JULY 23, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—There is in the Department of Justice a man who has been doing some really important work for the future. He is Wendell Berge, whose work in the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice is familiar to many people. In uncovering many of the cartel agreements, Mr. Berge has undoubtedly had the help of other men in other departments. He is the person, however, whom many of us today consider the protector of the consumer and of small business in the future.
Naturally, in doing this work, he has had to incur some enemies, since some of our larger corporations have been involved in cartels all over the world. That he has been careful and efficient in his investigations, however, is proved by the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld his decisions on the merits of every anti-trust case which has reached that tribunal in the last two years.
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For a long time, many of us have heard vaguely about opposition to trusts in our own country. We have known that the fight against trusts went on through many administrations. Mr. Berge's fight on cartels, however, is important during the war, and it is going to be even more important after the war. Many a soldier's chance of a future job is going to depend upon the work which Mr. Berge is now doing.
Those of you who have taken the trouble to read much about the hearings before Senator Kilgore's Military Affairs subcommittee, which has been looking into the conditions of general industry and the arrangements made by German industrialists with industrialists of foreign countries, must be familiar by now with the rather terrifying aspects of some of these arrangements. It is quite plain that German industrialists counted on their relationship with businessmen in other parts of the world, and even in our own United States, for the recovery and rehabilitation which would make it possible for them to prepare for the next war. In the hearings before the committee, Assistant Secretary of State Clayton stressed the necessity of preventing German industry from renewing the cartel ties which existed before the war.
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To my mind, perhaps the most telling witness was Bernard Baruch, who spoke with all the knowledge gained from close association here and abroad with the economic scene throughout the last war, the intermediate period and the present war. His close friendships with well-known men in other countries give him an insight into the thinking of other nations. This adds enormously to the value of his personal experience, and makes him perhaps the wisest of those who can speak with authority on international economic questions today.
My husband once wrote in a letter to Secretary Hull that the cartel story of German industry read like "a detective story," but we should fear all cartels everywhere.