Memoir Dictated by
Director of Bureau of Employment Security, Social Security
Board, 1940-46; Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of
Labor, 1946-54 and 1955-65; and Special Assistant to the Secretary of
March 5, 1964 and March 7, 1964
[Notices and Restrictions | List
of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a memoir dictated for the Harry S. Truman Library.
A draft of this transcript was edited by Mr. Clague, but he made only
minor emendations; therefore, the reader should remember that this is
essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written, word.
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript
indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced
for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission
of the Harry S. Truman Library.
Opened November 1966
Harry S. Truman Library
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and Restrictions | List of Subjects Discussed]
Memoir Dictated by
March 5, 1964
I was standing on the platform of the Back Bay Station of the New Haven
Railroad in Boston when I heard -- or saw -- about the death of President
Roosevelt. I glimpsed a headline in a newspaper being read by a fellow
traveler, "PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT IS DEAD." I simply couldn't believe it,
but I went upstairs to try to find a paper and verified the awful fact.
To say that I was shocked and depressed is the understatement of the
decade. Ordinarily I have a sanguine temperament and take things as they
come. In this particular case I was devastated. I could recall in recent
years only one previous occasion in which I had been as deeply, fundamentally
disturbed. That was in April of 1940, five years before, and the occasion
was the Nazi
invasion of Norway. On that previous occasion I was so upset that I fumbled
my work at the office for several days until I could get a grip on myself.
On this occasion, I found it practically impossible to sleep on the way
down to Washington, and my feeling the next day was one of complete discouragement.
It seemed as if the bottom had dropped out of the world. However, my memory
is that I recovered rather quickly from this depression, partly because
of the excellent start made by President Truman in taking over the duties
of the office.
I was not well acquainted with President Truman, but I had had some experience
with him as a senator in connection with the work of his committee on
the conduct of the war. Also, I had heard him speak at an interstate conference
of Employment Security Administrators in Missouri in one of the early
years of the war. Lastly, I knew he had been for a time an employment
office administrator in the U.S. Employment Service, and for
that reason I felt that he would have an understanding of some of the
problems we were dealing with in the Employment Security Program.
The first incident that stands out in my memory was the case of the post-war
projections of unemployment. During the war, I was director of the Bureau
of Employment Security. In the pre-war period, this bureau comprised the
unemployment insurance system and the U.S. Employment Service, which was
engaged in placing unemployed workers. Immediately prior to December 7,
President Roosevelt made a decision to nationalize the employment service
in order to obtain a better coordination of nationwide employment service
activities. It was felt that the State services were not sufficiently
coordinated and integrated for effective administration of placement.
I myself remained with the Social Security Board as Director of unemployment
insurance. The nationalized employment service was transferred from the
Social Security Board to the new War Manpower Commission.
At the beginning of the war in 1941, the Social Security Board had been
engaged in making economic projections: first, the pattern of economic
development during the war, and the second, the estimated post war readjustment.
There was a man on my staff in the Bureau of Employment Security by the
name of Woytinsky, a refugee from Soviet Russia, who had worked his way
through Germany, Switzerland, France, and finally to the United States.
He had worked with the Social Security Board in the early years of the
program, serving at times on the Board staff as a consultant, and at other
times, under the auspices of the Twentieth Century Fund and the Rockefeller
Foundation. Woytinsky was a world-famous economist and statistician who
helped develop some of the statistical programs in the early period of
the Board's operations. He was especially interested and skilled in analyzing
future economic development. So, when the United States got into the war,
he was commissioned to develop a wartime and
post-war projection, with particular reference to employment and unemployment.
This he did in a famous document which projected the defeat of Germany
at the end of 1944, the defeat of Japan by the end of 1946, and a two-year
period of readjustment in 1947 and '48. A significant fact concerning
this long-range projection was that it sketched out a probable gross national
product during the war years and then forecast a speedy and successful
post-war readjustment lasting only about a year. It pointed to new high
levels of production and employment in 1948 and beyond. The interesting
point about this projection is that the actual readjustment which took
place in 1945-46 was almost exactly as it had been sketched out by Woytinsky
five years before. He was wrong on the timing of the war ending, but he
was completely right with respect to the nature of the post-war readjustment.
He persisted in arguing that the volume of unemployment in the post-war
readjustment would not exceed three and a half million workers.
