In 1952, the U.S. government began making efforts to get the young men of the American diaspora to register for conscription, as a front-page article in the October 1952 edition of the Selective Service newsletter discussed:
S.S. Registrants Are Listed In Eighty Nations
Registration of draft liable Americans in foreign countries passed the 4000 mark in September, National Headquarters has announced, and estimates were that when all returns are in[,] the total would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 …
Eighty countries have eligible young United States citizens within their borders. These registrants generally are in the process of classification by either a local board representing the home addresses they gave, or by Local Board 100 — Foreign, which has jurisdiction in those instances in which a registrant has given no United States address as his home. There has also been a sprinkling, totaling so far less than half a dozen registrants, from the trust territories.
Here’s a tabulation of the statistics presented in that article. Two countries — Canada and Japan — were mentioned in the article as having large numbers of dual nationals, and so I placed an asterisk (*) in the table for those countries.
|All countries with 100+ registrants||Selected countries with fewer than 100 registrants|
|Remaining 59 countries||~1,000|
In the Homeland there were more than 13 million total registrants by November 1952, or roughly 1/12th of the U.S. population at the time. A few years later, the Senate estimated that there were 600,000 U.S. citizens living outside of the United States. So unless the diaspora had a wildly different age or gender profile than the Homelanders, there should have been at least 50,000 U.S. citizen males of draft age residing in other countries, not just 5,000.
Furthermore, the U.S. government apparently estimated that 50,000 children were being born to U.S. citizens in other countries each year, suggesting that the total population estimate of 600,000 might have been far too low. So the diaspora’s Selective Service non-compliance rate was at least 90%, and probably even greater — similar to what we’ve seen in recent years with FBAR.