Freedom To Serve
|Letter of Transmittal||VII|
|Executive Order 9981|
|I. Toward the Goal - A Summary of Progress|
|II. Two Basic Questions|
|III. The Navy|
|IV. The Air Force|
|V. The Army|
|A. The Policy of the Navy|
|B. The Policy of the Air Force|
|C. The Policy of the Army|
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Letter of Transmittal
MAY 22, 1950
The President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services herewith reports to the President.
Executive Order 9981 of July 26, 1948, states: "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale." This order further authorized the Committee "to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the armed services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order."
The Committee appointed by the President has conducted such an inquiry and has made recommendations to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretaries of the three services. It was the judgment of the Committee that these recommendations, when put into actual practice, would bring an end to inequality of treatment and opportunity. All of the Committee's recommendations have been approved and accepted by the President, the Secretary of Defense and the service Secretaries. They are now in effect.
This submission, therefore, is a report of the work of the Committee and of the measures adopted by the services to carry out
Chapters II, III, IV, and V present a more detailed description of the racial policies and practices in the services at the beginning of the Committee's inquiry; the Committee's estimate of those policies and practices as measured against the President's policy; the recommendations of the Committee and the reasons for them.
It is the Committee's conviction that the present programs of the three services are designed to accomplish the objectives of the President. As the programs are carried out, there will be, within the reasonably near future, equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces with a consequent improvement in military efficiency.
In submitting its report, the Committee desires to express its appreciation to the White House staff, the Department of Defense and the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and to all organizations and individuals that have facilitated the work of the Committee.
Executive Order 9981
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Executive Order 9981
Establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services
Whereas it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense:
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:
1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
2. There shall be created in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known as the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.
3. The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the armed services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order. The Committee shall confer and advise with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President
4. All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.
5. When requested by the Committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for the use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.
6. The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive Order.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
The WHITE HOUSE, July 26,1948.
The President appointed the following to be members of the Committee:
Charles Fahy, Chairman
Alphonsus J. Donahue
Lester B. Granger
Dwight R. G. Palmer
John H. Sengstacke
William E. Stevenson
Mr. Alphonsus J. Donahue died in July 1949. Mr. Charles Luckman has not actively participated in the work of the Committee.
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Toward the Goal: A Summary of Progress
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Toward the Goal: A Summary of Progress
Executive Order 9981, issued on July 26, 1948, declared it to be "the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national, origin."
"This policy," the President directed, "shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency, or morale."
By the same order the President announced there would be created in the National Military Establishment a committee of seven members with authority "to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the armed services" in order to determine what changes were necessary to carry out the President's policy.
In discharging its duties, the Committee was directed by the President to confer and advise with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the three services, and finally to make recommendations to the President and the aforementioned Secretaries.
The Committee Interprets Its Mission
At the outset of its deliberations the Committee was agreed that the problem with which it was charged was not merely one of simple justice. In addition to the factor of equality of treatment and opportunity was the factor of military efficiency, the making of a better armed service.
In the Committee's view the task could not be accomplished solely on the basis of information gathered in formal testimony, though such testimony must be a necessary step in the Committee's inquiry. The President had directed the Committee to examine into the procedures and practices of the three services. Such an examination, the Committee decided, required three lines of inquiry, each one of which would provide a check upon the other two.
First, it was necessary for the Committee to have a comprehensive understanding of the whole field of personnel policy and administration in the three services, including recruitment, basic training, technical training, assignment, promotion, and the so-called career guidance programs. Without such information the Committee did not feel competent to judge (a) whether the services were denying opportunity to any of their personnel solely on account of race and (b) whether their racial policies and practices promoted or reduced military efficiency.
Second, the Committee needed to make a study of the historical experience of the three services with racial groups, for it was on the basis of this experience that the services largely explained and rationalized their present policies and practices.
Third, the Committee wished to supplement its technical and historical studies with field trips so that it would have first hand information.
One other problem concerned the Committee. This was how best to secure the endorsement by the armed services of those measures which, in the Committee's judgment, might be needed to effect the President's policy. The Committee believed that progress could be made most readily by a presentation of the facts, by suggestions for corrective measures, and by convincing the services of the reasonableness and effectiveness of its recommendations.
The services, though subject to civilian control, are old institutions with long established customs and habits. The Committee believed that reforms would be more readily accepted and make headway faster if they represented decisions mutually agreed upon. Imposed decisions can be enforced by discipline but joint decisions engage the loyalty of those who have concerted them.
Therefore the Committee decided that it would confer with the services at each step of the way, confident that its recommendations would win support as the services became convinced they were sound in principle and would improve the efficiency of the military establishment. If this could be accomplished, the Committee contemplated that its recommendations would be implemented concurrently with their acceptance, and that a report to the President would then represent not a future objective but a program in being. This plan of work had the President's approval.
The Course of the Inquiry
At the beginning of its inquiry the Committee heard testimony from 67 witnesses, including the Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as the Army Chief of Staff; the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Personnel, the Air Force Director of Personnel Planning, the Army Director of Personnel and Administration; a former Assistant Secretary of War who headed the Special Troop Policies Committee in World War II; the chairman of the board of general officers that in 1945 formulated a new Army racial policy; civilian personnel experts from the three services; and individuals and representatives of civilian organizations concerned with minority group interests.
The testimony of these witnesses, totaling 1,025 pages, has been bound and indexed. Copies are being deposited with the Secretary
of Defense, the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, the General Staffs of the Army and Air Force, the Bureau of Personnel of the Navy, the Library of Congress, and the Archives.
Through the cooperation of the Navy Bureau of Personnel, the office of the Director of Personnel Planning in the Air Force, the Army general staff divisions of Personnel and Administration and Organization and Training, the Personnel Research and Procedures Branch of the Army Adjutant General's Office and the Historical Records Section of the Army, the Committee has been able to secure a comprehensive understanding of the personnel policies and operations of the three services and a thorough knowledge of the policies governing minority groups.
These agencies made freely available to the Committee and its staff all the historical and technical information necessary to the Committee's study, and representatives of the services were always available to the Committee for guidance and consultation. The day to day conferences and collaboration of the Committee's staff and the technical experts of the services greatly facilitated the work of the Committee.
Finally, the Committee and its staff made field investigations covering eight Navy ships and stations, seven Air Force bases, and ten Army posts. In addition the Committee itself has held more than 40 meetings.
The scope of the executive order required that there be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. Members of various minority groups have asserted the existence of discrimination on these grounds, but no evidence was presented to the Committee and no specific facts were found indicating formally defined service policies denying equality of treatment and opportunity except with respect to Negroes. In their
case practices resulting in inequality of treatment and opportunity had the sanction of official policy and were embodied in regulations.
The Committee felt, therefore, that its examination should leave room for gathering facts and developing conclusions affecting all minorities, but that it should proceed with the material on hand concerning the specific status of Negroes in the services. Once this racial factor should be satisfactorily disposed of, the Committee believed, a formula would be evolved applicable to all minorities. For this reason specific mention is limited throughout the report to recommendations and changes affecting Negroes.
There follows a summary account of the extent to which the President's executive order presently is being implemented, with an indication of the policy changes that have been put into effect by the services since the order was issued in July 1948.
All jobs and ratings in the naval general service now are open to all enlisted men without regard to race or color. Negroes are currently serving in every job classification in general service.
All courses in Navy technical schools are open to qualified personnel without regard to race or color and without racial quotas. Negroes are attending the most advanced technical schools and are serving in their ratings both in the fleet and at shore installations.
Negroes in general service are completely integrated with whites in basic training, technical schools, on the job, in messes and sleeping quarters, ashore and afloat.
Chief, first-, second-, and third-class stewards now have the rate of chief, first-, second-, and third-class petty officers. (Policy change adopted June 7, 1949.)
Stewards who qualify for general ratings now can transfer to general service.
The Marine Corps, which as a part of the Navy is subject to Navy policy, has abolished its segregated Negro training units. (Policy change adopted June 7, 1949.) Marine Corps training is now integrated, although some Negro marines are still assigned to separate units after basic training. In this respect the effectuation of Navy policy in the Marine Corps is yet to be completed.
The Air Force
The Air Force announced its new racial policy on May 11, 1949. As a result of this policy, the all Negro 332d Fighter Wing at Lockbourne Field, Ohio, has been broken up, and its personnel either sent to school for further training, transferred to white units in other commands, or separated under current regulations.
A majority of other Negro units has also been abolished. As of January 31, 1950, only 59 Negro units remained, and 1,302 units were racially integrated, as compared with 106 Negro units and only 167 mixed units on June 1, 1949, when the Air Force policy went into effect.
Approximately 74 percent of the 25,000 Negroes in the Air Force on January 31, 1950, were serving in integrated units; and 26 percent still were serving in Negro units. This integration process is continuing.
All Air Force jobs and schools are open to qualified personnel without racial restriction or quotas. Six percent of the total personnel attending technical training schools in January 1950 were Negro.
Negroes serving in mixed units and attending service schools are integrated with whites in living conditions.
All Army jobs now are open to Negroes. (Policy change adopted September 30, 1949.)
All Army school courses are open to Negroes without restriction or quota. (Policy change adopted September 30, 1949.)
For the first time Negroes no longer are limited in assignment to Negro and overhead (housekeeping) units, but are to be assigned according to their qualifications to any unit, including formerly white units. (Policy change adopted January 16, 1950.)
Negroes serving in mixed units will be integrated on the job, in barracks and messes. (Policy change adopted January 16, 1950.)
The 10 percent limitation on Negro strength in the Army has been abolished, and there no longer are Negro quotas for enlistment. (Policy change adopted March 27, 1950.)
The succeeding chapters contain a more detailed account of the Committee's recommendations to the services and the extent to which the President's policy is being implemented.
