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Letter to Walter P. Reuther Extending Greetings to the 15th Constitutional Convention of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

November 16, 1953

[ Released November 16, 1953. Dated November 12, 1953 ]

Dear Mr. Reuther:

To the Fifteenth Constitutional Convention of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, I extend greetings and good wishes.

When I last addressed a CIO Convention, I came to thank you for your magnificent performance in World War II in supplying the planes and tanks and ships and arms. You did your job, and you did it well.

Unfortunately, peace and freedom did not come to the world when the guns fell silent. America is still dedicated to achieving them. I know that American labor holds to that dedication. Proof is abundant that those of you who are today employed in plants supplying our Army, Navy, and Air Force and the armed forces of our Allies, have lost none of the spirit which in wartime was so magnificent. The maintenance of peace in the world depends directly upon America's ability to produce the materiel to give an aggressor pause. The productive might of America is the greatest bulwark of world peace. I know that leaders and members of American labor will never forget that fact. Your future and the future of your unions, in common with all free American institutions, will be determined by our ability further to strengthen our country in the uncertain period ahead.

I am glad the Secretary of Labor of the United States, the Honorable James P. Mitchell, can be with you for the Convention. I have selected him to be a member of my Cabinet because of his ability, his integrity, and his unreserved dedication to the public good. Already, in the few weeks he has served, he has impressed his colleagues in the Cabinet with his thorough understanding of the problems of labor, and with his determination to see that the aspirations and needs of working men and women are fully and forcefully represented at the highest level of government. Before he left for your Convention, I asked him to report back to me your ideas on matters of legislation and public policy.

I know you have a vital interest in the Taft-Hartley Act. I have previously stated my conviction that this law, while fundamentally sound, should be changed in some respects.

For months, members of the Administration have been engaged in a searching study of the Act. Our objective is to recommend improvement in order to make possible a more free and vigorous collective bargaining process, to reduce government intervention in labor-management relations, and to promote sound and peaceful industrial relationships so essential to the economic well-being of American working men and women and to the welfare of all elements of our nation.

I shall submit the resulting suggestions to the Congress when it convenes in January. In formulating these suggestions, our guide will be the fundamental principle that the law must be absolutely fair to the laboring men and women of this nation, to management, and to the public at large.

Our nation's goal is world peace. We are endowed by the Creator with a bounty envied by all the earth. Our greatest resources are in the spirit and the ideals of our people. Counted in these is our tradition for composing group differences in the broad public interest. I commend that tradition to you and to those with whom you deal as you pursue your deliberations in this period which, with God's help, future historians will be able to mark as a time of triumph for the values of free men everywhere.



Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Walter P. Reuther Extending Greetings to the 15th Constitutional Convention of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232424

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