Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, September 30, 1919



International Office: Geneva
19, Bd Georges-Favon

Sept 30.

Dear Miss Addams,

I was very sorry to hear from Mrs. Karsten of Mrs. Wilmarth's death which I know will be a great loss and not least to you.

I have been having a visit from Miss Holbrook and Mrs Burritt the latter indeed will be here for some time longer -- I found Miss Holbrook very loveable and enjoyed her very much, to my surprise as I was prejudiced against her. They had wonderful opportunities in being in Budapest, Prague, [Krakow], Warsaw and Danzig but I don't think F. H. was up to making any very intelligent observations. I fear things are now very bad there in Budapest. Poor Rosika. Poor Hungary. I also should like to say that F. H.'s idea of an international college which at Zurich struck me as silly [cause] [written in left margin] to seem to me -- as the scheme was developed further in talk with Dr. Otto Karmin here -- as really interesting. I should like to see it a school of journalism and pedagogy -- [page 2]

It is hard to keep up with work in the office. We have sent out over 350 foreign letters alone and besides correspondence, News Sheets and trying to get on with the Zurich report there is seeing people. This morning was taken up first with Madame Vajkey ↑(Red Cross)↓ about the Hungarian relief situation, then a call from Dr. Alice Salomon, then an English lady sort with a note from our London friends & this p.m. from ↑soon after↓ 2 to 4:40 I was trying to get my passport which I must take to the Am. consulate to have it prolonged as it expires on Oct 2! So this is another piece of office-waiting ↑still to go.↓ (I think I told you that I have my permis de sejour valid for a year here)

I want very much to go to England for the Economic Conference of the Fight the Famine Council, [page 3] which seems to me quite one of the most hopeful things that has been attempted. I should have at the same time a chance to talk over various matters with our English friends. I wonder if you would approve. It means also getting 8 visas in all!

As I say, the work has outgrown us at the office and I have been having some extra help mainly for getting out the news sheet (folding & addressing) in the shape of Helena [Wiskovatoff] a charming young girl of Russian extraction. Miss Burritt is also helping us (or I am helping her, I don't know which) while she is here -- She is beginning to sort & put in order our press clippings, a job we have not hitherto been in a position to tackle. [page 4]

Miss Burritt considers the franc an hour I offered her (and I did it as an accommodation to her) as next door to an insult, I think, but here it is not bad pay for a person who can typewrite (which she cannot) and for a short time I cannot give her anything but clerical work.

Miss Macnaghten will be with us soon & give volunteer aid (I hope she will continue the work Ietie Ramondt began of putting our library in order) and I also hope Miss Moore, who is unable to get return passage to Australia at present, will come over & help with the Zurich report on return for her expenses.

I hoped to have sent out the quarterly report financial report before this but we are held up by having to a fortnight delay in [illegible] [page 5] on getting the public account books; before this we were waiting for Miss Manus to send hers!

We have more money now than we had June 1", but of course we have been receiving the contributions collected for Zurich. I think my salary is not ill adjusted. I have been spending about 800 francs out of 1000 a month, lving more cheaply that I can keep on doing, but having bought some clothes, books for myself and the library, a tea outfit for the office [etc.] and I pay for the tea we often offer people who come in and ↑for↓ the little "gouter" which I find I want at 4 or 5 & which I can't bear to eat & not offer. So it ends on my feeding the crowd every afternoon. [page 6] This does not seem quite businesslike but I don't want to take it out of League money (though I think it pays in the extra zip in the last 2 hours of work). and If I have [dentist] work to do or if I go to London I shall take up the slack in eat up the margin of the last two months and of this I fear. And there are winter clothes to get, fuel to provide, some furnishings [etc.] to get. So as I say I think the amount is not far from right.

Helen Cheever expects to sail early in November and I have secured two rooms and a little salon on a pleasant corner, easily accessible from the office with the sunniest possible exposure, and open fire place & stoves, and a bit of mountain view -- not Mt Blanc but the Jura & Salève. I do hope she will like it. It is not at all grand but I [page 7] found it very attractive & am becoming quite attached to it.

