International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace
Dec. 17th. 1915.
Dear Miss Addams,
We are all extremely sorry to hear that you are in hospital and that the doctors consider it will be some time before you can travel to Europe. We do hope that you will soon be better. We received yesterday and the day before your two cables but have decided to put off the meeting till you can with safety be present. Your presence means so very much for the success of the meeting that as soon as you expressed your willingness to come, we were unanimous in thinking that the meeting should be postponed.
Under another cover you will receive the formal notice of the postponement of the meeting. There are other reasons connected with the difficulties of the communication between the different countries at present which make it not inadvisable that the meeting should be postponed.
In spite of the many difficulties we are making good progress in extending in the [organization]. Mme. Lima of Brazil has given us many useful names in South America. We have been able to write to women in the Argentine, Cuba, Venezuela, Uruguay and Panama. So far we have only had time to have a reply from Uruguay but the woman we wrote to there replied very sympathetically.
Many interesting acknowledgments of the Resolutions have been received from the smaller governments. The Prince of Siam tells us that the resolutions are so good that he can think of nothing better and the president of Cuba expresses sympathy with our work and says he is sure that if we send an [organizer] to Cuba we should have no difficulty in arousing sympathy among the women. We have since written to the five Cuban women.
Finland. We have had encouraging letters from Finland during the last fortnight. Annie Furuhjelm M.P., whom you met at Budapest, was prepared to come to the <our> meeting in Bern when it was to be held in conjunction with the meeting of the Anti-Oorlog Raad. We wired in time to put her off but hope that she will come to the meeting when it is really fixed. She tells us she has received a copy of the Report and sends us the names of the five Finish women for the Committee.
Letters stopped. Letters to Italy and Greece via France have recently been [returned] to us, even when registered. [page 2] They are apparently stopped by the military authorities. Our recent letters to the members of the Committee in Budapest have also been returned to us. They are apparently censored in Budapest itself, because the Budapest postmark appears on them. We have another address in Budapest but so far have had no success with it.
Russia. We have had letters lately from Mme. Chabanoff in Russia, who acknowledges <the> receipt of some of our News-Sheets and has [advised] us to get into touch with a Russian woman in Switzerland. She says that it is not possible for Russian women to work for peace at present. When we were in Russia, Miss Balch would tell you, the police called on officials of the Peace Society to inform them they were no longer to be allowed to work. This notwithstanding the fact that they had done nothing since the outbreak of war.
I should have said under Finland that Miss Furuhjelm also said that they were not able to do any work during the war.
Great Britain. We do not know how many of our letters get through. Some come quite quickly others take as long as a fortnight. The British Committee when I was in London thought that the fact that Miss Hobhouse was <had been> acting as secretary in this office made the censorship on their letters more severe. Of five News copies of the News-Sheet sent to different individuals addressed to the British offices, one addressed to me arrived almost at once, another addressed to Mrs. Barton followed. We have not so far heard whether the others have come arrived. [Today] however we have received a postcard dated London Dec. 13th. saying we <they> <we> have received that long agenda and notice of meeting which was posted only two days before, on December 11th, although the letter is dated Dec. 6th. It could not be better than that.
I see in the "Labour Leader" of last week that a meeting arranged by the International Women's League (that is the name of the [organization] in Great Britain now) which was to have been held in a big hall at London had to be put off because the owners of the hall had withdrawn their consent to the use of the hall. The subject of the meeting was to oppose conscription. Legally we have no conscription <in Gt. Britain> but there is a tendency to confuse anti conscription with anti recruiting. You would see that [a] meeting of the Union of Democratic Control had been broken up just before. I, being accustomed to these methods [as?] in our country, look on [such?] actions as merely <as> the first step to having [illegible] agitation, such as is run by the U.D.C. and the W.I.L., put on its feet.
We have one or two keen people in Great Britain saying they do not want to join in the I.W.L. and would like to affiliate directly with Headquarters.
Germany. We asked Lida Heymann to come and see us recently but she was stopped at the frontier and we received later a wire from her saying that she was forbidden to cross. We have no idea what the reason is. If she is forbidden to cross probably Dr. Augspurg would also be so forbidden. We do not know whether the reason is temporary. <Some letters from Germany take a long time to come.>
France. We had letters from France urging that the meeting should not be held in Amsterdam but at Bern. And <when> later [illegible] before the postponement of the meeting we wired urging them to come here Mme. Duchênes replied saying that for reasons of health, time <etc.> necessary and others they could not come to Holland. We have since heard indirectly that the Paris Office and Mme. Duchêne's House have been raided by the police and the correspondence with this office has been taken. [page 3] We have not heard yet whether the police think there is anything in the material to make a case of. They may simply return it without saying anything.
In the meantime the French women do not wish us to send them any communications for some weeks. This is one reason why it is rather an advantage that the meeting is postponed.
