THE PRESIDENCY: Momentous Meeting

Belatedly—and somewhat reluctantly —Harry Truman had pinned all his hopes on the Labor-Management Conference. As the 36 delegates settled down to work this week in the paneled rooms of the Labor Department, they carried a burden of responsibility and trust such as had seldom been placed by a President of the U.S. on a group of private citizens.

As the conference opened, Harry Truman stood up before the delegates, a grave, grey man in a dark blue suit, and read gravely and greyly from his black looseleaf notebook: "[The eyes of the American people] are turned here in the expectation that...