The Waldorf Conference • A Play

Production Inquiries

Cast of Characters

James F. Byrnes

James F. "Jimmy" Byrnes, former Secretary of State, had been hired on March 2, 1947 as the chief legal counsel for the producers, demoting Paul V. McNutt, who remained on staff. His original job was to develop a set of fair trade practices for the industry, but when the HUAC meetings were announced he was appointed the industry's point man to present their case before the Committee. Yet on September 10, 1947 he announces that he will not be coming to Washington.

At the start of the Waldorf Conference a committee is asked to provide legal groundwork for firing the Unfriendly Ten, and Byrnes heads it, making his report early-on.

The problem is that California law prohibits discrimination based on one's political beliefs. Byrnes opines that the Ten could nevertheless be fired through the "morals clause" in their contracts because they had brought disrepute upon the film industry. Such clauses had been standard in Hollywood since attacks over film content from the Legion of Decency. Byrnes also assured the men that the government would not interfere with their actions if they did fire the Ten, such knowledge clearly justifying Eric Johnston's hiring of ex-Secretary of State Byrnes.