Speech to Dairy Jubiliee, January 30, 1922 (excerpt)


Declaring that the farm products surplus of America is sufficient to relieve famine conditions in Central Europe, Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House, Chicago, urged delegates to the dairy celebration in Madison last night to demand congressional action looking toward an international method of distribution.

"Not only the needy in Europe, but the American farmer would benefit," Miss Addams said. "While United States products would lessen the privation abroad, our goods would become popular in those countries and when they eventually get on their feet again they will prove to be some of America's best customers.

"Attempts have been made to inaugurate a system of barter exchange. Wool men in the west and cotton growers in the south have sent raw materials to the idle textile factories in Central Europe, agreeing that these plants would make the cotton and wool into cloth, keep a certain part of the cloth as payment and send the rest back to the United States. Yet these attempts, while they may have the germ of a great idea, were so hemmed in with our system of tariffs that they were doomed to failure."

Miss Addams, who returned recently from an extended European investigation trip, and who was in Germany shortly after the armistice was signed, sketched the horrors of starvation prevailing in Central Europe and in the Volga valley of Russia. In the latter district, she said, the great cause of the famine was not the Soviet government but the drought. The wheat in sixteen districts literally burned up. The farmers she said, in preparing for the winter siege of starvation, plucked grass roots out of the ground, mixed then with melted-down horses' hoofs to make them cling together, and called the product "pancakes!" And so piously do the farmers regard their vocation, that even in the pangs of hunger they refused to eat the seed wheat which they had planted even while realizing that they would not be alive to reap the crop.

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