The Selective Draft - 69 Questions and Answers - World War 1

Civilians This Morning, Soldiers This Afternoon. New Recruits Board the Train for Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, Near Boston, ca Fall of 1917.

Civilians This Morning, Soldiers This Afternoon. New Recruits Board the Train for Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, Near Boston, ca Fall of 1917. Forging the Sword: The Story of Camp Devens, 1920. GGA Image ID # 18da424def

Selected for Our Readers From Two Thousand Questions and Answers About the War: A Catechism of the Methods of Fighting, Travelling and Living; Of the Armies, Navies and Air Fleets Personalities, Politics and Geography of the Warring Countries.

Q1.—When Was the Selective Draft Law Passed?

A.—The original "Select Service Law" is an Act of Congress, which came into full force May 18, 1917. The law is entitled: "An Act to authorize the President to increase temporarily the Military Establishment of the United States." Its purpose was the raising of troops to carry on the war against Germany. It was drawn to create a "National Army," and it called on all men from 21 to 30 inclusive.


Q2. — Was the First Draft Really a Selective One?

A.—It was, of course, hoped and intended to raise our new army in a way that would leave as many agricultural workers as possible on the farms to keep the world from starving and to take men, as much as possible, from the occupations which were less essential.

The actual results, however, owing to our haste and inexperience, were not by any means intelligently selective, as the table below of the numbers and percentages accepted from different occupations will show :


Q3.—When Was the Age Limit Extended?

A.—On August 31, 1918, when the President signed the new "man-power bill" calling on all men between 18 and 45 to register on September 12, 1918. The law included all men who had attained their 18th birthday and who had not reached their 46th birthday on the day set for registration.


Q4.—What Was the Draft Just Previous to the Second Law?

A.—It was the draft of men who had reached 21. This was done under the original law, which provided that as men became 21, they became liable to draft.


Q5.—When Was the First Drawing for the Selective Draft?

A.—The official drawing of numbers to determine the men of the country to constitute the first draft for the National Army was July 20, 1917, in the Office Building of the United States Senate, in the presence of the Secretary of War, many army officers of high rank, Senators and Representatives and many citizens.

Two blindfolded men drew numbered slips encased in capsules, and these were announced and unofficially transmitted over the country by the press. The official list was announced later by the Secretary of War.

The first number drawn was 258. After that, the numbers were drawn at the rate of 600 an hour. It required 22 hours to complete the work.


Q6.—What Was Meant by the "Master List"?

A.—The drawing of numbers that was made in Washington under the direction of the Secretary of War took in numbers from 1 to 10,500, both inclusive.

A schedule or master list was prepared by the Provost Marshal General containing all of these numbers placed in the exact order in which they were drawn.

The master list thus controlled the exact order in which the persons whose registration cards are in possession of the respective Local Boards or may hereafter be received by said Local Boards, are liable to be called by the Local Board for Military Service.


Q7.—Is Provision Made to Notify Families of Boys in Training Camps if They Are Ill?

A.—The American Red Cross has established in the camps and cantonments in the United States the service (already furnished in France) to keep families in America in personal touch with their boys, ill or wounded in the field. 

This action is in response to a request made by the Secretary of War, who wrote that "American Red Cross representatives at the camps here, as in France, would have access to daily lists of admissions and evacuations from the hospitals, and, so far as it is in accord with necessary medical rules, would be allowed to talk with sick men. 

They would be expected to keep families constantly informed as to the condition and progress of men in the hospitals, to write letters for men unable to write themselves, and in general to fulfill that clause of the Red Cross charter, which designates the society as a medium of communication between troops in the field and their families at home. 


Q8. — Can a Man Be Drafted Who Has Had Previous Service?

A.—Yes, he is a civilian and liable to draft.


Q9.—What Is the Ratio of Death in the U. S. Army?

