Document 8: "Newsletter from Geneva," November 1924. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Collection, IV-7-13, Archives, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, WILPF Papers, 1915-1978 (Microfilm, Reel 103, frames 1801-1803).
In April 1915, an International Congress of Women gathered at The Hague in Holland to discuss ways to end the war and achieve world peace. The Congress adopted twenty resolutions to guide the international women's peace movement (see Document 1 in "How Did Women Peace Envoys Promote Peace by Touring European Capitals in 1915?" another document project on this website.) The International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace grew out of this meeting at The Hague, charged with implementing the goals outlined at the Congress. After the war ended, the International Committee called a second Congress at Zurich, held in May 1919. At this conference, members decided to transform the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace into a permanent organization: the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
The headquarters of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom produced the "Newsletter from Geneva," and sent it to the many international sections. This particular newsletter provided an overview of the campaign against chemical warfare in its earliest stages and further solicited the help of the sections, whether it was to rally the support of renowned experts or to gather monetary support. This newsletter exhibited the truly international nature of the campaign--its goal could not be accomplished without the advancement of all sections involved. The committee worked extensively to frame the campaign in an international context, as chemical warfare itself touched all nations engaged in war.
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM
rue du Vieux College, Geneve.
Cable address: Willif.
NEWS LETTER FROM GENEVA.
Committee against Scientific Warfare
Our Washington Congress placed in the hands of Dr. Gertrud Woker (Switzerland)[A] and Dr. Naima Sahlbom (Sweden)[B] the organization of an International Committee against Chemical Warfare. This Committee met for the first time at Berlin early in October, thus giving opportunity of good representation for our League at the International Peace Congress. Our Sections in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States were represented. It was decided not to restrict the work of the Committee to the fight against Chemical Warfare, but to direct it against all scientific methods of destruction. It is therefore advisable to change its name as above.
The Committee asks each Section to appoint at least two representatives to take part in its work; one scientific expert and one for the propaganda needed to inform public opinion. It is desirable that National Committees should be formed for the same purpose in each country. It has been suggested that Lucie Dejardin (Belgium) and Rosika Schwimmer (Hungary) should be invited to take part in the propaganda work of the Committee.
Austria: Olga Misar (Recording Secretary of the first meeting) Czechoslovakia: Dr Erna Liebald and Milena Illova, France: Jeanne Lauriol, Germany: Frida Perlen, Great Britain: Dr Ethel Williams and Dorothy Evans.
An appeal will be sent to the scientists in all countries, asking them to collaborate in the work of the Committee. National Sections are asked either to take charge of a certain number of appeals, or to send the addresses of prominent scholars and teachers of natural science to the Geneva office; and if possible to obtain the signatures of their first scientific authorities for the general appeal.
A questionnaire, to be drafted by Dr. Gertrud Woker, will then be sent out to scientists. Suggestions for this will be gratefully received by the Geneva office and will be forwarded to her promptly.
Well-known pacifists will be asked for their co-operation in the work of propaganda.
The Committee proposes to distribute leaflets and pamphlets on the matter widely among working people, and to provide other work for any wage earners who refuse to help in the preparation of destructive material. To do this, funds are needed. There are many people in every country who want us to do something definite to prevent war. We appeal now to them to raise a special fund for this purpose.
There is another suggestion to carry out which needs money, but which would be most useful and efficient--to organize a propaganda drive like that of the Pax-Special in the United States last spring, and to visit the most famous scientific experts on this matter, as well as to hold public meetings.
Next meeting. The Danish Section has invited the Committee to hold its next meeting at Copenhagen. But Dr. Sahlbom, the President of the Committee, would like it to coincide with a meeting of the League of Nations, so as to call the attention of the delegates to the results of the questionnaire which is to be sent out as soon as possible, with a request for early replies.
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A. Dr. Gertrud Woker, a Swiss professor, became a member of the WILPF Committee on Chemical Warfare and initiated the campaign to convene a conference on methods of modern warfare.
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B. Dr. Naima Sahlbom was a Swedish scientist and Chairman of the Committee on Chemical Warfare.
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