A/MS files, lot 54 D 291, “Reports: Misc. Reports”

Memorandum by the Chairman of the Loyalty Security Board (Snow) to the Secretary of State1

  • Subject:
  • Report on Loyalty Security Performance—1947–1952
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1. Establishment and Authority

The Loyalty Security Board of the State Department was set up by Secretary Marshall, on June 9, 1947, as the Personnel Security Board. This was six months before the President’s Loyalty Order (Executive Order 9835, March 21, 1947) was implemented by the issuance of directives by the Loyalty Review Board of the Civil Service Commission. During this six months the Board made 10 adverse decisions, basing its action on the McCarran Rider to the Appropriation Act, which gave to the Secretary of State the power of summary dismissal of employees, “whenever he shall deem it necessary or advisable in the interest of the United States”. After the President’s Loyalty Program was put into effect, on December 17, 1947, the Department’s Board was re-named the Loyalty Security Board, and was given the function of administering the Loyalty Program, under the direction of the Loyalty Review Board, but still continued to administer security cases, in which no loyalty issue was raised, under the authority of the McCarran Rider.

2. Personnel and Office

The original Board consisted of three members, including the undersigned as Chairman. The present Board consists of 28 members within the Department and 13 members stationed in Germany. There are 41 State Department officers who at one time or another over the five years of its existence have served as members of the Board, but who, by reason of resignation, or of transfer of station or function, have become unavailable, and are no longer members. This makes 82 the number of State Department officers who at one time or another have served on the Board. The Chairman is the only member who has served throughout the period. The members have all been appointed by the Secretary acting through the Deputy Under Secretary for Administration and have been high-level officers of the Department. None of them have given full time to the Board, and they sit on cases in panels of three. The Chairman frequently sits on the panel, but by no means always; he has probably sat on four-fifths of the cases.

The Board was originally served by a part-time counsel. In August, 1950, however, the present full-time counsel, John W. Sipes, was substituted, and in June, 1951, an assistant full-time counsel, Lawson A. Moyer, Jr., was added. These counsel administer the office, draft interrogatories, write letters of charges, prepare cases for hearing, and assist in the hearings. The Board has an able secretarial staff, and occupies a dignified and convenient suite of rooms in New State, including two hearing rooms and five offices.

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3. Function of the Board

The Board receives investigative reports of full field investigations made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in loyalty cases, and of such investigations made by the Security Division of the Department in cases in which security alone is involved. These reports are submitted to panels of three and are read and considered by the designated panel. Since the files are objective and reflect all the information gathered, whether favorable or unfavorable, cases may be decided favorably to the employee on the information in the file alone. If more information is desired the panel may request further investigation by the FBI or by the Security Division, or it may address a written interrogatory to the employee and receive his sworn reply. In case the panel is still in doubt it must prefer charges and give the employee a hearing before it can recommend dismissal on matters relating to either loyalty or security. It should be noted that security is an issue in all cases, but the issue of loyalty arises only on a full field investigation by the FBI. To an adverse decision of the panel there is appeal to the Secretary of State in all cases, and a further appeal to the Loyalty Review Board in loyalty cases. All decisions in which loyalty is an issue, whether favorable or unfavorable to the employee, are submitted to the Loyalty Review Board for post-audit. If the Review Board disagrees with a favorable decision, it may, under its regulations, take over the case itself, re-hear the employee, enter its own findings and make an advisory recommendation to the Secretary, which in effect may sustain or reverse the Loyalty Security Board.

4. Volume of Work—Adverse Decisions

From its establishment through December 15, 1952, almost exactly five years since the implementation of the Loyalty Program, the Loyalty Security Board has received 684 loyalty cases, head count, and 61 cases involving security only, or a total of 745 cases, and has disposed of all but 100 loyalty cases and 10 security cases. Since many cases are considered more than once, the total of decisions made by the Board, case count, is much larger, 958 to be exact. During the course of this large volume of work, the Board has issued 285 interrogatories to employees under investigation, and has held 97 hearings on charges. In 77 cases the Board has requested further investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There has been some public criticism of the Board by persons unacquainted with its work. Unfortunately unfamiliarity with the work of the Board at one time extended even to some members of the Review Board, with the consequences that some remarks by one member of that Board, intended for its ears alone, and not [Page 1431] based on fact, were abstracted from its records and published abroad. It is the understanding of the Chairman that the Review Board is presently well satisfied with the work of the Loyalty Security Board. At any rate, out of 575 post-audits of the Loyalty Security Board decisions, the Review Board remanded but 19 cases and has reversed the State Department Board in but two instances.