A.—Figures compiled at the office of Sarg. Gen. William C. Gorgas, U. S. A, and made public on Dec 29, 1917, show that with more than 900,000 soldiers in training in this country from Sept 21 to Dec 14, there were only 1391 deaths from all causes, an average rate of less than two per 1,000. Among the 202,009 Regulars, there were 144 deaths. There were 494 deaths in the 387,233 National Army and 753 deaths in the 327,480 National Guardsmen.

Secretary Baker said:
The death rate in our forces in the United States, from mid-September to the end of December averaged 7.5 per thousand, and is slightly less than would have been the death rate of men of the same age at home. In 1898 the death rate per thousand was 20.14, or nearly three times as great Our death rate in the Army during the year 1916, just before the war, was five per thousand Leaving out the deaths due to measles and its complications, our rate among all troops in the United States since Sept 1, has been about two per thousand


Q10. — Where Are the Draft Army Cantonments?

A. There are 32 Army Cantonments detailed in the table below.

Place Name Designation
Alexandria, LA Camp Beauregard National Guard
American Lake, WA Camp Lewis National Army
Annapolis Junction, MD Camp Meade National Army
Anniston, AL Camp McClellan National Guard
Atlanta, GA Camp Gordon National Army
Augusta, GA Camp Hancock National Guard
Ayer, MA Camp Devens National Army
Battle Creek, MI Camp Custer National Army
Charlotte, NC Camp Greene National Guard
Chillicothe, OH Camp Sherman National Army
Columbia, SC Camp Jackson National Army
Deming, NM Camp Cody National Guard
Des Moines, IA Camp Dodge National Army
Fort Riley, KS Camp Funston National Army
Fort Sam Houston, TX Camp Travis National Army
Fort Sill, OK Camp Doniphan National Guard
Fort Worth, TX Camp Bowie National Guard
Greenville, SC Camp Sevier National Guard
Hattiesburg, MS Camp Shelby National Guard
Houston, TX Camp Logan National Guard
Linda Vista, CA Camp Kearney National Guard
Little Rock, AR Camp Pike National Army
Louisville, KY Camp Zachary Taylor National Army
Macon, GA Camp Wheeler National Guard
Montgomery, AL Camp Sheridan National Guard
Palo Alto, CA Camp Fremont National Guard
Petersburg, VA Camp Lee National Army
Rockford, IL Camp Grant National Army
Spartanburg, SC Camp Wadsworth National Guard
Waco, TX Camp McArthur National Guard
Wrightstown, NJ Camp Dix National Army
Yaphank, Long Island, NY Camp Upton National Army


Q11.—What Is the Size of the Average American Cantonment?

A.—A camp accommodating 37,000 men is about two miles in length and one and a half miles in breadth. Each camp contains about 1,600 buildings, the construction of which requires 34,000,000 square feet of lumber. For heating and lighting these camps, 400 miles of electric wiring and 60 miles of heating pipes were required.


Q12.—Has a Decision Been Given on the Constitutionality of the Selective Draft Law?

A.—Yes. The United States Supreme Court on January 7, 1918, passed seven cases arising under the selective draft law and decided adversely to the men drafted.


Q13.—What Total Number of Americans Were Subject to Draft?

A.—There were estimated to be in the United States (in round numbers) 10,000,000 men between the ages of 21 and 30 inclusive. This number represents very nearly 10 percent of the estimated population of the country—between 103,000,000 and 104,000,000. The figure was reached by estimating the number of males who had attained ages of 21 and 30, inclusive, since the date of the last census, April 15, 1910.

This basis of calculation proved wonderfully close. On the same basis it was estimated that the number affected by the second draft law was 12,780,000 in round numbers.


Q14.—How Many Registrants Under the First Draft Were Called?

A.—-The total number of registrants was 9,586,508. Of these, 3,082,949 or 32.16 percent were called by the various registration boards. Those not called numbered 6,503,550 or 67.84 percent of the total number of men between the ages of 21 to 30 who registered under the law. A total of 1,057,363 men were certified for service and 687,000 were named in the first call.


