendment proposed by Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia that would allow inductees and enlistees, upon their written declaration of intent, to serve in a unit manned exclusively by members of their own race. Russell had made this proposal once before, but because it seemed of little consequence to the still largely segregated services of 1948 it was ignored. Now in the wake of the executive order and the Fahy Committee Report, the amendment came to sudden prominence. And when Russell succeeded in discharging the draft bill with his amendment from the Senate Armed Forces Committee with the members' unanimous approval, civil rights supporters quickly jumped to the attack. Even before the bill was formally introduced on the floor, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon told his colleagues that the Russell amendment conflicted with the stated policy of the ministration as well as with sound Republican principles. He cited the waste manpower the amendment would bring about and reminded his colleagues the international criticism the armed forces had endured in the past because undemocratic social practices.42
When debate began on the amendment. Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts was one of the first to rise in opposition. While confessing sympathy for the states' rights philosophy that recognized the different customs of various sections of the nation, he branded the Russell amendment unnecessary, provocative, and unworkable, and suggested Congress leave the services alone in this matter. To support his views he read into the record portions of the Fahy Committee Report, which represented, he emphasized, the judgment of image impartial civilians appointed by the President, another civilian.43
Discussion of the Russell amendment continued with opponents and defenders raising the issues of military efficiency, legality, and principles of equality and states' rights. In the end the amendment was defeated 45 to 27 with 24 not voting, a close vote if one considers that the abstentions could have changed the outcome.44 A similar amendment, this time introduced by Conk pressman Arthur Winstead of Mississippi, was also defeated in 1951.
The Russell amendment was the high point of the congressional fight' against armed forces integration. During the next year the integrationists track, their turn, their barrage of questions and demands aimed at obtaining from the.. Secretary of Defense additional reforms in the services. On balance, these congressmen were no more effective than the segregationists. Secretary Johnson had; obviously adopted a hands-off policy on integration.45 Certainly he openly discouraged further public and congressional investigations of the department's racial practices. When the Committee Against Jim Crow sought to investigate racial conditions in the European Command in December 1949. Johnson told A. Philip Randolph and Grant Reynolds that he could not provide them with military transport, and he closed the discussion by referring the civil rights leaders to the Army's new special regulation on equal opportunity published in January 1950.46
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROSENBERG talks with men of the 140th Medium Tank Battalion during a Far East tour. [Photograph not included.]
Johnson employed much the same technique when Congressman Jacob K. Javits of New York, who with several other legislators had become interested in the joint congressional-citizen commission proposed by the Committee Against Jim Crow, introduced a resolution in the House calling for a complete investigation into the racial practices and policies of the services by a select House committee.47 Johnson tried to convince Chairman Adolph J. Sabath of the House Committee on Rules that the new service policies promised equal treatment and opportunity, again using the new Army regulation to demonstrate how these policies were being implemented.48 Once more he succeeded in diverting the integrationists. The Javits resolution came to naught, and although that congressman still harbored some reservations on racial progress in the Army, he nevertheless reprinted an article from Our World magazine in the Congressional Record in April 1950 that outlined "the very good progress" being made by the Secretary of Defense in the racial field.49 Javits would have no reason to suspect, but the "very good progress" he spoke of had not issued from the secretary's office. For all practical purposes, Johnson's involvement in civil rights in the armed forces ended with his battle with the Fahy Committee. Certainly in the months after the committee was disbanded he did nothing to push for integration and allowed the subject of civil rights to languish.
Departmental interest in racial affairs quickened noticeably when General Marshall, Johnson's successor, appointed the brilliant labor relations and manpower expert Anna M. Rosenberg as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Personnel.50 Rosenberg had served on both the Manpower Consulting Committee of the Army and Navy Munitions Board and the War Manpower Commission and toward the end of the war in the European theater as a consultant to General Eisenhower, who recommended her to Marshall for the new position.51 She was encouraged by the secretary to take independent control of the department's manpower affairs, including racial matters.52 That she was well acquainted with integration leaders and sympathetic to their objectives is attested by her correspondence with them. "Dear Anna," Senator Hubert H. Humphrey wrote in March 1951, voicing confidence in her attitude toward segregation, "I know I speak for many in the Senate when I say that your presence with the Department of Defense is most reassuring."53
Still, to bring about effective integration of the services would take more than a positive attitude, and Rosenberg faced a delicate situation. She had to reassure integrationists that the new racial policy would be enforced by urging the sometimes reluctant services to take further steps toward eliminating discrimination. At the same time she had to promote integration and avoid provoking the segregationists in Congress to retaliate by blocking other defense legislation. The bill for universal military training was especially important to the department and to push for its passage was her primary assignment. It is not surprising, therefore, that she accomplished little in the way of specific racial reform during the first year of the Korean War.
