Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, May 11, 1916

May 11.

Dear Miss Addams.

No news <mail> has reached me yet -- this is not surprising -- but I long to know how all goes with you and at home generally.

I wonder if people are getting any more conception of the real dignity, seriousness and above all promise of this work.

The difficulties sadly enough are mainly internal. When I see what it survives I almost share the transcendental conviction “nothing can stop it.” I also realize how [cursed?] -- as well as hampering -- is poverty.[page 2]

I think I wrote last when I had little to go on but Mr. Holt’s own account and this was not only [appealed?] by the ordinary personal equation but by a very baffling degree of inexactitude. I think the reorganization was necessary but a terrible lot of eggs were broken to make that [omelet]! He mistakes bluster and [illegible] <violence of> manner for decision and the Europeans don’t know what to make of it (especially the [illegible] <courteously> greedy) and the Americans hang their heads in shame.

There are other difficult personalities, Aked’s for instance and apparently Mrs. Bakker [though] I [page 3] she had left when I arrived.

[written on left margin] <This may not be fair. It is second hand.>

She is apparently able, intrigante and cliquish, working behind the scenes and holding Mr. Holt by personal influence to her views. Add to (1) this the remnants of Mme Schwimmer's influence, now eliminated except for a [illegible] little flickering trouble of intrigue behind the conference by her over-zealous friends; (2) the partisan oppositions of local (national) politics and tendencies in our difficult national groups, (3) the
apple of descent involved in a reorganization in which a small group of [disinvited] people were to choose <two> out of their number to [page 4] enjoy power, prestige and emoluments which the remainder felt they were to face the stigma of retiring discredited, (4) jealousy of influence at Detroit and desire to appear to hold it (5) the legitimate conflict of views of persons [illegible] [written on left margin] <e.g. Swiss <were> very sore over the [illegible] Dutch for having diverted Carnegie funds from Berne to The Hague.> (5) jealousy of different organizations among themselves, especially of and by the Anti [Oorlog] Raad and its affiliated organizations (6) the misunderstandings of language, {apparently e.g. Mr. Holts phrase of “cutting down the conference” was understood to be especially offensive} parliamentary order and manners above all manners -- notably Mr. Holts and Dr Akeds -- [page 5] and (7) [illegible] personal scandalous gossip (8) legitimate differences of views as to objects and methods of a very vaguely conceived enterprise [written on bottom margin] <For instance some came with preconceived plans of their own to be financed with Ford’s money and came to put through these entirely well meant plans which are fairly alien to any thing like continuous mediation> < and one would seem to have [illegible] (9) great doubt as to Mr. Fords intentions and persistence, which is now considerably allayed however <# [supp?] 5 b, c, d, e. Now would you not think that was enough to wreck anything.

And instead the situation grows daily better, the conference has more prestige even than it deserves but not more than it is going to deserve, I do believe <and> the turbid situation is getting clearer constantly. [page 6]

But now think of the difficulties we escaped -- in spite of the loose wild [illegible] inception of this all. <(1)> We had no (or almost no) people that were even mainly money-seekers [though] so few are wholly free of temptation to enjoy what is thrust into their hands.

Miss Wales will take nothing not even work for money -- now agrees to [break] through this sale to [extent] of simple semi-clinical tasks by the hour.

Mr. Lochner [illegible] has no salary -- not one penny all this time. Does have expenses.

Mr. Holt takes my desire to be in here financially independent as implying unwillingness to take an honorarium as delegate -- [page 7] but makes me a large expense allowance <c. 330 a month> {balance I propose} It does cost a lot here especially if one [illegible] saves time strength and appearances. I intend to account for my expenses and offer Mr. Holt the balance back asking if I may send this to the [International] committee. {Tentative plan}. I am not being reimbursed for $1250 I spent on [illegible] <spent> for my [illegible] substitutes, [although] I was called to get a substitute at Conference expense. I am absolutely [illegible] content. My not being repaid is my own work but I want you to know where I stand. [page 8] (2) We seem to have been wholly free of spies and such, though <the man so far employed as> the official interpreter is gossiped about.

(3) It really seems a miracle that we have had people really so fair minded, no partisanship so far as I can see on any side no intention to serve either side though I fear there is no question that hitherto the color has been pretty definitely pro entente. The Swiss will be in some degree or make [illegible] as to this.

