U.S. Navy Department (December 12, 1941)
Naval forces continue to coordinate their efforts with the Army on land, sea and in the air against heavy Japanese attacks on the island of Luzon. There is no confirmation of the alleged occupation of Guam by the Japanese. The resistance of Wake and Midway continues. No further air activity over Hawaii has been reported. The situation in the Atlantic remains unchanged.
The above is based on reports up to noon today.
The Pittsburgh Press (December 12, 1941)
Only those from 19 to 45 face actual call, Rayburn says
Washington (UP) –
The War Department today presented to Congress legislation that would require all men in the United States between the ages of 18 to 64, inclusive, to register with the Selective Service System.
Only those from 19 to 45, Speaker Sam Rayburn said, will be liable for military service.
The broad registration will be for the purpose of getting an accurate survey of American manpower.
Chairman Andrew J. May (D-KY) of the House Military Affairs Committee introduced the War Department’s legislation shortly after the House convened at noon.
Reviewed at conference
The legislation was reviewed in a conference at Mr. Rayburn’s office also attended by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson; Selective Service Director Lewis B. Hershey; House Majority Leader John W. McCormack (D-MA); Rep. James Wadsworth (R-NY), co-sponsor of the original Selective Service Act; Rep. Walter G. Andrews (R-NY), ranking minority member of the Military Affairs Committee, and War Department and Selective Service aides.
Men who have already registered will not be required to do so again.
The new registration will take in all unregistered men who have reached the age of 18 and have not reached the age of 65.
New registrants may be called up for military service ahead of those who were entered in the past two registrations.
The bill provided that alien residents of the United States holding citizenship in neutral nations may apply for exemption for registration for military service under the American flag but if they do, they are forever barred from becoming citizens of this nation.
Mr. May announced that hearings in the bill will start tomorrow and that Gen. Hershey will be the first witness.
Selective Service officials said they had no intention at this time of seeking authority to register women.
Mr. May said his bill will not change the existing system of classifying Selective Service registrants.
Mr. Hershey disclosed that a proposal was now under consideration to establish some sort of government support if married men and other with dependents, who are now deferred, were found to be needed.
Million already available
Mr. Hershey told the conferees that an additional million men can probably be combed out of present registrants between 21 and 27 and that 1,200,000 men reach the age of military service annually.
We may need a lot of men and we’ve got to find out now where we can get them.
Gen. Hershey told reporters yesterday that he favored a long-range registration of the 40 million men between 18 and 64 years. He estimated that 10 million could be made available to the Army and Navy for actual service. Registration of women, he said, would be handled by such agencies as the Office for Civilian Defense.
The first phase of the program probably will be to draw upon the 17,500,000 men in the already registered 21-35 age group. Only about 800,000 inductions have been made to this class, but Gen. Hershey believes this could be increased to four million men.
Immediate reclassification of the 10 million registrants in the 21-27 age bracket is possible and legislative action may be sought to make available the 7,500,000 men in the 28-35 age group.
Gen. Hershey suggested that lowering selection standards in the 21-27 group would yield more than a million men to the current million in Class 1-A, and that “fully a million able-bodied men” might be obtained from the 28-35 group, now exempted.
The Army is expected to notify Selective Service headquarters at once of its needs for January and February quotas. They have been averaging about 65,000 per month recently. Gen. Hershey indicated that they would be “doubled or tripled.”
That might mean that 500,000 men would be called to the colors during the next two months.
Authorities are seeking to close loopholes on occupational deferments. Conferences with defense manufacturers have been held recently, and Gen. Hershey believes 200,000 men may be made available for military service from defense industry workers.
Selective Service headquarters have notified local draft boards to reclassify ex-servicemen who were deferred in Class 4-A. They were told that the provision permitting deferment from service in peacetime no longer applies.
Men who had served three years in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps, National Guardsmen with two years service in the militia and one in federal service, National Guards with six years service, the reserve officers with six years service were in that category.
‘World conquest’ allusion deleted from draft of State Department
By Marshall McNeil, Scripps-Howard staff writer
If the State Department suggestion had been followed, Congress would have acknowledged formally that Germany and Italy are working together on a plan for world conquest.
But at the insistence of Senator Connally (D-TX), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the declarations of war against the Axis powers contained no such preambles as the Department suggested.
Confusion over whether to accept the State Department version accounted for the interruption in Senate proceedings between the reading of the President’s war message and the Senate’s unanimous vote to declare war.
Confer on floor
During this interruption, Senator Connally conferred on the Senate floor with Rep. Bloom (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and House Majority Leader McCormack (D-MA).
One Senator said in a stage whisper:
Sol and Tom are having a joint session of Congress right here on the floor.
Before calling the Foreign Relations Committee to meet at 11:30 a.m. EST yesterday, Senator Connally had conferred with Secretary Hull. He went back to the Capitol, and said the State Department was drafting a proposed war resolution. At the same time, his office put the legislative drafting service to work on a similar resolution.
