Emily Greene Balch to Rose Standish Nichols, August 26, 1919


Geneva, August 26, 1919.

My dear Miss Nichols,

I was awfully pleased to get your letter of July 25 with your kind personal words and appreciation of the Zurich Congress. I also found it a great stimulus and satisfaction. I take pleasure in sending you some of the Zurich photographs.

Don't you want to become an Associate member and so stand in direct relation with the International Office. I take the liberty of sending you several cards thinking you might find us other members. If you should think it worth while I wish you would have a number printed in America (Please let the format be identical). This will [save] delay and expense. If you will send the bill to We shall be, of course, glad to pay for the printing.

You are kind to speak about the question of my salary. I do not know how it came to be understood in America that I meant to decline to receive one. It would be impossible for me to accept the position otherwise. I was in some [doubt] whether the amount offered me -- that which I formerly received at Wellesley -- was not too much, but as the work develops I believe it is a good investment for the League to set my salary at that figure. It gives me much more liberty of action and speeds things up for me to have a certain amount of money -- [illegible] ↑[a margin?]↓ over what it costs to live here -- of which I can dispose quickly and freely.

Now to come to the main point of this letter, the organizing of a branch in a new country and first about Japan.

Nothing seems to me of greater importance than this. I had already written to Miss Addams before receiving your letter urging that every effort should be made in this direction. I send you a duplicate copy of the list of Japanese addresses which I sent to her. They are a copy of all the cards and the lists supplied by the Dutch Bureau that relate to Japan. I do not know how well selected they are. I send you also a copy of what I wrote to [illegible] Miss ↑[illegible]↓ on the subject. Will you correspond with her about it in order to prevent any possible confusion. Of course it is right for you to stir up all the interest you can in countries organized or unorganized. My idea is that growth might take place [page 2] [in] either (or both) ↑of two ways↓ by a central national group propagating other local [groups] or by the spontaneous formation of local groups which would then, it is to be hoped, organize or affiliate themselves, with a national committee. Since people of widely differing [characteristics] and habits often do not work effectively together but tend to paralyze one anothers power there is no reason why there should not be more than one group in one place. I am very anxious to see now a large numerical growth in all our countries of women willing and able both to affect public opinion and to exert political pressure. The action must come from local and national groups. The International Bureau under present conditions can only do liaison-work. We have no literature except the pamphlet with the resolutions and the News Sheet. I will send you a quantity of each.

As to China the field (so far as I know) is even less worked than that of Japan and of course vaster. I will send you such Chinese addresses as I can master, but you will be better able to secure additional ones than I. I should be glad also to see something done in [Korea]. About Serbia I suppose you are less advantageously placed but anything you can do in stirring up interest is of value. An active Ukrainian here is proposing to form a branch among Ukrainians abroad. This is a new type of [organization] but it is approved by the 4 (out of ten) members of the Executive Committee who happen now to be together at Geneva -- Mille Gobat, Madame Ramondt, Lida Gustava Heymann and myself. We have not yet consulted the other members of the Executive Committee on the advisability of this sort of [organization] but it seems to me it might have quite an important future. I see no reason why Serbians in the United States or other groups should not form [organizations] affiliated direct with the Geneva Bureau and carrying on propaganda work among their own people. Of course they would not have the status of national sections but if the president or secretary of the group woman associate member they would keep in direct contact and the rest could be done by correspondence. We have no provision for affiliation but this formal matters seem to me of less importance than the fact of people getting together and working.

I am very much pleased that you can give time in America and especially in California in the coming months and perhaps at Geneva next summer. Of course it is hard to foresee just what the situation will be then. I hope there may be organized a big International Educational Conference on an adequate scale and that may absorb some of your time though I hope we may not have to carry the burden of it for we are not in a position to do so. In any case I am feeling confident you could find ways to occupy yourself here usefully and interestingly. Please write to me about it again later when the time draws near. Meanwhile your cooperation in America will be very precious. A mailing list of liberals we should be very grateful for and I also wish you [would] send cuttings or now and then a typical newspaper. The Paris Herald costs 6 ↑[illegible]↓ and has nothing in it and although I have been away since April I have not succeeded in getting the various American publications that I subscribed for to come. I had one straight copy of the Liberator and a few clippings that Miss [Dudley] sent me and that is all I have had from American output since April 9. It is absolutely [extraordinary]. Believe me always cordially yours,