Q15.—How Many of the Men Called by the First Draft Failed to Appear?

A.—The total number of men called to colors was 9,586,508. Of these, 252,294 failed to appear (about 2.6%).


Q16.—Were Many Drafted Men Rejected at the Camps?

A.—-The percentage of rejections at camp varied between 0.72 percent and 11.87 percent, and, as the physical conditions of the men from the different regions cannot account for this, it is attributed to differences in strictness in the examinations by the camp surgeons.

The valuable mass of data now latent in the record has not been studied in its entirety. But of 10,000 men spread over eight camps, the sources of defect showing the largest percentages were eyes, teeth, hernia, ears, heart disease and tuberculosis in the order given.


Q17.—What Proportion of Men Went Unwillingly?

A.—“The actual state of mind, of course, cannot be known,” says General Crowder, “but the filing of an unsuccessful claim for exemption or discharge is, at least, an index of unwillingness, and figures show that of the 1,057,363 certified for service, those who filed no claims for exemption were 639,054 or 60.44 percent —the ‘involuntary’ conscripts being 418,309 or 39 56 percent.”


Q18.—How Many Aliens Were Drafted?

A.—A total number of 1,243,801 were registered. Of these, 772,744 were Allied aliens, 148,274 were neutral aliens, 40,663 were enemy aliens, and 282,120 were allies of enemy aliens. The number called was 457,713 and of this, 76,545 were finally accepted for service—only 17 in a hundred.


Q19.—Is a Man Subject to Draft if He Becomes Forty-Six Before the Draft Call?

A.—This provision of the act reads, "Persons shall be subject to registration who shall have attained their 18th birthday and who shall not have attained their 46th birthday on or before the day set for the registration, and all persons so registered shall be and remain subject to draft”.


Q20.—How Many Unmarried Physically Fit Men Become Twenty-One Years of Age Each Year?

A.—The number of males arriving at the age of 21 each year is estimated to be 960,000. As shown by the percentages of acceptance in the first draft, this estimated proportion of those unmarried and physically fit will be 96 percent unmarried, and 76.3 percent fit physically.


Q21.—What Had the First Draft Boards Suggested About Age Limit?

A.—The following suggestions had been made by a majority of the boards:

  • that young men who are under age should come within the law when they reach the minimum draft age;
  • that young men of 18 or 19 years should be enrolled and trained so as to be ready for service immediately upon attaining draft age;
  • 19 and 34 were the limits most frequently suggested, though some recommended 40 to 45 years as the upper limit.

There was a distinctly stronger demand for raising the maximum age than for lowering the minimum. Provost Marshal General Crowder, discussing the enlargement of the age limits for selective military service said, early in 1918, that such suggestions had been made in his report to the Secretary of War.


Q22.—How Many Claims for Exemption Were Granted in the First Draft?

A.—Of the total number of men called for registration by the first draft (about 3 million), 1,560,570 or 50.62 percent, made claims for exemption. Of this number, 77.86 percent were granted.

  • 895,150 or 73.99 percent, were on the grounds of dependency;
  • 228,452 or 19.67 percent, were on the grounds of alienage;
  • 3,877 or 0.34 percent, were on religious grounds, and
  • 2,001 or 0.17 percent, were decided on grounds of moral unfitness.

The state having the highest percentage of claims allowed was Connecticut, and the lowest was Mississippi.


Q23.—What Percentage of Men Are Physically Fit?

A.—Using the results of the draft law as a basis, it is estimated that 76.3 percent are physically fit. Of all the men called for physical examination by the draft 730,756 or 23.7 percent were rejected on account of physical deficiencies.


Q24.—Were All the Citizens in the First Draft Sent to the Camps at Once?

A.—No. They were sent in increments, and early in 1918, 72,000 men still remained to be assigned to cantonments. The full strength of men contemplated in the first draft was 687,000. The assignment of the full quota to camps was finished March 1918.


