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Letter to the Postmaster General Directing the Reinstatement of a Postal Clerk

September 02, 1932

My dear Mr. Postmaster General:

In the press this morning it is stated: "Government employees and their families are prohibited from expressing publicly their views on the soldiers' bonus, under a new regulation promulgated by the Civil Service Commission."

Upon seeing this I addressed the attached letter to the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, and have the enclosed reply from him. It is apparent therefore that no such action has been taken by the Commission.

The press article further states that in removing one Ben H. Kerr from the post office at Gary, Indiana, the charge was made against him "that he introduced a bonus resolution at a meeting of the American Legion at Crown Point, Indiana, on March 6th, contrary to the expressed wish of the President who considers such legislation harmful to the country at this time."

As you are aware, I have never made any such suggestion as to this or any other public question in its relation to the conduct of government employees. The fact that they differ with my views does not necessarily constitute "political activity" under the law which forbids such action.

In order that there may be no misunderstanding or misrepresentation in this matter, I consider that Mr. Kerr should be reinstated in the Post office service at once.

Yours faithfully,


[The Honorable, The Postmaster General, Washington, D.C.]

Note: For the letters to which the President referred, see Item 275.

The text of Postmaster General Brown's letter, also dated September 2, follows:

My dear Mr. President:

Replying to your letter of the 2d instant, relative to the dismissal of Clerk W. H. Kerr from the postal service at Gary, Indiana, I have the honor to inform you that the file in the Kerr case discloses several serious infractions of the postal laws and regulations warranting severe disciplinary action. However, since the record raises the right of postal employees freely to express their views upon public matters, a right as to which there should be no question, I am directing the reinstatement of Clerk Kerr.
Sincerely yours,


[The President of the United States]

Herbert Hoover, Letter to the Postmaster General Directing the Reinstatement of a Postal Clerk Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207431

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