Public Opinion in America on the League of Nations, May 6, 1923 (excerpts)




Tendencies in U.S. Veering in [Favor] of League of Nations

Miss Jane Addams, the famous social worker of Chicago, was the speaker at the regular Sunday afternoon service of the Community Church on Sunday, and the Masonic Hall and gallery were crowded. Miss Addams said, in opening her brief address, that as she [traveled] she was constantly challenged with regard to the attitude taken by the United States with regard to the League of Nations and that she had [endeavored] to sum up the changing attitude in America as manifested when she left the country. On the whole Miss Addams felt hopeful that an effort was being made to hasten the day when the United States might share in that great international League.

"Europe," said Miss Addams, "finds it difficult to understand the attitude of the United States with regard to pooling war debts, immigration, and participation in the League. When I was present at the last assembly of the League in Geneva an English representative asked me when my country would enter [the] League, to which I replied: 'We have to give the Republicans a chance to forget their campaign speeches!' 'Lloyd George can forget his in six weeks!' came the retort."

Unfortunately the League has been made a matter of party politics and has never received a dispassionate consideration, [continued] Miss Addams. Now, however, various groups are beginning to demand that it shall be treated as the international matter it really is. The farmers who cannot sell their corn, while Russia is starving: the Montana sheep man who cannot find a market for his wool though Austria is freezing; the Texas cotton grower who cannot dispose of his crop although he is anxious to send it to Europe and receive manufactures in exchange -- all these interests see the advantage in belonging to a League of Nations which can deal with such questions in the large. The bankers, who realize that the United States has already half the gold reserves of the world and that its debts must be paid in goods, are beginning to educate the public to that belief and Congress may see a new light.


The third factor in this changing opinion is the woman's vote. The four million members of the Women Voters' League, which is absolutely [nonpartisan], are informing themselves on international affairs. They are hearing about the undernourished and starving children who will have to meet the problems of the next generation and they are saying that since it has been the business of women through the ages to see that children are properly cared for, when this duty becomes international they must elect representatives who will meet the situation more generously than hitherto. Church bodies, too, such as the Federation of Churches and the Council of Churches of Christ in America, are also demanding that this question be taken up again and considered apart from party issues.