ICPP and British planning for Third ICPP

The Margaret Sanger Papers
Last updated
Nov. 4, 2011, 10:29 a.m. (view history)

Sanger brought the British into the planning early on in the stages. 

"The plans outlined in Lady Rama Rau's letter to you of the 11th December for an International Conference in India are indeed exciting." Says that the Nov. 26-Dec.1 dates should allow western delegates to attend it and the other conferences and make it home by Christmas.

"In suggesting the number of delegates from abroad may be a hundred or a hundred fifty, Lady Rama Rau is presumably basing this estimate on the number expected to attend the International Conference on Child Welfare and the International Conference of Social Work. It is surely out of the question, however, that the International Committee on Planned Parenthood should undertake responsibility for organising any part of the proposed conference or of contributing towards the cost of it. It would be quite impossible to do from the London office in our present financial state. Moreover, we have to bear in mind that we are committed to hold our next international congress in Sweden in 1953, and you will remember that we acceded to the request of Mrs. Ottesen-Jensen that Mrs. Houghton should go to Sweden for one month prior to the congress to assist with the organisation of it."

Says that in encouraging the FPA India "to follow its recent national conference with an international conference, Margaret Pyke and I clearly foresaw at our meeting in August the possibility that America would be the only country able to send a delegation from the west. Certainly the Family Planning Association here has not the funds to do so, neither could any of us individually bear the high cost of travel to India."

"I am sure you will feel with us that Lady Rama Rau should not be left under any misapprehension about the extent of help from the London office. Mrs. Houghton will certainly make the conference known to all who may be interested, and if there is to be a literature exhibition I have no doubt that the Family Planning Association will contribute to it."

"If the American members, in addition to sending a delegation to India, are able to ensure the success of the proposed international congress, by providing for secretarial help and other expenses such as printing of proceedings, as you yourself so generously did for Cheltenham, they will have our blessing and full moral support. But Margaret Pyke and I feel that we must safeguard the International Committee against a failure in India which lack of funds and proper organisation might easily bring about. Nothing could do more harm to India or to the International Committee at the present stage of development."

Notes that she saw Vijaya Pandit and her daughter at Dorothy Gordons, and that "She will tell you of our hope to have an international birth control and population conference in your country in 1952. I would like to have it in New Delhi rather than Madras. It would be a great joy to me to go back to India again and it would be especially a feather in my cap to have our conference in India so shortly after General MacArthur's refusal to allow me to go to Japan upon the invitation of some of the freedom loving people in that country. Another attempt is being made in Japan to get me there and it is quite possible that our going to India will make this easier for the occupation authorities to admit my presence. It's a lot of fun living and working these days."

Hopes to see him when she is in India and thanks him for making it possible for Stone to travel there with the WHO.

Under heading "International Congress on Population and Family Planning, Madras, 1952," Houghton reports having tea with Lady Hartog and Mrs. Clubwala (of the International Conference of Social Work). Clubwala offered her assistance on the conference and that of the Madras branch of the All-India Woman's Conference. "She told us that from inside India a thousand delegates were expected to attend the International Conference on Social Work, and almost as many from outside (it sounds astronomical). It was hoped that Pandit Nehru would open the Conference and Countess Mountbatten had been invited."

"Mrs. Vembu of the Bombay F.P.A. seemed rather doubtful about the sort of help they would get in Madras, but Mrs. Clubwala was very reassuring. As so often happens there is a slight feeling of antagonism between the two cities of Bombay and Madras. Mrs. Clubwala expressed it by saying that Bombay always wants to do everything itself, and that it could have made the All-India Family Planning Conference this year far more representative of the whole country."

Hougton reports that Blacker noted that neither he nor other British delegates would want to be away from England for Christmas. "Although there are tremendous advantages in immediately following the International Conference on Social Work, this point may have to be taken into consideration. The difficulty in holding our Conference _after_ Christmas will be in persuading Asian delegations to the Social Work Conference to stay over the intervening period. Have there been any reactions from America against being away from home at Christmas? Personally I think it would be just the time of year to be in India."

