3 Lodge-Philbin Act

Lodge-Philbin Act

The Lodge-Philbin Act was a U.S. law, passed on 30 June 1950, which allowed for the recruiting of foreign nationals into a military force, fighting under the command of the U.S. armed forces. The Act permitted initially up to 2,500 non-resident aliens (later expanded to allow up to 12,500) to enlist. If they successfully served five years with an honorable discharge, they were guaranteed U.S. citizenship. [See Public Law 597, “An Act to provide for the enlistment ofaliens in the Regular Army,” 2nd Session, 81st Congress.]

The Act was pushed through Congress by Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. during the Cold War, looking especially for recruits from Eastern Europe (the Soviet Bloc) to form infiltration units working in that part of the world. More than 200 Eastern Europeans qualified before the Act expired in 1959. No German nationals or citizens of countries of the Marshall Plan or of NATO were eligible. [See brief comment in the article at http://www.cfr.org/publication.html?id=7861.]

Members of this force, who died during active service or from injuries or illness during active service - and were inducted or sent to U.S. territory at least once - were entitled to posthumous citizenship. Applications could be filed as recently as November 2004 (or within 2 years of their death). [See Department of Homeland Security Form N-644, at http://www.ilw.com/forms/n-644.pdf.]

For comparison, note that during World War II, aliens who served just three years were entitled to citizenship.

The military was not interested in recruiting on a large scale from overseas.President Dwight Eisenhower is quoted in a 1951 Time Magazine article as saying, "When Rome went out and hired mercenary soldiers, Rome fell." [See Time Magazine article from April 2, 1951, found at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,814485,00.html] [See article by James Jay Carafano, "Mobilizing Europe's Stateless" at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hpcws/carafano.pdf] .

ee also

*International Brigades
*French Foreign Legion


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