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Page one of Executive Order 9835, signed by Harry S. Truman in 1947

United States Executive Order 9835, sometimes known as The Loyalty Order, was signed March 21, 1947[1] by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The order established the first general loyalty program in the United States, which was designed to root out communist influence within the various departments of the U.S. federal government. Truman aimed to rally public opinion behind his Cold War policies with the investigations that would stem from this executive order (EO). He also hoped to quiet rightwing critics who accused Democrats of being soft on communism. Additionally, he advised the Loyalty Review Board to limit the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to avoid a witch hunt.[2] The program investigated over 3 million government employees; of that number just over 300 were dismissed as security risks.[3] Some in the Truman administration, such as Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, believed there were "many Communists in America." At the same time, Truman created a temporary commission on Employee Loyalty.[4]

The Loyalty Order is part of the prelude to the Second Red Scare and the rise of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. It was mostly the result of increasing U.S.–Soviet tensions and political maneuvering by the president and Congress.[5] The order established a wide area for the departmental loyalty boards to conduct loyalty screenings of federal employees and job applicants. It allowed the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation to run initial name checks on federal employees, and authorized further field investigation if the initial inquiry uncovered "derogatory information.[6] Executive Order 9835 also was the main impetus for the Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO).

Contents

Background and Truman's motivations

U.S. relations with the Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated following World War II. There were accompanying concerns about government infiltration by communists. These two issues drastically altered the American political climate, and by 1946 Truman had appointed a commission to study government employee loyalty; this, eventually, led to EO 9835. In what amounted to a loss of civil liberties for government employees, a number of motivating factors fell into place which induced another Red Scare. The relationship with the Soviet Union must be considered one of the most important among them.[5] As the U.S. fell from being wartime allies to staunch adversaries with the USSR, American obsession with perceived dangers associated with the Soviet Union, and Communists in general, began to grow. Much of this obsession was fueled by reports, in and out of the government, of Soviet spy activity in North America. Coupled with economic tension following World War II, this helped foster a general state of anger and anxiety in the United States and its government. As Congressional elections approached in late 1946, many American conservative groups engaged in deliberate attempts to ignite a fifth Red Scare. The Republican Party, assisted by a coalition which included the Catholic Church, the FBI and private entrepreneurs, worked to inflame public fear and suspicion. As fear of Communist infiltration in the government grew, it became a central campaign issue in the 1946 elections.[5]

Fresh investigations by the then permanent House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) ensured that the issue would stay on the minds of constituents, and Republicans found a niche they could use for an election advantage. HUAC, amid the anxieties of the elections and international tensions, had investigated several alleged Communist "front" organizations. These investigations led to fresh questions about employee loyalty from the House committee. Republicans, looking for big Congressional gains, took full advantage of this atmosphere and made the issue a central theme of the 1946 campaign. Communist infiltration, along with attacks on the Truman administration's economic policies, were manifested in campaign slogans such as "Had Enough?" and "Communism vs. Republicanism."[5] Meanwhile, under the leadership of Republican National Chairman Carroll Reece, the Republican Party made repeated anti-Communist attacks on Truman and Congressional Democrats. Reece often referred to the "pink puppets in control of the federal bureaucracy."[5] House Republican leader Joe Martin made pledges promising to clean out Communists from high positions in the U.S. government. Voters responded in kind, and the election of 1946 was a huge Republican victory as they gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1932.[5]

Two weeks after the sweeping Republican victory, the president announced the creation of the President's Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty (TCEL) on November 25, 1946. News of the TCEL made the front page of The New York Times under the headline "President orders purge of disloyal from U.S. posts." Truman's commission consisted of representatives from six government departments under the chairmanship of Special Assistant to the Attorney General A. Devitt Vanech, who was close to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the time. The commission sought to determine federal loyalty standards and establish procedures for removal or disqualification of disloyal or subversive persons from federal posts.[5]