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Two Basic Questions
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Two Basic Questions
Two principal questions have engaged the attention of military planning staffs whenever they have considered the question of Negro utilization:
1. Do Negroes have the mental and technical qualifications to be used in the full range of military jobs?
2. Shall Negroes be utilized only in Negro units?
Until quite recently all three services had invariably taken the position that (1) Negroes do not have the education and skills to perform efficiently in the more technical military occupations, and (2) Negroes must be utilized, with few exceptions, in segregated units. The basis for this position may be briefly summarized as follows:
1. Tests conducted by the military disclosed that the level of ability and technical skill of Negroes as a group is considerably below that of whites as a group. The services realized that Negroes as a group have not enjoyed comparable educational advantages with whites, and have not had the same opportunity to learn skilled trades. But the services contended that, regardless of the causes of this differential in group ability and skill, they were confronted with a fact which bears upon military utilization, and in the interest of military efficiency they must recognize this fact. Therefore, it was maintained, Negroes could not be employed over the same range of military jobs as whites; they must
be utilized in a limited number of jobs, the majority of them unskilled or semi-skilled.
2. As for the question of racial segregation, the military services argued that they must be guided by precedent and custom. The services must keep abreast of civilian sentiment and practice; at the same time they must take care not to get ahead of the country. To do so might create difficulties 'which would be reflected in morale and military efficiency. Expediency then, and not racial prejudice, imposes on the military a policy of limiting the assignment of Negroes to Negro units.
Meeting the military on its own premise and considering these questions strictly from the viewpoint of military efficiency, the Committee had serious doubts as to the reasoning by which the military had traditionally arrived at its policies of limited utilization and racial segregation. To begin with, however, the Committee's skepticism was based on reason rather than on direct observation.
The Committee, conscious of the handicaps under which many Negroes live and their lack of full educational advantages, did not question the contention that the Negro population as a whole did not parallel the white population as a whole in technical skills or education. This was confirmed by tests administered to all personnel in two world wars. For example, 67.8 percent of the 8,720,764 white enlisted males tested by the Army from March 1941 through May 1946, scored 90 and above in the General Classification Test. (The General Classification Test was designed to reflect readiness to absorb military training.) Of the 1,036,819 enlisted male Negroes tested, only 16.6 percent scored 90 and above. Again, 14.4 percent of the whites tested were below 70, as against 51.6 percent Negroes below 70.
The disproportion in the GCT spread for white and Negro elements in the peacetime Army is not so great, partly because of more selective recruiting and partly because of a higher rate of separation for inability to absorb instruction. Even so, 38 percent of the Negroes in the Army, as of March 31, 1949, were 90 and above, as contrasted with 67.2 percent of the whites 90 and above.
The Committee did not dispute this situation. What the Committee questioned were the conclusions which some military officials drew from it. Conceding the differential in skill and ability between the white and Negro elements in the services, did this group difference justify denying to the individual Negro - solely on the ground of race the opportunity to qualify for, and serve in, any job whatsoever? To put racial restrictions upon job opportunities seemed to the Committee to ignore completely the essential factor of individual differences. And insofar as a service refused to a single Negro the technical training and job for which he was qualified, by just so much did the service waste potential skills and impair its own effectiveness. Quite apart from the question of equal opportunity, the Committee did not believe the country or the military services could afford this human wastage.
Furthermore, in considering the question of the Negro unit, it seemed to the Committee that segregation merely aggravated this waste and multiplied the inefficiency. Because of the group differential in skill and education, it seemed obvious that Negro units could not be created which would perform the complete range of functions required in white units, and Negro units therefore could not provide the opportunity for the same diversity of individual skills as white units. Yet a policy of segregation made mandatory the assignment of highly qualified Negroes to racial units where there might be no opening for their skills. At the same time that segregation deprived the skilled Negro of equal
opportunity and deprived the service of his talent, it also magnified the inefficiency of the unskilled majority by concentrating them in separate units.
There still remained the question and it was a question which had been raised whenever the services had considered proposals for widening the opportunities for qualified Negroes - whether, on balance, it were not better to suffer the loss of some individual skills through segregation than encounter difficulty through assigning whites and Negroes to the same unit. Would not the possible loss in efficiency which might result from impaired morale in mixed units (so went the hypothetical question) outweigh the actual loss in efficiency which resulted from racial restrictions upon employment and assignment?
As the Committee sought an answer to these questions, in the historical record and current practice of the services, the experience of the Navy furnished the Committee with valuable guidance.
Two Assumptions Are Put to the Test and Two New Policies are Adopted
It is the policy of the Navy Department that there shall be equality of treatment for all persons in the Navy and Marine Corps without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.
In their attitude and day to day conduct of affairs, officers and enlisted personnel of the Navy and Marine Corps shall adhere rigidly and impartially to the Navy regulations, in which no distinction is made between individuals wearing the uniform of these Services.
All personnel will be enlisted or appointed, trained, advanced or promoted, assigned duty and administered in all respects without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.
In the utilization of housing, messing, berthing and other facilities, no special or unusual provisions will be made for the accommodation of any minority race.
Secretary of the Navy
To All Ships and Stations
7 June 1949
Throughout American history until the end of World War I, the Navy had enlisted Negroes for general service, and Negro sailors had served and fought with credit throughout the fleet. After the First World War, however, the Navy halted Negro enlistments; and when they were opened again in 1932, Negroes were recruited only for service in the messman's branch.
This was the situation at the beginning of World War II and it continued until six months after Pearl Harbor. The Selective Service Act of 1940 provided that "in the selection and training of men under this Act, and in the interpretation and execution of the provisions of this Act, there shall be no discrimination against any person on account of race or color." This provision had no immediate effect in opening up general service ratings to Negroes, however, because the Navy continued to rely on voluntary recruiting until February 1943.
Consequently the Navy continued its peacetime policy of restricting Negroes to the messman's branch on the ground that "the enlistment of Negroes (other than as mess attendants) leads to disruptive and undermining conditions." In response to public inquiries, the Navy issued a statement explaining that "the policy of not enlisting men of the colored race for any branch of the naval service but the messman's branch was adopted to meet the best interests of general ship efficiency . . . . This policy not only serves the best interests of the Navy and the country, but serves as well the best interests of [Negroes] themselves."
After Pearl Harbor, however, the Navy was subjected to considerable pressure from Negro organizations to expand its utilization of Negroes. The Navy at first continued to insist on the exclusion of Negroes from general service, arguing that Negroes were not as adaptable or efficient as whites, and that segregation on shipboard was not feasible. After several exchanges of memoranda, the President finally wrote to the Secretary of the Navy that the matter "should be determined by you and me." Consequently on April 7, 1942, the Navy announced that effective June 1 Negroes would be enlisted for general service as well as mess attendants. But these volunteers, the Navy made clear, would receive basic and advanced training in segregated camps and schools, would be utilized in segregated units, and would be limited in assignment to shore installations and harbor craft. Negroes in general service ratings would not be billeted in seagoing vessels, but would be used principally in construction battalions under the Bureau of Yards and Docks, in supply depots, ordnance stations, and yard (harbor) craft.
In February 1943, as the result of a presidential directive, the Navy finally began to receive its manpower through Selective Service, and at the same time the War Manpower Commission insisted that the Navy accept Negroes proportionately with the other services. The Navy's monthly quota of Negroes mounted quickly from 2,700 to 5,000, then to 7,350 and finally to 12,000. As the influx of Negro selectees increased, the Navy soon discovered that it could not find employment for all of them in shore installations and harbor craft. It also discovered that while the majority of the Negroes received through Selective Service was best fitted for unskilled or semiskilled labor, there was a large number possessing technical skills which could not be put to use so long as Navy policy prevented the assignment of Negroes to the fleet. At the same time, considerable resentment began to be
manifested among Negroes because of the concentration of Negro sailors in ordnance battalions, ammunition depots, and construction units.
Partly in response to this public agitation and partly because of its own concern over the waste of manpower, the Navy sought a solution that would make it possible to prevent the waste with out actually assigning Negroes to white crews in the fleet, which it still feared would cause friction and affect ship efficiency. In late 1943, it manned a destroyer escort and a patrol craft with predominantly Negro crews under white officers. This experiment was only partly successful, and even if it had been entirely successful, it obviously offered no solution to the problem, for Negroes were not available to man segregated cruisers and carriers.
Nine months later, in August 1944, the Navy tried another and more practical experiment, assigning Negroes to 25 auxiliary ships of the fleet. These Negroes were integrated completely with white crews, but no ship was assigned more than 10 percent Negroes in its enlisted complement.
From the experiment with the two segregated ships the Navy had satisfied itself that Negroes could be utilized aboard seagoing vessels in a far greater variety of skills than had been supposed. And from the experiment of assigning Negroes to 25 auxiliary vessels the Navy learned that Negroes could be placed in white crews without trouble. Having learned these two lessons, the Navy in April 1945 announced that henceforth Negro personnel would be eligible for service in all auxiliary fleet vessels, though the 10 percent quota for each ship would still be observed.
Concurrently with the change of policy on fleet assignment for Negro general ratings, the Navy issued a "Guide to the Command of Negro Naval Personnel," in which it stated that "the Navy accepts no theories of racial differences in inborn ability, but expects that every man wearing its uniform be trained and
used in accordance with his maximum individual capacity determined on the basis of individual performance."
Meanwhile, in July 1944, the Navy had abandoned its segregated advanced training schools for Negroes at Camp Robert Smalls and at Hampton Institute, declaring that it did not "consider practical the establishment of separate facilities and quotas for Negroes who qualify for advanced training." Boot training remained segregated, however, until July 1945, when the separate training camp at Great Lakes was abolished, and Negro trainees were assigned to the same companies, barracks, and messes as whites.
In December 1945, the Secretary of the Navy issued a directive to all ships and stations Alnav 423 45 stating that. "In the administration of naval personnel no differentiation shall be made because of race or color. This applies also to authorized personnel of all the Armed Forces of this country aboard Navy ships or at Navy stations and activities."
