Alice Thacher Post to Jane Addams, November 17, 1918



2513 Twelfth Street, Washington.

17 November, 1918.

Dear Miss Addams:

Your telegram came last evening. This morning I have talked with our friend Mr. Leigh Reilley of the Bureau of Public Information, Mr. Creel being away. Mr. Reilley was most helpful. The Department of State does not thoroughly trust the messages from Dr. Solf and the women who have addressed Mrs. Wilson and yourself, not that the women are not honest in it, but that they may be the tools of influences which are trying to get special advantages for Germany over the other suffering nations. They say that the rolling stock that they ↑the Allies [illegible]↓ have requisitioned is to be used for the distribution of food in all of those defeated nations, and the Versailles Council and the President have announced that food is to be distributed, and these ↑messages↓ are special pleas for Germany. Mr. Hoover is already on the way over to attend to matters of distribution, as you know.

I think there is a good deal in this point of view, and of course since it exists in the government it would be unwise to try to hold mass meetings, but for other reasons I had felt that such meetings would not be wise and I said nothing about them to Mr. Reilley. There is no wisdom, it seems to me, in trying to create a public sentiment to push the government farther than the President is already planning to go, for he is going to have a hard time to do all that he desires to do for the delinquent nations. We might make it impossible for him to live up to the program he has so mercifully indicated.

After talking with Mr. R. I framed the following telegram:

"Peace greetings. Understand food will be supplied. / Jane Addams."

Mr. R. regarded this as very satisfactory, and saw no reason why the State Department should not send it. He tried for the right official on the telephone, but could not get him, and said he would take it up with him tomorrow, Monday. He asked if it were accepted for transmission if he could give it out to the press, and I gave permission with pleasure.

I then telegraphed you as follows:

"Advise against meetings. Following will be submitted to the State Department: Peace greetings. Understand food will be supplied."

Shortly after I got home Mr. R. phoned me that he had got in touch with the military censor and had discovered what he ought to have known was the case, that no telegrams can go into Germany from anybody. Even the Secretary of State himself would have to send any messages through the Swiss government. Even to file a cablegram would be a violation of the Trading with the Enemy Act. All the censorship that is let up at present is the newspaper and periodical censorship. So he did not believe that anything could be done for the present. And neither Louis nor I know of anything that can be done.

As a business detail I will mention that the telegram I send last week, which I sent right back by the boy who brought yours, I sent collect; but this one I have paid for (with pleasure), and I mention it only that you may know whether you are treated fairly by the Company (or the government).

Excuse awkwardness for I am writing in great haste and have not said all things in the best way.

Faithfully yours,

Alice Thacher Post [signed]