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THE WHITE HOUSE.
Washington. The task of selecting and mobilizing the first contingent of the National Army is nearing completion. The expedition and accuracy of its accomplishment were a most gratifying demonstration of the efficiency of our democratic institutions. The swiftness with which the machinery for its execution had to be assembled, however, left room for adjustment and improvement. New Regulations putting these improvements into effect are, therefore, being published to-day. There is no change in the essential obligation of men subject to selection. The first draft must stand unaffected by the provisions of the new Regulations. They can be given no retroactive effect.
The time has come for a more perfect organization of our man power. The selective principle must be carried to its logical conclusion. We must make a complete inventory of the qualifications of all registrants in order to determine, as to each man not already selected for duty with the colors, the place in the military, industrial or agricultural ranks of the nation in which his experience and training can best be made to serve the common good. This project involves an. inquiry by the Selection Boards into the domestic, industrial and educational qualifications of nearly ten million men.
Members of these Boards have rendered a conspicuous service. The work was done without regard to personal convenience and under a pressure of immediate necessity which imposed great sacrifices. Yet the services of men trained by the experience of the first draft must of necessity be retained and the Selection Boards must provide the directing mechanism for the new classification. The thing they have done is of scarcely one-tenth the magnitude of the thing that remains to be done. It is of great importance both to our military and to our economic interests that the classification be carried swiftly and accurately to a conclusion. An estimate of the time necessary for the work leads to the conclusion that it can be accomplished in sixty days; but only if this great marshalling of our resources of men is regarded by all as a national war undertaking of such significance as to challenge the attention and compel the assistance of every American.
I call upon all citizens, therefore to assist Local and District Boards by proffering such service and such material conveniences as they can offer and by appearing before the boards, either upon summons or upon their own initiative, to give such information as will be useful in classifying registrants. I urge men of the legal profession to offer themselves as associate members of the Legal Advisory Boards to be provided in each community for the purpose of advising registrants of their rights and obligations and of assisting them in the preparation of their answers to the questions which all men subject to draft are required to submit. I ask the doctors of the country to identify themselves with the Medical Advisory Boards which are to be constituted in the various districts throughout the United States for the purpose of making a systematic physical examination of the registrants. It is important also that police officials of every grade and class should be informed of their duty under the Selective Service Law and Regulations, to search for persons who do not respond promptly and to serve the summons of Local and District Boards. Newspapers can be of very great assistance in giving wide publicity to the requirements of the Law and Regulations and to the numbers and names of those who are called to present themselves to their Local Boards from day to day. Finally, I ask that during the time hereafter to be specified as marking the sixty day period of the classification, all citizens give attention to the task in hand in order that the process may proceed to a conclusion with swiftness and yet with even and considerate justice to all.
WOODROW WILSON. 8 NOVEMBER, 1917.
Washington, 8th day of November, 1917. Under authority vested in him by the Act of Congress of May 18, 1917, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES prescribes the following Rules and Regulations and directs that they be published for the government of all concerned, and that they be strictly observed.
NEWTON D. BAKER,
Secretary of War. (v)
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