Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, December 13, 1919



19, Bd Georges-Favon


December thirteenth

Dear Miss Addams,

Professor Herron has very kindly been giving me his views on the financial situation here. It is a disagreeable business to advise people about money matters and I feel greatly indebted to him. ↑At his suggestion↓ I have just been to see Mr. Bates of the Union Bank which Mr. Herron tells me has been used by our missions etc. and stands very high. Though less alarmist than Mr. Herron (and probably also less outspoken) ↑Mr. Bates↓ agrees in saying the situation of Swiss banks, and especially of the big ones, is very difficult owing to their large commitments with the Central Powers and the fall in the value of the paper of all kinds of the latter. The bank where all our money is while not one of the most imperiled is "talked about". He advises, as not necessary but ↑as↓ a counsel of perfection, to transfer our money to a N.Y. bank. I hate to do it. M. Vuataz, the Sec'y of the bank ↑Banque Fédérale↓ with whom I have done business has been most courteous, and audited our accounts spending several evenings in doing so. Also -- to get better interest I have put ↑part of↓ our money in parcels on loan for fixed terms -- some of it for twelve months, some for six, some for three, -- but with the arrangement that all this money was [page 2] available at any time at the cost of sacrificing the excess of rate of interest ↑to aid on fixed later deposits↓ over the rate paid on deposit subject to withdrawal without notice.

Cont'd, December 15

This morning a "chèque télegraphique" for 45,000 francs goes to the National Park Bank where Miss Wald formerly had our funds and where they have my signature on record. I can cash their checks here, on sight, checks drawn by me on them, at the rate of exchange of the day plus a small discount. I suppose the N.Y. rate of interest will be less advantageous than that here, also. But it seemed to me, that in view of the gravity of the warnings as to the instability of the situation here, that I had no choice but to do the conservative thing, absurd as it seems to be sending money back to the U.S. just after you have sent me money from there here.

I am keeping here, still, the relatively large sum of over 20,000 francs. I have to provide for a possible ↑an interval of↓ six weeks or possibly eight even if there is no failure of letters to arrive or extraordinary interruptions of mails, during this time we shall have very heavy printers bills including, I hope, that for the Zurich report. I plan to keep a considerable sum of ready money in our safe, some in our postal account, and some in the Union Bank and a merely [nominal] sum in the panque Fédérale.

All of this is subject to advices from you. It seems to me that I ought not to report this change as to method of depositing our funds to the rest of the committee, out of regard for the financial situation and in order not to do add one's little quota to the danger of a run on the banks starting. I have told M'lle Gobat and Fr. [Wössner]has to know as bookkeeper.

I will write shortly about other matters and am always yours as you know,

Emily Balch [signed]

Please [illegible].

I enclose a letter copy of I just received from Vilam Glücklich