Chapter VII
Officers For Negro Troops

The War Department from the beginning of mobilization recognized that the effectiveness of troops and troop units depended in large measure on the quality of their leadership. Negro units, in the quest for competent leadership, had to compete with a general need for officers that grew with great rapidity in the expanding Army. As the size of the Army increased, the ratio of officers to men increased even more rapidly. New and larger headquarters and units, new administrative, technical, and supervisory positions, and new planning and control functions generally absorbed larger proportions of officers than enlisted men. At the same time the pool of available officer material shrank with greater rapidity than the pool of available manpower. Too often the men in demand for administrative, control, and technical duties were likely to be the type of men so urgently needed for troop leadership in units. In any event, winnowing out the potential leaders from millions of anonymous men was not an easy task.

The War Department had also recognized in its prewar planning that Negro units needed more officers than corresponding white units. The plan of 1937 had visualized the provision of 50 percent more officers for Negro units than tables of organization (T/O's) called for. The extra officers were expected to provide the needed counterbalance to the lack of military background and civilian educational and vocational experience which handicapped so many Negro soldiers. Extra officers would make possible closer supervision and greater individual attention, thereby shortening the time needed to prepare a unit for combat. The Army discovered, not long after it began to grow, that the 50 percent overstrength policy, however useful it might be, was not going to work. There simply were not enough officers to go around. Negro units, like all other units, were going to be lucky if they received even their proper table of organization allotments. In the summer of 1942, when there was a serious general shortage of officers, some Negro units had one officer only and in some case one officer was commanding two or more units.1 In the general shortage, no master what policies were laid down on the desirability of excellent officers with, as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney phrased it, "common sense and appreciation of the racial questions which confront the Army," 2 Negro units received too few officers for the

best results and too few officers who met the desired requirements for service with them. This last was especially true since it was difficult to describe with exactness the kind of officer best fitted for service with Negro troops in terms which did not coincide with the definition of a good officer for any situation.
Initial Procurement Policies
When mobilization began in 1940 the Army had certain definite, if vaguely expressed, notions of what it wanted in the way of leadership for Negro troops. World War I and earlier testimony had indicated that white officers were preferable to Negro officers. The white officers chosen should have some acquaintance with Negroes; therefore it was often assumed that, since few individuals from other parts of the country had come into frequent contact with Negroes, they should be Southerners. It was assumed, too, that Negro officers would have to be used, but that their numbers should be kept to a minimum. Since most commentators believed that few Negroes possessed potential combat leadership abilities, they held that Negro officers should be assigned primarily to overhead and service units. Further refinements of qualifications were not prescribed for either Negro or for white officers with Negro troops. The subtler forms of cultural and psychological qualifications, often speculated upon by writers and students of the question, were not officially endorsed by the War Department. The provision of officers for Negro units therefore revolved, from the beginning, about two conflicting ideas: that the best officers for Negro units should be white and that sufficient Negro officers must be supplied to satisfy the Negro public and enlisted men that race was not a barrier to advancement of Negro men in a wartime army.
A considered statement of the problem from the point of view of a World War I commander was that of Col. Malvern-Hill Barnum, a brigade commander of the 92d Division. Colonel Barnum thought that while most Negroes, because of educational deficiencies, would have to be employed in line of communications work, combatant units should be organized in the infantry, cavalry, and artillery and these units should be officered by Negroes to the extent to which competent men could be found. He wrote:
The colored race in our Country is making great advances in education and in commercial and professional channels. It would not be in accordance with the policy of our Country to close to the colored man the door of opportunity to become officers, and to rise as high as their merit will permit ....
The greatest difficulty to be overcome [in World War I officer training] was the natural lack of aggressiveness on the part of the colored man. It could not for a moment be expected that a race which had for two hundred years, or more, been kept in a subordinate position would suddenly manifest aggressiveness such as was required in the desperate fighting which occurred (luring the last year or two of this war.
Some may say that colored men are not competent to become officers of the Army. This statement is entirely too sweeping, for there is no doubt but that we had many colored officers who were thoroughly competent, the fact that we had a good many incompetent ones should not be allowed to give rise to the feeling that all were incompetent.3

The point of view taken by Colonel Barnum was approximately the one that governed the provision of officers to Negro units in World War II, although the experience of World War I, supported by extracts of testimony, was generally summed up in statements like "It is generally conceded that Negro officers serving in the American Expeditionary Force during the World War were failures as combat officers." 4
The War Department under policies in effect in the summer of 1940 planned initially to provide white officers for all units which were not Reserve or National Guard. Additional units to which Negro officers could be assigned were to be designated from time to time as Negro officers became available from the officer candidate schools. Negro chaplains could be used with any Negro unit and medical officers could be assigned to designated units. Warrant officers in Negro units were to be Negroes. Negroes were to command other Negroes only.
None of these original policy rulings was strictly held to. General Davis, for example, was assigned in 1941 to command the 4th Cavalry Brigade, which contained the two Negro cavalry regiments. Both regiments, because they were Regular Army units, had an all-white complement of officers. The 25th Infantry, early in 1942, was assigned to the gad Division. The assignment of Negro junior officers to this Regular regiment was authorized to keep the unit parallel in composition to the other regiments of the division.5 Variant policies, as in the case of warrant officers, developed out of the original ones as the supply of available officers and the numbers and types of Negro units changed. Despite the announced policy on warrant officers, repeated requests for clarification were made. Could Negro warrant officers be appointed to units with all white officers? All Negro officers? White and Negro officers? 6 The War Department sought to clarify the matter by reminding assignment agencies that all warrant officers authorized for Negro units should be Negroes.7 Alternative requests continued to come in, one of them from a tank battalion that wanted white warrant officers for its existing vacancies and an authorization for nine additional white warrant officers.8 Ground Forces refused to consider the request because other Negro tank battalions would want the same arrangement; besides, it violated current War Department policy that requirements for Negro and white units should be exactly alike.9 "If we ever placed a note on a T/O differentiating in any way between white and colored," wrote an officer well indoctrinated in War Department policies, "we should all go to Hell." 10 Nevertheless, a compromise was arranged which allowed second lieutenants to be assigned to warrant officer vacancies "where it is definitely determined that negro warrant officers of

