Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, September 22, 1922


Geneva, September 22nd 1922

Dear Miss Addams,

If you read the copy of a letter just sent to Fraulein Heymann and Miss Marshall I may plunge in medias res. Wednesday morning the Turkish situation looked to me very alarming and I was turning over in my mind whether -- at any rate in case the L. of Nations would not intervene or could/do so effectively -- there was any reason to consider American Mediation.

The question has two parts:

1) Would it be desirable that Harding should offer mediation?

2) Is there any chance that he would so act.

1) As to the first I had a few words with Lord Balfour that morning and he said it would be good if the United States would act, if they would do anything to come out of their shell again. (sense not actual words, which I cannot give)

Wilson Harris of the Manchester [Guardian] only sees how good it will be for the League if it pulls off this coup.

I also feel the force of this consideration but on the other hand if America came back into the world in this way, that also would be an international gain and would also tend ultimately to strengthen the League.

As to the second point I talked with David Jayne Hill who is here. He at first thought that [there] was no chance of such [acting] by the President but as I talked with him further he was not so sure. I also talked with Rev. Paul [Revere] Frothingham. He was sympathetic.

Mr. Hill’s objection was that the Kemalists would not be affected by anything except force but I think the United States (with which their relations have always been friendly and from which alone they could look for any measure of financial support) would have some influence.

I believe that as regards the constitutional-political aspect of the question, the President has a right to offer mediation (as W. W. did very early in the war) in his own right and without awaiting congressional action but of this I am not sure. If it is so, it means he could act quickly if he chose.

Mediation is not costly, involving neither armed nor political responsibility and I think our people would like to see it offered in spite of this present complex as to entanglements in Europe. [page 2]

It appears to me to be a return to an acceptance of international responsibility on the part of the U.S.A. government which would not cause Harding to lose face by changing his policy, and to be therefore not an impossible policy for the present Republican administration to adopt. After seeing the tone of the Paris Herald (hateful sheet) I had less enthusiasm for the idea. The talk was all of America’s hostility to the Turks, her determination to keep them out of Europe etc., based on propaganda about outrages suffered by Christian populations.

Now ↑But↓ it is only if we came forward in a spirit of fairness and good will that we could be useful.

Now it is on the interest aroused by the Near East Relief and the churches that I should reckon for the popular support and interest that would be needed to induce Harding to act or to support him if he did act.

Will you at least turn over the matter over in your mind and see what can be done, if, now or later, it seems to you wise to try to get the United States to offer its good offices.

Yours as you will know,

E G Balch [signed]