Paul Underwood Kellogg to Jane Addams, September 21, 1915


September 21, 1915.

Dear Miss Addams:

Miss Wald, Dr. Jacobs, Mr. Holt and I lunched together yesterday, and Miss Wald is calling a meeting of the general committee for [Friday] evening next, at which it is hoped both Dr. Jacobs and Professor Patten will be present to speak. Our executive committee will report on the resolution as crafted last August, with the idea of getting signatures and making it public.

Regret was expressed that the Chicago resolution got into the papers last week in the way it did. That is, it was not put out in a way which would <[could?]> command the most widespread attention, and is rather a leak which would stand in the way of any further broadside announcement of your plan. Also, as carried in the newspapers and embodied in the draft you sent it seems to call for the appointment of members of the commission -- <not only on> American members by the President and <but> of the foreign members by foreign governments -- which was a procedure against which <as we understand it> you protested at the New York meetings.

Mr. Holt pointed out, however, that if we got a group of signatures to the other resolution and handled it right we could get quite a hearing; and I am sure that the impatience of whoever gave it <this one> out in Chicago to get something started is entirely understandable.

It seems to me the movement for international action is resolving itself into two forms:

A. A conference of neutrals, which Mr. Holt has been urging for a year past in the Independent; which is practically called for by the Chicago resolution; and which Dr. Jacobs was sounding the President upon in her unofficial representations from the Dutch Government. Apparently both Mr. Villard's interview and Lansing and Dr. Jacob's interview with the President show that he is not disposed to initiate such a conference, or appoint American commissioners; refusing to commit himself to anything which will tie his hands, and apparently believing that America when the time comes can act to best advantage alone. He also told Dr. Jacobs that he could not promise to act if Holland should call such a conference -- or words to that effect. [page 2]

However, this position may not be final. As I see it, the only effective pressure now being brought to bear on the President for such a conference of neutrals is that by the Hearst papers, and that of course would rather incline him to do something else. In other quarters the preponderance of opinion is apparently that Germany's successes would make such a conference inopportune and unfair. Our answer lies in the plan of a continuous body which would not presuppose immediate action, and would be ready to act when a new balance is struck. The present danger lies in letting the opportunity when it comes, go by. The President is apparently acting after the event -- that is, waiting for something to happen or somebody else to do something and then acting upon it, rather than forging something out himself. But we could perhaps turn this characteristic of the President to account, by making things happen in public opinion. We could look to action on his part toward a conference of neutrals if a widespread demand for it manifested itself in the public opinion of America. If the Dutch Government should invite the United States to [cooperate] in such a conference, giving the invitation publicity, and if at a [illegible] [point] in the country people express themselves for it, the White House would act very differently, no doubt, than it has the past month. This, it would seem, would give Dr. Jacobs her lead on her return to Holland despite the rather [noncommittal] tenor of her conference at Washington. This, it would [seem], [would] lay an obligation on all of us this fall to push public interest in the plan for continuous international negotiation by the neutrals; so that public opinion will be ripe when the time comes.

B. The plan for an unofficial American delegation, with or without the sanction of the President, to go abroad, call into [cooperation] representative men like Lord Loreburn and the President of the Hamburg American Line -- men in both belligerent and neutral nations -- and seek for a basis of negotiation. That is, your plan as we tried to formulate it in our resolution, enclosed.

Apparently Mr. Villard's talk with [Lansing] shows that we cannot look to the President for initiative in this plan; although I am not at all sure that if public sentiment were aggressively calling for it he would not use Mr. Crane and Mr. House in this way, as he is seemingly holding them in reserve. However, that would be a gamble and we might waste another three months before getting a decision; so the discussion on [Friday] evening would be, first, on the adoption of the resolution as drafted; and second, on the steps in carrying it out, i.e., in selecting the people to go and raising the money to send them.

We talked with Mr. Holt as to whether or not he might tackle it. It was a new idea to him. He knows the American Ambassadors in England and Germany [personally] and very well. He is acquainted with the Far Eastern question, but he professed his incapacity, in view of his lack of knowledge of European politics and languages. I have been a bit put out, also, at times at his seeming failure to catch new angles on the situation; but that is perhaps due to the fact that he has been studying and talking peace and international relations for many years. For example, he seems still to put us down as a group who want to stop the war because of humanitarian reasons -- which of course opens us up to needless attack as peace-at-any-price people who are playing into the hands of the belligerent that happens to be on top. Whereas, your Carnegie Hall statement drove to the heart of the matter without [these] disqualifications: -- in saying that what we were after was a new approach to settlement -- through negotiation rather than through military advantage. But you and Miss Balch could unquestionably orient him before sailing, and in many respects he would be an excellent choice. [page 3]

I was much impressed with the precision and clarity of Miss Balch's part in the discussions of our committee the day we formulated the resolution. In fact, using the earlier drafts as suggestions she made a fresh try at it and the final resolution is really hers. Perhaps Miss Balch, Professor Battin and Mr. Holt would be an ideal combination -- of course, rather different from the Eihu Roots, Col. Houses and President Tafts we discussed at one point, but perhaps for all that more effective for our purposes.

But I cling to the notion that you after all are the indispensable member of such a junket and that when the time comes we can arrange it so.

If you have any further suggestions as to the carrying out of this plan B -- yours -- which you can send us before Tuesday's meeting, I am sure we should much appreciate it.

Apart from whether A and B [as] above are advanced rapidly in the next weeks or months, it seems to me that:

C. We should all agitate for the common element in them -- {i.e., international action; continuous; approach to settlement through <continuous> negotiation rather than through military advantage,} so that when the time comes when perhaps a new balance is struck by a big victory for the Allies -- American opinion and the [media] for American action will not be at loose ends.

To this end I hope that a joint statement may be put out by you, Miss Balch, Dr. Jacobs, Mme. Schwimmer, <and Miss Macmillan> before any of them <your group> return to the Old World. You practically are the chief members of the group of commissioners <the delegation> who went from capital to capital; and from the vantage point of American soil you could jointly put out a statement which ought to be published in every newspaper not only in Europe, but in Australia, South America, South Africa and the like.

In a way it would be, of course, but an echo of The Hague meeting; yet in view of your international travels it would be decidedly more than an echo. It would be a new challenge to public opinion throughout the world; I hope you can manage it.

And I am further anxious that we shall hit upon some organization to feel its <[illegible]> responsibility to be pushing <to agitate for> international action (as your C above.) Our Henry Street committee has no active [secretarial] funds; and I do not know that the <Nat'l> Peace Federation has been made active. One plan suggested was, of course, to organize committees like ours in New York and yours in Chicago, in the different cities, but even so, [is] there not need of a central focus of some sort?

Miss Squire was able to [get] the copies of the Times on receipt of your telegram and the mailing department of the Times promised to send them to you direct.

We are getting out the pamphlets containing Miss [Wales'] plan and the condensed plan and putting the imprint on them of the Woman's National Peace Party, with Chicago address, having 5000 of each struck off. This will pretty well exhaust the $100 you sent, as the cost of the initial composition is, of course, heavy. However, we will have the type held and additional thousands of the condensed statement can be had for $1.60, plus [page 4]

postage; and additional thousands of the 16-page statement in full at $6.15 each. This is the rate charged The Survey by our printers.

Shall I send the National Woman's Peace Party 3000 of each and hold the balance of 2000 each at this office awaiting your pleasure?


Miss Jane Addams,
Hull's Cove, Maine.