Q25.—Did the Draft Prove Country Boys Superior to City Boys?

A.—The common belief that the average of physical soundness is higher among country boys than among the city bred was not supported by the records of the selective draft.

For the purpose of comparison, selection was made of a typical set of cities of 40,000 to 500,000 population distributed over ten different states, and a corresponding set of counties of the same total size, located in the same states and containing no city of 30,000 population.

The total number of registrants in the two areas was 315,000.

The comparison resulted as follows: Of 35,017 registrants in urban areas, 9,969 were rejected. Of 44,462 registrants from rural areas, 12,432 were rejected. In other words, 28.47 percent of the city boys were rejected against 27.96 percent of the country boys.


Q26.—How Are Local Draft Boards Compensated?

A.—Section 195, Selective Service Regulation was repealed January 30th, 1918 and in lieu thereof, the following was promulgated by the President: Section 195 (Amended) Local Boards—Compensation:

The rate of compensation for members of local boards up to and including the completion of the final classification of the registrants within the respective jurisdiction of said boards shall be on the basis of 30 cents as aggregate compensation to the membership of a local board for each registrant to whom a questionnaire shall have been mailed and who shall have been finally classified in accordance with the provisions of these regulations.

'‘Money due for said work shall be paid in proportionate amounts to each member of a local board claiming compensation for his service, unless it shall be requested by the unanimous vote of the local board that the moneys due should be paid in some other proportion. In such case no one member shall receive more than 15 cents of the allowance of 30 cents for each classification, and no two members shall receive more than 25 cents for each classification to be distributed between them.”


Q27.—What Was the Cost of the First Selective Draft?

A.—The total cost of the first selective draft was $5,211,965.38. The number of registrants was 9,586,508, and the number of men called for examination was 3,082,049.

The cost per man called was $1.69. The number of men who were accepted was 1,057,363, making the cost per man finally accepted $4.93.


Q28.—What Was the Cost of Civil War Recruiting?

A.—General James B. Fry, Provost Marshal General, in a report, March 17, 1866 said that the cost of recruiting men in the Civil War was $11,027,751.21 for 168,649 men drafted, or $9.84 per man, as against the cost per capita of the 1917 selective draft $4.93, making the Civil War system much higher. The money value of Civil War days also was much lower than now.


Q29.—Are Answers Made by Draft Registrants Open to Public Inspection?

A.—The answers of any registrant concerning the condition of his health, mental or physical, in response to Series II of the questions under the head entitled “Physical Fitness,” in the Questionnaire; and other evidence and records upon the same subject and the answers of any registrant to the questions under Series X of the questions under the head entitled “Dependency” in the Questionnaire, except the names and addresses of the persons claimed to be dependent upon such registrant, shall not, without the consent of the registrant, be open to inspection by any person other than members of local and district boards, examining physicians, members of Medical Advisory Boards, Government Appeal Agents, and other persons connected with the administration of the selective service law, and United States Attorneys and their assistants and officials of such bureaus or departments of the United States Government as may be designated by the Secretary of War.


Q30.—May a Man Subject to Draft Go Abroad?

A.—If a person is subject to draft, he does not need a passport from the State Department if he wants to go to Canada. In that case he only needs a “permit” from a local board. For any other country, he must apply to the local board for a permit The local board investigates the case.

If the person is not likely to be called within the period of the proposed absence, or if the board is otherwise assured that favorable action will not result in evasion of or interference with the execution of the law, the local board takes from the applicant his address while absent and issues a permit, which, if approved by the Provost Marshal General, entitles him to a passport from the State Department.


Q31.—What Are the Rules as to Physical Unfitness?

A.—Physical deficiencies must be present in such degree as clearly and unmistakably to disqualify the man for military service. Much is left to the physician’s final judgment and discretion.

