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the war were recognized on all sides as provisional. Workmen who had long exercised the right to organize and strike, and employers who had long exercised contracting privileges, did not consider themselves as having permanently abandoned their powers in those respects. On the other hand the general feeling was that they still possessed those powers in the fullest measure, but that temporarily the public necessity had superseded & purely private prerogative.

The fact that war arrangements were considered as provisional rendered it all the more imperative that some permanent understanding be arrived at by which a new basis for the future conduct of industry might be reached. Many disputes were no less bitter for having been suppressed and many a smoldering fire was but awaiting the critical moment to burst into flame. This situation was rendered all the more acute at the close of the fiscal year by the discontinuance of the National War Labor Board, to which during the war had been referred all those disputes which it had been found impossible to adjust by mediation or conciliation. Coupled with these considerations was the fact that the repression of grievances had created a nervous tension which strained former good relations to the breaking point. In addition, our own country, although our basic conditions were sound, suffered from the reflex of a disorganized Europe. The activities of war which had taken the place of normal industry and commerce had been abandoned and the peaceful channels of trade had not yet been reestablished. In view of this it was imperative that in the work of reconstruction a genuine spirit of friendliness and cooperation between the workers and employers of the United States be established.

A call was therefore issued by the President on September 3, 1919, for a National Industrial Conference, to be participated in by conferees who fell in general within three classes—those representing the employers of the Nation, those representing the wage earners, and a third group who should represent the public itself and assist the other two groups in arriving at a common viewpoint. Accordingly, letters were directed by the President to the principal organizations of employers and wage earners of the United States asking them to name delegates in equal numbers. This was a relatively simple proceeding so far as wage earners were concerned, for practically all the organized workers in the United States are banded together within the American Federation of Labor. The president of that organization, Mr. Samuel Gompers, was, therefore, requested to name the fifteen delegates. With regard to employers the situation was more difficult, for there is no single outstanding organization which includes all organized employers in the same sense that the American Federation of Labor includes all organized working people. The choice of the representative of employers was consequently left to

the directing heads of several business organizations. Letters were addressed to Mr. Magnus W. Alexander, managing director of the National Industrial Conference Board, requesting that he name five representatives; to Mr. William G. Baker, jr., president of the Investment Bankers' Association, requesting that he name two; and to Mr. Homer L. Ferguson, president of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, requesting that he name five. In addition, representation was granted to the employing farmers through the naming of one delegate each by Mr. Oliver Wilson, president of the National Grange, Mr. C. S. Barrett, president of the National Farmers' Union, and Mr. J. N. Tittemore, president of the American Society of Equity. The following letter, addressed by the President to Mr. Gompers, sets forth the purpose of the meeting. It is a replica of those sent to the other persons named:

For the purpose of reaching, if possible, some common ground of agreement and action with regard to the future conduct of industry, I desire to obtain the combined judgment of representative employers, representative employees, and representatives of the general public conversant with these matters, and for the accomplishment of that purpose I have decided to call a conference of five persons to be selected by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, five persons to be selected by the National Industrial Conference Board, fifteen persons to be selected by the American Federation of Labor, three persons to be selected by the farming organizations, and two persons to be selected by the investment bankers, to confer with fifteen representatives of the general public whom I shall select, these representatives to meet in the City of Washington on October 6, 1919, for the purpose of consulting together on the great and vital questions affecting our industrial life and their consequent effect upon all our people, to discuss such methods as have already been tried out of bringing capital and labor into close cooperation, and to canvass every relevant feature of the present industrial situation, for the purpose of enabling us to work out, if possible, in a genuine spirit of cooperation a practicable method of association based upon a real community of interest which will redound to the welfare of all our people.

The wastages of war have seriously interfered with the natural course of our industrial and economic development. The nervous tension of our people has not yet relaxed to normal. The necessity of devising at once methods by which we can speedily recover from this condition and obviate the wastefulness caused by the continued interruption of many of our important industrial enterprises by strikes and lockouts emphasizes the need for a meeting of minds in a conference such as I have suggested. I am sure that your organization will gladly bear the expense of its own representatives to a conference called for such an important purpose, and I would therefore request that you select fifteen persons to act as the representatives of the American Federation of Labor in the conference, and advise the Secretary of Labor of the names and addresses of the persons selected so that he may make the necessary. arrangements for the meeting.

Subsequently two persons were added to the employers group to represent railroad management, four were added to the representatives of labor to represent the four railroad brotherhoods, and a number of additional persons were added to represent the public. Under this arrangement the following persons were named by the President and by the representative organizations as conferees:


Bernard M. Baruch.
John D. Rockefeller, jr.
Dr. Charles W. Eliot.
0. E. Bradfute.
Fuller R. Calloway.
H. B. Endicott.
Edwin F. Gay.
Thomas D. Jones.
E. T. Meredith.
L. D. Sweet.
Charles Edward Russell.
Lillian D. Wald.
Ida M. Tarbell.

Robert S. Brookings.
Elbert H. Gary.
John Spargo.
Ward M. Burgess.
Thomas L. Chadbourne.
Paul L. Feiss.
George R. James.
A. A. Landon.
Gavin McNab.
Louis Titus.
Bert M. Jewell.2
Gertrude Barnum.