Secretary Rosenberg took it upon herself to meet with legislators interested in civil rights to outline the department's current progress and future plans for guaranteeing equal treatment for black servicemen. She also arranged for her assistants and Brig. Gen. B. M. McFayden, the Army's Deputy G-1, to brief officials of the various civil rights organizations on the same subject.54 She had congressional complaints and proposals speedily investigated, and demanded from the services periodic progress reports which she issued to legislators who backed civil rights. 55
Rosenberg and her departmental colleagues were less forthcoming in some other areas of civil rights, Reflecting a desire to placate segregationist forces in Congress. they did little, for example, to promote federal protection of servicemen in cases of racial violence outside the military reservation. The NAACP had been urging the passage of such legislation for many years, and in March lest Clarence Mitchell called Rosenberg's attention to the mistreatment of black servicemen and their families suffered at the hands of policemen and civilians in communities surrounding some military bases.56 At times, Walter White charged, these humiliations and abuses by civilians were condoned by military police. He warned that such treatment "can only succeed in adversely affecting the morale of Negro troops ... and hamper efforts to secure fullhearted support of the American Negro for the Government's military and foreign policy program."57
The civil rights leaders had at least some congressional support for their demand. Congressman Abraham J. Multer of New York called on the Armed Services Committee to include in the 1950 extension of the Selective Service Act an amendment making attacks on uniformed men and women and discrimination against them by public officials and in public places of recreation and interstate travel federal offenses.58 Focusing on a different aspect of the problem, Senator Humphrey introduced an amendment to the Senate version of the bill to protect servicemen detained by public authority against civil violence or punishment by extra legal forces. Both amendments were tabled before final vote on the bill.59
The matter came up again in the next Congress when Senator Herbert H. Lehman of New York offered a similar amendment to the universal military training bill.60 Commenting for his department, Secretary Marshall admitted that defense officials had been supporting such legislation since 1943 when Stimson asked for help in protecting servicemen in the civilian community. But Marshall was against linking the measure to the training bill, which, he explained to Congressman Franck R. Havenner of California, was of such fundamental importance that its passage should not be endangered by consideration of extraneous issues. He wanted the problem of federal protection considered as a separate piece of legislation. 61
But evidently not just yet, for when the NAACP's Mitchell, referring to Marshall's letter to Congressman Havenner, asked Rosenberg to press separate legislation, he was told that since final congressional action was still pending on the universal military training and reserve programs it was not auspicious moment for action on a federal protection bill.62 The department's reluctance to act in the matter obviously involved more than concern with them fate of universal military training. Summing up department policy on 1 June the day after the training bill passed the House, Rosenberg explained that the Department of Defense would not itself propose any legislation to extend to servicemen the protection afforded "civilian employees" of the federal government but would support such a proposal if it came from "any other source "63 This limitation was further defined by Rosenberg's colleagues in the Defense Department. On 19 June the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legal and Legislative Affairs, Daniel K. Edwards, rejected Mitchell's request for help in preparing the language of a bill to protect black servicemen. Mitchell had explained that discussions with congressional leaders convinced the NAACP that chances for such legislation were favorable, but the Defense Department's Assistant General Counsel declared the department did not ordinarily act "as a drafting service for outside agencies."64 In fact, effective legislation to protect servicemen off military bases was more than a decade away.
