More than two hundred leading New England business executives will attend a conference on the business problems of the national defense effort at the Business School this Saturday and Sunday under the auspices of the Business School and the New England Council, the University announced last night.
The purpose will be to provide New England business men with technical knowledge of the defense program, to show how New England business may best play its part in the national effort, and to clarify the nature of the international crisis, Philip Cabot '97, Professor of Business Administration, Chairman of the conference, explained.
Among the speakers will be Sir Wilmott Lewis of the Times, of London; Colonel A. B. Quinton Jr., Chief of the Procurement Planning Division of the Ordnance Department, U. S. Army; and Ralph E. Flanders, President of the New England Council.
Other Meetings Later
Three or four similar national defense meetings for business men will be held at the School at four-week intervals, after February 15, Professor Cabot announced.
The present conference is an expansion of the Business Executives Discussion Group which has met at the Business School five or six times a year since 1934.
Professor Cabot will preside at the conference. The speakers at the daytime sessions on Saturday, February 15, at the Business School, will be George S. Petiee, Instructor in Government at Harvard, on "The World Crisis;" Professor Cabot, on "Will The Sleeper Awake;" Howard T. Lewis, professor of Marketing on "Production for Defense;" and Colonol Quinton.
Sir Wilmott Lewis will speak on "The Realities of Our Revolutionary Time," at the Saturday evening dinner to be held at the Harvard Club of Boston.
The Sunday speakers, at the Business School, will be Professor Stanley F. Toele, of the Business School, on "Prioriities Now;" Mr. Couil E. Frasor, Research Associate of the Business School, on "How to Deal with the Government;" and Mr. Flanders, on "This Arsenal of Democracy." General discussion periods will be held at each session.
Purpose of Conference
Explaining the purpose of the conference, Professor Cabot said:
"With the overrunning of Holland and Belgium, and the collapse of the French Republic last summer, the United States was brought face-to-face with a crisis, the nature and magnitude of which we do not yet understand.
"That it is a crisis no one can doubt, and that it will demand intense effort and great sacrifice we are beginning to perceive. Under those circumstances, Dean Donham decided that the Harvard Business School could serve our society best by making available to New England business men the large and growing volume of technical knowledge in regard to the defense program which we have here.
"New England business is built on the foundation of small business units, which are organized for mutual benefit under the New England Council. It seemed obvious, therefore, that a joint effort by the Harvard Business School and the New England Council was indicated. This combination has been achieved, so that we now have the resources of Harvard University coordinated with this New England organization of business men.
Question of Threat
"Our subject is 'National Defense' and our first question must be,-- What danger threatens us? This question has received so many answers in recent weeks as to remind us of the Tower of Babel. We must try to reduce chaos to order.
"The fundamental structure of the defense organization is a corollary to this question and should therefore follow it. We can then proceed to some of the most urgent problems, such as national unity in defense, the training of skilled workers, and the problem of putting business on a war-time basis. Lastly, we shall come to the problems of administration under a war economy where the Federal government is the only buyer.
"Thus, in addition to making available to New England business men our technical knowledge in regard to the defense program, it is hoped that we may be able to clarify the nature and extent of the crisis, and to indicate to New England business men how best to play their part.