Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, March 1922 Also known as: Emily Greene Balch to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Executive Committee and Consultative Members, March 1922

Geneva, 6 Rue du Vieux Collège

Circular-Letter to Executive Committee and Consultative Members A

[Circular-Letter] to Secretaries of National Sections B

Series of 1922
A 8
B 7

March 1922.


Dear Madam,

A letter has been received from the International Woman Suffrage Alliance inquiring whether we are making any nominations in regard to certain commissions of the League of Nations.

I have been making inquiries as to the status of the Commissions in question and understand the matter to be as follows:


This body sanctioned by the last Assembly, on the proposal of Committee 5, is to consist of not over 12 members to be named by the Council. One at least is to be a woman.

It is expected that the appointment will be made by the Council at its next meeting which is likely to be held in April. Suggestions are in order and should be submitted at once, well documented, to the Secretary General.


This is now a body of fourteen technical experts on public health, appointed last June by the Council of the League, and has so far met three times. Committee V of the last Assembly of the League of Nations brought up the question of the representation of women on this Committee. As a result it is expected that the Council will appoint a [woman] as an additional member, and has asked the Medical Committee of the League which is expected to meet about May first to make a recommendation based on technical qualifications. Suggestions as to nominations could be made to this Committee. [page 2]


C 1) Commission on Traffic in Women and Children.

This is composed of nine appointees of governments and 5 "Assessors". The latter, already appointed by the Council of the League of Nations are:

Madame Avril de Sainte-Croix,

Miss Baker (Secretary of the International Bureau for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic)

Baronne de Montenach (President of the Association Catholique International de Oeuvres de Protection de la Jeune Fille)

Madame Studer-Steinhäuslin (President of the Union Internationale des Amies de la Jeune Fille)

Mr. Cohen (of the Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls).

It is to be hoped that some of the governments appointments may be women, as in the case of Denmark, where Miss Henni Forchhammer, member of the Committee on this subject at the League of Nations Assembly 1920 and 1921, is highly qualified, and [Romania] where Madame [Văcărescu] seems similarly marked for this service by her brilliant exposition of the subject at the 1921 Assembly of the League in her capacity as supplementary delegate for [Romania].

C 2) Convention of 1921 on Traffic in Women and Children.

The very important 1921 Convention on this subject has been ratified by 26 governments. Unhappily the United States as a result of its general attitude toward the League of Nations holds aloof though its immense immigration makes its collaboration in this field most essential.

C 3) Commission on deported Women and Children in Asia Minor.

The Commission of Inquiry voted by the first Assembly of the League -- on a suggestion really first emanating from our own [organization] but owing its success wholly to Miss Forchhammer -- [page 3] did excellent work through the efforts of Mr. Kennedy, Miss Cushman and Miss Jeppe. As a result the Second Assembly of last autumn arranged for a Chief Commissioner of the League whom the League should appoint and to whom the Powers should through their High Commissioners give police backing. He should be supported by a mixed board with instructions to start neutral homes for receiving [refugee] children.

The Greek delegate M. Dendramis gives the number of Greek women and children deported and detained as 300,000. These are in addition to the large numbers of Armenians. 2300 children have been already rescued. (League of Nations Document A 113, 1921 Deportation of women and children in Turkey, Asia Minor, and the [Neighboring] Territories).


On March 21 a letter by me was sent to Sir Eric Drummond, General Secretary of the League, expressing our hope that in the appointment of Directors and members of A. & B. sections (the higher positions in the Secretariat) women will have the same consideration as men and that in general the appointment and promotion of women will depend in each case on the same considerations as in the case of a man.


What can we do to get Governments to send women to the Assembly of the League where they have already played so honorable and important a part and to induce the League to make a practice of including women as proposed in the second Resolution quoted below.

In this connection it is interesting to note the following passage from a speech by Lord Robert Cecil on Jan. 20 before the British "League of Nations Union" (p 5-6). [page 4]

"The Representation of Public Opinion. The Assembly should have from each State a representative of that character, but it should also have delegates who could inform the Assembly authoritatively of the general public opinion of the nation which they represent. It is for that reason particularly important that the wage-earners, who are present practically excluded from representation at the Assembly, and women, who are nearly so, should receive adequate representation. That, too, is a reason for the third paragraph of the resolution. The moral authority of the League must depend on the extent to which it has the public opinion of its various [Member] States behind it; and since women form about half the population they ought to receive adequate representation at the Assembly, as well as at all meetings of the Commissions and Committees of the League."

The following Resolutions were passed (p. 16):

(ii) The British Delegates at the Assembly should be a Minister of the Crown, e.g., the Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs as the case might require, who should give the British vote and two others approved by Parliament to represent the public opinion of the country. There should also be two or perhaps three substitutes also representatives of public opinion. At least one of the two representatives should be a representative of wage-earners and at least one of the representatives or substitutes should be a woman.

(iii) The British Government should also urge that in accordance with the spirit of Article 7 of the Covenant all important Commissions and Committees of the League, including the Temporary Mixed Commission dealing with Disarmament, should include women amongst their members.

Yours truly

(signed) Emily G. Balch.


Dear friend,

March 1922.

Two matters press heavily on my mind:

First: The War between Spain and [Morocco] seems to show no promise of being brought to an end in March as we had had reason to believe would be the case. It looks as though the moment were crucial.

Is there anything that we can do?

Second: The war between Greece and Turkey with all that it means of incitement to new massacres behind the Turkish front besides all the usual horrors and waste of war, seems to be entering on a fresh phase. Is it possible for us to be of any use in this juncture? I shall be most grateful for any help.

Yours cordially

(signed) Emily G. Balch.