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P. J. McNamara.
L. E. Sheppard.

H. E. Wills. Mr. Henry S. Dennison was appointed to succeed Edwin F. Gay, who was debarred from acting because of absence abroad.

* Mr. Jewell subsequently resigned and Mr. J. J. Forrester, president of the Order of Railway Clerks, was nained by the President to succeed him.

By direction of the President the preliminary arrangements for the conference were carried on by the Department of Labor. The conference convened on October 6, at the Pan American Union Building in the city of Washington. The Secretary of Labor as temporary chairman, with Hon. Rowland B. Mahany as temporary secretary organized the conference, after which Hon. Franklin K. Lane (Secretary of the Interior) was chosen permanent chairman and Hon. Lathrop Brown permanent secretary. The Secretary of Labor was invited to sit in the conference as an advisory member, and did so.

Rules were adopted which provided for group action. Under these rules no proposal introduced by any single delegate could be considered by the conference unless it had first received the assent of the majority of the group of which the proposer was a member. Nor could any final determination of policy or statement of a guiding principle be arrived at by the conference unless the proposal in question had received the votes of the majority in each group. Acting upon this basis, the conference proceeded to discuss many resolutions which were introduced.

From the beginning it was evident that no decision could be reached unless an understanding was had with regard to the right of collective bargaining. Originally introduced as a substitute for a resolution to mediate in the pending steel strike, this subject was almost the only one which received consideration. Finally, on October 21, all proposals then pending or submitted by any of the three groups were rejected by the conference. At this point it appeared that certain of the delegates had come to the conclusion that further discussion was futile and were upon the point of withdrawal. An adjournment was agreed upon, however, and the following morning a letter, addressed by the President to the conference, was read before the body. That letter, which urged it to continue in session, was as follows:

I am advised by your chairman that you have come to a situation which appears to threaten the life of your conference, and because of that I am presuming to address a word of very solemn appeal to you as Americans. It is not for me to assess the blame for the present condition. I do not speak in the spirit of criticism of any individual or of any group. But having called this conference I feel that my temporary indisposition should not bar the way to a frank expression of the seriousness of the position in which this country will be placed should you adjourn without having convinced the American people that you had exhausted your resourcefulness and your patience in an effort to come to some common agreement.

At a time when the nations of the world are endeavoring to find a way of avoiding international war, are we to confess that there is no method to be found for carrying on industry except in the spirit and with the very method of war? Must suspicion and hatred and force rule us in civil life? Are our industrial workers to live together without faith in each other, constantly struggling for advantage over each other, doing naught but what is compelled?


for my

My friends, this would be an intolerable outlook, a prospect unworthy of the large things done by this people in the mastering of this continent; indeed, it would be an invitation to national disaster. From such a possibility my mind turns away, confidence is abiding that in this land we have learned how to accept the general judgment upon matters that affect the public weal. And this is the very heart and soul of democracy.

It is my understanding that you have divided upon one portion only of a possible large program which has not fully been developed. Before a severance is affected based upon present differences. I believe you should stand together for the development of that full program touching the many questions within the broad scope of your investigations. It was in my mind when this conference was called that you would concern yourselves with the discovery of these methods by which a measurable cooperation within industry may have been secured, and if new machinery needs to be designed by which a minimum of conflict between employers and employees may reasonably be hoped for, that we should make an effort to secure its adoption. It can not be expected that at every step all parties will agree upon each proposition of method suggested. It is to be expected, huwever, that as a whole, a plan or program can be agreed upon which will advance further the productive capacity of America through the establishment of a surer and heartier cooperation between all the elements engaged in the industry. The public expects not less than that you shall have that one end in view and stay together until the way is found leading to that end or until it is revealed that the men who work and the men who manage American industry are so set upon divergent paths that all effort at cooperation is doomed to failure.

I renew my appeal that with a full comprehension of the almost incomparable importance of your tasks to this and to other peoples, and with full faith in the high patriotism and good faith of each other, you push your task to a happy conclusion.

The labor group thereupon requested permission to withdraw temporarily for consultation. A recess was accordingly taken. Upon reconvening the conference was addressed by the chairman of the labor group, who offered the following resolution:

Theright of wage earners to organize without discrimination, to bargain collectively, to be represented by representatives of their own choosing in negotiations and adjustments with employers in respect to wages, hours of labor, and relations and conditions of employment is recognized.

After discussion, which occupied two sessions, the resolution was rejected. The groups representing the public and labor, respectively, voted unanimously in its favor, but the employers group, by a divided vote, rejected it. Although an overwhelming majority of the delegates were in favor of this proposal, it was, nevertheless, not adopted, since the rules already adopted by the conference required, as stated above, a majority of each group to declare the judgment of the conference.

Following the defeat of this resolution the chairman of the labor group, speaking for that group, addressed the conference at length, announcing in concluding that in the opinion of his group nothing could be gained by remaining. Thereupon the entire group withdrew.

On the following day the conference convened with only the public group and the employers group present. The chairman of the con

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