Telegraphic Address: TRADUNIC, SOWEST, LONDON.
Telephone: VICTORIA 9O2O
TRADES UNION CONGRESS
SIR WALTER CITRINE, K.B.E.
TO WHOM ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED
OUR REF: WMC/FP/266.
27th April, 1938.
TO ALL AFFILIATED TRADE UNIONS.
(In reply please quote Circular No. 103.)
Dear Sir (Madam),
PROPOSED CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL SITUATION.
The General Council have had under consideration requests received from certain of its affiliated Unions for the calling of a National Conference to consider the international situation. The letters from the five national unions which have written the General Council on this subject vary somewhat as to the type of conference which is considered desirable, some of them contemplating a conference of executives, others a conference of Trade Union delegates, and still others proposing the bringing in of other allied bodies.
Although the requests are by no means identical it is clear that they have been prompted by the aggressive action of Germany towards Austria, the menace of the mid-European situation, and by the serious danger which now confronts Republican Spain. The Unions which have written share the general feeling in the Labour Movement of anxiety in regard to these developments,
and desire that something concrete should be done to check the progress of Fascist aggression.
Some confusion has arisen concerning the Standing Order of the Trades Union Congress, which provides for a special conference. By some it is assumed that this places an obligation on the General Council to call a conference. This Standing Order, No. 8, Section h, is as follows:
"(h) In order that the Trade Union Movement may do everything which lies in its power to prevent future wars, the General Council shall, in the event of there being a danger of an outbreak of war, call a special Congress to decide on industrial action,
such Congress to be called, if possible, before war is declared."
This Standing Order was framed with the purpose of using industrial action to prevent the outbreak of war. It is clearly inapplicable, to the present international situation. So far as can be judged from the correspondence received from the Unions who have requested a Conference, what is desired is not so much to restrain the British Government from going to war, but rather to