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[image] SPEAKERS' TABLE, INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF WOMEN. THE HAGUE (APRIL 28th TO MAY 1st, 1915)
[image] BUSINESS SESSION IN THE GREAT HALL OF THE [DIERENTUIN] -- THE HAGUE [page 3]
International Congress of Women
A committee of Dutch women, headed by Dr. Aletta Jacobs, who met in Amsterdam last February with a group of women from Germany, Belgium and Holland issued a Call for an International Congress of Women. They all believed in the solidarity of the Woman's Movement and were confident that even in war times a meeting might be [organized] to discuss the principles of constructive peace.
Invitations to take part in the Congress were sent to womens' [organizations] and mixed [organizations] as well as to individual women all over the world. Each [organization] was invited to appoint two delegates.
Women who became members of the Congress were required to express themselves in general agreement with the resolutions on the preliminary [program]. This general agreement was interpreted to imply the conviction
(a) That international disputes should be settled by pacific means.
(b) That the parliamentary franchise should be extended to women.
The expenses of the Congress were guaranteed by British, Dutch and German women present who all agreed to raise one-third of the sum required; although eventually the amount was defrayed by the generous subscription of the women representing twelve different countries. [page 4]
The response to the Call of the Congress was very remarkable. In Norway and Denmark as well as America, women had already issued manifestos on the terms of permanent peace, but womens' [organizations] in other neutral countries and also in the belligerent nations appointed delegates. In those cases where the women's [organizations] were either divided in opinion or opposed to the Congress the women who came did so as individuals, although even then they represented a considerable body of public opinion.
The countries responding were: The United States of America, which sent 47 members; Sweden, which sent 12; Norway, 12; Netherlands, 1,000; Italy, 1; Hungary, 9; Germany, 28; Denmark, 6; Canada, 2; Belgium, 5; Austria, 6, and Great Britain 3, although 180 others from there were prevented from sailing owing to the closing of the North Sea for military reasons.
The International Congress of Women opened at The Hague on Wednesday, April 28th, in the Great Hall of the Dierentuin, where some 1500 people were present. It had been originally intended to assemble in the Peace Palace, but it had become clear many weeks before that the accommodation would be insufficient.
Resolutions drafted at the preliminary meeting had been widely distributed by the Dutch Committee and a Resolutions Committee, consisting of two representatives from each country sending members to the Congress, continued its sittings throughout the proceedings, and also for a week afterwards, when the resolutions finally adopted were arranged in order and put into final form. This procedure proved very satisfactory for at International Congresses the difficulties of language are great, and it is necessary to find expressions for resolutions, which contain the same idea for every country. The official languages of the Hague Congress were English, French and German, and everything said in one of these was translated into the other two.
The conditions of debate were as follows: That discussions on the relative responsibility for, and conduct of the present war and resolutions dealing with the rules under which war should be in future carried on should be outside [page 5] the scope of the Congress. Speakers, other than movers or seconders of resolutions might not speak for more than five minutes.
The Congress, which was attended by a large number of visitors as well as by members was extremely successful. Although the proceedings were conducted with the greatest goodwill throughout, there was a moment of intense feeling when it became known that the Belgium delegates had arrived. They had received a permit to come from the German Governor in Belgium, but had to travel the last portion of the [Essen]-Roosendaal route on foot. As they ascended the platform the whole Congress rose in token of respect and cheered heartily.
EVENING MEETINGS OF THE CONGRESS
A series of brilliant evening meetings were held during the Congress, at which the chair was taken respectively by Dr. Aletta Jacobs, of Holland, Dr. Anita Augspurg, of Germany, and Miss Chrystal Macmillan of England.
On the first evening, Dr. Aletta Jacobs, the President of the Dutch Executive Committee, in welcoming the members of the Congress, expressed her appreciation of the courage shown by those women who had braved all the dangers, risks and difficulties of travelling in war time from one country to another.
"With mourning hearts we stand united here," she said. "We grieve for many brave young men who have lost their lives on the battlefield before attaining their full manhood; we mourn with the poor mothers bereft of their sons; with the thousands of young widows and fatherless children, and we feel that we can no longer endure in this twentieth century of [civilization] that governments should tolerate brute force as the only solution of international disputes."
