We received the following communication:
Dear Mr. Editor,
We were astonished to read on page 470 of the Standard Bearer of September 1, 1944, what Mr. Richard Tempelman had written to you in a personal letter. He undoubtedly did not intend it for publication. And, Mr. Editor, we were mystified also by your action. What did you hope to gain by the publication of that letter, without having tried to verify its contents? Surely it could serve no good purpose.
As to the contents of the letter: we will answer the charges. We particularly resent the attack upon the Convention procedure and the reflection on the C.L.A. Secretary. It is true that debate on the proposal of Local 12 was limited to one hour. But that was done for no other reason than that time was very limited since we met for only one afternoon in Convention. Mr. Tempelman did not, either at the National Board meeting, held in the forenoon of the same day, nor at the Convention meeting protest about this limitation. He also failed to mention that at the National Board meeting, held in the morning, the question was discussed for more than an hour in his presence, and that the National Board could then already have decided by a large majority to recommend to the Convention not to adopt the proposal of Local 12, but that it did not make use of that prerogative, but instead decided to bring the proposal before the Convention without comment, in order to avoid even the semblance of high pressure tactics.
It is true that the C.L.A. secretary spoke on the proposal ahead of the delegates from Local 12, but that was not intentional. The Secretary was asked by the President to place the proposal before the meeting, in his capacity as secretary, which he did. Pie then stated what the C.L.A.’s position on the strike had always been, that it is the historical position of the Christian labor movement, that the arguments presented by Local 12 were not convincing, and that therefore the Executive Committee was opposed to adoption of the proposal. Instead of taking up the greater part of the hour we will vouch for it that the secretary did not take more than ten minutes! When Mr. Tempelman later stated that he did not like that procedure the secretary frankly stated that he didn’t either, but that it was not improper and that no harm had been done.
That was entirely true. The simple fact is that the delegation that was supposed to defend Local 12’s proposal was confused about the whole thing. Mr. Tempelman himself admits the inability to defend the proposal, but tries to put the blame on the secretary who supposedly “put a rope around the necks” of the Local 12 delegates. Whatever Mr. Tempelman means by that expression, it is absurd.
The brother did not state facts either when he said that Local 12’s delegates tried to get another word for the word “strike” when they realized the hopelessness of getting anywhere with the original proposal. Fact is that in the debate they were led to admit that it was not so much against the use of the strike in principle that they were opposed, but to the use of the word “strike” as used by the radical unions because of its offensive implications. Mr. I. De Mey, of the Tailors Local, who drew that statement from them, was thereupon very quick to point out that then the proposal did not make sense and that it should have dealt only with the substitution of another word for the word “strike.” The delegate from Kalamazoo, Mr. P. Smit, thereupon asked whether such a word could not be found, and the Secretary stated that he too had been looking for another word, and that the best he could think of was “cessation of work.” Others pointed out that a change was necessary but that we would have to instruct the people that what the C.L.A. understands by a strike is something different than that of the unchristian organizations. The delegates of Local 12 were told that if a substitute for the word strike was what they were seeking another proposal to that effect ought to be brought next year. Thereupon the proposal before the Convention was voted down.
That, Mr. Editor, is the true and complete story, to which the undersigned six members of the Executive Committee, outside of the Secretary, attest. If that is not sufficient we are sure that we can get testimony to the truthfulness of it from practically all those who were present at the Convention.
We request that you, in fairness to us and to remove the unfair reflection on the C.L.A. Secretary, publish this letter in the next issue of The Standard Bearer.
Ralph De Groot
Henry C. Van Wyk
And now: no further personal insinuations. And only one name, please!