Draft Lottery October 29 (10-21-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 21, 1940)


Complete Withdrawal of Goldfish Bowl Numbers to Require About 12 Hours

By John A. Reichmann, United Press Staff Writer

Washington, Oct. 21 –

President Roosevelt will draw the first number in the Selective Service lottery at noon October 29, Draft Director Clarence A. Dykstra announced today.

The lottery, to be held in the interdepartmental government auditorium here, will determine the order in which more than 16 million men will be classified and considered for induction into the Army.

Exactly 800,000 of the Class I men are scheduled to be taken into the Army between November 18 and next June 5.

The President will draw the first number from the same goldfish bowl that was used in the World War draft lotteries, Mr. Dykstra said after a conference at the White House.

The bowl will contain capsules numbered from one through the highest number of men registered at any local board. This number probably will run well above 7,000, he added.

Will Take 12 Hours

After Mr. Roosevelt draws the first number, other numbers will be drawn i=until the bowl is empty. This operation is expected to take at least 12 hours, Mr. Dykstra said, and perhaps longer.

By the time the lottery is held, each local board will have given numbers to each man who registered last Wednesday. These numbers will be posted so that each man may know his number.

If the first number drawn in the lottery should be 258, as it was in the first World War lottery, then in each local board area throughout the country the man whose number was 258 would be the first to receive a questionnaire and to be classified. If he had no dependents and no essential job, he would be put in Class I. After volunteers had been taken, he would be the first to be ordered into the Army to fill the quota assigned to his area.

Local Tasks Spurred

If the first man should be deferred, then the man whose number was drawn second would be next in order to be considered for induction.

On the day of the great drawing, a week from tomorrow, other high officials are expected to follow the President in pulling the first few numbers out of the goldfish bowl. Then it will settle down to a long grind, with several hundred numbers being drawn each hour until the job is finished some time about midnight or in the early hours of October 30.

Draft headquarters prepared today to dispatch “trouble shooters” to each section of the country to help the local boards get everything set for the lottery.

The coming visit of draft headquarters “trouble shooters” to the states is expected to result in attempts to standardize procedure in local areas. They also will consider dividing some draft areas into two or more where more men registered than was anticipated.

Officials are considering a plan to permit local boards to break up into smaller units to consider classification cases. Thus if a board has five members it might be broken into two groups of three men each, one man doing double duty. In such cases a board could dispose of its classification cases in about half the time that would be required if the full board heard them all.

Draft Director Dykstra last night urged local boards to speed assignment of numbers to registrants.

Assistant Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson asserted in a radio address last night that adoption of Selective Service does not lessen the need for Regular Army recruits. These recruits must enlist for three years. The War Department announced Saturday that the peacetime conscription would draw 788,999 men from the continental United States from November 15 through next June 15. Additional conscripts from Hawaii and Puerto Rico will raise the total to 800,000.

Pennsylvania’s quota of this total was tentatively set at 61,522 of which Allegheny County will be required to provide about 9,000. These local figures are subject to considerable revision.

No Labor Shortage

Simultaneous with Mr. Patterson’s speech, the Army issued orders designed to speed training of a tough citizens’ fighting force Major General L. J. McNair, Chief of Staff of the Army General Headquarters, advised commanders of the four armies that training methods must yield the maximum of progress in the minimum of time.

General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, informed the same commanders that there can be no “softies” in the army of citizen-soldiers.

Other defense developments:
The American Iron and Steel Institute said it has completed a survey which shows there is no serious labor shortage in the steel industry, nor is there a threat of such shortage.

Alien Registration

The National Coal Association assailed Mr. Roosevelt’s recently-announced St. Lawrence river hydroelectric power project, asserting that "its promotion at the present juncture will hinder rather than help out efforts for national defense by diverting men and materials and money to an enterprise that at last is a slow and immensely costly way of obtaining additional electric power.

The Justice Department reported that 2,128,468 persons have complied thus far with the Alien Registration Act. This figure represents approximately 60% of the estimated alien population.

Federal Loan Administrator Jesse Jones announced that the Metals Reserve Co. has contracted with Bolivian producers to purchase 18,000 tons of fine tin annually for five years. He said the tin would be smelted in England and that in payment for this service the company, a Reconstruction Finance Corp. subsidiary, has agreed to release to the British as much as 6,000 tons annually.