Dr. Jacobs proceeded to explain why the Congress had been called in the midst of the war instead of postponing it until the days of peace, and indicated how many more difficulties such an international gathering would present if it had to include representatives of both victorious and conquered nations. [page 6]
"Although our efforts may not shorten the present war," she exclaimed, "there is no doubt that this pacific assemblage of so many nations will have its moral effect upon the belligerent countries. * * * * Those of us who have convened this Congress, however, have never called it a PEACE CONGRESS, but an International Congress of Women assembled to protest against war, and to suggest steps which may lead to warfare becoming an impossibility."
The meeting was further addressed by Miss Lindhagen, a town councilor of Stockholm, Sweden, Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence of Great Britain and others.
At the public meeting of the second evening of the Congress, there was not a vacant seat in the large hall. The meeting was addressed by Miss Holbrook, of Chicago, on the resolution which was passed at the [preceding] meeting as to the education of children, by Mrs. De Jong van Beek en Donk of The Hague, who showed herself master of the subject, Arbitration and Conciliation; and by Mme. Rosika Schwimmer who gave one of her most stirring addresses.
On the third evening the meeting was addressed by Miss Thora Daugaard of Denmark, Miss Kathleen Courtney of England, Miss Leonora O'Reilly of New York, representing the National [Women's] Trade Union League, and others including Frau Lecher of Austria, who made one of the most touching speeches of the Congress. She had been in the very midst of the miseries of war for months in her own country, working in the hospitals, where she had seen the most intense suffering [borne] without complaint; but what was the use of healing wounds if they were to be torn open again.
At each of the evening meetings greetings were read from individuals and [organizations], in many countries, including Bulgaria, Iceland, Portugal, Poland, Turkey, and from such women as Olive Schreiner, [Ellen] Key and Mrs. Chapman Catt. More than three hundred of such formal greetings were received, of which only a small portion could be read. About thirty protests were also received.
The president's address, delivered the last evening of the Congress is by request reprinted in full:
"The President wishes first to express her sincere admiration for the women who have come here from the belligerent nations. They have come from home at a moment when the national consciousness is so welling up from each heart and overflowing into the [page 7] consciousness of others that the individual loses not only all concern for his personal welfare but for his convictions as well, and gladly merges all he has into his country's existence.
It is a precious moment in human experience; war is too great a price to pay for it, but is worth almost anything else. I therefore venture to call the journey of these women, many of them heartsick and sorrowful, to this Congress little short of an act of heroism. Even to appear to differ from those she loves in the hour of their affliction or exaltation has ever been the supreme test of woman's conscience.
For the women coming from neutral nations there have also been supreme difficulties. In some of these countries woman has a large measure of political responsibility, and in all of them women for long months have been sensitive to the complicated political conditions which may so-easily compromise a neutral nation and [jeopardize] the peace and safety of its people. At a Congress such as this an exaggerated word may easily be spoken or reported as spoken which would make a difficult situation still more difficult, but these women have bravely taken that risk and made the moral venture. We from the United States who have made the longest journey and are therefore freest from these entanglements -- although no nation in the civilized world is free -- can speak out our admiration for these fine women from the neutral as well as from the fighting nations.
Why, then, were women from both the warring and the neutral nations ready to come to this Congress to the number of 1,500? By what profound and spiritual forces were they impelled, at this moment when the spirit of internationalism is apparently broken down, to believe that the solidarity of women would hold fast, and that through it, as through a precious instrument, they would be able to declare the reality of those basic human experiences ever perpetuating and cherishing the race and courageously to set them over against the superficial and hot impulses which have so often led to warfare?
Those great underlying forces in response to which so many women have come here belong to the human race as a whole, and constitute a spiritual internationalism which surrounds and completes our national life, even as our national life itself surrounds and completes our family life; they do not conflict with patriotism on one side any more than family devotion conflicts with it upon the other.
