January 3, 1950 (Tuesday)





Since 1949 when the services became intergraded, they were experiencing problems in the assignment of colored troops to various countries in unit sized allotments.


The Army had barred black units in China, and the Navy would not station black mess men in Iceland. Individually, here and there was apparently no problem, but Under Secretary of State James E. Webb on October 17th had indicated that an entire unit of black, soldiers, sailors or Marines, was not welcomed in the following countries, which he listed specifically:

  1. Iceland,

  2. Greenland,

  3. Canada,

  4. Newfoundland,

  5. Bermuda, and

  6. British possessions in the Caribbean

Stating that because of attitudes in these countries, he was worried about the troops morale. As late as last month the State Department had objected to black units being stationed in Panama.


The Marine Corps feared the assignment of a black Marine by accident to a restricted area, because they transferred their people by MOS and rank, race not being a consideration.


Deputy chief of staff, personnel, General Idwal H. Edwards of the Air Force worried that the restrictions would become public knowledge and reflect badly on the service.


Today, the Navy's Secretary Francis P Matthews, asked the Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson, what they should do with the "thousands" of blacks already in four of the six countries listed. If they were to withdraw them, he feared adverse publicity, like General Edwards. [note] Obviously the "problem" to everyone else, was not seen as a problem to the Navy.

Notes for Tuesday January 3, 1950