Contemporary observers as well as historians have characterized Truman's action surrounding TCEL and the 1947 executive order as purely politically motivated.[5] The timing of his actions so close to the Democratic electoral defeat, and his request that TCEL submit its report by February 1, 1947, have caused the action to be interpreted as a move to preempt further action on the loyalty issue from the new Congress, now controlled by a Republican majority. This assertion is supported by both Truman himself and statements made later by White House Counsel Clark Clifford in his memoir.[5] On February 28, 1947, about a month before he signed EO 9835, Truman wrote to Pennsylvania Governor George Earle, "People are very much wrought up about the Communist 'bugaboo' but I am of the opinion that the country is perfectly safe so far as Communism is concerned - we have too many sane people." Clifford declared in his 1991 memoir that his "greatest regret" from his decades in government was his failure to "make more of an effort to kill the loyalty program at its inception, in 1946-47." As if to leave no doubt, Clifford added that the 1946 elections had "weakened" Truman but "emboldened Hoover and his allies." Clifford wrote that the creation of the TCEL was the result of pressure from FBI Director Hoover and Attorney General Tom Clark, who "constantly urged the President to expand the investigative authority of the FBI."[5]

Provisions

The signature page of Executive Order 9835

The order set out a wide scope for the Federal Employee Loyalty Program. The order itself allowed the FBI to run name checks on 2 million federal employees. In the ten-year period between the implementation of the order and 1958, the bureau ran name checks on 4.5 million people, not including 500,000 new federal applicants annually.[6] EO 9835 allowed for full field investigations by the FBI if "derogatory information" was found in the initial name check; 27,000 such investigations were launched from 1948-1958.[6] The results of said investigations were disseminated to 150 loyalty boards, and an employee could be fired if "reasonable doubt" existed concerning their loyalty. Provisions allowed no appeal of these decisions beyond the loyalty board, and no permission was granted to confront confidential informants, as the government termed them.[6]

Besides those officially terminated as a result of investigations, around 5,000 federal employees offered voluntary resignations in light of the investigations. Most of the resignations took places at hearings conducted by Congressional committees. Only 378 federal employees were dismissed for spying as a result of the loyalty program. Later, Truman introduced another executive order to keep the results of those investigations secret and undisclosed to the Congress.[6]

The text of the EO provided specific powers pertaining to employee loyalty. First and foremost among these was that "there shall be a loyalty investigation of every person entering civilian employment" in any facet of the executive branch of the U.S. government. Much of the rest of EO 9835's content simply reinforced policy surrounding the first statements on loyalty investigations, as well as seeking to establish a manner in which to go about with the loyalty investigations. As such, Part II of the EO provided the power to the head of each department or agency to appoint one or more loyalty boards. The boards' express purpose was to hear loyalty cases. In addition, Part V of the EO outlined criteria and standards for the refusal of (or removal from) employment for disloyalty. Disloyalty for these purposes was defined in five categories. These included:[7]

  • sabotage, espionage, spying or the advocacy thereof
  • treason, sedition or the advocacy thereof
  • intentional, unauthorized disclosure of confidential information
  • advocacy of the violent overthrow of the U.S. government
  • membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic association with any organization labeled as totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive

Subversive organizations

EO 9835 facilitated the establishment of the highly publicized "Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations" (AGLOSO). Eventually, AGLOSO would become one of the central influences in the second American Red Scare, known collectively as McCarthyism. The list came into being after Truman signed EO 9835, both the order and AGLOSO established more than two years before Senator Joseph McCarthy's first allegations of Communist infiltration in the U.S. government in early 1950.[5]