When it became apparent in the early spring of 1945 that the war with
Germany was about to end, we had Woytinsky draw up a proposal for the
readjustment of the economy during the remaining period of the war with
Japan. It had already become apparent that the peak of wartime employment
had been reached in November, 1943, and that the flow of war munitions
and supplies was being produced with a declining number of workers. The
question was what to do when Germany was defeated, what readjustments
should be made. Woytinsky drew up a paper, which we reviewed in the Social
Security Board and then sent over to the Office of War Mobilization for
The key point in Woytinsky's projection was that there would no longer
be need for a 48-hour week. There would be almost certainly a decline
in war employment. He therefore proposed that the hours per week be reduced
to 45, with a comparable rise in hourly pay that would retain the same
level of weekly income. His argument was that the workers
in this case would be glad to accept the reduced hours and that the effect
would be to spread the unemployment to some extent. He further anticipated
that in the final readjustment after the defeat of Japan, there could
be a similar reduction attempted in such a way that gradually the country
would work back to a 40-hour week without experiencing any sharp unemployment
increases, or any great reduction in worker income.
Nothing came of this effort on our part. The memorandum was lost in the
Office of War Mobilization without any comment ever coming back to us
in the Social Security Board. Years later, when Professor William Haber
of Michigan was doing some historical summarizing of the activities of
the mobilization agencies, he telephoned me one day to say that he had
found in the files a copy of my letter transmitting Woytinsky's projection.
On the paper was a notation, "This is not worth serious consideration."
Woytinsky's views ran so contrary to the
prevailing fears in the mobilization agencies concerning a great post-war
depression that his thinking received no serious consideration.
Then when the war with Japan came to an abrupt end in August, the .fears
of post-war depression dominated the picture completely. The hours of
work were reduced, wage controls were removed, the country entered a post-war
readjustment, not with a high volume of unemployment, but with a major
industrial relations problem. The cutback in the 48-hour week, with the
premium pay at time and a half, had the effect of sharply reducing the
take-home pay of the workers. Yet at this very time, the price level was
creeping upward, not so fast then, because price controls were still in
effect, but the shrinkage of weekly income was not in any way countered
by a reduction in the cost of living. The workers clamored for increased
pay to make up for the loss in weekly earnings and we entered the worst
period of strikes that we had had in many years. The result was a series
wage increases designed to make up the loss; and the consequence of that
was a rise in prices as soon as controls were taken off in the summer
Then, by a series of developments, I found myself in the middle of that
picture. When the war had finally ended, the Employment Service and the
War Manpower Commission were still in existence. The first step taken
in the post-war readjustment was to transfer the Employment Service to
the Department of Labor. In the meantime, the Bureau of Employment Security,
administering the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance System, was located
in the Social Security Board. This led to a series of legislative battles
concerning the eventual location of these two programs.
In the Social Security Board, we were well prepared for the post-war
readjustment. The unemployment benefit funds in the States had been built
up to levels sufficient to take care of more unemployment than actually
developed. The addition
of unemployment benefits for returned servicemen in a separate program
took care of any pressures that might have arisen in that direction. As
a result, during the readjustment of 1945-46, the employment security
program performed on schedule.
As the director of the program, and as a ten-year veteran in the Social
Security Board, I expected to continue with this work in the indefinite
future. However, in the summer of 1946, it must have been about early
June, I received a telephone call one Saturday (we worked on Saturdays
in those days) from Ed [Edwin E.] Witte, who had been one of my professors
at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Witte asked if he could run
over to take lunch with me on Saturday noon in the Social Security Building.
I agreed to see him, and we met in the lunchroom. I shall never forget
the way Professor Witte tackled the subject almost immediately. "I have
a proposition to make to you," he said, "and I want you to promise not
to say 'no'
until I have had a chance to explain it."
I don't remember what I replied, but he went on, "I want you to become
Commissioner of Labor Statistics. Now, don't say 'no' until I have a chance
to tell you about it."
I mentioned something about being completely satisfied with the Board
where I was, and that it was very unlikely I would consider anything else,
but I indicated that I was willing to listen. He then went on to explain
that he himself had been offered the job as commissioner, but that he
felt that he had only about ten years left in which to develop his thoughts
concerning the Social Security program. He therefore proposed to return
to the University of Wisconsin and had no desire to come down to serve
further in Washington. He had been a member of the War Labor Board during
the war itself. However, he felt that the Bureau of Labor Statistics was
in a crisis. It was necessary to find somebody who could fit a whole series
of qualifications, and he felt that I was the one who
should undertake this responsibility.
