Telegram to the President, AFL-CIO, Concerning the Union Refusal To Load Wheat for Russia.
[ Released February 25, 1964. Dated February 24, 1964 ]
You know from our conversation that the questions which have been raised by the International Longshoremen's Association and the Maritime Union, as reflected in the public statement of February 20, 1964, have my personal attention.
I understand that a satisfactory basis has been established for resolving these issues. To the extent that certain aspects of this problem continue to present difficulties, I suggest and urge that further meetings be held for the purpose of resolving these problems and that these be arranged under circumstances that permit free reason to prevail. The country will respect, and properly, only policies and procedures which are established in this way.
I trust I will have your concurrence and cooperation in this position.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[Mr. George Meany, President, AFL-CIO, Americana Hotel, Miami, Fla.]
Note: As reported in the press the longshoremen had refused to load wheat bound for Russia on the grounds that less than 50 percent would be carried in American vessels. The Maritime Administration had granted a waiver to the Continental Grain Co. which would have permitted about 38 percent of a shipment to be carried in American vessels. The basis for the waiver, the Government said, was insufficient availability of American ships.
On February 20, James J. Reynolds, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Labor-Management Relations, was reported as expressing sympathy with the longshoremen's view. Mr. Reynolds said that details had been worked out by which the 50-perccnt rule would be applied to all future shipments with other companies, but that it was not possible to ship 50 percent of Continental's grain on American ships. This was not acceptable to the longshoremen, who continued the boycott until Mr. Meany had intervened in response to the President's telegram.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Telegram to the President, AFL-CIO, Concerning the Union Refusal To Load Wheat for Russia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/239821