Basis for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Taking Part in the International Relief Action for Russia, August 14, 1921

Geneva, 6 rue du Vieux Coll├Ęge.

Basis for W.I.L.P.F. taking part in International Relief Action for Russia.

The Womens International League for Peace and Freedom is not a relief organization; but in view of the appalling magnitude of the disaster which has befallen the Russian people and which needs immediate mobilization of every possible means of help, and in view of the opportunity the situation affords for international [cooperation] and evidence of good-will and the desire to heal wounds and end hostilities, I believe that our members in every country would like the League to contribute such moral and material help as it can: --

a) By uniting in a general international appeal to humanity, and by using the machinery of its organization to spread this appeal as widely as possible;

b) By taking part in the Conference in Geneva on August 15 and 16, in order to use such influence as we can towards ensuring speedy and effective action, economical [coordination], and the placing of the administration of relief in the right hands; above all, towards preventing the situation being exploited for political ends.

This last aim can best be served by securing full publicity for all the relief action undertaken, and by contributing to the formation in all countries of an enlightened and truly international public opinion such as will exercise a beneficent control over the way in which help is given, and oppose all attempts at political exploitation.

We cannot hope to raise large sums of money ourselves, and I have given no expectation that we can do this; the sums which any individual organization can give will in any case be a mere drop in the ocean. But we can support a demand for immediate and effective Government action, and help to promote, in those countries in which we have National Sections, a public opinion that will support Governments in a policy of generous and continuous giving so long as the need lasts.

The two International Red Cross bodies, which are jointly convening the Geneva Conference, were not at first prepared to accept the W.I.L.P.F. as an organization qualified to take part in this international action, on the ground that we are a political and not a relief organization. I said this was quite true, but pointed out that we are in the same position as many other organizations which do not ordinarily engage in relief work, but which want to do so in this instance and are being admitted to the Conference; and I emphasized the fact the though we are a "political" organization we are not so in any nationalist or partisan sense, but are entirely international and impartial, and want to see all party considerations kept out of this united effort to help the suffering Russian people. On this basis our [cooperation] will be welcomed and delegates' tickets have been issued for Miss Addams and myself for [tomorrow's] conference.

(signed) Catherine Marshall.
Geneva, August 14, 1921.