500.C115 Mexico City/4–1340

Memorandum of Telephone Conversations, by the Chief of the Division of International Labor, Social, and Health Affairs (Mulliken)

Mr. Cochran,10 CCA, telephoned me with reference to his conversation with Mr. Wiesman11 in Mexico City regarding the status of an anti-discrimination resolution introduced by the Panamanian Delegation. We concluded that it would not be feasible to instruct the United States Government delegates to vote against the resolution but that they should be instructed to abstain from voting on it if the Department of Labor concurred.

I telephoned Mr. Sherman, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor, and gave him the facts regarding the resolution, and stated that the Department would like to have the Department of Labor join it in issuing instructions to the Government delegates to abstain from voting on the resolution. Mr. Sherman raised the question of Senator Chavez’s attitude on matters of racial discrimination and of the Senator’s relations with Secretary Schwellenbach.12 I outlined the implications of the proposed resolution which would afford a basis for other governments requesting a joint official investigation of alleged discrimination in the United States. Mr. Sherman raised the point that Jamaica or Mexico might request such investigations. I also told Mr. Sherman, with reference to the Canal Zone, that I believed United States labor organizations were in the position of supporting discrimination and that as far as the Canal Zone was concerned I believed that an investigation was already under way. Mr. Sherman said that he felt it necessary to discuss the matter with the higher officers in the Department of Labor and that he would call me back.

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Mr. Sherman telephoned me later to say that the official position of the Labor Department was that they did not have enough information upon which to take any action. When I suggested that we might obtain further information he indicated that he thought this would be unwise. It was clear that the Department of Labor, presumably because of the relations between Senator Chavez and the Secretary of Labor, did not wish to join in taking any action on this matter. Mr. Sherman indicated however that the Department of Labor would not object if we sent instruction to abstain from voting on the resolution.

After discussing the matter with Mr. Wise in CCA13 a telegram was sent to the Delegation in Mexico City to the effect that the Government Delegates should abstain from voting if the resolution provided for joint commissions.

  1. William P. Cochran, Chief of the Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs.
  2. Bernard Wiesman, Adviser to the Delegates to the Third Conference of American States Members of the International Labor Organization.
  3. Lewis B. Schwellenbach, Secretary of Labor.
  4. Murray M. Wise, Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs.