500C.115 28th Conference/1: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the Soviet Union (Hamilton)1

906. It is the view of this Government that a regular conference of the International Labor Organization2 should be convened in the immediate future for the purpose of making recommendations to the United Nations as to post-war labor policies. This Government is [Page 1008] making this suggestion simultaneously to London3 and has reason to believe that it would be favorably received there.

This Government is of the view that participation by the U.S.S.R. in such a conference would be highly desirable especially because of the subject matter of the conference.

You are requested to discuss this with the Soviet Government, and to express the very earnest desire of this Government that the U.S.S.R. actively participate in such a conference either by resuming their active participation as members of the I.L.O.,4 or by taking active participation through representatives appointed for that purpose. This Government would be glad to assist in making such arrangements in that regard as the U.S.S.R. might desire.

It is felt that the best meeting place for such a conference would be Montreal since the largest representation of labor leaders and Government representatives throughout the world could be obtained there and since the establishment of facilities are already located there.5

For your information, Ambassador Maisky6 raised a question of Soviet participation in the I.L.O. conference of 19417 and arrangements were then made to facilitate such representation though the Soviet Government did not press the request.

  1. Adm. William H. Standley, Ambassador in the Soviet Union, had departed from Moscow on September 18, 1943.
  2. The International Labor Organization (ILO) was established at the end of World War I as an official intergovernmental agency, an autonomous associate of the League of Nations; its constitution formed Part XIII of the Treaty of Versailles of June 28, 1919 ( Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, pp. 55, 692); Article 1, Chapter I, Part XIII of the Treaty provided that membership of the League of Nations should carry with it membership of the ILO. The United States became a member of the ILO August 20, 1934 but assumed no obligation under the Covenant of the League of Nations (see Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. i, pp. 733 ff.)
  3. Telegram 5908, September 25, 6 p.m., not printed.
  4. The Soviet Union joined the League of Nations on September 18, 1934, and was expelled on December 14, 1939, following the invasion of Finland by troops of the U.S.S.R. It held automatic membership in the ILO for the same period. The Soviet Union was represented at the sessions of the ILO’s General Conference in 1935, 1936, and 1937. but had not participated in the work of the Organization after 1939.
  5. The International Labor Office, which is the permanent secretariat of the Governing Body and the International Labor Conference, had been located at Montreal, Canada, since 1940, when it was transferred from Geneva because of war conditions.
  6. Ivan Mikhailovich Maisky, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, had been Soviet Ambassador in the United Kingdom until July 1943.
  7. Department’s telegram 974, October 9, 1943, 11 p.m., to Moscow, stated: “British Foreign Office points out that it raised issue with Maisky rather than vice versa.” (500C.115 28th Conference/5)