|Reports submitted to the Conference||Reports of the Commissions and Committees||Texts Adopted||Other Documents|
Argentine, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chili, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Persia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Siam, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Preparations leading to the First Conference
On 11 April 1919, the Peace Conference approved the provisions concerning a First Meeting of the International Labour Conference at Washington in October 1919, and these provisions contained the Agenda for this meeting.
An International Organising Committee composed of seven members was appointed by the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, and Switzerland to work on documentary preparation. The Committee held seven sittings from 14 April to 4 August 1919 to undertake the preliminary arrangements for the First Session of the International Labour Conference.
The Committee decided in the first place that it would be necessary to consult the Governments of the various Members of the Organization on each of the questions to be treated at the Conference, and from the replies received to draw up the information of the Delegates to the Conference condensed reports showing the scope of existing law and the attitude of the Governments regarding each problem.
From 6 May to 9 May, the Committee met in London. They drew up a questionnaire relative to the five items included in the Agenda by the Peace Conference, and circulated it to the 45 Governments named in the Annex to the Covenant of the League of Nations, together with a covering letter dated 10 May 1919 explaining the purpose of the questionnaire and the urgency of replies.
The meetings of the Organising Committee, held in Paris on 28 and 29 June, and in London, 31 July and 5 August, were busy with answering the various questions asked by the different Governments, taking note of the relations established with the League of Nations, proposing urgent measures relative to the organization of the Conference by the American Government, discussing the draft reports on the subjects included in the Agenda, drawing up a draft of the rules for the International Conference (Article 401 of the Peace Treaty and Article 17 of the Statutes), and proposing a provisional list of the eight States of chief industrial importance.
Later, the Committee summed up its work and its proposals in a circular dated 20 August 1919, addressed to all the Governments, and through them to all the Delegates already appointed.
The Organising Committee prepared reports based on the replies to questionnaires received from the various governments. In each case, the Committee has appended to the Report a Convention or Recommendation based on the information received, which it suggests might serve as a basis for the discussions of the Conference.
I. Report on the Eight-Hours Day or Forty-Eight Hours Week (Item 1 of the Agenda);
II. Report on Unemployment (Item 2 of the Agenda);
Ill. Report on the Employment of Women and Children and the Berne Conventions of 1906 [Items 3 (a), 3 (b), 3 (c), 4 (a), 4 (b), 4 (c), and 5 of the Agenda];
IV. Supplemental Report on certain countries from which information was received too late for inclusion in Reports I, II. and III.
These reports stated (1) the scope of the existing law on the subjects in question and the nature of the measures taken in the countries concerned to deal with the problems involved; (2) the attitude of the Governments towards these problems as expressed in their replies to the questionnaires and (3) the proposals, based upon (1) and (2), put forward to the Conference by the Organising Committee.
These proposals took the form either of recommendations to the Conference or of projected Draft Conventions which might form a basis for discussion:
In continuation of its work of preparation for the Conference, the Organising Committee formulated a draft of the Standing Orders to govern the procedure of the Conference. The draft for the First Session of the International Labour Conference circulated with the letter of 20 August 1919.
The Conference appointed a Commission consisting of three delegates to be responsible for examining cases based on the credentials of delegates and their advisers. The Commission on Credentials presented its Report, and later a Supplementary Report.
The First Conference
The First Session of the International Labour Conference occurred from 29 October 1919 to 29 November 1919 in the Pan-American Building in Washington, USA. The Conference was attended by 123 Delegates (73 Government, 25 Employers and 25 Workers representatives), accompanied by 155 technical advisers, representing 40 countries.
The Conference was presided by William Bauchop Wilson (USA), and the three Vice-Presidents selected were: George Nicoll Barnes (United Kingdom), Jules Carlier (Belgium) and Léon Jouhaux (France).
The Chairman of the Organising Committee submitted the Report in the second sitting on 29 October 1919, and the Report was adopted in the third sitting on 30 October.
The Conference held twenty-five plenary sittings. At the conclusion of each sitting, a verbatim report was printed by the Secretariat, appended to the report, the list of delegates and advisers presented at the sitting, together with the texts adopted and the results of the votes.
A Drafting Committee was appointed by the Conference to draw up the decisions adopted by the Conference in the form of Draft Conventions or Recommendations. After the sittings, the following Recommendations and Draft Conventions were adopted:
During the Conference, several Motions were presented by Delegates and the following 19 Resolutions were adopted:
The First meeting of the International Labour Conference was declared closed on 27 January 1920. This is the date to be considered, in accordance with Article 405, paragraph 5 of the Treaty of Versailles, in determining the time limits within which the Members of the Labour Organisation have undertaken to bring the Draft Conventions and Recommendations adopted at the Washington meeting before the authority or authorities within whose competence the matter lies, for the enactment of legislation or other action.