Women's International League for Peace and Freedom to the Genoa Conference, February 1922


Draft for a suggested circular to go from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom to the powers represented at Genoa either at the time of the meeting or beforehand.

(Could we secure the signatures of other [organizations] with like aims to our own?)


We are sure that we speak the mind of far more than our own membership in venturing to call to your attention the following considerations:

Concern with questions of international finance is now universal and deeply felt; prices risen out of all proportion to earning capacity (and still more to incomes fixed in relation to former conditions) and unemployment due to the fact that some countries cannot sell their products and others cannot buy their raw materials affect every household.

We realize that the situation is extremely complex but we also know that a fundamental improvement depends on a change of mentality carrying with it a movement toward freedom of commerce and international cooperation. We are actively at work in twenty-one countries and more to do all in our power to bring about these things.

Meanwhile we see certain immediate objects of smaller scope but nearer to [realization].

I. Internationally arranged credits to make the immediate reparation payments so urgently needed in France and Belgium while affording to Germany the necessary time for recuperating her strength to meet her obligations. We urge the carrying through of the plan to create a third party in the shape of some international body to make payment on behalf of Germany. Some such provisos as the following seem necessary to this end:

a) The lending body must be enabled to make arrangements with Germany that will make it possible for her to pay ultimately: such as a moratorium of perhaps 3 or 4 years and an adequate period over which payment can be spread.

b) The lending body must be assured that during the period Germany will be allowed to recuperate without interference from outside except such as may be authorized by the lending powers. [page 2]

c. The war-creditor Government should approve the grant by Germany to the lending body certain claims over specific sources of revenue such as customs, railroads, etc.

II. The question of exchanges and methods of international payment is highly technical but the chief desideratum is clearly stability. We urge the study and essay of the most fundamental plan that may seem practicable for giving a firm basis for international transactions -- such as the plan proposed by Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip in the United States or by

III. A certain alleviation of the situation would be brought about by a diminution of the charges laid upon Germany and Austria by agents of the victorious powers -- commissioners, occupying armies, etc. which (besides creating bad blood) in Germany absorb an excessive proportion of what might be going toward payment of reparations and in Austria increase the deficit which causes inflation and curses the whole world as well as herself. We venture to suggest that each of the governments holding claims against Germany (and the United States also) be asked if they will not furnish itemized data as to the amounts paid or due them on behalf of such charges and suggestions as to how far and under what conditions these might be cut down. An annex gives certain data on the situation as regards these charges.

IV. We welcome certain recent improvements in the passport regime which impedes now trade as well as normal international intercourse. We beg that all haste be made to return to the situation before the war when passports with all their waste of time and money and annoyance were unnecessary in civilized countries.

We urge the smaller powers, whose interests so clearly demand a constructive financial policy, to be bolder in assuming the important role that properly belongs to them and to be active in advancing with all their power a policy such as is here outlined.