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Senator FERGUSON. You are familiar with the name Joseph P. Ryan? Mr. HUMELSINE. Yes, sir.
Senator FERGUSON. Did you ever inquire as to whether this girl went to Ryan and tried to get him to call a sympathetic strike in this country!
Mr. HUMELSINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUMELSINE. No, sir; I did not talk to Ryan about it myself. I personally investigated this matter over a year ago. I carried the investigation on myself, and I convinced myself that this particular individual is a loyal and trustworthy American. The relations with Mr. Ryan were carried on by Dr. Steelman in the President's office and by the Department of Labor.
Senator FERGUSON. Did they investigate whether Miss Wall visited Ryan? Mr. HUMELSINE. I know that she went to see Mr. Ryan. Senator FERGUSON. She did go to see him? Mr. HUMELSINE. Yes, sir.
Senator FERGUSON. Did she tell him that—let me get the language here.
When she arrived at my officeI am quoting Mr. Ryanshe carried credentials from the Department of Labor and the State Department, under the name of Edith Cameron Wall, and I proceeded with the interview. She questioned me regarding many matters concerning the water front and I answered her courteously until she made the statement that when she returned to France the longshoremen and seamen would question her as to the attitude of the marine men in America-as to whether or not they would cooperate with them on the strike by calling a sympathy strike in the United States ports and that the French strike was for the betterment of wages and working conditions on the French water front, and if they could not get any encouragement, the Communist Party would gain many new recruits from among the men on the French water fronts.
Is that what she did do?
Mr. HUMELSINE. She called on Mr. Ryan as well as upon some 11 other labor leaders. This was a part of an indoctrination course that is worked out between the Department of Labor and the Department of State for these labor attachés when they are back here on their home leave. We try to get them to talk with American labor union officials so that they can do a better job abroad.
In addition to Mr. Ryan, she talked to Mark Starr, educational director of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union; Jay Lovestone, director of international activities of the ILGWU; Julius Hockman, director of the joint dress board of the ILGWU; Morris Iushewitz, of the New York City CIO Council; Willy J. Dorchain, International Transport Workers; Joseph Curran, National Maritime Union; Florence Marston, Associated Actors and Artists, Screen Actors Guild; Eleanor Coit, director of American Labor Education Service; Jacob S. Potofsky, Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union;
strikes in French ports in connection with the MAP shipments and the Communist exploitation of economic union demands for wage increases for political ends. I made the comment that generally such Communist-directed action did not occur in isolated areas, and asked if he anticipated agitation or sympathy strikes in American ports in connection with the loading of such ships.
Mr. Ryan replied that there were always agitators in port areas, but that the union's policy was to load the ships; the unloading problem in France was not their affair. He said that no local agitation would stop such loading of ships unless and/or until he received orders from the Secretary of State not to load the ships.
Mr. Ryan's tone of voice and general attitude put an end to any further discussion of this subject. Therefore, as a second topic, I said I was very much interested in his views on employment prospects within his union. I asked whether (a) union membership was in a recession from the peak of war and immediate postwar years, and (b) what protective measures they were taking for the future.
Mr. Ryan stated that, contrary to the NMU, for example, they had not increased membership during the war years but had allowed anyone able and available to
with joining the union or even issuing a work-permit card. As a result, when cargo loading became lighter in the postwar years they were not faced with a swollen membership for the fewer jobs available. He said that the union, in effect, was a closed union because of the stiff initiation, $.50 and dues, 7.50 quarterly. Although the 30-day clause of the Taft-Hartley Act theoretically hurt them, actually the stevedores who did the hiring knew who were union members and who were not, and only union members ever got jobs.
I then asked if present port operations were sufficient to assure full-time jobs for at least to all union members. Mr. Ryan said categorically, "No." I then asked how jobs were distributed—whether they were rotated or staggered or what. Mr. Ryan then stated that his and the union's views that “It was better that some workers have enough work to live on while others went on relief than that all should be on relief." And equal distribution of the available work would not mean enough for any to live on and all would be on relief. He said that the stevedores who did the hiring knew the men, and that there was a difference between men with families and single men or those not too keen on working.
