Draft Lottery to be Drawn Tuesday (10-28-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 28, 1940)


A special leased wire will carry to The Press every draft number as it is drawn in the national lottery at Washington, starting at noon Tuesday.

These numbers will be printed as fast as they are received. Since the lottery may last most of the night, the complete list of draft numbers cannot be printed until Wednesday. All editions Wednesday will carry this complete list.

Watch The Press for the order in which your number is drawn.

Please do not telephone for the information.

There are more than 180,000 registrants in Allegheny County and it is therefore impossible to give out information about the drawing by telephone.


The Pittsburgh Press (October 28, 1940)

By John A. Reichmann, United Press Staff Writer

Washington, Oct. 28 –

The capital was ready today for the first peacetime conscription lottery.

Throughout the nation more than 17 million men awaited the drawing.

At noon tomorrow high government officials will begin drawing those numbers and the order in which they are drawn will determine the order in which the men are called before draft boards and considered for military service.

America loves a lottery and this one – even though for serious business – provided an opportunity to gamble. In offices, factories, neighborhood groups – wherever men of draft age worked or relaxed together – pools were organized. In some, the first man called takes all; in others the polls is being split.

Business Protected

Newspapers, press associations, newsreel companies and radio broadcasters today checked over their elaborate set-ups in the auditorium from which the numbers will be flashed to the nation.

Draft Director Clarence A. Dykstra assured all employees that they need not fear disruption of their businesses as a result of the draft. Where two requirements – military manpower vs. production – conflict, production will have priority, he said.

Dr. Dykstra said:

It is a basic principle of Selective Service at this stage of the national defense preparation that material procurement is paramount.

One of the busiest men in Washington was Colonel C. R. Morris, retired, of Elizabeth, N.J., a veteran of three World War draft lotteries. He will act as master of ceremonies tomorrow.

Stimson to Draw First

In 1917, Colonel Morris blindfolded President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of War Newton D. Baker with a piece of linen from a chair used at the signing of the Declaration of Independence stirred the capsules with a ladle carved from an original beam in Independence Hall, and stood by as the officials drew the first of the numbers from a goldfish bowl.

Tomorrow Colonel Morris will use the same blindfold, the same ladle and the same fishbowl. The place will be the Government Auditorium, a couple of blocks from the White House; in 1917 it was in the Senate caucus room.

The honor of drawing the first number will go to 73-year-old Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who was Secretary of War in President Taft’s Cabinet four years before the first World War, and Secretary of State in Herbert Hoover’s Cabinet.

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr., Attorney General Robert H. Jackson, and other government officials will follow Mr. Stimson in drawing.

Before Mr. Stimson draws a number, there will be a short address by President Roosevelt. He may return to Washington to speak in person; otherwise he will speak by radio from his Hyde Park home.

After the preliminaries, volunteers will continue the drawing far into Tuesday night, possibly early Wednesday morning, until some 10,000 have been drawn.

Then, more than 6,500 local draft boards in the 48 states will begin classifying the millions of men eligible for military service. All of them will be placed into one of four general classifications.

  1. Available and fit for immediate service;
  2. Man necessary in civilian life;
  3. Man with dependents;
  4. Physically, mentally or morally unfit, or otherwise legally deferred.

Honolulu, Oct. 28 –

Selective Service officials said today that 60,136 men between 21 and 36 registered for the draft in the territory of Hawaii. However, there remained some 400 CCC enrollee registrations yet unreported and the names of about 500 invalids still were to be registered. Gov. Joseph Poindexter said the territory would hold its own lottery sometime next month.