appropriate qualifications" are not available. In this event, white second lieutenants were to be assigned to units having all white officers and Negro second lieutenants to units with Negro junior officers.11 Many Negro units already had and continued to retain white warrant officers despite the official ruling in the matter.
White Officers and Their Leadership Dilemma
From the beginning the majority of all officers with Negro units were white. This situation was not only in accordance with the long established Army belief that white officers possessed better leadership qualifications than Negroes and that they were preferred by Negro troops but was also a result of the initial shortage of Negro officers. In the absence of available Negro officers, even in the units for which they were authorized, white officers had to be used. Initially, providing officer leadership for Negro troops was primarily a problem of selecting white officers who were both qualified for and compatible with their assignments.
The presence of white officers was accepted as natural by a great many Negro troops. Such acceptance did not prevent the development of strained relationships having their roots in racial attitudes. The fine line between good and poor officer-enlisted men relations, a line drawn finer in a rapidly expanding wartime Army by the presence of militarily inexperienced officers as well as untrained enlisted men accustomed to the relatively unrestricted civilian mode of living, buckled dangerously when soldiers could attribute any and every unpleasant task or disappointment to a possible racially-based antipathy on the part of their commanders. For, while many Negro enlisted men accepted the presence of white officers as natural and inevitable, they were not at all certain, in the face of the many signs to the contrary, that their white officers accepted the presence of Negro enlisted men in the Army as either natural, inevitable, or even desirable.
Many commanders recognized that the major problem of white officers serving with Negro troops was one of attitude as much as positive professional qualifications. "Negro troops are not a problem," one battalion commander told an assembly of officers. "The minute you make them a Problem you take away their self-respect and self-confidence. They must be handled with the right attitude of mind and with a spirit of fair play. They have a rich heritage and a historic background and have the right to expect treatment as human beings and comrades in the cause for which we are fighting." 12 The hurdles to be overcome by the white officer in gaining the confidence of his Negro enlisted men were many. He had to watch his language as well as his actions to avoid the wholesale-and, sometimes, apparently sudden-alienation of an entire command. "The use of profane language shows ill-breeding, conduct unbecoming

an officer and a gentleman," the same commander cautioned his audience. "The word `Nigger' or any abusive language or any reference tending to lower the standards of a soldier is Out." 13
At the conclusion of a letter describing his techniques of leadership, the commander of an antiaircraft regiment already overseas summarized his findings with a sense of discovery:
It is funny. I have been thinking over what is in this letter and it applies, all of it, to white troops as well as colored. I guess it is merely the details that count. Nevertheless, I am sincere in my admiration for these troops and I say that with full knowledge, that if I get a chance to take them into battle my own life and all that I have to live for will depend on them. 1 am supremely confident of their ability. There is not one iota of doubt in my mind that you people in Washington are building a mountain out of a molehill when you speak of "The Negro Problem in the Army." My God, these men are human and only waiting to be led. They are actually eager to do what is right. That sounds as though I am a negrophile whereas I am not. I am only a realist wanting to see the army make full use of this vast reservoir of man power. It must be used.14
Men who in all their lives had never considered it necessary, in their relation with Negroes, to practice the ordinary courtesies in human relations which make the civilized life of complex societies tolerable to its individual members were not always able to reach suddenly the conclusion that "these men are human" and only waiting, like other men, to be led. That the Army had a genuine need of the manpower which Negroes represented posed a difficult problem in re-evaluation for many officers.
A great deal depended upon the wisdom and approach of commander,, The officers of a given unit usually reflected the approach taken by the commander of that unit, and, sometimes, by the commander of the post on which the unit was located or of the higher unit to which the organization was assigned or attached. Of three Negro engineer regiments activated at the same time on the same post from soldiers of the same military experience-all of them drawn from six converted battalions-one was markedly different from the other two. "Quite by accident we had commanding officers who placed their best officers where they would be most effective," a white junior officer of this regiment explained. "A more liberal attitude on the part of the command in the regiment resulted in our being generally accepted as the best of the three units." 15 Since the men, training, and external environment were the same in the three cases, it was a fair assumption that the differences among the units reflected differences in the qualities of leadership.
Of two similar antiaircraft gun battalions arriving at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, from Camp Davis, North Carolina, in 1944 a parallel observation was made. One battalion was commanded by a young, "vigorous, hard-driving, enthusiastic" officer, "interested in his career and determined to do his best."

The officers under him, white and Negro, were well qualified technically and were good troop leaders, with the Negro officers comparing favorably with the white in knowledge of technique; they were "interested, working hard, gentlemanly . . . racially sensitive but apparently philosophical and following example set by Battalion Commander." The sister battalion was commanded by an older officer "with practically no interest or enthusiasm in his job." The white officers under him were "average, nothing brilliant, not well selected, and reflecting Battalion Commander's lack 'of enthusiasm in their work . . . [the] Negro officers not bad, not good, just run of the mine." Eight months later, when the first battalion was seen on Saipan by the same observer it had deteriorated somewhat, though it was still a "passably effective" unit. "Its current deficiencies may be summed up very quickly by saying that it has lost its vigorous battalion commander who furnished the spark and driving energy," the observer reported.16
The War Department discovered that a balance had to be maintained between the professional and the personal qualifications of the leader of Negro troops if only because the officer found himself in what was essentially-for him-an artificial situation. Balanced leadership required that the officer give no hint at any time that he had allowed a personal conception of racial differences to affect his own judgment in any given situation.
A notable example of the effect of the belief that actions of commanders stemmed from racial notions occurred in 1943 in one of the Negro divisions then in training within the continental limits of the United States. A rumor, fostered if not founded in the distrust which the mere of the division felt toward their commander, grew up and persisted for several months. It built itself into a fantastic structure, involving the FBI and the White House, culminating in the assertion that the soldiers of the division were planning to assassinate their commanding general. In June 1943, Mrs. Roosevelt forwarded to the War Department a letter sent to her that quoted the commanding general as having said, on 2o May, in a meeting of the division mess sergeants and supply officers, that " `Nigger' soldiers will not eat spinach and if given a Chicken Salad with Celery as part of its ingredients the `Nigger' soldiers will eat the chicken and leave the celery. I have thousands of `Nigger' soldiers in my division who will not eat this and will not eat that. I once had a Nigger Mess Sergeant who explained to me why the men would not eat celery." 17  The version of the general's remarks sometimes differed, with carrots substituted for spinach, but the story spread widely. A second story, emanating from the same division, ran: A jeep turned over and injured a Negro soldier. The commanding general was reported to have inquired, "Did it hurt my truck?" By the fall of 1943, an Indianapolis beauty parlor operator who had visited the post concerned was reporting that there was a plot among the Negro soldiers to kill their general and that he had already been shot at a num-

