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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Z-gram # 66: (Equal Opportunity); dated 17 December 1970

CNO {Z-66}
To: NAVOP
UNCLAS //N00000//
172054Z DEC 70

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN THE NAVY

A. MY 270004Z AUG 70 {NAVOP Z-14}
B. MY 141346Z SEP 70 {NAVOP Z-24}

1. THE PURPOSE OF THIS NAVOP IS TO EXPRESS MY WHOLEHEARTED SUPPORT OF THE POLICIES ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY STRONGLY REAFFIRMED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IN ALNAV 51, TO EXPRESS MY GENERAL GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE POLICIES, AND TO DIRECT IMPLEMENTATION OF A FEW OF THE ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE IMMEDIATELY.

2. LAST MONTH, SECRETARY CHAFEE AND I, ALONG WITH OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, MET ON ONE OCCASION WITH REPRESENTATIVE BLACK NAVY OFFICERS AND THEIR WIVES AND LATER WITH A REPRESENTATIVE GROUP OF BLACK ENLISTED MEN AND THEIR WIVES. PRIOR TO THESE MEETINGS, I WAS CONVINCED THAT, COMPARED WITH THE CIVILIAN COMMUNITY, WE HAD RELATIVELY FEW RACIAL PROBLEMS IN THE NAVY. HOWEVER, AFTER EXPLORING THE MATTER IN SOME DEPTH WITH THESE TWO GROUPS, I HAVE DISCOVERED THAT I WAS WRONG--WE DO HAVE PROBLEMS, AND IT IS MY INTENTION AND THAT OF SECRETARY CHAFEE TO TAKE PROMPT STEPS TOWARD THEIR SOLUTION.

3. WHAT STRUCK ME MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE WAS THE DEPTH OF FEELING OF OUR BLACK PERSONNEL THAT THERE IS SIGNIFICANT DISCRIMINATION IN THE NAVY. PRIOR TO THESE MEETINGS, I SINCERELY BELIEVED THAT I WAS PHILOSOPHICALLY PREPARED TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS OF OUR BLACK NAVYMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES, AND UNTIL WE DISCUSSED THEM AT LENGTH, I DID NOT REALIZE THE EXTENT AND DEEP SIGNIFICANCE OF MANY OF THESE MATTERS.

4. THERE ARE TWO KEYS TO THE PROBLEM. FIRST, WE MUST OPEN UP NEW AVENUES OF COMMUNICATION WITH NOT ONLY OUR BLACK PERSONNEL, BUT ALSO WITH ALL MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NAVY SO THAT WE MAY LEARN WHAT AND WHERE THE AREAS OF FRICTION ARE. SECOND, ALL OF US IN THE NAVY MUST DEVELOP A FAR GREATER SENSITIVITY TO THE PROBLEMS OF ALL OUR MINORITY GROUPS SO THAT WE MAY MORE EFFECTIVELY GO ABOUT SOLVING THEM. OUR MEETINGS HERE IN WASHINGTON WERE A BEGINNING, BUT NO MORE THAN THAT. MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE.

5. FOR EXAMPLE, I AM PARTICULARLY DISTRESSED BY THE NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION BLACK NAVY FAMILIES STILL EXPERIENCE IN ATTEMPTING TO LOCATE HOUSING FOR THEIR FAMILIES. THIS SITUATION AND OTHERS LIKE IT ARE INDICATIVE IN SOME CASES OF LESS THAN FULL TEAMWORK BEING BROUGHT TO BEAR BY THE WHOLE NAVY TEAM ON BEHALF OF SOME OF OUR MEMBERS AND FAILURE TO USE EXISTING AUTHORITY AND DIRECTIVES TO ENFORCE THEIR RIGHTS {SECNAV INST 5350.12}. IN SOME PLACES HOUSING PERSONNEL ARE TACITLY CONTRIBUTING TO DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING.

6. SECRETARY CHAFEE AND I HAVE ASKED OUR STAFFS TO BEGIN WORK WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO MAKE AN IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION OF THIS PROBLEM AND PRESENT TO US WITHIN 6O DAYS PROPOSALS WHICH WILL HELP ALLEVIATE THE MOST ACUTE HOUSING PROBLEMS. MEANWHILE, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT CAN BE ACTED UPON IMMEDIATELY. THEREFORE, BY 15 JANUARY 1971 I EXPECT ACTION TO BE TAKEN AS FOLLOWS:

A. EVERY BASE, STATION AND AIRCRAFT SQUADRON COMMANDER AND SHIP COMMANDING OFFICER SHALL APPOINT AN AWARE MINORITY GROUP OFFICER OR SENIOR PETTY OFFICER AS HIS SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR MINORITY AFFAIRS. THIS OFFICER OR PETTY OFFICER SHOULD HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO THE COMMANDER/COMMANDING OFFICER AND WILL. BE CONSULTED ON ALL MATTERS INVOLVING MINORITY PERSONNEL. EXCEPTING THOSE COMMANDS ALREADY HAVING MINORITY- AFFAIRS OFFICER BILLETS, THE INITIAL ASSIGNMENT WILL BE ON A CONCURRENT DUTY BASIS. {I CAREFULLY WEIGHED THIS ITEM WITH MY DESIRE, AS EXPRESSED IN REF A, TO REDUCE COLLATERAL DUTY ASSIGNMENTS. HOWEVER, AFTER DISCUSSING THIS WITH SEVERAL BLACK OFFICERS I BECAME CONVINCED THAT THEY WOULD IN FACT, CHERISH THIS AS A COLLATERAL DUTY.}

