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DEPUSIT :D BY THE
LETTER OF SUBMITTAL
To the Congress of the United States:
I have the honor to submit herewith the Thirty-third Annual Report of the Federal Trade Commission for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1947. A limited number of copies of the report is being printed by the Federal Trade Commission. By direction of the Commission:
GARLAND S. FERGUSON, Chairman.
The Federal Trade Commission herewith submits its report for the fiscal year July 1, 1946, to June 30, 1947.
The Commission, an administrative agency, was organized March 16, 1915, under the Federal Trade Commission Act which was approved September 26, 1914. It was the intent of the Congress in the
passage of the Federal Trade Commission Act to create an independent agency which would assist in the successful operation and perpetuation of free enterprise and the competitive system of economy.
The duties of the Commission fall into two categories: (1) Legal activities in the enforcement of the laws it administers and (2) general investigations of economic conditions in interstate and foreign commerce.
The legal activities of the Commission have largely to do with the prevention and correction of “unfair methods of competition" in accordance with section 5 of the Commission's organic act, and with the prevention of “unfair and deceptive acts and practices" in accordance with the Wheeler-Lea amendment of March 21, 1938, to the organic act. The phrase “unfair methods of competition” is not defined in the act. In the first case in which the Supreme Court had occasion to consider this language, namely, F.T.C.v. Gratz, 253 U. S. 421, the Court associated with the phrase those practices "opposed to good morals because characterized by deception, bad faith, fraud, or oppression, or as against public policy because of their dangerous tendency unduly to hinder competition or create monopoly."
The Wheeler-Lea amendment broadens the organic act by charging the Commission with the duty of preventing unfair and deceptive acts so as to extend the same protection to the consuming public that the original act extended to competitors. The Commission does not concern itself with purely private competitive controversies. Under the organic act it is empowered to proceed only as it appears to the Commission that the particular proceeding would be “to the interest of the public.”