ber of times. The motivation? The general's contempt for his men as symbolized in the language and content of these rumored remarks.18 The fact that these rumors, however untruthful, could spread so widely, endure several months, and receive credence among many persons indicated the severity of the strain existing between white officers and their Negro soldiers in many situations.
The white officer assigned to all but the best located and commanded Negro units had many forms of annoyance which he would not have had if he had been assigned to duty with a white unit. His satisfaction in his assignment was not increased by this knowledge. Extra duties and extra tensions increased his resentment toward his Negro unit and its men. One officer reported that in Texas "Prejudice was even applied to white officers serving with Negro troops, as though they had become tainted. One of the very first questions asked by a civilian on meeting an Army officer was, `What type of troops do you have?' "19 The officer with Negro troops was often made to feel that his was a secondary role and that, as an officer, he was not contributing as fully and seriously to the conduct of the war as those men who were assigned to white units. At times, officers assigned to Negro troops felt that they were being penalized or that they were not considered fully competent. A commander, attempting to determine the attitudes of his officers, most of them recent graduates of OCS serving in their initial assignments, reported that "the consensus was that each of them had been disappointed on learning of his assignment to a Negro unit. Several of them stated that they had failed to measure up and thought that they were assigned to inferior service." 20
Sometimes, special additional duties were allotted to officers with Negro troops. Even when these duties were normal ones which might have been required from time to time of officers in any unit, the reaction was that they were especially connected with duty with Negro troops. In one post, most of the colored units were along one street; and for reasons known only to those in command, every unit had to assign an officer and three enlisted men to patrol this street between the hours of 6:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. This meant that as many as six jeeps and command cars could be seen roving up and down about three-quarters of a mile of road, sometimes within a hundred feet of each other. The officers felt the duty ridiculous and unnecessary; the men quite naturally knew that it was for no other reason than that someone was afraid of an outbreak.21
In this same post, two officers were assigned each night to ride buses to town forty miles away; others were assigned to stand at the door of the USO club in a nearby town. In another unit, the officers were required to make block purchases of railroad tickets at the nearby town for men going on pass to discourage queues of Negro soldiers in the railroad station. Having purchased the tickets, the officers then stood at the door of the post buses on pass days, handing each man his proper ticket as he boarded the

bus.22 Any officer, regardless of his personal view, finding himself in a situation where extra-military duties of an onerous nature consumed much of his time, would prefer to be assigned to a unit where such duties were not required. Aside from these additional annoyances, the greater physical and mental labor required for duty with Negro troops, large numbers of whom were deficient in general as well as in specific educational background and in technical skills, frequently produced a situation in which the chances of maintaining proper leadership relations between officers and men were reduced to near zero. Many officers showed their resentment to their assignment to Negro units openly, in ways unmistakable to the men serving under them. In these instances the gulf between them and their men was greatly deepened.
Commanders of large units attempted to select and weed out officers unsuited for duty with Negro troops. During the course of its existence, many white officers, from lieutenants to lieutenant colonels, of the 92d Division were relieved at the request of the division for "unsuitability for duty with colored troops." 23 Beginning while its officer cadre was in training at Fort Benning, the gad Division attempted to weed out officers exhibiting "evidence of carelessness and irresponsibility" and lack of tact which would make them unsuitable for duty with the Negro division.24 One corps commander, whose practice was to send for commanders of Negro units coming into his corps to interview them personally, had found it necessary, in a number of instances, to change the officers of the units in an attempt to improve leadership.25 In sixteen months, one nondivisional regimental commander had 254 changes in officer personnel, most of them for "inability to cope with existing conditions." 26 Investigations of complaints of racial discrimination within units and of unit disorders often resulted in recommendations that one or more officers be relieved or transferred.27
Since the "unsuitability" of officers might become apparent, or develop, weeks or months after assignment, it was not always possible to ward off in advance officer sources of friction.28 Nor was it always possible to tell when an officer, by deliberately demonstrating "unsuitability" for an onerous duty, might be using a simple means to acquire a transfer to a unit which he would prefer. An officer of one of the Negro divisions, writing to a friend asking if he could get him transferred from the division, complained that things had "taken a change for the worse, very much worse!" There would be no more cadres, no more schools, no more transfers, "which means we are all stuck here in the division. It was bad enough train-

ing these colored, but no one had the idea we'd go overseas with them. That would be sheer suicide. These troops are not ready and never will be ready for or capable of combat. They are for the most part afraid and the few smart ones have no desire to fight . . . . I have to get out of this outfit, but can't unless someone asks for me . . . . Every white officer here is writing, phoning, and sending wires to everyone he knows. We are all trying to get out." 29 The division, when queried, had categorical explanations for the desire of white officers for transfers. The isolation of the post at which the division was stationed; the prospect of six months more training before going overseas which faced officers who were anxious to get into combat; the difficulty and slowness of training enlisted men, 86 percent of whom were in AGCT Classes IV and V; and the "natural preference" of white officers for service with white troops were cited as reasons for dissatisfaction. Yet, the division said, there were relatively few requests for relief on the basis of inability to accept Negro troops.30 But when requests were made on the basis of objections to service with Negro troops, they were often completely explicit. An officer requesting relief from the 92d Division gave as his reasons:
Incompatibility with colored people to which the colored soldier has proven no exception. Having been raised in Montana which is remote from areas of race prejudice I had accepted my association with the colored personnel with an open mind. In fact, upon a previous association incident to a four year residence in Tennessee an initial sympathy changed to a feeling of disgust towards practically all colored individuals, because of their practically universal worthlessness and ineffectiveness. I can still feel a strong admiration for those who demonstrate real competence; a feeling even accentuated by contrast to relative achievement. Furthermore, to those who deserve recognition for sustained meritorious performance I have no feeling of aversion. Although I can still find such interest in a few specific individuals, for the rank and file I can feel only disgust for their inherent slovenliness, and their extreme indolence, indifference and frequent subtle insolence. From personal observation I have concluded that they are so completely indolent and indifferent as to fail to take simple measures and safeguards in the interest of self preservation, even under pressures applied by their white officers. I am likewise convinced that with few exceptions colored officers with whom I have come into contact are thoroughly incompetent, and for the most part are to be viewed in a light little different from the enlisted men.
The officer continued, saying that he had asked not to be assigned to the division and that, after being so assigned, he found that he could not sleep at night and that he was lying awake with worrying and with headaches. He asked to be transferred to a replacement depot.,31 The request was approved by both the regimental commander and the division, the division adjutant adding defensively that " "the prejudice outlined was not stated until Major --- was informed that his assignment was for duty with troops and not staff duty." 32
Commanders of Negro troops had long since discovered that no value lay in the retention of an officer with these attitudes, for troops would sense them almost immediately. The commander

