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Ford to Face Proxy Battle

Bennett on Board of Directors

By Rob Eggert

The Project for Corporate Responsibility has placed two proposals on the Ford Motor Company proxy statement in its continuing campaign against the ten biggest corporations in America.

The first proposal would require Ford to nominate to the Board of Directors women and representatives of employee organizations, consumer interests, and minority groups.

George F. Bennett '33, treasurer of the College, is currently serving on the board. He could not be reached for comment on the proposal last night.

The second proposal calls on Ford to disclose information in its annual report on the company's pollution-control, autosafety, and minority-hiring practices. The informations would include:

* descriptions of specific new techniques developed by the Corporation to promote air-pollution control and motor-vehicle safety:

* employment data showing the proportion of blacks, Orientals, Indians, Mexican Americans, and women in different job categories ranging from service workers to officials and mangers;

* an account of the money spent and the manpower employed in developing low or non-polluting automobile engines and mass produceable auto-safety devices:

* an account of the money spent and manpower employed in the training and recruitment of minority-group members.

The Second proposal permits Ford to withhold any information which would put the company at "a competitive disadvantage."

Harvard owns 293.578 shares of Ford stock valued at more than $18 million.

Stephen B. Farber '63, assistant to the President, said yesterday that the Corporation would examine the Project's proposals, as well as other shareholders' resolutions, at a meeting Monday.

The project is concentrating on soliciting support for its proposals from institutional investors such as private foundations and universities.

The Project has sent a letter to the presidents of 65 colleges, including the Presidents of all the Ivy league Colleges, urging them "to consult the entire university community--students, faculty, employees, and alumni--in deciding how to vote" on the insurgent resolutions.

In an introductory statement accompanying the letter. The Project said that universities had "a special obligation" to "use their power as major shareholders to make corporations more responsive to society's needs."

Ford shareholders will vote on The Project's proposals at Ford's annual meeting in Detroit, Mich. on May 11.

The Project has also submitted resolutions to five major American drug companies. Harvard owns nearly $7 million worth of stock in two of the firms, Merck and Co. and Warner-Lamert Co.

One of the resolutions called for the drug companies to study the effect of their advertising on the drug problem. A second resolution called for the elimination of certain drug labelling abuses. The Project charged that some companies water down or delete the warnings on drugs shipped to foreign countries.

Of the five companies, only Merck and Co. has held their stockholders meeting. Both resolutions were overwhelmingly defeated, with the drug abuse proposal receiving only 2 per cent of the vote and the labelling proposal even less.

In a separate action, the Council for Corporate Review, a Minneapolis-based organization, sponsored a shareholder's resolution requiring five defense contractors--including Honeywell, Inc., and Sperry Kand--to establish Committees on Economic Conversion to plan for a smooth transition from military to civilian production. Harvard owns nearly $5.5 million of stock in these two companies.

On Wednesday, 98.4 per cent of the stockholders at Honeywell's annual meeting voted against the resolution. Another resolution, requesting a detailed report of Honeywell's involvement in the Indochina war, was also overwhelmingly defeated. The resolution had been sponsored by the National Clergy and Laymen Concerned.

Farber said yesterday he will disclose on Monday how the Corporation voted on their various resolutions

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