Despite her concern over possible congressional opposition, Rosenberg achieved one important reform during her first year in office. For years the Army's demand for a parity of enlistment standards had been opposed by the Navy and the Air Force and had once been rejected by Secretary Forrestal. Now Rosenberg was able to convince Marshall and the armed services committees that in times of manpower shortages the services suffered a serious imbalance when each failed to get its fair share of recruits from the various so-called mental categories.65 Her assistant, Ralph P. Sollat, prepared a program for her incorporating Roy K. Davenport's specific suggestions. The program would allow volunteer enlistments to continue but would require all the services to give a uniform entrance test to both volunteers and draftees. (Actually, rather than develop a completely new entrance test, the other services eventually adopted the Army's, which was renamed the Armed Forces Qualification Test.) Sollat also devised an arrangement whereby each service had to recruit men in each of the four mental categories in accordance with an established quota. Manpower experts agreed that this program offered the best chance to distribute manpower equally among the services. Approved by Secretary Marshall on 10 April 1951 under the title Qualitative Distribution of Military Manpower Program, it quickly changed the intellectual composition of the services by obliging the Navy and Air Force to share responsibility with the Army for the training and employment of less gifted inductees. For the remainder of the Korean War, for Sample. each of the services, not just the Army, had to take 24 percent of its Anew recruits from category IV, the low-scoring group. This figure was later . reduced to 18 percent and finally in 1958 to 12 percent.66
The Navy and the Air Force had always insisted their high minimum entrance requirements were designed to maintain the good quality of their recruits and had nothing to do with race. Roy Davenport believed otherwise and read into their standards an intent to exclude all but a few Negroes. Rosenberg saw in the new qualitative distribution program not only the chance to upgrade the Army but also a way of "making sure that the other services had their proper share of Negroes."67 Because so many Negroes scored below average in achievement tests and therefore made up a large percentage of the men in category IV, the new program served Rosenberg's double purpose. Even after discounting the influence of other factors, statistics suggest that the imposition of the qualitative distribution program operated just as Rosenberg and the Fahy Committee before her had predicted. (Table 3)
TABLE 3—PERCENTAGE OF BLACK ENLISTED MEN AND WOMEN
|Service||1 July 1949||1 July 1954||1 July 1956|
The program had yet another consequence: it destroyed the Army's best argument for the reimposition of the racial quota. Upset over the steadily rising number of black enlistments in the early months of the Korean War, the Army's G-1 had pressed Secretary Pace in October 1950, and again five months later with G-3 concurrence, to reinstate a ceiling on black enlistments. Assistant Secretary Earl D. Johnson returned the request "without action," noting that the new qualitative distribution program would produce a "more equitable" solution 68 The President's agreement with Secretary Gray about reimposing a quota notwithstanding, it was highly unlikely that the Army could have done so without returning to the White House for permission, and when in May 1951 the Army staff renewed its demand, Pace considered asking the White House for a quota on Negroes in category IV. After consulting with Rosenberg on the long-term effects of qualitative distribution of manpower, however, Pace agreed to drop the matter.69
Executive Order 9981 passed its third anniversary in July 1951 with little having happened in the Office of the Secretary of Defense to lift the hearts of the champions of integration. The race issues with which the Secretary of Defense concerned himself in these years—the definition of race, the status of black servicemen overseas, even the parity of enlistment standards—while no doubt important in the long run to the status of the Negro in the armed forces, had little to do with the immediate problem of segregation. Secretary Johnson had done nothing to enforce the executive order in the Army and his successor achieved little more. Willing to let the services set the pace of reform, neither secretary substantially changed the armed forces' racial practices. The integration process that began in those years was initiated, appropriately enough perhaps, by the services themselves.
1Ltr, Truman to Fahy, 6 Jul 50, FC file.
2Interv, Nichols with Gen Wade H. Haislip, 1953, in Nichols Collection, Telephone Interv, author with Haislip, 18 Mar 71; Interv, author with Martin Blumenson, 8 Jan 68. All in CMH files.
3SR615-105-1 (AFR 39-9), 15 Apr 49.
4Ltr, Holifield to SecDef,10 Aug 49, SD 291.2 Negroes.
5Memo, Dep Dir, Personnel Policy Bd Staff, for Chmn, PPs,13 Sep 49, sub:Project Summary—Change of Nomenclature on Enlistment Forms as Pertains to "Race"' Entries (M-63); Memo, Chmn, PPB, for SA et al.,11 Oct 49, sub: Policy Regarding Race Entries on Enlistment Contracts and Shipping Articles; both in PPB 291.2.
6Memo, Evans for Chmn, PPB, 25 NOV 49, sub: Racial Designation and Terminology, SD 291.2; Interv. Author with Evans, 22 Jul 71, CMH files.
7Memo, Head, Strength and Statistics Br, BuPers, for Head, Policy Control Br, BuPers, 27 Oct 49, sub: Policy Regarding Race Entries, Pers 25—EL, BuPersRecs; Memo, Under SecNav for Chmn, PPB, 25 Nov 49, sub: Policy Regarding "Race" Entries on Enlistment Contracts and Shipping Articles, GenRecsNav; DF, D/P&A to TAG, 18 Oct 49, same sub, with CMT 2, TAG to D/P&A, 2 Nov 49, copy in AG 291.2 (11 Oct 49).
8Admiral McCrea succeeded General Lanham as director of the board's staff in 1949.
