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ing terminals, in the purchase of rolling stock, and making added betterments generally, but there remains much yet to be done. The work has scarcely started, and it should be undertaken now as an evidence, not only of govermental confidence in the stability of the future, but of its purpose to do itself what it is asking others to do. Some skeptic may inquire about the guaranty as to reimbursement. In the ultimate society will pay the bill—it always does--and without protest, and it would be both unseemly and untimely to enter into any discussion of that phase of the question now. It is an affair of to-morrow. We are concerned with the exigencies of to-day, and if we act wisely to-day, to-morrow will take care of itself.

The railroads and kindred industries form a tremendous part of the aggregated sum of our commercial activities, and if they are to be rebuilt now, such an inspiration will be given to our whole industrial life that we will easily come out of confronting perplexities, and past theories as to the inevitabilty of financial depression following certain events will not be a ruling axiom of the future.

This plan, in the minds of some, might further emphasize the state of artificial values, but we add the supplemental thought: The Government is thoroughly able to know what materials, in the face of present conditions, are worth; and if purchase follows the careful analysis of all economic elements, the Government itself can be the means of establishing a new basis of values. We do not favor any fixing of costs at the present time, either by statute or administrative mandate, but if the Go:ernment, in tairness to all interests concerued, approves price schedules on materials, public opinion will accomplish the rest. We are firmly of the belief that the Nationa) Government should create some organization to serve as a guide and aid not only in its purchases but to those made to private enterprises as well. Prices must change. There may be economic justification for some schedules, but not many; and is the Government, through the operation of a committee or commission such as we have suggested, will invite industry to go forward in the work before us, revealing facts and figures upon which honest calculation can be made, it can then in any given line announce to the public what price it finds to be fair and equitable.

In road building, or in the construction of homes, it will be a perfectly simple matter to determine what price ought to be paid. Following this, public work and private enterprise would in all probability assume their normal volume, because confidence would have been accomplished.

There is a general feeling that freight rates on all road material should be radically reduced. In fact, we are willing to express it as our judgment that it would be sound public policy to make a further cut in the freight rates on all building materials. Assuming that this contributes to a temporary deficit with the railroaws, it would be more than offset by the compensating result of a reestablished prosperity.

In every State is manifested a laudable desire to undertake needed public improvements. The ultimate cost is of course a consideration, but local governments only ask now for the price that is fair and which will endure for a reasonable length of time. It is our strong sympathy with these local private and public projects which prompts this more or less elaborate treatment of this subject. There seems to be a unanimity of sentiment with reference to making any adjustment in wage scale no part of present calculations. If that is to come at all it should be in consequence of a reduced cost of living. American high standards are to be maintained. We should move forward and not backward in all matters involving human opportunity, education, and a higher moral outlook, and the fullest guaranty is the maintenance of the standards indicated.

The attention of the conference has been called to conditions existing in many parts of the country with reference to street railway companies. During the war increases in pay were granted to employees through the intervention of the Federal Government. Society recognized that the high cost of living justified this action in the fullest sense.

These corporations, however, found themselves bound by certain limitations in the way of franchise contracts with municipalities, and while the operating cost has vastly increased in many instances the rates of fare have continued without change. This is noticeably true in States where no statutory provision has been made for an appeal to the State utilities commission. We disclaim any disposition to trespass on the rights of municipalities, but it is our earnest recommendation that the Federal Government. continue its helpful offices, with the view to averting serious consequences in the financial affairs of public utilities.

The bringing to an end of governmental contracts with private industry entailed tremendous labor, and while we are reassured by the able and illuminating statements of the Secretary of War, Mr. Baker, made to this conference, we urge the highest speed possible in formalizing these readjustments, in making prompt payment of every indebtedness certified to, and in thus releasing capital for other uses. The lifting of governmental restrictions at the earliest possible moment in the conduct of these plants will be a further helpful contribution.

It is the sense of this meeting also that the Government take steps to announce its policy as soon as possible as to the disposal of raw materials of industry now in its hands or under its control, so that the manufacturers may determine their policy under stable conditions.