As a matter of fact, since its inception the Loyalty Security Board has made 30 adverse decisions, three on grounds relating to loyalty, 15 on grounds relating to security but in cases in which loyalty was in issue, and 12 in cases in which only security was involved. Some comment may be required as to the small proportion of cases in which disloyalty was found. This is affected by at least three factors: (1) The Department had its initial housecleaning in 1947, before the Loyalty Program was set up. The 10 adverse decisions of the Board during this period have to be classed as security decisions, because there was no Loyalty Program in effect. Since these were the outstanding bad cases of the Department, at least some of these decisions would probably have been based on loyalty, had the Loyalty Program been then in operation. Similar cases in other Departments of the Government would have been entered in the loyalty column.

From time to time and especially during 1948, employees, against whom charges were serious, have resigned prior to a decision by the Board. During the five years the Board has lost jurisdiction of 51 cases, by separation after it had received the case but prior to decision. It is impossible to say how many of these cases would have led to adverse loyalty decisions had the Board been able to finish its work. In at least 20 of these cases charges and hearing had been voted by the Board.
The original standard of judgment in loyalty cases was quite strict. The Board was not permitted to find disloyalty unless “on all the evidence reasonable grounds exist for belief that the person involved is disloyal to the Government of the United States”. By Executive Order 10241, April 28, 1951, the President changed the standard so that an employee could be removed if “on all the evidence there is a reasonable doubt as to the loyalty of the person involved to the Government of the United States”. Since from the beginning the Loyalty Security Board has applied the standard of reasonable doubt to the issue of security, it was, prior to April 28, 1951, much easier to find security risk than disloyalty. Promptly on the change in the standard, however, the Board found adversely on grounds relating to loyalty in three cases. There is presently no difference between the standard applied to loyalty and that applied to security. In either case if there is a reasonable doubt, the Department is given the benefit of the doubt.
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5. Product of the Board—“McCarthy Cases”

684 employees of the Department of State have been given a “full field investigation” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and processed under the loyalty program. 584 of these have been passed before a panel of the Loyalty Security Board, and all but 18 have been ‘cleared’ as to both loyalty and security. Many of them have been cleared more than once: Some of them have been reconsidered under the new standard; some of them have been reconsidered owing to supplemental information received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and 19 of them have been reconsidered on remand from the Review Board for further processing. In only four cases has the Review Board exercised its power to take over the case, hold a hearing, and decide the case for itself; in two of these cases the Review Board sustained the Loyalty Security Board, and in two of them it reversed the Board, the John S. Service and the John Carter Vincent cases.

In February, 1950, Senator Joseph M. McCarthy stated publicly that there were 205 known Communists in the State Department. Subsequently, on February 20, 1950, in the Senate of the United States, he gave a list of 80 persons, 42 of whom were then, or subsequently, in the employ of the Department. He afterward added names, so that in all there are now 61 persons whom Senator McCarthy has identified as Communists or persons “loyal to the Communist Party”. In 8 of these cases no loyalty issue ever arose in the Department, in that the individuals were favorably processed as to loyalty by the FBI, who, finding no disloyal data, returned the names to the Department without full field investigation and submission to the Board. Of the remaining 53, 34 had been already cleared by the Loyalty Security Board (and 27 of these cases post-audited by the Loyalty Review Board) before the Senator spoke. Since then, six of the named persons have resigned and one has died (all after clearance and favorable post-audit). All of the remaining 28 cases have been reconsidered under the new standard, and with two exceptions have been cleared by the Loyalty Security Board (24 have been finally and favorably post-audited by the Review Board). In two cases only, as stated above, has the favorable decision of the Loyalty Security Board been reversed by the Review Board.

In résumé, of the 61 State Department employees named by Senator McCarthy, only four have been rated ineligible for employment, two by the Loyalty Security Board—Esther Brunauer and … both on security grounds—and two by the Loyalty Review Board—John S. Service and John Carter Vincent, both on loyalty grounds.

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The Loyalty Security Board has from the beginning considered itself to be a judicial body, and has endeavored to perform its duty honestly with due regard to the evidence, with fairness to the employee, and with proper appreciation of the gravity of the issues involved to the Department and to the Country. It should not be overlooked that the Board has had no jurisdiction to pass on the suitability of employees, as distinguished from their loyalty or security.

[Here follows numbered paragraph 6 which indicates that 3 attachments accompanied the memoranda: (1) “A year-by-year analysis of the adjudication of cases by the Loyalty Security Board,” (2) “A step-by-step history of the 30 adverse decisions of the Loyalty Security Board,” and (3) “A step-by-step history of the 61 cases named by Senator McCarthy who were employed at the time of his charges.” None of these attachments was found with the source text.]

  1. In a memorandum to John F. Barnard of the Management Staff of the Bureau of Administration, dated Feb. 18, 1953, John W. Sipes of the Office of Personnel in the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs wrote that he was attaching a copy of Snow’s memorandum to the Secretary, “however I do not know whether this memorandum has actually gone to the Secretary but it has been given to Mr. Humelsine for delivery to the Secretary when he sees fit.” (A/MS files, lot 54 D 291, “Reports: Misc. Reports”)