9Memo, Dir, PPB Staff, for Under SecNav, 7 Dec 49, sub: Policy Regarding "Race" Entries on Enlistment contracts and Shipping Articles, PPB 291.2.
10Idem for Administrative Asst to SA, 8 Dec 49, sub: Policy Regarding "Race" Entries on Enlistment Contracts and Shipping Articles, OSA 291.2.
11Schneider succeeded Thomas Reid as chairman on 2 February 1950.
12Memo, Chmn, PPB, for SA et al., 5 Apr 50, sub: Policy Regarding "Race" on Enlistment Contracts and Shipping Articles, PPB 291.2.
13SR 615-105-1 (AFR 39-9), 6 Sep 50. BuPers Cir Ltr 84-50, 1 Jun 50.
14BuPersCirLtr84-50, 1 Jun 50.
15Memo, Dep Asst CS/G-I for Dep Dir of Staff, Mil Pers, PPB, 7 Aug 50, sub: "Race" Entries on Induction Records, PPB 291.2. The Director, Personnel and Administration, was redesignated the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, in the 1950 reorganization of the Army staff; see Hewes, From Root to McNamara.
16Memo, Dir, PPB Staff, for Dep ACS, G-1, 29 Aug 50, sub: "Race" Entries on Induction Records. PP13 291.2 (27 Aug 50); Memo, Chief, Class and Standards Br, G-1, for TAG, 6 Sep 50, same sub, G-1 291.2 (11 Oct 49); Ltr, Dir Selective Service, to Actg Dir of Production Management, Munitions Bd, 27 Nov 50, copy in G-1 291.2; G-1 Memo for Red, attached to G-1 OF to TAG, 28 Dec 50, same sub, G-1 291.2 (11 Oct 50).
17Ltr, Clarence Mitchell to SecAF Thomas K. Finletter, 13 Dec 50, SecAF files. Finletter had become secretary on 24 April 1950.
18Ltr, SecAF to Mitchell, Dir, Washington Bureau, NAACP, 3 Jan 51, and Ltr, Mitchell to Asst SecAF, 8 Jan 51, both in SecAF files; Memo, Edward T. Dickinson, Asst to Joint Secys, OSD, for SA et al., 17 Jan 51, OSD files.
19Memo, Dep Asst SecAF (Program Management) for SecAF, 18 Jan 51, SecAF files; Memo, Col Robin B. Pape, Asst to Dir, PPB Staff, for Chmn, PPB, 4 May 51, sub: Racial Entries on Enlistment Records, PPB 291.2.
20Memo, Secy, Cmte on Negro Policies, for ASW, 26 Sep 42, sub: Digest of War Department Policy Pertaining to Negro Military Personnel, ASW 291.2 Negro Troops.
21Msg, CG, China Theater, to War Department, 16 Mar 46, G-1 291.2 (1 Jan-31 Mar 46); Memo Vice CNO for Chief of NavPers, 1 Jul 42, sub: Colored Personnel on Duty in Iceland—Replacement of, P-14, GenRecsNav.
22Memo, Thomas R. Reid for Najeeb Halaby, Dir, Office of Foreign Military Affairs, OSD, 7 Jul 49, sub: Foreign Assignments of Negro Personnel, PPB 291.2 (7 Jul 49).
23Ltr, SecDef to Secy of State, 14 Sep 49, CD 30-1-4, SecDef files.
24Memo, Asst SecAF for Chmn, PPB, 16 Sep 49, sub: Assignment of Negroes to Overseas Areas; Memo. Dir of Staff, PPB, for Asst SecAF, 28 Sep 49, same sub; Memo, Asst SecAF for Chmn, PPB, 12 Oct 49, same sub. All in SecAF files.
25Ltr, James E. Webb to Louis Johnson, 17 Oct 49; Memo, SecDef for SA et al., 27 Oct 49; both in CD 30-1-4, SecDef files.
26DF, D/PA to D/OT, 1 Mar 50, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower; Ltr, D/PA for Maj Gen Ray E. Porter, CG, USACARIB, 9 Feb S0; both in CSGPA 291.2.
27G-l Summary Sheet, 12 Apt 50, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower, CSGPA 291.2.
28Memo, Dir of Personnel, USMC, for Dir, Div of Plans and Policies, 22 Dec 49, Hist Div. HQMC.
29Memo, Dep CS/Pers for SecAF, 28 Dec 49; Memo, Clarence H. Osthagen, Asst to SecAF, for Asst SecAF, 6 Jan 50; Red of Telecon, Halaby with Zuckert, 10 Jan 50. All in SecAF files.
