↑This letter is forwarded to you on the recommendation of Dr. Sydney Strong, of Seattle, U.S.A.↓
AUSTRALIAN PEACE ALLIANCE
Re WORLD DISARMAMENT
In this letter we bring forward for your consideration a suggestion concerning this most vital matter, and all that it involves for the welfare of mankind.
It is obvious that the peoples of the world pay the price of armaments and war in many ways, and that the price is a heavy one, even in time of "peace," when the next war is in preparation. We therefore suggest that the peoples should have an opportunity to state definitely whether they wish to retain this ancient system, and that the question should be put to them apart from any other political issue.
Let simultaneous referenda be held, after negotiations by international conference or otherwise, putting before the men and women of each state this or a similarly-worded question:
Are you willing that this (Republic, Kingdom, Duchy, Dominion, Commonwealth, Federation, or as the case may be) of should disarm completely, on condition that the other states specified below do the same?
Here would follow the names of the other states, with a memorandum to the effect that each of them was putting the same question before its people at the same time.
In the event of a universal reply in the affirmative, governments could at once abolish all preparations for war. Should there be any negative answers, friendly persuasions could be brought to bear on the peoples so voting, with the object of inducing them to fall into line with the rest of the world.
Certain objections must be considered:
THE COST OF SUCH REFERENDA. If each state paid for its own referendum, the cost would be fairly distributed, while, if the result were complete disarmament, the cost would very quickly be saved.
PEOPLES UNDEVELOPED POLITICALLY, and TURBULENT BORDER TRIBES. If a people were not sufficiently developed to understand a referendum, they would not be likely to be a serious menace; it might be necessary for a time to have some kind of local police, under international control, to keep order.
We believe that the suggestion made in this letter is sound in principle, and should be adopted at the earliest possible moment, in the hope of thus ending the awful scourge of the war system by a decisive act on the part of the peoples of the world. It may be impossible for a time, but if it be eventually adopted, much preliminary thought and discussion will be necessary, and cannot begin too soon. We therefore bring it under your notice now, and, if your consideration be [favorable], we would ask your advocacy of such referenda.
P.S. -- More than a thousand copies of this letter are being sent to many parts of the world, and a summary of replies will be published.