500.C115 Paris/10–1045

The Secretary of State to Miss Frances Perkins

My Dear Miss Perkins : In your capacity as a representative of the United States Government at the forthcoming Twenty-Seventh Session of the International Labor Conference which will convene in Paris on October 15, 1945, you will be called upon to state the position of this Government on a number of items involving international relations.

In consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the attached instructions have been prepared to guide the delegates and advisers of this Government at the forthcoming Session. It is probable that supplementary instructions will be forwarded subsequently. If there are any policy matters which in any way affect international relations and which are not covered by these or supplementary instructions, it will, of course, be necessary to avoid any commitment until specific instructions from this Government are issued through diplomatic channels.

Sincerely yours,

James F. Byrnes
[Page 1540]
[Enclosure]

Instructions to the United States Government Delegation 22 to the Twenty-Seventh Session of the International Labor Conference Paris, October 15, 1945

Item I

Director’s Report

The United States Government representatives may well note with appreciation the scope of the Director’s review of world affairs and of activities of the International Labor Organization. The enthusiasm and practicality shown by the Office in the preparations for the establishment of industrial committees deserve commendation. The efforts of the International Labor Office to develop cooperative relations with other specialized international organizations and to minimize duplication or overlapping of effort might also appropriately be noted with appreciation.

With respect to the application of Italy for readmission to the International Labor Organization, this Government’s representatives should suggest such prompt and favorable action upon this application as will permit that Country to participate in the Twenty-Seventh Session if it is in a position to do so. This Government is informed that the Government of Italy is prepared to accredit a delegation immediately upon notification that its application has been favorably acted upon.

The application of Iceland for admission to the Organization should be supported.

If formal application is made by Nicaragua for readmission to the International Labor Organization and no technical impediments to immediate action exist, this Government should provide its support.

It is understood that Guatemala has filed a formal application in good order for readmission to the International Labor Organization. [Page 1541] Under those circumstances, this Government should support Guatemala’s request.

With respect to both Nicaragua and Guatemala, this Government should not take the initiative in proposing such action since neighboring countries may wish the privilege of sponsoring their applications. If this Government should be advised that either or both of these Governments wish the United States to take the initiative of sponsorship, such request will be given immediate and sympathetic consideration.

It is understood that the Italian Government may request the privilege of having an Italian delegation present as observers at the beginning of the Paris Conference. This Government’s representatives should favor such a request, while at the same time seeking the earliest possible action upon the Italian Government’s application for re-admission.

The United States Government should prefer delay in the revision of the list of states of chief industrial importance. Aside from the possible resentment of any member of the United Nations which might be displaced from automatic membership in the Governing Body if an ex-enemy state were found at this time to qualify among the eight states of chief industrial importance, it is felt that the dislocations resulting from the war make any objective evaluation exceedingly difficult at present.

In connection with the foregoing policy, it is desirable that the representatives should state that the wish of this Government is to have all members of the United Nations and nations eligible for such membership participate as members of the International Labor Organization. For that reason the representatives may recall with approval the action of the Ninety-Fifth Session of the Governing Body in extending invitations to such members of the United Nations which are not now participating in the International Labor Organization to send observers to the Twenty-Seventh Session. In this connection, if the representatives of the Philippine Commonwealth are in attendance as expected, special attention should be called to the pleasure of this Government in having present as observers the representatives of a gallant country which, freed from Japanese aggression, will soon assume its rightful place in the family of nations.

Specific mention should not be made, however, of any countries which were invited to send observers and which may not have seen fit to do so.

Any expression of opinion as to the preferred location for the permanent seat of the Organization should be avoided at this time.

[Page 1542]

The United States Government representatives, without taking a definitive position, should not encourage any proposal for the general doubling of the number of workers’ representatives, or of the workers’ and employers’ representatives, or of the entire tripartite delegations as compared with the present representation of governments, workers, and employers on a 2–1–1 ratio from all Member Countries. No discussion of this matter should be undertaken by this Government’s representatives under Item I despite reference to the subject in the Director’s Report. Further instructions are set forth under Item IV.

Instructions will be issued to the Government representatives at the Ninety-Sixth Session of the Governing Body in connection with the place and date of the Maritime Session of the International Labor Conference, the Conference of American States Members, and the next regular session of the International Labor Conference.

