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they were about to catch him, he said, "I woke up all in a tremble and hollered to my grandmother: 'Min, move over, I must have room.'
A friend gave me a newspaper clipping this morning in which I was held up as a leader "in the period of pre-efficiency in social work." I naturally didn't like it, but perhaps it does define our early efforts. We did not have schools in which social workers were trained, but which we now very much admire and insist that the young shall attend, somewhat in the spirit of the Seniors who vote compulsory chapel for the Freshmen. We admire the efficiency of the present social worker, and constantly urge more of it. We are grateful to any group of investigators who will give us more data, and we welcome every chance to pool our impressions with those of other people in the community who are living as best they may in this bewildering old world of ours and pushing forward its ethical standards.
INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF SOCIAL WORK
Dame Rachel E. Crowdy, Chief of Division of Social Questions,
On New Year's Eve, this last year, 1925, I listened in from my armchair in Geneva to the broadcasting from a high-power station in England, and I heard what struck me as the most extraordinary thing I had ever come across in the whole of my life. I heard, first, music played in London in 1925, danced to by people in London in 1925; then we switched over to Berlin and heard music played in 1926, danced to by people in London at the Albert Hall in 1925; then back to London and heard music played in London in 1926, danced to by people in England in 1926; and last, and not least, we switched to New York and heard there music played in the old year, 1925, and danced to by English feet in London in the new year, 1926. I asked myself what was going to happen to the world if everybody was going thus to be flung on each other's doorsteps. Such rushing together of atoms could only mean unity or explosion. That was the greatest argument, it seemed to me, in favor of the League of Nations, which I have the honor to represent, that I had ever heard. The League of Nations has never yet, in my recollection of six and a half years, had any problem submitted to it that was easy of solution. Had it been easy it would not have come to the League. It would have been settled by the nation, or nations, concerned. Therefore any social questions, as any political questions, referred to the League of Nations are difficult ones. The League of Nations has had submitted to it prewar problems that have never been settled, post-war problems that have arisen; we have been asked to deal with old problems with new faces put upon them by civilization; then there have been the problems which, from an international standpoint, are altogether new.
First I should like to explain what I mean when I talk about the League of
Nations. I am not speaking of some superstate bird which can swoop down upon the poor little fifty-five nations and bear them away to do what they do not want to do. I am not speaking of any mirage in the desert which can be seen but never reached, nor of any castle in Spain which can never be inhabited. I am speaking of a big international machine which has been created and is supported by fiftyfive states of the world because humanity needs such an organization. I speak of the method of cooperation devised by those states. I should like to tell you briefly of the organs, of the wheels of that machine, because if I do not, what I say tonight will not be clear. I think, first of all, of the Assembly, which meets once a year in Geneva, with three delegates from every one of the fifty-five states members. I speak of the Council, with its four member states and its six temporary members. I speak of the expert committees which advise the Council on economic questions, on questions of finance, on questions of transport, of the traffic in women and children, of the suppression of opium traffic, and many subjects that I will not mention. I mention them because I have been asked lately whether it was true that all expert and technical questions were decided by the politicians and diplomats in Geneva, and I wish to make it clear that these advisory committees are formed of the experts of the world on the subjects they study. I would mention especially the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, which boasts among its members such people as Professors Bergsen, Einstein, Gilbert Murray, and other persons as eminent.
Again, one of the wheels in this machinery is the secretariat, which is a body of some three to four hundred people working in Geneva year in and year out, without ceasing, carrying out the resolutions and the recommendations of the Assembly, of the Council, and of the expert committees, a body upon which rests the responsibility that those resolutions do not fade away into thin air, but that they are carried out and brought to the attention of the state members of the League. I mention the secretariat of four hundred members, drawn from forty-seven nations, because, as I was telling an audience yesterday, an eminent man who crossed from this country to Geneva last year asked a member of the secretariat whether it was true that the League found it necessary to keep one man all the year round in Geneva. I am reminded of the story of the London girl who, having gone for the first time in her life to a farm for tea, and being given honey, turned to her hostess and said, "I see you keep a bee."
