THE LABOR CLAUSES OF THE TREATY
BY SAMUEL GOMPERS
American labor did not leave the Peace Conference in Paris with all it felt it ought, in justice, to have secured, but it left with all it was possible to get. American labor felt then, as it feels now, that the proper course was to make the best fight possible, and to work during the ensuing years for the securing of amendments.
It was not to be expected that a treaty satisfactory to every nation, or all the people of any nation, could be secured in the Paris Conference. Those who had eyes to see knew, also, that it would not be possible to secure a treaty written in the spirit of America's participation in the war, because there were present in Paris those who were selfish and those who were in reality the emissaries of the old condemned order of things.
In my opinion there are serious defects in the labor provisions of the treaty. But I also know that those defects could not be removed in Paris, because every possible effort was made to secure their removal.
The direct opening for the insertion of a labor clause in the treaty was provided in the original draft of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Article 20 provided as follows:
The high contracting parties will endeavor to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labor for men, women and children, both in their own countries and in all countries to which their indus-