Document 1: "Resolutions Adopted at the Hague Congress," in Women at The Hague: The International Congress of Women and Its Results, Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch and Alice Hamilton, eds. (New York: MacMillan, 1915), pp. 150-59.
Many documents in this project refer to the resolutions passed by the 1915 Women's Peace Congress at The Hague. In the resolutions, the Congress endorsed measures for international cooperation, including an international court and a Society of Nations, general disarmament, national self-determination and democratic control of foreign policy. The resolutions were printed in English, French and German, and distributed to European heads of state. Members of the United States Congress were also sent copies, since the success of the plan largely depended on persuading President Wilson to initiate and lead mediation as head of the neutral nations. Addams and other delegates to the Congress met with him throughout the summer, but found that he had started to shift towards preparedness and in any case preferred to act alone, even if he was sympathetic to the proposals of the Women's Peace Congress. The Survey printed the resolutions of the Women's Congress; they were also part of a volume in which Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch and Alice Hamilton reported on the war in Europe and the Women's Peace Congress. In Germany, hundreds of copies of the resolutions were mailed to politicians, civic organizations, and private citizens.
Resolutions adopted by the International
Congress of Women The Hague, Holland, May 1, 1915.[A]
I. WOMEN AND WAR
We women in international congress assembled, protest against the madness and the horror of war, involving as it does a reckless sacrifice of human life and the destruction of so much that humanity has laboured through centuries to build up.
2. WOMEN'S SUFFERINGS IN WAR
This International Congress of Women opposes the assumption that women can be protected under the conditions of modern warfare. It protests vehemently against the odious wrongs of which women are the victims in time of war, and especially against the horrible violation of women which attends all war.
II. TOWARDS PEACE
3. THE PEACE SETTLEMENT
This International Congress of Women of different nations, classes, creeds and parties is united in expressing sympathy with the suffering of all, whatever their nationality, who are fighting for their country or laboring under the burden of war.
Since the mass of the people in each of the countries now at war believe themselves to be fighting, not as aggressors but in self-defence and for their national existence, there can be no irreconcilable differences between them, and their common ideals afford a basis upon which a magnanimous and honourable peace might be established. The Congress therefore urges the Governments of the world to put an end to this bloodshed, and to begin peace negotiations. It demands that the peace which follows shall be permanent and based on principles of justice, including those laid down in the resolutions adopted by this Congress, namely:[B]
That no territory should be transferred without the consent of the men and women in it, and that the right of conquest should not be recognized.
That autonomy and a democratic parliament should not be refused to any people.
That the governments of all nations should come to an agreement to refer future international disputes to arbitration or conciliation and to bring social, moral and economic pressure to bear upon any country which resorts to arms.
That foreign politics should be subject to democratic control.
That women should be granted equal political rights with men.
4. CONTINUOUS MEDIATION
This International Congress of Women resolves to ask the neutral countries to take immediate steps to create a conference of neutral nations which shall without delay offer continuous mediation. The conference shall invite suggestions for settlement from each of the belligerent nations and in any case shall submit to them simultaneously, reasonable proposals as a basis of peace.
III. PRINCIPLES OF A PERMANENT PEACE
5. RESPECT FOR NATIONALITY
This International Congress of Women, recognizing the right of the people to self-government, affirms that there should be no transference of territory without the consent of the men and women residing therein, and urges that autonomy and a democratic parliament should not be refused to any people.[C]
6. ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION
This International Congress of Women, believing that war is the negation of progress and civilization, urges the governments of all nations to come to an agreement to refer future international disputes to arbitration and conciliation.
7. INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE
This International Congress of Women urges the governments of all nations to come to an agreement to unite in bringing social, moral and economic pressure to bear upon any country, which resorts to arms instead of referring its case to arbitration or conciliation.
8. DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF FOREIGN POLICY
Since war is commonly brought about not by the mass of the people, who do not desire it, but by groups representing particular interests, this International Congress of Women urges that foreign politics shall be subject to Democratic Control; and declares that it can only recognise as democratic a system which includes the equal representation of men and women.
9. THE ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN
Since the combined influence of the women of all countries is one of the strongest forces for the prevention of war, and since women can only have full responsibility and effective influence when they have equal political rights with men, this International Congress of Women demands their political enfranchisement.