In August I got rather run down -- with Madame Ramondt & Fraülein Heymann I was never alone & much as I enjoyed them I got tired, then it was a long drag of heat & heat, & finally two Educational conferences. The last 4 weeks I have been getting rested again and I think that is the best way to rest -- to go to bed early week days & take country tramps Sat. pm & Sundays -- a diversion I love & to which this charming country lends itself. A five mile walk gives as much beauty and variety as a journey anywhere else! Sunday I had the most heavenly lovely walk all alone after cleaning up shower had made the earth even more radiant than usual. [page 8]

Dr. Salomon seemed impressed by the radical character of the Zurich resolutions -- many people considered them to have a [illegible] character (se: Socialist). I argued this. She was friendly, glad to have our work proper (though mainly loyal to the I. Council of W.) & very friendly to you of course, & sorry to have missed you. She is better ↑than she was↓ but looked frail. She is about to return to Berlin. I [expressed] my idea of autonomous groups following their own lines.

Is not this the solution for our N.Y. group? I suppose Miss Byrnes has written you that it is breaking up. I will write her shortly & send the letter to you also. [page 9]

I long to hear good news of our American section -- of a strong vigorous movement --  Who are to be our consultative members? And will there not be a national conference and a return to a parliamentary regime. In what country unless England is there such a combination of work crying to be done and of the power to do something?

I am trying to get our devastated sections to [send] get inquiries made as to the milk situation to report to the economic conference in London.

Then I am going to try to get systematic information about C.O.'s and pacifism in revolutionary times. (By the way poor Vilma Glucklich (who was not unfriendly to the [illegible] regime) makes has got a [page 10] has got a letter through to us saying she does not dare even to let us include in the Zurich report the report of the Hungarian section that she gave there -- it must be suppressed.

Miss Jebb of the Save the Children fund was here last week. They are trying to create an international organization with headquarters in Switzerland. Please have information sent to me about American relief work for Europe. I am very ignorant of it & the papers here never mention it -- or hardly.

Frau Hertzka is pressing the matter of the prisoners in Siberia -- also the idea of a mission to go into Eastern Europe -- both most important matters. I am told that Eng. & America want the prisoners allowed to return but that France really seems to [page 11] feel simply that the more Germans & Austrians die the better. When I was in Sweden I saw German prisoners returning from Siberia with their legs & arms gone from freezing & the tales of verminous food ↑[etc.]↓ so it is pretty real to me. The Austrians have the money to pay the return & the transportation is available as I understand it -- only permission is withheld.

Peace hath her atrocities no less renowned than war, alas!

I am now taking the weekly Manchester Guardian and this weeks issue had most interesting special correspondence but alas not rest of it very happifying.

Did you finally decide to favor ratifying the peace treaty unreservedly? and entering the L of N? I personally [page 12] would be thankful to see the Paris Covenant fall through if a more democratic Society of Nations could then be organized; and as I believe one could & would be, I should be relieved to see the Paris L. of N. fall the ground.

The gossip that reaches me here is that Switzerland will not enter, that Geneva may then revert to its former position of an independent republic but and become a sort of international D.C., the seat of the capital.

I am not in touch here with any large number of influential people and I don't believe I shall be. I think the R.C. people ([illegible] [etc.]) are afraid of us & the old Geneva inner circle keep themselves & themselves, [page 13] I think our "set" will be mainly wandering foreigners.

Excuse this very long and meandering letter. I have no business to take up your time now you ↑are↓ again busy in America.

At any rate I am always

lovingly yours

Emily Balch

Frau Hertzka has just written as if she was still expecting you in Vienna. It is too bad. I suppose I ought to have written you were not coming but I thought she knew it.

I have had your Zurich picture framed & it looks very nice in the office -- also Miss Rankin's little ones of dear ↑Dr.↓ Shishkina-Jarvein (whom we stayed with in Petrograd in 1915) & Signora Dobelli Zaufetti.

[written in left margin] One more thing -- Dr. Salomon said wistfully that some friend used to send her the Survey but that she no longer receives it.