How the Majority of
my generation felt about the Vietnam Draft including President Clinton
In response to a social studies teacher's question, I searched the Internet for Bill
Clintons ROTC letter to give her an idea how the majority of my generation felt
about the Vietnam draft including the President of the United States, William Clinton.
It is my opinion that Bill Clinton's actions toward the draft was not a separate case,
but his actions, and those of his family and friends using influence were reflected
throughout the United States by thousands of other American families. The vast
majority of male students attending colleges and universities were very concerned and
fearful of the draft. Most did not go to Bill Clinton's extremes.
In 1964 Bill Clinton was classified 2-S (student deferment), which protected him from
the draft throughout his undergraduate years at Georgetown University. As Bill Clinton
approached graduation from Georgetown in 1968 his classification was changed to 1-A
(Available for the draft).
Family and friends with political influence kept Bill Clinton out of the draft after
his graduation from Georgetown University. His uncle, Raymond Clinton, in 1968
personally contacted Senator Fulbright, William Armstrong (Chairman of the Hot Springs
draft board) and Lt. Commander Tice Ellis, Jr. (Commanding Officer of the local Naval
Reserve unit) to obtain a slot for Bill in the Naval Reserve. A slot was especially
created for Bill when no existing reserve slots were open at his local reserve unit.
Bill Clinton, choosing not to follow through, failed to show up at the reserve unit for
his interview and physical. Raymond Clinton later informed Lt. Com. Ellis that Bill would
not be joining the reserves and that everything has been taken care of.
Robert Corrado a former member of the Hot Springs draft board in 1968 recalled the
chairman of the three man draft board held back Clinton's file with the explanation that
we have to give him time to go to Oxford. Corrado
further stated that Armstrong complained about an aid from Senator Fulbright's office
urging him and his fellow board members to give every consideration to keep Clinton out of
the draft. Clinton's draft file was routinely held back from consideration by the full
board for the remainder of the year.
On February 2nd, 1969 Bill Clinton, while at Oxford University, finally takes his
physical for the armed services and passes. His pre-induction physical was delayed over 10
months (twice as long as anyone else in his age group and situation).
In April 1969 Clinton fails to show up for his induction to military service. Clinton
claims he did not receive the notice until after the dead line date and the draft board
told him to ignore this notice.
While still in Oxford, Bill Clinton begins planning his appeal for his next induction
notice. The plan he comes up with is to have his notice rescinded by joining the R.O.T.C.
at the University of Arkansas.
In July of 1969 Clinton returns home from Oxford after he receives a second induction
notice. He is to report on July 28, 1969.
Clinton's friend and Oxford classmate, Cliff Jackson, had several friends in
influential positions arranged a meeting for Bill Clinton with Col. William A. Hawkins.
Hawkins was the only man in the State of Arkansas who could rescind the induction notice.
Clinton's induction notice was rescinded and was admitted into the Arkansas University
R.O.T.C. program after he promised to enroll in law school at the University of Arkansas.
Bill's new draft classification is 1-D (ROTC deferment)
For the remainder of the summer, Bill Clinton goes to Washington D.C. and works with
the anti-war movement at the National Headquarters of the Vietnam Moratorium.
As September approached, Bill Clinton fails to enroll at the University Arkansas and
returns to England around mid-September of 1969. It is quite clear that major changes in
the draft would be forthcoming in the next few days or weeks. Clinton's appearance
at Oxford was unexpected and he had to sleep on the floor in his friend's room.
In October and again in November 1969 Clinton organized and led anti-war demonstrations
in London, England with the support of the British Peace Council, which was backed by the
World Peace Council who was a front for the KGB.
October 30, 1969 Clinton was automatically reclassified to 1-A eligible for induction,
after he failed to enroll at the University of Arkansas. Bill Clinton today, claims he
volunteer for the draft but has no proof. Regardless, by this time a freeze was put on the
draft until the lottery was established.
The Selective Service Lottery was held on December 1, 1969. Clinton's birthday draws
number 311 in the first lottery. This high number guarantees Clinton will not be called up
for the draft.
Two days later Clinton writes his infamous ROTC letter to Col. Holmes thanking him for
saving him from the draft.
Clinton's ROTC Letter
As Entered in Congressional Record (Page: H5550) 7/30/93
Dear Col. Holmes,
I am sorry to be so long in writing. I know I promised to let you hear from me at least
once a month, and from now on you will, but I have to have some time to think about this
first letter. Almost daily since my return to England I have thought about writing, about
what I want to and ought to say.
First, I want to thank you, not only for saving me from the draft, but for being so
kind to me last summer, when I was as low as I have ever been. One thing that made the
bond we struck in good faith somewhat palatable to me was my high regard for you
personally. In retrospect, it seems that the admiration might not have been mutual had you
known a little more about me, about my political beliefs and activities. At least you
might have thought me more fit for the draft than for ROTC.
Let me try to explain. As you know, I worked in a very minor position on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. I did it for the experience and the salary but also for the
opportunity, however small, of working every day against a war I opposed and despised with
a depth of feeling I had reserved solely for racism in America before Vietnam. I did not
take the matter lightly but studied it carefully, and there was a time when not many
people had more information about Vietnam at hand than I did.
