Harry S. Mecartney to Washington Disarmament Conference Delegates, ca. February 1922


To the Delegates of the Late Washington Disarmament Conference:

I believe you will agree that the fundamental idea of your historic body lately disbanded in Washington was world peace, which, pursued on a line of logical advance, must ultimate in a working world brotherhood and the necessary birth of a world nationality.

Such union of all the races of the earth under one constitution, one government and one flag, is the only guarantee of our war-weary civilization against the danger of its disintegration through future wars, compared with which the nightmare just past must be considered but a good-natured passage at arms -- in view of the frightful efficiency of the most recent enginery of war.

Nations prostrated and the challenging horoscope of the future are throwing the entire world back upon its ideals, and forcing it either to act upon the assumption, preached everywhere, that a world brotherhood -- and this is in substance only a world nation -- is its ultimate and conceded ideal, or, failing to act, to confess its insincerity and cowardice in not backing up that ideal.

This challenge runs to everyone interested in world peace, and to every conference or other body called or assembled in aid of that cause.

Acting on this idea the writer tendered to your late Disarmament Conference -- whose basal call was obviously a furtherance of world peace -- a concrete design of a "World Flag," or "Flag of All Nations," a colored lithographic cut of which is shown above.

Believing it appropriate, he tendered the flag anonymously and had it delivered to Chairman Hughes on December 1st last at Washington, with two dedicatory cards attached as follows:



"Designed by two world citizens -- man and wife, and original made by the wife -- who in tendering it to this Conference, confess their sole qualification for world statesmanship to be an instinctive and boundless love for all the 1,800,000,000 of their fellow citizens."


"The symbols have been chosen -- or rather have suggested themselves -- independently of any religious significance, except of that religion which is the highest expression of world patriotism and of a militant service to all humanity. Such symbols belong to all the world and are the possession of no one sect or religious faith.

"The cross -- the most universally accepted emblem of sacrifice for others -- resting across the broad highway of the future; the star of hope and life's fruition; and the waxing moon, symbolical of an ever-growing and every buoyant cause."


Several months later, finding through his representative in Washington that the Conference was about to adjourn without any action in reference to the flag or the subject, and the suggestion having come to such representative that the non-disclosure of the names of the donors had been largely responsible for its having been ignored, the writer made haste to write Chairman Hughes on Saturday, February 4 last, as shown by Exhibit 1, hereto attached.

He then that same evening sent a telegram to each of the four United States delegates -- Exhibit 2.

The next day (Sunday) at noon he also sent a telegram to President Harding -- Exhibit 3. [page 2]

That evening he sent a telegram to Hon. A. J. Balfour of the British Delegation -- Exhibit 4.

The Conference, however, met early Monday, February 6 (at ten o’clock), and adjourned without any notice having been taken of the flag, and with no action taken upon the subject of a world flag.

Later I received a letter of February 14 from the Acting Chief of the Secretary of State’s office, Exhibit 5.

I have the strongest conviction that if, contrary to Chairman Hughes’ impressions, the matter was of essential interest to the Conference or its delegates collectively, it must of necessity be of definite interest to them individually; and I therefore submit to you this data, hoping that you may each and all feel called to aid this new yet growing cause, and that your peoples all will be ultimately aligned under the folds of one world standard -- in mercy to humanity, and for the “salvaging of civilization.”


We should all soon recognize that a state of “peace on earth, good will towards men” does not rob us of the fullest idea of chivalry -- that magnetic thing which so inexorably appeals to us all -- and that it can prevail and be realized when and where the sword is entirely absent and wherever a human life has been fully pledged to civic service.

I am deeply persuaded that before many world conferences shall have been held it will be seen and recognized that an agreed ideal or concept of one world nation -- or, as the writer termed it some years ago, “one family of nations” -- will marvelously reduce the volume and expense of constantly recurring struggles over the size of armies and navies, for then the issue will be only whether a greater or less police force of the world at large shall be maintained. We shall cease to be frightened at the size of our police force when we all feel sure that it will be used only as such.

Believing the subject to be of permanent and potent interest to the world at large, I shall undertake to tender to each World Conference -- whether my own country happens to be formally represented in it or not -- a world flag, of this or some other design, and I plan to arrange that my children or grandchildren or more remote posterity can continue this courtesy until some conference shall feel impelled to take it up.

Cordially yours,


105 W. Monroe St.,
Chicago, Ill.