Emily Greene Balch to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Sections, February 9, 1921 (excerpts)



Extract from โ†‘aโ†‘ letter to National Sections โ†‘ofโ†“ February 9, 1921.

With regard to the reasons that make it particularly desirable and important that women should be associated with the work of the Mandates Commission, we are pointing out that some 14 million women and children are included in the populations of the mandated territories, and that the social and [labor] conditions under which they live will depend largely on the way the mandator powers are administered. Many men and women who know tropical countries well, as [travelers], as missionaries or as officials, are deeply concerned about conditions often existing there for women and children; for example, in many parts of Africa white men form temporary connections with native women whom, with their half-caste children, they leave destitute when they return to Europe. In some parts of West Africa hundreds of native women are moved from one district of the country to another to serve the requirements of white men. It is urgently necessary that these women and their children shall be protected. In view of the supervision now to be exercised over mandated areas by the Mandates Commission it is important that immediate stops should be taken by women's [organization] and others in sympathy with this demand to urge the inclusion of at least one woman member on the Commission and on any advisory bodies which it may set up. All possible publicity should be given to the fact THAT THIS STEP WAS INCLUDED BY A UNANIMOUS VOTE IN THE RECOMMENDATION SENT UP BY THE ASSEMBLY OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS TO THE COUNCIL ON DEC. 18, 1920.

There will be, of course, the danger that some form of State Regulation of Vice may be introduced in the Mandated Territories. The [organization] opposed to such action will need to mobilize all their forces against it, but we are advised by persons who are especially competent to judge and are sincerely in sympathy with us in this matter, that it would be wiser for us not to raise this question at the present juncture, but to concentrate on getting members on to the Mandates Commission who will support the right policy when the question comes up later.

In any case whether or [not] we succeed in getting a woman attached to the permanent Mandate Commission, either as a member or as an adviser, we intend to press with all our power for

a) the establishment of an advisory committee in connection with each of the separate mandated territories.

b) the inclusion in these Committees of

1) a woman

2) a representative of [Labor]

3) some one (recommended if possible by B.I.P.I.) who has special knowledge of the district and would command the confidence of the native populations.

We do not, however, think that it would be good tactics to discuss this project with members of the Council before the meeting on the 21st inst. We are advising that it would be better to propose it only after our attempt to get a woman on to the Mandates Commission, or attached to the commission as an adviser, has definitely succeeded or failed.

We hope that the Council will not at this meeting determine the powers of the Mandates Commission and the [organization] of its work, but will instruct the Commission to meet at an early date and to draft recommendations itself on these points.