And finally on February 27, 1946, the Navy took the inevitable step of opening up general service assignments without any restriction. In Circular Letter 48-46, the Navy ordered that –
"Effective immediately all restrictions governing types of assignments for which Negro naval personnel are eligible are hereby lifted. Henceforth, they shall be eligible for all types of assignments in all ratings in all activities and all ships of the naval service. . . .
“In the utilization of housing, messing and other facilities, no special or unusual provisions will be made for the accommodation of Negroes.”
The Committee Looks at the Navy
The Committee was satisfied that in 1949 the stated Navy policy on utilization of Negro enlisted personnel was, on the whole,
a good one. The Navy promised to Negroes in general service full equality of treatment and opportunity. Had this policy been conscientiously carried out?
The records of the Bureau of Personnel show that Negroes are presently serving aboard ship and at shore installations in every general service rating. They are not yet, however, represented in top grades within every rating. This does not at this time indicate inequality of treatment, the Committee is convinced, because considerable time is required to achieve the grade of chief or first class petty officer, and the Navy policy is comparatively recent. Furthermore, to achieve advanced grades in the more technical ratings, an enlisted man must spend long periods at service schools.
Since the end of the war a gradual shift has been taking place in the proportion of Negroes in general service and the messman's branch. At the end of 1945, slightly over 5 percent of the Negroes in the Navy were in general ratings and almost 95 percent in the messman's branch. At the present time 42.6 percent are in general service and 57.4 percent in the messman's branch. Within the near future the number of Negroes in general service will probably exceed those in the messman's branch, since the Navy after the war had a surplus of mess attendants and is no longer recruiting them.
Visits by the Committee and its staff to ships, schools, and naval installations confirmed the Bureau of Personnel figures.
At Newport, R. L, base of Destroyers Atlantic Fleet, the Committee found Negroes with general ratings serving in destroyer crews in a wide variety of jobs.
At the New London, Conn., base of Submarines Atlantic Fleet, Negro submariners were in the crews of submarines, serving not only as messmen but in general service as torpedoman, boatswain's mate, electrician's mate, radioman, sonarman, etc. Negroes were likewise attending the submariner's school at New London.
At the Naval Air Base at Quonset, R. I., Negro mechanics were servicing planes; and aboard the Essex class carriers, U. S. S. Leyte and U. S. S. Kearsarge, which happened to be docked at Quonset at the time of the Committee's visit, Negroes were working throughout the ships, in the engine and boiler rooms, as crane operators, on the plane elevators, as quartermasters and boatswain's mates, and in many other capacities
In boot camp at the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Ill., the Committee saw Negro trainees being processed with whites on their arrival and assigned to the same companies. In the six technical training schools at Great Lakes electronics technician, machinist's mate, electrician's mate, fire controlman, engineman, and journalist Negroes were represented in every course except journalist. In the difficult electronics technician school, a 48 week course requiring a qualifying GCT score of 130 (as contrasted with 110 for wartime officer candidate school), there were five Negro students.
The unvarying attitude of naval officers interviewed on the Committee's trips was that they were interested solely in the maintenance of training standards and in job performance. If the individual Negro, like the individual white, met the standards and mastered his job, then he had a career in the Navy.
Wherever the Committee or its staff went in its investigation of Navy practice, it found Negroes in general service although in relatively small numbers working, messing, and berthing side by side with whites, ashore and afloat.
Had the Navy experienced any difficulty as the result of its policy of assigning men solely on the basis of individual ability and the needs of the service? The Committee was particularly anxious to get a full and candid reply to this question, for until the Navy had finally made the decision to assign Negroes to ships, it had firmly resisted any proposal to expand Negro utilization
beyond the steward's branch on the ground that the intimate associations of ship life precluded any mixing of the races. Integration in general service, the Navy had maintained, would not be in "the best interests of general ship efficiency."
The Committee asked this question not only of commanding officers but also of petty officers and lower grades, both white and Negro. All of those questioned replied that there had been no racial friction. White and Negro sailors at times exchanged words and blows as did white seamen among themselves but these were flare-ups between individuals. There had been no racial animosity. So far as the Committee could discover, what a sailor asked of his shipmate was that he do his job and not be a trouble maker.
The evidence on this question was reassuring, for it seemed to confirm a theory which the Committee had held but which could be put to the proof only by field observation, namely, that respect created between individuals through competence on the job the value which the workman sets upon workmanship would translate itself over a period of time into personal respect and would facilitate the accommodation of the two races in their daily life, and thus act to break down artificial barriers.
The thing that most impressed the Committee about the Navy's experience was that in the relatively short space of five years the Navy had moved from a policy of complete exclusion of Negroes from general service to a policy of complete integration in general service. In this about face, the Navy had not been primarily motivated by moral considerations or by a desire to equalize treatment and opportunity. Undoubtedly public opinion had been a factor in this reversal of policy, but chiefly the Navy had been influenced by considerations of military efficiency and the need to economize human resources. Equality of treatment and opportunity, the Navy had discovered, was a necessary and
inevitable condition and byproduct of a sound policy of manpower utilization.
The Navy had defended the non-utilization of Negroes in general service by citing the lower level of Negro skills and by appealing to the necessity of maintaining ship efficiency and ship morale. It had discovered that, as individuals, Negroes could be trained and utilized in as wide a range of skills as whites, and that failure to use them as individuals resulted in a waste of manpower which neither the Navy nor the country could afford. Still driven by the imperative need for skilled men, the Navy had put Negro ratings aboard ship and found that no trouble resulted. In defense of its new policy the Navy now cites the skills of its Negro manpower and ship efficiency.
The Committee Makes Recommendations to the Navy
Although the Committee found little to criticize in the new policy of the Navy with respect to training and assignment, it was concerned that the opportunities which the Navy offered had not attracted a larger number of Negroes to enlist for general service.
As of January 1,1950 the date of the latest complete figures - the Negro enlisted strength was 15,747 out of a total of 330,098, or 4.7 percent. Of this total Negro enlisted strength 6,647 were in general ratings and 9,110 in the messman's branch. The percentage of Negroes in general ratings was exactly 2 percent.
The relatively small percentage of Negroes in general service could be partly attributed, the Committee believed, to a long memory of the Navy's earlier restrictive policy and to a general unawareness among Negroes that this policy had been discarded. Since the impression seemed to prevail that the Navy lagged behind the other two services, the Committee believed the Navy should correct this impression.
The Committee was also dissatisfied with the small number of Negro officers in the Navy. During the war the Navy had been slow to open its officer candidate school to Negroes. In 1942 two Negroes entered Harvard Medical School under the Navy's officer training program. A year later the Navy opened its V-12 program to Negroes; but since very few Negro students were enrolled in colleges offering V-12 training, only a small number of Negroes were in a position to take advantage of the program. Finally, in February 1944, the Navy selected 22 Negro candidates for commissions in the Naval Reserve. Of these, 12 were finally selected for line officers and given the rank o£ ensign; 10 were appointed staff officers with the rank of ensign or lieutenant junior grade and assigned to the chaplain, dental, medical, civil engineer, and supply corps.
By the end of the war the V-12 program had raised the number of Negro officers to 58. A few of these saw service on small craft or auxiliary ships, but for the most part they were assigned to recruit training and to technical training schools as instructors. Late in the war some of them were detailed to supply units in the pacific where they commanded stevedore outfits.
After VJ-day, almost all the Negro officers, convinced by their wartime experience that the Navy offered them no future, applied for demobilization and discharge. When the Committee began its work early in 1949, there were only four Negro officers on active duty. On January 1, 1950, there were 17 Negro officers on active duty, including 2 WAVE officers. Of these, eight were regular officers, and nine were reserve.
The two principal sources of naval officers at the present time are the Naval Academy and the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps the so called Holloway program. When the Holloway program is fully operative, the Navy will subsidize in part the college
education of 15,000 students each year in 55 colleges and universities. There are presently two Negroes at Annapolis, and nine Negroes in the Holloway program. There are also 12 Negro college students taking summer training in the Reserve Officers Corps.
Although the competition for the Holloway scholarships is rigorous, the Committee felt the small number of Negroes participating in its benefits was due partly to ignorance of the program among Negro students and partly, perhaps, to a suspicion that the Navy, on the basis of its grudging and negligible commissioning of Negroes in World War II, did not welcome Negro officers. The Committee again thought the Navy should make quite clear that there were no racial restrictions upon Holloway scholarships and no racial bars to a Navy commission, except to the extent that Negroes winning a Holloway scholarship are automatically limited in their selection of a school to those Holloway colleges which admit Negroes.
While the Committee was satisfied that Negroes in general service enjoyed equal treatment and opportunity, it did find evidence of discrimination against Negroes in the steward's branch. Chief stewards in the Navy, it learned, received the pay and the perquisites, but not the grade, of chief petty officer. The same was true of first , second , and third class stewards. In the hope of increasing the number of Negroes in general service and the Holloway program, and to correct the inequality in the steward's branch, the Committee recommended in May 1949, that-
1. The Navy, in its recruiting literature and press releases, make evident its policy of utilizing qualified Negroes in all general service ratings on the same basis as white personnel.
2. A number of Negro Reserve officers be recalled to active duty to serve in the recruiting program.
3. The Navy take positive steps to inform Negro high school and college students of the Holloway program.
4. Chief stewards receive the grade of chief petty officer. (Another recommendation, submitted to all three services, proposed that the services adopt equal enlistment standards. This recommendation was made conditional on a study by the Department of Defense to determine the jobs in each service which could be filled by men in the lowest category acceptable to all three services. This study has not been completed.)
On June 7, 1949, the Navy accepted all of the Committee's recommendations. Five Negro Reserve officers were selected to return to active duty in the recruiting service. In its recruiting matter and press releases the Navy has taken pains to show Negro enlisted men working and living with whites in boot camp, technical schools, and aboard ship. Representatives of several Negro newspapers were in the press delegation on a European cruise of the U. S. S. Missouri in the summer of 1949, and filed stories and pictures to their papers on the job assignments and living conditions of Negro sailors aboard.