We have come to this International Congress of Women not only to protest from our hearts, and with the utmost patience we can command, [unafraid] even by the 'difficult and technical' to study this complicated modern world of ours now so sadly at war with itself, but furthermore we would fain suggest a way by which this large internationalism may find itself and dig new channels through which it may flow. [page 8]
At moments it appears as if the excessive nationalistic feeling expressing itself during these last fateful months through the exaltation of warfare in so many of the great nations is due to the accumulation within their own borders of those higher human affections which should have had an outlet into the larger life of the world but could not, because no international devices had been provided for such expression. No great central authority could deal with this sum of human goodwill as a scientist deals with the body of knowledge in his subject irrespective of its national origins, and the nations themselves became congested, as it were, and inevitably grew confused between what was legitimate patriotism and those universal emotions which have nothing to do with national frontiers.
This totally unnecessary conflict between the great issues of internationalism and of patriotism rages all about us even in our own minds but these two great affections should never have been set one against the other -- it is too late in the day for war. For decades the lives of all the peoples of the world have been revealed to us through the products of commerce, through the news agencies, through popular songs and novels, through photographs and cinematographs, and last of all through the interpretations of the poets and artists. Suddenly all of these wonderful agencies are applied to the hideous business of uncovering the details of warfare. Never before has the world known so fearfully and so minutely what war means to the soldier himself, to women and children, to that [civilization] which is the common heritage of all mankind. In the shadow of this intolerable knowledge, we, the women of this International Congress, have come together to make our solemn protest against that of which we know.
Our protest may be feeble, but the world progresses, in the slow and halting manner in which it does progress, only in proportion to the moral energy exerted by the men and women living in it; social advance must be pushed forward by the human will and understanding united for conscious ends. The slow progress towards juster international relations may be traced to the distinguished jurist of the Netherlands, Grotius; to the great German, Immanuel Kant, who lifted the subject of 'Eternal Peace' high above controversy; to Count Tolstoy of Russia, who so trenchantly set it forth in our own day, and so on throughout the nations.
Each in his own time because he placed law above force was called a dreamer and a coward, but each did his utmost to express clearly the truth that was in him, and beyond that human effort cannot go. These mighty names are but the outstanding witnesses among the host of men and women who have made their obscure contributions to the same great end. Conscious of our own shortcomings and not without a sense of complicity in the present war, we women have met in earnestness and in sorrow to add what we may to this swelling tide of endeavor. [page 9]
It is possible that the appeals for the [organization] of the world upon peaceful lines have been made too exclusively to man's reason and sense of justice (quite as the eighteenth century enthusiasm for humanity was prematurely founded on intellectual sentiment). Reason is only a part of the human endowment; emotion and deep-set racial impulses must be [utilized] as well -- those primitive human urgings to foster life and to protect the helpless, of which women were the earliest custodians, and even the social and gregarious instincts that we share with the animals themselves. These universal desires must be given opportunities to expand, and the most highly trained intellects must serve them rather than the technique of war and diplomacy.
They tell us that wounded lads lying in helpless pain and waiting too long for the field ambulance call out constantly for their mothers, impotently beseeching them for help. During this Congress we have been told of soldiers who say to their hospital nurses: "We can do nothing for ourselves but go back to the trenches again and again so long as we are able. Cannot the women do something about this war? Are you kind to us only when we are wounded?" There is no one else to whom they dare so speak, revealing the heart of the little child which each man carries within his own even when it beats under a uniform.
The time may come when the exhausted survivors of the war may well reproach women for their inaction during this terrible time. It is possible they will then say that when devotion to the ideals of patriotism drove thousands of men into international warfare, the women refused to accept the challenge, and in that moment of terror failed to assert clearly and courageously the sanctity of human life, the reality of the things of the spirit. For three days we have met together, so conscious of the bloodshed and desolation surrounding us, that all irrelevant and temporary matters fell away, and we spoke solemnly to each other of the great and eternal issues as do those who meet around the bedside of the dying. We have formulated our message and give it to the world to heed when it will, confident that at last the great Court of International Opinion will pass righteous judgment upon all human affairs." [page 10]
PRESIDENT OF THE CONGRESS: JANE ADDAMS.
International Committee of the Congress:
I. WOMEN AND WAR.
We women, in International Congress assembled, protest against the madness and the horror of war, involving as it does a reckless sacrifice of human life and the destruction of so much that humanity has [labored] through centuries to build up.
