Theodore Roosevelt to William Boyd Allison, January 29, 1907


January 29, 1907.

My dear Senator:

I have just signed the bill entitled "An Act to authorize the Secretary of Commerce and Labor to investigate and report upon the industrial, social, moral, educational, and physical condition of woman and child worker in the United States," referred to in the letter of Secretary Straus of which the following is a copy:

"Department of Commerce and Labor
"Washington, January 28, 1907.

"My dear Mr. Secretary:

"I return herewith Senate Bill 5469, forwarded in your letter of January 25, with the request that I report whether there were any objections to its approval by the President.

"There are no objections to the approval of this measure by the President. In his message to Congress of December, 1904, and his messages of December, 1905 and 1906, the President urged Congress to make possible the investigation authorized in this bill, but the measure now submitted for approval only partially meets the recommendations made by the President. It authorizes and directs the investigation and report, but it does not provide ant means with which to carry out an adequate investigation.

"The subject of both women and child wage-earners is not only one of extreme importance, but of late years it has been focusing public attention more and more, and, if an investigation of the subject is to be made, it must be adequate and conclusive, as far as it is practicable within whatever field it covers. Otherwise, it will simply add fuel to debate and serve no useful purpose.

"Last year, in order to carry the recommendations made in the President's message, in so far as it concerned the investigation of women wage-earners, my predecessor recommended an increase of $200,000 in the appropriation for the Bureau of Labor. This amount did not contemplate the investigation into the condition of wage-earning children, as that subject had already been presented to the House in a separate bill. In my judgement, an appropriation of $150,000 ought to be made to carry out the investigation directed [page 2] in the accompanying act, with the authority on the part of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor to appoint a number of men and women in addition to such as are provided in the Act, who are competent to make the investigation. In many respects it will be a most important investigation into social conditions, and it would better not be made at all than to be made in a super field and inadequate way. I suggest that the President return the bill with his approval, and accompany it with a message pointing out the necessity of this appropriation, in order properly to carry out the directions of Congress.

"I am, very truly yours,
"Oscar S. Straus

"Hon. William Loeb, Jr.

"Secretary to the President."

As Secretary Straus states, it authorizes and directs and investigation and report, but does not provide any appropriation with which to carry out adequate investigation. I do not believe the amount recommended by Secretary Straus, $150,000, is sufficient to carry out the purpose of this act, and I strongly urge that at least double that amount be appropriated.

Very truly yours,



Hon. William B. Allison,

Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,

United State Senate.

(Above letter [also sent to the Chairman of the Appropriations] Committee of the House.)

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