Breadcrumb

Ewan Clague Oral History Interview

Memoir Dictated by
Ewan Clague

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 Labor, 1954-55.

Washington, D.C.
March 5, 1964 and March 7, 1964

[Notices and Restrictions | List of Subjects Discussed]


Notice
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. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | List of Subjects Discussed]



Memoir Dictated by
Ewan Clague

Washington, D.C.
March 5, 1964

 

[1]

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

 

[2]

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

 

[3]

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.

 

[4]

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

 

[5]

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.

 

[6]

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 their consideration.

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

 

[7]

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

 

[8]

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 of

 

[9]

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 of 1946.

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

 

[10]

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'

 

[11]

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

 

[12]

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

 

[13]

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 was worked

 

[14]

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

 

[15]

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

 

[16]

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'

 

[17]

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 good rapport.

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 an

 

[18]

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

 

[19]

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.

 

[20]

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

 

[21]

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

 

[22]

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. So

 

[23]

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

 

[24]

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.

 

[25]

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

 

[26]

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

 

[27]

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

 

[28]

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

 

[29]

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,

 

[30]

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

 

[31]

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

 

[32]

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 on.

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,

 

[33]

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

 

[34]

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