Catherine Elizabeth Marshall to Jane Addams, October 9, 1922 Also known as: Catherine Elizabeth Marshall to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Executive Committee, October 9, 1922

Hawse End
Oct. 9. 1922.

W.I.L.P.F. Hague Conference.

Dear Fellow-Members of the Executive Committee,

We decided at Freiberg, somewhat hastily, that our Hague Conference should be composed of delegates from our W.I.L. National Section only as full members, with the addition of International Delegates from other organizations which are in sympathy with our [program], and a list of specially-invited visitors.

I have been thinking over this question of the composition of the Conference, & am convinced that much of the effectiveness of what we are able to do will depend on it, & on the form & manner in which we invite the [cooperation] of other bodies. I want to propose a change in our original plan as follows: --

1). That every National Section of the W.I.L.P.F. may send 20 Delegates, to be full members of the Conference (i.e. with right to vote and speak).

2) That members of the W.I.L.P.F. Executive [Committee] (International [Committee]) may attend as full members of the Conference.

3) That all members of the W.I.L.P.F. -- whether [page 2] members of Nat. Sections or Associate Members subscribing directly to Geneva -- may attend the Conference as Visitors, but cannot vote or speak unless they have been appointed as delegates, or invited by the Agenda Committee to speak.

4). That any National Women’s Organization that is prepared to support the Conference Resolutions may send Delegates, up to the number of 20, to be full members of the Conference.

5). That any International Women’s Organization that is prepared to support the Conference [Resolutions] should be invited to send all the members of its Executive [Committee] (or Board of Officers) as full members of the Conference, & should be invited to appoint a speaker to support one of the Resolutions & be announced beforehand in the printed [program].

6). That all members of the Executive Committee (or Board of Officers) of International Women’s Organizations be invited to attend the Conference as full members if they personally are prepared to support the Conference Resolutions, even if their organization does not do so officially & they can therefore only attend in their personal capacity. [page 3]

7). That mixed organizations of men & women, national & international, if they are prepared to support the Conference Resolutions, be invited to send Delegates, up to the number of 20, of whom the women should be full members of the Conference & the men Fraternal Delegates ([with] right to speak but not to vote).

8). That men’s organizations, National & International which are prepared to support the Conference [Resolutions] be invited to send Fraternal Delegates up to the number of 20 (with right to speak but not to vote).

9). That any individual man or woman desiring to attend the Conference may do so as a Visitor (without the right to vote or speak) on signing a declaration supporting the Resolutions (But a higher Conference fee should be charged to persons who are not themselves members of any of the organizations entitled to send Delegates or Fraternal Delegates).

N. B.

Nothing was decided at Freiberg about Delegates or Members’ fees. I think this should be left to the Dutch Organizing [Committee] in consultation with the League's Finance [Committee] [page 4]

Will members of the Executive [Committee] please let Mme Ramondt-Hirschmann know at once their opinion on these suggestions of mine, & whether, if there is no opposition, they authorize the Dutch organizing [Committee] to adopt them. If there is any member of the Executive definitely opposed to the new proposals we must, of course, adhere exactly to the plan as conceived at Freiberg.

My reasons for proposing these changes in the composition of the Conference are as follows: --

a). That in this Conference we are not so much going to express a pioneer opinion, for which there is as yet not much support (as we were doing at our 1st Hague Congress in 1915, & to a lesser extent again at Zurich in 1919), but rather we want to voice &  focus & make effective opinions & feelings that are already very widespread, & to send out a rousing appeal to the peoples of all countries -- and particularly to organized women -- to use all their power, simultaneously, and how, this Christmas, to make the [page 5] governments turn from their wickedness & folly & let the peoples live.

b). That we shall have more power to make the general public hear our call, & to make the governments attend to it, if we are voicing the opinion & the will of many different groups of women & not only of the women who were pacifists during the war, or whom they are inclined to consider as "impractical idealists". (When will the world [realize] that idealism is the only really practical creed?)

c). We should not achieve this result by merely setting other women’s organizations to send Fraternal Delegates to our Conference; and moreover they will be less likely to send Fraternal Delegates & to take an active part in giving effect to the Conference decisions than they would be if they were invited to take part -- provided they agree with our Resolutions -– as full members of the Conference.