of one training center with a large proportion of Negro troops explained ". . . we all get discouraged, and get a rather defeatist attitude ourselves [when trying to develop NCO's from men of AGCT IV and V ratings. The negroes are extremely sensitive almost to the point of clairvoyance in sensing such an attitude on the part of their superiors." 33
White Officers: The Search for Standards
In 1942, after the recognition of a serious morale problem among Negro troops, a special inspector reported to the War Department that there was a tendency to assign white officers of mediocre caliber to Negro units and that leadership in many units was therefore deficient. In many instances commanders "failed completely to appreciate the problems which their units presented in that particular locality, and had taken no steps to solve them," the Deputy Chief of Staff said when directing a critical examination of unit practices. He emphasized that officers of high professional qualities, "particularly [of] judgment and common sense, tact, initiative, and leadership" were desired in Negro units. Officers who are "better trained in a military way," but "without the knack" of serving with Negroes "not only fail to accomplish the task but create the conditions which breed trouble." 34
The commands had little to go on in surveying their unit officers other than age and efficiency reports. Army Ground Forces examined the records of all Regular Army officers assigned to Negro units. Without exception these officers were rated superior or excellent. In many cases their ratings were higher than those of officers in new white divisions. But their ratings did not reflect their ability to command Negro troops, for, as Army Ground Forces pointed out, the number of officers in the Army with experience in "handling colored troops" was practically negligible.35 Special inspections of Negro units to determine the fitness of their officers were ordered in some commands. Most of the officers in the Negro units surveyed were young, inexperienced graduates of officer candidate schools-as were most of the junior officers which the Army was using. 36 It was difficult to say whether or not they would develop into satisfactory company officers. This uncertainty militated against their wholesale removal.
The Deputy Chief of Staff's letter on professional qualifications did have an important secondary effect. It fixed the notion in the minds of commanders and staff agencies that the War Department desired special consideration for Negro units in the assignment of competent officers. . But where were they to come from? Commanders were unwilling to give up their best officers to supply the needs of Negro units. Sometimes orders transferring white officers to Negro units, disregarding the effect that such phrasing might have on the officers' approach to their new permanent assign-

ment, indicated that the transfer was pursuant to the letter "Professional Qualifications of Officers Assigned to Negro Troops." 37 Some major commands resorted to the arbitrary ruling that no officer with a rating of less than "excellent" was to be assigned to a Negro unit.38 The War Department followed, later, with a similar blanket ruling for all Negro units undergoing training in the United States.39 Reports were rendered on certain officers with Negro units who fell below the desired standards, but many headquarters reported that most of these officers could be brought up to standard in a short time.
Some observers felt that an all-round high efficiency rating was not nearly so desirable as excellence in the leadership column of the efficiency report.40 Others felt that at least a measure of improvement would be obtained if all white officers assigned to Negro units had at least served an apprenticeship in white units. Adding the errors of green troop leaders to the difficulties of Negro units could then be avoided. In any event, it became obvious that the formal efficiency rating, especially if earned with white troops, was no guarantee of good leadership for Negro units. Army Service Forces suggested to the Chief of Staff that since the information available from the officer's Qualification Card was "entirely inadequate" for the purposes of assignment to Negro units, personal interviews and letters from present commanders be substituted to determine whether or not officers for assignment had:
a. A primary requirement of demonstrated leadership ability in a command assignment.
b. Mature judgment and common sense.
c. Even disposition and patience.
d. Demonstrated stability under pressure and ability to handle emergency situations.
e. Ability to organize and foster athletic and recreational programs.41
These criteria were approved by the War Department on 18 October 1944 and the requirement of an excellent efficiency rating was rescinded.42 ASF had also recommended that officers who did not meet these requirements be relieved, but the War Department did not include this recommendation in its directive. In instructions to its own commanders, ASF recommended that officers having these qualities be considered for promotion, that all officers be retained long enough to demonstrate these qualities, and that the turnover of suitable officers be held to a minimum.43
The quest for standards in judging the improvement of leadership in Negro units continued to the end of the war. It is doubtful that any of the formulas

had any broad-scale effect other than to keep the attention of higher headquarters focused upon the seriousness of the problem and to reinforce the feeling in many headquarters that the supervision of Negro units was much more trouble than it was worth. For while various higher headquarters continued to blame weak commanders for conditions such as those which resulted in the Camp Claiborne riots of 1944,44 agencies responsible for recommending officer assignments had little means of knowing much about the personal characteristics of officers assigned to Negro units. When units were reported as having unsatisfactory complements of officers, the best that could be done, in most cases, was to replace the unit commanders and hope that their subordinates would mend their ways either by precept or by following the example set by the new commander.45 Interviewing on a large scale was impossible and formal tests for judging officers for Negro troops did not exist. Though higher headquarters might prescribe careful checks of officers' records and, sometimes, individual interviews before assignment to Negro units, time and the lack of experience in lower echelon assigning agencies often conspired to defeat these efforts. The process, as it operated within one command which required both a check of officer records and multiple interviews before assignment to a Negro unit, was described by the personnel officer in charge as "a case of try and try again. You never can tell what kind of officer is suitable for assignment to colored troops.46 His subordinate officer in charge of working out assignment details elaborated on the technique as it operated:
You see, my instructions were to get officers in there regardless of qualification .... What we had to do was take any officers and assign them to the organization. These were the only ones made available to me for transfer . . . . The whole history is, I mean just cold facts, we will call up Daniel Field and say we have got to have an officer for a colored aviation squadron. They will check and say OK, I will give you S---. He is made available and we transfer him to Herbert Smart. That's just the way these things actually come up.47
In the meantime, pronouncements on the qualities desired in a commander of Negro troops continued to be made.
These pronouncements had one thing in common: the traits described were desirable in equal measure in officers assigned to any troops. Occasionally an officer sought to apply age old leadership formulas with a shift in emphasis to explain differences between the command of Negro and white troops. Brig. Gen. Horace L. Whittaker, commanding

the Fort Warren AFSTC, told a training conference:
With colored troops the three fundamentals of leadership are still present and, I must emphasize, even more important than with white troops. The only difference is in the importance of each. With white troops, I would say that the importance of knowing your work is the most important of the three. With colored troops it is the least important. The reaction of colored troops makes it more important that their officers convince them that they are getting a fair and square deal. It is next to most important that they be convinced that the officer is interested in them.48
Essentially, all formulas failed because the Army could not find enough officers who both understood them and were able to carry them out. General Whittaker declared that in his experience at a training center he had seen no more than twenty-five company commanders who were efficient enough to exercise the required leadership and at the same time bring their units up to technical standards.49 At no time did the Army have enough officers with both the characteristics and the experience which together produced excellent balanced leadership, and no one knew where to get them in sufficient numbers in the limited time available. Officers with the desired Solomonic "maturity" enabling them to approach the manifold problems of Negro units with confidence were especially elusive. Reports of the mediocre caliber of officers assigned to Negro units therefore continued to flow into higher headquarters.50
Plans for Mobilizing Negro Officers
Negro officers were not immune themselves to many of the problems of adjustment to service with Negroes which affected adversely the leadership abilities of so many white officers serving in Negro units. Though their problems were of a different order, Negro officers and officer candidates had enough of their own to keep them from providing an adequate answer to the leadership needs of Negro units. Moreover, Negro officers never existed in numbers sufficient to supply all Negro units, nor is it likely that enough qualified officer candidates could have been drawn from the Negroes in the Army to do so.
When mobilization began in 1940 the War Department anticipated that, in accordance with existing policy, the small number of Negro officers available would be absorbed entirely in the few units authorized all Negro officers. As noted earlier, there were then only five Negro officers in the Regular Army, three of whom were chaplains.51 The three National Guard regiments were staffed with Negro officers who were expected to remain with these units when they were called into federal service. The bulk of Negro officers available for assignment in the early period of mobilization were in the Reserve Corps.