At this point, some background is necessary, both on my previous relationships
with the Bureau, and on the events in the Bureau itself, which brought
about the vacancy in the commissionership.
My first job, when I left the University of Wisconsin in the spring of
1926, had been as an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics working
on the subject of productivity. This had come about because the Commissioner,
Ethelbert Stewart at that time, was a professional and personal friend
of my major professor at the University of Wisconsin, John R. Commons.
He wired Professor Commons, asking for a young graduate student to do
work in productivity and Commons had urged me to accept. So, I spent about
two and a half years in the Bureau at that time, 1926-28.
My next connection with the Bureau occurred in 1933-34, when I was a
member of the Committee on Government Statistics, which was appointed
to review and examine the statistics of the Federal
Government. I was secretary of the subsidiary Advisory Committee to the
Secretary of Labor. This committee was a branch of the Committee on Government
Statistics, but devoted itself primarily to statistics in the Labor Department.
At that time then, I had the opportunity to review in considerable detail
all the statistical work of the Department, not only in the Bureau of
Labor Statistics, but in the Children's Bureau, the Woman's Bureau, and
other bureaus as well.
Next, in 1937-38, when the Social Security Board was drawing up its plans
for statistics for unemployment insurance administration, I again had
connections with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and with Commissioner
Isador Lubin, in devising a coordinated program of statistics which would
provide basic data on employment in covered industries in the United States,
coordinating it with the monthly reports on employment and payrolls being
developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A cooperative arrangement
out at that time.
Still later, at about the end of the war in 1945, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics obtained funds for a greatly expanded comprehensive program
of employment, hours, and earnings statistics. This time, Assistant Commissioner
Aryness J. Wickens came over to my office in the Social Security Board
and arranged for a further extension of cooperation. As I recall it in
this particular case, some of the States refused to make their information
available to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but they would send figures
to the Bureau of Employment Security, of which I was the Director. I then
agreed to make these statistics available to the BLS.
I was, therefore, experienced over a couple of decades in the work of
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the problem of the vacant commissionership
arose from the wartime experiences in the Bureau of Labor Statistics with
which I had no connection. This was the great controversy
concerning the Consumer Price Index, or the "cost-of-living index," as
it was then called. The labor movement had raised questions concerning
the accuracy of the index in measuring the rise in the cost of living.
A committee was appointed to look into the situation, and later a presidential
commission was appointed, under the chairmanship of Professor Wesley C.
Mitchell of Columbia University. The committee and the commission both
arrived at the same conclusion, namely, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics
was conducting its index in a sound and accurate statistical way, although
they agreed there were some kinds of increases in the cost of living which
could not appropriately be dealt with in the Consumer Price Index. Accordingly,
the commission established a system of additional points, which could
be used for wage increases under the auspices of the War Labor Board.
These were, first, three and a half points, but later were raised to five
points. The effect of these points was to give the workers
and the unions some of the increases that they could not obtain on a
straight cost-of-living basis, that is, the cost of living as represented
by the index.
This controversy had become so serious that the Secretary of Labor, Frances
Perkins, had put an end to an advisory group of labor union statisticians
who had the practice of meeting with the Commissioner of Labor Statistics
a couple of times a year. Due to an outburst which occurred at one of
these meetings, the Secretary broke off all relationships between the
Bureau of Labor Statistics and the labor union statisticians. This was
the situation when the war ended. In the meantime, Frances Perkins had
resigned as Secretary of Labor when President Truman was inaugurated in
April, 1945. Ex-senator [Lewis B.] Schwellenbach, a native of the State
of Washington, and a fellow senator with President Truman during the war,
was persuaded to leave his position as judge out in the State of Washington
and become the Secretary of Labor for the Truman Administration.
In the course of his confirmation for the office, Schwellenbach became
aware of Secretary Perkins'
elimination of the Labor Advisory Committee. So in July, 1945, he announced
that one of his first actions would be the settling of the problem of
the Bureau of Labor Statistics with the labor movement. The Secretary
made some sort of statement to the press; I recall seeing it at the time.
