June 21, 1917.
Dear Miss Addams:
Here is a copy of my letter to Miss Wald, together with some notes bearing on Miss Eastman's memorandum. Those of us who felt as Miss Wald did were ready to step one side and let the majority utilize the organization up to the hilt in a propaganda not only against war and militarism, but against this war. This, it turned out, the majority did not have in mind -- and felt that that was the job of the Socialist Party and the new People's Council; and that the American Union should hold together the combination it has had from the start on a program which should make clear that we are not obstructing the prosecution of the present war, once decided upon, or encouraging or promoting conscientious objection; but that we are helping to organize public sentiment against encouragement of militarism among us in wartime and for a civil settlement which would be just and permanent.
Instead of a bureau of information, then, for conscientious objectors, the decision was in line with Miss Eastman's strong memorandum to create a bureau of civil liberties or constitutional rights under the American Union -- covering free press, free speech, free assembly, freedom of conscience, etc; and a bureau of international relations. Mr. Baldwin will be in charge of the former, and Miss Eastman of the general executive [page 2] work, and, I take it, the latter. She is coming back into the work after three months absence, and has a very difficult piece of engineering ahead in financing and organizing, as the Union is fairly strapped. Of course the indecisions as to policy have meant for delay in getting under way competently, but they were perhaps inevitable, and we are now ready for a second wind.
You will be interested to know that the National Conference sessions were not without their social protest against war. Mr. Almy did not ask anybody else to take your place at the session at which Mr. Taft spoke. The meeting arranged by Mr. Baldwin for the American Union was pretty badly snubbed by the conference authorities, not being included in any of the bulletin announcements, etc. It filled a small neighboring [theater], however, about a third of the people present being conference delegates, and two-thirds Pittsburgh people, mostly socialists. A representative of the district attorney and a bunch of policemen turned up from behind the scenes at the meeting and served notice that they would stand for no criticism of the President or the administration. Roger Baldwin welcomed them cordially and with great unction and all went off smoothly on that score. Prof. Willett of the Carnegie Technical School presided. I opened as a buffer, endeavoring to make clear why conference delegates and citizens generally should be interested in a fresh statement of terms of peace and not leave those tremendous issues of foreign policy to the extremists -- to the socialist organ on one hand or American Northcliffes on the other. Miss Abbott made a perfectly ripping interpretation of what the war and internationalism means to immigrants; Mrs. Kelley followed; Roger Baldwin spoke on the conscientious objectors; and Scott Nearing gave a caustic, spirited vigorous arraignment of war which brought down the house. [page 3]
P.S. On getting back from Pittsburgh, I found Professor Hull's manuscript, and am getting Mr. Devine's reaction on it -- which I have no doubt will be favorable, -- as well as your own.