Married men get deferment in draft (6-29-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 29, 1941)


Washington, June 28 (UP) –
National Selective Service headquarters today ordered the deferment of draft-age married men and other registrants with one or more dependents to whose support they make “any substantial contribution.”

In instructions to all state Selective Service directors, Brig. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey also ordered the reclassification of all such men who have been placed in Class 1-A by their local boards.

The only exception to the general easing of deferments applied to men who married after their registration date and cannot prove that they did not do so to dodge possible military training.

Under the new instructions, married men and others affected by the ruling would be placed in Class III-A – deferred because of dependents.

General Hershey’s memorandum to state directors said that a growing number of drafted married men have been seeking discharge from the Army on dependency grounds, thus unduly burdening the Army and Selective Service headquarters. He said that many applications for discharge had been granted.

General Hershey pointed out that Selective Service regulations require local boards to consider all such cases with “sympathetic regard for the registrant and his dependents,” resolving all reasonable doubt in favor of the registrant.

Not reason enough

General Hershey ruled:

Registrants whose wives work and contribute to the support of the home may not for that reason alone be denied deferment.

Local boards should remember that every husband is under legal obligation to support his wife and children and that obligation is not removed because the wife had chosen to aid in the family maintenance.

The newly married registrant has the same general right to deferment as any other married registrant. Neither the law nor the the regulations place any limitation of the time beyond which the registrant may not in good faith assume obligations to dependents.

Must show cause

General Hershey said, however, that:

Before granting a recently married registrant deferment in Class III, the local board should require a showing that the new status of the registrant was acquired in the ordinary course of human affairs and was not acquired in order to avoid training and service.

He added:

In applying this rule, however, any reasonable doubt should be resolved in favor of deferment.

In the case of a registrant whose financial status is such that the local board believes his dependents may support themselves in some fashion, despite his induction, it should be remembered that nothing in the law or the regulations requires a registrant or his dependents to liquidate their capital assets and use up the proceeds before a basis for deferment may be established.

The registrant may not be required to cash or borrow on his life insurance, sell or mortgage his home, deplete his savings or other assets before being entitled to deferment.

House leaders, meanwhile, have put off until after the July 4 Congressional recess consideration of legislation for draft deferment of men who are more than 28 years old. Under these plans, the bill would be considered July 8.