Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to Governor H. G. Kump of West Virginia on the Accomplishments of N.R.A.

June 15, 1934

My dear Governor:

I am happy to know that you have proclaimed next Saturday as a State holiday in honor of the first anniversary of the National Industrial Recovery Act.

One year ago, Congress placed this great Act before me and the people of the United States. It was the response of Government to the plea of prostrate industry for immediate and substantial help. It was also an expression of mutual trust, providing the means by which the faith and courage of our people might be given expression. When I signed the law, I observed that it created a challenge to industry, to labor, to Government and to the people as a whole.

Industry had desired and was given the right to act in unison for the prevention of unfair practices. The law was based on faith that industry would not violate a great public trust.

Workers had long sought, and now were given, a new Charter of Rights. Collective bargaining and the right of workers to choose their representatives were established.

Government was directed to establish a nationwide organization to set employers and employees to work and to protect the public.

The people as a whole were called on for aggressive support. They gave it.

Fear of disaster has given way to faith in united action. Millions of discouraged and suffering unemployed found their names on payrolls again. The evils of child labor and of starvation wages have almost everywhere been abolished. The Blue Eagle found its way into more than two million places of business.

Now that a year has passed, the National Recovery Administration under the leadership of General Johnson and with the assistance of thousands of unselfish men and women can rightfully and properly celebrate its first anniversary.

The first year under N.I.R.A. reveals significant and extraordinary increases in industry and business generally. We have spread employment, we have raised pay, and we are not through yet. It is a notable record of recovery. It has led the way for other Nations and has produced widespread and, I believe, permanent results. Certainly we have a right to celebrate this anniversary.

People who cannot see the forest for the trees make much of controversy in various groups which meet in N.R.A.—employers, consumers, employees. N.R.A. was deliberately conceived in controversy. It was deliberately set up as a forum where views of conflicting interest can meet in the open and where, out of controversy, may come compromise. If N.R.A. did not invite robust and unrestricted argument, it could not do the work assigned to it. Extreme views formerly held by any group, either of capital or labor, have already been modified in a better understanding of the simple fact that the broad interests of 125 million Americans are paramount to the narrower interests of any such group.

The first phase of N.R.A. is drawing to a close. Ninety-five percent of industry has been codified. Very soon we shall be free to concentrate on the continuing task of code organization, code revisions, and compliance.

Before the people of this country accept either preconceived conjectures of ill-informed commentators, or the fulminations of minorities which still seek special and selfish privileges, we shall consider the results already achieved and look forward to greater gains on behalf of orderly progress for honest labor and honest industry. As time goes on experience will remove inequities which appear from time to time—and experience will, at the same time, point out to the country the names of those who seek unfair advantage over their fellow men.

Very sincerely yours,

His Excellency, H. G. Kump,

Governor of West Virginia,

Charleston, W. Va.,

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to Governor H. G. Kump of West Virginia on the Accomplishments of N.R.A. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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