NOVEMBER 14, 1947
NEW YORK, Thursday—It was interesting and heartening to see the clean sweep that the Reuther supporters in the United Automobile Workers made in the election of officers at the convention held in Atlantic City. Everything possible was done by the opposing faction to becloud the issues, even to the circulation of reports that Walter Reuther was slated to run for Vice President of the United States on a ticket with Sen. Robert A. Taft!
I thought that was an interesting rumor to start because no one who knows Walter Reuther could imagine for one second that he would run on such a ticket. By this time everyone in the U.A.W. must know him very well, as the votes proved. This election was one of the rare occasions which make you feel that, at times at least, truth does win out against falsehood.
Walter Reuther, who has the backing of Philip Murray, president of the CIO, is one of the most intelligent and able of the younger labor leaders. He has traveled around the world and worked in many different countries, so he has a world view that many of our industrial management leaders lack.
He would not be a Communist but he would probably know much more about them than do R. J. Thomas or George F. Addes, leader of the left wing group in the U.A.W. Nor would he be a conservative because he is experienced personally in the problems of men who work with their hands as well as with their heads. From my point of view, he is one of the labor leaders who give us hope for a sane and wise leadership both in labor and in the liberal movement in this country.
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It is often said that politics makes strange bedfellows, but the labor movement also does this, it seems, for certainly John L. Lewis found himself in a curious corner in this particular fight. Lewis, who is a Republican nowadays and certainly a conservative, finds himself sometimes backing our most conservative businessmen, but in this particular fight he was backing old friends of the left-wing group.
The whole pattern of John L. Lewis' behavior is amusing to watch. When he calls his miners out on strike, the heads of all the industries are opposed to him, but the rest of the time, particularly in political campaigns, he is lined up side by side with his loyal "opposition of the right."
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The other afternoon, Committee No. 3 of the United Nations General Assembly finished its work at Lake Success. The rapporteur will now write his report. Each delegation will scan this with care for possible mistakes in describing their position, and then the items will go before the General Assembly for final ratification. The members of the committee will still have the responsibility of attending their delegation meetings and of being at the plenary sessions of the Assembly whenever items in which they are concerned come up for discussion.
The committee broke up with most friendly feelings expressed, and those among us who had said the harshest things to each other shook hands and parted with a certain regret. This atmosphere makes me feel that perhaps, in spite of acrimonious discussion and divergence of opinion, these meetings do create some personal ties between people who meet week after week, day in and day out. In spite of lack of understanding even in basic things, we have to sit and listen to each other and at least preserve the amenities. That does bring about an increasing feeling of goodwill.