To give you some idea of the work which the League of Nations is doing only in social and humanitarian questions, because it is of that I am speaking tonight, and to show you that this League of Nations is not altogether a European league, I should like to tell you some of the subjects considered in the Assembly of September last. That Assembly discussed, and it did more than discuss, the abolition of slavery in the world; it discussed the minimum rights of thirty million minorities; it made proposals for the well-being of between thirteen and fourteen millions of people in the mandated territories, suggestions as to possible distribution, employment, relief, and care of about one and a half million refu
gees thrown into Europe by the war; discussed traffic in women and children; traffic in opium. It spoke of child welfare throughout the world; it discussed the training of youth, and, what was the most important of all, perhaps, suggested that cooperation could be substituted for fighting; that friendship could be substituted for warship. Perhaps the mention of these subjects proves that the League of Nations is a matter of international importance and interest, and not an affair of Europe. Time is short, and I do not propose to drag you through long and technical details of what the League has done. Although from those discussions resolutions did not necessarily come at the last Assembly, or the resolutions taken did not result immediately in legislation and international conventions, yet in every case earth was turned up to the sun as never before, and from every one of those discussions some fruit came. Although international conventions did not come out of all those discussions, as a matter of fact some have come.
First, there is the international convention for the suppression of the traffic in women and children drawn up by the conference in 1921, put into convention form six weeks after the conference met, and signed by twenty-three countries within ten weeks of the sitting of the conference. That is a world record. That convention is now ratified by forty countries and by others not members.
Then there was the convention for the suppression of obscene literature, drawn up in 1923 and now signed and ratified by forty countries, and having got into national legislation in many countries. Last but not least, I think of something which arose at this last Assembly, of the draft convention for the abolition of slavery. It has been sent around to every state member of the League for approval, and will, I hope, with amendments, be open for ratification at the coming Assembly in September. Most of you may perhaps not know, any more than I knew myself a year ago, that slavery exists in seventeen countries of the world, and that this is the first time any great international effort has been made for its abolition.
Perhaps I may give you one example of each type of social problem with which the League of Nations has had to deal since it came into operation nearly seven years ago. First of all I will take a post-war problem, partly because the League was not meant ever to deal with these problems, and partly because it could not attempt to begin its work of creating and keeping peace until it had cleared up some of the post-war evils still existing. I refer to the repatriation of prisoners from Siberia. Many of you may not know that in 1920, two years after the war was over, there were still half a million prisoners of about thirty nationalities still imprisoned, in most impossible conditions, in the heart of Siberia. I know there were British prisoners, probably there were Americans among them; certainly there were many from the various countries of Europe. When the appeal to help them first came to the Council in 1920 it was shown that some of these people were living in holes in the ground in Siberia, that they were in rags, that they were more or less without food, and, what was worst of all, that they were dying in some camps at the rate of ten and twelve hundred
people a week. An interesting thing is that the application came to us from the International Red Cross Society. It said: "We have tried and failed to bring these prisoners home. Others have tried and have failed." The Council considered the application and decided that although, strictly speaking, this was not work the League was intended to do, yet such a state of affairs could not be left. Dr. Nansen was appointed as commissioner to go to see what could be done. At the end of six months the first hundred thousand were back. At the end of two years, four hundred thousand were back, the rest having died. What is perhaps more interesting is the way they came back. Dr. Nansen appealed to the members of the League to give help. Japan lent ships; Great Britain lent ships also; Russia ran trains to Riga; and Germany agreed to run trains from Riga down into the heart of Europe; so that within two years all of those prisoners still alive were back in their own homes, and at a cost to the state members of the League of Nations (because of the help given by the members and friendly organizations) of less than a pound a member.