The Department’s proposal made known both to Senator Connally and House leaders, started this way:
Whereas Germany is pursuit of a plan of world conquest has committed repeated acts of war against the government and the people of the United States, and has now declared war on the United States…
Senator Connally wouldn’t accept this. He said it was true the Nazis have a plan of world conquest, and that they have committed repeated acts of war against us. But we have known these things for months, he said, without declaring war. Moreover, he wanted the full support of his committee on both resolutions of war.
So, he and the Committee deleted this preamble.
House leaders agree
Rep. Bloom and McCormack, who were prepared to accept the State Department preamble, heard that the Senate was not, and hurried over to find out the facts. The Senate, without formality, suspended its business; Messrs. Connally and Bloom held their “joint session” in the center aisle; the House leaders were informed the Senate was not accepting the State Department preamble; they agreed and the war declarations were speedily approved.
Following the signing of the declarations by the President later in the afternoon, Senator Glass (D-VA) related how Mr. Roosevelt commented to legislators at the signing ceremony that some members of the Connally Committee had wanted to phrase the declarations in a manner to spare the feelings of Axis civilians.
Mr. Glass told the President:
Hell, we not only want to hurt their feeling, we want to kill them!
Reappraisal of value of aircraft and vessels due in Congress
By Charles T. Lucey, Scripps-Howard staff writer
The destruction of naval vessels by airplanes in the Pacific appeared likely today to bring a reappraisal by Congress of the relative importance of aircraft and warships.
Senator Walsh (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, commented that this week’s events seemed to indicate a new shift of strength from surface vessels to aircraft.
He pointed out that he had stressed repeatedly the importance of aircraft in naval warfare, and expressed a belief that his committee would reexamine the old controversy of plane-vs.-battleship in the light of the new developments.
Sinkings provide test
Senator Wiley (R-WI), a member of the Walsh Committee, went further. He said:
Recent events show that the navies of the air are more significant than the naves of the sea.
Mr. Wiley said the record of Norway and Crete, as well as this week’s news from the Pacific, had demonstrated the growing supremacy of aircraft.
Senator Lucas (D-IL), also a Committee member, said:
I certainly would think that some more emphasis should now be given to the bombing plane.
He said the sinking of British capital ships by the Japanese, and of Japanese ships by U.S. fliers, presented a much fairer test than the Honolulu engagement Sunday, where planes attacked ships which were apparently tied up in harbor.
Too early for answers
There was less inclination among members of the House Naval Affairs Committee to accept the plane-battleship tests on the Pacific as indicating a need for greater emphasis on aircraft.
Rep. Mass (R-MN), the Committee’s ranking minority member warned against jumping at conclusions. He said a navy must be strong both in the air and on the surface, and pointed out that German aviation had not been able to bring defeat of England.
But Rep. Cole (R-NY), also a Naval Affairs Committee member, said that:
Developments have caused all of us to question the military usefulness of the battleship.
But it is still too early to get a final answer, he said.
Congress moves to gear U.S. Armed Forces for long, hard struggle
Washington (UP) –
The Senate votes today on a $10-billion supplemental national defense appropriation – the first step since the declaration of war against the Axis to gear the Armed Forces for a “long, hard war.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee will send the bill to the floor at noon after adding nearly $2 billion in cash and contract authorizations, including $500 million for naval warplanes, to the House-approved version.
The bill, boosting the war program to more than $69 billion, was approved by the committee yesterday only a few hours after the declaration of war against Germany and Italy.
Called first in series
Acting Committee Chairman Kenneth McKellar (D-TN) said the bill was the first of what may be an extensive series “necessary to supply the implements and arms for a long and hard war against three foes.”
RAdm. John H. Towers, Chief of the Bureau of Naval Aeronautics, asked the committee to increase funds for naval fighting planes from a House-approved total permitting construction of an additional 2,020 airplanes. McKellar did not reveal the type or number of fighting craft to be constructed from the $500-million fund.
Votes power program
In an effort to provide power necessary “to make aluminum needed for the defense of the country,” the committee added a power facility program embracing four additional dams in Tennessee. Initial construction costs provided in the bill total $25 million for the dams located on the Watauga River, near Elizabethtown; the Holston Rover near Bristol; at Dole Hollow on the Obed River, and at Center Hill on the Caney Fork River.
Other items added by the committee include: Another $7 billion for Army and Civil Aeronautics Administration land fields raising the total for this purpose to $57 million; $100 million for the President’s emergency blank check fund, and increased appropriations for government buildings in the District of Columbia.
The committee transferred $1,500,000,000 of funds set aside by the House for Lend-Lease purposes to the general War Department account. McKellar declared that this move indicated no innovation in Lend-Lease administration, adding that it was considered advisable by War Department officials to lump the Lend-Lease monies with general War Department appropriations “to free the department’s hands in spending.”
Other expenditures include $742 million for feeding and clothing Army personnel; $269 million for vessel construction and machinery; and $33 million for the Interior Department for defense construction purposes.