Whatever may have been his original intention, the effect of the statement
was to imply that things needed to be cleaned up in the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. As the story was told to me, the Acting Commissioner, [A.F.]
Hinrichs, went immediately to the Secretary and offered to resign. Secretary
Schwellenbach, at that time, had no intention of adding to the flames,
so he persuaded Hinrichs not to offer his resignation. However, from that
time forward, the Secretary and the Acting Commissioner, were not in very
Commissioner Lubin had been appointed in 1933 by Secretary of Labor Perkins,
and for his first two terms, four years each, had served actively as commissioner.
However, when the war developed, he moved over to the White House, as
adviser to President Roosevelt, and the Deputy Commissioner, Ford Hinrichs,
became the Acting Commissioner. For the entire war period, and during
the entire controversy about the index, Ford Hinrichs was only an acting
commissioner while Lubin continued to serve as the commissioner. In July,
1945, this same situation still existed. However, Lubin's term ran out
in February, 1946, so nothing was done until that date, when Secretary
Schwellenbach offered Lubin a reappointment. Lubin decided that he did
not want another term and therefore declined. This meant that Ford Hinrichs
continued as Acting Commissioner for the next several months. However,
it became apparent after a period of time, that Hinrichs would never be
appointed commissioner. Consequently, in the month of May, he resigned.
Aryness Wickens, who was next in line, then was appointed Acting Commissioner,
but the quest was on for a new man. Mrs. Wickens herself had been so closely
connected with the wartime controversy
that the Secretary did not regard her as a suitable replacement for Hinrichs.
This then was the situation when Professor Witte interviewed me at the
Social Security Board in the lunchroom on Saturday noon.
Witte gave me a strong sales talk concerning my responsibility for doing
something significant in the field of statistics. He played upon my former
experiences with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and on what he considered
my abilities to solve some of the problems. Secretary Schwellenbach was
in desperate need of someone who could put an end to the developing troubles.
It had to be someone who was professionally well qualified, who would
be acceptable to management and to labor, and who could administer a Bureau,
which now was hesitant and torn because of the removal of its leadership.
After listening, I agreed that I would go over and talk to Secretary
Schwellenbach before I made up my mind.
Secretary Schwellenbach greeted me like a long-lost brother. He knew
that he and I had been classmates at the University of Washington. I am
sure that he was not aware of it at an earlier date, but Mrs. Wickens
had reminded him of this fact and he was enthusiastic about it. Mrs. Wickens
herself had also been a fellow student of mine at the University of Washington.
The Secretary regaled me with many stories of his experiences at the University
of Washington and emphasized the great need he had for somebody to take
over in the Bureau. He offered me full responsibility as Commissioner
of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both as his statistical adviser and
his economic adviser. He said to me, "I want you to tell me the facts.
I may not act upon them; I may make decisions for political reasons, but
for that you will not be responsible. But I will accept your judgment
on economic matters."
I told him that I had no political strength in Congress and that it would
be quite impossible
for me to rustle up my confirmation. He told me not to worry in the slightest,
that he was a close personal and professional friend of Senator [Joseph
F.] Guffey from Pennsylvania, and that since I had originally been appointed
to the Civil Service from Pennsylvania, I could claim that state as a
residence. He indicated that he would take care of all the problems of
confirmation. With this in my mind, I went back to have a talk with Arthur
J. Altmeyer, the Chairman of the Social Security Board. As a matter of
fact, within recent months, the Social Security Board had been eliminated,
and a Commissioner of Social Security had been appointed. The public administration
experts had persuaded President Truman that it was better to have a single
administrator than a three-man board, or as in fact it was, two men and
one woman. Therefore, when I consulted him, Altmeyer was now the Commissioner
of Social Security.
I still recall what he said to me, "We want
you to stay here, and you certainly have a future as Director of the
Bureau of Employment Security. If you go over there, you'll be in the
blue chips. You'll be on your own responsibility; but if you want to take
it, we certainly shall not stand in the way."
Altmeyer had always operated in the Board on this same general principle.
I recall that on a number of occasions, ambitious employees had gone in
to see him when he was Chairman, with the story that they had had an offer
at increased pay on the outside. His almost invariable response was to
congratulate them on the offer and express his joy in their forthcoming
promotion. He practically never responded by indicating that the Board
would match the raise on the outside. It proved rather embarrassing to
considerable numbers of people before they found out his attitude. In
many cases, this outside offer was partly or wholly mythical, and had
simply been advanced for the purpose of pushing a promotion from within.
far as Altmeyer was concerned, they were promoted within when he was
ready to do so.