B. ALL SHORE BASED COMMANDERS SHALL ENSURE THAT A MINORITY GROUP WIFE IS INCLUDED IN THE NAVY WIVES OMBUDSMAN CONCEPT SET FORTH IN REF B.

C. THE PROGRAMS ALREADY BEGUN BY COMNAVSUPSYSCOM TO ENSURE THAT THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF MINORITY GROUPS ARE RECOGNIZED AND PROVIDED FOR SHALL BE EXPEDITED, NAMELY:
{1} SUITABLE COSMETICS AND OTHER PRODUCTS FOR BLACK PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS WILL BE STOCKED IN NAVY EXCHANGES.

{2} SHIP'S STORES WILL STOCK BLACK GROOMING AIDS.

{3} EVERY BASE AND STATION, WILL EMPLOY, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AT LEAST ONE QUALIFIED BLACK BARBER/BEAUTICIAN IN MAJOR BARBER AND BEAUTY SHOPS, AND WILL WORK TOWARD THE GOAL OF HAVING SUFFICIENT BARBERS/BEAUTICIANS QUALIFIED IN HAIR CARE FOR BLACK PERSONNEL TO PROVIDE SERVICE FOR ALL BLACK PATRONS.

{4} ALL MAJOR COMMISSARIES SHALL STOCK FOODS AND PRODUCE Frequently REQUESTED BY MINORITY GROUPS. AS A MINIMUM, SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS SHOULD BE SOLICITED FROM MINORITY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES AND ACTED UPON BY LOCAL COMMISSARY MANAGERS.

D. SPECIAL SERVICES OFFICERS WHICH DEAL IN DISCOUNT TICKETS FOR VARIOUS ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS. WILL ALSO OBTAIN DISCOUNT TICKETS TO EVENTS OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO MINORITY GROUPS WHENEVER SUCH TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE.

E. A REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION OF BOOKS, MAGAZINES AND RECORDS BY AND ABOUT BLACK AMERICANS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE IN NAVY LIBRARIES, WARDROOMS, CLUBS AND OTHER READING AREAS.

ANY OF THE ABOVE WHICH CAN'T BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHIN THE TIME SPECIFIED ABOVE WILL BE REPORTED VIA CHAIN OF COMMAND TOGETHER WITH A SUMMARY OF CIRCUMSTANCES PREVENTING TIMELY IMPLEMENTATION. -

7. IN ORDER THAT I MAY REACH A MORE COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED BY OUR MINORITY PERSONNEL, IN ADDITION TO SECNAV/OPNAV/BUPERS TEAM VISITS I AM DIRECTING MY SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR MINORITY AFFAIRS, LCDR NORMAN, TO VISIT MAJOR NAVAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN CONUS TO MEET WITH INDIVIDUAL COMMANDING OFFICERS AND WITH MINORITY MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS. BY LEARNING IN DEPTH WHAT OUR PROBLEMS ARE, I BELIEVE WE WILL BE IN A BETTER POSITION TO WORK TOWARD GUARANTEEING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND TREATMENT FOR ALL OF OUR NAVY PEOPLE.

8. THIS IS THE FIRST OF MY REPORTS TO YOU ON MINORITY AFFAIRS. SECRETARY CHAFEE AND I WILL BE LOOKING INTO ALL AREAS OF MINORITY AFFAIRS AND WILL BE ISSUING FURTHER REPORTS AS OUR PROBLEMS BECOME MORE CLEAR AND THEIR SOLUTIONS BECOME MORE APPARENT. IT IS EVIDENT THAT WE NEED TO MAXIMIZE OUR EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF OUR MINORITY NAVYMEN. I AM CONVINCED THAT THERE IS NO PLACE IN OUR NAVY FOR INSENSITIVITY. WE ARE DETERMINED THAT WE SHALL DO BETTER. MEANWHILE, WE ARE COUNTING ON YOUR SUPPORT TO HELP SEEK OUT AND ELIMINATE THOSE DEMEANING AREAS OF DISCRIMINATION THAT PLAGUE OUR MINORITY SHIPMATES. OURS MUST BE A NAVY FAMILY THAT RECOGNIZES NO ARTIFICIAL BARRIERS OF RACE, COLOR OR RELIGION. THERE IS NO BLACK NAVY, NO WHITE NAVY--JUST ONE NAVY-- THE UNITED STATES NAVY.

E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U. S. NAVY,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.

Note: The original unclassified message is entirely double-spaced with all letters capitalized.


4 February 2000