Dear Mrs. Lewis:
Miss Balch was kind enough to share your letter of August 18 with me when it reached her in [Freiburg] last week. I should have written to you at once but the Executive Sessions of the Board ran on morning, afternoon and evening for the entire week, and as we were scattered in various parts of the city we had not one moment to spare.
The Executive Committee meeting was well attended, sixteen women from, I think, eleven countries, and the agenda was thoroughly discussed. It seemed perfectly evident that the immediate situation in Europe calls for prompt action and it was therefore decided to organize a Women’s conference under the title “A New Peace” Women’s Conference organized by the W.I.L.P.F. to be held December 7 at The Hague. The Dutch Section has undertaken to organize it, and all the national sections must begin at once to create public knowledge of it and raise money to carry it out. It was felt at [Freiburg] that such a conference within the first three months of the German moratorium would be of much more value to the world than a Congress next summer, so the question of the Congress was left for decision when the Executive Committee meets in December at The Hague. The purpose of the Conference is to bring constructive suggestions from the Women of the World on the questions of reparations, occupation of the Rhine countries and the restoration of trade, currency and political freedom. It will be arranged in the name of the League, but all International Women’s Organizations with allied purposes will be invited to join. Mrs. Swanwick has already been asked to give her time for the next three months to working out a set of resolutions bearing on these special aspects of the old peace treaties and will form the agenda commitee in close [cooperation] with the Dutch Section.
The other plans for the immediate future I will wait to tell you instead of writing. I feel that we must have quick and intensive work to do our share to make this Conference as vital as The Hague and [Zurich] Conferences. I hope you will agree with the Committee that this is the psychological moment to do the daring thing. The International Trade Unions are drawing up resolutions and have asked us to consider them when they are ready in about four weeks. As I understand it, Labor will also have a World Conference in December and the strength of the two groups may produce an effect [page 2] which will break the deadlock that is bringing Central Europe so rapidly to ruin.
Because of this sudden turn of affairs, I think I had better plan to meet you either in New York or Philadelphia or Washington, wherever you decide, shortly after the arrival of my ship, and then a little later I can take time to go to Boston on personal business. I sail from Cherbourg October 1 on the United States Steamship Line, “President Garfield”, and ought to be in the eighth to the tenth. Please have a letter or telegram awaiting me at the dock in New York, if you wish this change of plans. Meantime, if it is possible and you think it wise, I would suggest that you send out a letter to the Local Groups, to tell them of the Conference and the need of immediate consideration of best methods of publicity etc. A letter is very shortly coming from Headquarters but Miss Balch felt with me that it would be wise for me to write you this detail. I am also enclosing a rough draft of the recommendations of the Finance Committee which will accompany the other letter.
The European women are splendidly courageous and I believe they will make the Conference a success.
It will be easier to plan when we have not three thousand miles of water between us.