Interview with the Guardian, September 15, 1921





(From a Woman Correspondent.)


Miss Jane Addams, who is now in London on her way back to Chicago from Central Europe, is a specialist in internationalism. Her work at Hull House has for thirty years brought her into close touch with immigrants from all the countries of Europe, and her travels, especially since the war, have given her an intimate knowledge of international machinery and personalities that perhaps no other woman possesses. In her four months' visit to Austria, Hungary, [Czechoslovakia], and Switzerland she has been closely associated with women interested in the spread of international goodwill, and one gathers that her experience has been full of encouragement.

The lament that there are two million so-called "surplus" women in England finds no echo in her mind. She has seen the work women are doing for the relief of distress in Central Europe, and the missions from the various Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, and American feeding the children in Vienna. She has met the women delegates or alternate delegates to the League of Nations from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and [Romania], and talked with Dame Rachel Crowdy, head of the League of Nations Health Section, who has had so much to do with the measures against typhus in Poland, and she has been pleased to find the Siamese Delegation has three women in its secretariat.

America and the League.

"I was very much impressed with the League of Nations Secretariat," she said. "They are most thoroughly international in feeling, and are working very hard. I am one of those who are very sorry that America has not come into the League, and it is very difficult to explain to outsiders how greatly party politics have prevented her coming in. I think any change will have to come about gradually. People must have time to forget their campaign speeches. Before the League was formed I used to lecture about it a great deal, and I confess that when it came into being it was rather hard to say so much about it. But certain modifications are taking place which are improving it.

"I think the feeding of Russia will be a great thing for the League. It will more or less endear it to the man in the street. Everyone will be interested. They will understand this work and will [realize] its value."

It is in such works of goodwill that Miss Addams sees hope for the future of internationalism. She told again the story of the Belgian woman delegate to the International League Conference who had been a prisoner in German camps, and who on her return to Belgium collected other released prisoners and with their help provided hospitality for 2,000 German and Austrian children. That story, unknown to them before, had impressed the Austrian and German delegates. A group of German women, she said, are now at work in Upper Silesia talking to the women there and [endeavoring] to reconcile them to any settlement that may be made, anxious that whatever may be decided may be accepted without bitterness.

The Sadness of Vienna.

Vienna she found profoundly sad. The people there welcomed the international delegates. They were glad that people from other countries should see the conditions under which they are now living and the problems that have to face.

"I do not think there are many war profiteers in Austria," she said. "It is true that the restaurants are full of people able to spend money, but the Viennese insist that the bulk of these wealthy folks are visitors. Vienna is just now a [favorite] resort for foreigners. The Viennese seemed very much changed. They were not bitter or harsh about their sufferings, but spoke with profound discouragement about their future."

Miss Addams thinks that the women of Europe are quite simply and naturally and without any development of sex antagonism coming into their own. In the Austrian Legislature there are more than twenty women members, representing all social classes, and among the women members of the Croatian Parliament she was interested to see one peasant woman wearing a handkerchief over her head. From all the new little nations women came to the conference eager for international comradeship, many of them unlearned as yet in international affairs, anxious to take their share in reconstruction.

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