SEPTEMBER 27, 1945
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The wave of strikes which is sweeping the country and, just at present, paralyzing a good deal of the business in New York City, must be of concern to everyone in the nation. We who look to the future with the hope that human beings are going to find ways to adjust their difficulties peacefully, under the laws which operate in the particular areas where troubles occur, are deeply concerned.
The eyes of the world are on this nation. The fact that peace came sooner than we expected, and therefore found us without our reconversion machinery in complete running order, will not serve as an excuse for anything except delay—and that delay must not be too lengthy.
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I do not think any period has shown the need for planning in advance more clearly than has this past war period. The men who planned the strategy of the war years planned months ahead. At Casablanca and Teheran, plans were laid down which did not come to fruition for months. The problems of peace need to be handled in that same way. The only difficulty is that we are now in somewhat the same position as we were in '32, when plans had to be made quickly and were much more experimental than most people liked. The situation was so desperate then, however, that everyone was willing to try.
Now we again face an uncharted situation. We deal with human beings, many of whom have not been educated in the past to think of any situation as a whole. We have, however, a great advantage. Some of our industrial leaders have learned that they must think of the situation as a whole, as it affects employers, investors and workers; and among our labor leaders we also have men who can be expected to take the same broad view. With that nucleus, we should be able very quickly to develop machinery which will give enough confidence to all so that management and workers will be willing to continue working while problems, no matter how difficult they may be, are being adjusted.
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The strike, which is a weapon of force, should be renounced. But that cannot be until we set a limit on the time allowed for arbitration and until we say that all interests shall be equally considered and that concessions shall never be expected from one side only.
The men in history who have been the most successful in advancing the world are the men who never gave up their ultimate objectives, but who compromised over and over again, being satisfied when they felt that they had gained a little more understanding for their point of view and inched forward toward the ultimate goal for which they hoped. The warning to us in our present situation is not only national; it is international. A meeting is going on abroad among representatives of the United Nations. Our situation at home cannot be a great encouragement to them abroad.