Chrystal Macmillan to Emily Greene Balch, July 17, 1916


Dear Miss Balch,

I was very glad to get your letter of July 9th on July 17th, and to hear all the proposals you and the Scandinavian members of our Committee are making. I do not seem to have received the circular letter from Miss Daugaard. I have heard nothing from her for a long time and certainly no letter making the suggestions you do in your letter <has reached me.>

I quite agree with you and the Scandinavians that we ought to be getting on with the work of planning the after the war Congress, and perfectly agree with you that the important thing is to get the work done. About your different proposals I make the following remarks. Ideally, it would be a good thing to call a <the> Committee; and, so long as the work of the Committee is to be carried on from Amsterdam, it would be essential to have the Dutch women who were to carry on the work present at the meeting. When you and the Scandinavians originally proposed to call a meeting for Copenhagen I agreed to <voted for> this being done if the Dutch women could attend. Apparently they were unable to get permits to go through Germany, and had not thought of sailing direct. Possibly the boats are not running now, and probably Dr. Jacobs could not give the time.

It might be possible to form an ad hoc committee made up of a number of those who lived sufficiently near each other to meet for the purpose of making the preparations for the after the war ‘Congress,’ but it is a little difficult to see how such a committee could efficiently carry on its work, without access to the Head-quarters correspondence.

I think, in the circumstances, when correspondence is so difficult and when we cannot meet each other, Miss Addams, as President, would be quite justified herself to appoint committees for any special purpose, so that, if she thinks it the best plan, she might appoint an ad hoc committee as suggested above. If such committee were formed, it should be located in Amsterdam, or the Head-quarters should be removed to the place where it could act.

Of course, it might be better to fill up the vacancies on the Executive with two people who were prepared to give a great deal of time to the work, and able to live at the place where it was decided Head-quarters should be. It would probably be better that I should resign as Secretary of the Committee, as I cannot do the work at present. As there is no member of the other belligerent side now on the Committee, this would make it possible for you to reconstruct it entirely of neutrals, and the person most able to give time could be made Secretary. You will remember that I gave in my resignation for the next meeting of Committee, because, like Dr. Jacobs and Miss Manus, I thought it better that the Committee at its meeting should be unhampered by its previous appointments. If it in any way helps Miss Addams to make arrangements for forming a committee able to do <that special> work, I put my resignation in her hands now. That would leave three vacancies.

If she does not approve of this method of getting workers, it would be possible to appoint say an acting second vice-chairman pro tem., an acting treasurer pro tem. and an [page 2] acting secretary pro tem., as we did when we appointed Miss Hobhouse pro tem.

I do not know how Dr. Jacobs and Miss Manus feel about the matter now, but we had intended to bring up at the Committee meeting that was to have been held the question of the town in which the Head-quarters should be. I expect they would be quite glad to have the office moved elsewhere if they knew that one or more responsible people were to be able to be constantly in attendance. <All the material could be removed by sea.>

I gather from your letter, where you suggest as an alternative that the Scandinavian members "and any others of the International Committee that can be associated with them, might be [authorized] to go on and plan the after the war Congress," that they have considerable free time, are able to meet, and might be able to look after the Head-quarters, if it were transferred to a Scandinavian town. As far as I am informed, and going on the assumption that they are willing and able to do a good deal of work, I think the best plan would be to move the Head-quarters to a Scandinavian town, to fill up the three officer vacancies with three women able to attend to the office, say you and two of Miss Daugaard, Madame [Tybjerg] and Miss Hansen, if Copenhagen were the city chosen, and that these three do all the Head-quarters' work, including preparation for the after the war Congress, using their discretion as to when they should consult you <Miss Addams,> Dr. Jacobs and Miss Manus, or even the National Committees. If the Head-quarters are to remain in Amsterdam it would be of the greatest importance that the new members of Committee should be able to go there and help in the office.

This letter is rather discursive and unsatisfactory, but it is difficult to make a proposal without knowing who is available to give time and whether they are tied to a certain spot. The only points on which I am clear is <are (1)> that Miss Addams should, on her own responsibility, as President, decide <by what Cttee> how the work is to be done, and then either co-opt to the existing officers new members, after submitting their names to the National Committee or not as she sees fit, or appoint a special ad hoc committee; (2) That a meeting of the I.C.W.P.P. be called if six countries can be represented, if the officers who are to take charge of the Head-quarters can be present, and if either no belligerents are represented or belligerents of both sides. I give her my vote among the <as an> Officer till my resignation takes effect, if it helps to facilitate matters.

I am sending copies of this letter to Dr. Jacobs, Miss Daugaard, and Miss Addams.

Yours affectionately,

Chrystal Macmillan [signed]