Emily Green Balch to Jane Addams, September 1923


↑Dear Miss Addams,↓

I am sending you herewith parts of a recent letter from Miss Graves. Other parts give further information, though nothing very definite, relative to conditions-climate, expense -- affecting a visit to Mexico such as she urges, her view as to the direct relations between Ass. Members and Geneva preferably to relations per national offices, further statements as to instance of secretarial defaults [illegible] in Washington office, the undesirably national form of the W.I.L.P.F. [organization] -- an interesting discussion of this point [of] view of hers -- and of her absolutist internationalism which would like to have all frontiers disappear. She suggests instead of the present article as to national sections this, "every [group] of people living close enough together [to] make cooperation as a group desirable and effective "Every group of people living close enough together to make cooperative action as a group desirable and effective may form among themselves a section of the league providing that the number of members in their section is ____ or more. Each section of the League may send at least one delegate to the international convention and the number of delegates sent by each section must be in proportion to the number of its active members. The personnel of these sections must in no case be based upon nationality or race as a qualification for membership." She also advocates repeal of the article requiring delegates and alternates to be members of the section that they represent, the article that we voted at Vienna really with reference to a special case. She says "Even the League of Nations goes farther than that. If it had had that article South Africa could not have appointed Lord Robert Cecil nor Sir Gilbert Murray. It is not as if we were the U.S. Congress, each section represented by some one who wanted to get plums for that section knowing that he will not be reelected if he does not get the plums. We all have, or are supposed to have, one great object the removal of the causes of separtism and privilege which are themselves the causes of war and one faith [that] these causes [illegible] cannot be removed by physical force which injures and kills. All of us having that faith -- if the group in Uruguay for instance wished to appoint you for example as its delegate why shouldn't it? You would be a true representative. The W.I.L.P.F. is now the largest of the womens Leagues working for peace. But it may lose many of its members if it perpetuates the causes of war by perpetuating the causes of separtism. The Womens Peace Society and the Womens Peace Union are now only small but apart from the question of the pledge which is debatable ↑Their attitude↓ (I only wish they had not been started in the U.S.) is much more truly discarding --of -- frontiers attitude than that expressed in the Constitution of the W.I.L.P.F., and because of this attitude they are more nearly 'precurseurs'. I am not sure that the encouraging of the nationalistic sentiment in the Ukraine by the formation of a Ukrainian section of the W.I.L.P.F. was not a very actively disruptive policy. Do you remember that James Harvey Robinson say [page 2] says that the personification of the people as a nation and the worship of that personification is just as idiotic as the personification of and the worship of a tree and that it is far more dangerous ***** Certainly the idea [that Czechoslovakia] had a soul and that Serbia had a soul and that [Romania] had a soul has been more terrible [than] curative. Shouldn't we then do everything that we can (and we can change our Constitution, so that we who are internationalists among ourselves at least discard nationalism and race) shouldn't we then do everything that we can to kill this dangerous sense of separatism?"

↑I wish Gertrud Baer might go she would be really fine and it would be a good thing for her. Fraulein [Heymann] says the real ground of her not being well is simply under nourishment.

Miss Graves in parts of the letter that I did not quote expresses her belief that Miss Landazuri while continuing to think herself quite pacifist and internationalist has unconsciously become possessed by [illegible] Mexican nationalistic feeling and that for this reason too it would be good if one of the dyed-in-the-wool internationalists ought be in Mexico for [illegible] awhile and [retune] her as well as work otherwise. I wonder if Miss Graves may have made things at all difficult for Miss Laudazuri who certainly is entitled to represent the League in Mexico so far as any person is so. It is wonderful to have you within reach again.

Yours E. G. Balch [signed]