Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Patterson, Robert Porter, 1891-1952; Snyder, John W. (John Wesley), 1895-1985; Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972; Schwellenbach, Lewis B. (Lewis Baxter), 1894-1948; Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965; Vinson,
Cabinet meetings; International relations; Strikes and lockouts

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, November 23, 1945. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.

CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1945

PROPOSED AGENDA

1. Strike situation

THE PRESIDENT

Asked for statement of labor situation from Secretary Schwellenbach.

SECRETARY SCHWELLENBACH

Believes that the time has come to pick up the ball. No one on either side, labor or management, realizes how the rank and file are ready to go through with things. Believes we should decide now what legislation we want. Administration has to decide on policy before Congress attempts to pass legislation which will have to be vetoed. Neither industry nor labor will make concessions.

SECRETARY BYRNES

Agrees with the secretary of Labor on the necessity of developing legislation and taking the leadership. Recited difficulties in the last administration with the Smith-Connally Bill. The failure to accept leadership resulted in this unsatisfactory legislation.

SECRETARY VINSON

Raised the question as to whether machinery is possible without legislation. He is of the opinion that Congress would not o.k. compulsory arbitration.

SECRETARY SCHWELLENBACH

Believes we should set up machinery for voluntary arbitration and fact-finding.

SECRETARY VINSON

The President should set up a small group of fact finders who after a study of the program, could then write a program. Believes public would support such a program because the facts would have been developed by an impartial board.

JOHN SNYDER

Agreed that a fact finding board was necessary.

THE PRESIDENT

Stated that the difficulty is obtaining the proper people to serve. People with proper qualifications do not want to get mixed up in a labor-management dispute. They do not like to accept such responsibility.

SECRETARY BYRNES

Made the point that the seriousness of the entire labor situation would cause responsible people to accept such an assignment.

SECRETARY WALLACE

Believes that if the Labor-Management Conference does not produce any sound conclusions, some legislation should be proposed. Agreed however that there are certain types of compulsion which will not be accepted.

THE PRESIDENT

Made the point that it is difficult to talk to people on foreign affairs if we cannot set an example and settle our own affairs at home.

SECRETARY WALLACE

In a final showdown the larger companies who are making profits, will fight a fact finding board.

SECRETARY PATTERSON

Raised the question as to whether you could make arbitration binding by penalties.

SECRETARY VINSON

During the war it was necessary to seize industries when arbitration was not accepted.

THE PRESIDENT

Asked for additional suggestions.

SECRETARY ICKES

Stated that the threat of exposing profits of corporations would do much to settle strikes. He is convinced the public do not know what is at issue and that a fact finding board would cause the pressure of public opinion to be effective. Stated that if patriotic men could not be obtained from outside the government, such men could be found within the government. It was extremely desirable not to obtain men on the basis of labor or management viewpoints, but on the basis of public confidence.

SECRETARY BYRNES

Pointed out that there are some good men on the Railroad panel or on the War Labor Board who might be drafted for a fact finding board. He then turned the subject to present difficulties with Russia in connection with Soviet imposition on the Iranian Government. Soviets have ordered Iranian armies to cease movements of troops and have cut off supplies to Iranian armies in the field. He suggested that the Secretary of War might remove our troops immediately as he believed this would materially assist in his negotiations with the Soviet.

The Secretary of War agreed to Secretary Byrnes's proposal and the President approved


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