Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, September 17, 1922

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Sept 17/22

Dear Miss Addams,

(If you will excuse pencil I can keep copy). We had a most interesting meeting at Freiburg. I think I have never admired our women so much or felt more confidence in them. But we did want you! You will have learned of the most unexpected decision by the long cable I addressed to you at Hull House (fearing in case you had left Hulls Cove, that address might be [less?] sure for forwarding). I hope you will not be dismayed at the decision to hold a conference at The Hague to press for "a new peace" in December (the 7th, to last 4 days, is the plan). The proposal came from the Dutch Section and they will bear the brunt of the work of organizing, with the Comm of G. Baer and [women] from England. I have never seen Mrs Ramondt so full of ideas and courage. I hope they can raise a good part of the Conference fund in Holland, leaving the other sections to get the money for the general maintenance fund.

Mrs Swanwick is asked to head the Agenda Committee. We hope to be able to join with the support of the [program] on which the Intnal. [page 2] Federation of Trade Unions is at work. They mean to try to get the subject (Treaty revision with special reference to the reparations problem and the general problems of setting Europe on its feet) debated in all [illegible] Parliaments the same week.

The sense of menace hangs over one especially in Germany (& worse in Austria) like a cloud. In [Germany] they expect civil war or revolution if the pressure gets worse. One has to be there to realize it. When we arrived 1 franc = 250 Mk, Before we left over 290. A peasant woman came up to me in the street lamenting, fodder which cost 2 Mk before the war 800, "what am I to do, what am I do to." In a good [pension?] in a fine situation, no sugar, no milk, no napkins, tea & coffee such in name only, the food [meager] to a degree. Crowds [illegible] waiting in the rain before a lone meat shop “It is cheaper.”

We all felt we must mobilize all the public opinion we can as soon as we can.

The idea as I understand it is to write people to attend to support a [program] we shall present. The ↑primary↓ speakers to expound & speak for these women: [illegible] fraternal delegates men or women to be among those to speak further or support [illegible] comment. The type to be rather a [page 3] ratification meeting than a debate to find a measure of agreement.

I trust it is going to be really useful.

Can you possibly come over for it?

Suppose -- suppose -- (like Alice) that you would come over for this and then speak, about Europe, as you spoke about the [illegible] United States last year on the Russian famine. This problem of [preventing] the middle dropping out of  Europe seems the problem now as the starvation of the East of Europe was that of last year. Then you might stay on to be a main speaker at our next Summer School.

Do not think me quite mad. Of course the coming over in winter and especially the staying over for months has obstacles some of which at least I realize and of course you must not come unless the doctors think it safe for your health.

The idea is that we would have the Ex. Com meet at The Hague for further business probably both before & after the Conference. It would then be decided whether, in spite of the lateness of the date and the having been a conference already it would still be best to have a Congress in 1923. It seems most unlikely & would only be decided on if extraordinary conditions seemed to call for it but we did not like to decide absolutely against it when [page 4] every thing is so abnormal.

The Lugano Lauenstein school seems to have pleased most people and even gave a financial surplus. The Lugano School was a great success in all except the financial aspect but there is a horrid deficit of about 8000-9000 Swiss Francs. I fully intended to pay this myself anonymously as "an American Friend of the League" out of money saved [illegible] (not out of my salary, which I spend en toto) for college for my niece but Amy Woods & some others guessed what I had in mind & were so emphatically of the opinion that I had no right to do this unknown to the Committee and that it was [illegible] in itself a bad policy that I [wavered] & the matter is in suspense. The Ex. Com refused to have me do it, but this is not decisive.

The Ex. Com. authorized the Geneva Office me as Treasurer to advance up to 8000 francs for the expenses of the conference and also 360 francs to pay for ⅓ of Mr. Jouves time collaborating in France and up to 400 francs ↑& some German marks or [illegible]↓ for a newsletter in Vienna that Frau Hertzka is crazy to experiment with. This if [illegible] leaves us about enough money to carry us to Jan 1, if no money comes in meanwhile.

But all seem ready to make a real effort to raise money and I hope Miss Woods is going to help greatly in this regard. And we all hope [page 5] this [program] will really appeal to people [though] it is impossible to know beforehand. After all it ↑only↓ puts the meeting earlier (Dec instead of August or so) but it makes a ↑no↓ more expensive [program].

Miss Woods is a little inclined to think Europe is unfair to America & willing to "let George do it." There is an element of truth in this but I think she is not quite fair. The English Section cannot pay off the money it has had to borrow and Germany & Austria cannot give anything appreciable. We had a finance Com. of Hertzka, Daugaard & Woods & you will see their report. It scares me that they propose to ask [for] money for the Conference with so little said about maintenance of the work for the 2 following years but this may work out all right in practice. [written up left margin] ↑When I reflect that if each Asn. member raised on an av. $10 we should have the whole 2 years budget [paid]. This alone the sum of 20,000 doesn't seem so huge. I don't mean this is how we have to do it.↓

To return to the Summer School -- I think all agree that this is very useful & want one next year. The place most favored is [Czechoslovakia]. There is also talk of the North Sea or Baltic Sea coast (in Germany) or Denmark (too dear).

