April 1st, 1915.
My dear Madam: --
In sending you the enclosed Paper and Plan, I do so with the hope that it will help to crystallize and establish a healthy International Public Opinion. In my work as Chairman of the Committee on Arbitration at the Chamber of Commerce of my State, it has been my duty to overcome bitterness and antagonism between contending sides. In the big problem before the world, public opinion is the only engine that can work to overcome the bitterness and antagonism of the warring nations and pave the way for a settlement less cruel than elimination of one by the other. The public of all the world is heavily affected by the war, and surely universal opinion has a right to be heard on a question that so deeply touches its living. Public opinion can prevent strife, or if strife has commenced it can help in the disposition of it without dishonor to any of those concerned. It is for that reason that I have prepared the enclosed "Plan", which I do not consider by any means perfect or final, but shall be glad if something more workable can be evolved from it through discussion, not only in the countries at peace but in the countries at war. [page 2]
It is the individual men and women who in their personal intercourse and through their organizations, -- whether civic, commercial, professional, clerical, fraternal or benevolent associations, -- define and form the public opinion that empowers and spurs our national government to act; and without it that government can do little. When this movement as a United States movement gains the necessary strength, there is little question but that the sentiment of the Latin American States will align itself with ours. All over the world the neutrals will be as keen to work for peace as we are.
To set such a plan as this in motion, citizens should decide upon individuals or organizations in their own communities who shall act as "clearing houses" or advisory groups, receiving the ideas and opinions of the men and women in their sections, -- so that their hopes and wishes can be carried to a consummation through the national administration of this country, -- through the Latin American Countries, -- and through the neutral States in all other lands.
I invite an expression of your opinion, and remain,
Charles L. Bernheimer [signed]