The Secretary of the Army ( Royall ) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I am informed that Mr. Bohlen of your Department has requested a statement of the Department of Army position relative to the Lodge bill to authorize enlistment of aliens in the [Page 574] Regular Army (S. 2016, 80th Congress)1 under certain limitations.

The Department of the Army in January 1948 informed Senator Gurney2 of willingness to support the bill, and recommended that it be amended to delete the words “for service outside the continental limits of the United States, its Territories and possessions.” Conferences with representatives of the Department of State in February 1948 revealed that your Department would not support the Lodge bill primarily because of the possible adverse propaganda effect.3 Out of deference to your Department’s viewpoint and in the interest of maintaining a united front, the Department of the Army in February notified Senator Lodge and Senator Gurney that support must be withdrawn from the bill. This action did not change the basic concept of the Department of the Army that enlistment of qualified displaced aliens abroad would be desirable.

On 19 March 1948 a memorandum relative to this entire subject4 was sent to the Secretary of Defense recommending support, of the bill if amended as proposed. This recommendation was approved and discussion was reopened with your Department. Conferences were held on 30 March 1948 and 16 April 1948 between representatives of the Department of the Army and Mr. Bohlen of your Department. At these conferences an attempt was made to reconcile the difference in viewpoint concerning the desirability of passage of the Lodge bill. To this end an effort was made to draft a new bill or amend an existing bill in order to accomplish the purposes of the Lodge bill, but at the same time not incorporate features objectionable to your Department. No such solution was found. At the present time the Department of the [Page 575] Army is prepared to support enactment of the Lodge bill as a means to obtain additional manpower on a voluntary basis. A manpower pool from which it is believed approximately 50,000 qualified nonenemy aliens could be recruited exists in the United States Occupied Zones of Europe. Included in this estimate are 12,000 of the 14,500 men currently employed by occupation authorities in quasi military guard and labor roles. Individuals included in this estimate are between 18 and 35 years of age; meet present physical, intelligence, and educational standards; and possess good character.

I would appreciate obtaining your present reaction to the Lodge bill and will be glad to furnish any desired additional data on this subject now in the possession of the Department of the Army.5

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth C. Royall
  1. The bill under reference was introduced by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., of Massachusetts on January 19, 1948, and referred to the Senate Committee on Armed Services. It read in pertinent part as follows: “Be it enacted … That the Secretary of the Army, under such regulations as he may prescribe, Is authorized until June 30, 1950, to accept original enlistments in the Regular Army from among qualified aliens not less than eighteen years of age nor more than thirty-five years of age for an enlistment period of not less than five years for service outside of the continental United States, its Territories, and possessions.”
  2. Senator Chan Gurney of South Dakota, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
  3. In a memorandum to the Secretary of State dated February 23, Charles E. Bohlen, Counselor of the Department, stated the following: “This measure marks a very definite departure from our previous policy in regard to recruitment for the U.S. Army and from the point of view of foreign policy is extremely undesirable. It in effect announces to the world that the U.S. cannot obtain the necessary manpower from among its own citizens for its own Service and has to recruit foreign mercenaries abroad. It is obvious what use Soviet propaganda will make of such a development . . . . If the Department of the Army could be persuaded to amend this Bill so as to make it an immigration rather than a recruitment measure on the principle of giving preferential or non-quota status under the immigration law to aliens who had declared their intention of enlisting in the U.S. Army upon arrival here, the chief disadvantages from the point of View of foreign policy to this measure would be mitigated.” (811.2221/2–2348)
  4. Not printed.
  5. On June 8, the Senate approved an amendment (introduced by Senator Lodge) to the Selective Service Act by which the Secretary of the Army was authorized to enlist 25,000 aliens for five years’ service, after which they would be eligible for citizenship. On June 14, Marshall informed Secretary Royall that in his opinion there was no further action which the Department of State should take on the matter.