I have written and spoken and marched against the war. One of the national organizers
of the Vietnam Moratorium is a close friend of mine. After I left Arkansas last summer, I
went to Washington to work in the national headquarters of the Moratorium, then to England
to organize the Americans here for demonstrations October 15 and November 16.
Interlocked with the war is the draft issue, which I did not begin to consider
separately until early 1968. For a law seminar at Georgetown I wrote a paper on the legal
arguments for and against allowing, within the Selective Service System, the
classification of selective conscientious objection, for those opposed to participation in
a particular war, not simply to "participation in war in any form."
From my work, I came to believe that the draft system itself is illegitimate. No
government really rooted in limited, parliamentary democracy should have the power to make
its citizens fight and kill and die in a war they may oppose, a war which even possibly
may be wrong, a war, which in any case, does not involve immediately the peace and freedom
of the nation. The draft was justified in World War II because the life of the people
collectively was at stake.
Individuals had to fight, if the nation was to survive, for the lives of their country
and their way of life. Vietnam is no such case. Nor was Korea an example where, in my
opinion, certain military action was justified but the draft was not, for the reasons
Because of my opposition to the draft and the war, I am in great sympathy with those
who are not willing to fight, kill, and maybe die for their country (i.e. the particular
policy of a particular government) right or wrong. Two of my friends at Oxford are
conscientious objectors. I wrote a letter of recommendation for one of them to his
Mississippi draft board, a letter I am more proud of than anything else I wrote at Oxford
last year. One of my roommates is a draft resister who is possibly under indictment and
may never be able to go home again. He is one of the bravest, best men I know. His country
needs men like him more than they know. That he is considered a criminal is an obscenity.
The decision not to be a resister and the related subsequent decisions were the most
difficult of my life. I decided to accept the draft in spite of my beliefs for one reason
only, to maintain my political viability within the system. For years I have worked to
prepare myself for a political life characterized by both practical political ability and
concern for rapid social progress. It is a life I still feel compelled to try to lead. I
do not think our system of government is by definition corrupt, however dangerous and
inadequate it has been in recent years. (The society may be corrupt, but that is not the
same thing, and if that is true we are all finished anyway.)
When the draft came, despite political convictions, I was having a hard time facing the
prospect of fighting a war I had been fighting against, and that is why I contacted you.
ROTC was the one way in which I could possibly, but not positively, avoid both Vietnam and
the resistance. Going on with my education, even coming back to England, played no part in
my decision to join ROTC. I am back here, and would have been at Arkansas Law School
because there is nothing else I can do. I would like to have been able to take a year out
perhaps to teach in a small college or work on some community action project and in the
process to decide whether to attend law school or graduate school and how to begin putting
what I have learned to use.
But the particulars of my personal life are not near as important to me as the
principles involved. After I signed the ROTC letter of intent I began to wonder whether
the compromise I had made with myself was not more objectionable than the draft would have
been, because I had no interest in the ROTC program itself and all I seem to have done was
to protect myself from physical harm. Also, I had begun to think that I had deceived you,
not by lies--there were none--but by failing to tell you all of the things I'm telling you
now. I doubt I had the mental coherence to articulate them then.
At that time, after we had made our agreement and you had sent my 1D deferment to my
draft board, the anguish and loss of my self regard and self confidence really set in. I
hardly slept for weeks and kept going by eating compulsively and reading until exhaustion
brought sleep. Finally, on September 12 I stayed up all night writing a letter to the
chairman of my draft board, saying basically what is in the preceding paragraph, thanking
him for trying to help in a case where he really couldn't, and stating that I couldn't do
the ROTC after all and would he please draft me as soon as possible.
I never mailed the letter, but I did carry it with me every day until I got on the
plane to return to England. I didn't mail the letter because I didn't see, in the end, how
my going in the army and maybe going to Vietnam would achieve anything except a feeling
that I had punished myself and gotten what I deserved. So I came back to England to try to
make something of the second year of my Rhodes scholarship.
And that is where I am now, writing to you because you have been good to me and have a
right to know what I think and feel. I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one
story will help you understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find
themselves loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men
have devoted years, lifetimes and the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no
longer clear what is service and what is dis-service, or if it is clear, the conclusion is
likely to be illegal.
Forgive the length of this letter. There was much to say. There is still a lot to be
said, but it can wait. Please say hello to Colonel Jones for me. Merry Christmas.
On December 12th, 1969 Bill Clinton travels to Norway were he meets with various peace
organizations. He later travels on to Moscow on December 31, 1969 and stays for a week.
One should remember that Moscow was still supplying North Vietnam with missiles that was
used to shoot down American planes along with technicians and military advisors. Some of
these advisors participated in the interrogation of American POW's.
Colonel Eugene Holmes a highly decorated officer of the United States Army. Who
survived the Bataan Death March and three and a half years of imprisonment as a POW during
the Second World War. Wrote the following notarized letter on September 7, 1992.
