Document 3:Catherine E. Marshall to Jane Addams, October 5, 1921, Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Jane Addams Papers, Series 1, (Jane Addams Papers Microfilm reel 14, frames 243-244)

Document 4: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, "Manifesto on Disarmament," 1921, Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Jane Addams Papers, Series 1, (Jane Addams Papers Microfilm reel 14, frame 125)


        In contrast to the DAR's caution, members of the WILPF expressed enthusiasm and hope for the upcoming Conference. They believed that complete disarmament, not military strength, was the only means to providing international peace. This letter from a WILPF Vice-President, Catherine E. Marshall,1 to International President Jane Addams details the worldwide propaganda effort to encourage public support for the disarmament negotiations. While Marshall recognized the fundamental need for national security, she suggested that the possibility of friendly borders might prove equally compelling to policy makers.
        The "Manifesto on Disarmament" represents one resolution formulated at the July 1921 WILPF Congress at Vienna, the organization's third international meeting. Increased military expenditures since the war's end concerned the delegates. They believed that another arms race could only lead to international competition and war. Despite approaching the disarmament conference from different positions, both the DAR and WILPF leaders celebrated its outcome. In the most significant decision, the five powers negotiated a 5-5-3-1.67-1.67 ratio on capital ships for the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, and France respectively.[K] Peace groups endorsed the agreement as a first step in the direction of total disarmament. The DAR and other military advocates saw in the treaties a recognition of the continuing need for a strong navy and the opportunity to bring the American Navy up to treaty limits.


Geneva, 6 Rue du Vieux College

Circular letter to Executive Committee & Consultative Members (A)
                          National Sections (B)

Series of 1921
B.14 October 5, 1921

Disarmament Campaign.

Dear Madam,

        Mlle. Gobat, who has the Disarmament work in hand, has unexpectedly to be away from Geneva for a few days, and has written asking me to see to the printing and issuing of the Manifesto.

        I enclose a copy in English of the draft prepared by Mrs. Annot Robinson, Chairman of the Disarmament Committee at the Vienna Congress. It has been seen and approved by Miss Addams. We are having the Manifesto printed here in English and French and have Frl. Heymann to get it translated and printed in German. Will you let us know at once (by wire) how many copies you would like in any of these three languages? (Tel. Address "Willif. Geneve")

Prices as follows:-

                                                        1000 copies   20 Swiss francs.
                                                        2000      "              35      "         "
                                                        3000      "              45      "         "
                                                Every additional 1000 15 Swiss francs.   
                                                        10000 copies      140     "          "

Special prices will be arranged for countries whose currency has greatly fallen in value.

        Those countries which do not speak either English, French, or German, will, of course, prefer to print the Manifesto themselves in their own language. You will see that there is a sentence in paragraph five which needs alteration to suit the case of each country. We will have this alteration made for any copies you may order from Geneva. We will also, if you wish, add the name of your National Section to the heading of the Manifesto. Let us know what you wish in this respect if you send us an order for printing.

        It was decided at Vienna, you will remember, that this Manifesto was to form the basis of the deputations to be sent to the Governments by our national sections; and to be incorporated in leaflets which each section was to draft and publish itself in accordance with the needs of its own country.

        It was also decided to issue a pamphlet giving a summary of facts and figures on armaments. We hear from the British Section that they cannot get such a pamphlet written in time for the Disarmament week, and that they think, moreover, that there is sufficient material of this kind already available, published by other organizations. I enclose some statistics and figures which I have had worked out for my own use with the League of Nations, and which may, I think, be of use to you too. You are doubtless in touch with the International Anti-Military Bureau, Utrecht, Holland. Their monthly paper of August last gave an effective diagram showing the cost of "preparedness" quite apart from the cost of actual war.

