Emily Hobhouse to Jane Addams, July 5, 1915


July 5-15


c/o Barclay & Co Ltd.
137 Brompton Road
London -- S.W.

My dear Miss Addams

I follow you in thought and picture continually your interview with the President of such moment to humanity.

I halted here in Switzerland, whence I write, to rest on my way from Rome to join Dr Jacobs and have had the opportunity at [Berne] of talking with Germans, notably Baron von Romberg the Minister at the German Legation. It was a great relief talking things out with him -- and I wanted to tell you of it, because again from him I [learned] that what has gone deepest into the German heart is our Food Blockade.

He reiterated that Germany would only too gladly withdraw her submarine warfare on mercantiles if we would withdraw the food blockade. He told me they hated it <their submarine warfare> but could find absolutely no other way of replying to it. My idea that England -- as a step back towards the Civilization She upholds by word -- should announce her decision to withdraw the blockade, would "draw out the sting" as nothing else would do & pave the way for better things. [page 2] I told him how jealous I was that my own country should be the foremost in such a deed -- but if she would not, even if pressed by Presdt Wilson, then would not Germany take the moral lead. He replied that he thought Germany had already done so by telling America publicly that she was willing & ready to do so the day England withdrew her blockade.

That of course is true, but not is a <dependent> promise and not an act standing alone.

Do use yr. eloquence in putting before yr. President this thought -- that he should bring pressure on England to withdraw her blockade as an act of Return to Civilization -- I think the little nations who are suffering dreadfully from it would gladly endorse. There is great feeling here now because England is forbidding Switzerland [even] to exchange any food or other things with Germany, on pain of being starved out by the Allies -- Switzerland is angry but powerless, obedience to a foreign power or starvation is her alternative. Holland I am told has had also to consent -- Is this fighting for the freedom of little nationalities?

About my own movements -- I felt the journey round by London to Holland so difficult, that [page 3] under advice I applied to the German Consulate here for a permit to pass over-land! He was so kind & thought it possible that I was persuaded into delivering my precious passports into his hand to go to Berlin for inspection and they have not come back yet, nor any response -- so I am a prisoner here till they come, hoping daily for release & having evil moments as I brought but little money with me. Also I feel I am disappointing Dr Jacobs.

Still I have used the time here by seeing many people -- & getting in touch with the various Peace parties -- I think Mrs Cocke's "Union Mondiale" may help us find the 5 women needed both in Switzerland & France. However most of the Peace Societies don't want Peace -- they want Victory.

On the whole I find a marked improvement of feeling since I was here in March, a shaking of the dry bones which gives one some hope. [page 4]

Please let me know how you progress if it is possible for you to write. You may well be too pressed -- and perhaps you could address it to Dr Jacobs care as I still hope to get there -- & then you could write more freely than to my bank.

I have had a letter from Lord Bryce who had not heard of or seen the German Documents -- yet he had a Commission of Investigation -- I think it was, & was intended to be, a Commission of Condemnation. However he says he should like to see them & I have risked posting the German originals from here.

I sent you by friends of Mme [Boissevain] direct to America the typed copy of the <my> Translation of 3 parts of one of these Reports -- I had not time to finish it. The Germans have also issued important Reports in reply to the Belgians.

I live in hopes that you & Dr Hamilton may yet come back to us and go on leading us. You could do so much both in England & Switzerland -- & Holland -- & of course Germany. I spent some time with [written in left margin] Rosa Genoni in Milan. With warm greetings to Dr Hamilton -- Yours gratefully Emily Hobhouse