David Starr Jordan to Jane Addams, January 19, 1916


January 19, 1916.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Miss Addams:

I congratulate you on your good work in Washington as reported in THE POST and other papers.

You asked my advice in regard to the cablegram calling you to Holland to be one of the "mediators."  It seems to me that this group has lost all power of doing anything good. It has far too much publicity. Dr. Aked, who seems to be the leading spirit, is a man who would find it extremely difficult to succeed in a matter of this kind. With all his excellent qualities, which I would not under-rate, he lacks tact and lacks tolerance. Mrs. Fels seems to me without influence in such matters. The only possibility I can see of mediation is for some carefully chosen group, of which you should be a member, who would go over to Europe independently of the peace pilgrimage, and begin work very quietly, very modestly and very intelligently, with headquarters at Amsterdam or perhaps Utrecht, and avoiding as far as possible all notices in the newspapers. These mediators should know the situation well, should know German and French, and they ought to have among them a pretty large acquaintance in Germany, France and England. Even under the best circumstances the problem is very difficult and growing increasingly so.

I believe that the Germans are willing to give up Belgium and Holland, but they wish to retain a free hand, that is a whip hand, in the Balkans and a protectorate over Turkey. I am inclined to think that the latter proposition would make for peace. If the German nobility had something to do and some chance to find the failure of their system in dealing with inferior people and had the chance to learn administration which the British have had in India, it would relieve the situation in Europe. They would no longer stew in Berlin. [page 2]

I would not under-rate the value of the peace demonstration but it seems a pity that so much money should be spent and the one thing needful (quiet and patient mediation) should have been entirely overlooked. If you should go to Holland perhaps you might be able to accomplish some results, but I cannot imagine that the help of Mr. Aked or Mrs. Fels would be of any advantage whatever. I do not know whether Mr. Bryan is going to Europe at all, and Mr. Ford seems to lay stress on things which would stand in the way rather than help the cause. Mr. Lochner will do his best whatever the circumstances, but there should be a working plan ahead of him and this does not yet appear in the newspapers or in the single letters which I have had from Mrs. Clark, my former stenographer and now assistant to Mr. Lochner.

Very sincerely yours,

David Starr Jordan [signed]

↑I shall probably go to Europe in April to the Berne "International Congress for the Study of Durable Peace". This work looks wholly to the future, but is very important. If I go, I shall probably stay in Europe until the war is over and the crucial time comes.↓