President Roosevelt to the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union (Stalin)41

I have just been informed by Harriman that the Soviet Union is not planning to participate in the conference of the International Labor Organization to be held in Philadelphia starting April 20.

I have given considerable thought to the role that the International Labor Organization should play in constantly improving the labor and social standards throughout the world. I am anxious that you should know my thoughts on this matter.

It is my opinion that the International Labor Organization should be the instrument for the formulation of international policy on matters directly affecting the welfare of labor and for international collaboration in this field. I should like to see it become a body which will also serve as an important organ of the United Nations for discussing economic and social matters relating to labor and an important agency for the consideration of international economic policies which look directly toward improvement in standard of living. It would be unfortunate if both our Governments did not take advantage of the conference in Philadelphia to help develop our common objectives. We could thereby adapt the existing International Labor Organization to the tasks facing the world without loss of valuable time.

I am instructing the United States Government delegates to the Philadelphia Conference to propose measures to broaden the activities and functions of the International Labor Organization and raise the [Page 1020] question of its future relationship to other international organizations. In view of your interest in these matters and since there is a great range of social and economic problems that are of common interest to both our governments, I greatly hope that your government will participate.

  1. Copy obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y. Telegram 2329, March 25, midnight, to London, informed Ambassador Winant that President Roosevelt had sent this personal message to Marshal Stalin (500C.115 28th Conference/82c).