The declared purpose of the list was to lend guidance for federal civil service loyalty determinations. However, AGLOSO essentially became the litmus test for loyalty and disloyalty in a variety of public and private departments and organizations. The Attorney General's list was adopted by state and local governments, the military, defense contractors, hotels, the Treasury Department (tax-exemption determinations) and the State Department (passport and deportation determinations). The list was massively publicized in the federal government's effort against Communist infiltration. Despite the widespread publicity, the Justice Department and other agencies refused to release more than small amounts of information on other aspects of the list besides its contents. Included among the secret information were particulars such as how the list was compiled, criteria for listing, why the list was published, and why no notification was given to any of the listed organizations about their designation prior to the list's publication. Little was made at the time of the revelation that AGLOSO was nothing new; in fact, the government had been keeping a secret list to aid in screening for federal employee loyalty since 1940.[5]

The first official list was published shortly after the March 21 executive order. According to FBI documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act nearly 60 years later[5], AGLOSO was born on or about April 3, 1947 when the bureau responded to a March 27 request from the Attorney General for a list of "organizations thought to be subversive." The FBI's response included 41 groups "thought to be most dangerous within the purview of the recent Executive Order (9835)." A March 29 FBI document indicated that among the groups on the list were the Ku Klux Klan, the Communist Party, the Nazi Party and 38 alleged "front groups."[5]

Outcome of the order

The executive order declared: "maximum protection must be afforded the United States against infiltration of disloyal persons into the ranks of its employees, and equal protection from unfounded accusations of disloyalty must be afforded the loyal employees." But those protections were deemed inadequate, as objections surfaced regarding the lack of due process protections resulting from the departmental loyalty board procedures. One complaint concerned the lack of opportunity to confront those anonymous tipsters that EO 9835 protected from being outed to the accused. Initially, both the D.C. Circuit Court and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the law, the Supreme Court on a tie vote.[8]

It was not until a few years later that the judiciary began to place limits on the removal of so-called security risks. The loyalty program examined several million employees but could only dismiss several hundred.[9] In 1955, the Supreme Court held in Peters v. Hobby that the removal of one consultant to the Civil Service Commission by the commission's loyalty review board was invalid. The court stated that the action was beyond the jurisdiction of the EO. In a separate decision two years later, the court ruled that the dismissal of a Foreign Service officer violated State Department regulations. That officer had been discharged pursuant to EO 9835 as well. Similar executive-judiciary disputes would continue well into the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower.[8]

Notes

  1. ^ Harry S. Truman, Executive Orders The Federal Register, U.S. National Archives.
  2. ^ Hogan, Michael J. A Cross of Iron Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 19451954. New York: Cambridge UP, 2000.
  3. ^ The Second Red Scare, Digital History, Post-War America 1945-1960, University of Houston.
  4. ^ Nash, Gary B., Julie Roy Jeffrey, Johnn R. Howe, Peter J. Fredrick, Allen F. Davis, Allan M. Winkler, Charlene Mires, and Carla Gardina Pestana. The American People, Concise Edition Creating a Nation and a Society, Combined Volume (6th Edition). New York: Longman, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Goldstein, Robert Justin. Prelude to McCarthyism: The Making of a Blacklist, Prologue, Fall 2006, Vol. 38, No. 3, U.S. National Archives.
  6. ^ a b c d e Cold War Spies, Steve Schoenherr, University of San Diego.
  7. ^ Executive Order 9835, via Origins of the Cold War: Interpreting Primary Sources, University of Houston
  8. ^ a b Congressional Limitation of Executive Orders, Hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, October 28, 1999.
  9. ^ Nash, Gary B. The American People, Concise Edition Creating a Nation and a Society, Combined Volume (6th Edition). New York: Longman, 2007.

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

←Executive Order 9834 Executive Order 9835
by President of the United States
Prescribing Procedures for the Administration of an Employees Loyalty Program
in the Executive Branch of the Government
Executive Order 9836→
 Signed by President   Harry S. Truman   March 21, 1947 Federal Register page and date: 12 FR 1935, March 25, 1947 
  See the Notes section for a listing of Executive Orders affected by or related to this Executive Order.

