File No. 763.72/12123

The Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin ) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram—Extract]

3463.

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The attitude of Labor regarding peace has not yet clearly defined itself because everyone is still awaiting the effect upon Germany of the armistice proposals. From the great Labor demonstration held on Sunday, the 3d, at the Albert Hall at which the chief speaker was J. H. Thomas it is, however, plain that the majority support a just and moderate settlement on the lines laid down by the President, as indorsed by the London inter-Allied conference of last September.

A rival demonstration of the extreme anti-German groups addressed by Bottomley, Lord Beresford and Havelock Wilson was held at the Albert Hall on Saturday, the 2d, and reiterated their demands for indemnities, 10,000,000,000 [sic] pounds being the figure mentioned, and other forms of condign punishment. There is no more reasonable doubt that this represents the settled policy of Labor now than it did last September, when the proposals of Havelock Wilson were defeated at the Derby Trade Union Congress. The action of Havelock Wilson and the Seamen’s and Firemen’s Union in preventing Henderson from going to France on October 25, where he was to have met the American labor mission and the French Socialists, has been criticised as high-handed interference with a journey to which the Government had given its approval and the object of which could not possibly be regarded as pacific. The parliamentary committee of the Trade Union Congress is taking steps to condemn that action and it is possible that Havelock Wilson may ultimately find that it was unwise. Meanwhile, however, he has been returned unopposed as M.P. for South Shields and his sentiments are approved by papers such as the Morning Post and the Globe.

A Labor conference will be held on the 14th instant to determine the attitude of Labor towards the coalition Government at the approaching general election.

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Laughlin