Details Concerning Deferments Delay Draft Status Decision for '68 Grads
WASHINGTON: FRI., Dec. 15--The prospects of an early decision on the draft status of 1968 college graduates seems remote today as further details of the Interagency Advisory Committee's recommendations on areas for graduate school deferments become known.
One Committee member, who insisted on remaining anonymous, outlined today seven additional fields that the Committee recommended to the National Security Council for graduate deferments. They are the "earth, biological, and physical sciences;" "education as related to a list of critical occupations"; pharmacology; psychology; and linguistics.
The complete Committee report will not be made public until the National Security Council announces its final decisions. It was previously reported--and confirmed today--that the Committee recommended deferments in four broad areas: "natural science, mathematics, engineering, and health." The "critical occupations list" is not yet known.
The Committee's chairmen--Secretary of Commerce Alexander B. Trowbridge and Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz--were to have sent the reports to the Council late last week.
Apparently, the Council has not yet received the recommendation. A Committee staff member said he has been receiving daily phone calls from the Council's staff asking for the report. Deputy Under-secretary of Labor Millard Cass said yesterday that he "doesn't know the [report's] status."
The most optimistic observers speculate that the Council might reach a decision before the end of the month.
The outlook is further complicated by the report's numerous dissenting opinions on individual recommendations. The bulk of the recommendations were passed by simple majorities, and only two or three received unanimous support.
The availability of civilian manpower was the primary consideration in the Committee's recommendations. But in testimony before a House subcommittee last March, Wirtz said that strictly on manpower considerations, there is no need for any educational or occupational deferments. President Johnson said last spring that students studying to be doctor and dentists should be deferred. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare is known to support adding psychologists to Johnson's list.
In other draft matters, Senator Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Mass.) said in an interview today that he would propose institution of a random selection draft system early in the 1968 Senate session. Kennedy's bill would also call for the abolition of undergraduate deferments once American casualties in Vietnam reached a prescribed level.
Kennedy said that Senator Russell Long (D-La.), Senate Majority Whip was prepared to give his measure an "expeditious" hearing. The Senator estimated that his system, if passed, could be operative before the summer.