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Not only does ratification reflect this progress in social legislation, but the enactment of labor laws following ratification is a most valid criterion. Recently I had occasion to work out some of the progress, and was rather surprised at the results. Thus, before the creation of the machinery of international labor legislation, there were on the statute books of the fifty-six states now members of the Organization 142 labor laws covering the points comprised in the sixteen draft conventions in force at the end of 1925. Now this represents legislation of that character enacted since the beginning of modern labor legislation which comes up, or nearly so, to standards set by the Labor Organization. But in the seven years of the existence of the Organization, 174 additional laws of the kind of question have been enacted. As respects the eight-hour day, twenty-two countries had approximately standard laws, while nine new countries have enacted such laws in the past seven years. Take the matter of the weekly rest, and prohibition of the use of white lead in painting. Here no laws were in existence before 1919; now five countries have laws prohibiting white lead. Thirteen have weekly rest laws. Other instances of progress could be cited.
Remember, too, that none of this achievement is reached by the derogation of national sovereignty. For the only obligation resting on any state is that it shall submit the draft conventions and recommendations of the annual labor conference to inspection and consideration by its competent authority. The home legislator, then, uses his own judgment. Furthermore, in the case of federal governments which cannot ratify labor law, they are asked only to submit the draft conventions as recommendations to their constituent states for incorporation, if desirable, in their own legislation. For federal states the International Labor Office is essentially a huge research and coordinating agency through which the streams of knowledge and publicity are poured to fertilize the arid plains of social resistance.
Thus far it will be noted that no mention has been made of the part and interest of America in the creation and functioning of the International Labor Organization. A few words in that connection should, I think, be added. American interest has been from the very beginning somewhat intermittently active, fairly salutary, and always noncommittal. As to historical precedents the first commissioner of labor statistics, Colonel Wright, sent a representative to participate in the Brussels international labor conference of 1897 and the Paris conference of 1900, which created the old international semipublic labor office with headquarters at Basle. This office was a coordinating center of social reformers and a translation bureau of foreign labor legislation. Some three years after the creation of this older non-official labor office, the American government was persuaded to appropriate, in 1903, the sum of $200 annually. This item was included in the budget for the present Bureau of Labor Statistics. This sum was appropriated each year from 1903 to 1909. In 1910 the appropriation was made $1,000. In that year the Commissioner of Labor Statistics, Charles P. Neill, had been particularly active in promoting the work of the organization and had
helped them to the extent of printing, revising, and editing some research reports on the legislation of night work of women and employment of children. This appropriation for the old international labor office was continued by the American government until 1920, after the office had ceased to function as a semipublic institution and after it had turned its library and archives over to the International Labor Office at present located at Geneva. The present International Labor Office printed, for example, the 1919 series of labor laws of the old Basle office, and the present "Legislative Series" of the Geneva office is a lineal descendant of the Basle series of labor laws.
As respects the new official International Labor Office, officials of the American Department of Labor were interested in the preliminary work, and representatives from America sat upon the commission which drafted the constitution of the Organization. President Gompers, of the American Federation of Labor, was chairman of this commission of the Peace Conference. Following its creation the organizing committee, which prepared the way for the first conference, held in Washington in 1919, had on it a representative of the American Department of Labor, namely, the present Commissioner of Labor Statistics. The American government likewise replied to the customary questionnaires circulated by the Labor Organization preliminary to each conference. In other words, the American government supplied information in response to requests of the conference when it was first getting under way. Later on America participated in some of the commission work of the first conference at Washington, and Secretary of Labor Wilson presided over the deliberations of that conference. As late as October, 1921, the United States officially appointed Dr. Marion Dorset, of the Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture, to serve as a member of the anthrax committee of the Labor Office.
So much for governmental interest. On the other hand, American labor has played an active and important part in the creation of the International Organization. The American labor movement before the war had developed contacts with the European labor movement. On questions of war and peace the two movements were probably in harmony, and in 1914 and in subsequent annual conventions the American Federation of Labor demanded the participation of labor forces throughout the world in the peace conference which would terminate the war; and in 1919, when the Peace Treaty with Part XIII, containing the labor clauses, came to this country, the convention of the American Federation of Labor then sitting at Atlantic City indorsed those clauses, and the Covenant of the League of Nations, by an overwhelming majority, representing 29,909 votes in favor, 420 votes opposed, with 1,830 votes not cast. The recommendation said: "While the Covenant of the League of Nations with its labor provisions is not perfect, is not all that we desire, it is in the right direction, . . . and should be adopted in principle, and we so recommend." For completeness of the record it should be observed that no formal resolution of indorsement has been since adopted by any American Federation of Labor con
vention, but the recommendation therefore stands today as then adopted. However, the International Seamen's Union, which is part of the American Federation of Labor, has through its head expressed opposition to the Labor Organization and its purposes. They have objected to the attempts of the Organization to bring about an international codification of seamen's legislation, fearing that codification meant crystallization of existing seamen's legislation. They do not appear to be convinced by the statement of the constitution of the Organization itself that standards formulated are minima and not maxima; indeed, all social legislation is minimum, and it needs no argument to prove that large numbers of establishments observe standards above those merely required by law. All ships are not manned by boys, or factories run by children, simply because employment of them is permitted, to put the case concretely.
