Executive Order 9835 - Subversive Organizations

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.

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.

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, 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."

Read more about this topic:  Executive Order 9835

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