A/MS files, lot 54 D 291, “McCarthy Report Materials, 1950–52”

The Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Humelsine) to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy1

My Dear Senator McCarthy: As the officer in charge of the operation of the loyalty and security program of the Department of State, I am answering your letter to the Secretary of July 23.2

You begin your letter by stating that it is your understanding that the twenty-nine individuals whom you list are “cases …3 pending before the State Department’s Loyalty Board”. Your understanding is incorrect. The twenty-nine individuals—all of whom you have cited, of course, in your former lists—fall into varying categories. Like your previous lists, this one also includes the names of persons who are not employees of the Department of State, employees who have been cleared by the Department’s Loyalty Security Board, as well as individuals in process through the loyalty program. Your indiscriminate lumping together of names and the threat to make them public is tantamount to holding hostage the reputation and rights of those employees who have been or may be cleared of the allegations against them. The President’s Directive of March 13, 1948 (Federal Register, March 16, 1948) precludes me from furnishing any reports, records, or files relative to the loyalty of employees. Disclosure of such information would be prejudicial both to these people as individuals and to the Government’s ability to conduct a sound, just and honorable loyalty security program.

Let me once again remind you that the Department of State is operating under the loyalty program laid down by the President in Executive Order No. 9835, as amended by Executive Order No. 10241.4 This executive order, which anyone interested in our national security safeguards should feel duty-bound to study, prescribes a loyalty system which even the most critical have endorsed. This system offers as much protection to the Government as any ethical and American system which could be devised. That it is subject to attack for purely political reasons without regard for the facts is unfortunate.

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The Department of State, operating under the authorities of the so-called McCarran Security Rider5 and Public Law 7336 carries out a total security program. When I say total, I mean total. If an individual is found to be a security risk, he is separated from the Department.

Now, the following points with regard to the Department’s loyalty and security program have been said many times, but I will repeat them again for your benefit as simply and as briefly as possible.

Both the loyalty and security programs of the Department are under my immediate supervision, and they are being carried out honestly and effectively. We are and will continue to operate a program to assure (1) maximum protection to the Government and (2) due regard for the rights of the individual.
Under this program, all Departmental and Foreign Service officers receive complete security investigations. These investigations are exhaustive and are made by trained investigators, operating under the direct supervision of a former FBI agent, Mr. Donald Nicholson.
The Department does not permit any employee to have access to secret material when it has determined that such access might constitute a danger to the security of the United States. To do otherwise would be contrary to the established security principles of the Department.
Questions as to the loyalty of any employee of this Department or the Foreign Service result in an up-to-date and full-scale investigation of the individual employee by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The evaluation of this investigation is made by a competent Loyalty Security Board which operates under the chairmanship of General Conrad E. Snow, an experienced and able lawyer of distinguished reputation and unquestioned integrity.
This Board is made up of men of such high qualifications and unquestioned loyalty that I doubt that even the most suspicious person could be able to challenge their credentials.
The work of the Board is reviewed administratively by my immediate office and by the Loyalty Review Board of the Civil Service Commission. Mr. Seth Richardson, a former assistant Attorney-General under ex-President Herbert Hoover, was formerly Chairman of the Loyalty Review Board. He was succeeded by the present Chairman, ex-Republican Senator from Connecticut, Mr. Hiram Bingham.
In the more than four years of operation under this procedure, the Loyalty Review Board has never reversed the Department’s adjudication of a case.
In conducting this program, the Department has uncovered some employees who did not meet its high security standards, and these employees have been separated.

As should be perfectly clear from the foregoing, the conduct of the Department’s loyalty and security programs are predicated on thoroughly tried and proven American principles. We will continue to operate this program in the same straightforward manner in the future, confident that we are taking every reasonable step to assure a completely loyal and trustworthy group of employees. But we will not abandon adherence to those concepts so carefully and deliberately laid down in the President’s Loyalty Program, and we will not compromise our legal and ethical responsibilities under pressure of political stratagem or threat.

Sincerely yours,

Carlisle H. Humelsine
  1. Drafted by Humelsine, his Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Walter K. Scott, and two subordinate officers in the Bureau of Administration.
  2. Not found.
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.
  4. For the text of Executive Order No. 9835, issued Mar. 21, 1946, see 12 Federal Register 1935; for the text of Executive Order No. 10241, issued Apr. 28, 1951, see 16 Federal Register 3690. The reference Executive Orders established and amended the Federal Government’s early postwar loyalty program.
  5. Enacted July 5, 1946; for text, see 60 Stat. 458. It granted the Secretary of State absolute discretion in the dismissal of any officer or employee of the Department of State when the Secretary deemed it advisable in the interest of the United States.
  6. Enacted July 26, 1950; for text see 64 Stat. 476, ch. 803. It authorized the heads of certain specified government departments and agencies engaged in sensitive activities to summarily suspend employees considered to be poor security risks, and to terminate their services if subsequent investigations developed facts that supported dismissal. This authorization was extended to all agencies of the government by Executive Order 10450; for text, see 18 Federal Register 2489.