30Memo, SecNav for SecDef, 3 Jan 50, sub: Foreign Assignment of Negro Personnel, CD 30-1-4, SecDef files.
31Memo, NEH (Halaby) for Maj Gen J.H. Burns, 10 Feb 50, attached to Ltr, Burns to Rusk, 13 Feb 50, CD 30-1-4, SecDef files.
32Memo, SecDef for SA et al., 5 Apt 50, sub: Foreign Assignment of Negro Personnel; Ltr, Dean Rusk to Ma; Gen Burns, 1 Mar 50; Memo, Burns for SecDef, 3 Apt 50. All in CD 30-1-4, SecDef files.
33DF, ACS, G—1, for CSA, 3 Dec 52, sub: Restricted Distribution of Negro Personnel; ibid., 30 Mar 53, sub: Assignment of Negro Personnel to TRUST; both in CS 291.2 Negroes. See also Memo, ACS, G-1, for TAG, 24 Apr 53, sub: Assignment of Negro Personnel, AG 291.2 (13 Apr 53); Memo, ASecAF for SecDef, 28 Apr 50, sub: Foreign Assignment of Negro Personnel, CD 30-1-4, SecDef files.
34G-3 Summary Sheet, 15 Nov 49, sub: Assignment of Negro Personnel, G-3 291.2.
35Msg, Chief, JAMMAT, Ankara, Turkey, to DA, personal for the G-1, 14 Apt 51; Ltr, Brig Gen W. E. Dunkelberg to Maj Gen William H. Arnold, Chief, JAMMAT, 24 Apr. 51; idem to Brig Gen John B. Murphy. G-1 Sec. EUCOM, 24 Apr 51. All in G-1291.2.
36Jack Greenberg, Race Relations and American Law (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), pp 359-60.
37Memo, Dep ASA for ASD/ISA, 6 Feb 57, sub: Racial Assignment Restrictions, OSA 291.2 Ethiopia
38Ltr, Dep Asst Secy of State for Personnel to Dep ASD (MP&R), 24 May 57, OASD (MP&R) 291.2.
39Memo, Dep ASD for ASA (MP&R) et al., 24 Jun 57, ASD (MP&R) 291.2.
40Memo, James C. Evans for Paul Hopper, ISA, 29 Oct 58; Memo for Red, Exec to Civilian Asst, OSD, 21 Jan 60, sub:MAAG's and Missions, copies of both in CMH.
41See AFM 35-llL, Appendix M, 14 Dec 60, sub: Assignment Restrictions; Memo, USMC IG for Dir of Pers, MC, 31 Aug 62, sub: Problem Area at Marine Barracks, Argentia, Hist Div. HQMC. See also New York Times, December 5, 1959 and November 16, 17, and 18, 1971.
42Congressional Record, 81st Cong., 2d sees., vol. 96, p. 8412.
43Ibid., pp. 8973. 9073.
44Ibid., p. 9074; see also Memo, Rear Adm H. A. Houser, OSD Legis Liaison, for ASD Rosenberg, 17 Mar 51, sub:Winstead Anti-nonsegregation Amendment, SD 291.2.
45See Ltrs, Rep. Kenneth B. Keating to Johnson, 19 Dec 49; SecDef to Keating, 20 Jan 50; idem to Hubert H. Humphrey, 24 Mar 50; Humphrey to SecDef, 28 Feb 50; Rep. Jacob Javits to Johnson, 22 Dec 49; Draft Ltr, SecDef to Javits, 16 Jan 50 (not sent); Memos, Leva for Johnson, 12 and 17 Jan 50. All in SD 291 2 Negroes.
46Ltrs, Johnson to Reynolds, 23 Dec 49; Reynolds to Johnson, 13 Jan 50; Reynolds and Randolph to Johnson, 15 Jan 50; Johnson to Reynolds and Randolph, 6 Feb 50. The committee Against Jim Crow was particularly upset with Johnson's assistants, Leva and Evans; see Ltrs, Reynolds to Johnson, 19 Dec 49; Diva to Niles, 7 Feb 50; Reynolds to Evans, 13 Jan 50. All in SD 291.2.
47Ltr, Javits to Johnson, 22 Dec 49; Press Release, Jacob K. Javits, 12 Jan 50; Ltr, Javits to Johnson, 24 Jan 50. Other legislators expressed interest in the joint commission idea; see Ltrs, Saltonstall to Johnson, 11 Jan 50; Sen. William Langer to Johnson, 29 Oct 49; Henry C. Lodge to Johnson, 30 Nov 49. All in SD 291.2. See also Ltr, Javits to author, with attachments, 28 Oct 71, CMH files.