In the fall of 1949 Negro officers visited schools in Washington, D. C., and 16 Southern cities to interest Negro students in the Holloway program.
In July 1949, the Navy issued an order giving chief stewards the grade of chief petty officer, and a month later announced that, effective January 1, 1950, first-, second-, and third-class stewards would become first-, second-, and third-class petty officers.
In addition, the Navy also announced in June that stewards would have the privilege, if qualified, of transferring to other ratings.
On its own initiative the Navy abolished segregation in the Marine Corps during basic training. After basic training, however, some Negro marines are assigned to Negro units, and in this respect the Marine Corps has not yet fully carried out Navy policy.
It is too early to judge the success of the measures undertaken to increase the number of Negroes in general service and in the Holloway program. Although the Navy has given considerable publicity to the opportunities which general service offers to the qualified Negro, two factors have militated against an increase in the Negro strength in general ratings. First, recruiting quotas have been so drastically reduced in recent months that the number of Negro enlistments has not affected the percentage of Negroes in general ratings. Second, the rejection rate of Negro applicants has been much higher than that of whites. The Navy's mental enlistment standard is currently at 90, and the percentage of Negroes above this level-16 percent against 67 percent for whites is reflected in the enlistment figures. Furthermore, the small enlistment quotas have resulted in a waiting list which allows the Navy to meet its monthly requirements from applicants on the list with the highest qualifications.
The Navy's efforts to increase the number of Negroes in the Holloway program have also had disappointing results thus far. The reason for this seems to be twofold the quality of education which Negroes in some parts of the country have received and the stiff competition which even the well educated Negro applicant must meet. Although 2,700 Negroes in the 17 Southern cities visited by Navy representatives last fall filled out applications to take the preliminary examination, only 250 actually took the test. Of these 250, only 2 passed the examination and 1 of these later failed the physical examination because of poor eyesight.
Until Negroes receive more appointments to Annapolis, and until they can compete with greater success for Holloway scholarships, it is unlikely that the number of Negro officers will be much increased.
While the number of Negro officers and the percentage of Negroes in general service leave much to be desired, numbers
alone, the Committee is convinced, are not a reliable index of equal opportunity. So long as Negroes have a full and equal chance to enlist in general service and to qualify for NROTC scholarships, the situation with respect to numbers should improve as educational opportunities and facilities are made accessible to them.
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The Air Force
The President’s Policy Is Put Into Effect and the Results are Examined
It is the policy of the United States Air Force that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Air Force without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. . . . .
There will be no strength quotas of minority groups in the Air Force troop basis . . . .
Qualified Negro personnel may be assigned to fill any position vacancy in any Air Force organization or overhead installation without regard to race . . . .
All Air Force personnel will be considered on the basis of individual merit and ability and must qualify according to prescribed standards for enlistment, attendance at schools, promotion, assignment to specific duties, etc.
All individuals, regardless of race, will be accorded equal opportunity for appointment, advancement, professional improvement, promotion and retention in all components of the Air Force of the United States.
Air Force Letter
11 May 1949
The Air Force
The experience of the Navy seemed to the Committee to answer rather conclusively the two basic questions which had always been raised about the utilization of Negro personnel: Can Negroes be effectively employed in as wide a range of skills as white? Can the races be integrated on the job, in barracks and messes, without impairing morale and service efficiency? The Navy had found that unless Negroes were trained and utilized according to their individual capacities, wastage of manpower resulted, and that this wastage was made inevitable by segregation. The Navy had also found that Negro and white sailors would work together, eat at the same messes and sleep in the same quarters without trouble.
Confronted by the Navy experience, some military officials maintained that it did not provide a reliable basis for generalization because, of the relatively small number of Negroes involved. If, these officials suggested, Negroes had comprised 7 to 10 percent of the men in general service rather than 2 percent, the Navy experience might have been quite different. The Committee was skeptical of this argument, but it could not gainsay it without concrete evidence to the contrary. The experience of the Air Force has supplied that evidence.
Air Force Racial Policy in World War II
During World War II the racial policy of the Air Force was that of the parent Army a 10 percent restriction on Negro enlisted
strength, utilization in segregated units, and greatly limited job opportunities.
These policies were rigidly adhered to. By VJ day there were approximately 140,000 Negroes in the Air Force roughly 8 percent of total strength and virtually all of them were in racial units. Except for the all Negro 99th Fighter Squadron, the 332d Fighter Group, and the 477th Bombardment Group, (The 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group saw service in the Mediterranean Theater. The 477th Bombardment Squadron had just completed training as the war ended.) Negroes in the Air Force were concentrated for the most part in air cargo re-supply squadrons, MP companies, ordnance ammunition companies, aviation engineer battalions, signal construction battalions, quartermaster truck companies, airdrome defense battalions, air base security battalions, and medical detachments. That is, Negroes had been used chiefly in service capacities and for heavy duty work, regardless of their individual skills and aptitudes. The only notable exceptions to this rule, involving relatively few men, were the ground crews and administrative personnel attached to the three Negro flying units.
By the end of the war many high ranking officers in the Air Force were convinced that the concentration of almost all Negroes in a relatively narrow range of duties had deprived the service generally of many skills which were lost by reason of segregation. The Air Force also discovered that the malassignment which resulted from segregation cut two ways. It not only condemned men of superior skill to jobs where their abilities were wasted; it also forced the placement of men of insufficient skill in positions for which they were not equipped. Any standardized military unit whether manned by whites or Negroes provides for so many officers and so many enlisted men of specified skills, depending on the function and mission of the unit. In a white unit,
In the two years following the war a number of memoranda were prepared by Air Force staff agencies, recommending that Negro airmen, like white, be used solely on the basis of their individual qualifications, and that no Air Force jobs carry a color bar. But these same memoranda were equally insistent that segregation must be maintained because of social custom and the possibility of difficulty if Negro and white airmen were placed in the same unit.
The authors of these memoranda had clearly recognized the waste of skilled Negro manpower. They had not yet arrived at a point where they saw that this waste could not be repaired within a framework of segregation.
The Air Force Adopts a New Policy
The Air Force remained impaled on the points of this dilemma until the President issued Executive Order 9981 in July 1948. Spurred by this order, the Air Force set to work to evolve a policy which would simultaneously improve the efficiency of the service and extend equality of treatment and opportunity to all personnel.
The new policy called for
1. The abandonment of all racial quotas for enlistment and selection for service schools.
2. The opening of all occupational specialties to qualified personnel on the basis of ability without racial restriction.
3. The placing of enlistment, school attendance, assignment to duty and promotion on a basis of individual merit and ability according to prescribed standards.
Some Negro units, the Air Force stated, would be continued; but Negroes would not be restricted in assignment, nor necessarily assigned, to Negro units.
Apparently anticipating that this departure would be viewed with apprehension by some officers, Air Force Headquarters added as a note of reassurance:
"It has been proven in both the Navy and the Coast Guard, and on a smaller scale by our own experience in the Air Training Command, that well qualified Negro individuals can be absorbed into white organizations without insurmountable social or morale problems arising as a result of such assignment. Experience by sister services further indicates that a relatively small percentage of Negroes will be able to attain required standards in free competition with all other Air Force personnel."
The Air Force warned commanders that "care should be taken to insure that a reasonably small number of Negro personnel is assigned to any individual white organization; in no case will the Negro enlisted strength of the organization exceed 10 percent of the total enlisted strength of the organization without prior approval of this Headquarters. This limitation will not apply to student populations. . : "
1. A board of officers appointed by the Continental Air Command would screen the personnel at the all Negro Lockbourne Air Base in Ohio, home of the 33rd Fighter Wing. As a result of this screening, those men eligible for separation under current policies applicable to all personnel would be separated. All others would, according to their individual qualifications, be assigned to flying or technical schools for further training, or transferred to positions in other commands.
2. Further, each major command would screen its own Negro personnel for assignment according to the following rules
a. Negroes currently assigned to Negro units but actually working with white organizations would be transferred to the organization with which they were performing their duties.
b. Negroes assigned to and working with Negro units, but possessing the skills and qualifications for assignment to white units, would be reassigned to vacancies in white organizations.
c. Negroes qualified for school training and desiring to attend school would be sent to technical schools for which they were qualified.
d. A Negro could be retained in a Negro unit if (1) he so desired, (2) he was in a key position and necessary to the successful functioning of the unit, (3) he was considered best suited for assignment in a Negro unit by his commander.
This policy and program, which had been formulated in response to the President's executive order, the Air Force laid before the President's Committee at its first meeting in January
On April 6, 1949, the Secretary of Defense released a memorandum which he had sent to the three service secretaries. In this memorandum he reiterated the President's policy on equality of treatment and opportunity and asked the services to prepare a program to carry out the executive order.
In reply to this memorandum the Air Force resubmitted its earlier proposals in essentially their original form. There were, however, significant omissions. In the first place, the Air Force had eliminated the 10 percent limitation upon Negroes in any one unit. Second, commanders were no longer empowered to decide whether individual Negroes were best fitted for Negro units. Finally, the Air Force had deleted its earlier estimate that "a relatively small percentage of Negroes will be able to attain required standards in free competition with all other Air Force personnel," and also its previous warning to commanders that Negroes must "be spread evenly through Air Force units" with only "a reasonably small number" in any white organization.
The changes in policy and language disposed of the Committee's objections to the original draft, and the Committee decided to await the results of this program before making any further recommendations to the Air Force. Meanwhile, the Air Force had reduced its estimate of the time required to effectuate the plan from one year to six months.
The Air Force began implementing its new program on June 1, 1949. During the ensuing months the Committee did not inquire into the progress the Air Force was making, but voluntarily the Air Force submitted periodic reports on what it soon came to call its "integration program." At the end of November, exactly six months after orders had gone to field commanders, Air Force Headquarters notified the Committee it was prepared for a thorough field investigation of the results of its new policy.
