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The Commission to Study the Organization of Peace

  • Smith Simpson (a1)

In the “battle of committees” which has raged over the foreign policy of the United States in recent months, the committees which have played the most active and most publicized rôles have been such propaganda groups as the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, the America First Committee, and the No Foreign War Committee. Such groups have left untouched an important task: careful, sober research into the problems which the organization of peace presents to the American people. This latter task, however, has not been wholly neglected. A Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, initiated by Professor James T. Shotwell of Columbia University in the fall of 1939, has undertaken at least a part of the task. Its methods of functioning, its work, and its objectives are of current interest to political scientists, and the present note is intended to call attention to the more important features of the Commission's work.

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1 For summaries of the “battle” and descriptions of the committees involved, see Newsweek, Dec. 30, 1940, pp. 9–10; Time, Dec. 23, 1940, p. 13, and Jan. 6, 1941, pp. 11–12.

2 Organized in May, 1940, with William Allen White as chairman and with head quarters at 8 West 40th Street, New York City. On May 17, 1940, Mr. White sent telegrams to various people inviting them to serve on such a committee, and on May 20, 1940, the formation of the committee was announced.

3 Organized in September, 1940, with Brig. Gen. Robert E. Wood (retired), chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Co., as chairman, and with headquarters at 1806 Board of Trade Building, Chicago. New York Times, Sept. 25, 1940, 13: 2; Nov. 13, 10: 5.

4 Organized in December, 1940, with Verne Marshall, editor of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazate, as chairman, and with offices at 100 East 42nd Street, New York City, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

5 Pamphlet issued by the Commission. See also Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2, 1940; New York Herald-Tribune, New York Times, and New York Sun, Jan. 3, 1940.

6 This Union grew out of an earlier Committee for Concerted Peace Efforts. It was organized on Mar. 30, 1939, for three purposes: to oppose aggression, to promote economic justice between nations, and to develop adequate peace machinery. On the outbreak of the war in Europe, the Committee for Concerted Peace Efforts organized the Non-Partisan Committee for Peace through Revision of the Neutrality Law. Honorary vice-presidents of the Union are James T. Shotwell, Mary E. Woolley, Charles G. Fenwick, and G. Ashton Oldham. The director is Clark M. Eichelberger. Headquarters are at 8 W. 40th Street, New York City.

7 Founded in 1914 by Andrew Carnegie.

8 Organized in 1939 with headquarters at 86 East Randolph, Chicago, Illinois. Ray Lyman Wilbur, Palo Alto, California is chairman; Quincy Wright, Chicago, is secretary.

9 Among the scholars associated with the Commission are Frank Aydelotte, Clarence A. Berdahl, Kenneth Colegrove, Francis Déak, Marshall Dimock, Clyde Eagleton, Brooks Emeny, Charles G. Fenwick, Denna F. Fleming, Benjamin Gerig, Harry D. Gideonse, Carter Goodrich, Frank P. Graham, S. G. Inman, Philip C. Jessup, Walter H. C. Laves, Frank Lorimer, William P. Maddox, William A. Neilson, Oscar Newfang, Ernest M. Patterson, Frederick Schuman, Walter R. Sharp, Smith Simpson, Preston Slosson, Eugene Staley, Waldo Stephens, Sarah Wambaugh, and Quincy Wright.

10 Among the government officials are Donald C. Blaisdell (U. S. Dept. of Agriculture), Marshall Dimock (U. S. Dept. of Labor and latterly U. S. Dept. of Justice), Katherine Lenroot (U. S. Dept. of Labor), and Charles P. Taft (Cincinnati, Ohio City Council).

11 Among the business men and lawyers are Dana C. Backus (lawyer, New York City), John F. Dulles (lawyer, New York City), Lucius R. Eastman (business man, New York City), Henry I. Harriman (business man, Boston), Walter Lichtenstein (banker, Chicago), F. C. McKee (business man, Pittsburgh), Hugh Moore (business man, Pennsylvania), W. W. Waymack (newspaper man, Des Moines), and William Allen White (newspaper man, Kansas).

12 Robert J. Watt, international labor representative of the American Federation of Labor. Because “women have so far played an inconspicuous part in the efforts of the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace,” Mrs. Edgerton Parsons, member at large of the executive committee of the National Council of Women, made a survey of what the members of the National Council of Women were thinking on the subject of organizing peace. A digest of the opinions expressed during the survey was forwarded to the chairman of the Commission. New York Times, May 26, 1940.

13 No accurate record of the number of study groups is available. Judging from the number of study kits prepared by the Commission and ordered from it, probably 400 groups followed the course. Letter from Margaret Olson, secretary of the Commission, January 30, 1941.

14 Study Outline on the Organization of Peace, Jan., 1940.

15 The broadcasts occurred on the following dates: Jan. 27, 1940; Feb. 3 10, 17, 24; Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Apr. 6, 13, 20, 27; and May 11. A separate broadcast occurred on Nov. 9.

16 New York Times, Feb. 26, 1940; Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 27, 1940. The announcement was rather widely carried in the press, appearing also in the New York Herald-Tribune and the Washington (D. C.) Post, Feb. 26; and the Cincinnati (Ohio) Post, Apr. 23. Winners of the prizes were announced by the Commission on Oct. 7, 1940. First prize was given to the International Relations Group of Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts; second prize to the Montclair Forum of Montclair, New Jersey; and third prize to a student group at Columbia University. The Commission's committee on award consisted of Dean Virginia Gildersleeve, of Barnard College; Professor Denna F. Fleming, of Vanderbilt University; and President Ernest H. Wilkins, of Oberlin College.

17 Edited by William P. Maddox. Also at least one public lecture series—that sponsored by the departments of politics and government of Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges—owed much of its inspiration to the Commission. New York Times, Jan. 19, 1941, II, 5: 3.

18 Jan. 15, 1940. See also Montana Standard (Butte, ), Jan. 31, 1940; Allentown (Pa.) Call, Feb. 1, 1940; Raleigh (N. C.) News-Observer, Apr. 19, 1940. For news articles announcing the formation of the Commission, see Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2, 1930; New York Herald-Tribune and New York Times, Jan. 3, 1940.

19 Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, Preliminary Report, Nov. 1940.

20 Ibid., pp. 12–13.

21 Ibid., pp. 11–12.

22 In issues for Nov. 12, 1940.

23 Rochester (N. Y.) Times-Union; Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune; Kansas City (Mo.) Star; Oklahoma City Oklahoman; Omaha World-Herald; Bronx (N. Y.) Home News; Meridan (Conn.) Record; Brooklyn (N. Y.) Eagle, and Hackensack (N. J.) Bergen-Record, all of Nov. 12, 1940.

24 New York Herald-Tribune, Nov. 13, 1940; Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, Nov‥ 13; Helena (Mont.) Independent, Nov. 16; and Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard, Nov. 18.

25 Statement of the Commission, “Proposed Series of Radio Talks,” dated Dec. 20, 1940 (mimeographed).

26 Benjamin Gerig, Haverford College. The director is Clark M. Eichelberger.

27 Communication of Clyde Eagleton, chairman of the studies committee of the Commission, to members of the Commission, dated Jan. 21, 1941.

28 It should be noted (Mar. 20, 1941) that various discussions are taking place within the Commission which may result in supplementary research programs to fill in some of the gaps left by the first research program.

29 For a description of the “Inquiry,” see Shotwell, J. T., At the Paris Peace Conference (New York, 1937), Chap. 1. Bodies similar to the “Inquiry” were established also in Great Britain, France, and Germany. Ibid., p. 14.

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American Political Science Review
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  • EISSN: 1537-5943
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