Reports on progress on the agenda, encloses the outline that she, Bulsara and Mehta drafted. This will form the starting point for the meeting in NY, which includes Stone, Whelpton, Brush, Sanger. Watumull had to pull out at the last minute, but hopes to be in communicatoin via phone if needed.  She had a long conversation by phone with Sanger on the 23rd, and she had decided that the invitations should come from London, but because the ICPP does not have funds to send them, so they have decided to use $250 to $300 of the Watumull Foundation grant to offset London's costs.

There is a list of Indians that they want invited to the conference, but of course, Rama Rau might want to add others. Asks her to send those names to London, and in the meantime Rama Rau can unofficially invite them with the formal letter to follow.  NY Committee will send its recommendations to Rama Rau, and in the meantime Watumull invites her to send any corrections, comments, etc. on.

Encloses Helena Wright's Jan. 29 letter. "What Helena Wright says in her letter regarding delegates and expenses is quite true, and I was quite certain when in London that there was no money to send English delegates anywhere. Most of the English, who will go to Stockholm for the Conference in '53m will pay their own expenses and take it as a vacation or a holiday. But India is different, so I think we should in our International budget, and asking for funds for delegates, that we should consider possibly two people to go to India and expenses paid."

Discusses Blacker, saying that as ICPP director he should be invited to go; but perhaps funds would be better spent to bring him to New York where he could "meet people in the movement and get acquainted."

Asks his opinion and whether he is making any headway in securing funds for the Indian Conference. "This is heavily on my mind, but I have done nothing about a foillowup with the Rockefellers, as I was under the impression that you had some overall plan."

"would it be possible for you to attend the Conference in India, from November 24th. to December 1st. You could be back for Christmas unless you wanted to stay at some of the other International Conferences that are being held there. We are trying to raise funds for the expenses of those who will travel, and I think that Lady Rama Rau, the President of the Indian Family Planning Association wishes the International Committee to name whom it would be best to send for the Conference. From Dr. Stone's report he is very eager to have the main issue to be discussed as contraceptive methods, but I do not think there is sufficient material at the present time for a wide discussion taking up five days."

Asks his opinion on Edmond Farris's Human Fertility and on the work of Cecil Voge.

Updates ICPP members on conference progress.

Sanger will take on the "main direction of the Conference, which will be sponsored by the Indian F.P.A." Blacker has agreed to direct the Conference.

Sanger asked Blacker to provide the names of 10 British "influential people...who can be publicised as supporting the aims of the Conference" and asks "Can you do the same for your country? If a sufficiently impressive international list of supporters could be organised, their names could be printed on programs and other notices."

"In view of the enormous amount of work which Mrs. Sanger and others in the United States are undertaking in connection with the Conference, thereby relieving the London office, the British members feel that suggestions put forward by American members, in consultation with the Indian F.P.A., should receive sympathetic consideration and should be implemented whenever they do not conflict with the aims, interests, and policy of the ICPP."

Says that it is impossible that the ICPP pay the travel costs of delgates, but they do hope that the individual member countries will raise funds to send at least one representative. Also ask for support for a general fund for delegate expenses.

Houghton encloses the agenda for the ICPP meetings in London, reports that Kato and McNeice, who are in England now, will not still be there at the end of August.She will talk to them to get a sense of their feelings. Durand-Wever, Lederer will be there from Germany.

"Lady Rama Rau wrote to me on the 18th April that the Bombay Association was hoping to call an All India Conference on Family Planning in December or January next, with the object of consolidating opinion and helping those areas which are not yet organised to form associations and begin systematic work. Their plans for an International Conference in 1952, Lady Rama Rau said, would depend on the success of this conference, and if they could get speakers from abroad for the All India Conference it would be very helpful."

I have since heard from Mrs. Vembu, the Honorary Secretary, that preparations are going ahead for the All India Conference, which has now been fixed for the 29th and 30th November. "

Professor Lorimer informs me that there is to be a meeting of the International Statistics Institute in India in December, and the International Population Union will hold several joint sessions with the Institute. It seems rather uncertain whether he will personally attend, but this might give an excellent opportunity for some of the delegates to attend the Bombay conference at the end of November, and so give added stature to the conference."

