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Executive Order 10450

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Citation Edit

The White House, Executive Order 10450, Security Requirements for Government Employment (May 27, 1953) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This Order revoked Truman's 1947 Executive Order 9835 and dismantled its Loyalty Review Board. Instead it charged the heads of federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management, supported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with investigating federal employees to determine whether they posed a security risk. It expanded the definitions and conditions used to make such determinations.

Previously, the criteria used to define a security risk were largely political, that is, affiliation with suspect organizations or a clear demonstration of disloyalty. Executive Order 10450 added more general estimations of character, stability, and reliability. Its language was broad: "Any criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction, or sexual perversion." At the same time, the Order's provisions contained advice on evaluating character problems, as in its provision that the medical valuation of a psychological problem should show "due regard to the transient or continuing effect of the illness."

Without explicitly referring to homosexuality, the Order responded to several years of charges about the blackmail risks posed by the presence of homosexual employees in the State Department.

The Order applied to all employees of the federal government, notably the armed forces. Anyone enlisting was required to sign a statement swearing that he had no connections with an organization deemed subversive. Joining such an organization at any time during military service was grounds for immediate discharge from the military.


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