Joseph E. Davies to Woodrow Wilson


Joseph E. Davies to Woodrow Wilson


Davies, Joseph Edward




1913 December 27


Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence




My dear Mr. President

Under separate cover, I have mailed to you a survey of the trust question. It will doubtless present nothing new; but it may serve to refresh your recollection as to some of these matters.
It is an attempt to present in brief, digested form a fairly comprehensive and logical summary of the question from both an economic and a legal aspect. The leather-bound text you can scan through readily in an hour or two. The exhibits, which are referred to, amplify the text and it occurred to me that you might wish to refer to them. If not, they can be readily returned. Enclosed herewith there are also submitted suggestions as to legislation which have worked themselves out in my mind as a result of this study.
While no reference has been made in the memorandum enclosed to the Democratic platform, it was nevertheless made with the provisions of the platform distinctly in mind.
The concrete recommendations of the platform, as to holding companies, interlocking directorates, stock watering, discrimination in prices, the restoration of the Sherman Law to its original strength of which it had been deprived by judicial interpretation, the control by any one corporation of so large a proportion of any industry as to make it a menace to competitive conditions, are covered in this recommendation with the exception of the last named. This proposition might well be referred to an interstate trade commission for investigation and report.
Neither have I made any suggestions as to those trade agreements which are alleged to be helpful to competition but which are now under the ban of the law. There is so much doubt about these agreements that in my judgment the matter had also best be referred to some such body for investigation and recommendation.
It is my judgment that an Interstate Trade Commission would be received with great favor by the progressive thought of the country and as well by the business interests of the country. While there is no express platform declaration for such a body, it is a necessary corollary to legislation as to holding companies and stock watering. The purpose of such a commission is, moreover, entirely consonant with the purpose of restoring competition and enforcing the Sherman Law. The extent to which the commission idea has taken hold of the country was impressed upon me particularly by the great preponderance of support which the idea received from the South, and which you will find in the compilation of opinions in Exhibit number seven.
From contact with members of the House and Senate, who have given any thought to this matter, it appears to me also that there is no very distinct or decided opposition to the idea. Opinion does not seem to have crystallized. They are waiting for your expression upon the subject.
As a matter of course I have refrained from doing anything in this situation except to proffer the services of the Bureau of Corporations to the committees in the House and in the Senate. If you would regard it as helpful in any way, I should be very glad to submit for your examination drafts of bills or a bill covering these suggestions. It was with some hesitation that I intruded this matter upon your attention during this holiday season but it was with the hope that it might be of aid to you in some small measure.
The whole country is praying that you may come back refreshed and fully restored to your usual splendid health and vigor.Mrs. Davies and the little ones wish to be remembered to Mrs. Wilson and the young ladies and yourself very cordially.

Faithfully yours,
Joseph E. Davies.

Hon. Woodrow Wilson,
President of the United States,
Pass Christian, Miss.

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924



Davies, Joseph Edward, “Joseph E. Davies to Woodrow Wilson,” 1913 December 27, WWP18251, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.