Carrie Chapman Catt to Jane Addams, May 27, 1924


May 27, 1924.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Illinois.

My dear Miss Addams:

I note in the press that a resolution was introduced and I believe passed, although I am not certain on this point, that an investigation should be made into the status of the League for Peace and Freedom on the charge that it may be connected with Soviet Russia. In this connection, I would like to lay some matters before you, all of which you may be familiar with, but if not, they may serve as clues which may prove useful to you.

First -- You doubtless are familiar with the fact that the Joint Congressional Committee in Washington was accused of, as were all other women's organizations, of association with Bolshevists and that the Joint Congressional Committee employed a lawyer to aid in getting evidence. This Committee consists of seventeen organizations which appointed a [subcommittee], of which Mrs. Park was Chairman, to carry on in this particular. They finally took a very dignified but very ladylike method of procedure. They called upon Secretary Weeks and gave him the proof that this material had been circulated by the Chemical Warfare Bureau of the Department of War. The Secretary wrote them a letter promising to order destroyed the offending material. Mrs. Park wrote the correspondence at Buffalo without any comment. The press used the headlines "Secretary Weeks apologizes" and he was very indignant about it. Of course he would be. This ought to have been the headlines in all the papers in the United States and he ought to have been downright ashamed. I do not think he was. I think he found himself in a tight place and got out of it as best he could. Now, the defense of the Joint Congressional Committee was partly to show that they had no connection whatever with certain organizations of which the League for Peace and Freedom was one and which were particularly charged with being the agents of Bolshevist Russia. In other words, they refuted the charge made against their own organizations, but they left out in the cold all the organizations that were not connected with them. That was a legitimate procedure under the circumstances. However, it furnishes a precedent and some evidence for you.

Second -- The material published in Ford's Dearborn Independent which have in full the offending material has been reproduced, somewhat abridged and somewhat modified, by the Kentucky Industries Ass'n. I had a letter from Miss Alice Lloyd, Maysville, Kentucky, telling me about it and enclosing the leaflet. This reprint is shorn of much of the more serious inferences. Miss Lloyd tells me that Kentucky Industries Ass'n. is an organization of various kinds of manufacturers and that she believes it is only a paper organization. It circulated [page 2] the woman and the men of her village quite generally with this leaflet and now an agent has been there to increase membership and the argument which he presented was to the effect that private property was in danger owing to the spirit of communistic and socialistic ideas.

I have a deep lying suspicion that back of this there are two agencies, the chief of which is our old friends, the brewers, and that their attack upon women is designed to intimidate them and make them lose their influence as an independent body and that the other is the real militarists inside of the government in Washington. The material which has been supplied comes chiefly from the Lusk report and I believe has been chiefly arranged by one Eichelberger, who has for years been the chief representative of the anti-suffragists. Mrs. Park was here one day last week and I asked her if they were able to locate him in the evidence and she said that when they wrote the Dearborn Independent, that paper wrote Mr. Eichelberger for proof of the facts. Mr. Eichelberger was much distressed over it and wrote some of the women and confessed that he had thus been approached. Somebody is paying him for his effort to connect everything with Bolshevism. This he let out in a burst of confidence at one time, but we cannot get anything definite as yet.

I merely mention these things because you doubtless, if the investigation goes on, will be summoned to Washington and if you make any investigation, I believe you will find these hints are fruitful sources.

The truth is, as Mr. Roosevelt said "Every movement has a lunatic fringe" and the [lunatic] fringe of the peace movement and the lunatic fringe of the war movement have got each other by the throat! -- that is my judgment and explanation of the present situation.

Personally, I do not know in detail the evidence as I had nothing to do with it. I did have a "set-to" with the Publicity Department of the Republican Committee which had me lined up with Soviet Russia. I hope, some day, the world will return to sanity.

Very cordially yours,

(C. C.  Catt) [signed]