2. Women's Sufferings in War.
This International Congress of Women opposes the assumption that women can be protected under the conditions of modern warfare. It protests vehemently against the odious wrongs of which women are the victims in time of war, and especially against the horrible violation of women which attends all war.
II. ACTION TOWARDS PEACE.
3. The Peace Settlement.
This International Congress of Women of different nations, classes, creeds and parties is united in expressing sympathy with the suffering of all, whatever their nationality, who are fighting for their country or [laboring] under the burden of war.
Since the mass of the people in each of the countries now at war believe themselves to be fighting, not as aggressors but in self-[defense] and for their national existence, there can be no irreconcilable differences between them, and their common ideals afford a basis upon which a magnanimous and [honorable] peace might be established. The Congress therefore urges the Governments of the world to put an end to this bloodshed, and to begin peace negotiations. It demands that the peace which follows shall be permanent and therefore based on principles of justice, including those laid down in the resolutions1 adopted by this Congress, namely: [page 12]
That no territory should be transferred without the consent of the men and women in it, and that the right of conquest should not be recognized.
That autonomy and a democratic parliament should not be refused to any people.
That the Governments of all nations should come to an agreement to refer future international disputes to arbitration or conciliation and to bring social, moral and economic pressure to bear upon any country which resorts to arms.
That foreign politics should be subject to democratic control.
That women should be granted equal political rights with men.
4. Continuous Mediation.
This International Congress of Women resolves to ask the neutral countries to take immediate steps to create a conference of neutral nations which shall without delay offer continuous mediation. The Conference shall invite suggestions for settlement from each of the belligerent nations and in any case shall submit to all of them simultaneously, reasonable proposals as a basis of peace.
III. PRINCIPLES OF A PERMANENT PEACE.
5. Respect for Nationality.
This International Congress of Women, recognizing the right of the people to self-government, affirms that there should be no2 transference of territory without the consent of the men and women residing therein, and urges that autonomy and a democratic parliament should not be refused to any people.
6. Arbitration and Conciliation.
This International Congress of Women, believing that war is the negation of progress and [civilization], urges the governments of all nations to come to an [page 13] agreement to refer future international disputes to arbitration and conciliation.
7. International Pressure.
This International Congress of Women urges the governments of all nations to come to an agreement to unite in bringing social, moral and economic pressure to bear upon any country, which resorts to arms instead of referring its case to arbitration or conciliation.
8. Democratic Control of Foreign Policy.
Since war is commonly brought about not by the mass of the people, who do not desire it, but by groups representing particular interests, this International Congress of Women urges that Foreign Politics shall be subject to Democratic Control; and declares that it can only [recognize] as democratic a system which includes the equal representation of men and women.
9. The Enfranchisement of Women.
Since the combined influence of the women of all countries is one of the strongest forces for the prevention of war, and since women can only have full responsibility and effective influence when they have equal political rights with men, this International Congress of Women demands their political enfranchisement.
IV. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION.
10. Third Hague Conference.
This International Congress of Women urges that a third Hague Conference be convened immediately after the war.
11. International Organization.
This International Congress of Women urges that the organization of the Society of Nations should be further developed on the basis of a constructive peace, and that it should include: [page 14]
a. As a development of the Hague Court of Arbitration, a permanent International Court of Justice to settle questions or differences of a justiciable character, such as arise on the interpretation of treaty rights or of the law of nations.
b. As a development of the constructive work of the Hague Conference, a permanent International Conference holding regular meetings in which women should take part, to deal not with the rules of warfare but with practical proposals for further International Cooperation among the States. This Conference should be so constituted that it could formulate and enforce those principles of justice, equity and good will in accordance with which the struggles of subject communities could be more fully recognized and the interests and rights not only of the great Powers and small nations but also those of weaker countries and primitive peoples gradually adjusted under an enlightened international public opinion.
This International Conference shall appoint:
A permanent Council of Conciliation and Investigation for the settlement of international differences arising from economic competition, expanding commerce, increasing population and changes in social and political standards.