Notice that I do not propose to make the form of our Resolutions depend on the amount of outside support we can get for them. The W.I.L.P.F. must determine the policy for which the Conference is to stand, but, having determined that, it should in my opinion set the widest possible support which that policy can command. [page 6]

I do not think it would matter if only some of the organizations joined in with us, & some stood out. I think all the support we could get would be so much to the good.

If we draft the Resolutions ourselves, & keep the organization of the Conference in our own hands, we cannot, of course, ask the other organizations to share in the expenses, except in so far as they will do so by paying membership & delegate fees, & by making any voluntary donations they may feel inclined to make. That will be the price we pay for controlling the Agenda ourselves.

The form & manner in which the other organizations are invited to take part in the Conference matters a good deal, I think; it may make all the difference to the spirit in which the invitations are received. I suggest that a letter explaining the character & purpose of the Conference should be addressed personally to the President of every such organization, signed if possible by Miss Addams, as President of the League & Chairman of the Conference, or if that is not possible (for lack of time), by L. G. H & C. E. M. as Vice-Presidents, acting for J. A. [page 7].

With these letters should be sent copies of our Hague & Zurich Resolutions. (It might be worth while to have those which deal with the Peace Settlement & the League of Nations specially reprinted for this purpose?) And it would be well if one of the leading members of our National Section in that country wrote in each case to the President of the invited organization & asked for an interview to discuss the Conference, its Agenda, & the possibilities of [cooperation] with the invited organization in further action that may arise out of the Conference, & in obtaining publicity & support for it beforehand.

Before asking for such an interview the representatives of the W.I.L.P.F. would, of course, make herself familiar with any Resolutions dealing with Peace or the League of Nations which had been passed (or proposed & defeated) by the other organization.

I have put these suggestions on paper for the consideration of my colleagues on the Executive Committee, because I do not think we thought out nearly carefully enough at Freiberg what should be the composition of our Conference in order to attain the utmost effectiveness. At our first Hague Conference [page 8] we invited, I think, as full members, all women who in their individual capacities supported the Resolutions. That was before our league existed as an organization, & whilst our [program] was only likely to appeal to a small minority. Our subsequent Congresses have been regular meetings of the League, to transact League business as well as to discuss & decide policy.

The forthcoming Hague Conference should, it seems to me, be something between these two forms of gathering -– an ad hoc Conference called by the W.I.L.P.F. to collect & voice all the possible support that can be obtained for a certain part of the League’s policy, namely that concerned with the necessity for a new Peace Settlement.

If my proposal is adopted, & other organizations are asked to take part as full members of the Conference, it may be desirable to have a one-day’s session after the General Conference, in which the W.I.L.P.F. Delegates only would take part, to consider what we, in our own organization can do to make effective our demand for A NEW PEACE. [page 9]

I have to report that Miss Courtney is unable to undertake any of the preliminary work of organizing the Conference; that the British Section cannot spare its Secretary, Miss Evans; that Mrs Annot Robinson has therefore been asked to go to The Hague to work with the Dutch Committee & Gertrud Baer. Should Mrs Robinson be unable to go, I have received offers from 2 very competent persons to give their services for this purpose if their expenses can be paid (though we ought really in either case to pay some salary as well, as it is needed). I have given their names, addresses, & credentials to Mme Ramondt.

The idea of our Conference has received a most encouraging welcome from many quarters. I think some of the speakers we should most like to have from this country will probably come.

With cordial greeting
Yours very Sincerely

Catherine E. Marshall. [signed]