Temporary effects of acute disease or of an injury are not regarded as justifying a finding that the person so affected is not physically qualified for military service. Such conditions justify a reasonable delay in completing the physical examination in order that an opportunity for recovery may be afforded.

If the deficiency is of such a nature that the service in the army will improve the physical condition of the selected man in general and eliminate the deficiency, the man is selected, entrained, and put into such kind of service as best fits his case.


Q32.—Can a Drafted Man Demand That He Be Sent to France?

A.—No registrant under the provision of the selective service law (and no voluntary enlisted man) can make any condition that affects his service after ne has been selected or after he has been accepted for entrainment.

The United States will not make any “proviso" to send any soldier or sailor anywhere at any time stipulated by the selected man or the volunteer. This rule applies to combatant and non-combatant service alike (for instance Red Cross).


Q33.—How Long After War Will Drafted Men Be Held?

A.—It is reasonable to assume that enlisted and drafted men will not be held any longer in the service of the United States than is necessary for the safety of the country, and that soldiers and sailors will be sent home as quickly as demobilization can be effected after the war. The “Selective Service Law“ provides that the selected men shall remain liable only four months after the conclusion of peace.


Q34.—Are Skilled Technical Workers Exempt From Military Service?

A.—There are circumstances in which the need of military establishments for men expert or highly skilled is such that the national interest is better served by selecting such men into military service. The engagement in industry and agriculture is no reason for exemption.


Q35.—Is a Man Whose Wife Can Support Herself and Children Exempt From Draft?

A—The “Selective Service Law“ exempts no person from military service on the ground of dependency. It only authorizes the exclusion or discharge from draft of “those in a status with respect to persons dependent upon them for support which renders their exclusion or discharge advisable.“


Q36.—What Can a Person Under Age Do if He Registers by Mistake?

A.—He should report the case immediately to the local board. The board will investigate the claim that he is under age, and, if he is right, the local board is empowered to discharge him.


Q37.—Will the Draft Boards Accept a Man Before His Turn Comes?

A.—The men to be ordered into military service by a local board in filling any part of its quota are to be selected in the order of their liability within their class as shown on the classification list, including non-combatants.

Any registrant whose order number is so early that, though not within the early part of the quota, he is within the total quota, may make application to the local board to be ordered into military service and entrained with that part of the quota of the local board to be sent next after such application.

If the granting of the application would increase the number ordered by the Adjutant General to be entrained by more than two men, the application will be denied.


Q38.—What Will Exempt From Prosecution a Man Who Failed to Register?

A.—Being at sea on registration day and registering as soon as practical after landing, or when the person had been refused the opportunity to register by the local boards.


Q39.—Is a Drafted Man Regarded as a Deserter if He Fails to Report for the Camps?

A.—Persons who are selected for military service and who absent themselves with an intent to evade military service are deserters.

They are reported to the police authorities and, if caught, are brought before the local board, which decides if the offense was willful or not if not willful, the selected man is sent to a camp and the commanding officers of the camp furnished with all details of the case. If the offense is considered willful, the deserter becomes subject to the military laws of the United States.


Q40.—How Are Drafted Men Sent to the Camps?

A.—Local boards procure one “party ticket” for the number of men who are to be sent. A leader is provided for the party. He keeps in his personal possession the railroad and meal tickets of the party. He accompanies the conductor through the train, identifies the men of his party and, before delivering the ticket to the railroad agent or conductor, must indorse the ticket as to the correct number of the men to whom transportation is furnished.

The leader is responsible for the proper feeding of the party, and may not allow liquor to be sold to any of his men. Before arrival at a mobilization camp he must inspect them to see 'that they are ready to leave the train, and that each man has attached to his lapel the badge given to him before starting.

On arrival at the camp, the leader must hold his own group together until they are taken in charge by an officer or a non-commissioned officer, in whose hands he must safely deliver the mobilization papers of each and all of his men.


Q41.—How Does the Government Find Out About a Drafted Man in a Foreign Country?

