Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to John L. Lewis on the Captive Coal Mines Strike.

October 26, 1941

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I acknowledge your letter of yesterday. You say that you do not feel warranted in recommending an additional extension of the temporary agreement to keep the captive mines in operation pending a final settlement of the controversy. I must ask you to reconsider this decision.

In this crisis of our national life there must be uninterrupted production of coal for making steel, that basic material of our national defense. That is essential to the preservation of our freedoms, yours and mine; those freedoms upon which the very existence of the United Mine Workers of America depends.

Mr. Myron Taylor is prepared to meet with you on Wednesday, to see if you and he in private and personal conference can work out a peaceful solution of the problem. You have agreed to confer with Mr. Taylor. During such conferences the production of coal for steel-making by the mine workers under the established wage scales of the Appalachian agreement should continue in the broad interest of the safety and defense of the Nation.

I am, therefore, as President of the United States, asking you and your associated officers of the United Mine Workers of America, as loyal citizens, to come now to the aid of your country. I ask that work continue at the captive coal mines pending the settlement of the dispute.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to John L. Lewis on the Captive Coal Mines Strike. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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