In the middle of January 1950, the staff of the Committee made an investigation of seven Air Force bases. These were the Headquarters Base, Bolling Field, Washington, D. C.; Maxwell Air Force Base, the location of the Air War College and Air Command and Staff School, Montgomery, Ala.; Davis Monthan Air Force Base in the Strategic Air Command, Tucson, Ariz.; Lackland Air Force Base, the basic training station at San Antonio, Tex.; Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Ariz., a jet flying school; Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss., a technical training school in radar operations; and Scott Air Force Base, East St. Louis, Ill., a technical training school in radio repair and maintenance. The last four bases are all under the Training Command.
On this trip the Committee's staff found only one segregated unit. At six of the bases visited, the so called Air Base Service Squadrons all-Negro units whose personnel worked with whites in various post housekeeping duties but returned to separate quarters for eating, sleeping, and recreation had been broken up. The Negroes in these units had been screened, as directed by Air Force Headquarters, and those qualified for school training had been sent to school. Those not qualified for school training had been retained in their present jobs but transferred to white units. Those eligible for discharge under current regulations applying to all
At the basic training center at Lackland Field, Tex., Negro trainees upon their arrival were processed with white trainees, and assigned to the same flights and squadrons. Each flight of 60 trainees was in the immediate command of a flight chief and assistant flight chief, both noncommissioned officers. There were Negro flight chiefs and assistant flight chiefs at Lackland in charge of mixed flights. There were, as well, Negro instructors in some of the courses, and Negro counselors advising trainees in the selection of their career jobs.
The same situation was observed in the technical schools in the Training Command. At Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, which trains officers and enlisted men in the operation of electronics and weather equipment, Negro students officers and enlisted men formed 7 percent of the total student population, and Negro enlisted men represented 7.7 percent of the total enlisted students.
At Scott Air Force Base, East St. Louis, which trains communications officers and radio repairmen, Negro students comprised slightly over 9 percent of the total enlisted school population.
At Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Ariz., where jet pilots receive their training, there were three Negro officers instructing in jet fighters; two Negroes in training to be instructors in jets; and two Negro cadets receiving instruction.
At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Negro mechanics were working on the line and in the hangars, servicing and repairing B-50 and B-29 bombers.
At Bolling Field, Washington, D. C., the non-operating base of the Headquarters Command, Negroes were working in maintenance
The Evolving Pattern Under the Air Force Policy
The new Air Force policy had said nothing about recreational facilities. These matters were left largely to the discretion and judgment of the individual commanding officer. The disposition of most commanding officers was not to impose a rigid pattern, but to keep the situation fluid and let relationships evolve according to the wishes of the men. The effect of this hands off policy has been a steady movement in the direction of shared facilities. This apparently is not a conscious or calculated movement, but a natural development of daily contact at work, in school, in barracks and dining halls. Here again, mutual respect engendered on the job or in school seemed to translate itself into friendly association.
Almost without exception the commanders interviewed by the Committee's staff stated that they had put the new policy into effect with some misgivings. They did not for a moment question the accuracy of Headquarters opinion that "the traditional utilization of Negro manpower primarily in Negro units has contained certain elements of waste and efficiency." But they doubted whether, in open competition with whites, many Negroes would be able to qualify for technical positions, and they questioned whether the gain in manpower utilization would be worth the trouble they expected from assigning Negroes to white units.
Without exception commanding officers reported that their fears had not been borne out by events. A far larger proportion of Negroes than expected had demonstrated their capacity to compete
The extent of malassignment under segregation is indicated by the results of the screening of Negro personnel ordered by Air Force Headquarters. At eight bases screened by personnel experts from Lackland Field, it was found that anywhere from 12 to 37 percent of the Negro airmen at these bases were qualified for further technical school training. With the abandonment of segregation these Negroes could be sent to school and then assigned to jobs in white units for which they were qualified.
Furthermore, commanders testified that racial incidents had diminished, rather than increased, since the new policy had gone into effect. With all schools and jobs open on a basis of merit, officers were no longer plagued with complaints of discrimination. Some officers who candidly stated their personal preference for the old ways nevertheless volunteered that the new program benefited the service and caused less trouble.
The Question of Numbers
The opinion had been expressed that the Navy's policy of equal treatment and opportunity in general service was possible because Negroes represented only 2 percent of general ratings. The Air Force experience seemed to the Committee effectively to contradict this argument.
A break-down of Negro assignment by unit showed
Negroes still in predominantly Negro units 6, 773 Negroes in mixed units 11,611 Negroes in pipe line 7,318 ________ 25,702
Pipe line includes men in basic training, technical, and flying schools, and en route to new assignments. With few exceptions, the Negroes in pipe line are integrated with whites. The over-all percentage of Negroes integrated during the first 8 months of the Air Force program was approximately 74 percent. (It should be noted that of the 6,773 Negroes still in Negro units 2,369 were in Army units assigned to the Air Force, to which the integration policy did not apply. Furthermore, there were 1,770 whites in the predominantly Negro units.) The number of integrated units totaled 1,301; the number of predominantly Negro units remaining was 59. In June 1949, when the new policy went into effect, there were 106 Negro units, and only 167 mixed units.
Within the Training Command, Negroes represented 0.9 percent of total personnel currently taking flight training; and 6 percent of total personnel in technical training schools. In basic training during January 1950, the Negro percentage was 8.8. In officer candidate training 3 percent of the candidates were Negro.
The following conclusions were borne out by the experience of the Navy and Air Force:
1. The range of individual Negro abilities is much wider than the services had assumed prior to the opening of all jobs in the Navy and Air Force.
2. Given sufficiently high enlistment standards, it does not follow that only a "relatively small percentage" of Negroes will be able to meet the competition of whites.
3. The services can not afford to waste these potential Negro skills.
4. There will be wastage and malassignment of manpower under segregation because there is no assurance that individual Negro skills can be, or will be, utilized in racial units.
5. Integration of the two races at work, in school, and in living quarters did not present insurmountable difficulties. As a matter of fact, integration in two of the services had brought a decrease in racial friction.
6. The enlisted men were far more ready for integration than the officers had believed.
7. The attitude of command was a substantial factor in the success of the racial policies of the Air Force and the Navy.
Four Steps Forward
The policy of the Department of the Army is that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Army without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. All manpower will be utilized to obtain maximum efficiency in the Army.
Army school quotas . . . will make no reference to race or color. Selection of personnel to attend Army schools will be made without regard to race or color . . . .
Military Occupational Specialties will be open to qualified enlisted personnel without regard to race or color. . . .
In furtherance of the policy of the President . . . it is the objective of the Department of the Army that Negro manpower possessing appropriate skills and qualifications will be utilized in accordance with such skills and qualifications, and will be assigned to any T/D [overhead] or T/O & E [organized] unit without regard to race or color.
16 January 1950
Effective with the month of April all enlistments in the Army within over all recruiting quotas will be open to qualified applicants without regard to race or color.
Staff Message to Army Commands
27 March 1950
There have been Negro units in the Regular Army ever since 1866 when Congress by statute established two infantry and two cavalry regiments of colored soldiers. In World War I Negroes served in a variety of supply and supporting units, principally in supply trains and in port, engineer, and pioneer troop battalions, and also in two combat divisions, both of which saw duty in France. The 92d Division fought as a unit; the four regiments of the 93d Division were separately brigaded with French divisions.
Although Negro combat outfits fought well in World War I and received several unit citations from the American and French Governments, the performance of the Negro regiments was not uniform. After the war, studies by the Army were critical of the organization and training of the Negro combat divisions. The Negro divisional regiments had not been trained together prior to embarkation, and divisional artillery did not complete its training until after it reached France. The nucleus of some of the regiments was National Guard units which were relatively well-trained and proficient; other regiments, composed largely of illiterate and unskilled recruits, were not effective. As a result the combat efficiency of the Negro regiments varied, and every study of Negro manpower utilization which was conducted by the Army War College between wars recommended that the Army never again form Negro units of divisional size. Despite these recommendations and contrary to the assurance which the Army gave to Selective Service that Negro divisions would not be formed, the 92d and 93d Divisions were reactivated in World War II.
The Army's Traditional Negro Troop Policy
Traditionally, two views have influenced Army thinking on the utilization of Negro troops. First, that Negro troops must be used in separate units. Second, that Negro troop strength must not exceed the Negro proportion in the civilian population. In all mobilization plans between wars, the use of Negro soldiers was premised on these two principles.
On October 9, 1940, the White House released a statement which had been prepared by the War Department, declaring that--
"It is the policy of the War Department that the services of Negroes will be utilized on a fair and equitable basis. In line with this policy provision will be made as follows:
"1. The strength of the Negro personnel of the Army of the United States will be maintained on the general basis of the proportion of the Negro population of the country . . . .
"7. The policy of the War Department is not to intermingle colored and white enlisted personnel in the same regimental organizations. This policy has been proven satisfactory over a long period of years and to make changes would produce situations destructive to morale and detrimental to the preparations for national defense . . . ."
If military efficiency is taken as a criterion, the statement that the Army's policy of segregation had "proven satisfactory over a long period of years" was not one which could be documented by the files in the Army's Historical Records Section, nor by the studies prepared by the Army War College. If the historical records established anything, they proved conclusively that the Army had not received maximum efficient utilization from its segregated units and had experienced endless trouble. The War College studies, while rarely recommending the abandonment of segregation, made the same conclusions inescapable.
Furthermore, opinion among general officers did not uniformly support the Army's traditional policy. As early as 1922, a distinguished general, a Southerner, warned the Army that the employment of Negro troops in large separate units wasted manpower and fomented trouble. Racial friction, this general declared, most frequently developed not between individuals but between groups, and he advised the Army to intersperse Negro soldiers one or two to a squad. In this general's opinion, the internal esprit which inevitably developed in a small group of men engaged in the same task would assure the Negro of acceptance and protect him against discrimination. The result would be more effective utilization of Negro manpower, less trouble and better morale. The same counsel was offered to the Army by another general officer at the beginning of World War II.