 24 SEPTEMBER 1940
Units Infantry Medical Dental Chaplains Total
Total 136 11 2 1 150 a
372s Infantry          


3 1 0 0 4


3 1 0 0 4


15 1 0 0 16


14 1 0 0 15
184th Field Artillery 44 3 1 0 48
369 Coast Artillery 57 4 1 1 63
    a Does not include enlisted men holding NGUS commissions. 
    Source: Tab B, Memo, G-1 for CofS, 28 Sep 40, AG 210.31 ORC (9-28-40).
The War Department had not determined in advance of mobilization such questions as the service of Negro officers in units with white officers, the relative rank and promotion policy for Negro officers, or the types of units and overhead positions to which they were to be assigned. These questions were settled as they arose and when they could no longer be ignored. As with Negro units, the policy on the provision and use of Negro officers was developed bit by bit, to fit current needs. In the process, the provision of leadership, as it related to the provision of Negro officers, became a distinctly secondary consideration.
In September 1940 the G-1 Division proposed five possible plans for using Negro Reserve officers: 52
Plan One would maintain the three National Guard regiments overstrength in officers. All Negro Reserve officers would be assigned to these units. This plan had two disadvantages: it provided a large surplus of officers in the three regiments and, G-1 thought, would be unsatisfactory to organizations "now advocating Negro representation throughout the Army."
Plan Two, a modification of Plan One, provided revised requirements for the Guard regiments. Under this plan only 79 Reserve officers would be used in these regiments initially. The remainder would be used to fill any shortages developing among the 150 eligible Negro Guard officers.
Plan Three provided for the addition of a fourth Negro tactical regiment to be staffed entirely with Negro Reserve officers. This Regular Army infantry unit, to be organized at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, would absorb 122 Negro officers, including medical and dental officers and chaplains. The remainder would fill out the National Guard units. This plan had the virtue, G-1 felt, of providing representation in the Regular Army as well as in the Guard and

30 JUNE 1940
Branch Colonels Lieutenant Colonels Majors Captains 1st Lieutenant 2d Lieutenant Total
Total 1 3 9 42 145 153 353
Infantry 1 2 4 30 73 152 262
Quartermaster 0 0 1 1 1 1 4
Medical 0 1 3 4 52 0 60
Dental 0 0 0 2 6 0 8
Chaplains 0 0 1 4 9 0 14
Chemical Warfare 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Veterinary 0 0 0 0 3 0 3
Military Intelligence 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
    Source: Tab C, Memo, G-1 for CofS, 28 Sep 40, AG 210.31 ORC (9-28-40).
placing "all negro officers on their own, where they must produce results or fail in their responsibilities." It, along with the other two plans, had the disadvantage of placing all Negro officers with tactical units, opening the War Department to the possible charge of "placing them all in positions of greatest danger." In addition, Plan Three provided for an excess proportion of Negro Reserve officers, based on the number of Negro Reservists as compared with the total strength of the Officers' Reserve Corps. All three of these plans, G-1 felt, had the positive merit of avoiding the mixing of white and Negro officers either in units or in replacement centers and other installations.
Plan Four was the same as Plan Three, except that several units in corps area service commands were substituted for the single Negro Regular Army regiment. These units were to be Quartermaster service and truck companies, headquarters detachments, and similar organizations. This plan would enable the Army to absorb all Negro Reserve officers remaining after filling the Guard regiments, it would guarantee a proportionate representation of Negro Reservists, and it would provide a flexible means of maintaining Negro Reserve officers on duty at all times. Its disadvantages were that if the National Guard finally furnished a full complement of officers to the three regiments, all Negro Reserve officers would be "thrown into" corps area service commands. A second objection which G-1 saw was that Negro Reserve officers would be placed on duty in stations with white officers.
Plan Five contemplated the completion of the National Guard complement of Negro officers with Negro Reserve officers and the assignment of the remainder to the four traditional Regular Army Negro regiments or to new Regular Army units, limiting the Negroes to company grades. This plan, though it would provide a wider distribution of Negro officers, would, at the same time, violate the "policy of mixing white and

colored officers in the same organization," G-1 pointed out. G-1 doubted further that Negro Reserve officers would be of value in "Regular Army organizations of Negro enlisted men of long service under white officers." Nor would this plan provide position vacancies for the seven Negro infantry field grade officers.
G-1 recommended that Plan Three be approved and that the number of reservists ordered to active duty be divided proportionately among the arms and services based on the numbers commissioned in each branch. Because the only arm in which Negro reservists were commissioned was the infantry, G-1 recommended that Negro infantry Reserve officers also be considered eligible for assignments to the artillery branches, since two of the three National Guard regiments were to be changed from infantry to the two artillery arms. In addition, G-1 recommended that "the policy which seeks to avoid mixing white and negro officers in the same tactical unit should be continued." 53
The Operations and Training Division, G-3, objected to Plan Three. It would do no more than solve the immediate problem, provide "an all negro unit in the Regular Army from now on," and bring an unnecessarily large number of Negro Reserve officers into the Army.54 The War Plans Division wanted extra Negro officers placed in engineer separate battalions and ordnance ammunition companies rather than in a new infantry regiment, explaining: "The separate battalions and ammunition companies, being labor units, will suffer least from being officered by negroes. With three negro combat units (National Guard) officered by negroes on active duty, it is entirely reasonable to provide some service units also officered by Negroes. Unless all of these units are completely isolated, they would, regardless of type, be located at stations where there are also white or negro units with white officers . . . ." Moreover, the War Plans Division added, when "the present emergency" was over, the Army would be reduced. "The first units to be demobilized should be those least needed, purely labor units such as separate battalions. This will afford an opportunity of eliminating, with their units, the negro reserve officers on duty with Regular Army units." 55
Only The Adjutant General and the Executive for Reserve Affairs concurred in G-1's recommendations. G-1, reiterating its objections to the use of Negro officers in small units, admitted that the use of Negro reservists in service as well as combat units was "reasonable," but it again pointed out that this would mean employing small groups of Negro officers on posts with large numbers of white officers. Plan Three, G-1, stated, "at least groups them in organizations of sufficient size that they may provide their own organizations for entertainment and recreation." Since two of the National Guard regiments were to be converted from infantry to artillery, it would be reasonable to supply infantry Reserve officers to these units, but none of the infantry officers were "suitable for assignment to Engineer or Ord-

nance units. However, a new Infantry regiment would be no more permanent than new service units, all of which are Regular Army inactive units." 56 Despite G-1's advocacy of its Plan Three, assigning all reservists to the three Guard regiments and to a new Regular infantry regiment, the Chief of Staff's office, in approving the proposals on 22 October substituted Plan Four, providing for the use of Negro officers in corps area service commands in lieu of the fourth regiment.57
This decision did not stand long. President Roosevelt, disturbed by representations of Negroes that their Reserve officers were apparently not going to be used widely, penciled a note to the Assistant Secretary of War:


