Document 2: Anne Rogers Minor, "A Message From the President General," DAR Magazine (December 1921), 688.
In this follow-up to her November message to DAR members, Minor reminded DAR readers of the need for a strong national defense. She decried the pacifist sentimentalism which would render America defenseless. Instead, she argued for American exceptionalism, suggesting that through military strength the United States could insure the stability of the world.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT GENERAL
As I announced in my last Message, our offer of Memorial Continental Hall to our Government for its use in connection with the meetings of the Conference on Limitation of Armament has been accepted by the Department of State for the public meetings of this historic and momentous Conference. The marked distinction which this event brings to our Society cannot fail to be recognized with pride by every Daughter, nor can it fail to be a source of deep satisfaction that we are thus able to be of such material service to our Government.
Christmas time is again at hand. The old, old story of "Peace on earth, good will to men" takes on a new significance now that the world is anxiously watching the proceedings of this great Conference. But there is danger in our expecting too much from it through a misunderstanding of its purpose. It aims only to limit armaments, not to disarm the nations concerned, as some seem to think. A clear understanding of the objects to be attained and a promotion of the spirit of friendship and "good will" between the conferring nations, will help them to attain the objects which will result in enduring peace. Every Daughter can do her share in moulding the spirit of her own community and circle of friends. It is the spirit alone that counts--the spirit that animates the Conference, and the spirit that animates the public opinion in the nations back of the Conference. If this spirit is friendly, sincerely desirous of serving the good of all and not grasping for selfish advantage, we may reasonably hope for true "peace on earth, good will to men."
Let us remember that the aims of the Conference are only the limitation of armaments to a minimum consistent with national defense--our own and other nations--and the settlement of the questions that might lead to war. Remember that peace does not lie in the direction of pacifism. Pacifism cares nothing for national defense. Pacifism is willing to see the world stand defenseless before a nation that is still obsessed with the passion of militarism and the policy of "blood and iron." The world cannot yet dispense with the police.
Our Society has stood consistently for years for a wise policy of national defense; it has repudiated pacifism and all its visionary folly; it has stood for friendship and good will among the Allied nations who alone are the bulwarks of liberty and civilization. It can exert a powerful influence for good throughout the country along these lines. It can lend its moral and spiritual backing to the Conference that is meeting in our Hall, and in the spirit of the resolution adopted by the October Board meeting and published in its minutes in this issue of the Magazine, it can stand staunchly back of the President in all his efforts to secure world stability and peace.
One other matter I want to call to your attention in this Message; it is in the nature of a warning. So many organizations are seeking our aid through affiliation or financial assistance that we are in danger of losing sight of our own specific D.A.R. work by trying to respond to these appeals. We cannot legally affiliate with other organizations, and we ought to conserve our financial resources for our own work instead of merging our efforts in the work of other societies which receive all the credit for it. Chapters are led to sometimes helping other societies erect memorials, for instance; or they merge themselves with purely philanthropic organizations which are not in line with our specific patriotic objects. Cooperation with, or assistance given other organizations should be very carefully considered before being accorded, else we shall be completely swamped by these numberless appeals and diverted from our own purposes. That unselfishness which is a virtue in an individual becomes a detriment to an organization if it operates to defeat the high purposes for which that organization was formed.
Let us as a Society go forward into the New Year with a new consecration of purpose. We are living in critical times, full of the possibilities of infinite good or infinite calamity. Our powerful influence will do much to turn the scales toward good, by adding to the weight of the things that make for righteousness and justice, for "peace on earth, good will to men."
I wish you all a happy Christmas and a glad New Year with a great hopefulness for the future and with faith in the constant guidance of God, in whose hand lies the world's return to peace, happiness, and right living.
ANNE ROGERS MINOR,