It was at this point that I made the awkward remark which hit a sensitive point. This was not done as a criticism, but because I felt that I had not understood completely his exposition, I want to clear up in my own mind what appeared to be such a blatant loophole. I therefore asked if he did not have many grievances among the members as a result of favoritism or possible kickbacks to the hiring stevedores. He became quite incensed at this point and said that the fact that the union had this hiring system was proof in itself that it worked and that the men liked it. He added that he had been bothered enough by all kinds of reformists and investigators who had tried to prove graft and kick-backs, but that they had gotten nowhere with their trouble.
In an effort to calm the waters, I mentioned that on my way home a few weeks ago I had stopped off in Italy where the employment problem among seafaring trades was particularly acute and chronic. The Italian method of meeting the immediate situation was to impose forcibly rotation of jobs, but because the waiting period between jobs was so long, this was in effect no solution.
At this point Mr. Ryan jumped up at his desk and shouted at me, Is it the policy of the Department of State to impose a share-the-work program on me? Are you here to tell me how to run my union?
His violence shocked me and I answered that I was not stating any official views but merely personal opinion. Before I could continue further, Mr. Ryan said :
“I am not the least interested in your personal views or opinions. I have received you as a representative of the Department of Labor. I don't know who you are and care less. I have already wasted too much time on you. So long."
With this he walked out of the room into the adjoining file room where I could still hear his voice, although I could not understand what he said. I was very upset at his discourteous treatment, and the implied insult, but to avoid any further scene it seemed the best thing to leave without further ado. This I did.
I am attaching herewith a brief summary of all interviews thus far. Except for Ryan, I have been received very cordially in every case; the interviews have been extremely helpful, I have been furnished with all kinds of printed material. other contacts suggested, interviews arranged with other persons, and I have 'been asked to call again whenever I was in town and to write, if I ever needed anything. All in all, I think the tour has been quite successful.
the report is signed “Edith Wall.”
Senator FERGUSON. Now, why did you not consult Mr. Ryan? Mr. HUMELSINE. Because Dr. Steelman had consulted Mr. Ryan.
Senator FERGUSON. Is there a report of that interview with Mr. Ryan in there? Mr. HUMELSINE. No, sir.
Senator FERGUSON. Then how could you make a report without knowing what Mr. Ryan said about it?
EXCHANGE OF CORRESPONDENCE
Mr. HUMELSINE. Well, I have here the exchange of correspondence between Mr. Ryan and Dr. Steelman. This is a telegram to Dr. Steelman which states:
Was interviewed yesterday by one Edith Cameron Wall purporting to represent both State and Labor Departments. Her personal views on longshoremen in this country loading arms for France did not coincide with views of the A. F. of L., ITS, or American labor movement. What is her background? Well, that is the complete message and the complete report of Mr. Ryan, 14 months ago on that.
Senator FERGUSON. You see, here was a strike in France by the Communists, instigated not to unload MAP program ships.
Mr. HUMELSINE. That is absolutely right.
Senator FERGUSON. Now, Ryan makes a very serious charge against a State Department employee.
Mr. HUMELSINE. Fourteen months later.
Her personal views of longshoremen in this country loading arms for France did not coincide with views of the A. F. of L., ITS, or American labor inovement.
Senator FERGUSON. What is the date of that? Mr. HUMELSINE. The date of that is March 10, 1950. Senator FERGUSON. All right. He made the complaint immediately. Mr. HUMELSINE. He made the complaint the next day. As a result of that complaint, Dr. Steelman called us and we looked into the background of one Edith Cameron Wall, and he replied on March 23, on the basis of our investigation.
Senator FERGUSON. You mean Dr. Steelman?
THE LITTLE WHITE HOUSE,
Key West, Fla., March 23, 1950. DEAR JOE: Immediately upon receipt of your telegram of March 10, which was forwarded to me here at Key West, I returned it to Washington and asked the State Department, by whom Edith Cameron Wall is employed, to give me a report on the matter. I have now received that report and the views of the Labor Department, and I have the distinct impression that she, perhaps, asked some tactless questions, and did not make her position entirely clear in her conference with you. At least her record and contacts with other people with whom she had talked seemed to put her entirely in the clear.
