Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman


Subject: Racial-Labor Problem in the Canal Zone

In view of the interest which you have shown in this problem, I should like to inform you that by agreement among the State, War and Labor Departments Brigadier General Frank J. McSherry, retired, has been appointed as special adviser on labor relations to the Governor of the Canal Zone.

This step has been taken in order to determine what measures may be adopted to reduce to a minimum such racial-labor friction as now [Page 949] exists in the Canal Zone. General McSherry’s mission will have three purposes:

he will make recommendations to the Governor on current policies relating to the opportunities and treatment accorded labor groups in the Canal Zone and will recommend a long-range program;
since General McSherry possibly will be a United States representative to the ILO meetings at Geneva next summer, he will seek background information on labor conditions in the Zone;
to the extent that his other duties permit, he will endeavor on behalf of the Governor to submit a proposal for coordination of the labor policies of all Government agencies operating in the area.

As a result of discussions at the ILO meeting at Montreal82 and with the Foreign Minister and other Panamanian officials, the Government of Panama is fully aware of our desire to remove all reasons for charges of discrimination in the Canal Zone. It has welcomed enthusiastically the assignment of General McSherry.

George C. Marshall
  1. For documentation on this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. xi, pp. 40 ff.