500C.115 28th Conference/179: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman ) to the Secretary of State

1348. I communicated the observations concerning the International Labor Office contained in the Department’s 631, March 18, 6 p.m., to Molotov on March 23. His reply dated April 16 reads in paraphrase translation as follows:

“In reply to your letter of March 23 stating that the United States Government has given consideration to measures looking toward the reorganization of the ILO and expressing the desire that the Soviet Government participate in some form or other in the forthcoming Conference in Philadelphia, I desire to inform you that at the present time this question should be considered as settled by the exchange of messages between J. V. Stalin and Mr. Roosevelt. The Soviet Government, having in mind, however, that the question of the future organization and constitution of the ILO will undergo further elaboration in order to create an organization of the United Nations which would more fully answer to the demands of international collaboration of the democratic countries in the field of labor and would make possible the participation of representatives of the Soviet Union in its work, would appreciate receiving information regarding the course of the work mentioned above in the near future.

So far as Soviet proposals on the reorganization of the Labor Organization at this time are concerned, I can advise you only of those proposals which are being advanced by the Soviet trade union organizations and which are directed at strengthening the representation in the ILO of the trade unions. A desire is expressed on the part of the Soviet trade union organizations that the number of representatives of labor in the organization of the ILO should be equal to the number of the representatives of employers and government taken together. A desire is also expressed that in addition to the narrow composition of the office (Russian text Biuro) or organizations similar to this office there might be convoked broader gatherings of representatives of the countries participating in this international organization. The Soviet Government has under consideration these desires of the trade unions.”


[The twenty-sixth session of the International Labor Conference, held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 20–May 12, 1944, was the first regular session of the ILO following the outbreak of the war. The Secretary of Labor of the United States, Miss Frances Perkins, noted that it was “an assembly of those who are charged in the midst of war to lay one of the foundation stones of the great peace, the stone of social justice, on which human hope and human life can be rebuilt.”

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For message of President Roosevelt read to the opening session of the Conference on April 20 by Secretary Perkins and message of Secretary Hull sent to the Conference on April 21, see Department of State Bulletin, April 22, 1944, pages 382–384.

Delegations were present from 41 member countries of the Organization. Observers of the Governments of Iceland, Nicaragua, and Paraguay, and several Danish observers also attended the session. For a complete list of members of delegations, see International Labour Conference, Twenty-Sixth Session, Philadelphia, 1944, Record of Proceedings (International Labour Office, Montreal, 1944), pages xv-xxxiv.

For a list of members of the United States delegation, together with an account of the session, see Department of State Conference Series No. 89: Participation of the United States Government in International Conferences, July 1, 1941–June SO, 1943 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1947), pages 105–108. Department of State officials attending the Conference included Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State (Alternate Representative for the Government); Otis E. Mulliken, Acting Chief, Division of Labor Relations (Adviser to the Government Representatives); and Ralph J. Bunche, Divisional Assistant, Division of Territorial Studies (Substitute Adviser to the Government Representatives).]