Executive Order 9835, sometimes known as The Loyalty Order, established the first general loyalty program in the United States, which was designed to root out communist influence within the various departments of the U.S. federal government. — Excerpted from Executive Order 9835 on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Whereas, each employee of the Government of the United States is endowed with a measure of trusteeship over the democratic processes which are the heart and sinew of the United States; and

Whereas, it is of vital importance that persons employed in the Federal service be of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States; and

Whereas, although the loyalty of by far the overwhelming majority of all Government employees is beyond question, the presence within the Government service of any disloyal or subversive person constitutes a threat to our democratic processes; and

Whereas, maximum protection must be afforded the United States against infiltration of disloyal persons into the ranks of its employees, and equal protection from unfounded accusations of disloyalty must be afforded the loyal employees of the Government:

Now, Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, including the Civil Service Act of 1883 (22 Stat. 403), as amended, and section 9A of the act approved August 2, 1939 (18 U.S.C. 61i), and as President and Chief Executive of the United States, it is hereby, in the interest of the internal management of the Government, ordered as follows:

PART I — INVESTIGATION OF APPLICANTS

  1. There shall be a loyalty investigation of every person entering the civilian employment of any department or agency of the executive branch of the Federal Government.
    1. Investigations of persons entering the competitive service shall be conducted by the Civil Service Commission, except in such cases as are covered by a special agreement between the Commission and any given department or agency.
    2. Investigations of persons other than those entering the competitive service shall be conducted by the employing department or agency. Departments and agencies without investigative organizations shall utilize the investigative facilities of the Civil Service Commission.
  2. The investigations of persons entering the employ of the executive branch may be conducted after any such person enters upon actual employment therein, but in any such case the appointment of such person shall be conditioned upon a favorable determination with respect to his loyalty.
    1. Investigations of persons entering the competitive service shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible; provided, however, that if any such investigation is not completed within 18 months from the date on which a person enters actual employment, the condition that his employment is subject to investigation shall expire, except in a case in which the Civil Service Commission has made an initial adjudication of disloyalty and the case continues to be active by reason of an appeal, and it shall then be the responsibility of the employing department or agency to conclude such investigation and make a final determination concerning the loyalty of such person.
  3. An investigation shall be made of all applicants at all available pertinent sources of information and shall include reference to:
    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation files.
    2. Civil Service Commission files.
    3. Military and naval intelligence files.
    4. The files of any other appropriate government investigative or intelligence agency.
    5. House Committee on un-American Activities files.
    6. Local law-enforcement files at the place of residence and employment of the applicant, including municipal, county, and State law-enforcement files.
    7. Schools and colleges attended by applicant.
    8. Former employers of applicant.
    9. References given by applicant.
    10. Any other appropriate source.
  4. Whenever derogatory information with respect to loyalty of an applicant is revealed a full investigation shall be conducted. A full field investigation shall also be conducted of those applicants, or of applicants for particular positions, as may be designated by the head of the employing department or agency, such designations to be based on the determination by any such head of the best interests of national security.

