October 23, 1914.
Mr. Gavit said, in conference:
1. More or less skeptical of value of whole business. Nobody listening.
2. Only one outfit who will pay attention -- that is, American people.
3. Can't be reached except one set of circumstance -- that is, printed in newspapers.
4. Only printed if quick stuff -- people pay same attention as they would war news.
5. Must impress newspaper men in Winona, St. Joe, Butte, Portsmouth, and so on -- so print it boxed on first page.
6. In order to do that it must be
a. less than 1000 words.
b. so spunky that it will be carried by Assoc. Press
c. by mail for release at certain time.
d. to use United Press, must go to afternoon papers. They won't handle old morning copy. Morning papers will handle afternoon copy. Afternoon papers have largest circulation.
e. Enough in advance so London and Paris, Reuters, etc. will get it and get in time to circulate <translate>.
f. Furthermore, should be circulated in important papers of France, Germany, two weeks in advance. Censors will interfere; but would be printed in Sweden, Norway.
g. should be translated into Swedish, Norse, Japanese, Russian. Could get world circulation without half trying.
h. Spanish to S. America.
i. While waiting to get right circulation, if something should happen like an armistice, wouldn't give a d--- if the thing never appeared. Therefore mustn't do anything in haste. War likely to drag along a year. Therefore haste is no factor. Important not to add to great bulk of bunk. Must be right. [page 2]
7. Therefore, absolutely essential decide form. Dependent upon
These essential to be decided at start.
German professors have lost opportunity of century by swallowing patriotism, hide, hoofs and all. So also British. Lies with Americans to say.
8. In America, the militarists, down to the prudent statesmen, are taking advantage of situation. Important to warn American people, but it isn't important to waste all this ammunition. I doubt whether we could get significant American people to join in such an American appeal to American opinion, and I don't much blame them.
9. Therefore my mind is leaning in direction of world appeal.
10. I went down to see the President to try to interest him. Nice and interested as always is, but thought it no time even for platitudes. But of course we are not bound by things which bind him.
11. A group of big people who could be gotten together, and what they said if it were said right, would be heard round the world. European public opinion sensitive to American public opinion. Every morning's mail brings a slather of stuff from German and other sources. The incoming mail to Great Britain, probably Germany, not interfered with.
12. I'd like to take Miss Addams' finished product -- say 2500 words -- and then, as a cold newspaper man with a space limit, take a day off, and grind that down so there [wasn't] a phrase in it that any human being could get along without.
And then have a thing that is the [irreducible] minimum. That's the best thing I can do. That's been my job in the Assoc. Press and newspaper work. That's a service I can render better than any other, subject to conserving influence of originator.
I'm for Miss Addams making a fresh draft -- her wonderfully lucid mind -- a coherent message and not a catalogue -- and then this final process of filing down; with Miss Addams [revising?] the filed down draft.
Omit Declaration; cut down social consequences; rewrite the affirmative proposals.
A mere protest against war won't get anywhere -- we must say something. [page 3]
But first of all, it must be decided to whom we, John Doe and Richard Roe, are speaking. Second, who is speaking. These decisions make all the difference in the world.
Then: we expect to accomplish something by speaking: What do we expect to accomplish?
If we have a definite thing to say to definite people, then it will accomplish something.
A mere reiteration of the Ten Commandments, Lord's Prayer, when the heart of the world is torn, won't amount to shucks.
If we who have the right to speak, say something you will have to listen to, on which you will act -- then they will have to listen. The Evening Post's correspondents will help us get this over in translations to Turkey, Jerusalem, Frankfort -- get it under the skin of Europe. The machinery of circulation is easy if we have something to say.