COPY OF LETTER E. G. BALCH TO MRS. MEAD. MAY 26, 1924, Wash.
Dear Mrs Mead, Many thanks for your copy of PEACE AT ANY PRICE, returned herewith.
Mrs. Hamlin of Buffalo came into the office Saturday and she took me with her to the office of the American [Defense] Society, now in the Albee building here and we had quite a long talk with a young Mr. West who is taking Mr. Whitney's place during the latter's long illness. Mr. West seemed to me fanatical, clear-headed and determined to state facts, and provable facts, only as the only practicable policy. They are about to issue a new edition (may be) of the P.A.A.O. Price, the first being nearly exhausted. I think he would make corrections if we suggested any but this would enable him almost to claim our O.K. What do you think?
He said he knew there was nothing in all this talk of Russian affiliations.
This and his intention to print only what is true (though of course it will be so put as to be as [tendentious] as possible and spare no insinuations) does clear the deck to a certain degree.
He also admits that we ask no pledge as a basis for membership but insists that we circulate one. Evidence: the fact that Mrs. Harriet Connor Brown's book could apparently be ordered through our office and that a leaflet of the English No-More War office (with their very carefully and finely worded) pledge, which I sent out as a matter of interest from our Geneva office, as I seem to remember, was at one time to be had from our office was sent out from there. In Cinn., a point was made of the presence on our Congress book-stall of a similar leaflet of the Fellowship of Youth for Peace.
Now please note Gertrud Baer's remarks in her recent Congress address reprinted by us.
Of course the bulk of our membership at least does [sympathize] with and admire those who refuse war-service and also those who let it be known in advance that they will refuse it. I believe their doing so has a considerable political value in making governments hesitate to get into a position where they might have to enter a war to save their face, I regard it as having a value in this way of very [distinct] importance.
I also think that the decision to take this stand has very important reactions on those taking it -- they feel themselves committed to peace and the very fact that they must suffer if war comes (or deny their previously proclaimed position) makes them more zealous to prevent war.
But I feel in a weak and somewhat disingenuous position ↑before↓ the Cinn. Committee, Rep McLeod and now with Mr. West because I am not speaking for myself but for my group and I do not think all really want to go on record as backing Gertrud Baer's position.
We are always embarrassed by the fact that our left and right wings really do differ very considerably and that while our international body as a whole is with our left wing in its absolutist position in denial of war and war-service it sympathizes with our right wing in wishing to see piece-meal measures used wherever we stand to gain by these and cannot move further and faster.
We are losing Sarah Wambaugh because she is ready to say she is opposed to all war but not to say she is [opposed] to all wars offensive and defensive -- or so I understand her position.
Not quite textually identical with letter as written
↑Sent copy also to J A↓