Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 138
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 138

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Page 138
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Page 138 article text (OCR)

II.S. WIT Rosters STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN. S everal years ago when the Vietnam war was raging, approximately 700 American draft registers and deserters took refuge in by Charles Peterson Sweden, a country which felt strongly that the U.S. had no legitimate war role in Vietnam. Some of these 700 draft resisters came from the U.S., and some of the deserters came from Vietnam to japan where they were smuggled by the Japanese underground aboard Soviet vessels that carried them to Sweden. Other deserters left U.S. Army camps in West Germany and made their way to Stockholm. Today, a little more than a year since the war ended, there are 200 such Americans remaining in Sweden. Most of them work at menial jobs-washing dishes, waiting tables, collecting bus tickets, serving as hospital orderlies. Most of them are married to or live with Swedish girls from whom they've learned Swedish. Sweden also offers 12 Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health. 13 mg. "tar". 0.9 mg.nicmine av. per cigarene. FTC Report APR.76. free language instruction to immigrants. William Schiller, 33, a draft resister from Chicago, is probably the most successful of the Americans who journeyed to Sweden to avoid participating in the Vietnam war. A journalism major from the University of Illinois, he is employed as a newsman for the Swedish Broadcasting Corp. In Peace Corps Schiller, whose mother works for the Veterans Administration in Minneapolis, is a former member of the Peace Corps in Peru. "I quit the Peace Corps," he explains, "and got my draft notice right after that I was opposed to the U.S. intervention in Vietnam, so I went over to Europe, washed dishes in London, made my way to Austria where I have relatives who own a farm. "I worked in Vienna, then in Athens on an English-language newspaper, then I came to Sweden where my U.S. passport expired. I reported to the U.S. Embassy and asked for a new one. "My name was on a list of war resisters,so they wouldn't give me a new passport. In fact, some weeks later I got a letter from the embassy with a warrant for my arrest. I was warned that further use of my old passport would only add to my legal violations. I was advised to turn myself in. Alien's passport "Fortunately," Schiller narrates, "I also got a letter from the Swedish authorities telling me that they would issue me an alien's passport and that I was welcome to stay in Sweden. For a young man who'd been, wandering for years not knowing where he was going to end up, that letter made me feel that I was saved at last, that I was in paradise, that I'd found a home." In 1974, eight days after President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, Ford established a clemency board for Vietnam war resisters and deserters. The board offered clemency to approximately 120,000 young men but required them to perform up to two years of alternative service and to sign loyalty oaths. More than 80 percent of those eligible for the clemency program boycotted it.

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