PART II — INVESTIGATION OF EMPLOYEES

  1. The head of each department and agency in the executive branch of the Government shall be personally responsible for an effective program to assure that disloyal civilian officers or employees are not retained in employment in his department or agency.
    1. He shall be responsible for prescribing and supervising the loyalty determination procedures of his department or agency, in accordance with the provisions of this order, which shall be considered as providing minimum requirements.
    2. The head of a department or agency which does not have an investigative organization shall utilize the investigative facilities of the Civil Service Commission.
  2. The head of each department and agency shall appoint one or more loyalty boards, each composed of not less than three representatives of the department or agency concerned, for the purpose of hearing loyalty cases arising within such department or agency and making recommendations with respect to the removal of any officer or employee of such department or agency on grounds relating to loyalty, and he shall prescribe regulations for the conduct of the proceedings before such boards.
    1. An officer or employee who is charged with being disloyal shall have a right to an administrative hearing before a loyalty board in the employing department or agency. He may appear before such board personally, accompanied by counsel or representative of his own choosing, and present evidence on his own behalf, through witnesses or by affidavit.
    2. The officer or employee shall be served with a written notice of such hearing in sufficient time, and shall be informed therein of the nature of the charges against him in sufficient detail, so that he will be enabled to prepare his defense. The charges shall be stated as specifically and completely as, in the discretion of the employing department or agency, security considerations permit, and the officer or employee shall be informed in the notice (1) of his right to reply to such charges in writing within a specified reasonable period of time, (2) of his right to an administrative hearing on such charges before a loyalty board, and (3) of his right to appear before such board personally, to be accompanied by counsel or representative of his own choosing, and to present evidence on his behalf, through witness or by affidavit.
  3. A recommendation of removal by a loyalty board shall be subject to appeal by the officer or employee affected, prior to his removal, to the head of the employing department or agency or to such person or persons as may be designated by such head, under such regulations as may be prescribed by him, and the decision of the department or agency concerned shall be subject to appeal to the Civil Service Commission’s Loyalty Review Board, hereinafter provided for, for an advisory recommendation.
  4. The rights of hearing, notice thereof, and appeal therefrom shall be accorded to every officer or employee prior to his removal on grounds of disloyalty, irrespective of tenure, or of manner, method, or nature of appointment, but the head of the employing department or agency may suspend any officer or employee at any time pending a determination with respect to loyalty.
  5. The loyalty boards of the various departments and agencies shall furnish to the Loyalty Review Board, hereinafter provided for, such reports as may be requested concerning the operation of the loyalty program in any such department or agency.

PART III — RESPONSIBILITIES OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  1. There shall be established in the Civil Service Commission a Loyalty Review Board of not less than three impartial persons, the members of which shall be officers or employees of the Commission.
    1. The Board shall have authority to review cases involving persons recommended for dismissal on grounds relating to loyalty by the loyalty board of any department or agency and to make advisory recommendations thereon to the head of the employing department or agency. Such cases may be referred to the Board either by the employing department or agency, or by the officer or employee concerned.
    2. The Board shall make rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the provisions of this order, deemed necessary to implement statutes and Executive orders relating to employee loyalty.
    3. The Loyalty Review Board shall also:
      1. Advise all departments and agencies on all problems relating to employee loyalty.
      2. Disseminate information pertinent to employee loyalty programs.
      3. Coordinate the employee loyalty policies and procedures of the several departments and agencies.
      4. Make reports and submit recommendations to the Civil Service Commission for transmission to the President from time to time as may be necessary to the maintenance of the employee loyalty program.
  2. There shall also be established and maintained in the Civil Service Commission a central master index covering all persons on whom loyalty investigations have been made by any department or agency since September 1, 1939. Such master index shall contain the name of each person investigated, adequate identifying information concerning each such person, and a reference to each department and agency which has conducted a loyalty investigation concerning the person involved.
    1. All executive departments and agencies are directed to furnish to the Civil Service Commission all information appropriate for the establishment and maintenance of the central master index.
    2. The reports and other investigative material and information developed by the investigating department or agency shall be retained by such department or agency in each case.
  3. The loyalty Review Board shall currently be furnished by the Department of Justice the name of each foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group or combination of persons which the Attorney General, after appropriate investigation and determination, designates as totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny others their rights under the Constitution of the United States, or as seeking to alter the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means.
    1. The Loyalty Review Board shall disseminate such information to all departments and agencies.

PART IV — SECURITY MEASURES IN INVESTIGATIONS

  1. At the request of the head of any department or agency of the executive branch an investigative agency shall make available to such head, personally, all investigative material and information collected by the investigative agency concerning any employee or prospective employee of the requesting department or agency, or shall make such material and information available to any officer or officers designated by such head and approved by the investigative agency.
  2. Notwithstanding the foregoing requirement, however, the investigative agency may refuse to disclose the names of confidential informants, provided it furnishes sufficient information about such informants on the basis of which the requesting department or agency can make an adequate evaluation of the information furnished by them, and provided it advises the requesting department or agency in writing that it is essential to the protection of the informants or to the investigation of other cases that the identity of the informants not be revealed. Investigative agencies shall not use this discretion to decline to reveal sources of information where such action is not essential.
  3. Each department and agency of the executive branch should develop and maintain, for the collection and analysis of information relating to the loyalty of its employees and prospective employees, a staff specially trained in security techniques, and an effective security control system for protecting such information generally and for protecting confidential sources of such information particularly.