Since this Government holds a permanent seat on the Governing Body, this Government is not in a position to vote on the selection of the eight Governments to be elected for the next term of the Governing Body. No formal expression of views as to the relative desirability of the candidacies of individual States may be made, but since it would not be inappropriate to indicate informally the sympathetic attitude of this Government with respect to certain candidacies, supplementary instructions may be issued.

Item II

The Maintenance of High Levels of Employment During the Period of Industrial Rehabilitation and Reconversion 25

The United States Government should support this resolution subject to such technical changes as may appear necessary.

To be consistent with United States domestic policy attention might well be given to the danger of deflation as well as inflation which is covered in paragraph 3. However, since for most countries the danger of inflation is the more immediate and the more likely to make difficult the execution of our economic foreign policy, the United States Government has preferred in other recent conferences a clear cut warning against inflation. If the topic of deflation arises, it should be handled in a separate paragraph.

The United States Government delegates should reserve the position of this Government with reference to financial arrangements covered in paragraph 5 (2) (bcd). The International Labor Conference is not an appropriate place in which to negotiate or undertake [Page 1543] intergovernmental obligations of this sort. The United States Government does not object to receiving an expression of opinion by other delegates, especially those representative of employers and workers, on this subject.

Item III

Welfare of Children and Young Workers 26

(First Discussion)

This report and the accompanying draft resolutions concern provisions for the protection of children and youth in reference to their employment or preparation for future activity in labor. The Department of State notes that emphasis has wisely been placed upon cooperation between the International Labor Organization and present or proposed specialized organizations in the fields of relief, welfare and education.

The United States Government supports the resolutions and should contribute to the development of the conventions outlined.

Item IV (1)

Matters Arising Out of the Work of the Constitutional Committee 27

part 1: the relationship of the i.l.o. to other international bodies

Resolution I. Proposed Resolution Concerning the Relationship Between the International Labor Organization and the United Nations:28

This resolution is designed to authorize the Governing Body to enter, subject to the approval of the Conference, into such agreements with the appropriate authorities of the United Nations as may be necessary for the purpose of permitting the International Labor Organization to cooperate with the United Nations for the attainment of the ends set forth in the Constitution of the International Labor Organization, the Charter of the United Nations, and the Declaration of Philadelphia,29 while retaining the authority essential for the discharge by the International Labor Organization of its responsibilities under its Constitution and the Declaration of Philadelphia.

It should be pointed out in accepting this resolution that there is a distinction in status between the Declaration of Philadelphia and the Constitution. Nevertheless, it may be noted that the United States [Page 1544] supported the Declaration at Philadelphia and its inclusion in Resolution I at Philadelphia. The resolution should be approved since it is primarily intended to arrange for cooperation with the United Nations to promote the objectives of the United Nations and the International Labor Organization.

Resolution II. Proposed Resolution Concerning the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labor Organization:30

This resolution is designed to provide for the situation which would result from the dissolution of the League of Nations with a view to insuring the continuance of the International Labor Organization in accordance with its Constitution. The resolution requests the Office to transmit to the Members of the Organization, after the session of the Conference, the proposed instrument for amendment inviting them to submit replies within four months with any modifications or comments they may wish to make, and requests the Office to draw up on the basis of these replies a report for the next general session of the Conference and to communicate such report to the members at the earliest possible date.

Since amendments to the Constitution of the International Labor Organization are necessary if it is to continue, whether as a completely independent organization or as one which is closely related to the United Nations and possibly dependent on it to the same degree that the International Labor Organization has been dependent on the League of Nations, this resolution should be approved for the purpose of bringing the questions of amendments before the Members and before the next Conference, it being understood that the approval given to the resolution does not constitute approval of the particular amendments included in the instrument in their present form and that Members may propose, in their replies, amendments in addition to those included in the instrument.

The United States representatives should state unequivocally that this Government supports the International Labor Organization as the competent intergovernmental agency within its designated sphere and intends to continue wholehearted participation as a Member of the Organization; that this Government believes that the greatest effectiveness of the Organization can be attained through the establishment of a mutually satisfactory relationship with the United Nations Organization in which, with the strength derived from its established tripartite representation, seasoned experience, and the most nearly universal character practicable, the International Labor [Page 1545] Organization may help accomplish many of the highest objectives of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; and that this Government hopes that the Constitution of the International Labor Organization may be so adapted that it will be in the best possible position to further the objectives of the Organization.