IV. INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
10. THIRD HAGUE CONFERENCE
This International Congress of Women urges that a third Hague Conference be convened immediately after the war.
11. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
This International Congress of Women urges that the organization of the Society of Nations should be further developed on the basis of a constructive peace, and that it should include:
a. As a development of the Hague Court of Arbitration, a permanent International Court of Justice to settle questions or differences of a justiciable character such as arise on the interpretation of treaty rights or of the law of nations.
b. As a development of the constructive work of the Hague Conference, a permanent International Conference holding regular meetings in which women should take part, to deal not with the rules of warfare but with practical proposals for further international co-operation among the states. This conference should be so constituted that it could formulate and enforce those principles of justice, equity and good will in accordance with which the struggles of subject communities could be more fully recognized and the interests and rights not only of the great Powers and small nations but also those of weaker countries and primitive peoples gradually adjusted under an enlightened international public opinion.
This International Conference shall appoint:
A permanent Council of Conciliation and Investigation for the settlement of international differences arising from economic competition, expanding commerce, increasing population and changes in social and political standards.
12. GENERAL DISARMAMENT
The International Congress of Women, advocating universal disarmament and realizing that it can only be secured by international agreement, urges, as a step to this end, that all countries should, by such an international agreement, take over the manufacture of arms and munitions of war and should control all international traffic in the same. It sees in the private profits accruing from the great armament factories a powerful hindrance to the abolition of war.
13. COMMERCE AND INVESTMENTS
a. The International Congress of Women urges that in all countries there shall be liberty of commerce, that the seas shall be free and the trade routes open on equal terms to the shipping of all nations.
b. Inasmuch as the investment by capitalists of one country in the resources of another and the claims arising therefrom are a fertile source of international complications, this International Congress of Women urges the widest possible acceptance of the principle that such investments shall be made at the risk of the investor, without claim to the official protection of his government.
14. NATIONAL FOREIGN POLICY
a. This International Congress of Women demands that all secret treaties shall be void and that for the ratification of future treaties, the participation of at least the legislature of every government shall be necessary.
b. This International Congress of Women recommends that National Commissions be created and International Conferences convened for the scientific study and elaboration of the principles and conditions of permanent peace, which might contribute to the development of an International Federation.
These commissions and conferences should be recognized by the Governments and should include women in their deliberations.
15. WOMEN IN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
This International Congress of Women declares it to be essential, both nationally and internationally to put into practice the principle that women should share all civil and political rights and responsibilities on the same terms as men.
V. THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN
16. This International Congress of Women urges the necessity of so directing the education of children that their thoughts and desires may be directed towards the ideal of constructive peace.
VI. WOMEN AND THE PEACE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
17. This International Congress of Women urges that in the interests of lasting peace and civilization the Conference which shall frame the Peace settlement after the war should pass a resolution affirming the need in all countries of extending the parliamentary franchise to women.
18. This International Congress of Women urges that representatives of the people should take part in the conference that shall frame the peace settlement after the war, and claims that amongst them women should be included.
VII. ACTION TO BE TAKEN
19. WOMEN'S VOICE IN THE PEACE SETTLEMENT
This International Congress of Women resolves that an international meeting of women shall be held in the same place at the same time as the Conference of the Powers which shall frame the terms of the peace settlement after the war for the purpose of presenting practical proposals to that Conference.
20. ENVOYS TO THE GOVERNMENTS
In order to urge the governments of the world to put an end to this bloodshed and to establish a just and lasting peace, this International Congress of Women delegates envoys to carry the message expressed in the Congress Resolutions to the rulers of the belligerent nations of Europe and to the President of the United States.
These envoys shall be women of belligerent nations appointed by the International Committee of this Congress. They shall report the result of their missions to the International Women's Committee for Permanent Peace as a basis for further action.
A. The discussion of these Resolutions and others which were not carried is to be found in the official report of the International Congress of Women at The Hague. [footnote in original]
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B. The resolutions are given in full below.
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C. The Congress declared by vote that it interpreted no transference of territory without the consent of the men and women in it to imply that the right of conquest was not to be recognized. [footnote in original]
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