Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Statement by the President on a Proposed Executive Order Entitled "Safeguarding Official Information in the Interest of the Defense of the United States"

June 17, 1953

I have today arranged to distribute to all interested agencies a proposed Executive Order entitled "Safeguarding Official Information in the Interest of the Defense of the United States". This order revokes Executive Order No. 10290 of September 24, 1951, and provides more effective controls on classification and protection of that official information which must be safeguarded for national defense purposes. At the same time this order through its severe limitation on the authority to classify, through its elimination of one of the categories of classified material, and through its provisions for continuing review of classified information for downgrading and declassification, will open the door for citizens to obtain more information about their government.

I request that the authority of original classification of defense information or material in certain agencies be eliminated, and in other agencies be limited to the Head of the agency, without further delegation of said authority. The term "original classification" refers only to information or material originating in the department or agency which first classifies it. It does not include the classification of documents which must be classified merely because they incorporate information which has been received from another agency and which has already been classified by the agency having primary responsibility therefor.

Under the proposed order the following departments and agencies of the Executive Branch and their constituent agencies, shall be subject to the limitations contained in Section 2 of this order commencing with the effective date thereof, as follows:

A. Original Classification Authority Eliminated: American Battle Monuments Commission, Arlington Memorial Amphitheater Commission, Commission of Fine Arts, Committee on Purchases of Blind-Made Products, Committee For Reciprocity Information, Commodity Exchange Commission, Economic Stabilization Agency, Export-Import Bank of Washington, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Federal Reserve System, Federal Trade Commission, Housing and Home Finance Agency, Indian Claims Commission, Interstate Commerce Commission, Missouri Basin Survey Commission, National Capital Housing Authority, National Capital Park and Planning Commission, National Forest Reservation Commission, National Labor Relations Board, National Mediation Board, Railroad Retirement Board, Securities and Exchange Commission, Selective Service System, Smithsonian Institution, United States Tariff Commission, Veterans Administration, Veterans Education Appeals Board, War Claims Commission.

B. Original Classification Authority Limited to Head of Agency: Civil Aeronautics Board, Defense Transport Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Power Commission, National Science Foundation, National Security Training Commission, Panama Canal Company, Post Office Department, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Renegotiation Board, Subversive Activities Control Board, Tennessee Valley Authority.

Heads of departments and agencies not named herein shall limit the classification authority in accordance with Subsection 2 (c) of this order.

If, because of operational responsibilities, the Head of any agency listed herein determines that these limitations will endanger the national defense, he shall submit a written request to the President for an exception including a full justification for such a request based on national defense considerations.

I have asked the heads of all agencies and departments to review the proposed order and submit any comments to the Attorney General.


Note: A letter from the Attorney General, dated June 15, 1953, concerning the need for a revised order, was released with the President's statement, together with a draft of the proposed order. In its final form the order was approved by the President on November 5, 1953 (E.O. 10501, 3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 979).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President on a Proposed Executive Order Entitled "Safeguarding Official Information in the Interest of the Defense of the United States" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231636

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