Emily Greene Balch to Agnes Lisle Brown Leach, September 14, 1920


September 14th, 1920.

Mrs. Henry Goddard Leach,
170 E 64th Str. New York.

Dear Mrs. Leach,

I hear indirectly that you are now to be President of the American Section. I hope that this is true. Nothing could give me greater pleasure. It is a great disappointment to me that you have been in Europe without me having had an opportunity to see you, but I know that business called you in other directions and how full your time must have been.

I am sending you with this a copy of a circular letter which has already gone to Mrs. Cothren. I hope that you will find time to go it through in spite of its tremendous length. I feel very vague about the situation of our American Section and how much interest we are now really to command. The American Section is of the very greatest importance in our whole structure and in every way. Miss Nichols was here last month. I was very much interested to hear what she had to tell about Mexico and Japanese and Chinese interest in Pacifism. I wish that this line could be worked further and more effectively. If Miss Nichols goes to the East, will not that be a great opportunity for us. She is a fine propagandist.

I was sorry to find her so full of criticisms of the method in which business has been done by Mrs. Cothren and others. At this distance it is hard to judge how much she has to complain of, but it sounded as so there had been perhaps too little regard for constitutional formalities, but the main thing of course is the spirit and the activity rather than the form.

I wish that in spite of distance and time I could keep more closely in touch with developments at home. It was a terrible disappointment to me that not aware responsible members -- American members could be at the June meeting. I am afraid that the proposal to have next year's Congress in Vienna will make things harder for you in America and [page 2] after all it is always possible that we may not be able to carry out that plan, but in spite of the handle that it gives to all those who think pacifists pro-German, I believe that meeting in Vienna would strategically very useful. Think what it would be if we could really get women from the surrounding countries, from Italy, [Czechoslovakia], [Serbia], Greece, [Romania], Poland, to be represented in any adequate sense. Vienna is most central from this point of view and such a Congress might be a landmark in the path of reconciliation in South Eastern Europe. Moreover the low rate of exchange in Austria makes it a [favorable] place for a meeting, just as the high rate of exchange in Switzerland makes it prohibitive [today] for people with sunken currencies.

One of the plans made at our June Committee meeting was to send a little "Mission" into South Eastern Europe. The persons most available appeared to be Miss Courtney and myself. On account of the League of Nations meeting at Geneva next month as well as for other reasons, it has seemed best to postpone the plan till late February or early March, but in any case it cannot be carried out unless we can collect a special fund to meet the necessary expenses. I think we can go down through Italy strengthening the situation there as regards this League, to Brindisi and from there visit in turn Athens, Constantinople where Dr. Patrick, head of the American College will befriend us, [Bucharest], Sofia, Belgrade, Agram and Vienna. This will cost perhaps $750 a piece. My idea is to try to find women who will work for reconciliation and create sections of our League and to work up interest in the Congress to be held in [illegible] the summer. America is the only country now from which one can hope for much financial assistance, although Mr. Noel Buxton promises us some money for this undertaking. It does seem to me a thing in which Friends and other friends of our cause might be interested. Will you not please see what can be done? Will you If you will suggest names I will be glad to write personal letters.

Have you heard of our new venture in moving from a the hot and dusty offices which we previously occupied to our present quarters? I enclose a statement in regard to this. As you will see this also means an appeal for money. We must have some 600 or 1000 $ to furnish the rooms that we can then let. I shall send out a formal appeal about both these matters -- the Balkan trip and the furnishings -- very soon, but I want to lay them before you without any further delay. As soon as possible I am going to send out a Financial report with a Budget and an Appeal. I expect, or at any rate, I hope to be able to carry through the work without calling on the National Sections for assistance up to the next Congress. This means running the full 2 year period without any substantial addition to the money raised for the Congress 1919. On the other hand our Sections must put their shoulders to the wheel to raise money for the Congress 1921 and to carry the international work thereafter. [page 3] It is much easier to raise money in connection with a Congress than from a dead level for the regular work. Meanwhile I am anxious to get in hand the funds for the two things of which I have written above, the furnishing which is an investment and the Balkan Mission which is an important piece of work.

It is too bad to spoil my first letter to you with all this talk of money, but what can a poor Secretary-Treasurer do?

Always, as you know, affectionately and admiringly