P E R S O N A L
The context of this page must never be divulged (serious, eh?) to no one and if it is possible to even prevent Aunty Florence from seeing it so much the better. But, on second thought, maybe Aunty Florence should read this too since she reads all my other letters and this information is just as important to her as it is to you.
I have gotten over that notion that I would attempt to communicate to you anything and everything which occurs or happens around me. One of the main reasons being my position as company clerk. I did not realize I would land in a job which requires sealed lips. I have the duties which require that I come across (and many opportunities to chance across) RESTRICTED information. For example, today I learned, by putting fractions together, quite a bit about the disposition of the 353rd Engineers. Even though others who know it also may divulge that information, I am not going to jeopardize my own career or perhaps the lives of those around me by following suit. Strange words to be coming out of my typewriter, aren't they? After all my pre-army chatter?
However, chances are that I may occasionally write you something which has slipped by my own self-censorship. If at any time you detect something of that nature, I would appreciate it if that letter and its contents remain locked up in your heads alone. I hadn't realized the full seriousness of that slip of the lip business until a few hours ago. Several things occurred and one of them was my picking out of my wastebasket, INTACT, a full summary of our regimental strength, progress, history, and future. Some one had slipped up. I read it, tore it up and have forgotten it.
Then again I may be playing up this entire business too much and maybe the Army doesn't care what we write home or talk about. Do you think I am taking the wisest course?
Should I at anytime in the future reveal any figures pertaining to the strength, condition, equipment, whereabouts, progress, or future movement of our regiment consider it information of value and keep it under your hat. After an event or condition has transpired (like the way the news of our battles is printed a month or so later), then first can that letter be resurrected. If I say that anything I might mention is permissible, the restriction is naturally off.
I wouldn't be going through all this if I were just a private in the ranks because then I would have no responsibility and anything I might say would merely be gossip and have no factual foundation. That case is different now. I may learn something by hearsay but who is to say that I didn't learn it to be true for a certainty in connection with my work.
Editor's annotation: This letter was presumably written 12 January 1943 @ Camp White.