        In propaganda you will, I am sure, find it useful to quote the Resolutions on Disarmament passed by the International Financial Conference at Brussels in the summer of 1920, and by the International Federation of Trade Union Headquarters: 61 Vondelstraat, Amsterdam, Holland. I would also suggest that in sending Deputations to Governments, Prime Ministers, and War Ministers, co-operation be effected when possible with other organizations (such as those represented at the 2 conferences mentioned) which can urge with special effect the weighty arguments other than those of pacifism which should lead governments to realize the intimate connection between armaments and the serious economic and industrial difficulties with which all the world is faced to-day.

        In talking with members of Governments, I find that their minds always turn to the dangers and anxieties of disarming their own countries, rather than the safety and relief of having their neighbors disarmed. This last picture makes a strong appeal to their imaginations if they can be brought to contemplate it as a practical possibility, particularly in the cases of countries which have four or five armed neighbors on their frontiers, and live in a state of perpetual fear.

        I am sure our National Sections are doing admirable work on this question, and we should like to receive reports from them of what methods have been found most successful and what results have been achieved.

                                                                                    Yours cordially,
                                                                                    Catherine E. Marshall

                                        Acting pro tem. for Marguerite Gobat


International Headquarters, 6, rue du Vieux College
Geneva (Switzerland)


Manifesto on Disarmament October 1921

        Believing that universal total disarmament is the only sure guarantee of international peace, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom views with horror the great post-war increase of expenditure on armies and navies in the Allied countries, as shown by the figures below.

                                                    1913-1914                 1920-1921

United States……………… $316,000,000                 $911,000,000
                                                    (nominally                      (nominally
                                                    63,000,000)2              162,000,000)

Britain……………………. 28,416,000                     164,745,000

France……………………. Frs. 913,750,000         Frs. 4,952,000,000
                                                    (nominally                     (nominally
                                                    37,000,000)                     198,000,000)
                                                                                        Frs. 6,540,000,000
                                                                                            (nominally 261,000,000)

Japan…………………….. Yen 97,454,515       Yen 250,000,000
                                                    (approximately             (approximately
                                                        10,000,000)                 23,000,000)

        When in July the International Congress met in Vienna under the presidency of Miss Jane Addams, the women of 26 nations assembled there were gratified to hear that President Harding had summoned representatives of Japan, Britain, France, Italy and China to meet members of the American Government in Washington to discuss disarmament and Far Eastern questions.

        The delegates at Vienna saw in the projected Washington Conference an opportunity given to the three foremost naval powers to lead the way in lessening the wasteful and devastating expenditure on military force which is impoverishing the world and debasing international relations.

They welcomed especially the following words contained in President Harding's Invitation-

        "The enormous disbursement on rivalries of armament manifestly constitutes a greater part of encumbrance upon enterprise and national prosperity, and avoidable or extravagant expense of this nature is not only without economic justification, but is a constant menace to the peace of the world rather than an assurance of its preservation."

        The National Sections therefore determined each in its own country to awaken interest in the Washington Conference and to ask its government to support this effort towards disarmament.

        The women of the [British Section] of the W.I.L.P.F. therefore venture to approach their representative as the American women are approaching theirs and urge upon them that if the Washington Conference is to result in an agreed immediate reduction in armaments the representatives of [Britain] must give a lead which will inspire the confidence and strengthen the will to peace of the other countries concerned. If to secure this end the nations find it necessary to check an aggressive foreign policy or to withdraw from spheres of influence now occupied or even to abandon designs of enlargement of territory already conceived, we believe that the greatness of the resulting gain in confidence and security will be in proportion to the sacrifice made.

        We would recall that the mariners who discovered the New World set sail on an uncharted sea, and yet their voyage was crowned by the opening up of a continent and the enlargement of the resources and the horizons of mankind. We believe that the same reward will wait upon the efforts of those statesmen at Washington who initiate the voyage in search of a New World set free from the burden of armaments and the fear of war.

Document List


Documents 5 and 6: Letters, Helen C. Travis to Jane Addams, May 2, 1924 and Jane Addams to Helen C. Travis, June 5, 1924


1. Catherine E. Marshall had served as Secretary of the British Section of the WILPF and was a prominent suffragist.

2. Conversions are to British pounds.