"Mrs. Watumull stressed the advisability of letting the initiative come from the Family Planning Association in India as she felt that would do more to strengthen their cause than if the International Conference were to be organised from outside."

"I am writing again to Lady Rama Rau, and to the Honorary Secretary, to see if we can get more explicit details in time for consideration at our meeting. It would seem advisable for one of our Committee to attend the Bombay Conference. You perhaps have not considered going to India before 1952. It is possible that Helena Wright could go, in which case I think she would be prepared to stay over to do some intensive training of doctors and nurses, but here again we are up against the question of finance. I fear it would mean paying her air passage, which would be something in the region of £250. It's all a matter of how we spend what little money we have now got in reserve."

"It would seem advisable to us to let the initiative come from the Family Planning Associations in India, which are striving hard to gain headway against the opposition of Health Minister Raj-Kumari Amrit Kaur."

"If the Family Planning Association of India take the initiative in organising the Conference, and invite delegates and speakers from other countries, I believe it will do more to strengthen their cause there that in the Conference were to be organized from the outside."

Promises to be in touch with the Indian associations; they are working with them already on contraceptive testing for the poorest. At present they are using a lot of resources to import contraceptives and this strains their economy. They need to develop manufacturing capability in India so that they can make them available at low enough prices to generate use.

Sanger has asked her to attend the London meetings, but she is not sure yet whether she can.

Thanks her for the confidential notes on Dr. Pandit, has copied them and send to Ellen Watumull asking her to consider them confidential. "Lady Rama Rau and her group will doubtless be the instigators and [illegible] of any International Conference in India. I do not expect them to ask the International Committee or organize the Conference for them in their country but one can never tell. To my knowledge no American organization is sending a representative to the All India Conference on Family Planning. I think from the last letter of Lady Rama Rau that she was representing that organization on the health panel of the Social Welfare Panel, National Planning Committee, in April.

Discusses plans to come to England for two weeks at the end of August.

Thanks her for the copies of letter she has been sending. Has discussed the Indian proposals with Helena Wright and Margaret Pyke and is getting in touch with Ellen Watumull as suggested. Would like to call a meeting of the International Committee once the Indian plans are a bit further along. If Sanger can come, she can work around the dates of other members.

"Although Mrs. Watumull will initiate support in America, I take it that the intention is still that the International Committee will organise the Conference in India and will be responsible for the programme and speakers."

Asks if there will be an American delegate at the All-India Conference on Family Planning in Dec? She contacted Dr. Pandit, Adviser in Maternity and Child Welfare to the Indian Government, attaches confidential report on interview (not found). "I think it is perhaps better that the Bombay people should not see it, but I would not object to Mrs. Watumull reading it if you felt she should."

Brings up the idea of planning the next conference, received a “fairly generous check given to me by an old friend to do what I wish and naturally I wish to apply it to International work.” She has not yet spoken tp Lorimer about it, but has run the idea by Brush and Stone. “I would like to hear from the members of your Committee as to the opinion on a Conference in India. I think the plan at present is for Mr. and Mrs. Watumull to stir up interest in India through universities. Their own plan I will not discuss until it is more developed. While the Watumull Foundation is not like Rockefeller or any large one million dollar foundation they do concentrated work and naturally as he was born in India, India is the country they would like to devote their energy, time and money in helping to reduce the birth rate.” ...

“I will not go into details as to my opinion relative to a Conference in India. A great deal of work has been done there. I myself spent nearly a year there organizing clinics for contraceptive advice, left films on biological conception for the medical profession, Mrs. How-Martyn also did some splendid work there, and the International Committee, together with our good friends Gerda and Harry Guy, also gave generously to sow seeds of birth control in that wonderful country. If we have success in India it could greatly influence the Orient and if my own health holds out and I can feel confident of future energy I would certainly make that country the goal for International work in 1952, but before making any future plans or trying to raise money, I would appreciate hearing from you.”