500.CC/4–1045: Telegram

The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 97

Sidney Hillman is urging that we somehow arrange to have his World Trade Union Conference98 represented at San Francisco as advisers to the San Francisco Conference. We have explained to him that we do not see how a private organization, or for that matter any organization, could have a status of adviser to a conference and we pointed out to him that even international organizations like the ILO99 and the League of Nations, which are directly interested in the formation of the United Nations Organization, are not being invited to participate and will have no official status. We suggested that the views of his group could be gotten before the Conference if he would submit them to the Secretary General of the Conference with the request that they be distributed to the participating delegations. Green and Meany,1 of the A. F. of L., yesterday expressed strong opposition to erroneous reports they had had that we plan to accord some official status to the World Trade Union Conference. Do you approve of the position we have taken with Hillman?2

  1. Transmitted by the White House Map Room to President Roosevelt at Warm Springs, Ga.
  2. The World Trade Union Conference (WTUC) which opened at London on February 6, voted to ask for representation at the United Nations Conference, and Mr. Hillman submitted a formal request to Mr. Eden to support the position that the World Trade Union Congress should be represented at the San Francisco meeting. See Minutes of third meeting of the Informal Organizing Group, April 13, p. 283.
  3. As the Soviets were not represented in the International Labor Organization, it was assumed that for that reason alone they would oppose ILO participation and would prefer WTUC representation. In telegram 841 of March 21, the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) cited a statement which was the first indication the Embassy had noted concerning official attitude of the Soviet Government on this subject to the effect that the Government was favorably disposed toward proposal that trade union representatives participate in the Conference with advisory vote (500.CC/3–2145).
  4. William Green and George Meany, President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, of the American Federation of Labor.
  5. In a memorandum of April 11 President Roosevelt indicated his approval of the Secretary’s message (500.CC/4–1145).