Document 22: Marjory Miller Whittemore to William A. Allen, Santa Barbara, 14 July 1931, The Records of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section, Swarthmore College Peace Collection (Scholarly Resources Microfilm, reel 42, #879).
This letter to William A. Allen, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, questioned his claim that WILPF gave funds to Soviet Russia for their military resources. Such unfounded statements were typical of the accusations aimed at WILPF by the Chemical Warfare Bureau of the War Department, the American Defense Society, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. This series of letters between Willliam A. Allen and Marjory Miller Whittemore reveals the long life of this second Red Scare, it having begun about a decade earlier.
[July 14, 1931]
To [William A. Allen,]
We desire to call attention to a report made in today’s edition of a Santa Barbara daily paper of a speech made by you yesterday afternoon before the City Club of Santa Barbara. It is quite possible that there may be errors from time to time in the reports of speeches published in the press and that what appears to be an unfounded statement by you as to the activities of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is not correct.
If it was your intention to convey to the audience the impression that this organization or any conclave of women in this country, through the cooperation or with the approval of this organization, have collected money with which to purchase and present bombing planes to Soviet Russia, you have made a statement which is without any foundation in fact whatsoever. No organization should be attacked or its motives questioned in such a public statement unless the speaker is familiar with its real purpose and aims. We are reporting your statements, as published, to the officers of our national organization and wish to warn you that any misstatements as to the purposes or activities of this organization will meet with prompt legal action. We will give you any information you need as to the real character and work of this organization and will hold you responsible for any false statements.
[Marjory Miller Whittemore, Chairman, Santa Barbara Branch, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom]