WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM.
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
A number of interesting and important questions have arisen to which I would ask you to give immediate attention, much as I hate to trouble busy people who are snatching a little well-earned rest and change in this holiday month. Replies may refer to questions by number only if more convenient.
I. PAX ET LIBERTAS.
Until a definite plan as to the new form to give our organ can be decided on, it seemed better simply to issue quite informal news sheets and these have not even been uniform as we are experimenting with different methods of getting things out.
The question of our new organ has taken a new shape since Jane Addams went to London and this is explained in the appended letter from Mrs. Swanwick which followed a letter from Miss Addams to me.
"While Miss Addams was in London, it came to her knowledge that Miss Mary Sheepshanks, Secretary of the International Women Suffrage Alliance, who has edited JUS SUFFRAGII ever since 1913, was resigning her post. It immediately occurred to Miss Addams that if it were possible to secure the services of Miss Sheepshanks as editor of the organ of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, it might be worth while to make great effort to raise the money for the experiment and offer her the opportunity of making a really important international feminist paper. Miss Addams therefore invited Mrs. Swanwick to interview Miss Sheepshanks with her and it was ascertained that Miss Sheepshanks would be willing to consider an offer of the editorship.
"Miss Addams, on the eve of her departure for Rotterdam left it to Mrs. Swanwick and Miss Macmillan to communicate with Miss Balch with regard to sending out the vote to the other members of the Executive and this statement is drawn up to carry out her wish.
"When the Committee discussed the question at Zürich, Miss Addams was opposed to the production at the present time of a paper. But the opportunity of securing the services of so experienced an international journalist as Miss Sheepshanks caused her to revise her opinion and to express very warmly the wish that an effort might be made to utilize this opportunity.
"No suggestion is made that the title -- PAX ET LIBERTAS -- chosen at Zürich should be altered.["] The chief points for settlement will be as follows:
a) INTERVALS OF PUBLICATION: WEEKLY OR MONTHLY. -- I am strongly of opinion that we should aim at a weekly and Miss Addams seemed to [favor] this. It could then be hoped that it would be a close link between the sections and also become, through its comments and articles on current events, the recognized organ of International democratic women. [page 2]
b) WHAT LANGUAGE? THREE? TWO? OR ONE? -- Miss Addams inclined to think it should be in English. One cannot anticipate a widely popular circulation in any one country. The English language is spoken very widely over the world and it is also read by very large numbers of educated women all over Europe. To have it in more than one language would greatly increase the cost and not greatly increase the circulation.
c) WHERE SHOULD THE OFFICE OF PUBLICATION BE? Miss Addams seemed to have an open mind as between Geneva and London. Miss Macmillan and I are however convinced that the office of the paper must be in the same town as headquarters and preferably in the same building or very near. The Editor would want to be in the closest touch with Miss Balch who would contribute, or pass on some of the most interesting matter, not only of the [organization], but news that came to her knowledge as Secretary.
d) FINANCE. -- This is, of course, the most serious problem of all. Miss Addams faced the certainty that a weekly paper would cost a considerable sum of money and that, for a while, at any rate, it would not be possible to make much on advertisements.
"We suggest that you should, if possible, fill out a rough budget, so that the Executive can form some judgment of what a two years' experiment would cost and if the majority approved the idea, the National Sections might be asked what amount they could guarantee and what number of copies they would take.
"Having had some experience as editor, I do not believe that a weekly can be got out with less than three people: (1) Editor, to write and get written the paper. (2) Sub-Editor and Secretary, to help make up the paper, see it through the press and act as Editor's Secretary. (3) Clerk, to keep accounts, write address-wrappers, make up and post parcels etc.
The Budget should therefore include
|francs per year
|[francs per year]
|[francs per year]
|Offices (furnished, with light, heat & attendance)
|[francs per year]
|Printing & publishing 12 pp. weekly (5000 ed.?)
|Expense of distribution
"With regard to receipts, I think we should be quite clear that it cannot be a paper that can be sold in the streets, or made very widely popular anywhere and therefore a comparatively high price must be charged for it. As its circulation increased, advertisements could be got to pay for more pages. I suggest that we should charge sixspence a copy, without postage and £1-8-2 [illegible] a year with postage. Special terms could be made with secretaries of National Sections who would take it in bulk.
"One thousand copies per week would give 625 francs per week, or 32'500 francs per year, and I think we should be able to do a good deal better than an edition of 1000 per week.
"We suggest that you should issue a statement on these lines (filling in roughly the blanks I have left in the estimate according to local prices) and asking the opinion of the Executive on the four heads. -- H. M. Swanwick --" [page 3]
A letter from Miss Sheepspanks just received gives further details and discusses the plan from her angle. Her letter is in substance as follows:
"As you probably remember, you and I talked over the chances of your running a paper when I was in Zürich, I certainly am keen that the League should publish one; of course I am like the cobbler who thinks there is nothing like leather! My experience is that an organ is invaluable, even indispensable for keeping a movement together, especially an international one. But I never thought of it as being run apart from the Headquarters or by anyone but yourself.
"When I resigned my work as editor of Jus Suffragii, Miss Addams asked me whether if the W.I.L. for P.&F. decided to have a paper and if they wished to appoint me to edit it, I would consider it, and I said I would. It is all very tentative and hypothetical and there are several things to be considered.
"My feeling is rather that a paper should be run as part of the work, because it works in with the correspondence, and can be done with part of the same staff. On the one hand Geneva is rather out of the news world and on the other hand it would mean a great waste of effort and duplicating of work to have two offices, one at Geneva and one in London. Another point: editing a monthly is by no means a full time job, editing a weekly is. I do not know whether a fortnightly would be, or what the office could do in the interval. I have had to fill in my time at the Jus Suffragii with indexing other papers etc. This rather points to the work being combined with other work at Headquarters.
"As to finance: of course it could not be anything like self supporting. Could we get 3000 subscribers at 6/ or 8/? Suppose we got 3000 at 6/ that would make £900 leaving £400 to be raised, but should we get guaranteed subscriptions to that amount just now? If we got half that number we should have to raise £660 to maintain the paper. With regard to myself, I am not able to wait on the chance of this plan developing; I must support myself and cannot afford to be idle for more than a few weeks; I must be looking round for a job; possibly I may not find anything suitable quickly, or possibly I may find something temporary; but the Board of Officers will want to go into the whole matter carefully before they come to a decision. It is easier to raise money for anything of this sort while people are together in an enthusiastic frame of mind at a Congress; now that this is over until 1921 I wonder whether it will be possible to get the necessary support.
"People are having such demands on their diminished incomes for relief work and national objects, that in this as in other departments it looks as if the United States was the only country with the means to support an international movement, and has it the interest?
"You ask me what the next step should be. I suppose that first of all the members of the Board of Officers must be consulted, and they will want to consult their members, all of which will take time. I gathered that Miss Addams intended to make such an inquiry, but her travels in central Europe will probably postpone it except in so far as she can ascertain the views of any members with whom she comes in contact on the journey. I feel that meanwhile there is nothing I can do in the matter. I am not on the Board, but only a possible candidate for the post of editor, and there may be other and better candidates! So I shall continue to look about for work and if later on this suggestion should mature I shall be very pleased to hear more about it. But I am inclined to think it is the job of the Headquarters office, and that it would be a mistake and financially wasteful to run a [page 4] separate office. As for the technique of editing there is nothing in it. Anyone can do it, previous experience is not [illegible] necessary."
The following is the relevant part of the receipt and the expense account of INTERNATIONAL WOMEN SUFFRAGE ALLIANCE for twelve months ended December 31, 1918.
|Jus Suffragii Subscriptions
|By Office Rent, Lighting, Heating & Cleaning
|[By] Telegraphic Address
|Jus Suffragii --
|Translations, printing & Postage
|Special Postage to Neutral Countries
|Grant to French edition
|Printing & Stationery
|Advertisements & Expenses in U.S.A
|Books and Periodicals
|Branch Charges & Income Tax on Interest
The above items include the general expenses of the Alliance not merely those incurred for JUS SUFFRAGII.
I have also had a letter on the subject from Chrystal Macmillan who says, among other things.
"You will have heard in a letter from Miss Addams that Miss Sheepshanks has resigned her post as Editor of Jus Suffragii and that Miss Addams had sounded her on the subject of whether she would be willing to act as an editor for the W.I.L.P.F. paper.
"The producing of a regular paper from the Headquarters is the particular [piece] of work which is most possible for you as Secretary starting the Bureau, to make a success -- I mean with all the various pacifist and Women's papers that are available and which you could get almost at once. The Congress too had raised the interest which would make it not difficult to get up the necessary regular correspondence. A monthly paper can very well be run along with the general management of the bureau, if you have efficient helpers who undertake the mechanical work of the office. Then too when a second person of that grade is introduced into an international office, she ought to have as her mother tongue one of the two other main international languages which is not the mother tongue of the first worker. It does not do for us always to keep saying that everyone knows English [page 5] for it is not true of Latin countries and not true of eastern Europe.
"I should agree at once to the starting of a monthly paper which should be sent to every subscribing associate and to others who pay and that to cover the additional expenses of doing this you should as soon as necessary be [authorized] to increase your staff in the way that seems most necessary to you as you see how things work out. It would have to be English because that is your language. Other editions could develop later.
"Place for editing the paper. I think it would be quite impossible to bring out the paper except from the office -- at least it would mean doing all the information and reference work twice over. It would be better to move the office. Then again we are always thinking we are the whole world and I think you will get more of the eastern Europe [favor] in Geneva than in London."
Miss Addams wrote me: "All this seems very inconsistent with my position at Zürich in regard to our paper but I have had a change of heart. If we can gather together all this wonderful material -- about a new world founded on consent and (part of it to my mind) -- an assurance of food sufficient to keep from starving for all the world -- then it might well be worth while to use up our collected money, if necessary the first year, and count upon more for the next year just because we have a big clientele.
"I don't suppose it would be possible to have the paper published in London? It would have to be at the Headquarters wouldn't it, even if you sent on material? Miss Sheepshanks' salary is £250 a year -- it would be bigger than that, but all that detail could be arranged by a committee."
"In my reply to Miss Addams I said: Mlle Gobat and I are both pleased about the new development in the matter of our organ. I am delighted that Miss Sheepshanks is free and would undertake it. My first impression was that she had better do it from London, perhaps, for after all Geneva is small and remote from the big currents of life and will be so, even when there is a diplomatic League of Nations eddy here. I think it might prove best for her to come here and let us get a start together and then for her to carry it on from the London end with me furnishing all the raw material I could from here. Of course, there is a good deal to settle before we get so far as this.
"I think the idea of taking what might be necessary from the funds that we hoped would carry us through two years, and trying to raise the additional money needed the second year is not an unreasonable plan, but it means a big yearly budget, say (at the rate we discussed) about $12,000 a year and you know where the bulk of this will have to be raised and on whom it will fall. I obviously cannot raise money from here. We can hope the paper will nearly carry itself but ...
"And at the end of 2 years comes a Congress again and then a possible meeting of some kind of Washington in October. Activity creates the funds to support it, but not without work, and I am afraid a quite undue share of it will come back on you. The fear of burdening you is all I see against the plan. Isn't it nice that Miss Sheepshanks wants to do it?
"It is of course a thing to avoid -- I am rereading your letter and noting the various points -- to let our League get too Anglo-Saxon but perhaps we can prevent this by providing French, German and neutral counterpoises if we bear it in mind. I think a friendly critic who says that we Americans are a little prone to take things [page 6] into our own hands is right, but that the reason is largely that we like to move quickly rather than that we want to monopolize control. Still I do think it is a bad balance to have an American Secretary and an English Editor."
In this connection I would also quote from a letter just received from Yella Hertzka who says:
"Unsere Liga wird allen Anscheine nach sehr grosse Ausehnung gewinnen. Die katholischen Franen sind bereit, sich uns ansuschliessen, wir haben eine [illegible] sehr grosse Versammlung mit einem Bericht uber den Zürcher Kongress abgehalten und lassen nachste Woche ein Flugblatt erscheinen, welches auch die Resolutionen enthalt und su Propagandazwecken gedruckt wird. Dieses Flugblatt soll ein allmonatiche erscheinendes Organ werden, betitelt 'Die Frauen-Internationale.' Es wäre vielleicht denkenswert, dass alle Lander bei Herausgabe solcher Flugschriften in gleichen Format arbeiten würden, so dass man die Schriften einmal nett binden kann. Vielleicht könnten Sie das anregen."
B. This suggests another possible plan. The issuance from the Geneva bureau of informal news sheets PAX ET LIBERTAS appearing as often as the material allowed which the National Sections would make use of in their publications. In this way the news as it came to their readers would be a little less fresh but being probably translated would reach wider circles in countries where there were effectively run organs or publicity departments. The Geneva office might build up a considerable mailing list for remoter and less fully organized countries and of individuals desiring to subscribe for the Geneva issue, direct. These news sheets should be in a smaller format suitable for binding and of more than one page. They should appear when the material warranted it. In this way questions demanding haste or of an emergency character could be brought before our public immediately. Some issues could be small and some larger. There would be no need to fad nor to mutilate to fit a predetermined number of pages. Some issues could be devoted to special questions as for instance education, conscientious objectors, [illegible] economic conditions, suffrage, pacifist methods in revolutionary conditions.
I am sending this letter also to the national sections for consideration but not for vote.
In order to make it easier to get a decision I suggest that your reply take the shape of an answer to the following questions.
A. Do you approve the plan of securing Miss Sheepshanks services and issuing a weekly or fortnightly paper along the lines suggested in her letter?
A2. If so, do you approve of creating a Committee to consist of Mrs. Swanwick, Chrystal Macmillan, and your Secretary to make the necessary arrangements?
B. Do you approve the plan suggested under B, page 6?
C. Do you want the Secretary to issue from Geneva as well as she can a monthly PAX ET LIBERTAS to be in the main a News Sheet (Correspondensblatt) and to be like News Sheet No. 3 in different languages according [page 7] to the character of the matter?
D. Or what other plan do you propose?
You can thus reply by telegraph:
"Approve A 1 and 2" or "approve B" or "approve C" or you can write or telegraph more at the length proposing a different plan or modifying one of the above plans.
Please consider the following proposal submitted by the Executive Committee of the British Section.
Mrs. Swanwick wrote as follows on July 19, 1919:
"At our Executive Committee on the 17th July, we discussed the question of the International Finance Committee & a general opinion was expressed that it would not work. I am afraid I did not (at the one committee meeting which I was able to attend at Zürich) very clearly apprehend what the Finance Committee was for & the more I think of it the less do I see what it could do.
"We found it impossible to nominate a British member to the Finance Committee, because no one would accept nomination. Mrs. Pethick Lawrence, Hon. Treasurer of our British Section, was strongly of opinion that this was not the way to [organize] the finance.
"I enclose a Suggest Finance Scheme, in case you should care to circulate it to the members of the Executive Committee & to the Chairman of the proposed Finance Committee, in order to ascertain their opinions."
SUGGESTED FINANCE SCHEME.
"The funds of spent at Headquarters must be raised by the National Sections, that is to say, by the Treasurer & Executive Committees of the National Sections. They must be administered by the International Executive Committee, through the Secretary-Treasurer (assisted if need be, by a Finance [Subcommittee]).
"A Finance Committee composed of one member from each National Section would have no power to administer, because administration depends upon policy & policy must be decided by the International Executive Committee.
"It seems to me that the best way of raising large sums & the only way of administering them is:
"(1) For the Sec. Treasurer to estimate for:
"(a) Establishment charges.
"(b) Essential current expenses.
"(c) Each special development proposed.
"Then, when any development involving expenditure of money is proposed, the Executive knows that it can sanction the development only if the money is found & the appeal can go out to the National Sections for this money.
"(2) For the National Sections to raise the money required, knowing that, if they do not, development will be checked.
"(3) For the International Executive to administer the funds through the Sec. Treasurer.
"I have alluded to the possibility of a Finance [Subcommittee]. The use of such a committee lie mainly in helping to estimate & allot the funds according to the policy decided by the Executive. I think such a [subcommittee] would be helpful to you, but it should be [page 8]
"(1) Distinctly a [subcommittee] of the Executive, so as to avoid weakening the responsibility of the Executive.
"(2) Easily summoned & therefore composed of women resident in Switzerland, or frequently visiting it. It would also be an advantage that they should be conversant with prices & conditions in Geneva."
"It will be remembered that the plan that we agreed on at our meetings after the Zürich Congress provided for a Finance Committee to consist of one representative of each National Section, to have the duty of stimulating and arranging the collection of funds by the National Sections for the support and extension of the work of the League, and that Martha Larsen was appointed Chairman, but as we were both hurried and tried it may well be that we should now consider some other plan, such as the British proposal, wiser."
The British proposal can be accepted or rejected by simple "II yes" or "II no" or modifications or alternative plans can be suggested "II Committee plan" would be a vote for the plan of an international finance committee under Martha Larsen as described above."