Colored Reserve Officers must be called just as White Reserves. Assign to new units & not just to Nat Gd. units.
Thereupon General Marshall instructed G-1 that Negro reservists were to be assigned to new Regular units. "You will have to check up on our plans and see how best to do this considering the qualifications of the officers," he wrote.59 On 28 October General Marshall gave oral approval for a subsequent change back to Plan Three, which G-1 had advocated all along, with a modification providing for proportional use of Negro reservists.60 On g November 1940 the approved plan was communicated to the Army, in the following terms:
The number of Negro Reserve Officers to be called to extended active duty will be in the same proportion to the total number of eligible negro Reserve officers as the number of white Reserve officers. They will be assigned to the three colored National Guard regiments (372d Infantry, 184th Field Artillery, and 369th Coast Artillery) , as required, to complete the officer complements of those regiments. In addition, one new colored regiment of Infantry, to be organized later, will be officered by negro Reserve officers, so far as they are available.61
The Policy in Operation
Before Negro Reserve officers could be assigned to National Guard units, the number of Guard officers who would pass their physical examinations and be inducted had to be determined. This number was estimated at 150 officers. For the three Guard regiments and one new Regular regiment, an estimated 368 officers would be required. More than half of these would therefore have to come from the Reserve.62
Eligible Negro Reserve officers were not uniformly distributed through the nine corps areas. Therefore, authority to order Negro officers to active duty was retained by The Adjutant General rather than decentralized to the corps areas as in the case of white officers. 63 The available Reserve pool fluctuated somewhat as new officers were added

from schools, as inactive officers regained their eligibility for active duty, as active officers were discovered to be over-age for troop duty, and as new officers were added from unexpected sources. The unexpected sources included officers in the Philippines, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, whose race at times was not clearly or indisputably indicated in their records. The pool, even before the staffing of the approved units began, was called upon for officers for other uses, thus reducing the number of officers available for assignment to units. The Second Corps Area, for example, asked for eight Negro junior officers for duty at its reception centers. Four of these officers were furnished with the understanding that they would be sent to the new infantry regiment, now designated the 366th, in February 1941. Selective Service requested first one, and, later, a second Reserve officer for its national headquarters. When plans for the new Negro pursuit squadron and its air base detachment matured, Negro officers were required for non-flying duties. A proportion of these came from the Reserve.64 A few reservists were assigned to the new military police battalions. A few others, with technical training or needed specialities, went to new Signal units, into the Specialists Corps, or later, when that branch was organized, into Special Services. Those eligibles of troop age remaining uncalled went from temporary duty at the Infantry School to the 369th Infantry, the gad Division's new selectee regiment.65 But the general interpretation of the directive governing the assignment of Negro Reserve officers was that the Negro reservists would be employed only in the four designated tactical units.
This limitation aroused apprehension among Negro specialists, especially in the medical profession, both within and without the Officers' Reserve Corps. The four tactical units could absorb only twelve medical and five dental officers. 66 There were a number of Negro doctors and dentists, primarily graduates of Howard University, who held infantry Reserve commissions dating from the completion of their college training. Many of these men had been attempting to secure transfers to the Medical Department Reserve, only to be told by the corps areas that there were no vacancies or that the procurement objectives had been reached.67 Moreover, applications from Negro civilian dentists and physicians for appointments in the Reserve were being returned by corps areas despite the drive to obtain additional Reserve officers from these professions.68 Negroes were fearful that these physicians and dentists would be called to active duty as infantry officers, as some actually were, or as selectees and that their professional training would be a loss to them and to the Army.

The War Department belatedly reminded corps areas and departments that directives covering applications for Reserve appointments applied to Negroes as well as to whites.69 It then developed that further adjustments were required.
The approved peacetime procurement objective for Negro Reserve officers of the corps area assignment group provided for 120 medical and 44 dental officers. In 1940, 55 medical and 34 dental officers were required to complete this objective. Many corps areas, it was then discovered, had filled their complete allotments of medical officers and all had filled their dental allotments while ignoring the existence of a Negro objective included within the larger allotments. There was, by November 1940, an overage of 513 officers commissioned in the Dental Reserve.70 One of the questions was where the allotments to complete the Negro objective were to come from. The other was where the Negro medical and dental reservists, aside from the few needed in the four tactical units set aside for Negro Reserve officers, would be assigned should the procurement objective be completed.
The Surgeon General's Office, expecting the Medical Department to be assigned about 4,000 Negro enlisted men and several hundred officers as its proportionate share of the Negroes to be received during the 1940-41 military program, had been studying this question since August 1940. The Surgeon General proposed in October 1940 that Negro Medical Department officers be used "in all units officered by Negroes, but that medical officers in units with white officers remain white as heretofore," that officers and nurses be employed in "colored wards" of all station and general hospitals with an average of 100 Negro patients, and that hospitals used for Negroes exclusively be staffed with Negro medical personnel, including nurses. The colored professional personnel in hospitals was to be cared for by the medical sanitary companies proposed in the same paper.71 This plan, in its general aspects, was approved on 11 December 1940, with the additional provision that the National Medical Association, the Negro counterpart of the American Medical Association, be requested to suggest the names of Negro physicians who might be used by the Army and that both Negro and white medical officers be used in units with all white line officers.72 Negro wards, eight at each post, with all Negro professionals, were authorized for Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and for Camp Livingston, Louisiana, the two stations with the largest Negro populations.73 Additional Negro wards were to be designated to absorb Negro medical officers as additional commissions were granted.
These Medical Department plans, like the other War Department plans for mobilizing Negro officers, had grown out of recognition that some Negro officers would have to be employed if the War Department was to avoid charges of

