The Chargé in China ( Atcheson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1259

Sir: Reference is made to the Embassy’s despatch No. 1057, April 7, 1943,23 on the subject of the annual meeting of the Chinese Association of Labor, and to the Department’s telegram No. 668, May 26,23 requesting a résumé of important resolutions adopted at that meeting and indicating particular interest in those relating to post-war economic matters.

According to Mr. Chu Hsueh-fan, President of the Chinese Association of Labor since 1938, resolutions were adopted under five categories, as follows:

Resistance and Reconstruction.

The government should be asked to inaugurate courses of technical training to meet industrial needs.
Every effort should be made to bring workmen from the occupied area for work in productive enterprises in Free China.
The CAL should sponsor the “One Million Workers Savings Movement” to facilitate the resistance and reconstruction program of the nation.
The CAL should help the government in carrying out the national mobilization program.
A nation-wide drive among workers should be started with a view to contributing aeroplanes to the government.
Serious efforts should be made to adjust and consolidate relations between capital and labor, with a view to increased production.

International Problems.

Representatives of labor from all nations should attend the peace conference.
The government should organize institutes for post-war international economic research, including representatives of labor and capital.
A labor delegation should be sent to visit the several United Nations, with a view to strengthening the relations between labor in China and in allied countries.

Organization and Training.

Labor organizations should be strengthened and the labor movement promoted.
The government should be asked to prevent factories from enticing labor from other factories and workmen from jumping from one factory to another.
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Labor Welfare.

The government should be asked to supervise the carrying out of the Labor Welfare Fund Regulations and to promote labor welfare work.
The government should be asked to make an earnest effort to carry out labor welfare work in Chungking, as an example to the rest of China.

Labor Legislation.

The government should be asked to increase labor representation in the Peoples’ Council, with a view to paving the way to a more democratic government.
The government should be asked to publish the Labor Policy Outlines adopted by the National Social Administration Conference.
The government should be asked to pass a law protecting women and children.
The government should be asked to pass social security legislation and to enforce the present factory laws, including that providing for workmen’s compensation.

It will be noted that many of the resolutions show the influence of the Ministry of Social Affairs and it is difficult to believe that the Chinese Association of Labor represents an independent labor movement.

There is enclosed a memorandum24 of a conversation of June 10 between Mr. Chu and an officer of the Embassy on the subject of the Chinese labor movement. Mr. Chu, as it will be observed from this memorandum, stated that his organization is cooperating in every way with the government during the war. He pointed out, however, that the Shanghai General Labor Union, of which the CAL is an outgrowth, staged a general strike in 1932, and indicated that the CAL is prepared to resort to strikes to gain its ends, after the war. While he does not have statistics of total factory labor in Free China, he believes that the 422,000 members of the CAL represent about half the workmen in factories employing over 30 men, and feels that they will have a very substantial influence.

Asked as to the results secured thus far by the labor movement, Mr. Chu admitted that they have not been very considerable. He said that some very good laws have been passed but none of them have ever been enforced. Chinese factory owners have in the past used extraterritoriality as an excuse for ignoring the laws, claiming that foreign factories were not bound by them. A much-needed law has just been passed providing for inspection of mines, but Mr. Chu does not have much confidence that it will be enforced during the present circumstances. After the war, he hopes that conditions will improve.

Respectfully yours,

George Atcheson, Jr.
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