III. STATEMENT OF THE OBJECT OF THE LEAGUE, and objections to some of the Zürich resolutions.
The question has been raised by some of our members whether we ought not to have a statement of our object which explained itself instead of needing to be interpreted by reference to the resolutions passed at The Hague and Zürich, as does our present statement, which reads:
Object: To [organize] support for the resolutions passed at the Women's International Congress at The Hague in 1915 and in Zürich in 1919, and to support movements to further Peace, internationalism and the Freedom of Women.
[Matilda] Widegren writes:
"Do you think it possible to [organize] National associations with so detailed a program as 'to support the resolutions passed at the Women's Congress at The Hague and Zürich.' I do not think we can promise more than to work in their spirit. I think we must work out for our international work a few paragraphs expressing our aims in a very clear and broadminded way, and afterwards let each branch develop itself independently."
In this connection I quote the following from a letter from another Swedish Member.
"We had a committee meeting the other day when some of the Swedish delegates to the Women's Congress at Zürich gave their reports. Two of the ladies present who had not attended the Congress however raised objections to some of the points in the resolutions and I have been asked to write to you for an explanation.
"(1) ON MILITARY ACTION IN RUSSIA AND HUNGARY.
"The objections raised to this resolution were:
"(a) that a party in Russia is said to have applied to the Allied for armed intervention.
"(b) the experiments of a new social and economic order appear to us in Sweden who are living next door to Russia to be anything but 'a great contribution to the world.'
"As this resolution furthermore belongs to the unfinished [page 9] business of Saturday we propose that it should be entirely excluded.
"The other question or better objection dealt with the Constitution for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
"Objections were raised as to the wisdom of our National Sections supporting every resolution passed at the International Congresses. For instance: our support of the above resolution regarding the Bolshevists experiment in Russia was considered damaging to our cause in this country.
"I think -- and some of the ladies agree with me -- that a constitution ought to be brief and concise, so that all the national sections could agree on it, and a constitution ought not to be based on all the resolutions carried at all congresses. The different national sections could then more or less support the resolutions carried on the congresses. Is not that right? The object of the League must be supported, but the resolutions could be altered from Congress to Congress, some of them at least."
It is to be noted that the British W.I.L. states its objects as follows:
To establish the principles of right rather than might, and of cooperation rather than conflict, in national and international affairs, and for this purpose to work for --
I. The development of the ideals underlying modern democracy in the interests of constructive peace.
II. The emancipation of women and the protection of their interests.
In consideration of all this do you think we ought to adopt or authorize any altered form of statement (Reply III yes, or III no).
If "Yes" will you suggest a form that you would approve?
Would you rather maintain the present statement and authorize an explanation to the effect that we do not require a literal acceptance of every resolution just as it stands but a genuine acceptance of the purpose and spirit of our [organization] as shown in the resolutions (Reply III b yes, or III b no).
Do you think that membership should mean literal acceptance of every resolution as passed? (Answer "III c yes," or "III c no").
Another letter raised the question of our relation to political parties. A member in another country was concerned about the relation of a local [illegible] group to the Socialists. I replied as follows and shall be glad in this case too to have your views:
"In reply to your further question it is certainly not the wish of the [organization] to give any party [color] to our proceedings. It is essential that our ranks should be open to all women (and as 'Associates' men also) who are striving for a world based on reason and good will from which war is excluded. We wish to leave the largest liberty to our National Sections and hope that they too will leave a like liberty to their local groups. I see no reason why in a large [page 10] city there should not be more than one group, related not to one another, but in each case to the national sections. In this way different circles can be permeated and made active. We want to make is use of, and 'so far as possible to unite, persons of all tendencies, confessions and factions.' We do not want to keep out of politics in the sense of not interesting ourselves in political questions and using such political power as we may have, but to avoid all partisanship, all that we call in America 'playing politics,' all that divides or [illegible] embitters or excludes. We must work in the [illegible] spirit of the largest possible understanding with one another and of the desire for reconciliation and cooperation in spite of sharp and honestly held differences of opinion.
"If this does not fully meet the situation that you have in mind will you not write to me further about it?"
Any comment will be welcome.
IV. As to consultative members, to be appointed by the National Sections, 2 from each, Clara Tybjerg asks if they can be chosen outside the National section. I replied as follows:
"I had taken for granted they would in each case be members of the national sections but the constitution does not require it and in case a given section desired to nominate outside its own members I can see no reason why it should not do so. It would probably make such a choice, only in case it had good reason for its action."
If you disagree please let me know your opinion.
With cordial greetings
Emily Balch, Secretary.