discrimination. These plans were in accordance with the provisions of the publicly announced policy of October 1940. Though the War Department had insisted in all policy statements upon the maintenance of single standards in the appointment of both white and Negro officers, it had paid little attention to other effects of these plans. It had given little attention to the provision of the best possible leadership for the units concerned. The primary motivation of the planners was to satisfy a demand for the use of Negro officers in a way that would intrude them in the least direct manner upon the Army as a whole and, as the War Plans Division expressed it, to place them in units which would "suffer least" from them. The debate over the virtues of additional tactical units and service units for the assignment of Negro officers did not revolve about the capacity of the officers to execute efficiently duties involved in either type of unit nor about the potential usefulness of the units themselves; rather, it revolved about the desirability of containing Negro officers in self-sufficient units where they could provide their own entertainment and where housing and messing contacts between Negro and white officers could be held to a minimum. Concern about the numbers of Negro officers and the possibility of reducing their numbers once the emergency was over exceeded concern about regulating numbers in terms of their qualifications and their usefulness to the training and leadership of the units to which they were to be assigned. In any event, no measurement of the leadership abilities of the existing officers in the civilian components was available. Without a fair trial, certain agencies urged, no judgment on the abilities of the Negro officers could be given. Disquieting suspicions, coming from World War I, might be held, but since the object during the period of peacetime mobilization was to train both officers and men as rapidly as possible and with the least friction, the provision of position vacancies for Negro officers and not the provision of leadership for Negro troops became the criterion for policy decisions.
Command Problems in the Negro Regiments
In the two infantry Guard regiments being converted to artillery before induction into the federal service, all officers as well as enlisted men would have to be retained in their new branches. These were the 369th Infantry, converted to the 369th Coast Artillery (AA), and the 8th Illinois Infantry, converted to the 184th Field Artillery. Both regiments lost their commanders before being called into federal service. The third unconverted regiment, the 372d Infantry, had not been a cohesive unit between wars since it was split among several states and corps areas. It had no commander and no true headquarters. The infantry Reserve officers, in the first two cases, would be no more unfamiliar with the arm and mission of the regiments than their permanent Guard officers were. In the third case they, like most of the Guard officers, would be entering upon acquaintance with the regiment as a whole with no appreciably greater disadvantages than the Guard officers.
The command of these regiments and of the new Regular regiment, the

366th Infantry, almost immediately became a question of vexing importance. While many white Guard units lost officers and commanders through physical examinations and reclassification procedures, few were in positions comparable to the Negro units. Regular officers could be supplied to the white units but the Negro units, if they were to remain all-Negro in command, had to rely wholly upon the few Guard and Reserve officers who were available. There were no Negro Regular officers who could replace officers from the civilian components. After Colonel Davis, commander of the 369th, was promoted to general, he was no longer available for regimental assignment; his son, Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the only other Negro line officer in 1940, went, after brief duty at Fort Riley, into training in the Air Corps, and was thereby lost to the ground regiments.
In some instances the regiments, so far as their top command positions were concerned, became enmeshed in complications from which they never recovered. The 8th Illinois Infantry lost its original commander, who as a member of the Illinois state legislature could not hold both positions under the statutes of the state. He therefore resigned and retired. The senior lieutenant colonel was found physically disqualified and he, too, was scheduled for retirement. Chicago Negroes became alarmed, fearing that upon induction the regiment would find itself, as had happened midway of World War I, with a white commander. An Illinois congressman suggested that the second-in-command be re-examined.74 In the meantime, the governor of the state appointed a new commander, who was found to be physically qualified. The regiment was inducted (as the 184th Field Artillery) on 6 January 1941 with its new commander in charge.75 The re-examination of the disqualified commander remained pending and the permanent command of the regiment was in doubt. In the next few months, it developed that the governor's appointee was not, in actuality, the next senior lieutenant colonel in the regiment. When, upon re-examination, the former commander was found permanently disqualified, Lt. Gen. Ben Lear, Second Army Commander, recommended the alternate lieutenant colonel-the true senior officer-for promotion, making the governor's appointee second-in-command. The four months of entangled internal command problems were no boon to the development of good leadership in this regiment.76
The 366th Infantry was to be staffed entirely from eligible Reserve officers. Unlike Guard regiments, Regular regiments had no provision for the attachment of instructors. One white colonel and four lieutenant colonels, Regular Army, were therefore assigned to temporary duty during the period of organization of the 366th, the colonel tee command and all five to remain "for such time as the Commanding General, First Army, considers necessary." 77

The organizational period of the regiment, because of the delays in housing and other facilities incident to filling most Negro units, lasted longer than had been expected. In July, when asked if the white officers could be dispensed with, the regiment had "just organized" its last battalion, was still short in essential equipment, and had had no unit traming.78 Because the white Regular officers were assigned rather than attached, they had displaced the Negro officers in the command of the regiment and of its battalions. G-1, while believing that the Regular officers should remain until the regiment became a "going concern," was reluctant to allow this condition to continue indefinitely. It recommended that organization of the unit be expedited to allow the Negro field grade officers, whose existence and rank had been one of the arguments for staffing the regiment with Negroes in the first place, "an opportunity to actually exercise command" during their year of active duty.79 Throughout the year, however, First Army continued to recommend retention of the white officers, saying "the Reserve Field Officers are not yet qualified to assume complete command at this time." 80
A year after the activation of the regiment, it had four full colonels, three white and one Negro, and a fifth full colonel, white, under orders and due to report, plus two additional white lieutenant colonels assigned. Its Negro officers continued to be "understudy" commanders. A new complication arose when the original white colonel of the regiment was relieved about 4 March 1942, leaving the Negro colonel, now over age for troop duty, in command with four white officers, including two colonels, under him. This violated the policy on the assignment of Negro officers. A new white commander was due to report and the Negro colonel was recommended to be "immediately relieved from the regiment because of over age and be assigned to duty elsewhere, preferably at another station." If a Negro commander were desired, VI Corps recommended, the next senior Negro officer, a lieutenant colonel, should be promoted, the white colonels should be relieved, with one remaining attached to assist and guide the new commander and to train one of the four Negro majors for duty as executive.81 Another year passed before this regiment, intended to be staffed entirely by Negro officers from the beginning, was so staffed.
The 372d Infantry, after its first seven months of training, was reported as making little progress. Command of the regiment was again the central problem. The regimental commander, a 62-year old Negro colonel who, it was reported, "is deficient in basic education, has displayed a decided lack of administrative ability, and appears to be ignorant of modern methods of training" was considered a liability. Moreover, the officers lacked confidence in the regi-

