Emily Greene Balch to Kathleen D'Olier Courtney, January 31, 1921


January 31, 1921.

Dear Miss Courtney,

I keep ↑mulling↓ over our plans for the future and I think I now know what I should like if a good fairy gave me my wish. I will tell you as you can be that good fairy if you will. What do you say?

I begin with the Congress. It is to be held at Vienna, July 10-16 and you may remember that I was empowered to employ some one to organize it, to begin work 3 months beforehand. I am supposing that [Frau] Hertzka and a Viennese Committee will make the local arrangements and that it is on conduct and business of the meetings that will be the peculiar ↑province↓ of the [organizer] although the other practical aspects will have to be kept run of and overseen in a responsible way from headquarters, also.

Now I hope, oh so much, that you may find it possible to accept this post of [organizer]. I know of no one else comparable with you for it and it is of the greatest importance for our work that it should be done well. Under the circumstances of the Zürich Congress it was impossible to avoid great confusion and waste of time but we all do so desire to see this really well managed. You are now in Switzerland. Cannot you come here soon and [make] us a little visit and plan things out?

I wish you might include in the [organizing] work a "swing around the circle" [of?] American [electioneerers] say, at least the smaller circle of Prague, Budapest, perhaps Agram, to try to work up interest in our Congress. [Do?] this [favor] has our Balkan trip dwindled in my mind at the present moment.

But if the [travelling] does not look possible do try to think [favorably] of giving us your help with preparing the Congress.

Looking ahead to the months after the Congress I feel that in case the League should want me to continue as Secretary-Treasurer for another term I must ask for a leave of absence of some months (of course without salary) in order to go home and see my family and attend to business. If this can be arranged I wish you might take my place here during these months. You may remember that my salary is fixed at 1000 francs a month. [page 2]

If you could be here at Geneva at least part of the time this spring doing the organizing work you could then get the hang of our current activity and my being away would be less of a break. This would mean that you be here during the Assembly. It meets Sept. 1st, and it really is extremely interesting to be here and meet all the people that one does at such a time. I hope Catherine Marshall may be here again to help with the lobbying. She is a marvel at it and our efforts really were not without result. Come here (she is still with us) and we will tell you all about everything more than we can put into a formal report.

Of course as to this part of my wishes I do not know that I shall be reappointed with the condition of having this leave of [illegible] absence, or at all, nor whether if this plan is accepted they would appoint you as locum tenens. But I feel safe in assuming this. I want first to ask you how it strikes you and after that I will write to the Committee.

The appointment of an [organizer] was however left to me and this is a formal offer. What ought the salary to be? No sum was set. In the case of Miss Marshall the arrangement was to offer her 1000 francs toward expenses and invite her to put in [illegible] as much time as this enabled her to do. This is an arrangement which leaves all the generosity on her side and is certainly not what was contemplated when it was decided to engage an organizer. -- I would like to offer you 3000 francs for this [organizing] job (it is certainly not excessive) but the money for the Congress has come in so slowly as yet that I am a little nervous about our financial resources. I estimate 20,000 francs in all for the Congress, but our Zürich Congress cost us 22,000 (outside such expenses as were borne by the Swiss Committee) and we had no [organizer].

Have you heard that Mrs. Swanwick has to have an "exploratory operation" and will be wholly hors de combat for a good while. I feel very badly about it on her own account and from the selfish point of view it is a tremendous loss to me as I lean very much on her advice and cooperation. So I need you [illegible] doubly.

My appeal to you however is not grounded on that, but on the requirements of this big effort of ours to educate and organize women for work for peace through all the channels open to us. Please say YES if you can.

Yours very cordially, always.

Emily G. Balch [signed]