The United States representatives should emphasize the tentative character of the discussion on the Proposed Instrument,31 that the discussion is to be followed by reference of draft resolutions in the form in which they emerge from the Conference to Members for their consideration. In the exchange of views on the proposed amendments as prepared by the Office, they should be guided by the remarks made below with respect to the particular Articles.

Articles 1, 2, 4, 10, 16 and 17:

Since these Articles do not involve questions of principle but are of a verbal nature, made necessary by the prospective dissolution of the League of Nations, the establishment of the United Nations, and replacement of the Permanent Court of International Justice by the International Court of Justice, the United States representatives should approve them in principle.

Article 3:

In view of the separation of the International Labor Organization from the League of Nations and from the Peace Treaties of 1919, a constitutional provision on membership is needed. The United States Government approves the automatic right of membership of members of the United Nations as set forth in paragraph 3. It also approves the general principles set forth in paragraph 4. New Members may be admitted to the United Nations Organization by a two-thirds vote of the Members present and voting in the General Assembly. Admission of new Members to other international organizations by the terms of their basic instruments also requires a two-thirds majority. This Government believes the same policy should be observed in the case of the International Labor Organization and, therefore, the United States representatives should suggest the addition of the following words to Paragraph 4 of this Article: “provided that such vote represents two-thirds of the Members of the Organization present and voting.”

Article 5:

The substitution for Article 12 of the present Constitution as proposed recognizes the desirability of cooperation with the United Nations [Page 1546] Organization. This Government believes that adaptation of the Constitution to meet any situation created by a special agreement which may be concluded between the Organization and the United Nations should be possible without the necessity of applying the regular amendment process. The United States representatives should, therefore, suggest that consideration might be given to the substitution for the last sentence of Article 5, as proposed, of a provision similar to that in the Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization to the effect that such arrangements between the Organization and the United Nations as are approved by a two-thirds vote of the Conference may involve modification of the provisions of the Constitution without resort to the regular amendment process, except those which the Members believe should require application of the regular amendment process.

Article 6:

A provision governing the determination of which are the Members of chief industrial importance is needed in view of the reference to the League Council in the present text of the Constitution. The Governing Body should be authorized to determine the question. Provision should also be made for a reconsideration of the question “when there is a recognized need” rather than “from time to time.” The United States representatives should suggest modifications along the above lines and should also suggest the consideration of permitting appeals from decisions of the Governing Body as to which are the Members of chief industrial importance to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations or the General Assembly.

Article 7:

At least until the United Nations Organization has been established and an agreement between it and the Organization has been concluded, in Which a budgetary arrangement such as is envisaged in paragraph 4 of this Article has been made, the Organization should be enabled to vote its own budget independently. The Conference is the appropriate body to perform this function. This Government believes, however, that it should be understood that the Standing Orders of the Conference should provide for a special committee composed of one Government representative from each of the Members, such as is suggested in the Report (page 92), to review the budget as was done in the past by the Fourth Committee of the League Assembly. The United States representatives should also suggest the deletion of the words “from time to time” from paragraph 4—to avoid the implication that the arrangement once effected would be the subject of frequent negotiations.

[Page 1547]

Article 8:

The chancery functions which have been performed by the Secretary-General of the League and which have been in part performed by the Director of the Organization since 1939 might well be assigned to the Director. The United States Representatives should, however, suggest the consideration of these functions being performed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, following the conclusion of a special agreement between the two organizations, the advantages of which are recognized in the Report.

Article 9:

The United States Government will wish to review proposals for enforcement. Its representatives may express a sympathetic attitude toward the creation of more adequate machinery.

Article 11:

This Government believes that the question of enforcement measures is not an appropriate one for the Governing Body, The United States representatives should suggest the elimination of Article 33 in the present Constitution and consideration of the possibility of the question of enforcement measures involved here being referred to the United Nations with any recommendations which the Conference or the Governing Body may wish to suggest, since the General Assembly and the Security Council are vested with responsibilities to maintain the general welfare.

