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In the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico a day for registration will be named in a later proclamation.
And I do charge those who, through sickness, shall be unable to present themselves for registration that they apply on or before the day of registration to the county clerk of the county where they may be for instructions as to how they may be registered by agent.
Those who expect to be absent on the day named from the counties in which they have their permanent homes may register by mail, but their mailed registration cards must reach the places in which they have their permanent homes by the day named herein. They should apply as soon as practicable to the county clerk of the county wherein they may be for instructions as to how they may accomplish their registration by mail.
In case such persons as, through sickness or absence, may be unable to present themselves personally for registration shall be sojourning in cities of over 30,000 population they shall apply to the city clerk of the city wherein they may be sojourning rather than to the clerk of the county.
The clerks of counties and of cities of over 30,000 population in which numerous applications from the sick and from nonresidents are expected are authorized to establish such sub-agencies and to employ and deputize such clerical force as may be necessary to accommodate these applications.
The power against which we are arrayed has sought to impose its will upon the world by force. To this end it has increased armament until it has changed the face of war. In the sense in which we have been wont to think of armies there are no armies in this struggle. There are entire nations armed. Thus, the men who remain to till the soil and man the factories are no less a part of the army than the men beneath the battle flags. It must be so with us. It is not an army that we must shape and train for war; it is a nation.
To this end our people must draw close in one compact front against a common foe. But this cannot be if each man pursue a private purpose. All must pursue one purpose. The nation needs all men; but it needs each man, not in the field that will most pleasure him, but in the endeavor that will best serve the common good.
Thus, though a sharpshooter pleases to operate a triphammer for the forging of great guns, and an expert machinist desires to march with the flag, the nation is being served only when the sharpshooter marches and the machinist remains at his levers. The whole nation must be a team in which each man shall play the part for which he is best fitted. To this end congress has provided that the nation shall be organized for war by selection and that each man shall be classified for service in the place to which it shall best serve the general good to call him.
The significance of this cannot be overstated. It is a new thing in our history and a landmark in our progress. It is a new manner of accepting and vitalizing our duty to give ourselves with thoughtful devotion to the common purpose of us all. It is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling; it is rather selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass. It is no more a choosing of those who shall march with the colors than it is a selection of those who shall serve an equally necessary and devoted purpose in the industries that lie behind the battle line.
The day here named is the time upon which all shall present themselves for assignment to their tasks. It is for that reason destined to be remembered as one of the most conspicuous moments in our history. It is nothing less than the day upon which the manhood of the country shall step forward in one solid rank in defense of the ideals to which this nation is consecrated. It is important to those, ideals no less than to the pride of this generation in manifesting its devotion to them that there be no gaps in the ranks.
It is essential that the day be approached in thoughtful apprehension of its significance and that we accord to it the honor and the meaning that it deserves.
Our industrial need prescribes that it be not made a technical holiday, but the stern sacrifice that is before us urges that it be carried in all our hearts as a great day of patriotic devotion and obligation when the duty shall lie upon every man, whether he is himself to be registered or not, to see to it that the name of every male person of the designated ages is written on these lists of honor.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this 18th day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seventeen and of the independence of the United States of America the one hundred and forty-first.
DECLINES COL. ROOSEVELT'S OFFER
When Congress authorized Mr. Wilson to accept Col. Roosevelt's offer to raise four divisions of volunteer troops for “immediate service in France,” the President declined to avail himself of the authority, and made the following statement, May 18, 1917:
I shall not avail myself, at any rate at the present stage of the war, of the authorization conferred by the act to organize volunteer divisions. To do so would seriously interfere with the carrying out of the chief and most immediately important purpose contemplated by this legislation, the prompt creation and early use of an effective army, and would contribute practically nothing to the effective strength of the armies now engaged against Germany.
I understand that the section of this act which authorizes the creation of volunteer divisions in addition to the draft was added with a view to providing an independent command for Mr. Roosevelt and giving the military authorities an opportunity to use his fine vigor and enthusiasm in recruiting the forces now at the western front.
It would be very agreeable to me to pay Mr. Roosevelt this compliment, and the allies the compliment of sending to their aid one of our most distinguished public men, an ex-president who has rendered many conspicuous public services and proved his gallantry in many striking ways. Politically, too, it would no doubt have a very fine effect and make a profound impression. But this is not the time or the occasion for compliment or for any action not calculated to contribute to the immediate success of the war.
The business now in hand is undramatic, practical, and of scientific definiteness and precision. I shall act with regard to it at every step and in every particular under expert and professional advice, from both sides of the water.
That advice is that the men most needed are men of the ages contemplated in the draft provisions of the present bill, not men of the age and sort contemplated in the section which authorizes the formation of volunteer units, and that for the preliminary training of the men who are to be drafted we shall need all of our experienced officers.
Mr. Roosevelt told me, when I had the pleasure of seeing him a few weeks ago, that he would wish to have associated with him some of the most effective officers of the regular army. He named many of those whom he would desire to have designated for the service, and they were men who cannot possibly be spared from the too small force of officers at our command for the much more pressing and necessary duty of training regular troops to be put into the field in France and Belgium as fast as they can be got ready.
The first troops sent to France will be taken from the present forces of the regular army and will be under the command of trained soldiers only.
The responsibility for the successful conduct of our own part in this great war rests upon me. I could not escape it if I would. I am too much interested in the cause we are fighting for to be interested in anything but
The issues involved are too immense for me to take into consideration anything whatever except the best, most effective, most immediate means of military action.
What these means are I know from the mouths of men who have seen war as it is now conducted, who have no illusions, and to whom the whole grim matter is a matter of business. I shall center my attention upon those means and let everything else wait. I should be deeply to blame should I do otherwise, whatever the argument of policy or of personal gratification or advantage.