As to interest and collaboration on the part of American employers, the story is somewhat briefer. A representative of the Chamber of Commerce informally and personally visited the Organization in Geneva in 1922. A representative of the National Industrial Conference Board also made a study of the Office personally and directly. The National Association of Manufacturers has expressed its hostility to the Organization in a resolution adopted in 1924 on the eve of the presidential election. A report by the National Industrial Conference Board in 1922 expresses intelligent though outspoken hostility-if I may be permitted such freedom of expression-toward the Labor Organization. On the other hand, if a judgment may be permitted, the attitude of the commercial and financial type of employer is somewhat different. Said Mr. Julius H. Barnes in January, 1923, while president of the United States Chamber of Commerce and on the occasion of the visit to this country of Mr. Albert Thomas, the director of the International Labor Office:
We have a feeling that there are times when national self-interest and international cooperation run in parallel channels. America has a considerable pride that its common standard of living is manifestly higher than that of any other industrial country. It desires to maintain and advance that standard, but as a surplus-producing country selling in export markets of the world there is a limit to the disparity in living conditions and wage scales which can not be wholly overcome even by American resourcefulness and American adaptability to large-scale production, through mechanical aids. . . . . Manifestly also both in the interests of an increase in human standards, and also in the self-interest of national protection of our own standards, the process of equalization in wages and working conditions between ourselves and our industrial competitors, should be one of leveling up their standards, rather than leveling down our own.
Here we have a clear-cut statement of the whole purpose and endeavor of the scheme of international labor adjustment and collaboration. It reveals the interest of America in the Organization so far as its purpose to raise these standards of other countries that are less progressive in their labor legislation, without tearing down those of the more fortunately situated, is concerned. So far as America, with its natural resources and opportunities, has been able to build up the higher world-standards, its very existence has been salutary for the Labor Organization. On the other hand, as the federal government is unable, except in
the case of seamen's draft conventions and immigration treaties, to ratify the acts of the labor conference, the collaboration of America cannot strengthen the Organization on its treaty-making side. To America membership in the Labor Organization would mean moral and financial support to a world-endeavor in which America is interested. It would be in part a return to the precedents set by previous governmental officials in supporting international research and coordination in the field of labor and industry.
Whatever the future holds in this respect and it is not for me to express any opinion-I feel convinced that the experiment of international collaboration in the field of industry and labor is bound to continue and to go forward to increasing success. Four years of association with that work, two and one-half years of which were spent in Geneva, incline me to this-I hope, modest― opinion. No one can watch this annual assembly, to which forty-odd nations come an assembly representing leading employers and organized workers throughout the world—without seeing in their contact and discussion a sign of breaking down of barriers and of a greater understanding of one another's purposes and of willingness to find common ground.
Above the babel of languages, beyond opposing traditions, varying geographical and racial backgrounds, there looms the purpose of a great social crusade. Once more the nations of the world have embarked upon a high adventure, the purpose of which is social justice and humanitarian welfare. They have decided that no longer shall such matters be left to uncoordinated private efforts and voluntary good will. Henceforth human welfare shall be a driving force in the social economy of the world. Through specially created organizations the world is asserting its social unity, and through the International Labor Organization the governments of the world propose to translate into action this gospel of international social justice.
PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL
Julia C. Lathrop, Rockford, Illinois
It is impossible for me to speak here without first thanking you for giving me the choice opportunity which is my warrant on this program. For I know I am not mistaken in believing that the too generous words of members of this body caused my appointment as an assessor on the Advisory Child Welfare Committee of the League of Nations. If I may venture a suggestion which emphasizes my appreciation it is that when you next select an assessor you choose one with better command of foreign tongues than I possess; for of all our inherited retributions, the confusion due to the impudent Tower of Babel causes
the most exasperating waste of time and common understanding. I have tried to invent some way of presenting my subject worthy the end of this wonderful week. I can hardly bear to be its lame and impotent conclusion, since I have come here to report upon a rich experience you made possible. But finally I am reduced to no new way, only the old egocentric method of telling you "how it seems to me."
Perhaps I may first venture to explain what an assessor is, since in our country we have for the assessor a fixed definition and a painful connotation entirely irrelevant to the Child Welfare Committee. In this Committee assessors are persons added to the number of duly appointed government delegate members. Assessors are invited by the secretary-general of the League to sit with the Committee they do not vote, but are allowed to share freely in the discussions and to sit with subcommittees.
The session I attended was held in Geneva the last week of March. The voting membership in attendance included government delegates from Belgium, France, England, Spain, Italy, Roumania, Denmark, Japan, and Poland. Assessors were present representing American National Conference of Social Work, International Association for the Protection of Children, International Federation of Trade Unions, International Organization of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, League of Red Cross Societies, "Save the Children" Fund (International Union), Social Service Council of Canada and Canadian Council of Child Welfare, and women's international organizations; also representatives of the International Labor Office and the Health Section of the League.
The Committee sat for six days, admirably cared for in the League's headquarters, presided over with great fairness and consideration by the Spanish delegate, Don Pedro Sangros y Ros de Orlano, and aided at every turn by the experience and extraordinary understanding of the permanent secretary of the Social Section, Dame Rachel Crowdy.
The proceedings were conducted in both English and French, with extreme courtesy to all; but at a cost of time and attention which must sorely have tried the patience of the majority of the Committee, since they command at least three or four languages each.
I shall not attempt to mention in detail the subjects discussed. Certain of them had to do with labor, with health, education, recreation, with various aspects of dependency and delinquency-the economic issue always looming in the background. The Child Welfare Committee has wisely requested the appointment of liaison members from three other scientific services of the League -the International Labor Office, the Health Commission, and the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation-in order to insure harmonious study and avoid overlapping. One of the matters to which much attention was given was the proposal of an international convention or agreement for the repatriation of dependent or delinquent children who, as refugees or otherwise, may be living elsewhere than in the country of their legal residence—a matter doubtless of imme