Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, July 3, 1915

July 3rd 15
American Hotel

Dear Miss Addams,

When I arrived here the evening of July first (Thursday) I was much disappointed to learn that you had had to return to America without meeting the other delegation but I know the pressure that you are under. It was most interesting to learn from Dr. Jacobs of your experiences, and now I suppose you want details of ours. I hardly know where to begin nor what to include or omit. I will give first <a brief account of the trip then tell results.>

The original second deputation for which you can turn at will to page

It has been a most interesting and enjoyable experience. The party was highly congenial and in all kept well and had no contretemps except that [page 2] Miss Wales had what we took for influenza and went home from Christiania with Mrs. Lloyd and Mrs. Binns, feeling really sick. Now comes a card of June 7 from Mrs Lloyd -- boat detained at the Hebrides, Miss Wales ill with jaundice. Of all this you probably have later news and I hope all is well. To be historical perhaps I ought to admit that Rosika Schwimmer was in bed with a cold for a day and that lost my voice for a week from the same cause and this cut me out of much of the opportunities of Stockholm but not out of our interview there. All well now.

In Stockholm Madame Schwimmer left us returning to Berlin via Budapest through Berlin, and taking [page 3] making a brief second visit to Copenhagen en route, to march in their suffrage parade -- which was brilliant success; 15,000 women, and all that heart could wish of approval and enthusiasm.

We have had such funny times with Mrs French & Mrs Cory. The former has been an absolute old man of the sea. Both are here now in the hotel with us.

At Stockholm [Miss?] Baroness Pal Ellen Palmstierna was added to our party in place of R. S. The sea route being dangerous and in fact impossible we went <to Petrograd> round the Gulf of Bothnia by rail a journey of 3 days & 3 nights. We were in Petrograd hanging along for 2 weeks, staying with [illegible] hospitable [page 4] Madame Jawein, then returned by the same route. In Stockholm we left <Baroness P. and> Miss Macmillan who went to Christiania and sailed thence for Amsterdam [illegible words] on June 30th. We expect her tonight or tomorrow. We went to Copenhagen and thence via Berlin (along with Mrs Fr. & Mrs C'y) to Amsterdam, where I was left alone [illegible] forced R. S and Dr J's to meet us at the station. This is the personal part now to turn to what is interesting.


Miss Macmillan arrived safely Sunday <July 4th> night much to our relief [page 5]

For political business type --


I might add that the attitude [to] US in Europe is decidedly more favorable now. R. S. had this impression most decidedly in Austria & in Hungary, and in Germany where she had good opportunity <to feel this out.> My return is necessarily uncertain if not the [7th] then possibly by next Holland line boat possibly by Englis via England. I will cable. [page 6]

Here follows the official part. Please read it all through before communicating any part of it to anyone.

In Copenhagen we found most markedly that fear of being committed to anything that had been shown by the Danish women at The Hague. We were received most formally by the prime minister Mr. Zahle and the minister of foreign affairs Mr. Scavenius. We were told that only two of us were expected to speak and that they would reply by handing to us a ready written response. This of course was in the most general terms.

Net result -- we were officially recognized and our arguments may have created some sympathy with our ideas.

In Christiania the atmosphere was lighter. Norway is in a much easier position with no belligerent neighbor no Schleswig-Holstein difficulty and a safer situation as regards contraband traffic.

We were received in private audience by the king who talked much of the time and most informally for almost two hours, he [seemed] genuinely interested in our ideas especially in our plan of [continuous] mediation. After this we had a formal interview with the minister of foreign affairs Mr. Ihlen. It looked as if we should not be able to see Mr. Knudsen minister the prime minister a well known pacifist as his wife was very ill; nevertheless he made an opportunity and invited us to come and speak with him. He was very much in sympathy I think. He asked many questions and promised that the cabinet would consider our plan.

We were then most formally received by the four presidents of the [Storting] which was an especial honor. As I understand it the Norwegian parliament has two coordinate branches [each with its own president and there are besides] a president vice president for the joint sessions.