Most of the difficulties which the Army had experienced in World War I were repeated and multiplied in World War II. By the spring of 1945, the Assistant Secretary of War heading the Special Troop Policies Committee, which had been created to deal with the mounting problems connected with Negro troops, came to the conclusion that, whatever arguments might be adduced in support of the Army's racial policy, military efficiency and high morale were not among them. The Assistant Secretary urged the Army to conduct a thorough staff and field study of the results of its racial policy and to revise that policy on the basis of experience.
As a result of reports by field commanders throughout the war and the exhaustive study undertaken in response to the recommendation of the Special Troop Policies Committee, the Army had also come to the conclusion by the fall of 1945 that its policy over a long period of years had not proved satisfactory and that changes must be made in the utilization of Negro troops in the postwar Army.
Therefore, in October 1945, the Army convened a special board of general officers, known. as the Gillem Board, and charged it with submitting recommendations to the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff.
The Gillem Board
The Gillem Board sat for 3 1/2 months. At the conclusion of its studies the Board was possessed of two unshakeable convictions. First, that Negroes had made immense strides in education and industrial skill over the past 20 years; and, second, that the Army had not taken sufficient account of this progress.
On these two facts the Gillem Board based its conclusions and recommendations. And in so doing, it rejected the counsel of several high ranking officers who maintained that Negro soldiers had proved most effective in such jobs as truck driver and heavy construction worker, and should therefore be concentrated in the engineer corps and supply services.
The Gillem Board was firmly convinced that the Army must expand, and not further contract, the jobs in which Negroes could serve. "Many Negroes," it declared, "who, before the war, were laborers, are now craftsmen, capable in many instances of competing with the white man on an equal basis." Therefore, "the principle of economy of forces clearly indicates . . . that every effort must be expended to utilize efficiently every qualified individual in a position in the military structure for which he is best suited."
But here the Gillem Board was confronted by a dilemma. How was this principle of economy of forces to be applied to Negro troops? Clearly there were only two courses open to the Army if it were to "utilize efficiently every qualified individual in a position in the military structure for which he is best suited."
The Army could treat the Negro soldier like any other individual, assigning him solely on the basis of ability and Army need without any attempt at segregation because of race or color. Or the Army could attempt to create a separate Negro army which would have the same variety of units and require the same range of skills as the white army.
The Gillem Board decided on the second alternative. It decided that segregation must be maintained; and therefore, if the Negro soldier were to be used according to his individual capacity, Negro units must be created which would conform in general to white units.
Having made this basic decision to segregate the Negro soldier and make him the subject of special treatment, the Gillem Board was compelled to make several consequent recommendations. In the first place, it was doubtful whether the Army could actually form from the 10 percent Negro component the same variety of units as could be formed from the 90 percent white component, especially since the abilities and skills of the Negro soldiers, as a group, did not parallel those of the white soldiers as a group. Therefore, the Gillem Board proposed that individually qualified Negroes be assigned freely to overhead units as well as to regularly organized Negro units. An overhead unit is a post housekeeping detail which performs the duties connected with the administration of an Army base. Negroes assigned to overhead units, the Gillem Board planned, would work with whites on a "duty interspersal" basis, but would have their own segregated messes, barracks and dayrooms. By opening up overhead installations to Negroes, the Board hoped to provide job opportunities for those whose skills might not be used in regular Negro units.
In the second place, if the Negro soldier were to be considered a special case, then it was necessary that some agency be charged
with looking after his welfare. The Gillem Board, therefore, recommended that a staff group be formed in the General Staff division of Personnel and Administration and in the staff of each major command to plan, implement and revise policies affecting racial minorities. The Board further recommended that the Army periodically conduct manpower studies to determine the positions in each Army installation which could be filled by Negro personnel.
The Gillem Board not only accepted the old premise that segregation is necessary; it also reconfirmed the principle that Negro strength must be proportionate to the civilian population. But there was an inconsistency involved in this decision, and the Gillem Board was aware of it. While the Negro strength was at 10 percent, the Army suspended original Negro enlistments. At the same time, it continued to reenlist Negroes. A large number of the Negro reenlistments were "professional privates" men of low GCT score and little technical skill who had stayed in the Army after the war and who were of limited value to a peacetime training Army. How could a Negro with superior qualifications get into the Army if the Negro quota were largely preempted by professional privates? And how could the Army create new Negro units offering a wider range of skills if it did not have the Negroes with the necessary qualifications to man the units and if its reenlistment policy made it impossible to secure them?
To meet this difficulty the Gillem Board proposed that the Army deny reenlistment to Regular Army soldiers, Negroes and whites alike, who met only the minimum enlistment standards. The Gillem Board hoped by this device to create room within the 10 percent quota for highly qualified Negroes who would have the skills required for the new units which were to be formed. It also hoped by the elimination of the professional private, both
white and Negro, to improve the caliber of the peacetime training Army.
Finally, the Gillem Board tacitly recognized the fact that segregation, in itself, undoubtedly had an effect on the efficiency and morale of Negro combat units. In the winter of 1945, some 2,500 Negro soldiers from the supply services had answered a call for volunteers for front line duty. These Negro volunteers had been formed into platoons and assigned to white companies. The combat performance of these platoons had effectively established the feasibility of integration at this level without difficulty. (The report of the President's Committee on Civil Rights—To Secure These Rights—reproduces in large part the results of a survey among white soldiers following this experiment. Three out of four white soldiers said their attitude toward Negroes had changed after serving beside them in combat. The Army, feeling that this experiment was not representative and fearing possible unfortunate repercussions, decided against publishing the results of the survey during the war.) The Board acknowledged the success of this experiment in its conclusions
"Experiments and other experience of World War II indicate clearly that the most successful employment of Negro units occurred when they were employed as units closely associated with white units on similar tasks, and a greater degree of success was obtained when small Negro organizations were so employed."
Consequently, the Board recommended that "experimental groupings of Negro units with white units in composite organizations be continued in the postwar Army as a policy," and that the ultimate objective of Army policy be "the effective use of all manpower made available to the military establishment in the event of a major mobilization at some unknown date against an undetermined aggressor... without regard to antecedents or race."
These, then, were the six principal recommendations of the Gillem Board:
1. Negro units in the postwar Army should in general conform to white units.
2. Qualified Negroes should be used in overhead units.
3. A staff group in Army Headquarters and in every major command should be created to supervise racial policy and practice.
4. Periodic surveys of manpower should be made to determine positions that Negroes could fill.
5. Reenlistment should be denied to the professional private.
6. There should be experimental groupings of Negro and white units.
If these key recommendations were adopted, the Gillem Board believed, the Army would benefit by increased efficiency and the Negro soldier by fuller opportunity. But, the Board admonished, "Courageous leadership in implementing the program is imperative. All ranks must be imbued with the necessity for a straightforward, unequivocating attitude toward the maintenance and preservation of a forward thinking policy. Vacillation or weak implementation of a strong policy will adversely affect the Army. The policy which is advocated is consistent with the democratic ideals upon which the nation and its representative Army are based."
The Committee Looks at the Army
On the basis of its historical researches, the President's Committee agreed essentially with the Gillem Board's assessment of the Army's use of Negro manpower in World War II. The Army, it was true, had underestimated the progress which the Negro had made in education and technical skill, and as a consequence had not realized the potential of its Negro manpower. The Committee agreed that the Army must henceforth utilize effectively every individual in the position for which he was best fitted.
The Committee doubted, however, whether the recommendations of the Gillem Board were capable of achieving the Board's objective. In the first place, and considering the problem purely in the abstract without any evidence of what the Gillem Board program had accomplished over three years, the Committee questioned whether it were possible to equalize the job opportunities of white and Negro soldiers merely by creating new Negro units and by opening up overhead installations to Negroes.
In the second place, the Committee doubted that the Gillem Board had sufficiently considered whether segregation must not by its very nature defeat the Board's objective. Segregation, the Committee was convinced, forced inefficiency in two ways. By requiring skilled Negroes to serve in racial units, the Army lost skills which could find no place in Negro organizations. On the other hand, by concentrating large numbers of unskilled Negroes in combat units, it multiplied inefficiency. For example, the Army had discovered in World War II that the combat effectiveness of white units was dangerously weakened when more than 5 to 10 percent of their men. were in grade V, the lowest classification. Yet the Army had sent Negro units into battle with 49 percent of the men in grade V, and 80-90 percent in grades IV and V. White combat units, on the other hand, averaged about 5 percent in grade V and 32 percent in grades IV and V.
Finally, the Committee could find no justification for continuing the 10 percent quota system when the Army's declared objective was the utilization of every qualified individual according to his ability. In this context, the policy of limiting Negro strength to the civilian proportion was irrelevant and arbitrary. The only relevant consideration was not whether the Negro strength was 10 percent or 12 percent, or even only 7 percent, but whether the Negroes in the Army, given equal opportunity, met Army standards and qualified for their jobs in competition with
all other personnel. If as individuals they could satisfy the Army's standards and meet the competition, then they should have the jobs; if they could not qualify or stand up against competition, then they should not have the jobs. But they should not be in the service simply because the Army had a policy of maintaining an arbitrary 10 percent Negro strength.
In short, it seemed to the Committee that the Gillem Board sought equal treatment and efficient utilization of manpower within a framework that foredoomed the realization of either.These, however, were judgments that needed to be tested. What had actually been accomplished during the three years the Gillem Board's policies had been operative. (The Army had not approved the Board's recommendations on reenlistment and special staff groups. It did approve the recommendation on periodic surveys of jobs to be filled by Negroes, but these surveys were never made.)
With respect to the Gillem Board's recommendation to create Negro units conforming generally to white units, the Army had in three years converted 19 units from white to Negro designation. Of these 19 units, five were divisional battalions; the remainder were nondivisional units, of which two were of battalion size, and the rest companies. Most of these units four were artillery, one infantry, the rest heavy construction and service units were of a type in which Negroes were already serving. Consequently while the conversion of the 19 units from white to Negro increased the number of jobs, it did not much expand the types of jobs available to Negroes.
