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78TH CONGRESS | HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

2d Session

REPORT No. 1427

PERLEY M. SILVER

MAY 8, 1944.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered

to be printed

Mr. Davis, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the

following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 1708)

The Committee on Military Affairs to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1708) for the relief of Perley M. Silver, having considered the same, submit the following report thereon, with the recommendation that it do pass.

This bill authorizes and directs the Secretary of War to (1) grant to Perley M. Silver an honorable discharge certificate showing that he was honorably discharged from the United States Army as a private, Battery A, Three Hundred and Eighth Regiment Field Artillery, Seventy-eighth Division, on December 28, 1917, and (2) correct the military record of the said Perley M. Silver so that such record will show that he was honorably discharged on such date by reason of disability for service on account of missing teeth.

This bill was submitted to a subcommittee for consideration. Hearings were held at which Perley M. Silver appeared as a witness as well as representatives of the Government. The evidence showed that Silver was an employee of the United Shoe Machinery Co. at Beverly, Mass. on December 7, 1917. He was an emergency nurse in the company's hospital, with 14 years' experience. He decided to volunteer for service in the Medical Corps of the Regular Army of the United States on December 7, 1917. He went to the recruiting officer in Boston and offered himself for enlistment in the Regular Army. Silver told the recruiting officer of his medical experience and also that he had two sets of false teeth. The recruiting officer said that he believed he could use Silver and therefore would ask for a waiver on his false teeth. He told Silver to wait for the reply to his request for a waiver. Shortly thereafter he told Silver that the teeth had been waived and that everything was all right. A doctor then examined Silver. Silver was accepted for enlistment in the Medical Corps of

H. Repts., 78-2, vol. 3—426

the Regular Army of the United States. He was told to report to Boston for shipment on December 14.

The records of the War Department show that on December 10, The Adjutant General telegraphed a waiver for an upper set of false teeth for Silver. There is nothing in the records of the War Department to show that this telegram was brought to the attention of anyone connected with the enlistment of Silver at any time.

On December 13 Silver went to the city hall in Beverly and took an oath that he had enlisted. On December 14 he reported to the Army authorities in Boston. He was given papers and ordered to report to Fort Slocum. He left Boston with other recruits that afternoon. They went to New Rochelle where they stopped. Silver was among those quartered at the Y. M. H. A.

On December 15 the records of the War Department show that Silver was given a physical examination at Fort Dix and was rejected for service in the Army on that date. In fact Silver was in New Rochelle throughout December 15 and was not given a physical examination at Fort Dix. The War Department records also show that two other recruits, James H. Monahan and Leo W. Kiely, received physical examinatoins at Fort Dix that day. The records of these two men are likewise incorrect, as they remained with Silver at this time. All three of them in fact remained at New Rochelle until December 21. On that date the Army moved these recruits to Fort Slocum where they stood on the drill ground and answered roll call. They were then sent by steamer and special train to Fort Dix, arriving at night. Silver was sent to the barracks reserved for the Three Hundred and Fourth Field Artillery. On December 22 Silver received his physical examination at Fort Dix. He received his inoculations and vaccination. The doctor looked at Silver's teeth and was shown both sets of false teeth. Upon questioning, Silver told the doctor that the recruiting officer in Boston had secured a waiver. An officer then said, “Everything must be all right or he would not have got this far." The physical examination was finished and Silver signed some papers. When 8 or 10 men had passed their examinations, they were sent outside the building. They stood in front of the colors near the hospital building and were mustered into the Army. Each man held his hand upraised while the oath was administered. Each man, including Silver, recited the oath after the officer. They were then sent to their barracks.

Affidavits were presented to the subcommittee signed by Monahan and Kiely stating that they were mustered into the Army in the same group with Silver and took the oath in exactly the same way. Both of them remained in the service and fought through the war without any other mustering in ceremonies. While the men had enlisted for other lines of duty, all of this group were put into the Field Artillery, Battery A, Three Hundred and Eighth Regiment.

From December 22 to December 28 these soldiers, including Silver, stood reveille each morning and retreat in the evening. They performed Army duties which were assigned to them during this period, except that Silver remained in bed all of Christmas Day with a high temperature.

On December 28 a sergeant told several of the men, including Silver, to get their things together as they were going home. Silver took up the matter with the adjutant of the camp, stating that he had enlisted

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

T8TH CONGRESS

2d Session

}

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REPORT No. 1428

PROVIDING THAT NATIONALS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT LOSE THEIR NATIONALITY BY REASON OF VOTING UNDER LEGAL COMPULSION IN A FOREIGN STATE

MAY 9, 1944.—Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

Mr. KEARNEY, from the Committee on Immigration and Naturaliza

tion, submitted the following

REPORT

(To accompany H, R. 2448)

The Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 2448) to provide that nationals of the United States shall not lose their nationality by reason of voting under legal compulsion in a foreign state, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill, as amended, do pass.

The amendments are as follows:

First. On line 10, page 1, before the word "is”, insert the words "was or hereafter”.

Second. Strike out section 2.
The bill, as amended, reads as follows:

Be it enacled by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 401 (e) of the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended (U. S. C.. 1940 edition, title 8. sec. 801 (e)), is amended to read as follows.

"(e) Voting in a political election in a foreign state or participating in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over foreign territory, unless such voting in a political election or such participation in an election or plebiscite was or hereafter is done under legal compulsion; or”.