48Ltr, SecDef to Chmn, Cmte on Rules, 21 Mar 50, SD 291.2 (21 Mar 50).
49Congressional Record, 81st Cong., 2d sees., pp. A3267-6X; Memo, Leva for Johnson, 9 May 50; Ltr, Johnson to Javits, 18 May 50, both in SecDef files. See also Ltr, Javits to author, 28 Oct 71.
50Carl W. Borklund, Men of the Pentagon (New York: Praeger, 1966), pp. 121-24; Ltr, Anna Rosenberg Hoffman to author, 23 Sep 71; Interv, author with James C. Evans, 13 Sep 71; both in CMH files.
51Immediately before her appointment as the manpower assistant, Rosenberg was a public member of the Committee on Mobilization Policy of the National Security Resources Board and a special consultant on manpower problems to the chairman of the board, Stuart Symington.
52Interv, author with Davenport, 17 Oct 71.
53Ltr, Humphrey to Rosenberg, 7 Mar 51, SD 291.2.
54See Memo for Rcd, Maj M. O. Becker, G-1, 13 Mar 51, G-1 291.2; Ltrs, Granger to Leva, 25 Jan 51, Leva to Granger, 13 Feb 51, Clarence Mitchell, NAACP, to Rosenberg, 26 Mar 51, last three in SD 291.2.
55See Ltrs, Humphrey to Rosenberg, 10 Mar 51; Rosenberg to Humphrey, 26 Mar 51; Javits to SecDef, 10 Mar 51; Marshall to Javits, 30 Mar 51; Memo, Leva for Rosenberg, 23 Mar 51; Ltrs, Rosenberg to Douglas, Humphrey, Fenton, Kilgore, Lehman, and Javits, 26 Jun 51, Memo, Rosenberg for SA, 16 May 51, sub: Private Lionel E. Bolin. All in SD 291.2. See also DF, ACS, Gel, to CSA, 6 Apr 51, sub: Summary of Advances in Utilization Of Negro Manpower, CS 291.2 Negroes.
56Ltr, Mitchell to Rosenberg, 26 Mar 51, SD 29 1.2.
57Telgs, White to Marshall and SA, 9 Jan 51, copy in SD 291.2.
58Congressional Record, 81st Cong., 2d Sess., vol. 96, p. A888.
59Ibid., p. 904. For the Army's opposition to these proposals, see Memo ACofS, G-l, for Cots, 12 Apr 50, sub: Department of the Army Policies re Segregation and Utilization or Negro Manpower, G-1 291.2 (5 Apr 50).
60Memo for Rcd, Maj M. O. Seeker, G-1, 13 Mar 51, G-1 291. 2.
61Ltr, SecDef to Havenner, 27 Mar 51, SecDef files.
62Ltr, Mitchell to Rosenberg, 16 Apr 51; Ltr, Rosenberg to Mitchell, 9 May 51; both in SD 291.2.
63Memo, ASD (MP&R) for ASD (Legal and Legis Affairs), 14 fun 51, SD 291. 1; PL 51, 82d Congress.
64Ltr, Mitchell, Dir, Washington Br, NAACP, to Dir of Industrial Relations, DOD, 25 May 51; Ltr, ASD (Legal and Legis Affairs) to Mitchell, 19 Jun 51; Memo, Asst Gen Counsel, OSD, for ASD (Legal and Legis Affairs 6), 19 Jun 51. All in SD 291.2.
65Ltr, Anna Rosenberg Hoffman to author, 23 Sep 71.
66BuPers Study, Pers A 1224 (probably Jan 59), GenRecsNav.
67Interv, author with Davenport, 17 Oct 71; and Ltr, Anna Rosenberg Hoffman to author, 23 Sep 71.
68G-1 Summary Sheet with incl, 13 Mar 51, sub: Negro Strength in the Army; Memo, ASA for CofS, 13 Apt 51, same sub; both in CS 291.2 Negroes (13 Mar 51).
69Memo, Actg CofS for SA, 31 May 51, sub: Present Overstrength in Segregated Units; G-l Summary Sheet for CofS, 26 May 51, same sub; Draft Memo, Frank Pace, Jr., for President; Memo, ASA for SA, I Jul 51. All in G—1291.2 (26 May 51).
Page updated 1 May 2001