Article 12:

This Government’s representatives should propose that both paragraphs might well be amended by the addition of a clause “insofar as it is provided in the individual trusteeship agreement,”

Article 13:

This Government recognizes the need for a new provision to govern amendments to the Constitution. The United States representatives may propose the substitution of “three-fourths” for “two-thirds” in the fourth line of the text as it appears in the Report—before the words “of the eight Members”—and should suggest the consideration of substituting “accepted” for “ratified” in the third line of the proposal. This is in line with the amendment provision of the Monetary Fund Agreement.32

[Page 1548]

Article 14:

This Government recognizes advantages in having questions of constitutional interpretation referred to a single body, like the International Court of Justice, The question of providing for such reference is under consideration. The United States representatives should, therefore, defer an opinion on this proposal.

Article 15:

The United States representatives should defer an opinion on this proposal, while expressing sympathy for the objectives.

Article 18:

In view of the prospective dissolution of the League of Nations, this Government anticipates serious difficulties in obtaining the acceptance of Members necessary to bring the proposed amendments into force as proposed in paragraph 2 of this Article. The United States representatives should suggest that consideration be given to the possibility of substituting for paragraph 2 another provision based upon the second of the three possible views expressed on page 127 of the Report with respect to the effect of the dissolution of the League on the application of Article 36 of the Constitution namely “that since the category of States specifically required to consent no longer exists an amendment can come into force on ratification by any three-quarters of the Members of the Organization;” otherwise, the strict observance of Article 38 would require the fulfillment of what may be an impossible condition.

Addendum:

The United States Government representatives should not encourage or support any proposal for the general doubling of the number of workers representatives, or of the workers’ and employers’ representatives. They should seek further instructions if any other proposals are suggested.

Resolution III. Proposed Resolution Concerning the Revision of Certain Standard Articles of the Existing International Labor Conventions:34

The resolution is proposed for the purpose of including in the agenda for the next general session the question of the partial revision of the Conventions hitherto adopted by the Conference in order to provide for the future discharge of the chancery functions entrusted under those Conventions to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations. The resolution would provide for the submission of the accompanying proposed draft convention to Member Governments [Page 1549] for possible modifications or amendments, and would authorize the preparation on the basis of such replies of a report for submission to Governments before the next general session. Approval may be indicated of the general purposes of the resolution. The following suggestions are applicable to the proposed draft convention which is incorporated in the proposed resolution.

The United States representatives should suggest for consideration that a fourth paragraph might well be added to Article 1 to read as follows: “Upon the conclusion of any special agreement between the International Labor Organization and the United Nations, the words ‘the Secretary-General of the United Nations’ shall be substituted for the words ‘the Director of the International Labor Office,’ the words ‘the Secretary-General of the United Nations’ shall be substituted for the words ‘the Director,’ and the words ‘the Secretariat of the United Nations’ shall be substituted for the words ‘the International Labor Office’ in paragraph; 1 of this Article.”

The United States representatives should also suggest for consideration that a second paragraph might well be added to Article 3 to read as follows; “Following the conclusion of a special agreement between the International Labor Organization and the United Nations, any Member of the Organization which, after the date of the coming into force of such agreement, communicates to the Secretary-General of the United Nations its formal ratification of any convention adopted by the Conference of, the International Labor Organization in the course of its first twenty-five sessions shall be deemed to have ratified that Convention as modified by this Convention and such special agreement.”

Resolution IV. Proposed Resolution Concerning the Interests of the International Labor Organization in Certain Properties and Other Assets of the League of Nations:35

The United States representatives should suggest for consideration the addition of a concluding paragraph to provide that “any arrangements concerning functions and activities of the League of Nations which may be made by the Governing Body in accordance with this proposed resolution shall be subject to the approval of the General Conference in conformity with paragraph 4 of the Proposed Resolution Concerning the Relationship between the International Labor Organization and the United Nations.” (page 152 of the Report)

The United States representatives should approve this resolution if amended to accomplish the foregoing suggestion.

[Page 1550]

Resolution V. Proposed Resolution Concerning Reciprocal Relationship Between the International Labor Organization and Other International Bodies:36

The United States representatives should support this resolution.