Col. Homes Notarized Statement
As Entered in Congressional Record (Page: H5551) 7/30/93
September 7, 1992. Memorandum for Record:
Subject: Bill Clinton and the University of Arkansas ROTC Program:
There have been many unanswered questions as to the circumstances surrounding Bill
Clinton's involvement with the ROTC department at the University of Arkansas. Prior to
this time I have not felt the necessity for discussing the details. The reason I have not
done so before is that my poor physical health (a consequence of participation in the
Bataan Death March and the subsequent three and a half years interment in Japanese POW
camps) has precluded me from getting into what I felt was unnecessary involvement.
However, present polls show that there is the imminent danger to our country of a draft
dodger becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. While it is
true, as Mr. Clinton has stated, that there were many others who avoided serving their
country in the Vietnam war, they are not aspiring to be the President of the United
The tremendous implications of the possibility of his becoming Commander-in-Chief of
the United States Armed Forces compels me now to comment on the facts concerning Mr.
Clinton's evasion of the draft. This account would not have been imperative had Bill
Clinton been completely honest with the American public concerning this matter. But as Mr.
Clinton replied on a news conference this evening (September 5, 1992) after being asked
another particular about his dodging the draft,
"Almost everyone concerned with these incidents are dead. I have no more comments
to make". Since I may be the only person living who can give a first hand account of
what actually transpired, I am obligated by my love for my country and my sense of duty to
divulge what actually happened and make it a matter of record.
Bill Clinton came to see me at my home in 1969 to discuss his desire to enroll in the
ROTC program at the University of Arkansas. We engaged in an extensive, approximately two
(2) hour interview. At no time during this long conversation about his desire to join the
program did he inform me of his involvement, participation and actually organizing
protests against the United States involvement in South East Asia. He was shrewd enough to
realize that had I been aware of his activities, he would not have been accepted into the
ROTC program as a potential officer in the United States Army.
The next day I began to receive phone calls regarding Bill Clinton's draft status. I
was informed by the draft board that it was of interest to Senator Fullbright's office
that Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, should be admitted to the ROTC program. I received
several such calls. The general message conveyed by the draft board to me was that Senator
Fullbright's office was putting pressure on them and that they needed my help. I then made
the necessary arrangements to enroll Mr. Clinton into the ROTC program at the University
I was not "saving" him from serving his country, as he erroneously thanked me
for in his letter from England (dated December 3,1969). I was making it possible for a
Rhodes Scholar to serve in the military as an officer. In retrospect I see that Mr.
Clinton had no intention of following through with his agreement to join the Army ROTC
program at the University of Arkansas or to attend the University of Arkansas Law School.
I had explained to him the necessity of enrolling at the University of Arkansas as a
student in order to be eligible to take the ROTC program at the University. He never
enrolled at the University of Arkansas, but instead enrolled at Yale after attending
Oxford. I believe that he purposely deceived me, using the possibility of joining the ROTC
as a ploy to work with the draft board to delay his induction and get a new draft
The December 3rd letter written to me by Mr. Clinton, and subsequently taken from the
files by Lt. Col. Clint Jones, my executive officer, was placed into the ROTC files so
that a record would be available in case the applicant should again petition to enter the
ROTC program. The information in that letter alone would have restricted Bill Clinton from
ever qualifying to be an officer in the United States Military. Even more significant was
his lack of veracity in purposefully defrauding the military by deceiving me, both in
concealing his anti-military activities overseas and his counterfeit intentions for later
military service. These actions cause me to question both his patriotism and his
integrity. When I consider the caliber, the bravery, and the patriotism of the fine young
soldiers whose deaths I have witnessed, and others whose funerals I have attended.... When
I reflect on not only the willingness but eagerness that so many of them displayed in
their earnest desire to defend and serve their country, it is untenable and
incomprehensible to me that a man who was not merely unwilling to serve his country, but
actually protested against its military, should ever be in the position of
Commander-in-Chief of our armed Forces.
I write this declaration not only for the living and future generations, but for those
who fought and died for our country. If space and time permitted I would include the names
of the ones I knew and fought with, and along with them I would mention my brother Bob,
who was killed during World War II and is buried in Cambridge, England (at the age of 23,
about the age Bill Clinton was when he was over in England protesting the war). I have
agonized over whether or not to submit this statement to the American people. But, I
realize that even though I served my country by being in the military for over 32 years,
and having gone through the ordeal of months of combat under the worst of conditions
followed by years of imprisonment by the Japanese,it is not enough. I'm writing these
comments to let everyone know that I love my country more than I do my own personal
security and well-being. I will go to my grave loving these United States of America and
the liberty for which so many men have fought and died. Because of my poor physical
condition this will be my final statement. I will make no further comments to any of the
media regarding this issue.
Colonel, U.S.A., Ret.
It is quite apparent to myself that Bill Clinton was a "Draft Dodger" and
freely associated with known enemies of the United States.
As I have previously indicated, Bill Clinton went to the extreme and used everything
available to him to avoid the draft. During those War Years, many college students
used any means possible including demonstrations and the burning of their draft cards to
stay out of the military. If everyone had put as much time and effort into serving
their Country and doing their duty, perhaps there would have been a different
outcome. Too many people concentrated on their own personal well being as
individuals, instead of working for the good of our Country.