There have been many compensations from the war, and nothing has left a deeper impression than the demonstration of waste that has continued throughout the years. The genius of the Nation lately has consisted, in part, of assembling and classifying the energies of our people, and as we turn to the responsibilities of reconstruction we should like to feel that the useful experience during the emergencies of the war will not lapse as we approach new tasks. We recommend that the Federal Government continue its survey of the natural resources of the country in order that the useless waste of material might be ended and human energy directed along the lines of more modern development. We must not be unmindful of our responsibility to the generations to come, and our developments must not entail a larger draft on nature's resources than the most prudent suggestions which economy and ingenuity would prompt.

We would regard the discontinuance of Federal aid in the maintenance of public employment agencies as both untimely and harmful. In the midst of war preparation the assembling of the Army and the allocation of labor proceeded with such coordiDated efficiency that we approached the maximum strength of the Nation without seri. ous industrial disturbance. This necessitated the shifting of labor, and precisely the same thing is inevitable now in the change from a war to a peace base. Reports have been made to this conference of a shortage of labor in some parts of the country at the present time, and the meeting of demand with supply can, in our judgment, be more certainly obtained by following the methods which experience confirms. It is our earnest hope that the President, through the War Department or some other executive branch, can continue for at least several months the cooperation of Federal with State agencies, in order that this most necessary service can be given to both capital and labor.

It is further suggested that communities be enabled to profit from Federal experience in the matter of working out the housing question, because as bases of industrial activi. ties are changed in this transitional period, situations, quite as acute as they were during the war, are highly probable in the future.

The discussion of subject matter has taken a wide range during this conference, and we are impressed with the importance of adopting some plan which will give continuing life to its function. So many suggestions bearing vitally on the affairs of the Nation have come from the executive heads of both States and municipalities that we can not but regard the conference as a useful institution, through which there can be a concrete expression of local needs to the responsible agencies at the seat of Federal Government.


It is our recommendation, therefore, that at least some committee be formed at this meeting through which community thought can clear in its natural direction to the several branches of the National Government.

Congestion in the cities is due, in some part at least, to the method employed by the War Department in mustering the soldiers out of service. While we recognize the tremendous task which this process involves, and approach with some hesitation the matter of changing military plans as they have been perfected, still an imperative sense of public duty prompts the most earnest request that the troops be returned to the local draft boards in their resident counties.

The same conditions apparently exist in every State, and the solution might be found in the very simple plan of having the soldiers assigned first to military establishments and then to the local authorities already named. Reentrance upon private life would then come under the more favorable opportunities of early employment. In our judgement, nothing is more vitally necessary than this.

We regard with special favor the practice which has been adopted in many parts of the country of establishing living and suitable memorials to the heroic deeds of war. The modern conceptions of working out the composite result of perpetuity of sentiment and improved community utilities, educational and otherwise, has made such strong appeal to the conference that we recommend it as a helpful public policy.

Regardless of certain disordered conditions recited by delegates to this conference, its outstanding feature, nevertheless, has been a militant note of confidence in our governmental and industrial stability. The world is in part to be rebuilt. The patriotism, resource, ingenuity, and unselfish spirit of our people saved it from destruction; and what these elements have accomplished .in protection they will guarantee in preservation. We face the future firm in the belief that the Almighty intends all things well, and that there remains for us and the generations to come full compensation for the service given and the sacrifice made in the support of the ideals of democracy.

AMENDMENT ADOPTED BY CONFERENCE. We recommend to the States that they consider means of releasing natural resources from controllers who willfully withhold such natural resources out of use for speculative profits or for visionary future development, thus contributing to unemployment.

The conference adjourned on March 6, subject to the call of the Secretary of Labor to meet again early in 1920. One of the results of the conference was the appointment of an organization committee to draft a proposed constitution and by-laws for submission to all delegates at the next conference, with the idea in view that some form of permanent league be adopted which would arrange to meet annually in Washington. The members of the committee of five were as follows: Mayor George L. Baker, of Portland, Oreg.; Mayor Frederick W. Donnelly, of Trenton, N. J.; Mayor W. Montague Ferry, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Mayor Daniel W. Hoan, of Milwaukee, Wis.; Mr. R. J. Wheeler, of Allentown, Pa.

