The Multinational Monitor


L E T T E R S   T O   T H E   E D I T O R

Council of the Americas

Normally, we have an automatic procedure for adding individuals to our mailing list. You will not be added because you apparently do not know what "off-the-record" means. [AM requested on May 13 to be placed on the mailing list of the Council of the Americas - Ed. Note.]

Your June 1982 issue reported on the Corporate Briefing held in New York. Robert H. Holden may be freelance, but the responsibility for honoring off-the-record meetings is squarely yours. Your professionalism as a journalist is in question.

Mr. Holden noted happily that somebody slipped up and I, sent him an invitation. He registered for the meeting as a consultant for a Cleveland law firm, and as a writer for your magazine. His entry into the meeting is as questionable as his sense of professional ethics.

Realizing that the viewpoint of Multinational Monitor is not consistent with my own, I have nonetheless been as cooperative as possible in speaking with your staff over the last few years. Debate is good for all of us. I do not, however, have a tolerance for the unprofessionalism exhibited by Mr. Holden and you.

Please don't bother to call our offices for information in the future.

- Samuel L. Hayden
Council of the Americas
New York, NY

The indignant tone of Mr. Hayden's letter masks one paramount fact: multinational corporations thrive on secrecy. Hiding behind a "proprietary" curtain, a few corporate executives routinely gather to exchange views and arrive at policies that may signal ruin for a country's economy and hardship for its people.

The reporting by Robert Holden in our last issue revealed the fact that corporate executives are vehemently opposed to the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and are looking forward to "the removal of the Sandinistas" from power. For stockholders of these companies, citizens of Nicaragua, citizens of the United States, and citizens of other countries in the Americas, this information - as well as the undisguised adoration corporate executives showed toward Latin dictators - surely would be newsworthy.

Since corporate executives refuse to allow their decisions and policies to be subject to public scrutiny, journalists concerned with airing the truth about the influential actions of multinationals are placed in an unenviable bind: either don't report the facts, or disregard a tacit understanding.

For the record, Multinational Monitor requested permission to attend the conference. The American Chamber of Commerce for Latin America, which cosponsored the conference with Mr. Hayden's Council of the Americas, rejected the request. We then asked to attend a press briefing the two organizations held a week later. We were informed that only the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal were invited.

- The Editor


It was only through your publication that I was made aware that I was a shareholder (small though it may be) of Phibro.

I don't usually return proxies since names don't mean anything to me.

But in this case, when I got around to reading the propositions, I put in my two cents' worth.

The fact that Dean Witter Reynolds was mentioned might have some impact.

Keep up your good work!

- Rejane Drobey
San Francisco, CA

Robot Redux

What kind of a "union organizer" is A.P. Kangas? (See MM, letters, May 1982.) No union man anywhere welcomes robots or any other kind of automation.

I work for the Santa Fe Railroad in Hutchinson, Kansas as a control clerk. Right now, thanks to our union BRAC selling us out and the installation of CRT's, we are being computerized out of jobs. Thanks to computers, railroad clerks face a dim future. About a year ago railroad employment was about 500,000, now it's about 470,000. In the next five years it will drop in my estimate below 450,000. Thanks to computers and "free enterprise..."

- Stephen C. Condit
Hutchinson, Ks

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