500.C115 Paris/12–545

Memorandum by Mr. Edward Miller, Jr., Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State (Acheson), to the Under Secretary of State

The recent meeting of the ILO in Paris resulted in the signature of an Instrument of Amendment to the Constitution which is subject to ratification or acceptance. ILH47 has consulted us as to the legislative action necessary in connection with the amendment. It is desired to establish the Department’s position on the matter so that we can then consult with the Department of Labor.

American membership in the ILO was brought about pursuant to a joint resolution of June 13 [19], 193448 which authorized the President “to accept membership for the Government of the United States of America in the International Labor Organization” provided that the United States would assume no obligation under the League Covenant. The resolution did not contain any provision authorizing appropriations or with respect to amendment. We subsequently entered into [Page 1554] a special agreement with the ILO with reference to our financial contributions and Congress has subsequently made annual appropriations for this purpose.

The principal amendment is to Article XIII of the ILO Constitution having to do with expenses. The substance of this provision is that arrangements for the allocation and collection of the budget of the ILO shall be determined by the Conference and the expenses shall be borne by the members in accordance with such determination. There is no provision with respect to compliance with our Constitutional processes. In addition, the Instrument of Amendment includes a new withdrawal provision to the effect that two years notice of withdrawal is required; and a new provision with reference to amendments to the effect that amendments to the constitution become effective when approved by a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast by the Conference of the ILO. The provision with respect to amendments is not substantially different from the standpoint of our Constitutional problems than the provision of the original Constitution of the ILO.

As you know, there is now being prepared in the Department an Omnibus Bill to provide basic authority for the performance of certain functions and activities of the Department of State, the purpose of which is to avoid the making of points of order on the floor of the House in connection with State Department appropriation bills as happened last year. Since there was no authorization of appropriations in the original ILO joint resolution, BF49 has been planning to insert a section in the Omnibus Bill correcting this defect in the legislation. I believe that the way to proceed in connection with the ILO amendment would be to refer to it in this section, and I have agreed tentatively with BF on the following revised language to the Section which they have prepared;

“Payment is hereby authorized of such sums as may be necessary for the expenses of participation by the United States in the International Labor Organization pursuant to the Constitution of said Organization as amended by the Instrument of Amendment signed November 7, 1945, including expenses in connection with the meetings of the General Conference and of the Governing Body of the International Labor Office and in such regional, industrial, or other special meetings, as may be duly called by such Governing Body, including personal services in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, without regard to civil service and classification laws; rent; printing and binding; entertainment; hire, maintenance, and operation of automobiles; and appropriations to cover expenditures incident to such membership are hereby authorized.”

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This will have the effect not only of curing the original defect in the legislation but of avoiding any future question in connection with the acceptance of the amendment by the United States. Such acceptance should not be made, in my opinion, until after the Omnibus Bill has passed with this provision in it.

Such procedure would be preferable in my opinion to asking for separate legislative authority to accept these amendments since this might involve us in a full dress review of the ILO. A good argument can be made that in view of the terms of the original joint resolution, it is not absolutely necessary to submit these amendments to the Congress for approval. I have thought of the possible desirability of simply transmitting the amendments to Congress for their information at this time without any reference to approval by Congress, but in view of the fact that the amendments deal entirely with technical organizational matters, I see no particular purpose to be served by this.

Therefore, if you agree, I shall recommend to ILH that in discussing the matter with the Department of Labor, the Department take the position that all that should be done [is] to obtain the suggested provision in the Omnibus legislation.

  1. Division of International Labor, Social and Health Affairs.
  2. S.J. Res. 131 (Pub. Res. No. 43, 73d Cong., 2d sess.), approved June 19, 1934. For text, see 48 Stat. 1182, or Department of State Treaty Series No. 874, p. 28; for documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. i, pp. 733742.
  3. Division of Budget and Finance.