Despite some initial opposition to making Negro units organic parts of larger white organizations, the Army had made progress in grouping white and Negro units together in composite organizations. This process had generally stopped, however, with the assignment of Negro battalions to white regiments, although there
were several instances of Negro companies serving in white battalions.
The only really significant advance which resulted from the Gillem Board recommendations was made in utilizing Negroes in overhead installations. A survey taken in 1947, a year after the Gillem policy went into effect, showed that, Army wide, Negroes formed 13 percent of overhead employment. However, the pattern was far from uniform, some commands employing as much as 30 percent Negroes in overhead, and others employing a few or none at all. Moreover, although the picture looked good in total numbers, closer inspection showed that the majority of Negroes in overhead units were employed in a relatively few occupations truck driver, cook, baker, duty soldier (manual laborer), and clerk typist. For example, of the 879 Negroes employed in overhead in the Third Army at the time of the 1947 survey, 597 were employed as cook, military policeman, duty soldier, duty noncommissioned officer, and truck driver.
Two years later in May 1949, the Committee found much the same situation in a visit to Fort Knox. In one Army service unit, forming the station overhead complement for Headquarters Section at Fort Knox, there were 666 whites and 165 Negroes, or over 19 percent Negroes a very good numerical showing. But cooks, food service apprentices, MP's, firemen, duty soldiers, fire fighters, and truck drivers accounted for 109 of the 165 Negro positions. Moreover, in the Army service unit serving as overhead for the headquarters company of the Armored School at Fort Knox, there were 155 whites in overhead and no Negroes. And in the division overhead for the Third Armored Division at Fort Knox, there were 1,200 whites and only 26 Negroes--most of them bandsmen and clerk typists.
The Gillem Board proposal to use Negroes in overhead units had doubtless widened somewhat the range of jobs available to
Negroes in the Army; yet when the Committee in 1949 examined the whole field of Army occupations, it found a large number of jobs which were still closed to Negroes.
For example, as of August 1949, the Army had 490 active occupational specialties. In 198 of these specialties, there were no authorizations at all for Negroes.
There were 245 specialties with authorizations for 10 or more whites and authorizations for 10 or less Negroes.
In 91 specialties there were authorizations for 10 or less Negroes and for l00 or more whites.
There were 144 specialties with authorizations for 10 or more whites and no authorizations for Negroes.
These figures give some idea of the failure of segregated and overhead units to furnish vacancies for skilled Negroes.
What made this situation even less defensible in the Committee's view was the fact that the Army was seriously under strength in a great many of the specialties which had no Negro authorizations. A representative sample of ten specialties taken from the records of February 1949 will give some idea of the denial of opportunity and potential waste of manpower resulting from segregation.
|Portable power generator repairman||
|Shop maintenance mechanic||
|Radio repairman single channel||
|Transmitter attendant, fixed station||
|Telephone and telegraph repairman||
|Artillery mechanic AA minor maintenance||
|Welder armor plate||
The areas in which this denial of opportunity was particularly noticeable were signal corps, ordnance, transportation, medical and finance.
A consequence of the denial of job opportunity was an equally serious deprivation of opportunity to attend Army schools. The Army assigned spaces in its schools on a racial basis, according to the requirements of white and Negro organizations. When the Committee in the spring of 1949 examined the quotas for the technical school courses which were open to recruits at the completion of basic training, it found there were Negro quotas for only 21 of the 106 courses currently offered. That is, Negroes, even if qualified, were denied training at that time in 81 percent of the courses. The school spaces reserved for whites totaled 1,741; the spaces allotted Negroes were 82, or 4.4 percent of the total. A comparable situation existed with respect to quotas for school courses open to men already assigned to units. In only a relatively few specialties were Negroes detached from their units for school training, because their units had no call for the advanced skills which they would have learned.
It was this situation with respect to jobs and schools, which was revealed first by examination of Army personnel records and then confirmed by field visits, that brought sharply to the Committee's attention the interrelationship of segregation, unequal opportunity, and inefficient use of manpower. Negro units could not offer as wide a range of jobs as white units. Because the jobs were not available in segregated units, Negroes were often not given the military occupational specialty (MOS) for which they were qualified. Because they were not given the opportunity to qualify for the jobs, they did not receive school training in these
specialties. The end result was not only unequal opportunity for the Negro but a poorer, less efficient Army.
Turning to the question of the 10 percent racial quota, the Committee found an equally disturbing situation. From April through November 1949, the Army closed down original Negro enlistments because the racial quota was full. Yet throughout this period it continued to reenlist men both, white and Negro who were far below the current enlistment standard. As of March 31, 1949, almost 7 percent of white enlisted men in the Army—37,708—and 15.6 percent of Negro enlisted men—10,840—were below 70 in the General Classification Test. Yet these men could, and many of them did, reenlist in the ensuing months when the Army enlistment standard varied from 90 to 80 on the General Classification Test. In fact, 18.8 percent of white reenlistments and 41 percent of Negro reenlistments from March through June 1949 had GCT scores below 80.
This meant, so far as the Negro was concerned, that during the eight months when the quota was filled, the Army would refuse to enlist a highly qualified Negro who scored in grade I but would reenlist a Negro professional private who fell in the lower range of grade IV or even in grade V.
Only two conclusions could be drawn from three years of experience with the Gillem Board policy, based upon the continuation of segregation and the quota system. First, the individual skilled Negro was not getting equal opportunity at Army jobs and Army schools; second, he was unlikely to get it while the Army limited his assignment to Negro and overhead units and could refuse him enlistment under the quota system.
The Committee's Recommendations to the Army
With this situation in mind, the President's Committee submitted to the Army in May 1949, a four point plan to achieve the President's objective:
1. Open up all Army jobs to qualified personnel without regard to race or color.
2. Open up all Army schools to qualified personnel without regard to race or color.
3. Rescind the policy restricting Negro assignments to racial units and overhead installations, and assign all Army personnel according to individual ability and Army need.
4. Abolish the racial quota.
When the Secretary of the Army had acquainted himself with the facts that lay behind the Committee's recommendations on Army jobs and schools, he recognized that changes were necessary to afford equal opportunity; and on September 30, 1949, he issued a new policy, opening all jobs to qualified personnel regardless of race and abolishing all racial quotas for school attendance.
The Negro soldier could not fully benefit by these two steps, however, unless the Army also revised its policy on the assignment of Negroes. This was a much more thorny question for the Army than it had been for the Navy or the Air Force. After the war the Navy had discharged most of the personnel in its segregated ordnance and construction companies. Thus, when it decided to admit Negroes into general service in the peacetime Navy, it began virtually from scratch. There were no Negro units to disband, and the new Negro personnel enlisted met the relatively high peacetime standards.
The Air Force, it is true, had a large number of Negro units when it decided to integrate its Negro personnel. But many of
these Negroes were already working with whites on the job, and after screening it was relatively easy to transfer to white units those Negroes who would continue in their present duties, and to send to school those who were qualified for further training.
The Negro enlisted strength in the Army, on the other hand, constituted between 9 and 10 percent of total, enlisted personnel. Many of these Negroes were in combat and combat support units. Some of these units were attached or assigned to larger white organizations which formed part of the immediate striking force. This complicated the problem, and the Committee did not feel that it could reasonably recommend that all these Negro units be broken up all at once.
Therefore, the Committee and the Army, in consultation, worked out a policy and procedure on assignment which took account of the number of men involved and the time required to screen, train and reassign them.
On January 16, 1950, as a result of such consultation and joint effort, the Army issued a policy statement declaring that--
"In furtherance of the policy of the President as expressed in Executive Order 9981, dated July 26, 1948, that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin, it is the objective of the Department of the Army that Negro manpower possessing appropriate skills and qualifications will be utilized in accordance with such skills and qualifications, and will be assigned to any T/D [overhead] or T/O & E [regularly constituted] unit without regard to race or color."
In effectuation of this policy, the Army announced it would take two steps immediately. First, it would publish periodically a list of critical specialties in which vacancies existed, and direct commanders to assign qualified Negroes to any unit requiring such specialties. Second, it would permit commanders to fill any other
vacancies in white units with Negroes possessing appropriate skills. Concurrently with the release of this policy, the Army published a first list of 40 critical specialties.
There remained the question of the quota, and on March 27, 1950, the Army announced to all commands that "effective with the month of April all enlistments in the Army within overall recruiting quotas will be open to qualified applicants without regard to race or color."
With the Army's announcement of the abolition of the racial quota, the Committee's four principal recommendations to the Army, essential to carrying out the President's policy, had been accepted.
As this report is submitted it is too early to appraise the effect of the Army's new policy. However, the Committee firmly believes that as the Army carries out the Committee's recommendations which it has adopted, then within a relatively short time Negro soldiers will enjoy complete equality of treatment and opportunity in the Army.
[The page that follows in the original is blank.]
Whatsoever things are true . . . whatsoever things are just. —St. Paul
The President's Committee, as previously stated, began its task convinced that the problem confronting it could not be resolved by appealing to moral justice or democratic ideals alone. Military officials did not deny the claim of these ideals; they asserted, however, that in discharging their duty they must maintain military efficiency. The Committee on its part did not deny the claim of military efficiency; but it believed the assumption that equality of treatment and opportunity would impair efficiency was of doubtful validity. The Committee found, in fact, that inequality had contributed to inefficiency.
As a result of its examination into the rules, procedures, and practices of the armed services, both past and present, the Committee is convinced that a policy of equality of treatment and opportunity will make for a better Army, Navy, and Air Force. It is right and just. It will strengthen the nation.
The integrity of the individual, his equal worth in the sight of God, his equal protection under law, his equal rights and obligations of citizenship and his equal opportunity to make just and constructive use of his endowment these are the very foundation of the American system of values. The President's Committee throughout its deliberations shaped its course consistently with these principles.