It was further voted that the next conference should include the mayors of all cities of 25,000 population or over.


Organization.—The Bureau of Industrial Housing and Transportation was established in February, 1918. In July, under authority of an act of Congress, the United States Housing Corporation was formed and took over the work previously begun by the bureau, with the exception of certain minor matters where it was deemed advisable to continue in the name of the bureau. An appropriation of $100,000,000 was made available for the use of the Housing Corporation July 25, 1918. It was not possible to make contracts for the building of houses prior to that date. The period of greatest activity, therefore, of the United States Housing Corporation was between July 25 and November 11, 1918.

Purpose.—The establishment by the Federal Government of an agency to build houses for industrial workers was due to the nature of the war emergency.

War industries to fulfill their contracts were forced to employ thousands, and some of them even tens of thousands of additional workingmen. The housing facilities of the cities in which these industries were located were as a rule quickly exhausted and new houses could not be built by private capital in sufficient quantity to meet the demand. Though unskilled laborers could in most instances be drawn from the community in which the war industry was located, skilled workers could not be so readily found and had to be attracted thither from all parts of the country. They could not be induced to come, or in any case would not stay on, unless there was a possibility of providing homes to which they could bring their families. As the draft increasingly removed the unmarried worker from the industrial field, the problem of housing the skilled married worker became more prevalent. As the labor turnover often ranged from 200 to 300 per cent a year, with attendant loss of efficiency and delay in the production of war materials, the problem of housing the industrial worker was one of the most urgent problems that the Federal Government was obliged to face.

The first essential was to secure accurate information concerning the housing needs of each of the industrial cities which complained of housing shortage and delayed war contracts. There was established in the Housing Bureau a Division of Preliminary Investigations, which

a subsequently developed into the Division of Surveys and Statistics. By means of careful questioning of the officers of the industrial plants which claimed a need of housing and a thorough study of the community within which these industries were located, the actual needs were quickly analyzed and recorded. By means of such investigation it was found that some cities claiming a housing shortage were suffering

1 Public No. 149, 65th Congress, H. R. 10265, and Public No. 164, 65th Congress, H. R. 12280.

from no problem which could not be met adequately by a full utilization of local forces. On the other hand, there were more than 100 cities in which the problem of housing some class of the labor employed was already serious or was certain to become serious if workers were added to the existing force in the numbers contemplated by the industrial plants in question.

Utilization of existing facilities.-Had the war continued, the major resource would doubtless have been to transfer laborers engaged in less essential industries to war industries within the same community. War contracts could also have been distributed to a larger extent than they were during the first years of the war to those communities which had abundant labor and housing. But while these more fundamental plans were being perfected by the various contracting governmental departments, the immediate problem of housing the labor in centers already dangerously congested had to be met by means which could be put into operation immediately.

The first essential after ascertaining the housing needs of a community was to utilize to the utmost its existent housing facilities. The Homes Registration Division was, therefore, established and charged with the making of vacancy canvasses in all industrial communities reported as congested. Such canvasses covered every vacant house and flat, and where necessary every vacant room in occupied private dwellings of the city and its accessible suburbs. In cooperation with the Council of National Defense and local councils and other civic agencies a branch office of the United States Homes Registration Service was established, managed, and supported by local citizens, but reporting weekly to the Housing Bureau and executing its orders. Vacancy canvasses were thus made in over 100 cities, and 66 registries were established prior to the armistice, which had made 32,679 recorded placements of war workers up to November 16, 1918. By June 30, 1919, 71,481 persons were recorded as placed by the registries. Very considerable numbers of unrecorded placements were made, so that the above figures do not represent the actual accomplishments of this service. The homes in which these war workers were placed were in wholesome neighborhoods and as well adapted to the needs of the applicant as the circumstances of the community permitted. The local Homes Registration Committees also induced many householders to repair dilapidated dwellings and put them on the market, or to improve idle rooms in their homes and to offer them to war workers, thereby creating abundant new housing facilities at no cost to the Federal Government.

Commandeering of vacant houses.-In some of the most congested cities large numbers of properties were held vacant either from a failure to appreciate the seriousness of the local need or from a desire to sell the property at an exorbitant price. In Washington, Phila

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