MARCH 27, 1951
NEW YORK, Monday—Yesterday I read of an investigation made by a New York Times correspondent, Gladwin Hill. He told of the million Mexican workers who slip across our border every year. They know of our high wages and seek to escape the unemployment and low wages at home. They are illegally in our country and they swell the ranks of low-cost labor, which at the same time depresses wages of the American worker.
Many of the Mexicans come only as seasonal workers, but some of them remain in hiding in the country, traveling as far north as the Canadian border. They add to the school problem, the illiteracy problem and the health problem.
Supposedly we have an agreement with Mexico as regards Mexican labor when it enters this country, but a certain percentage of those coming north escape this arrangement. And though most of us resent the accusations made by the Soviet Union that we have slave labor in this country, the accusation may be not far from the truth where some of this group are concerned. Therefore, we should be aroused to demand by our Labor Department an investigation into this situation in the Southwest.
Where regular wages go as high as they have in parts of the country for farm labor and ordinary labor of different kinds, it is not surprising to find employers willing to take on hands without asking too many questions if the demands are not too high. There is the possibility, too, that those in this country illegally may be forced to work for any pay on the threat of being turned over to the authorities. We should be grateful to Mr. Hill for having drawn this situation to our attention and I hope it can be investigated.
One of the advantages of having to give up a few engagements because your voice will not allow you to make a speech is the fact that one has more time to read. Taking such an opportunity I have just enjoyed Sumner Welles' latest book, "Seven Decisions That Shaped History." He clarifies a great many things that only someone so close to the picture could do, and I recommend the book highly for those who want to understand this period of history through which we are passing.
On Wednesday of this week Vincent Auriol, President of France, will arrive in this country—the first president of any French Republic to visit the United States during his term of office. He has been a very able chief executive during this difficult period. He has kept to the middle of the road, neither catering to the Communists nor to the de Guallists and by so doing he has gained the maximum good for his country through the Marshall Plan.
There are those who feel that more might have been done for the workers in this period and as an old Socialist President Auriol probably would agree. But, nevertheless, he has kept the balance of power in the center and France has moved forward. I am sure he will be warmly welcomed here since he comes to cement the age-old bonds of friendship. The American people will find him sympathetic and they will admire Madame Auriol's graciousness and her Paris clothes.