The President's Committee desires to express its appreciation to the members of its permanent staff and also to those who worked for the Committee for limited periods.
E. W. Kenworthy, Executive Secretary
Joseph H. R. Evans, Associate Executive Secretary (deceased)
Beatrice Williams Dillard
Vivian S. Bullock
Charles J. S. Durham
Elsa K. Lowry
Consultant to the Committee
Charles P. Browning
The Committee would like to record its debt to the Office of The Adjutant General of the Army and to Mr. Roy K. Davenport of that office upon whose expert knowledge of personnel procedures the Committee and its staff drew constantly.
Policy of the Navy
49-447—Policy Regarding Minority Races
23 June 1949
ACTION: ALL SHIPS AND STATIONS
(Ref.: (a) Alnav 423-45.)
1. Reference (a) is canceled and superseded by this letter.
2 It is the policy of the Navy Department that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Navy and Marine Corps without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.
3. In their attitude and day to day conduct of affairs, officers and enlisted personnel of the Navy and Marine Corps shall adhere rigidly and impartially to the Navy Regulations, in which no distinction is made between individuals wearing the uniform of these services.
4. All personnel will be enlisted or appointed, trained, advanced or promoted, assigned duty, and administered in all respects without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.
5. In the utilization of housing, messing, berthing, and other facilities, no special or unusual provisions will be made for the accommodation of any minority race.
—SecNav. Francis P. Matthews.
CIRCULAR LETTER NO. 115-49
Pers-2-rwh, MB, 25 July 1949
ACTION: ALL SHIPS AND STATIONS
(Ref.: (a) BuPers Manual (1948).)
1. In accordance with a recent directive of the Secretary of the Navy, chief stewards are hereafter to be considered as chief petty officers and will be accorded the prerogatives of that status as prescribed by U. S. Naval Regulations and Bureau of Naval Personnel Manual. They shall take precedence immediately following chief dental technicians.
2. Appropriate changes to reference (a) will be promulgated.
BuPers, T. L. Sprague.
CIRCULAR LETTER NO. 141-49
49-626—First Class, Second Class, and Third Class Stewards
Pers-21- mf, MB, 30 August 1949
ACTION: ALL SHIPS AND STATIONS
1. Effective 1 January 1950, stewards, first , second , and third class, will be considered petty officers of their appropriate pay grade and will be accorded the prerogatives of that status as prescribed by U. S. Navy Regulations and Bureau of Naval Personnel Manual. They shall take precedence immediately after dental technician, first , second , and third class, respectively.
2. The Secretary of the Navy has authorized a change, effective on the above date, in the uniform prescribed for stewards, first-, second-, and third-class, which will require them to wear the same type of uniform as is prescribed for other petty officers. More detailed information concerning the uniform change will be published at a later date. In the meantime, commanding officers are requested to advise stewards, first-, second-, and third-class, under their commands of this prospective change in order that they may anticipate their needs in regard to uniforms.
3. Appropriate changes to Bureau of Naval Personnel Manual will be promulgated.
—BuPers, T. L. Sprague.
[The page that follows in the original is blank.]
Policy of the Air Force
[The page that follows in the original is blank.]
|AIR FORCE LETTER||DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE|
Air Force Personnel Policies
(Effective until 11 November 1950 unless sooner rescinded or superseded)
|Army units and individuals||
1. Policy—It is the policy of the United States Air Force that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Air Force without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.
2. Supplemental policies—To insure uniform application of this policy, the following supplemental policies are announced.
a. There will be no strength quotas of minority groups in the Air Force troop basis.
b. Some units will continue to be manned with Negro personnel; however, all Negroes will not necessarily be assigned to Negro units. Qualified Negro personnel may be assigned to fill any position vacancy in any Air Force organization or overhead installation without regard to race.
c. To meet the requirements of the Air Force for qualified individuals, all Air Force personnel will be considered on the basis of individual merit and ability and must qualify according to the prescribed standards for enlistment, attendance at schools, promotion, assignment to specific duties, etc.
d. All individuals, regardless of race, will be accorded equal opportunity for appointment, advancement, professional improvement, promotion, and retention in all components of the Air Force of the United States.
e. Officers will be accepted into the Regular Air Force through the operation of existing programs and in accordance with their qualifications without regard to race.
f. All enlisted personnel will be accorded identical processing through appropriate installations to insure proper classification and assignment of individuals.
g. Directives pertaining to the release of personnel from the services shall be applied equally without reference to race.
a. The planning, promulgation, and revision of this policy will be coordinated by the Director of Personnel Planning, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, Headquarters USAF.
b. Commanding officers are hereby directly charged with the responsibility for implementation of the above policy.
c. Commanders of all echelons of the Air Force will insure that all personnel in their command are indoctrinated thoroughly with the necessity for the unreserved acceptance of the provisions of this policy.
4. Army units and individuals.—Army units and individuals with the Air Force will continue to be governed by the policies promulgated by the Army.
5. Previous policy.—All prior policy statements with regard to Negro personnel which are contrary to the above are hereby rescinded and superseded by the policy enunciated herewith.
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:
|OFFICIAL:||HOYT S. VANDENBERG|
|L. L. JUDGE||Chief of Staff,|
|Colonel, USAF||United States Air Force|
|Air Adjutant General|
Policy of the Army
[The page that follows in the original is blank.]
|SPECIAL REGULATIONS||DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY|
|No. 600-62-I||Washington 25, D. C., 16 January 1950|
UTILIZATION OF NEGRO MANPOWER IN THE ARMY
|Periodic review of utilization of Negro manpower||
|Enlisted personnel processing||
|Army school training||
|Eligibility for military occupational specialties||
|Officer personnel management||
|ROTC students at summer training camps||
|Utilization and assignment||
1. Policy.—The policy of the Department of the Army is that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Army without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. All manpower will be utilized to obtain maximum efficiency in the Army.
2. Responsibility.— a. Commanders of all echelons of the Army will insure that all personnel under their command are thoroughly oriented in the necessity for the unreserved acceptance of the provisions of these policies.
b. Commanders of organizations or installations containing Negro personnel will be responsible for the execution of these policies.
c. The planning, promulgation, implementation, and revision of these policies will be coordinated by the Director of Personnel and Administration, General Staff, United States Army.
3. Periodic review of utilization of Negro manpower.—A board of senior Army officers will lie convened from time to time to determine current progress under the policies and implementation prescribed herein and to reexamine
and review the fundamental policies for the utilization of Negro manpower.
4. Enlisted personnel processing.—All enlisted personnel without regard to race or color will be accorded the same reception processing through appropriate installations to insure proper initial classification.
5. Army school training.—Army school quotas for replacement stream personnel, and requests for and issuance of school quotas for assigned enlisted personnel will make no reference to race or color. Selection of personnel to attend Army schools will be made without regard to race or color. Graduates of Army schools will be used in positions where their school acquired skill may be utilized in accord with personnel management regulations equally applicable to all enlisted personnel.
6. Eligibility for military occupational specialties.—Military occupational specialties will be open to qualified enlisted personnel without regard to race or color. Utilization of Negro personnel in military occupational specialties will be in accord with personnel management regulations equally applicable to all enlisted personnel.
7. Enlisted promotions. —The promotion system of the enlisted career guidance program will be administered on an equal merit basis so that all promotions will be obtained by open competition, on examinations uniform throughout the Army, against a single standard, without regard to race or color.
8. Officer personnel management.—a. Officers will be procured for the Regular Army and for the Officers’ Reserve Corps without regard to race or color.
b. All officers, regardless of race or color, will be afforded equal opportunities for advancement, professional improvement, extended active duty, active duty training, promotion, and retention in the Army.
9. ROTC students at summer training camps. —ROTC students attending summer training camps as members of school units to which they are regularly assigned will remain together and be trained together without regard to race or color.
10. Utilization and assignment.—a. In furtherance of the policy of the President as expressed in Executive Order 9981, dated July 26, 1948, that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin, it is the objective of the Department of the Army that Negro manpower
possessing appropriate skills and qualifications will be utilized in accordance with such skills and qualifications, and will be assigned to any T/D or T/O & E unit without regard to race or color.
b. In consonance with the foregoing, and as additional steps towards its attainment:
(1) The Department of the Army will publish periodically to major commanders a list of critical specialties in which vacancies exist within the Army. The first such list is being published concurrently herewith in DA AGO letter dated 16 Jan 1950. Major commanders concerned will assign Negro personnel who possess any of such critical specialties to any T/D or T/O & E unit in their areas having such critical specialist vacancies, without regard to race or color.
(2) In addition to the provisions of subparagraph (1) above, to fill other vacancies requiring special skills, qualified Negro specialists may be assigned to any appropriate unit by order of the major commander concerned.
[AG 291.2 (25 Oct 49)]
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:
|OFFICIAL:||J. LAWTON COLLINS|
|EDWARD F. WITSELL||Chief of Staff, United States Army|
|Major General, USA|
|The Adjutant General|
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
STAFF MESSAGE CENTER
OUTGOING CLEAR MESSAGE.
CSGPA 342 (18 Nov 49) (Prepared
by TAG; AGAO-S Based on D/F
dtd 27 Mar 50 from G-1
Lt Col Conine/3026/cjs CSGPA 342
(18 Nov 49) AGAO-S
Joseph W. Robinson Capt AGD 3344
To: CHIEF AFF FT MONROE VA, COMGENARMYONE, COM
GENARMYTWO, COMGEN ARMYTHREE, COMGENARMY
FOUR, COMGENARMYFIVE, COMGENARMYSIX, COMGEN
MDW WASHINGTON DC, COMGENUSARAL, COMGENUS
ARPAC, CINCFE, COMGENUSARCARIB, COMGENUSAREU
|Nr: WCL 44600||
27 Mar 50
|From CSGPA sgnd Witsell TAG.|
Effective with the month of April all enlistments in the army within overall recruiting quotas will be open to qualified applicants without regard to race or color. . . .