CLARK, Circuit Judge:
Stokes and Barbe brought this action based on the Freedom of Information Act [the Act]
Though the government's position in this and other cases involving similar issues might lead one to a contrary conclusion, disclosure of material in government files has now become the rule, not the exception. The Act was intended
The Administrative—Law Enforcement Dichotomy
Though all parties assumed in the court below that the material sought was an administrative staff manual which affected the public and thus was subject to disclosure
Sen.Rep.No.813, 89th Cong., 1st Sess. 2 (1965). While the distinction which the government would draw is valid in the abstract, there is no basis in fact for applying it to this case.
The Sixth Circuit, after an examination of the legislative history of the Act, concluded that the purpose of the law enforcement exception "was to bar disclosure of the information which, if known to the public, would significantly impede the enforcement process." Because their reasoning is so apt the following quote is included for the convenience of the reader and in preference to any attempt at paraphrase:
Hawkes v. Internal Revenue Service, 467 F.2d 787, 795 (6th Cir. 1972) (footnote omitted).
Secrecy can be justified in such a case as the one at bar only to the extent that it protects policies governing enforcement methods which, if disclosed, would tend to defeat the purpose of inducing maximum voluntary compliance by revealing classes or types of violations which must be left undetected or unremedied because of limited resources.
Our comprehensive in camera examination of the documents in question fully affirms the district court's conclusion that there is no support in fact for the government's contention that disclosure of this entire manual and associated documents would allow an employer to anticipate the matters which compliance officers would or would not cover in their investigations. The general areas of instruction detailed in the manual have already been made public by disclosure of the course outline. An examination of the course material dealing with each of these broad areas reveals that, while certain of the obviously more important guidelines are emphasized, the course focuses on educating new officers as to the scheme of the standards as a whole. No matter how thorough an examination and analysis an employer may make of the manual and course material, he could not use the knowledge gained to insulate himself from the statutory penalties by complying with selected rules while ignoring even the least substantial part of the thrust of the standards as a whole. Rather, disclosure of these more concise explanations of inspection procedures and detailed discussions of the standards to be enforced is likely to lead to more compliance, not less. The material sought in this case is simply not within the ambit of the exception for law enforcement materials.
Since we hold that the manual sought is administrative in nature, we must proceed to examine the government's alternative argument that the material is excluded from the scope of the Act by two specific provisions. The government contends, first, that the manual is related solely to the "internal personnel rules and practices of an agency", and second, that the material is "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency".
The Internal Personnel Rules and Practices Exclusion
An examination of the legislative history of the internal personnel rules and practices exception reveals a definite conflict between the language of the Senate Report and that of the House Report. The Senate Committee stated:
Sen.Rep., supra, at 8. The House, on the other hand, explains:
H.R.Rep.No.1497, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. 10, U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News 1966, p. 2427 (1966).
Professor Davis, in an article tracing the legislative history of the Act and examining the conflict between the two reports, concluded that the language of the Senate Report most accurately reflects the wording of the statute. Moreover, he observed that the greater weight should be given to the report of the house which acted first, since otherwise that house would be deprived of any voice in the final meaning of the enactment.
We conclude that this statutory exclusion must not be read so broadly as to exempt the manual sought here. Although this manual does include some amount of material which falls within the description of personnel rules and practices, the manual is not solely or even primarily composed of that type of material. It would be a strained, indeed ridiculous application of the statute which would insulate from disclosure the majority of the manual which contains the substance of what the statute commands be revealed because minor, relatively immaterial parts of the manual, such as the introduction and welcome to the course, could be classified as internal personnel rules and practices.
The "Memorandum" Exception
We also find without merit the government's contention that the material involved falls within the exception for inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums. Whatever may be the scope of this exception, with its cryptic limiting phrase "which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation" (see Environmental Protection Agency v. Mink, 410 U.S. 73, 93 S.Ct. 827, 35 L.Ed.2d 119 (1973)) we think it would be a perversion of the Act to classify the materials sought in this case as within this provision which is designed to encourage the free exchange of ideas among government policy-makers. It was not defined as an exception to compelled disclosure in order to authorize an agency to throw a protective blanket over any type of information it might choose by the expedient of casting it in the form of an internal memorandum. Bristol Myers Co. v. F. T. C., 424 F.2d 935 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 284, 91 S.Ct. 46, 27 L. Ed.2d 52 (1970). Substance not form determines its availability by the public.
Soucie v. David, 145 U.S.App.D.C. 144, 154-155, 448 F.2d 1067, 1077-1078 (1971) (footnotes omitted). See also General Services Administration v. Benson, 415 F.2d 878, 880-881 (9th Cir. 1969). The subject manual is an impersonal, mass-produced statement of established policy designed to be utilized as an educational and reference tool, not for policy-making or deliberative purposes. If this material be a "memorandum" then the term would cover virtually all government documents of any description or nature. Such an interpretation would be at war not only with the plain meaning of the word but also with the spirit and purpose of the Act. Whatever the ultimate scope of this "memorandum" exception may be, we are confident that these materials would remain without its reach. The district court correctly determined that the government failed to carry its burden to justify its action of withholding this material. The order appealed from is in all respects.