Document 5: Letter from Emily Greene Balch to Francis Balch, 16 May 1915, Papers of Emily Greene Balch (Scholarly Resources microfilm edition, reel 5, #1077).
In May 1915, Emily Greene Balch wrote to her brother about her participation in the upcoming women's peace tour and her optimism about the possible outcomes of the tour. Before previewing her itinerary, she described some of the early meetings between members of the women's delegation and various high government officials.
INTERNATIONALER FRAUEN KONGRESS * CONGRES INTERNATIONAL DES FEMMES * INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF WOMEN
May 16 1915
I am writing in Committee meeting so please excuse the pencil. It is curious how very busy the days are. I think of you all so much and hope all you dear people are well.
The Congress which was so much more of a matter than we had any of us dared to hope decided to send delegates to the various governments to present the Congress resolutions. Miss Addams had just returned from England where the whole delegation (Italian, Dutch, etc.) were received by Sir Edward Grey and she was received alone by Asquith. Unfortunately not all that was said to them can be given out but now what was told are to us extraordinarily interesting. The situation is really much like a strike where neither party can admit that it is ready to let go. Women being outsiders have a peculiar locus standi[A] which is proving to have considerable strategic value.
One thing in which the English statesmen are interested in is the point of view of many Belgians that what they want is not to have the Germans forced back fighting when possible to secure an agreement in which the Germans agree to evacuate peaceably. This is of course sufficiently obvious! It is curious to see how much weight the French minister at The Hague laid on general peace propaganda--it was very dangerous because it weakened the energy for war. That is what we want, don’t we?
I am to go with the second delegation which goes to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Christiania and expect to return from Christiania the latter part of June so I hope it will not be so very long before I see you in Duxbury.
I am sending with this a copy of the Resolutions adopted. Part of course you will disagree with and part you doubtless will endorse.
An interesting thing the representatives of the English government said was that the belligerents could not do anything, the neutral nations must act. This must not get into print. How I should like to talk it over with you and get your advice. I should be glad to have you send me a list of law reviews to which copies of the Proceedings can be sent.
I am realizing first that I can’t write a decent letter under these circumstances; second that you don’t want to take the time for reading a long letter any way.
So I will just send my most loving greetings to Bobbi and Vernignies and Katherine and Pollie and to you, dear leisco,[?] from your
Very loving sister
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