A.—Either before or upon receiving a notice to report for physical examination, a registrant residing in a foreign country in a place too far for a journey to the United States may, at his own expense, apply by mail, cable or telegram to be physically examined by a nearby physician appointed by the American Consul to make the examination.

The consul must endorse his appointment upon the face of a “Form" sent to him by the local board in the United States residence of the applicant The examination is made, the physician signs a detailed report, and the local board decides as to the physical qualifications of the registrant.


Q42.—Can a Man Appeal From the Decision of a District Board?

A.—The decision of the district board is, in ordinary circumstances, final. A person may appeal to the President in industrial and agricultural cases, when the appeal is accompanied by the written and signed recommendation of one member of the local board, and either the Government Appeal Agent or the Adjutant General of the State.

In dependency cases, the appeal must be accompanied by a signed statement of one member of the local board and either the Government Appeal Agent or an Adjutant General of the State certifying that the case is one of great and unusual hardship, stating the circumstances of hardship that will follow the going of the registrant into military service, and specifically recommending a reconsideration of the case.

The claim is examined first by the local board as to the compliance with the above rules, after which the local board forwards the claim to the Provost Marshal General. The President may rule, upon record of the case, that the appeal snail operate as a stay of induction into military service, pending further orders.


Q43.—How Is Any Insufficient Quota Filled?

A.—Immediately after the time of entrainment the local board must proceed to call and entrain a sufficient number of selected men to fill the deficiency, if any, in its quota.

Upon receipt of notice from the mobilization camp that any selected men of the contingent of a local board have been rejected, or, though entrained, have failed to reach such camp, the local board proceeds to call and entrain a sufficient number of selected men to fill vacancies in its quota. Men sent to fill deficiencies get at least 24 hours’ notice to appear for entrainment.


Q44.—Are Feeble-Minded Persons Exempt?

A.—There are various degrees of feeble-mindedness. The Selective Service Law says that “lack of normal understanding” is a cause for rejection. What is meant by normal understanding is left in each case to the discretion of the examining physicians.
Insanity, epilepsy, and organic nervous diseases are causes of rejection.


Q45.—Do Men With Bad Teeth Need to Serve Under the Draft?

A.—A man must have at least eight serviceable, natural masticating molars, four above and four below opposing, and six serviceable natural incisors, three above and three below opposing. These teeth must be so opposed that a person can cut his food and chew it.

Teeth restored by crown or fixed bridge work, when such work is well placed and thoroughly serviceable, are considered as serviceable natural teeth.

If dental work will restore the teeth to meet the requirements outlined in the preceding paragraph, the man will be accepted and sent to his cantonment, where dental work needed by him will be carried out.


Q46.—Is a Man Previously Rejected by the Regular Army Exempt?

A.—Previous physical examinations are not considered valid in any case where the Selective Service Law is involved.


Q47.—How About Defective Eyesight?

A.—In this case, the local board can rule that eyeglasses will correct the deficiency in vision. Men may be accepted, whose vision is 20/100 or better in each eye, correctable by appropriate lenses to 20/40 or better in at least one eye, provided no organic disease exists in either eye.


Q48.—Which Officials Are Exempt From Draft?

A.—The Secretary to the President, heads of divisions of the various departments of the government, members of Presidential boards, Interstate Commissions, Civil Service Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, Panama Canal Chief Officers, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the Public Printer, Officers of the National Homes for Disabled Volunteers, Director General of the Pan-American Union, Vice-President of the United States, Senators, Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Chaplain of the Senate.

Representatives, Territorial Delegates, Resident Commissioners, Clerk, Doorkeeper, Sergeant-at-Arms, Postmaster and Chaplain of the House of Representatives, the Superintendent of the Capitol.

Librarian and the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds of the Library of Congress.

Judges, Clerks, Marshals and Reporters of the Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, Court of Customs Appeals, Circuit Courts of Appeals, District Courts.


Q49.—Can a Man Be Exempted on Religious Grounds?