[page 9] The man who comes out clean [and] fine in all this Mr. Lochner. I do admire and respect him. Plantiff put him in an impossible position by allowing Rosika to induce him <Plantiff> to alter Lochner’s instructions <so as to be> tying his hands. Then Mr Ford and Mr. Holt saw the unaltered instructions only and Lochner was held responsible for R’s outpourings over which he no control. He supposed F’d & H’t knew the facts and only H. only recently learned them. I don’t know if Mr. Ford yet knows and you know how hard an implanted prejudice is to root out of him. Plantiff apparently frequently made contracts when in a state not to remember afterward [page 10] what he had done.

Not without some interference and bringing to bear of influence for Mr. Holt & [etc] the national elections are now practically complete and by Monday we hope to be able to sit as, formally, the permanent committee, though the Swiss and Dutch permanent delegates will still be lacking.

Meanwhile we have been sitting as a provisional committee and doing more business in a day than the 30 did in a week (I judge)

The two We are sending a distinguished Swiss to confer with the Pope.

Through the Spanish ambassador [page 11] we are making another effort to get Spanish delegates. The Sp. ambassador is most [illegible] and furious at Altamira who wrote that Spaniards considered all moves toward peace as pro-German and that they had no sympathy with us. [written on left margin] <Relation of Minister to this confidential. You are free to say he is [illegible] cordial & that Spain undoubtedly would be interested in relations.>

Through Sir Esme Howard British ambassador here, we are sending in the names of [illegible] <some> distinguished men from whom they are <invited to> to select two whom they <to be> <permitted> us to send <go> into England [illegible] to talk over terms and discuss [etc etc]. We do not know that they will permit them but Sir E. H. is most friendly and ready to send in the names for consideration. [page 12]

Our plan is simultaneously send in two others to Germany. This has not got on as far yet, but meanwhile Mr Dr. Aked is going on to Germany through his friendship {w. Dr. Thomas Hall of Union Theological Sem -- now in Germany w. high and important connections through his German wife. We plan to have [Scherrer]-Fulleman meet to from Switzerland meet him there (Lochner going with him as secretary). But all this is very preliminary.} [written on left margin and pertaining text inside angled brackets] <confidential>

Meanwhile the really very difficult task -- in its nature parliamentary, deliberative and time consuming -- had been already done (that is the first part of it) in preparing the [page 13] proposals of peace terms. Imagine 30 persons of 6 nations arguing on the wording in open debate of such ticklish and red hot questions. Yet they did it and Mr. Holt considers them [illegible] <obstructionists> because it took them 3 weeks or more.

I dare say they <these proposals> have had no “press” in the U.S. but they have got in full into France & Germany and I believe England (we hear this but have no clippings yet) and are [being?] discussed. They [illegible] seem to me fair and (I mean full of fairness) and a happy mean between generalization & over concreteness but of course we get it hot and heavy for opposite faults [page 14] and for alleged contrary partialities. [illegible]<One distinguished Englishman> but [illegible] when asked if he thought them pro-German said emphatically no and even said that they [think] we have conceded too little to Germanys military success. I suppose this must not be so quoted as to bring it home to roost.

They <The proposals> are doing -- certainly in some measure -- what we hoped they would do -- did elicit discussion of terms and it is proving useful to see what people swallow and what they balk at.

We have done little as yet in the way of securing [illegible] consultation with [lead?], belligerents are nothing to bring [reprieves?] of together. [page 15] I hope we can get at this [illegible] now when we are properly [organized].

We shall now face the problem of <(1)> those who want to take <make> active mediation attempts and those who obstruct such action: and (2) those who want to devote ourselves to secret, [discrete] official channels and those who want to work on public opinion through publicity.

The problem is to use both these forces and both these methods (perhaps by subcommittees with [illegible] power) and to avoid their mutual cancelling out by each obstructing the other.

This is how I see it, at least. [page 16] At present we really are do moving along both paths As of the mediation I spoke above. Of <For> the latter we are for instance [illegible] <organizing> these 18th of May meetings everywhere in neutral countries on a large scale -- they promise really well here and I hope elsewhere --: by an appeal by B Georg Brandes, <to be put out by us with distinguished signatures also appeal by> Borg Borngräber, Selma Lagerlöf (?) and (we had hoped) by Romain Rolland <all this> to be put not by us with distinguished signatures [illegible] we hope in time for use at the May 18 meetings.

We shall [page 17]

We <are> also just about to publish a translation of part of Harden's extraordinarily interesting April 22 [Zukunft] article If I were Wilson. I am hoping to get Vernon Lee’s, Peace with Honour put into German similarly. Does this meet your recommendations to me, as far as it goes.

