Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, February 27, 1915

Wellesley College,
Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Feb. 27, 1915.

Dear Miss Addams: --

I have been very much disturbed over the international situation, fearing that in case the Germans should sink one of our vessels with much loss of life, or with any aggravating or exciting circumstances, we might have another Remember the Maine incident, and find ourselves pushed into war before we knew it. Would it be possible to lay the wires in advance, so that in case of any sudden threat of trouble, all the forces making for peace might be immediately mobilized? I understand that the White House was simply snowed under last spring with private letters protesting against war with Mexico, and while one snowflake does not make a winter, nor one protest determine a policy, I suppose each item counts in its degree. A little Quaker group which had a [page 2] meeting here to which I was invited, sent a telegram to President Wilson, urging that accountability for damage to our shipping should be held to mean civil accountability only, -- that is, a claim for compensation. To tell the truth, I suggested and worded the telegram, and it ought to be submitted to some more competent person, if there was any thought of following its line. It seems to me the right one, but I am so ignorant that I do not even know what our treaty relation with Germany is, whether we have any agreement about arbitrating claims. Should you think that it might be a good plan to try to get State Legislatures to memorialize Congress in favor of this sort of policy, or would this simply mean greater likelihood of provocative speeches? I suppose, too, that too much demonstration of unwillingness [page 3] to forget <fight under any circumstances> may weaken the hands of the Washington authorities to try <in trying> to get foreign nations to behave themselves decently.

Of course it is carrying coals to Newcastle for me to be making any peace suggestions to you. Please excuse me if I seem officious. At any rate, I am, as you know, 

Very affectionately and gratefully yours,

Emily G. Balch [signed]

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