In Stockholm we had only one official interview but that was worth all the others put together. Mr. the Swedish [minister] of foreign affairs is a powerful personality, an able man. [page 7] The case appears to be that he desires to have the conference when peace comes to be made, held in Stockholm and that he would be glad to play a role in all this. We therefore played on this string.

What follows is very private and probably should not be confided to anyone but the president.

We brought Mr. Wallenberg to more and more concrete positions. He finally said that he [would] be willing to take the [initiative] in regard to a neutral conference if he had sufficient evidence that it would be "not unacceptable" to the belligerents. [We] pressed the question of what would sufficient evidence and got him to say that if a lady for instance brought a little billet from the two [chief] representatives of both sides that would be enough.

In Petrograd we [were] advised to strike for M. [Sazonov] the minister of foreign affairs as the man of most power. The British ambassador was very helpful and after about a week we got our interview. We wasted a second week waiting to learn whether or not the Czar would also receive us. M. [Sazonov] very kindly made the request for us but it was a peculiarly difficult moment and our request was not granted.

The interview with [Sazonov] was deeply interesting. He talked with us quite freely for the greater part of an hour. He did not talk as an extremist but affected an entirely moderate tone about the war. Of course he said that the Germans caused it and blamed them for their way of conducting it. He spoke slurringly of the way the U.S. took Germany's [behavior] to her at which I fired up, but here was none of the sort of talk that we had been hearing from English and American reporters of the necessity of destroying Germany. We spoke of the inexhaustible numbers of the Russians and [page 8] of their historical expansion but he said that Russia has now reached her natural [bounds] and would "roll over" no further territory as regards the Dardanelles. Russia only wants free passage assured her.

We pressed the point of continuous mediation by a neutral conference. He said he had read our resolutions and understood our idea. When we asked him if he would consider the calling such a conference an unfriendly act he smiled and said of course not how [soon could it] be? He himself used the phrase "not unacceptable". Mrs. [Ramondt] then asked if in order to be sure that we got his meaning correctly we might write down what he had said. He was quite willing provided we included his remark that he did not think that it would lead to any results at the present time. So we wrote all this down and he was so kind as to read it through and to state that it was correct. He asked [us] not to make it public.

Returning to Stockholm we again saw Wallenberg and told him all this. He said now that he had said he [would] be willing to act if we brought evidence that the belligerents asked him to but on our stating our remembrance of [it] as given above I think he tacitly admitted our version. He seemed to think the attested transcript of a conversation such as we had brought adequate as to [form?] but he claimed that the clause as to not expecting any results as making it valueless. He asked us to come back and tell him if we had anything further to report. All this sounds more negative than the first interview perhaps but I think he was taking the whole thing even more seriously.

In Christiania Miss Macmillan saw Ihlen again and in Copenhagen Mrs. Ramondt and I were received quite privately and with [page 9] a request not to put it in the newspapers by Mr. [Edvard] Brandes the minister of finance. He was cynical or at least very [skeptical] but said he did not doubt that Denmark would join a neutral conference if Sweden and Norway did so. [Doubtless] Norway would say the same.

Here in Holland Mr. Cort van Linden [seems] to be in quite an oncoming mood. Dr Jacobs and Madame Schwimmer have seen him and he asked to be informed if we had further news so we are to report our experiences to him [on?] Wednesday. I think that Dr. Jacobs is very anxious to have Holland be the country to do this great thing so much so that that unconsciously makes her oppose our idea of going again to Berlin and London to try to get something like what we got from [Sazonov]. Our present plan is to [try] to do this unless Holland is so promising that it does not seem worth while. [Accordingly] I have about given up the idea of trying to [get?] off by the Rotterdam boat which sails on Wed. the seventh.

I wonder if my bad and laborious typewriting or my illegible penmanship seems to you the [illegible] [at] any rate both carry [so?] much love. There is a great deal more that is interesting that I should like to tell you but I have not the time to write it nor you to read it. Miss Manus is back and office and organization work is beginning again. The question of an office and [a] secretary are under discussion. The organization of the committees in the [various] countries is going on finely notably in France and in Hungary.

Always affectionately and gratefully yours,

E. G. Balch [signed]