By: Harry S. Truman
Date: March 21, 1947
Source: President. Executive Order 9835. "Prescribing Procedures for the Administration of an Employees Loyalty Program in the Executive Branch of the Government." Federal Register 12, 1935, March 21, 1947. Available online at http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst203/documents/loyal.html; website home page: http://www.msu.edu (accessed April 1, 2003).
About the Author: Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) grew up on a farm in Missouri. He served his home state as a U.S. senator from 1935–1944. Elected vice president in 1944, he became president when Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office in April 1945. He was elected to a second term in 1948. President Truman's "Fair Deal" tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to expand Roosevelt's liberal domestic policies. His Truman Doctrine of vigorous opposition to Communist expansion abroad became the basis for America's Cold War foreign policy, and led America into the Korean War (1950–53). He returned to Missouri upon his retirement and died there in 1972.
The end of World War II left the United States fearful of the Soviet Union and communism. Americans had long distrusted and feared the Soviet Union. Its establishment in 1917 led to the first "Red Scare," when many American communists and other dissidents were arrested or deported out of fear that they would try to overthrow the government. The United States was allied with the Soviets during the war, and an effort was made to forget past differences, but these differences resurfaced rapidly in 1945, even before the defeat of the German and Japanese armies. Moreover the United States perceived World War II as a battle for peace and freedom and the Soviet Union seemed to be challenging these goals with its aggressive moves in Eastern Europe following the war. The Soviet Union was involved in massive spying against the United States and stole a fair amount of information used in building the atomic bomb. The Soviets probably would have succeeded in building the bomb anyway, as they had many brilliant atomic scientists, but the information stolen hastened the process. The development of the atomic bomb, which most scientists and politicians publicly proclaimed would take the Soviet Union a decade but which only took four years, also greatly increased the fear of the American public. Republican politicians began to use this issue against the Democrats, describing them as "soft" on communism. In response to political issues and public fears, both legitimate and paranoid, Truman developed a loyalty program that investigated many government employees.
The loyalty program contributed to the second Red Scare, during which the United States became fanatically obsessed with eliminating communism. This program did not find many communists. Loyalty programs and loyalty oaths did result in the firing of some Quakers, who refused to swear oaths, and others who did not believe in forced displays of loyalty. There were some communists and genuine threats but the threats did not match the level of hysteria. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of spying on the United States for the Soviet Union and consequently executed, even though recent evidence suggests that the U.S. government may have known of Ethel's innocence at the time.
One of the prime promoters of the Red Scare was Senator Joseph McCarthy, who made a crusade out of accusing, with little or no proof, government agencies of hiding communists. McCarthy and "McCarthyism," the specter that he founded, ran Washington for four years until he began investigating the Army and was exposed for the bully he was. A blacklist existed in Hollywood where people who refused to "name names" and reveal current and former Communist party members were systematically refused employment. Campuses were also affected by the Red Scare. Professors could be fired if they were found to have communist ties, had ever been members of the Communist party, or were left-leaning politically. Professors would also be fired if they refused to identify those who they knew to have been members of the Communist party. All of this served to stifle intellectual freedom in the United States. Dwight Eisenhower (served 1953–1961) used the communist hysteria to boost his political hopes and his presidential run. He did not come to the defense of George Marshall, chief of staff of the U.S. army during World War II and Eisenhower's former superior, when Marshall was falsely accused of being a communist. Not many people were imprisoned during the second Red Scare, unlike the Red Scare that followed World War I, and few were deported, but many lives were ruined by the communist paranoia.
Primary Source: Executive Order 9835
SYNOPSIS: Truman states that government employees are each somewhat responsible for the democratic processes of the United States. Therefore this order allows extensive background investigations of those applying for federal jobs, as well as current employees. It empowers the Civil Services Commission to oversee such investigations and creates a Loyalty Review Board to conduct them.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- An investigation shall be made of all applicants at all available pertinent sources of information and shall include reference to:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation files.
- Civil Service Commission files.
- Military and naval intelligence files.
- The files of any other appropriate government investigative or intelligence agency.
- House Committee on un-American Activities files.
- Local law-enforcement files at the place of residence and employment of the applicant, including municipal, county, and State law-enforcement files.
- Schools and colleges attended by applicant.
- Former employers of applicant.
- References given by applicant.
- Any other appropriate source.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- The head of a department or agency which does not have an investigative organization shall utilize the investigative facilities of the Civil Service Commission.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Loyalty Review Board shall also:
- Advise all departments and agencies on all problems relating to employee loyalty.
- Disseminate information pertinent to employee loyalty programs.
- Coordinate the employee loyalty policies and procedures of the several departments and agencies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Loyalty Review Board shall disseminate such information to all departments and agencies.
Part IV—Security Measures in Investigations
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Sabotage, espionage, or attempts or preparations therefore[e], or knowingly associating with spies or saboteurs;
- Treason or sedition or advocacy thereof;
- Advocacy of revolution or force or violence to alter the constitutional form of government of the United States;
- 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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Executive Order No. 9300 of February 5, 1943, is hereby revoked.
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