I am glad you called this to my attention; although in this case the record appears to be on the favorable side there is always the possibility of something being amiss, and in such cases a little checking might be a very good thing. Sincerely,
JOHN R. STEELMAN,
Mr. Ryan came back and said this—dated March 25, 1950: Dr. John R. STEELMAN,
The White House, Washington, D. C. Friend JOHN: Many thanks for your nice communication of March 23, 1950, regarding Edith Cameron Wall and, although I do not usually go in for reporting people, I felt it my duty in this case. With best wishes, I remain, Sincerely,
JOSEPH P. Ryan. That was the exchange of correspondence, and that was the last that was heard on the case until this thing came up 14 months later.
Now, we did not make a routine investigation at that time.
Mr. HUMELSINE. Immediately after that, 14 months ago. As a result of that, I went over her personnel security file. We checked her and rechecked her. She has the cleanest record I have ever seen of any
QUESTION OF FAILURE TO INTERVIEW MR, RYAN
Senator FERGUSON. I still do not understand how you could check her story and not talk to the man who had sent in the wire, and who now says that what she told him was that she wanted him to cooperate with them on the strike.
Mr. HUMELSINE. Well, everything that we have on her, and on the basis of her whole life history, and on the basis of her conversations with the 12 other labor leaders
Senator FERGUSON. They weren't in on the MAP program. This was the only man who was connected in any way with such a program. These other labor leaders had nothing to do with longshoremen,
Mr. HUMELSINE. No. They had to do with other labor activities.
Senator FERGUSON. Yes; but not with longshoremen. Ryan had direct contacts with the longshoremen.
Mr. HUMELSINE. That is right.
Senator FERGUSON. I do not understand why you did not interview him to find out what this woman did say. You never even found out what she said, did you? Or what he claims she said, only that it was in conflict.
Mr. HUMELSINE. The only thing we have there was his telegram. wanting to know her background. As a result of that, Dr. Steelman replied.
Senator FERGUSON. Why did you not make inquiries? As to what was meant by the difference between their policy and her policy?
Mr. HUMELSINE. Well, actually, at the time that this occurred. I asked for her background, and we never had any indication of any. thing that he said on the thing.
Senator FERGUSON. When did you get his wire to Dr. Steelman?
Mr. HUMELSINE. I just got that wire when this thing came up as a result of the Riesel column.
Senator FERGUSON. When did you give Congressman Walter a report on it?
Mr. HUMELSINE. I gave Congressman Walter a complete report on May 25, 1951.
Senator FERGUSON. That is May 25 of this year?
Mr. HUMELSINE. Yes, sir. That was a report on the basis of the investigation that had been made 14 months ago.
Senator FERGUSON. When did Congressman Walter first get in touch with you?
Mr. HUMELSINE. He first got in touch with me some time in May, May 14, 1951.
Senator FERGUSON. When did you say?
Senator FERGUSON. And you did not make a new investigation then?
Mr. HUMELSINE. At that time?
Mr. HUMELSINE. No; I did not make a new investigation, except to have a very complete talk with one of the labor leaders that she had seen before, although we had already checked with those over a year ago. Chairman MCKELLAR. Are there any further questions? Senator FERGUSON. You checked with one other labor man?
Mr. HUMELSINE. No, sir; we checked with every other labor man over a year
ago. Senator FERGUSON. You personally checked with one of them? Mr. HUMELSINE. I, personally? Senator FERGUSON. Yes. Mr. HUMELSINE. Yes, I myself. Senator FERGUSON. Who was it?
Mr. HUMELSINE. Mr. Lovestone, the Director of International Activities of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
Senator FERGUSON. Do you not think that if you had conferred with Ryan, you might have learned what Ryan's story was? Mr. HUMELSINE. We had Ryan's story. Senator FERGUSON. When did you get it? Mr. HUMELSINE. We got it through the newspaper columns.
NEWSPAPER COLUMN OF VICTOR RIESEL
Senator FERGUSON. By the newspaper column written by Victor Riesel?
Mr. HUMELSINE. Yes, sir.
(By Victor Riesel) This time, among other things, it is the truth which is perverted in Dean Acheson's State Department.
A few days ago, one of Mr. Acheson's deputies publicly issued a letter in which he took 5,000 words to call an important American labor leader a liar. It will now take far less than that to prove conclusively that the State Department's spokesman mangled the truth.
This is all vital to every mother's son eligible to defend our country, for it reveals the weird methods used by the State Department officials to protect their agency-a division upon which rests the fate of this Nation in global power politics.