Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations

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The United States Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations was a list drawn up on April 3, 1947[1] at the request of the United States Attorney General (and later Supreme Court judge) Tom C. Clark.[1] The list was intended to be a compilation of organizations seen as "subversive" by the United States government. Among those were: Communist fronts, the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party.[1]

History[edit]

Creation[edit]

The Attorney General's list was first known as the Biddle list after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Attorney General Francis Biddle began tracking Soviet controlled subversive front organizations in 1941. The original list had only eleven organizations but was greatly expanded by the end of the decade to upwards of 90 organizations. [2] It did not list individuals.

Communist groups, which emerged both in the pre-war and the post-war list, are marked by one ". In the meantime, even some trade unions that excluded members of openly communist groups from their membership lists were dissolved, partially also by government resolution.

Thousands of Americans with progressive or radical political beliefs signed petitions for, or became members of, these groups without being aware of the Communist ties of the group. Many were later persecuted and suffered personal consequences during the McCarthy era.

Many others, though, were found through HUAC investigations and Venona cable intercepts, to be actively involved in Soviet sponsored espionage and related activities.

Biddle list[edit]

Later history[edit]

The Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO) was expanded by President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order 9835.[1] EO 9835 established the first Federal Employee Loyalty Program designed to root out Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. It allowed for organizations to be listed on the recommendation of certain members of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) members, as designated by committee Chairman J. Parnell Thomas. Those he named initially were John McDowell, a Pennsylvania Republican, Richard Vail, an Illinois Republican, and John Wood, a Georgia Democrat. They readied their first version of the list for Attorney General Tom C. Clark within a few days.[3] It appeared in the Federal Register on March 20, 1948.[4]

Executive Order 10450, issued by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in April 1953, expanded the Attorney General's List and added the proviso that members of the United States armed forces could not join or associate with any group on the list under threat of discharge from military service.[5]

List as of 1959[edit]

  • Abraham Lincoln Brigade April 29, 1953
  • Abraham Lincoln School April 29, 1953
  • Action Committee to Free Spain Now April 29, 1953
  • Alabama People's Educational Association April 29, 1953
  • American Association for Reconstruction in Yugoslavia April 29, 1953
  • American Christian Nationalist Party April 29, 1953
  • American Committee for European Worker's Relief April 29, 1953
  • American Committee for protection of Foreign Born April 29, 1953
  • American Committee for the Settlement of Jews in Birobidzhan Inc September 28, 1953
  • American Committee for Yugoslav Relief, Inc. April 29, 1953
  • American Committee To Survey Labor Conditions in Europe July 15 1953
  • American Council for a Democratic Greece (formerly known as the Greek Amerivan Council; Greek American Committee for national Unity), April 29,1953
  • American Peace Crusade
  • American Polish League
  • Black Dragon Society
  • Cervantes Fraternal Society
  • Committee to Abolish Discrimination in Maryland
  • Committee to Aid the Fighting South
  • Committee to Defend the Rights and Freedom of Pittsburgh's Political Prisoners
  • Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy
  • Committee for Constitutional and Political Freedom
  • Committee for the Defense of the Pittsburgh Six
  • Committee for Nationalist Action
  • Committee for the Negro in the Arts
  • Committee for Peace and Brotherhood Festival in Philadelphia
  • Committee for the Protection of the Bill of Rights
  • Committee for World Youth Friendship and Cultural Exchange
  • Committee to Defend Marie Richardson
  • Committee to Uphold the Bill of Rights
  • Congress of African Women
  • Daily Worker Press Club
  • Detroit Youth Assembly
  • Elsinore Progressive League
  • Families of the Baltimore Smith Act Victims
  • Federation of Greek Maritime Unions
  • Florida Press and Education League
  • Freedom Stage, Inc.
  • Friends of the Soviet Union
  • Garibaldi American Fraternal Society
  • German American Bund
  • Harlem Trade Union Council
  • Hellenic-American Brotherhood
  • Hungarian Brotherhood
  • Independent Socialist League
  • Industrial Workers of the World
  • Japanese Association of America
  • Jewish Community of Cortlandt
  • Jewish Culture Society
  • Knights of the White Camelia
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Labor Youth League
  • League of American Writers
  • Mario Morgantini Circle
  • Michigan Council for Peace
  • Michigan School of Social Science
  • Nanka Teikoku Gunyudan
  • Oklahoma League for Political Education
  • People's Educational and Press Association of Texas
  • Shinto Shrines
  • Virginia League for People's Education
  • Youth Communist League


Abolition[edit]

The list went through several revisions until President Richard M. Nixon abolished it in 1974.[6]

Impact[edit]

The list's impact was immediate but not all important. Its purpose was to provide a guide for the loyalty boards mandated by EO 9835. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began using it immediately, but it was only one of many lists they used. The HUAC maintained its own list. Membership in an organization on any such list was reported to the Justice Department and loyalty boards.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Prelude to McCarthyism: The Making of a Blacklist". Goldstein, Robert Justin, Prologue, U.S. National Archives. Retrieved November 2006. 
  2. ^ M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies (New York: Crown Forum, 2007) ISBN 978-1-4000-8105-9, pp. 55-60, notes).
  3. ^ a b "Hoover and the Un-Americans". O'Reilly, Kenneth, Chapter 8:Counter Intelligence, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved February 5, 2007. 
  4. ^ Attorney General's list, Federal Register 13, (20 March 1948)
  5. ^ Defense Department Form 98, Revision 1 June 1959
  6. ^ Pear, Robert (1980-10-27). "Immigration Service Keeps List Of 'Proscribed' Groups in Nation; Basis for Listing Groups". New York Times. pp. A19. Retrieved 2007-02-05.