Now as to another aspect:

The place of meeting --

We may move to <The> Hague {special difficulties involved there in my opinion you feel this less than I do.} Berne would communicate with Eng. and U.S. be too difficult? Fr. Ger. and Italy accessible. We are perhaps likely to go to Copenhagen or Chist’a: we may itinerate like early kings! [page 18] Now as to the American situation. When I arrived to find [illegible] 2 seats instead of 5 for our national group and I no. 3 it was a horrid situation. Mr. Barry, though he thought Aked ought to be the one to go, was absolutely gentlemanly & nice I decided <to vote> for Aked as against Barry preferring a <plus> and a minus to a zero -- so I judged their relative contributions to the conference work. So I was elected with Aked -- nothing in the way of possible involved but what an impossible situation for us all! I hope I did right.

So it now stands Aked & EGB. I wish both might be superseded [page 19] by really suitable people. Dr. Aked is a very curious and [illegible] interesting personality -- a very genuine problem both because he domineers and creates friction and because he intrigues I fear -- Do if [illegible] possible to get us both superseded. There is plenty of work I can do without a seat as a delegate. If you would replace me would I not be happy. [page 20]

Now what of Mr. Kirchwey, what of Dr. Jordan -- nothing decided at this end. It is puzzling & embarrassing.

I, on my own responsibility solely, answered a request from Plantiff, to cable him my opinion in full, with the following message May 5"

Reorganization voted. Election permanent twelve progressing. Prospect favorable. Great opportunities opening but also grave difficulties. Explanation impossible by cable. Waste fortunately ended but penuriousness injuring Fords prestige and limiting results. Important new work to be decided. Fords views essential. I urge Ford to request Lochner’s return soon as can be spared to confer with Ford and with certain great Americans with whom need personal touch. Cable receipt this message stating members [words] as occurred

Emily Balch

<This beats a Schwimmer cable I fear!> [page 21]

This went off a week ago yesterday <today?> but I have had no answer yet. Was it ever rec'd? Heaven knows.

I want Mr. Lochner to put before Mr. Ford far reaching new plans he has in mind. I want him to see Taft & get him to come over and both give us his views and be [illegible] available for mediation. He would give us more standing than any other one person could. He would have to be personally persuaded to come. Could you do anything on this line?

Ford still cables that he hopes to come soon. Will he? Plantiff may come. What effect will this have? I [page 22]

If I had time I might be able to write you all this in shorter [compass] and better arranged. I fear it gives you little idea of the constructive side of the big chance we have here. With this will go a type written account that Mr. Lochner is getting ready. If I had known this would be available I might have spared you some of my bad [mss].

I do hope you are gaining and doing credit to your good doctor and to Mrs. Bowen -- to whom my kindest regards.

I hope this long bad letter won’t be too much for you.

I do try to do right here -- to try to reproduce your own “white magic” -- but it is a pretty pitiable attempt.

Your very loving

Emily G. B. [page 23]

I meant also to say of Mr. Kliefoth that I don’t believe Mrs. Thomas is right about him. The nicest people [illegible] and those who know him best trust & like him. He is hoping to get into prisoners’ relief work in Russia under Mr. Devine. I recommended [him] to Mr. Devines consideration, which I felt was not going too far.

Mr. Holt is so curious that it really does create a most serious difficulty. Rosikas mantle seems to have descended on him except that he is curiously niggardly over tiny matters. They [page 24] have not yet been able to get him to agree to buy a German dictionary or to let Mr Lochner have an office that is not a general rendezvous, yet he is in a hard place, money is held up and indeed not sent freely, he has all the responsibility and is overworn and so [illegible] over-excitable. I get on with him very well. Curiously the situation is made more difficult in some ways by the fact that his [L?] is so genuinely interested. He would like to go along with our mediation representatives to foreign countries for instance and I fear he [page 25] is going to be interfering all [though] as he conceives not only that he must allow each individual appropriation so that everything is really voted subject to his later decision but he also conceives that having the “administration” entrusted to him he naturally has the most indefinite limits in regards to all sorts of aspects of conference business. It is like a parliament with a monarch with no constitutional character and the power of the purse complete. It is greatly to Mr. Holt’s credit [page 26] and to that of the conference that in spite of this anomalous condition of affairs the [illegible] Conference maintains its dignity and independence and yet can work with Mr. Holt.

<I do hope I have not said too much on all this.>

Once more

affectionately yours

Emily G B [page 27]

Ante script

Since beginning this an opportunity has offered to send it over by hand, avoiding as I hope the delay of being held for censorship, so I hope this will reach you promptly. With it goes in the same way a typed report of the activities of the Conference to date of which we are sending out some 300 copies. This was not planned when I began my letter so there is some unnecessary overlapping. I think you had better read Mr. Lochners report before this letter rather than [before?].