Interview with the Montreal Gazette, June 23, 1915



Jane Addams Finds That Mediation Would Not Be Welcomed Now


Delegates From the Women’s Peace Congress Assured That Efforts Admirable but Misdirected

(Special Cable to The Gazette.)

London, June 23. -- The firm sentiment prevails in all the belligerent nations that the war must be pushed to a decisive victory, according to Miss Jane Addams, who just returned to London from a visit to the warring countries on the Continent. In an interview tonight, Miss Addams told of seeing the heads of the various governments, who, while taking note of the efforts of the women of America and other nations for mediation, actually held out no hope that they would be successful. In every country visited, Miss Addams said, she found the high authorities willing enough to listen to any peace proposal that might be made, but no indication was given that any movement in that direction would be of avail.

Miss Addams and Miss Hamilton, both of Hull House, Chicago, and half-a-dozen women from Holland, all of whom were delegates to the recent Women’s Peace Congress at The Hague, were graciously received, she said, and were assured by most of the government heads that the work they were doing was admirable, although at this time misdirected.

They called upon Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg and Gottlieb von Jagow, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, and while they were listened to attentively, they were informed that Germany must pursue the war to the bitter end.

In Paris, Premier Viviani and Foreign Minister Delcassé expressed sympathy with the women who are trying to end the war, but affirmed that the struggle must go on until the Allies win.

It was the same in Austria-Hungary, where they saw the Prime Minister and also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and again in Italy, where they had an audience with Premier Salandra and his foreign minister.


A significant feature of the trip was the audience granted by the Pope. Speaking of this, Miss Addams said:

“Before being admitted to the presence of the Pope, we were received by Cardinal Gasparri at the Vatican. The Catholic women of Hungary were anxious that we see the Pope, as they wanted the war to end, and thought the Pope might use his influence. The Primate of Hungary gave us a letter to Cardinal Gasparri and he spoke openly to us. The Cardinal told us that the Vatican could but deplore the awful havoc of war, and that the Vatican prayed that the end might come soon. He assured us that it seemed time that the women were moving in an effort for peace, and that he hoped the effort might lead to negotiations among the warring nations.

“After seeing Cardinal Gasparri, we were ushered into the presence of the Pope. He gave us exactly half an hour by the clock. Naturally we were exactly on time. The Pope informed us that his mind was entirely open on the war, and that he was ready to talk of the work we were doing. It was quite the natural and usual thing for women to be trying for peace among belligerents, he said, and he was willing to do what he could to further any peace negotiations. He offered himself as a peace mediator if the occasion came for him to act. The Pope was careful not to express the slightest opinion on the motive of any nation in the war, or of the justice of the cause of any belligerent.

“In going into the belligerent countries, we did not try to force peace talk, any more than in going into a home in turmoil, a caller would attempt to give advice. But our mission in going to the Continent was apparently quite well known, and the talk drifted easily to our peace efforts. We met with no molestation anywhere. In fact, we found officials ready to help us along. That does not mean that the officials gave the impression that they sympathized with the idea of bringing about a speedy peace, for they expressed only the opinion that the war must be pushed to a decisive end."


“Our stay at Berlin was typical of all. We gave to Herr von Jagow, as we did to all other officials in every country, a copy of the resolution passed at the peace congress, expressing the sentiment that the war might be ended by peaceful mediation. Herr von Jagow read it, and in a gracious tone assured us that he regarded it as quite natural that women should be engaged in such work. Exactly as the men of Germany feel that the war must be pursued to a conclusive end, he said, the women were likely to hope for a speedy end. The men in the battlefield were bent on fighting until victory crowned their efforts, he said, while the women, feeling the sting of war in the loss of loved ones, had hopes of the struggle ending by any means that would maintain the national integrity.

“I saw Dr. von Bethmann-Hollweg alone, and our talk was confidential.

“In Germany I found a strong feeling against America for failing, as they put it, to stop England’s blockade of food for Germany. Exactly the same sentiment I found among many in France because America had failed to protest against Germany’s invasion of Belgium.

“We reached Italy the day after war was declared, and had an audience with Premier Salandra and the Foreign Minister a few days after. The Premier was most agreeable, but Baron Sonnino seemed to take our peace ideas lightly.”

In a talk with civilians in Germany, Miss Addams said she found the insistent sentiment that Germany, as the prize of her warfare must take over Belgium, while in France the predominant feeling was that before the war was ended Germany must agree to give up Lorraine.

Miss Addams intends to sail for New York within ten days. She will call on President Wilson, asking him to initiate a movement looking to the establishment of an international council among neutral nations, to comprise two members from each country, to proffer mediation to the belligerents.