Item IV (2)

Matters Arising Out of the Work of the Constitutional Committee

part 2: revision of the form and arrangement of the standing orders of the conference 37

Since the proposed revision of the Standing Orders consists primarily of a consolidation and re-arrangement of existing Standing Orders primarily for the purpose of facilitating consultation and since it is regarded as being of a provisional character in view of the broad questions of policy which are pending before the Committee on Constitutional Questions, the United States representatives might well support their adoption for application provisionally from the beginning of the 27th Session, it being understood that they will be referred to the Standing Orders Committee of the Conference for consideration before being definitely adopted. Should any controversy arise concerning paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 57, the United States representatives should communicate the situation to the Department for instructions.

Item V

Minimum Standards of Social Policy in Dependent Territories 38

(Supplementary Provisions)

This Department’s draft instructions are contained in the Report of the Committee on Dependent Areas of September 15, 1945, copies of which have been forwarded under separate cover.

Item VI

Reports on the Application of Conventions

(Article 22 of the Constitution)39

The United States Government welcomes the redevelopment of more normal reporting with reference to the application of conventions. This Government notes sympathetically the reference in the Report of the Committee of Experts to the need for increased staffing [Page 1551] of the International Labor Office to make more effective the preparatory work. The representative on the Governing Body is authorized to evaluate the feasibility of this proposal in the light of other responsibilities of the Office.

Reference to the legal status of collective agreements on pages 4–5 of the Committee of Experts report is noted and need not be commented on. The United States Government does not want international pressures encouraged or supported which look to extending the legal sanction of collective agreements beyond the groups represented by the parties to the agreement. We do feel that it is appropriate to note as a fact in reporting on labor standards that certain standards are in fact established by collective agreements.

  1. The members of this delegation were as follows:

    Representatives for the Government:

    • Frances Perkins, former Secretary of Labor
    • Elbert D. Thomas, Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, United States Senate

    Advisers:

    • Mary T. Norton, Chairman of the Labor Committee, House of Representatives
    • Carter Goodrich, United States Representative on the Governing Body of ILO
    • Katherine S. Lenroot, Chief, Children’s Bureau, Department of Labor Clara M. Beyer, Assistant Director, Division of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor
    • Ralph J. Bunche, Associate Chief, Division of Dependent Area Affairs, Department of State
    • Walter M. Kotschnig, Associate Chief, Division of International Labor, Social and Health Affairs, Department of State
    • William L. Connolly, Commissioner of Labor, Rhode Island

    Consultant:

    • Otis E. Mulliken, Chief, Division of International Labor, Social and Health Affairs, Department of State
  2. For consideration of this item by the Conference, see International Labour Conference, 21th session, Paris, 1945, Record of Proceedings (Geneva, International Labour Office, 1946) (hereinafter referred to as Proceedings), pp. 207, 218, 333–349; for text of resolution adopted, see ibid., pp. 452–455.
  3. See Proceedings, pp. 233, 350–378; for text of resolutions adopted, see ibid., pp. 455–466.
  4. See ibid., pp. 379–400.
  5. For text of resolution adopted, see ibid., p. 466.
  6. Declaration concerning the aims and purposes of the International Labor Office, adopted at the 26th session of the International Labor Conference, Philadelphia, May, 1944; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, May 20, 1944, p. 482.
  7. For text of the Instrument for the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation, see Proceedings, p. 470; for text of International Labor Organization Constitution, see The Constitution and Rules of the International Labor Organization (Montreal, International Labour Office, 1944).
  8. For text of the Proposed Instrument for the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation, see International Labour Conference, 21th Session, Paris, 1945, Matters Arising Out of the Work of the Constitutional Committee, Report IV (1) (Montreal, International Labour Office, 1945), pp. 153–159. (Hereinafter referred to as Report IV (1))
  9. See Department of State, Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, vol. i, pp. 968–969. For documentation on the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 106 ff.
  10. Apparently this resolution was referred to a working party for consideration (Proceedings, p. 468).
  11. For consideration of this subject by the Conference, see Proceedings, pp. 386–387; for resolution adopted, see ibid., p. 467.
  12. See Proceedings, p. 382; for resolution adopted, see ibid., p. 467.
  13. For text, see International Labour Conference, 27th Session, Paris, 1945, Matters Arising Out of the Work of the Constitutional Committee, Report IV (2) (Montreal, International Labour Office, 1945). For action adopting tracks report, see Proceedings, p. 34.
  14. See ibid., pp. 401–437; for text of resolution adopted, see ibid., p. 469.
  15. For consideration of this item by the Conference, see ibid., pp. 438–442.