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LABOR, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND WORLD AFFAIRS

The Papers of David A Morse (1907-1990), Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, 1948-1970, from the Seeley G Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
Part 3: Special Subject Files, Writings and Speeches

Part 3 covers a number of different subseries as follows:

  • Special subject files on the Allied Military Government, 1940-1947. (This material documents Morse’s military career during the Second World War in Italy, Sicily and Germany. It relates to Morse’s tenure as head of the Labor Division of the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory in Sicily and Italy and head of the Manpower Division of the United States Group Control Council for Germany. There is also the final report on "Labor Policies and Programs in Japan". A revealing account of Morse's wartime experiences can be found in his journal recording his activities in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, England, France, Germany, and Austria. A haunting memento of his military career, which brought him face to face with Hitler's liberated concentration camps, is a yellow Star of David bearing the French word, "Juif". The drafts of Morse’s labor policy in Italy, which dealt with the abolition of the fascist labor system and the establishment free trade unions and labor offices, illustrate the evolution of civil reconstruction amid conditions which were at best unstable. Morse's work in Germany consists mainly of reports such as the "Tentative Labor Plan for Germany" and "Annex XVIII (Manpower) of the Basic Preliminary Plan: Allied Control and Occupation of Germany").
  • Special subject files on the Department of Labor, 1945-1954.
    (Morse was Assistant, Under, and Acting Secretary of Labor in the Truman administration between July 1946 and August 1948. Morse’s dealings with Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach and the upper echelons of the department convey a clear sense of the style and substance of his administrative role. The topics covered in this subseries are varied, ranging from the contentious Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 to the family budget of urban workers and the equitable participation of minorities in the programs and services of the department).
  • the Papers of Mildred H Morse, 1900-1969.
    (These comprise letters written to or from Mildred Morse, Morse’s wife of 53 years, between 1919 and 1969. There is a lot of wartime material as well as many post 1945 papers).
  • Special subject files on the United Nations Development Programme, 1961-1973.
    (This is material that Morse acquired or generated as Chairman of the
    United Nations Development Programme’s Advisory Panel on Programme Policy, a position he held from 1970 to 1972. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is devoted to providing multilateral
    pre-investment aid to the world’s low-income nations in an attempt to alleviate and, ultimately, eradicate global poverty. The scope of its work in Morse's time can be gauged by the number of experts serving under its auspices (8200 in 1968) and the cumulative value of its major completed and uncompleted projects ($2.8 billion by 1970). These papers include the preparatory documents for each of the Panel’s "Sessions" consisting of various reports on "Advisory Panel Questions" to be discussed at these meetings. Topics range from "The Role of the UNDP in Promoting Investment Follow-Up", "The Role of the UNDP in the Development and Adaptation of Science and Technology in Developing Countries" to "The Time-Lag Between the Identification of UNDP Projects and Their Implementation Under Project and Country Programming". Other material in this subseries includes information gathered from various seminars that Morse attended and correspondence with a number of United Nations organisations, among them the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research).
  • Addresses, Writings, Interviews and Speeches, 1930-1990.  
    (These offer a remarkably comprehensive record of Morse’s perspective on a wide array of subjects, as well as the views of the entities on whose behalf he wrote and spoke, over the course of 60 years).

The legacy of David Abner Morse, who died on December 1, 1990 at the age of 83, was global. As Director-General of the ILO, a specialised agency of the United Nations, for an unprecedented 22 years, he dedicated himself to improving the lot of workers throughout the world. A man of high ideals and exceptional acumen, he upheld the universality of workers' socio-economic rights amid the conflicting claims of communist and non-communist systems and have and have-not nations. In 1969 he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the ILO, a recognition of the organisation’s contribution to international harmony and prosperity under his leadership.    

"Flair for leadership and diplomacy, dynamism, charm, dignity - these were among Morse's many radiant qualities."
Javier Perez de Cuellar,
Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1982 to 1991.


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