ment's three white National Guard instructors. With the exception of the senior instructor, they were not qualified, the officers felt, and the senior instructor was useless to the regiment because he was not being used efficiently by the regimental commander.82 The colonel of the regiment was persuaded to request relief from active duty because of age, the executive officer was recommended for reassignment, certain other officers were reclassified, and a new Negro commander, fresh from courses at Fort Benning, was brought into the regiment.83
Of the four original all-Negro regiments, only the 369th Coast Artillery avoided serious top command difficulties within the first year. In the case of the 184th Field Artillery, later internal difficulties in command may be traced in large measure to the initial command situation and the political implications involved. The long-confused command picture in the 366th Infantry, when the command responsibilities of the Negro "understudy" field officers were questioned by subordinate officers and enlisted men and where the future of command responsibility in the "all-Negro" regiment was in doubt, helped undermine command discipline and stunt the growth of initiative and responsibility within the regiment. Command and unified leadership in the 372d Infantry were further vitiated, even after the relief of the original commander, by the assignment of the regiment to its first mission: the defense of New York City and various points in its environs, a mission lasting for over two years and effectively splitting the regiment into small units.84 To add to the command difficulties in these regiments, officer shortages continued-for months and, in some cases, for over a year after the initial induction of the units. The 372d Infantry, with a strength of approximately 3,000, over half of whom were totally untrained selectees, had a shortage of thirty officers, not including authorized overages, in September 1 941.85 The 369th Coast Artillery, though receiving all the Negro graduates of the Antiaircraft Officers' Candidate School, was still short twenty-seven second lieutenants in May 1942. This regiment went overseas with a shortage of officers.86 Nevertheless, on 30 September 1941, 250 eligible Negro Reserve officers, of whom 150 were officers of the combat arms, remained uncalled to active duty. The 222 then on active duty represented less than half the available Negro Reserve officers. 87 "The familiar reluctance of National Guard Commanders to requisition Reserve officers operates in this case as it does generally," Judge Hastie commented.88

Officer Candidates
The National Guard units had felt that they could supply officers from their own ranks and requested that they be allowed to do so.89 The 369th Coast Artillery was granted permission to continue its own officers' training school and to continue to have men commissioned during the period between federalization and the opening of officer candidate schools.90 The regiments, though taking some Reserve officers, expected to fill further vacancies from officer candidate school graduates, preferably chosen from among their own men.
In the first months of the schools' operations Negro candidates were few. Between July 1941, when the schools opened, and mid-September 1941, only 17 out of the 1,997 students enrolled in candidate schools were Negroes. Ten of these were candidates at the Infantry School, 1 each at the Field Artillery and Cavalry Schools, and 5 were at the Quartermaster School.91 In the next two months, only six more Negro candidates entered officers' schools. Two of these were in the Quartermaster School. The Infantry, Field Artillery, Ordnance, and Finance Schools each received one candidate.92
Judge Hastie, realizing that the disproportionately small number of Negro candidates, constituting less than 1 percent of the whole, would produce unfavorable reactions among the Negro public, urged a general revision of policy on the use of Negro officers. He considered the small number of units in which Negro officers could be used and the limitation of Negro officers to units in which the entire staff was Negro to be major deterrents to both the appointment of candidates and to the efficiency of leadership in units. He believed that mixing white and Negro officers in the same units was both inevitable and desirable. Competent Negro officers would not become available until Negro junior officers had been developed "in regular course" by being assigned to regiments then commanded entirely by white officers. "Moreover," he wrote, "in the general replacement of National Guard and Reserve Officers, who ha e not rendered satisfactory service, it is probable that numbers of field officers, colored as well as white, will be relieved of command. Experienced and qualified successors for numbers of these colored officers will necessarily be procured from available white personnel. The immediate effect of these procedure would be the intermingling of white and colored junior officers in units now commanded by white officers exclusively, and in a few cases, white and colored field officers in regiments now commanded by an entire Negro personnel. Such a course seems necessary and desirable." 93
Hastie felt that no increase in Negro officer candidates could be expected

through the normal operation of quotas, especially since most Negroes were in small units. "The realities of the situation are that many Commanders in the field approach the selection of Officer Candidates with bias against the Negro as an officer in the United States Army," he declared. Since no plan existed for the use of Negro officers in certain branches, such as the Quartermaster Corps, Corps of Engineers, and Cavalry, in which large numbers of Negroes were being trained, commanders were prone to overlook potential Negro officer candidates. "It is believed that nothing less than a directive or confidential memorandum to commanders charged with the selection of Officer candidates, indicating that certain minimum percentages of Negro candidates are to be selected, will be effective," Hastie concluded. 94
In the meantime, prompted by the slowness of the development of Negro officer candidate training, Edgar Brown, one of the prominent Negro legislative lobbyists of 1939-41, suggested to the President and to the Secretary of War that nothing "would be more salutary for the morale and patriotism of 15,000,000 Negro citizens and soldiers," than a separate school for Negro officer trainees modeled on the Des Moines school of World War I.95 A radio commentator picked up Brown's suggestion and broadcast to the nation that "a large group of the most responsible Negro leaders in the country" were opposed to the President's policy of training Negro officers with white trainees and had asked for separate schools.96 The reaction of Negroes was immediate. The NAACP called upon the White House and the War Department to reveal who the "so-called responsible leaders" were, adding, "We respectfully submit that no leader considered responsible by intelligent Negro or white Americans would make such a request." 97 A second telegram from the NAACP, signed by 47 Negro editors, college presidents, judges, bishops and ministers, businessmen, and heads of professional and fraternal organizations, and accompanied by the promise of the names of as many more Negroes in opposition to the suggestion, indicated that the proposal had little backing among Negro leaders.98
To subsequent inquiries on the possibility that separate officer candidate schools might be established, the War Department replied that separate schools would be uneconomical and inefficient. "Our objection is based primarily on the fact that negro officer candidates are eligible from every branch of the Army, including the Armored Force and Tank destroyer battalions, and it would be decidedly uneconomical to attempt to gather in one school the materiel and instructor personnel necessary to give training in all these branches," a senator was told. School troops, quarters, and staffs would have to be duplicated if two separate sets of schools were organized. The War Department seldom failed to point out, in

explaining the small numbers of Negro candidates, that, in general competition with white candidates, Negroes were at a disadvantage since only 5 percent, in comparison with 45 percent of the whites, had the General Classification Test qualifications for admission to officer candidate schools. "It is more efficient to send these candidates to the regular schools of their respective branches where they take the same training as white officer candidates," the department declared. "Further, to make such a segregation of negro candidates on a fixed percentage basis rather than on ability would be a discrimination against white candidates," another inquirer was told.99
The meager production of new Negro officers before December 1941 had other explanations. The numbers of Negroes entering the Army had not yet reached the proportionate levels aimed for and the pools of reservists had not yet been exhausted. No revision of the Negro officer assignment policy had been made, and the relationship of the new officers, trained to be platoon leaders, to the old policy was vague. Nor had the relationship of Negro candidates to the problem of leadership for Negro troops in the new Army-in units which were now being spread through all arms and services -been explored. For the use of Negro officers in general had not been looked upon as a potential answer to leadership problems. Rather, it was a use born of necessity and from which not too much was expected in the way of strong, firm, and effective leadership.


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