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117 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 322 [1] [PHILADELPHIA], 25 April 1944, 5.48 a.m.


International Labour Organization. Report 5.

1. As previously indicated [2], the United States Delegate hinted at an employment agreement. After my remarks we were approached by their officials and it was indicated quite clearly that they welcomed our statement [3] except in so far as it deferred until another Conference, agreement on the employment agreement.

2. It is difficult to understand why these United States representatives who are drawn mainly from the Department of Labour are so enthusiastic about an employment agreement, particularly after Keynes stated in London that America could not be asked to sign such an agreement. There seems to be either a change in policy or an instruction to present delegates which has been given within [sic] the knowledge of the previous Article 7 conversations. Am trying to ascertain through Washington what is the position.

3. We have informally pointed out reasons why we do not wish this Conference to attempt to come to any finality on the terms of an agreement and American delegates wished to oppose our suggestion openly and push for a Government agreement at this Conference.

Again quite informally we have indicated that if the Americans wished to insist on pressing for an agreement arising out of this Conference we might be able to support them, provided that they made it quite clear, publicly, what procedure they would follow;

that is if they failed to reach agreement at this Conference or if ratification did not take place within a limited period of say two months, they would call a Conference as we have suggested.

Burton is seeing them again tomorrow and he will adopt the line that we have put our proposals forward and if the Americans wish to push on now, we will not stand in their way. It is our belief that they will not be able to obtain agreement and will be forced eventually to accept our proposition particularly as no one on the United Kingdom delegation is aware of any Article 7 discussions nor are those from the American administration who have dealt with Article 7 discussions apparently aware of this American delegation's proposal. In other words we are trying to prevent them publicly opposing us and suggesting that we are avoiding the I.L.O. and at the same time we are taking advantage of the Conference to put forward the idea, letting America take responsibility of failure. I am keeping clearly in mind that we want implementation of an employment agreement and not the agreement as a pre-condition of other agreements. We are in no hurry for agreement. They are in complete agreement with us that the I.L.O. as at present staffed is inadequate.

4. I suggest that you immediately communicate with Washington and London, pointing out these developments and suggesting that the American and the British Delegations be instructed to support the idea of a specific Conference rather than attempt to come to agreement at this moment. We know your mind generally and I know you will leave it to me to do what best I can in the existing circumstances but I should be glad to have any comments at the earliest possible moment. I suggest also that you view the proposed Article 7 discussions in the light of this Conference and press for employment Conference of Members of the United, associated and neutral nations at which all United Kingdom and United States proposals are revealed.

1 Sent through the Legation in Washington.

2 See cablegram 321, dispatched 25 April. On file AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3. For the text of Frances Perkins' statement at the fourth sitting on 24 April see International Labour Conference.

Twenty-sixth session. Philadelphia 1944. Record of proceedings, International Labour Office, Montreal, 1944, pp. 22-26.

3 Beasley's statement at the fourth sitting on 24 April concluded by placing before the Conference the following formal resolution:

'That this Conference recommends to Governments that a conference of representatives of the Governments of the United, associated and other Nations willing to attend be called at an early date to consider an international agreement on domestic policies of employment and unemployment; and this Conference pledges the full co-operation and assistance of the International Labour Organization in calling such a conference on employment and in helping to carry into effect any decisions it might make'.

At the same session of the Conference Beasley distributed as attachments to his statement 'A Draft International Employment Agreement' (which was the agreed London draft published as Document 87) and a 'Draft Agenda for Proposed Conference on Employment and Living Standards'. In Record of proceedings, op.

cit., pp. 29-35 and appendix V, pp. 312-13.

[AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History