Money. We have had a woman-banker going through our books both to check them and to make proposals as to the best plan on which they should be kept. She first checked the receipts minus the expenditure and a fortnight ago we had a balance after paying for the printing of the Report and every thing else except a few outstanding bills, <a balance> of about $250. Since then we have received a few small sums, affiliation fees etc. and the very welcome sum of 324.27 Guilders collected by you and sent to us on the instructions of Mrs. Pinchot by the Fifth Avenue Bank, New York. We had before this sent a receipt only to the Bank as we thought you would shortly be here. <We have also a promise of a donation of $250 from a Danish woman and Norway is trying to raise $125 before April 1st>
Although we received on Nov. 27th. a cable from Rosika Schwimmer saying that Mr. Henry Ford had agreed that they day to give her $200.000 for the work of the International Committee of Women and that she would send $20.000 immediately and discuss later how to spend the other part of the money in the most effective way, Dr. Jacobs thought that this money should not be spent or accepted by the Committee until we were quite sure that no conditions were attached to which we could not agree. We have received no replies to our cables to you in which we asked which details Henry of Henry Ford's gift we could publish in the press and later "whether we can now begin spending Fords donation for extending our work". (see telegrams 6 and 7 in attached sheets A. & B.) We do not know therefore whether you received these <telegrams>.
Henry Ford's Expedition. In the European press a great deal of ridicule has been poured on the peace-ship and it has been impossible to ascertain what it really is. We were consulted by by our Committees in Scandinavia as to the action they should take with respect to the Ford ship and asking for information. We replied that we had no information about this ship, his party or his plan. We could therefore "form no opinion about his plan etc. till we have some good first hand information on the subject and we therefore advise you to be careful to make clear that Mr. Ford's campaign has nothing to do with our Committee." A copy of the letter sent is attached namely sheets A. and B.
Mme. Schwimmer wired here to Mrs. Ramondt inviting her as an individual to meet the ship at Kristiania to discuss important business. Mrs. Ramondt consulted us as to the action she should take. We could not give her any official advice as to action she should take as an individual but she decided to go and when in Scandinavia will meet the representatives of our Committees to hear their views on the subject when they are more fully informed. The Secretary of the Anti-Oorlog Raad had also been invited to go up and cables had been sent, we understand, to prominent peace-people in the three Scandinavian capitals asking them to arrange receptions for the peace-party.
Anti-Oorlog Raad. We have already told you in one of our circular Letters that the large anti-Oorlog Raag meeting is put off. We understand that no date has yet been fixed for [their] Congress.
Poland. Dr. Golińska whom you will <[illegible]> remember as the Polish delegate at the Congress, turned up last week for the meeting, not knowing it had been put off. She has got a Committee of five women in Krakau and gave us also names of prominent women in [Warsaw], [Lemberg] and [Poznań] to whom we shall write later. [page 4]
Governments on [Negotiations]. We do not know how much the statements made in the parliaments of Europe recently have been reported in your press but you will no doubt be glad to have the following details. The statements of Asquith and von Bethmann Hollweg go further than they have done before in expressing willingness for [negotiations].
Great Britain. Question in Parliament.
Mr. Snowden (Blackburn, Lab.) asked the Prime Minister if he would give an undertaking that no proposals made through neutrals or by any belligerent for negotiations based upon the evacuation of conquered territory shall be rejected by the Government without the knowledge of Parliament.
Mr. Asquith. -- As the hon. member is aware, the Governments of France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Great Britain have mutually agreed not to conclude peace separately during the present war. If proposals of a serious character for a general peace are put forward either directly or through a neutral Power by the enemy Governments, they will be first discussed by the Allied Governments; and till this contingency arises I cannot give any other pledge. Should proposals or peace be put forward it would be the desire of his Majesty's Government to take Parliament into its confidence at the earliest possible moment.
German Reichstag 9th. or 10th. December. Bethmann Hollweg in the course of his speech said
"If our enemies come to us with proposals proper to the dignity and assuring the safety of Germany, then we are always ready to discuss them."
Dutch Parliament [The Hague] Dec. 9th. Prime Minister. On the subject of mediation by the Netherlands said that it was too early yet to think of it. "When all the belligerents reach the conviction that the people's rights and [civilization] are better served by peace than by war, the time will have arrived for Holland as a small people <nation> to let her voice be heard."
"Those who thought of calling a Conference of Neutral States underestimated the accompanying difficulties. The Government have not convened any conference and though he does not deny that there may be a willingness among the neutrals to cooperate nevertheless there may be among them a difference of opinion as to the opportunities of such a conference."
With friendly greetings from Dr. Jacobs, Miss Manus and myself,
P.S. I drafted the above letter with the idea that Dr. Jacobs should go over it to see whether we wished to add anything but she has had to go to Groningen to the annual meeting of the National Suffrage Society, and it <this letter> must go off this afternoon to catch the mail.