BY SPRING OF 1938, AFTER FIVE YEARS IN power, the New Deal had settled down into a bewildered middle age. Business men continued to blame the government; the government blamed business men; and labor was blaming both for the sad state of affairs, which had grown out of a kind of bloodless civil war.
Suddenly, seemingly out of the sky, but undoubtedly due to much backstage coaxing, explaining and wooing by Harry Hopkins and Donald Richberg, several groups of topflight industrialists indicated their willingness to actually sit down in Washington and talk things over with the President.
In one group was Ernest Weir of National Steel, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., of General Motors, Lewis H. Brown of Johns- Manville, Martin W. Clement of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Colby M. Chester, Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers--who had been among the economic royalists who were Roosevelt's most bitter critics.
George Harrison, Chief of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, got this particular group together first, to show them