Speech to Trinity College, March 30, 1922 (summary)


Trinity Phi Beta Kappas Hear Jane Addams Address

Famous Lecturer Pleads for Help for Starving Europe.


America Has Enough Surplus to Restore European Credit.


Miss Addams Was Also Principal Guest at Annual Dinner of Society.

Special to The Observer.

DURHAM, March 31. --  For economic and humanitarian reasons the United States should come to the aid of the starving and resource depleted countries of Europe, was the theme of Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House, Chicago, annual Phi Beta Kappa day speaker at Trinity College last evening. The address of Miss Addams came following the initiation of members in the afternoon and the annual dinner in Southgate Hall at 6 o'clock in the evening. Fifteen hundred people filled Craven Memorial Hall to hear the noted social and political reformer.

Personal experience and observations while in Europe last year to attend the opening days of the League of Nations supplied Miss Addams with the most of the data used in her address. Miss Addams declared that present conditions among European nations, famine and lack of purchasing power, presented a state that would make possible the United States coming to their aid and in so doing to [reestablish] herself as the friend of the down-trodden.

For two centuries America has been held in European minds as the "big brother" to the nations that need a big brother, declared Miss Addams. She asserted that our action with reference to the League of Nations and the apathy which we have shown in other instances since the war has tended to break down this conception.

Attended Geneva Conference.

Speaking of her experience while attending the opening sessions of the League of Nations in Geneva last September, Miss Addams said that the [nonparticipation] of the United States in the League [practically] eliminated its efficiency. Eight agreements effected in the first ten days of the sessions wouldn't have been adopted if the United States had been a member of the League, the audience was told. Miss Addams enumerated several instances in which the League could have accommodated concrete results if we had been a member.

After attending several sessions of the League at Geneva Miss Addams visited several of the countries which suffered most from the war. The audience was given the benefit of her observation. What she had seen was used as argument to show the dire necessity of the United States going to the aid of the ravaged countries.

She declared that in northern France she saw children being examined for traces of tuberculosis. These children had been underfed and were mere skin and bone. Sixty [percent] of the number were found to have the dread disease. Miss Addams told of having seen women in Vienna who had suffered from frozen hands because they had not been able to secure fuel.

"In one or two instances," said Miss Addams, "women had to have their fingers amputated because they had been frozen."

Conditions in Russia and [Czechoslovakia] were cited. She spoke of a report which affirmed that 10,000,000 people in the Volga Valley would die of starvation if they did not receive relief. Governments should not be considered in an instance like that, affirmed Miss Addams, after she had shown that this condition was due more to a drought which had prevailed in the [country] than to the work of the Bolshevik government.

Europe is Suffering.

The European nations which are suffering so terribly have heard greatly exaggerated stories of the wealth and prosperity which exists in the United States, declared Miss Addams. She told of common beliefs among some Europeans that America was burning surplus product of corn, and was greatly overstock with wool and cotton.

Miss Addams gave figures to prove that America did possess an over supply in several products, but not to the extent which the Europeans believe.

"Something is wrong if we cannot arrange that our surplus shall reach the countries which are in such dire straits for the very things with which we are over-supplied," it was said.

Miss Addams did not confine herself to the humanitarian aspects of the case. She showed that if the United States would give to the European countries the credit and support which they need at the present time, that the European countries must inevitably recover their power to purchase. This recovery, it was shown, would bring a revival of world trade in which the United States would be given precedence by virtue of having made it possible.

Much of the part which the United States is to play in the future political arrangements European powers will make or are making at present will depend upon the manner in which we act at the present time, it was said. Miss Addams pleaded for a public opinion that would express itself to the end that something might be done by our government.

Dr. W. T. Laprade, president of the Trinity chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, introduced Miss Addams to the audience as a member of the fraternity whose life had exemplified the principle of the society.

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