12. General Disarmament.
The International Congress of Women, advocating universal disarmament and realizing that it can only be secured by international agreement, urges, as a step to this end, that all countries should, by such an international agreement, take over the manufacture of arms and munitions of war and should control all international traffic in the same. It sees in the private profits accruing from the great armament factories a powerful hindrance to the abolition of war. [page 15]
13. Commerce and Investments.
a. The International Congress of Women urges that in all countries there shall be liberty of commerce, that the seas shall be free and the trade routes open on equal terms to the shipping of all nations.
b. Inasmuch as the investment by capitalists of one country in the resources of another and the claims arising therefrom are a fertile source of international complications, this International Congress of Women urges the widest possible acceptance of the principle that such investments shall be made at the risk of the investor, without claim to the official protection of his government.
14. National Foreign Policy.
a. This International Congress of Women demands that all secret treaties shall be void and that for the ratification of future treaties, the participation of at least the legislature of every government shall be necessary.
b. This International Congress of Women recommends that National Commissions be created, and International Conferences convened for the scientific study and elaboration of the principles and conditions of permanent peace, which might contribute to the development of an International Federation.
These Commissions and Conferences should be recognized by the Governments and should include women in their deliberations.
15. Women in National and International Politics.
This International Congress of Women declares it to be essential, both nationally and internationally to put into practice the principle that women should share all civil and political rights and responsibilities on the same terms as men. [page 16]
V. THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
16. This International Congress of Women urges the necessity of so directing the education of children that their thoughts and desires may be directed towards the ideal of constructive peace.
VI. WOMEN and the PEACE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE.
17. This International Congress of Women urges, that in the interests of lasting peace and [civilization] the Conference which shall frame the Peace settlement after the war should pass a resolution affirming the need in all countries of extending the parliamentary franchise to women.
18. This International Congress of Women urges that representatives of the people should take part in the conference that shall frame the peace settlement after the war, and claims that amongst them women should be included.
VII. ACTION TO BE TAKEN.
19. Women's Voice in the Peace Settlement.
This International Congress of Women resolves that an international meeting of women shall be held in the same place and at the same time as the Conference of the Powers which shall frame the terms of the peace settlement after the war for the purpose of presenting practical proposals to that Conference.
20. Envoys to the Governments.
In order to urge the Governments of the world to put an end to this bloodshed and to establish a just and lasting peace, this International Congress of Women delegates envoys to carry the message expressed in the Congress Resolutions to the rulers of [page 17] the belligerent and neutral nations of Europe and to the President of the United States.
These Envoys shall be women of both neutral and belligerent nations, appointed by the International Committee of this Congress. They shall report the result of their missions to the International Women's Committee for Constructive Peace as a basis for further action.
At the last session of the Conference, after a long and animated debate, it was voted to send delegates to the different capitols of both belligerent and neutral nations in order to place before the civil governments the resolutions voted by the Congress. Two Committees were appointed -- a committee of women from the neutral nations, to visit, primarily, the belligerent countries, consisting of Miss Jane Addams of America, and Dr. Aletta Jacobs of Holland, accompanied by Dr. Alice Hamilton of Chicago, and Frau Palthe from Amsterdam. A second committee, consisting of Madame Schwimmer of Hungary, Miss Macmillan of Great Britain, Mrs. Ramondt of Holland, and Miss Emily Balch of America, was to visit the Scandinavian countries, and the three latter also went to Russia. Visits were made by the first committee at the following capitols:
The Hague, where they saw Minister of Foreign Affairs for Holland, Mr. Loudon. Prime Minister of Holland, Cort [van] der Linden.
London -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for Great Britain, Sir Edward Grey, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Asquith.
Berlin -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for Germany, Graf von Jagow. Chancellor of Germany, von [Bethmann]-Hollweg.
Vienna -- Prime Minister of Austria, Graf [Stürgkh]. Minister of Foreign Affairs for Austria-Hungary, Baron [Burián].
Budapest -- Prime Minister of Hungary, Count Tisza.
Berne -- Minister of Political Affairs for Switzerland, Dr. [Hoffmann]. President of the Swiss Confederation, Signor [Motta]. [page 18]
Rome -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for Italy, Baron Sonnino. Prime Minister of Italy, Prof. Salandra.
Rome -- Secretary to the Pope, Cardinal [Gasparri]. Pope Benedict XV.
Paris -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for France, M. Delcassé. Président [du Conseil], Dr. Viviani.
Havre -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for Belgium, M. [Davignon].
