Memorandum to Mrs. Harriman Concerning Miss Addam's Letter, April 24, 1914


April 24, 1914.


1. Miss [Addams] offers a very constructive suggestion in connection with her reference to the department of Agriculture making "rules about the treatment of animals for the purpose of preventing contagious disease -- which rules the various states might adopt and authorize the governor to enter into negotiations to have the federal authorities enforce within the states boundaries." The feasibility of her suggestion that such a principle might be incorporated in a law providing for a federal council on Industrial Relations, I should like to study into a little further and discuss with you later.

2. Miss [Addams'] belief that "greater flexibility in the administration of the laws is extremely dangerous" makes me aware of a faulty wording of our program. My first thought on reading her letter was that she had misread recommendation II. Studying the flexibility of the recommendation develops the fact that it is capable of the interpretation Miss [Addams] has given it. The purpose of the recommendation, however, was to provide flexibility in the law (not in its administration) so as to permit its executors to standardize hours, wages and conditions of labor, etc. There was no thought that the standards once made should be applied or administered flexibly. I should like to discuss with you an amended wording of this section in order to prevent further misunderstanding. Miss [Addams] makes no other criticism of the program.

M. L. O.

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