January 4, 1950 (Wednesday)





Another problem that had occurred during WW II, was who identified an applicants race, and another who had the right to make the determination. In August 1944 the Selective Service System decided that the applicant himself should be the one to make the call.

Five years later, they want to change it, so as of April 1949 the racial categories available to the applicant were as follows:

and specifically included mulattoes and "others of negroid race or extraction" in the Negro category, having other men of mixed race to be entered under their predominant race.

The first problem arose when Spanish-speaking Americans from southern California enlisted, and had their selection of "white" struck and "Mexican" inserted in is place.

Democratic Congressman Chet Holifield from California's 19th District, told the Secretary of Defense this practice was very demoralizing as the enlistees wanted to be integrated into every phase of American life:

"any attempt to forestall this ambition by treating them as a group apart is extremely repellent to them and gives rise to demoralization and hostility."

He suggested using the applicants, parents birth place and language spoken as determinants. Secretary Johnson then forward this complaint and suggestion to Personnel Policy Board which promptly developed a new racial category list:

This new list went into effect on 11 October 1949 and immediately drew criticism.

Its ruling under attack from the services, the board made a hasty appeal to authority Its chief of staff, Vice Adm. John L. McCrea, recommended that the Army and Navy consult Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary for specific definitions of the five racial categories.

That source, the admiral explained to the Under Secretary of the Navy, listed Polynesian in the Malayan category, and if the Navy decided to add race to its shipping articles, the five categories should be sufficient. The board, he added, had not meant to encourage additional use of racial information. The Navy had always used the old color categories on its shipping articles forms, the ones, incidentally, favored by Evans, and McCrea thought they generally corresponded to the categories developed by the board.

The admiral also suggested that the Army use the color system to help clarify the board's categories. He offered some generalizations on specific Army questions:

"a) Puerto Ricans are officially Caucasian, unless of Indian or Negro birth;
b) Filipinos are Malayan;
c) Hawaiians are Malayan;
d) Latin Americans are Caucasian or Indian; and
e) Indian-Negro and White-Negro mixtures should be classified in accordance with the laws of the states of their birth.''

The lessons on definition of race so painfully learned during World War II were ignored. Henceforth race was to be determined by a dictionary, a color scheme, and the legal vagaries found in the race laws of the several states.

Consequently, today, the Army not satisfied with the state of affairs asked again for clarification. The reply would come three months from now: an applicant's declaration of race should be accepted, subject to "sufficient justification" from the applicant when his declaration created "reason to doubt." [note]

Not that much different from what in August 1944 the Selective Service System decided - that the applicant himself should be the one to make the call. The problem now would be that innocuous little "sufficient justification" clause.


Integration and the Marine Corps

Today the assistant commandant, Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith, said blacks would be employed "in any area where there is an expressed interest."

As of today, there were about 1,525 black Marines or 1.6 % of the Corps. [note]


CIA Daily Report

The daily CIA summary report today indicated that Mao Tse-tung or Mao Zedong, was in Moscow, the information is provided by the embassy with a CIA comment. The embassy suppositions were a little off. On the one hand they thought Mao and Stalin were having difficulty in coming to an agreement, and on the other they thought their might be some disloyal people plotting a coup against Moa at home.

While the CIA discounted the though of a coup, they too thought there may be some difficulty in agreeing on a new revised Sino-Soviet treaty. Neither were the case. [note]

Notes for Tuesday January 3, 1950