File No. 763.72119/1859

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page ) to the Secretary of State


1045. The Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress recently applied for passports to Switzerland for Henderson and Bowerman in order that they might meet Troelstra in Berne to ascertain from him the present attitude of German Socialists. The War Cabinet last week refused this application, whereupon the executive of the Labor Party and the Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress passed strong resolutions of protest. In yesterday’s press a statement by Henderson at Cardiff pointed out that the request for passports emanated from the members of the Parliamentary Committee who were the strongest supporters of the Government’s war policy and that the reply of organized labor to this refusal must be expressed at the Jubilee Conference to be held at Derby next month. Liberal papers such as the Daily News and the Manchester Guardian which criticised in June the refusal to permit Troelstra to attend the Labor conference in [Page 298] London, now support Henderson in criticising the Government’s recent refusal of passports to him and Bowerman.

Except in the Seamen’s Union, led by Havelock Wilson, there seems to be a growing sentiment among British Labor men in favor of their representatives’ getting into direct touch with representatives of German Labor either through a conference or through some neutral representative such as Troelstra, and the restiveness at the Government’s refusal to countenance this policy seems to be growing in strength. The Bakers’ Union Conference passed yesterday, with only four dissentients, a resolution condemning the refusal of passports as a calculated insult to organized labor. The recent resolution passed by the French Socialists by 1544 votes against 1172 in favor of refusing war credits, if the facilities for a neutral conference continue to be denied, is of course a great encouragement to the British Labor policy of insisting on such a conference. The persistency with which this is being urged seems to be causing much anxiety both to the British and French Governments.

At Blackpool on August 2 a conference was held by Havelock Wilson, James Sexton and other representatives of dissentient labor with a view to forming a new Labor Party on a purely trade union basis but no important union except the seamen’s supports this movement and there is no sign whatever that Henderson and his colleagues are failing to represent the views of the vast majority of British Labor.

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