PART V — STANDARDS

  1. The standard for the refusal of employment or the removal from employment in an executive department or agency on grounds relating to loyalty shall be that, on all the evidence, reasonable grounds exist for belief that the person involved is disloyal to the Government of the United States.
  2. Activities and associations of an applicant or employee which may be considered in connection with the determination of disloyalty may include one or more of the following:
    1. Sabotage, espionage, or attempts or preparations therefor, or knowingly associating with spies or saboteurs;
    2. Treason or sedition or advocacy thereof;
    3. Advocacy of revolution or force or violence to alter the constitutional form of government of the United States;
    4. Intentional, unauthorized disclosure to any person, under circumstances which may indicate disloyalty to the United States, of documents or information of a confidential or non-public character obtained by the person making the disclosure as a result of his employment by the Government of the United States;
    5. Performing or attempting to perform his duties, or otherwise acting, so as to serve the interests of another government in preference to the interests of the United States.
    6. Membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic association with any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group or combination of persons, designated by the Attorney General as totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny other persons their rights under the Constitution of the United States, or as seeking to alter the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means.

PART VI — MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Each department and agency of the executive branch, to the extent that it has not already done so, shall submit, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice, either directly or through the Civil Service Commission, the names (and such other necessary identifying material as the Federal Bureau of Investigation may require) of all of its incumbent employees.
    1. The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall check such names against its records of persons concerning whom there is substantial evidence of being within the purview of paragraph 2 of Part V hereof, and shall notify each department and agency of such information.
    2. Upon receipt of the above-mentioned information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, each department and agency shall make, or cause to be made by the Civil Service Commission, such investigation of those employees as the head of the department or agency shall deem advisable.
  2. The Security Advisory Board of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee shall draft rules applicable to the handling and transmission of confidential documents and other documents and information which should not be publicly disclosed, and upon approval by the President such rules shall constitute the minimum standards for the handling and transmission of such documents and information, and shall be applicable to all departments and agencies of the executive branch.
  3. The provisions of this order shall not be applicable to persons summarily removed under the provisions of section 3 of the act of December 17, 1942, 56 Stat. 1053, of the act of July 5, 1946, 60 Stat. 453, or of any other statute conferring the power of summary removal.
  4. The Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the Coast Guard, are hereby directed to continue to enforce and maintain the highest standards of loyalty within the armed services, pursuant to the applicable statutes, the Articles of War, and the Articles for the Government of the Navy.
  5. This order shall be effective immediately, but compliance with such of its provisions as require the expenditure of funds shall be deferred pending the appropriation of such funds.
  6. Executive Order No. 9300 of February 5, 1943, is hereby revoked.
Signature of Harry S. Truman
HARRY S. TRUMAN 
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 21, 1947.

Notes

Revokes
  • Executive Order 9300, February 5, 1943
Amended by
  • Executive Order 10241, April 28, 1951
Revoked by
Related
  • Hatch Political Activity Act (the Hatch Act), August 2, 1939;
  • Presidential Directive of March 13, 1948 (13 FR 1359);
  • Transfer Order 19 of the Secretary of Defense dated July 23, 1948 (13 FR 4419);
  • Executive Order 10031, January 26, 1949;
  • Executive Order 10280, August 16, 1951;
  • Executive Order 10422, January 9, 1953;
  • Executive Order 11605, July 2, 1971;
  • Executive Order 11785, June 4, 1974
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).

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