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Letter to the Administrator, Housing and Home Finance Agency, on the Problem of Employee Integrity.

December 18, 1951

Dear Ray:

I have examined with much interest the material you sent me with your letter of December 12, 1951, concerning the policies and procedures of the Housing Agency with respect to the integrity of its operations. You are to be commended for the attention you have given to this matter.

Because of the general public interest in this subject at the present time, I believe your letter should be made public as an example of the manner in which this problem has been dealt with in the past, and is now being dealt with, by the Government.

I think the policy you have set out with respect to the acceptance of gifts by employees is a wise one, and I believe that this is the correct policy for all of the Government.

Sincerely yours,


[Honorable Raymond M. Foley, Administrator, Housing and Home Finance Agency, Washington, D.C.]

Note: Mr. Foley's letter, dated December 12, was released with the President's reply. The letter stated, in part:

"With the full cooperation of the heads of our constituent agencies, we have thought it wise to strengthen our protective measures and to intensify and reiterate our instructions. It is not a new policy--but a further effort to be sure it is effective. This is for three purposes:

"(1) To make as certain as we can that our prescribed standards of conduct are being observed;

"(2) That we do not unnecessarily permit our people to be exposed to temptation;

"(3) That our reputation for integrity does not suffer through ill-advised, though honest, actions that give rise to suspicion. Our policy on this has been a progressive one as our experience has developed.

"The present intensified program covers these points:

"(1) A review of all our operations on an Agency-wide basis to identify points of vulnerability and make sure we have adequate safeguards erected;

"(2) Re-issue of our warnings about gifts, gratuities, etc., usually put out at the holiday season and this year even more specific than in the past;

"(3) A complete summary of previous instructions on conflicting interests;

"(4) An 'outside interest' statement from all employees, to be taken this month. In the past we required this only in the Federal Housing Administration at entry upon duty and occasionally renewed, as in 1946 and 1949;

"(5) Strengthening of our 'compliance staffs' who do our investigatory work, in connection with our fixed policy of investigating every charge or substantial rumor, and our system of reporting status to the Administrator.

"None of this is new with us, and all of it supplements a system of reporting, documentation, supervision and cross-checking of operations that of course has always been fundamental."

Harry S Truman, Letter to the Administrator, Housing and Home Finance Agency, on the Problem of Employee Integrity. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231336

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