A.—Any registrant found by a local board to be a member of any well-recognized religious sect or organization, organized and existing May 18, 1917, whose then existing creed or principles forbid its members to participate in war in any form, and whose religious convictions are against war or participation therein in accordance with the creed or principles of said religious organizations, may be furnished by the local board with a certificate to that effect and he can be required to serve only in a capacity declared by the President to be non-combatant.


Q50.—Can a Farmer Claim Exemption From Draft?

A.—Any registrant found to be engaged in a “necessary” agricultural enterprise, and found to be “necessary” to such enterprise in the capacity of sole managing, controlling, and directing head of the enterprise, may be exempted.


Q51.—Will the Draft Law Continue in Effect After Peace Is Made?

A.—The “Selective Service Law” (draft law) is framed only “for the period of the war.” The men selected are liable for that period, and for four months after peace is signed.


Q52.—Is an Alien Who Has Taken Out His First Citizenship Papers Subject to Draft?

A.—By the Act entitled: “An Act to authorize the President to increase temporarily the Military Establishment of the United States,” approved May 18, 1917, the President was authorized "to draft into the Military Service of the United States, all male citizens or male persons, not alien enemies, who have declared their intention to become citizens, between the ages of 21 and 30 years, both inclusive.” This authorized the drafting of all aliens other than German and Austrian.


Q53.—Are Alien Enemies Exempt From Registration?

A.—Many persons confuse registration with draft.  Each is a distinct process. Exemptions are granted after draft and not before. Even convicts and alien enemies (both of whom are exempt from draft) are obliged to register. There are no exceptions to the rale that all male persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 45 inclusive must register, except those already in the Federal Military or Naval Service.


Q54.—What Was the Alien Draft Bill?

A.—It was a bill introduced by Senator Chamberlain in 1917, to draft into the Army aliens resident in the United States, and it was in response to a general demand that British, French, Italian and other subjects of the Allied Powers be obliged to give military service as American citizens did.

The bill was not pressed, because the State Department feared that it might lead to a great dispute about treaties, and impel Allied Powers to impress Americans then resident in their territories. The State Department, however, immediately began diplomatic negotiations with the Allies.


Q55.—Was It Intended to Impress Germans and Austrians to Fight Their Countries?

A.—No. Such a suggestion was never even entertained. They were specifically excepted in the bill, and a clause provided that they might be drafted for non- combatant work only. The chief purpose was to draft those Nationals on whose side the United States was fighting.


Q56.—Were There So Many of These Aliens?

A.—Senator Chamberlain estimated that the bill would bring million men into the service.


Q57.—Did the Allied Governments Do Anything About These “Slackers”?

A.—The British authorities acted circumspectly and skillfully. They issued a great many cleverly worded declarations, which voiced the conviction that all British subjects would gladly volunteer, but which also hinted positively that if they failed to do so they would be drafted.


Q58.—Could the United States Not Compel Them to Serve?

A.—Not under existing treaties. The Administration, however, realized from the beginning that the American people, subject to the draft themselves, would object strongly to immunity of Allied subjects, and diplomatic negotiations began at once with the Allied governments.


Q59.—Were Agreements Made Finally to Draft Them?

A.—The conclusion of an agreement with Great Britain and Canada was announced January 30, 1918, through a letter written by die Secretary of State to Vice-President Marshall as President of the Senate. The important provision of this agreement was that subjects of Great Britain or Canada were to have a stated time in which they might return to their own countries to serve. If they remained in this country beyond that time they would come under American draft regulations.


Q60.—Can America Draft British Subjects Even if Outside American Age Limits?

A.—Yes. By the American-British agreement, it was provided that British subjects drafted by the United States should be drafted between the British limits, which take in men of twenty and men up to forty-one years old, while the American age limit is from twenty-one up to thirty years.


Q61.—How Many British Subjects in America Had Not Volunteered in 1917?