PURPOSE OF THE BILL

The purpose of the bill is to prevent the loss of United States nationality because of a person voting or participating in a political election in a foreign state, or in an election or plebiscite to determine sovereigi ty over foreign territory when such voting is done under legal compulsion.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Section 401 (e) of the Nationality Act of 1940 (54 Stat. 1169; 8 U.S. C. 801) provides that a person who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voting in a political election in a foreign state or participating in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over foreign territory. All the bill does is to provide that United States nationality shall not be lost under these circumstances if such voting or participating is done under legal compulsion.

It has been represented that in certain countries of the world persons are compelled to vote in elections or suffer a penalty. The general purpose of section 401 (e) is, of course, to take United States nationality away from persons who have indicated such an interest in foreign countries as to induce them to participate in political elections or plebiscites to determine the sovereignty over foreign territory. It is not intended that persons should lose their citizenship if they are forced, under the laws of a foreign country, to participate in such elections. In some instances, the disposition of valuable estates is affected and possibly lost to United States citizens. Likewise, tax questions become involved through loss of United States citizenship.

The committee, while believing there is great merit in the law as it exists, where a person voluntarily shows a preference, nevertheless, feels that citizenship should not be taken away from a person where there is duress involved in the voting.

A representative of the Department of Justice appeared before the committee and explained the bill in relation to existing law.

The committee was unanimously of the opinion that the bill should be passed but believed it should be made retroactive. Prior to the Nationality Act of 1940, there was no law calling for the loss of citizenship because of participating in foreign elections.

Explanation of committee amendments: Section 2, as it appears in the bill, is adequate to make the amendment retroactive. However, the same result is effected by the first amendment which merely adds the three words “was or hereafter" and, thereby, preserves the present form of the entire section which includes some seven other methods of loss of nationality.

A letter from the Attorney General, dated June 25, 1943, addressed to the chairman of the committee, fully explains the bill and is set forth herewith:

JUNE 25, 1943. Hon. SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, Chairman, Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CONGRESSMAN: This is in response to your request for the views of this Department relative to a bill (H. R. 2448) to provide that nationals of the United States shall not lose their nationality by reason of voting under legal compulsion in a foreign state.

The bill proposes an amendment to section 401 (e) of the Nationality Act of 1940 (54 Stat. 1168, 1169; U. S. C., title 8, sec. 801 (e)), which will prevent the loss of nationality by United States nationals who vote in elections in foreign states when such voting is done under legal compulsion. The pertinent parts of section 401 of the Nationality Act of 1940 read as follows:

and wished to remain in the Army. He was advised that he must return to Boston and take up the matter with the War Department. While Silver had enlisted in the Regular Army, he was sent home on a special order for members of the National Army.

On the evidence, much of which was in the form of affidavits and special records, the members of the committee are of the opinion that Perley M. Silver was actually mustered into the Army of the United States and that he actually served as a soldier in the Army for a period of 6 days. The records of the War Department are obviously incorrect, not only with regard to the physical examination of Silver but also of Monahan and Kiely. It appears that the War Department did in fact authorize a waiver for Silver as to his false teeth while he was under examination in Boston. Later the required steps were taken by Silver in good faith to become a regularly enlisted soldier in the Army. At some later date, further orders of the War Department resulted in his discharge from the Army. In the opinion of the com mittee they do not alter the fact that Silver was duly mustered into the service and is now entitled to have the records of the War Department show the correct facts. The War Department has offered no explanation of the errors in its records as to Silver, but opposes an enactment of the bill for the reason set forth in the following letter from the Secretary of War to the chairman, Committee on Military Affairs:

JUNE 20, 1941 Hon. ANDREW J. MAY, Chairman, Committee on Military Affairs,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. MAY: The War Department is opposed to the enactment of H. R. 4750, Seventy-seventh Congress, a bill for the relief of Perley M. Silver, which was transmitted with request for a report thereon under date of May 26, 1941.

H. R. 4750 is identical in its provisions with H. R. 7284, Seventy-fifth Congress, for the relief of the same man, upon which the War Department submitted an adverse report to the chairman of your committee under date of June 8, 1937. The present bill provides that the Secretary of War be authorized and directed to (1) grant to Perley M. Silver an honorable discharge certificate showing that he was honorably discharged from the United States Army as a private, Battery A, Three Hundred Eighth Regiment Field Artillery, Seventy-eighth Division, on December 28, 1917, and (2) correct the military record of the said Perley M. Silver so that such record will show that he was honorably discharged on such date by reason of disability for service on account of missing teeth.

The records show that on December 7, 1917, Perley M. Silver applied to the recruiting officer at Boston, Mass., for enlistment in the Medical Corps. The recruiting officer reported that he fulfilled the requirements except for “upper teeth missing, replaced by full plate,” and requested instructions regarding the applicant. The

The Adjutant General of the Army informed the recruiting officer by telegram, dated December 10, 1917, that the defect reported in this case was waived. Thereafter the applicant was given a complete examination by Army medical authorities to ascertain whether he was otherwise qualified for enlistment. It appears that upon this medical examination on December 15, 1917, it was found that his lower teeth as well as upper teeth were missing, and he, by reason thereof, was disqualified for service in the United States Army and was accordingly rejected.

The draft records show that Perley Martin Silver registered September 12, 1918, with local board No. 23, State of Massachusetts, and executed a questionnaire under oath on September 27, 1918, at which time he stated that he had not had any previous military service. He was not inducted into the military service by the draft officials.

Entrance into the service through formal enlistment is incomplete until the applicant has been examined and found physically qualified for military service.

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