Wednesday, June 4, 2014

US Union Protested Against Ganapathy's Execution - Telegram to British Embassy in Washington DC

While going through some files related to S. A Ganapathy in National University of Singapore Library, I came across a protest telegram dated 10th June 1949 from the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union in San Francisco (which primarily represent dock workers in United States) to British Embassy in Washington.

(Apologies for the fine print of the copy) The telegram as follows:

Ref:111/44/49

British Embassy
Washington
22nd June 1949

Dear,

I am sending a copy of a telegram which we have received from the President of the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union in San Francisco.

2. The Union protest against the hanging of S.A Ganapathy, President of the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions. You will see that the Union have received information which gives then the impression that 15,000 innocent Malayans have been victimized by the British authorities for belonging to Trade Unions and advocating that the British get out of their country.

3. We have sent a brief acknowledgement to the Union and would be grateful if you would let us know whether you wish any further reply to be sent to them, and if so, the facts you would like us to present and the general line you would like us to take.

4. The Union of Longshoreman and Warehousemen is a large one operating throughout the West Coast and led by Mr.Bridges who has been a thorn in the side of Britain and its alleged imperialism for some consideration time. He is at present awaiting trial for perjury.

Yours ever,
E. H. Roach
For Colonial Attache


Harry Renton Bridges


(Telegram from Harry Bridges - President of the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union)

SAN FRANCISCO CALIF JUNE 10
SIR OLIVER FRANKS BRITISH EMBASSY

ON BEHALF OF THE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF OUR UNION WE PROTEST THE HANGING BY YOUR GOVERNMENT MAY 4 OF PRESIDENT S.A GANAPATHY OF PAN MALAYAN FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS

THE ACT CAN BE CALLED ONLY BRITISH IMPERIALIST MURDER AND ONE OF LAST DESPERATE STABS OF THE DYING IMPERIALIST SYSTEM

OUR INFORMATION IS THE EFFECT THAT MORE THAN 15,000 INNOCENT MALAYANS HAVE BEEN JAILED FLOGGED TORTURED OR KILLED BY THE BRITISH AUTHORITY FOR THE PAST YEAR FOR NO OTHER CRIME BUT THAT OF BELONGING TO UNIONS AND ADVOCATING THAT BRITISH GET OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY AND LEAVE IT TO THE PEOPLE WHO TRULY OWN IT

THE CRIME OF YOUR GOVERNMENT BECOMES ALL MORE SHOCKING WHEN WE CONSIDER THAT IN PART IT WAS CARRIED OUT WITH WEAPON AND MONEY PRODUCED AND FURNISHED BY THE PEOPLE AND THE TRADE UNION MEMBERS OF UNITED STATES.

HARRY BRIDGES PRESIDENT
LOUIS GOLDBLATT SECRETARY

TREASURER

INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN AND WAREHOUSEMEN UNION

It is quite a revelation for me to read a telegram from one of the most prominent unionist in America, Harry Bridges who had lead the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union for more tha 40 years and he was prosecuted by the U.S. government during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. His conviction by a federal jury for having lied about his Communist Party membership was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1953.

It is sad that British government portrayed Ganapathy as a communist terrorist and a bandit. For many years, it has also imparted its tactic to demonise Ganapathy and PMFTU through enforcement of draconian law of Sedition Act and Internal Security Act. Even, there were arrests made in after independence related to Ganapathy.

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