Remembering John Stewart Service

John S.Image via Wikipedia

On June 17, fifty-two years ago today, Service v. Dulles, 354 U.S. 363 (1957) was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the oral history collection of ADST, John Service talked about the released of the Supreme Court decision: “Anyway, this was a new day, the day of TV. Almost as soon as the Supreme Court decision was announced, TV people descended on us, both in my office and then later on out at our apartment. Fortunately, as I say, we had a statement ready.”


I am thankful for the Court’s decision and for our judicial system which gives each American the means to protect his rights and reputation.

For almost nineteen years I was proud to make my career in the American Foreign Service. Every chief under whom I worked and every competent and authorized review of the facts found my service useful and loyal.

In December, 1951, the world was informed that I had been summarily dismissed for “doubt of loyalty”. Administrative appeal was refused, and legal action became my only recourse. Through it, the unfounded action of the Loyalty Review Board was declared illegal and expunged. The Government eventually conceded that my discharge was not based upon doubt of my loyalty or security and that its sole basis had been the illegal action of the Loyalty Review Board. Now the discharge has been declared illegal and the slate is clean.

My debt is great: to my attorney, Mr. Charles Edward Rhetts, who accepted the case of a stranger more than seven years ago and, without regard for his own interests, has since devoted his great ability to clearing my name; to the several attorneys who in association with him have contributed to this outcome; to a courageous employer who was willing to give a job to a man publicly defamed; and to hundreds of friends whose unshaken confidence supported my family and me in this long fight for vindication.

Read more in the Library of Congress Frontline Diplomacy Collection.