POstwar Problem of Divided Loyalties
Demands for New Safeguards Against Subversion
Rising tension in relations between the United States and Soviet Russia has forced serious attention to the problem of assuring the loyalty of all government officials and employees. Recurrent charges that the federal establishment is permeated with “Communists, pink Socialists, and fellow-travelers” have been generally discounted by the American public, but the spy revelations in Canada during the summer of 1946 brought new demands in Congress for effective measures to guard government offices against infiltration by adherents of foreign ideologies.
The asserted presence of “subversive elements” in some of the departments at Washington has already been seized upon by opponents of the administration as a promising issue for the 1946 congressional campaign. Former Senator Danaher (R., Conn.) told the Vermont Republican convention, in a keynote address, Sept. 3, that high-level officials were still giving jobs to Communists, and he pledged his party to purge them from the government service. “People cannot be loyal to some alien political cause and still remain loyal to the American cause,” he said.
Wide public support for action to bar Communists from federal offices was indicated by a Gallup poll published Aug. 25, 1946. It reported that only 25 per cent of American voters believed that Communist party members were loyal to the United States rather than to Russia; only 17 per cent believed Communists should be considered for places in the federal civil service.