Amy Woods to Emily Greene Balch, Hannah Clothier Hull, Jane Addams, and Zonia Baber, November 21, 1924



Washington, D.C.

November 21, 1924.

Miss Balch,
Mrs. Hull,
Miss Addams
Miss Baber.

Dear Mrs. Hull and others:

I have been following up the work on the "Pan-American Committee" bill which Miss Baber is so anxious to have introduced into the Congressional Record before we leave. Yesterday afternoon Miss Balch and I consulted Mr. Costigan about it and the matter was left that I was to go on as far as I could with the plans and pave the way so that Miss Balch and Miss Jones could take it up easily and carry it through. On telephoning the office this morning, I find that Miss Balch has gone to Boston and Miss Jones is not to come to Washington. I have stayed on in Washington this week for this special purpose, but I must go to Boston tonight, so I am putting down report of what I have done and I know that you and Miss Balch will carry it out to the finish.

You already have had a report that Senator Ladd is willing and quite eager to present the Resolution. When I saw him yesterday, he wanted to have the [background] of the 1915 Resolution from the Hague and the 1923 Resolution which was passed at our November meeting in Chicago. I have ↑had↓ spent the morning with Mr. C. E. McGuire, of the Institute of Economics, who, as a member of the High Commission related to Latin American questions, has a wide knowledge of South American problems. He was much interested to help us and drew up the following resolution:

Resolved by the Senate of the United States, the House of Representatives concurring, that the President be requested to direct the Departments of State, the Treasury and Commerce, the Federal Reserve Board, and all other agencies of Government concerned, to henceforth from refrain henceforth from

(1) Directly or indirectly, formally or informally, engaging the responsibility of the Government of the United States to supervise the fulfillment of financial arrangement between citizens of the United States and sovereign governments or political subdivisions thereof, whether or not [recognized] de jure or de facto by the United States Government, or

(2) In any manner whatsoever manifesting official cognizance of any arrangement such as to commit the Government of the United States to any form of international ↑intervention↓, military, diplomatic, economic, or other kind in order to compel observance of alleged obligations of sovereign or subordinate (but duly [authorized]) public authority, or of private, public utility, or other companies, or of individuals, to treat otherwise than through the ordinary channel of law provided constitutionally in the respective foreign jurisdiction, alleged creditors of United States citizenship. [page 2]

This Resolution I presented to Senator Ladd in the rough draft form given above. He liked the substance, but questioned one or two parts, especially under "(2)," the inclusion of word "diplomatic." This bill goes much farther than the Resolution passed in Chicago, as it attacks the question with a forward look toward preventing occurrences leading to war, rather than limiting the method of settlement after disagreement has occurred. This is also less likely to be considered unconstitutional.

Senator Ladd asked that I take it back and consider changing the form somewhat, referring it to him again at an early date. Congress assembles on December 1. It will be possible to present the Resolution on the first day, unless the President sends in a message or there is a motion for adjournment. At any rate, there is little reason to believe that it could not be presented on December 2nd.

Senator Ladd wishes to make a short speech, and would like us to have the publicity ready. This publicity can be arranged through the office very readily, as Miss Surles knows the mechanical details. It should consist of about one page of material regarding our position in regard to foreign investments, as related to war and peace, and the full speech of Senator Ladd, with short notations if others speak from the floor. Senator Ladd will have his notes ready for us beforehand, but there must be someone to keep closely in touch with him on this special piece of work for publicity.

This morning, as previously arranged, Mr. Costigan telephoned me his opinion of the bill. He likes it, but he suggested a few changes which will be sent to Miss Balch in the office. A carbon copy will be sent to me in Boston. He is very anxious that Congress also be asked to appoint a commission to study the foreign investments of American citizens. This would cover questions arising in connection with the Dawes Report, and also South American investments. I have not met anyone else who particularly favored this commission. Our resolution, however, will in no way interfere with such an investigation.

I conferred with two other men well versed in Congressional matters. They with Mr. Costigan spoke at once of Mr. McGuire as being the most competent man in Washington to draw up bills, and especially competent in regard to South America.

This morning I had a conference with Mr. McGuire. He will see Senator Ladd, and work out some better form of the bill. He is also meeting with about eight men tomorrow evening to discuss South American situation. He will ask Senator Ladd to meet with them. It happens that the of the eight men, I have interviewed five, so that they will be familiar with this bill. Mr. Costigan will be there. Mr. McGuire will be glad to have whomever you appoint from the office keep in touch with him, and I have left it that whoever is to have it in charge shall tell Mr. McGuire that she is carrying on the work which I had begun. I did this so as not to have any hiatus, because the matter is so vital that I feel we must not take any chances of slipping between two stools.

In order to make this most effective, we should have someone on the House side present the Resolution at the same time. Hamilton Fish of New York, Republican, I am advised would be probably the best person, and is in sympathy with such a movement. As soon as the bill is in form, I would suggest that Mrs. Leach, Mrs. Hapgood, Miss Doty, or some other member in New York, be asked to confer with Representative Fish.

There will be no opportunity this year to press such a measure, but if we can have it written into the record with publicity at the time, it will give us a fair start on a three to four years educational campaign. Mr. McGuire urges that we be extremely careful not to give wide-spread knowledge of this until after the bill has actually been presented. Otherwise, the opposition will be preparing a counter action. I have told him that the W.I.L. does not wish to prominently figure in leading this, but would be happy to cooperate with the groups of men and women who are ready to undertake it. [page 3]

You may feel that this new draft does not incorporate what the Resolution of the W.I.L. called for. If so, I think you will have no difficulty in putting the Chicago Resolution in such form that Senator Ladd would introduce it. All feel, however, that it would be merely a gesture or pronouncement which could go no further.

If you do determine that the W.I.L. should not work on this Resolution, I shall be very glad to know it in time, so that I might personally write Mr. McGuire in regard to it. For if there is no one to help him present the bill, I should be almost inclined to return to Washington on my own initiative and in a private capacity help him with it.

He believes that our present policy, if pursued, will bring us into conflict with our Southern neighbors within the next fifteen or twenty years.

I hope that what I have done will not in any way hamper the plans which you may have otherwise made.


Amy Woods [signed]

Forwarding address:

Care Mrs. James W. Elliott,
4 Chestnut Street,
Boston, Mass.

Miss Surles kindly offered to bring her ↑little↓ typewriter over and do this for me because of pressure of time, and in order to make sufficient copies at one writing.

Inter-related, although separate from this bill, is the question of the Dawes Report. There is a wide-spread feeling here that it has not been published in full, especially the foreign amendments, and as we are going to take that question up this year, I should be most happy if the Board felt it wise to urge Congress to publish and circulate the Dawes Report, with in large numbers.

Note: -- The last paragraph of the page ↑2↓ does not mean that other men and women are ready to carry it through by themselves. The initiative is to be taken by us, but Mr. McGuire will be glad to help us in every way.