The northern committee visited:
Copenhagen -- Prime Minister of Denmark, Mr. Zahle. Minister of Foreign Affairs for Denmark, Mr. [Scavenius].
Christiania -- The King of Norway. Prime Minister of Norway, Mr. Knudsen. Minister of Foreign Affairs for Norway, Mr. Ihlen. The Four Presidents of the Norwegian [Storting].
Stockholm -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for Sweden, Mr. Wallenberg.
Petrograd -- Minister of Foreign Affairs for Russia, Mr. [Sazonov].
Although the members of the committees experienced some inconveniences of travel -- the Northern Committee, for example, unable to cross the Baltic, were obliged to make a long journey by land -- they met everywhere with uniform courtesy, and often encountered open sympathy with their mission.
In every country which the delegates visited, public meetings were arranged for them, either by the women's organizations or by the groups of women who had attended the Conference at The Hague. The largest meetings were held in London, and Budapest, in Stockholm and Berne; in some of the others the meetings were held in club rooms and the delegates addressed invited audiences.
Everywhere there was a great eagerness to hear about the Congress and a response on the part of hundreds of sympathetic women in the belligerent and the neutral nations. [page 19]
The women were received in all places with the greatest courtesy and consideration by the Ministers, who often expressed their approval that the women should have undertaken this mission. They agreed that such an errand would be impossible for men, for efforts at peace would lay possible combatants open to the charge of cowardice, which could not be brought against women. In a half-hour interview with the Pope, His Holiness deplored the injury to religion caused by the present unhappy war, and expressed his approval of the action of the women. Although a copy of the Resolutions and Miss Wales' pamphlet on Continuous Mediation was left in the hands of each of the Ministers, the conversations were largely confined to the necessity of substituting negotiations for warfare. Upon their return to America both Miss Addams and Miss Balch each reported personally to the President of the United States. The result of their European visits has been summed up by a New York journal as follows:
I. That the Women from The Hague actually got through to the men in the state departments of the Great Powers, not merely to drop a tract and be bowed out, but to sit down and talk the issues through. They were not accused anywhere of being "peace-at-any-price" people. Nor was peace their slogan -- but some method of approach to a settlement other than the military method which is costing so heavily and is getting nowhere.
II. That these statesmen were for the most part representative of what might be called the civil group in each country; a group which is standing out for victory no less strongly than the military group, but which nonetheless is apprehensive that under the shadow of the war, long-fought-for civil rights are being invaded; that the longer the war goes on, the less the civil parties will have to say as to its terms of settlement; and that if the military parties of the different nations settle the terms of peace it will mean to clamp militarism upon Europe for a generation.
III. That with the military forces dead-locked along the concrete trenches, the civil leaders would welcome an opportunity to end the war and stay the carnage, but they are themselves bound hand and foot by the feeling that if they even talk terms of peace their position in their own country and before the world will be weakened; that they would welcome therefore, action by the neutrals which would open a way for negotiation with honor, and that the United States with its mixed peoples is [preeminently] the country looked upon to take the initiative in this emergency. [page 20]
IV. That while offers of mediation by the United States to the belligerents would be rejected, and while no belligerent could ask for [mediation], a continuous convention of neutrals would create a channel through which some opportunity might lead to peace; that such a conference should not be made up purely of governmental representatives -- who would think and act along rigid nationalistic lines -- but should if possible be drawn by some more democratic process from commercial labor and scientific fields which have genuine international experience.
"THE Women's International Congress does not claim to have invented a new means of preventing war; it does not claim to have put forward any startling or original theory. It does claim to have been a gathering of women of many countries, which proved that, even in time of war, the solidarity of women will hold fast; it does claim to have shown that women of different countries can still hold out the hand of friendship to each other in spite of the hatred and bloodshed under which most international ties seem submerged. It claims too, to have shown that, while women have a special point of view on the subject of war, and while its wastefulness of human life must appeal to them with particular emphasis, they can, at the same time, make their own contribution to the work and ideals of constructive peace."
 NOTE. The Resolutions in full are Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
 NOTE. The Congress declared by vote that it interpreted no transference of territory without the consent of the men and women in it to imply that the right of conquest was not to be recognized.