Carrie Chapman Catt

Address at the Marathon Round Tables on Foreign Relations - 17 February 1933

Carrie Chapman Catt
February 17, 1933
National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War Marathon Round Tables on Foreign Relations
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February 17, 1933.

In the early spring the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War adopted a new idea. It was styled a MARATHON ROUND TABLE. New ideas are always slow to move and some time was lost in getting the Marathon ready. The proposal met with many excuses. Summer came before anything had been achieved and it became too hot for new ideas. The election followed the summer and all available women seemed to be Democrats or Republicans and had enlisted for active work. In November they were tired, yet the Round Tables which should have started with enthusiasm in march, really began to move with vigor in December.

A Chairman for each state was appointed and she was asked to choose a small committee to assist her. Such State Committees were instructed to name ten Chairmen who would organize and conduct Round Tables with a minimum of ten participants at each Table. Each Local Round Table was instructed to choose one member to represent it at a State Round, where the same questions were discussed.

Each State Round Table sent a report to the Washington Conference on the Cause and Cure of War and also names a representative to sit at the Nation, or Marathon Round Table. Sixteen states held no round tables. Thirty conducted the round tables according to instructions and two conducted the discussions in an irregular way. Thirty-two states were represented by Marathon representatives in Washington, 28 sat at the National or Round Table.

The number of local round tables were 315. The number of participants at these round tables were 3,150.

Colorado led the states, having the largest number – thirty-two. In California there were twenty-six round tables; in Michigan and Rhode Island, seventeen; in Minnesota, eighteen; in Utah, fourteen; in Oregon, eleven. In other states the number did not exceed ten round tables. Delegates from the State round tables were represented in Washington, there being twenty-eight in all.

The subjects discussed, when abridged, were as follows:

  1. Will world peace be achieved without a great increase of public opinion to support the idea?
  2. Are the present peace organizations and departments of non-peace organizations sufficiently united and definite to furnish the additional public opinion in support of peace?
  3. How many peace agencies be so strengthened that they can and will compel governments to move toward permanent peace?
  4. What do participants think of a five, seven, or ten year plan to improve the peace organizations? It was not expected that much would be offered in the way of suggestions. Each State Round Table has discussed extensively how the peace agencies might become more effective. When these delegates met in Washington, they held a private Round Table with the findings before them. From that they made a program for the Marathon. It was discovered that a better coordination of peace organizations had been the unanimous recommendation of all State Round Tables. The members of those having mentioned and endorsed this idea were, the District of Columbia, Alabama, Southern and Northern California, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Vermont, Utah, Texas, Rhode Island, Montana, Connecticut, Washington, Maine, Kentucky. Quite detailed plans for coordination were submitted by New York, Minnesota, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Kentucky.

The suggestions made were discussed at the National Marathon with the result that the following resolution was passed by the twenty-eight delegates in that Round Table.

WHEREAS, the participants in the Marathon Round Table of the various states agree on the need of greater unity as to program, method and aim among the organizations working for international cooperation, be it

RESOLVED: That we recommend that the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War consider taking the initiative in calling a conference of interested organizations for the purpose of coordinating peace efforts.

It will be understood that no suggestion was made to the Round Tables that they should return a suggested plan for coordination. The National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War has taken no action on the findings returned.

A resolution passed by the convention of the League of Nations Association, which you will find on a slip, recommends practically the same thing.

The Cause and Cure of War has no plan to offer at this meeting. It presents to you some of the findings of this Marathon Round Table. We have expected a preliminary discussion here as to the reaction to this proposal which the organizations represented here may make. Probably we will all agree that there is need of more closely coordinated undertakings. It will be far more difficult to find a way to unite the organizations.

I asked some of the representatives how it happened that they brought such earnest proposals for coordination and they were in every case:

  1. They said the organizations within the Cause and Cure of War had worked together so harmoniously and had achieved so much public education by so doing that they thought the example should be followed by other organizations. Naturally, we present this idea with much pride!
  2. The achievements of the peace movement in the United States have not been satisfactorily large and with a closer union the Round Tables thought more could be accomplished. In many cities a group of peace workers represents all the organizations there are. In other words, the privates are few, but the large number of captains that send them orders to be obeyed are many and they have not found this a comfortable situation.

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