I must admit that I gave painful and serious thought to my alternatives.
I talked it over with my wife, who was by this time a practicing physician
in Washington and nearby Virginia, and we tried to take account of the
risks involved. We had three growing children, who would eventually be
requiring a college education, and while we had two incomes here in Washington,
any kind of an upset to our family economy would have serious consequences.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued with the opportunity, and the more I thought
about it the more the challenge influenced my decision. I finally went
back to Schwellenbach and told him that I would accept the commissionship
if he would take care of the Congressional problem. He indicated that
this would be no difficulty at all for him. He asked me to wait until
he had arranged for a hearing with the Senate Labor Committee on the confirmation.
I can still recall that committee
meeting very vividly. Senator Guffey was, of course, the protagonist
for my appointment. He announced in a stentorian tones that he didn't
know this man, but that he was a candidate for Secretary Schwellenbach,
and "anyone that Lew Schwellenbach wants is all right with me."
One of the members of the committee was Senator Taft, who asked me a
couple of questions about labor matters. I don't recall what they were,
but I'm sure they had something to do with statistics of wages and of
the cost of living. At any rate, my answers seemed to be satisfactory.
I was recommended for confirmation and shortly the Senate acted upon it.
I was sworn in as commissioner in a ceremony in the Departmental Auditorium,
August 1, 1946, at the same time that Keen Johnson was appointed Under
Secretary. Keen Johnson was a former governor of Kentucky who, at that
particular time, was connected with Reynolds Metal Company. He proved
to be a friend in need on several occasions later.
I was immediately catapulted into the Bureau's problems, but I had several
valuable assets. In the first place, the Bureau was a going organization,
well-administered, and well-qualified for the work it was doing. Mrs.
Wickens, who had been acting commissioner, was able to administer the
details of the work and therefore there was no problem of organizing a
new agency, such as I had had to do when I developed the Bureau of Research
and Statistics in the Social Security Board ten years before. There are,
certainly, limitations to stepping in as the head of a going organization.
There are at times advantages in creating your own agency from the ground
up. But in this particular case, there was nothing wrong with the operating
mechanism of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and therefore, I did not
encounter major administrative problems at the outset.
A second point of great importance was the fact that my appointment was
received with enthusiasm by the staff of the Bureau. The further
fact that I had coordinated with it and cooperated with it on previous
occasions while I was in the Social Security Board, and the fact that
I had high professional standing in the field of social security, meant
that throughout the Bureau itself I was welcomed with gusto. Possible,
also, the months of uncertainty had made members of the staff nervous
and fearful of what might happen. Undoubtedly, my appointment led to a
breath of relief on the part of many of the top staff. I could hardly
have moved in to a new organization with more wholehearted support coming
up from below than in this particular case.
There was one stroke of good luck, that is good luck for me and for the
Bureau, although perhaps not for the Nation. In the backing and filling
of the economic situation in the summer of 1946, price controls had been
taken off, then re-established, and then taken off again, so that the
Consumer Price Index was fluctuating nervously. However, when controls
finally came off in the
month of August, the effect was to send the index soaring. This meant
that the controversy with labor was at an end. No one could criticize
an index for being too low, when it was soaring at the rate of two, three
and four percent a month. The basic cause of the problem with the labor
movement had been dissipated with the elimination of price controls.
Nevertheless, I did have a public relations problem right away. With
the disappearance of controls, there was no longer any reason for the
five points, which had, by this time, become embedded in industrial relations
bargaining. So it was my duty to announce at an early date, and I believe
it was in the month of October, that the five points were no longer applicable.
We announced this in the form of a footnote to one of our monthly Consumer
Price Index releases. There was some apprehension on the part of the staff,
and therefore on my part also that this might result in some controversy.
However, perhaps the
fact that the index was rising sharply at that time was sufficient to
prevent it. Furthermore, there was really no official channel for an expression
of opinion from the labor movement on the point. As I indicated above,
Secretary Perkins had ended the formal relationship between the Bureau
of Labor Statistics and the labor union researchers.
