Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, April 12, 1921



Vienna, I. Hofburg, Michaelertor
April 12, 1921.

Dear Miss Addams,

I am just on my way back from 3 or 4 days in Prague and I hope to go again and get things a step further on after I get back from [Yugoslavia]. I think our Czechish friends (and I suppose the Serbians and Poles) present the most difficult problem. They feel -- the best of them (?) -- still a bitterness that is curiously absent in any Viennese I have met so far. as I have seen. Alice Masaryk is willing to come to Vienna and speak which represents a real piece of self-mastery on her part and which will be a much appreciated "gesture". At one time she meant never to be in Vienna again, it "made her feel physically sick to think of it".

I lunched with her yesterday and President Masaryk (who is much better I am happy to say but whom I did not see of course) was most kind in putting his secretary and a car at my disposal.

The old wrongs suffered from Germans ↑rankle↓ still and language is the symbol of it. The ↑Czechs↓ say the Germans are constantly making propaganda against them but that they are not. The sense of commercial rivalry between the two cities enters in.

I spent much of my time with the Czech women ↑whom↓ I met in arguing the question of languages at the Congress. I rather think we ought to adopt the rule adopted by the League of Nations, that anyone can speak in any language (but must provide his own interpretation if it is not one of the official languages of the meeting) but that translations shall only be made into the latter (in the League of course these are only French & English). Miss Masaryk pointed out that as a matter of fact such a right is rarely used (in the Assembly never once I think) but that, as she said, (thinking of a national assembly) "sometimes a peasant has some idea that is well worth listening [to] and that would be lost otherwise". One's flesh groans to think of any more version of addresses but I think we shall have to accept this rule for the sake of good will.

The situation ↑in Prague↓ is this  -- there is an [organization] THE MATERNAL HEART with a world-wide [program], and ambitious to affiliate other [organizations] all over Czecho-Slovakia] to itself [page 2] which wants to be our Section. And Mr. Škrach, the President's Secretary and Alice Masaryk advise against (though obviously they cannot be so quoted) and propose getting together a committee of women drawn from the different woman's [organizations] and of different parties to confer with [illegible] me when I return. They suggest also that a mixed ↑that is having men & women members↓ peace society named for ↑Chelčický↓ [Cheecsky] might be our Czech branch. The Social Democrats I feel sure will not want to play with us -- for the usual reasons.

[the remainder of the letter is handwritten] You will soon be receiving a circular letter with more details about the Congress.

Miss Royds says you want a disarmament conference in Vienna after our Congress. I do not know [anything] about this plan.

I leave Saturday for Agram, Belgrade and Sofia. Miss Landsberg hears you are to make a journey in [Yugoslavia]; when? and where? for a special reason or for travel? I wish I knew how to do anything to prepare the way for you.

The Friends International Service Committee [has] made me a grant of [£20] for travel expenses.

I wish you could [illegible] it in that my visa costs me $12 ↑(or is it $10?)↓ (here over 6000 crowns!) because our government demands that [for] [page 3] a visa to the U.S. Isn't it [illegible] of us. Other countries generally ask a nominal sum. Our visas from Vienna cost Miss Wössner 5 Swiss francs and me 70!

It adds a pretty penny to my [traveling] expenses. Why do we do it?

These remarks [in?] case you have a chance to put in a word on the subject at any time. I am not complaining of the other countries, it seems to me only reasonable on their part.

Yours every affly

Emily G. B.

Frau Hertzka is [illegible] good to me and insists on my being here as her guest.↓