February 17, 1916.
My dear Miss Wald:
The letters which come in to The Survey from different sources make me more and more convinced that we are losing a great opportunity in not pushing forward a constructive program as well as the negative "Anti-Preparedness". As you know, with yourself and Rabbi Wise, I was fundamentally opposed to calling our committee by its present name, and would have fought against it had I been present at the meeting in which the change was made. At the same time, as I was not there, and as the people at the Washington meeting in which the change was made could size up the tactics which would count for most, I was and [am] entirely willing to waive my judgment in meeting the present congressional situation. The alarmists put such a concrete and extreme [meaning] into the phrase "preparedness" that it is a good thing to fight, and it is the first thing we must fight. On the other hand, I think our committee ought to stake its claims strongly and affirmatively for the constructive [side] of its program; and if the Anti-Preparedness Committee is not prepared to do that I would be for getting our old Henry Street group together or some other body to see if we cannot further this, to my mind, the big end of our [illegible] of foreign policy.
Here we have Roosevelt putting forward an active international program backed up by, if not based on, the doctrine of military force. Here we have Wilson with a negative international program linked up in recent months with a negative proposal of national defense.
The time is ripe -- and I believe that people would leap toward it, who have been drifting into preparedness merely because preparedness is active -- for a program which would be international, but in which the efficient military unit would be but a fragment of a large program for social strength and fitness. In other words, it seems to me we ought to [make] both the war scare and the lesson which the military leaders of Europe are giving us in developing human and natural resources as two motive factors in pushing through a program for human conservation and national growth which might otherwise take years to promote.
Against Wilson's national defense and isolation on the one hand, and Roosevelt's big stick and aggression on the other, we could, I believe, put forward something as a minority program which would get across and modify the policies which, under either leadership, will find expression at the national political conventions this summer.
To be concrete, as one method I should like to see a series of pamphlets brought out in words of one syllable, if need be, setting forth such subjects as the following:
In international relations: (a) a plan for a neutral conference and continuous mediation leading up to (b) international law-making, conciliation and judicial bodies; (c) the substitution of economic pressure for military force in bringing nations into line; (d) the standards of colonial policies which enlightened [page 2] public opinion should insist upon under any flag; (e) the conservation of the liberties, culture and freedom of subject peoples however the war ends, and covering such regions as Persia and Poland as well as Belgium; (f) free trade, the open door and freedom of the sea.
In our own foreign policy: -- (a) the active steps taken to secure political and social [cooperation] with South America as well as Europe; (b) to call a Pacific conference and provoke an understanding between the peoples which dwell about its shores which will be in keeping with the name of the ocean; (c) the possibilities of an immigration policy which will iron out our difficulty on that score with Japan; (d) the taking over by the federal government of liability for injury to the person or [property] of foreigners so as to avoid a repetition of the Louisiana case.
With respect to our own national strength: (a) the possibility of developing an army [illegible] of conservation -- to clear waste land, to drain and forest areas which in a national emergency could be turned into an army of national defense; rather than now, a great military army which can be only partially utilized for social purposes during the years it is idle; (b) the possibilities of democratizing our military service and of turning it into a training school; (c) Rabbi Wise's suggestion of compulsory social service for a year for every man and woman growing up in America; (d) vocational and physical training for the youth of America linked with a program for raising the child labor age another notch; (e) the possibilities for utilizing the slack seasons in industry for the development vocationally and physically of wage earners; (f) the possibility of a month in the open -- in the woods -- for every growing American city-dweller; (g) elimination of pork-barrel army posts; (h) development of our coast defenses; (i) the spreading out of military expenditures through income taxes rather than through general taxation.
The above headings are, of course, not of equal values. I have not attempted to [phrase] them; but by making them rather inclusive, I have endeavored to show the [broad] field which has not as yet been successfully opened up by any organization in an aggressive way. It would not, of course, be necessary to reach conclusions on all the issues by any means, in bringing out a series of pamphlets which would discuss them at the hand of competent writers.