Address at the International Peace Congress, The Hague, December 13, 1922


Miss JANE ADDAMS (United States): I am very happy to represent here the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, because if I represented an American society it would be much more difficult for me to make peace with my very old friend, Samuel Gompers (laughter). The Women’s International League has held a meeting for three days here and [page 2] urged the making of a new peace, a peace made not only by one side but by both sides in conjunction with the neutral countries. We urged three reasons for this new peace. First, we considered the economic situation in Europe unstable partly because the peace made after the great war contains punitive aims, and a punitive peace cannot be either morally or economically stable. It also fails to allocate the raw materials of the world in relation to the world’s needs. In the United States the wool growers of Montana have put in storage two clips of wool because there is no sale for it, and a year ago the cotton growers were grateful that the boll weevil reduced the cotton crop. Last year the corn crop was so large that some farmers found it cheaper to use corn for fuel than to buy coal. And yet on this side of the water people are perishing for lack of warm clothing, and millions of children are [undernourished] for lack of food. We want some system of economics which shall bring the plethora on one side in touch with the dearth on the other (applause).

We also urged a new peace hoping finally to secure absolute disarmament, which, of course, cannot be brought about while there is a sense of fear and suspicion on one side and on the other side a sense of injury and grievance. Disarmament can only rest upon a sense of justice and security. If the Ruhr is occupied, as it now threatens to be, it will not only throw Europe into war but if the troops march before an impartial body decides whether or not the defaults of payment have been [willful] it will mean that disarmament itself will receive a great blow. To invade any unarmed nation without all possible legal safeguards is certainly a very serious matter (applause).

We are also for a new peace hoping for a higher type of internationalism. We believe that the League of Nations, in spite of its defects, has shown that there is such a thing as the international spirit. When men get together under its influence it tends to open new reaches of human ability, new reservoirs of moral energy, such as we are not seeing in this world because we have no place where they can be fostered and brought to fruition. We believe that this plan for a new peace will not easily be brought about by the Governments because Governments have always considered the protection of their people their principal obligation, and have spent large sums of money for this purpose. We are told that at this moment Great Britain spends 66 [percent] of the budget upon war and that the United States [spends] 87 [percent] of the Federal budget for the same purpose.

A demand for a better peace must come from the people themselves, and in every country members of Parliament are most anxious to know what the people want. We say in the United States that, following an old Indian custom, politicians "keep their ears to the ground" to learn what the people are asking for. We need [organizations] in every Parliamentary country which will keep the statesmen informed of the desire of the people in regard to peace and war. We believe if the women on one side, who nourish human life, and the workers, who are responsible for the production of the world’s wealth, will join together with the determination that this old world shall see a better state of things then it has had before, the result will be a new peace founded on a sense of justice and upon good-will. There is [page 3] a good deal of that in the world, but there seems to be no point on which to focus it. Perhaps this Congress will provide it! (Applause)