The second major professional problem which I faced concerned a pamphlet
on which the Bureau had been working for some years. An explanation of
this involves going back to the beginning of the war. At that time, the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, in collaboration with Professor [Wassily]
Leontief of Harvard, had worked up an input-output table designed to picture
the details of the operation of the American economy. During the war,
this activity had been held in abeyance, but in the post-war period, the
Bureau staff had picked up this program and had prepared an estimate of
the post-war readjustment
This was entitled, "Full Employment Patterns, 1950." It represented a
five-year projection from 1945, the ending of the war, and attempted to
estimate under conditions of full employment what the pattern of the economy
would be. In fact, the pamphlet sketched two possible patterns: one, a
high consumption economy and the other, a high investment economy.
Since this was the first time that this kind of project had been undertaken
by the Bureau, there was some apprehension concerning the reception which
it would meet when it was published. I myself went through the published
text. I had no capacity or desire to interfere in any way with the basic
statistics represented there, but my public relations experience over
the years had made me quite sensitive to the explanatory text. I recall
that in several places, I edited the manuscript to dampen down the implications
of direct forecasting and substituted more mechanical terms that described
trends and projections. In essence,
I did not in any way change the basic document which had been written
by Duane Evans, Jerome Cornfield, and Marvin Hoffenberg.
Once more, the Bureau and I myself escaped any serious repercussions.
There were some rather vigorous reactions from some of the industrial
economists. I recall one in New York who criticized forcibly our estimate
of automobile production. However, when we explained the basis for our
projections, some of the opposition disappeared. A part of it had been
due to misinterpretation. I recall that about two years later, I was called
to testify before the Senate committee under the chairmanship of Senator
Martin of Pennsylvania, at which hearing I presented basic facts concerning
the steel industry. I shouldn't say "facts," because I presented the estimated
production of steel under these alternative assumptions of high consumption
and high investment.
The steel company presidents and other officials testified at this same
hearing and their
projections were vastly different. In fact, they forecast a decided decline
in the steel industry from its wartime peaks. We had projected shortages
and limitations to the amount of steel that would be available in the
light of the demands that could be expected. I recall that Louie [Louis
H.] Bean of the Department of Agriculture was one of those who testified
in these hearings and he used estimates of steel production which corresponded
roughly to ours.
One of my major objectives in assuming the Commissionership was to re-establish
formal relationships with the labor union research group. I was well acquainted
with many of them, since I had had association with them in the course
of my activities with the Social Security Board. Advisory committees from
labor and from management were not unknown in the Board, and while these
were informal in many instances, they were, nonetheless, fruitful and
effective. So, I first began consulting with members of the AF of L and
the CIO groups, looking toward the establishment of an advisory committee.
This took effect speedily, and in February, 1947, we announced to the
public the formation of the Labor Research Advisory Committee to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics. We had worked out an arrangement whereby we had eight
members from the AF of L, eight members from the CIO, and four members
from the Railway Labor Executives. The advantage of this arrangement was
that the railway labor group was affiliated with the AF of L thereby,
in effect, giving them twelve memberships on a strictly quantitative basis.
At the same time, the formal AF of L organization had eight, which was
the same number as the CIO. This arrangement turned out to be satisfactory
to all parties, and the committee operated effectively from that time
However, I had not yet succeeded in establishing a relationship with
the business group, which was another one of my objectives. I had talked
informally with a number of my business economist friends,
but they had urged me not to formalize the relationship into a committee.
They suggested that I call down individuals from time to time for consultation,
and leave the relationship on an informal basis. However, when the announcement
went to the press concerning the formation of a Labor Research Advisory
Committee, there was immediate reaction from the business group. It started
in the office of the National Association of Manufacturers. It took the
form of a letter written by the president or the secretary, I forget which,
of the National Association of Manufacturers, addressed to the Secretary
of Labor. In brief, it stated that the business groups of the country
were users of the statistics produced by the Bureau, that they had a direct
interest in the quality of these data, and that they, as well as the labor
group, were entitled to be represented by an advisory committee. This
letter came to Secretary Schwellenbach at a time when he was quite ill.
It arrived also at a time when the Bureau was in
deep trouble over its appropriation for the coming fiscal year. I shall
refer to this later, but for the moment it is only necessary to say that
we had experienced a drastic cut of some forty percent, involving a great
deflation of the staff and the program of the Bureau. It seemed to me
that, in these circumstance, it could be especially adv