A.—It was estimated by various British authorities late in 1917 that there were about 200,000 British subjects in the United States who would come under the draft.


Q62.—Are Women Alien Enemies?

A—The term “alien enemy,” as at present defined by statute, includes all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of a foreign nation or government with which war has been declared, being males of the age of fourteen years and upward who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized as American citizens.

Females were not alien enemies within the statutory definition; but a succeeding regulation under the Espionage Act extended its provisions to them.


Q63.—Is an Alien Who Has Taken Out First Citizenship Papers Classed as an Alien Enemy?

A—The Department of Justice authorizes the statement under the definition of alien enemy, Section 3: “A male native, citizen, denizen or subject of a foreign nation or government with which war has been declared is an alien enemy, even though he has declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States by taking out first papers of naturalization or has been partly or completely naturalized in any country other than the United States.” Thus a German who had, let us say, become a citizen of Mexico (a neutral country) would still be considered an alien enemy.


Q64.—What Is the Best Way to Send Presents to France?

A.—Money may be sent at domestic rates, payable at a “United States Mail Agency in France.” In drawing order the office of payment should be designated as “U. S. Army Postal Service,” and in the coupon the name of the payee should be followed on the next line by the regiment and company, or other organization to which the payee belongs.

The original regulation was that all articles admissible to the domestic parcel post might be sent to the Expeditionary Forces overseas, on requests endorsed by soldiers’ commanding officers, if carefully packed and properly addressed, and if they did not include intoxicants, poisons, inflammable articles, (including friction matches), or compositions which might kill or injure another or damage the mails. This regulation was suspended in the early part of 1918 to prevent congestion on the ships.


Q65.—How Does America Protect Its Soldiers Financially?

A.—The government provides a compensation of $25 a month to the wife (during widowhood), child, or widowed mother of any man killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.

In addition, Congress authorized, on October 6, 1917, the offering of insurance, secured by the government, to all officers, enlisted men, and members of the nurse corps in the Army and Navy who should apply before February 12, 1918 (this time being afterwards extended to April 12th)—or within 120 days after enlistment.


Q66.—Are All Soldiers Eligible to Government Insurance?

A.—This bill makes all officers and men in both branches of the service eligible.

The policies range from $1,000 to $10,000, and the age limit is 15 to 65. The premium is based on age; a man of 30 on a $1,000 policy pays 69 cents a month, etc. The policy is payable in monthly instalments to the insured, if wholly disabled, and to the heirs, at his death.


Q67.—What Are the Government Insurance Provisions?

A.—Annual renewable term insurance for the period of the war, with the option of changing to some other form within five years after the close of the war. It was not attachable or assignable.

Each $1,000 gave $5.75 a month for 20 years to the beneficiary—who might be wife, husband, child, grandchild, brother, sister, adopted brother or sister, stepbrother or sister, parent, grandparent, step-parent or parent-in-law.

The amount taken could be from $1,000 to $10,000, the premium ranging from 65 cents a month for each $1,000 at the age of 21, to 70 cents at 31, 82 cents at 41, and so on.


Q68.—Was Protection Limited to Injuries in Line of Duty?

A.—No. It was unlimited by any such provision. Even those who might leave the service could still carry it—with the condition that within five years after the close of the war they must change to another form.


Q69.—Did the Men Take Advantage of the Insurance Offer?

A.—They did so enthusiastically that by February 18th over a million men had been insured for a total of $8,879,104,000; and the indications were that the entire military force would improve upon the unheard-of record already made of being nearly 90 percent insured for the maximum amount.


George H. Doran Company by Arrangement with the Review of Reviews Company, Two Thousand Questions and Answers About the War: a Catechism of the Methods of Fighting, Travelling and Living; of the Armies, Navies and Air Fleets; of the Personalities, Politics and Geography of the Warring Countries with Seventeen New War Maps and a Pronouncing Dictionary of Names, New York, 1918.

Return to Top of Page