Next Congress

There is a strong desire to have the next Congress devoted to the economic or social problem. I feel am the only one afraid of it! & this mainly because I am afraid of misunderstandings in the U.S. But all agreed that it must be maid made clear beforehand [page 6] that there will be ↑no↓ voting of revolutions by a majority, but security against having any sort of tag or label voted on wished on to one. I think it might be very well to devote our next Summer School to this subject & in this way feel out the ground for the Congress.

I also tried to formulate the subject for the Congress so that it would be not so much "how can we secure peace & freedom in economic life?" as "how can we help to peacefully move toward a better economic system" but I did not carry people ↑[with me on this]↓.

We, ↑(the League),↓ now unite pacifists of a certa more or less of one type who differ in almost all other regards but if we are ↑were↓ to exclude or frighten away all who stand to take a different stand in social questions from that which we may be able to agree on I ↑should↓ tremble for the consequences to the League, but this seems not to be their idea.

As a matter of fact all of ourselves at Freiburg seemed to be of one mind -- non-party socialists in a large sense -- but the word would sound horrible I suppose in American ideas. Words have such different meanings in different countries even those speaking the same language & indeed or different sets in the same country. [page 7] Miss Marshall was with us to my delight. Her father died a few weeks ago after an illness since Feb. which has meant tremendous stress on C. -- night attendance, everything you can imagine. Yet [though] tired she was in great form. We missed Mrs. Swanwick badly.

Dr. [Knischewsky] came up from Wiesbaden to tell us about the situation there & we are going to try to get 3 people to go & work with her -- to get the Friends to send an English woman, the Fellowship of Reconciliation to send a French woman and our Swedish Section to send someone. (Expenses are preposterously little in Germany now). Their reconciliation work will be very important, & so will the report they can make to our Hague Conference.

Vilma Glücklich got her passport in time to be at the Lugano Summer School (where she spoke) and at Freiburg. She is now here & taking hold firmly and I can’t tell you the sense of relief I have. Mlle Gobat has definitively resigned but I am relieved to find her less exhausted than I feared. She is going to [Glaud?] with Pierre, he will attend Miss Thomas’s “Fellowship School” and Mlle Gobat will help in the school (poultry raising & gardening I believe). [page 8]

Mrs. Catt’s letter that you sent me raises very serious & interesting questions. I am all for as much cooperation as we can manage without losing any of our initiative & fearlessness, & freedom. I will talk it over with Miss Marshall who is here & ask Mrs Swanwick & Miss Marshall report to the Ex Comm and see if they will not ask Miss Marshall & Mrs Swanwick to represent us in London and report to our Dec. Ex. Com. meeting.

Just as soon as the Assembly is over I will try to get real consideration for the matter of international courses and send you as concrete a proposal as possible.


The Ex. Com think we ought to have 2 first class salaried people. The interim [illegible] but if so [illegible] we shall have to have more money of course. It is all very nice to vote this, and to vote that I should take my salary during 2 months of vacation but -- -- 

The proposal for the immediate future is E G B to go away for 4 months complete rest. Miss Rinder (of the Fight the Famine Council) and Miss Glücklich to carry on during this time, each at a salary of 650 (=1300 = E G B’s 1000 + [V] G.’s 300). [illegible] [page 9] We three to decide how to "departmentalize" the work but in a general way I suppose V G will have full charge of office & Miss Rinder will do the sort of thing Cat. Marshall has done. It is unfortunate that Miss Rind Miss Rinder is now in Europe & we expect her here Sept [18] to Oct 2 (that ↑is↓ during last part of Assembly session). She then has to go to England for  [F. H. F.?] meeting and we hope she will then be able to come back here for my 4 months absence (& also that she will be content with 650 but it seems to me terribly little to offer her).

About myself -- in July I felt so very ragged that I thought the doctor right in saying I ought to get a good rest so as to be really able-bodied again (I suppose nerves are body) but after all the strain of these last weeks I feel so much better than I did that I wonder if I need such a rest. Well, now it is all planned for & I propose to take it and I trust it may justify itself by results later. I think I may go first to the Quakers favorite retreat near Vienna (Kalterbut geben) & then if not too dear to Capri (!). It does sound sybaritic.

Geneva & the Maison Internationale are full. Mrs. McDowell & her two companions and Amy Woods, & others. In town Mr & Mrs Zueblin (he [page 10] ↑in hospital↓ where he has had an operation). Hamilton Holt, Mrs. Wambaugh, J. H. Harris (Aborigines Protection), and many others. There are more women at the Assembly (England, Austria, [Romania], Bulgaria?) official & near official. Harris ↑Mr. John Harris↓ (who is a Quaker) has a concern to get Quakers to go to the U.S. & try to get quietly to get people to see what we are doing in sabotaging control of opium, of traffic in women & children, of traffic in arms, of epidemics & so on. It really is unthinkable. "For evil is wrought by want of thought” (and of understanding). May something come of this.

Miss Woods wants the Democratic Party to fight for our entering the League. Mary McD. and I hope it  ↑the question↓ won’t be again the football of party politics.

I do hope Miss Woods is going to be pretty good. I feel very responsible, having recommended her. It is a great thing to have someone who has been over here & to whom the international [organization] is a reality. But she has lately developed a sort of chip on her shoulder as regards Europe & America and like the rest of the world she has her limitations.

I hope this letter will be not too wearing but that you will still have time & courage to study the minutes which really are important & contain matters not touched on here & which will reach you shortly (I trust). Your devoted E. G. B.

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