Again I would like to give an example of what I described as the old problems with the new faces put upon them by civilization. I think first of all of the serious health problems. Fifty years ago, when it took six months to cross the Atlantic in a sailing ship, germs kept to their own lands and respected frontiers. Now the germ is no longer patriotic, because he goes wherever he can by the shortest route possible. The health work of the League of Nations is concentrating on the necessity for spreading the news of prevention and cure all over the world. One instance, that of an epidemic bureau, with an office set up in Singapore eighteen months ago: Seventy-six ports in Asia, united with this office at the expense of the governments concerned, wire every day to this office, giving the data as to infectious diseases and infected ships. Once a week a code telegram is sent to Geneva giving a complete list of all quarantined cases put in at the ports of Asia, and at the same time those details are telegraphed to Madras, Calcutta, and various other places, and thence broadcast to the whole of Asia. I have had opportunity of speaking with some of the quarantine officers, and they tell me the work of that office has had a tremendous effect upon quarantine arrangements. Ships do not have to be held up in the same way because of possible cases of infectious disease on them; in the same way, port officers know what ships to look out for. This system is thus having an amazing effect on health problems, and not only that, but upon the affairs of business. I do not give entire credit of this to the League of Nations; Marconi should, of course, have three-fourths of the credit!
Then again, the health organization of the League is trying to bring about the standardization of sera throughout the world. It has also a system for the exchange of sanitary personnel throughout the world, so that medical men from one country may go to another to study and learn from the experience of other countries what is being done, and at the same time assist those other countries by their own experience and knowledge acquired in their own country.
Another problem that is practical is that of the suppression of the opium traffic. It has been one of the most difficult social problems with which the League has tried to cope. Very few people know anything about it. I must tell you how, crossing on the boat the other day from Cherbourg, I met a friendly man who said to me, "Do tell me the truth. Is it true that the opium traffic is worse since the League of Nations first tried to curb it?" Let the audience judge for itself. In 1919, because the responsibility was put upon the League of Nations by the various states assembled at Versailles to carry out and enforce the agreements for the suppression of the traffic in opium, the League of Nations was faced with grave difficulties. First, there was absolutely unenlightened public opinion in the world. You in your country knew something of the drug traffic and its evils. In Great Britain we did know something of it, but outside our two countries I do not think many countries were awake to the evils which were gradually becoming worse and worse. Any of you who followed those conferences in Geneva eighteen months ago will know that great publicity has now been given to this subject and that just as this dragon has been dragged out of its hole into the sun, so the League of Nations conference will prevent that dragon ever going back into the dark again. Publicity has been given and the opium evil can never again be hushed up. The opium committee was faced also by a practically unratified convention. The Hague convention was drawn up in 1912 for the suppression of the opium traffic, but very few people know that in 1919 only nineteen states had ratified, and less than that number had signed, the protocol. Today there are fifty-six countries which are parties to that convention, fifty of which are members of the League. Then again, the opium committee was faced with an almost uncontrolled drug traffic, illicit traffic being carried on from one country to another, yet no countries telling each other what was going on. Now a system has been devised by the opium committee, accepted by between thirty and forty countries, known as the import certificate system. No manufacturer is permitted to export to a manufacturer of another country unless that manufacturer produces a certificate from his government saying that the drug is needed for medical or scientific purposes only. I could go on indefinitely on the subject of the suppression of the opium traffic. It has caused many heartburnings and has been accompanied by many difficulties.
I should like to tell you what the League of Nations is trying to do with problems which are new from the international standpoint. The League of Nations is trying to do something in the international field of child welfare. I was asked the other day by one of the many questioners who come to Geneva how it was possible to say for a moment that child welfare was an international problem. Of course there are international sides which cannot be questioned. The child welfare committee has, for example, two international conventions: one dealing with the repatriation of neglected and delinquent children, and the other dealing with the question of allowances paid by parents or guardians in one country having left children in another country, but there is a much bigger