Paris Peace Conf. 185.161/6: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace

87. For the President from Gompers. The attitude of those governments which interpose objections or place obstacles in the way of my issuing for American Federation of Labor, invitation to labor for concurrent international conference at the same time and place where the official peace commissioners are to meet, is not only unjust but most unwise and calculated to react most injuriously. If the labor conference is not permitted to take place at Paris, the Italian, British, French and our own so-called radicals will be given the seeming justification to demonstrate that freedom of assemblage and speech is denied by the governments claiming to be democratic; they will charge the American labor movement with having deceived labor of the world into the belief that an opportunity would be afforded to discuss world labor problems and to aid in their rational solution. Persistence in this course by Allied Governments may make impossible American labor coming to Paris and there rendering assistance. Indeed the American Federation of Labor will be humiliated and made the laughing stock of the world. If objection is removed American labor delegation myself included can leave United States soon and remain in Paris until official Peace Conference convenes and be of some service and thereafter meet with the labor conference and help to guide the conference aright.