Margaret Sanger, "World Population Emergency Campaign Meeting Speech," 20 Mar 1960.

Source: "Hugh Moore Papers, Seeley Mudd Library, Princeton University Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Collected Documents Series C16:506."

Sanger spoke at a one-day conference of population experts and prominent businessmen that kicked off the World Population Emergency Campaign. The event, which was attended by about one hundred people, was held at Princeton University. Other notable speakers included General William H. Draper, Lady Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, and Hugh Moore. It was chaired by Lammot du Pont Copeland.


Mr. Chairman, thank you. I am rather embarrassed at such an introduction, but I think that, just the same, once in a while we need such a blowup as we get today.

You can all relax, because I am not going to make a speech. I have come here from Tucson, Arizona, to congratulate you, Mr. Moore.

I think he has done an unusually splendid piece of work to bring this group together, and if it succeeds, none of us here today can really tell what it is going to mean to the future of our country and to the future of the world.

Mr. Moore, I brought with me today, to give to you, to present to you, the proceedings of, I think, the first World Population Conference of 1927 in Geneva, Switzerland. It took me two years to organize it. I was rather naive in thinking that the scientists were gods, so I had 300 scientists come to the conference. I thought they would really sort of make our world a little different. They didn’t.

I found them quite different from the gods that I expected them to be. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting conference. It lasted a week. I collected $40,000 to pay for their expenses over there, and the rest of it. They gave me no thanks. They didn’t recognize who you were or what you were, just went on with their work, did practically nothing to help in this movement and to steer the population question as it should have been, in those years. They could have done a great deal in making this meeting even here today something more than it may be.

Nevertheless, now, with Mr. Moore’s brain, vision to bring in businessmen, I think that is quite a different, new, practical idea, and it will be a wonderful thing to see how it goes. Mr. Moore, I congratulate you.

I think that the movement throughout the world today, in nearly every country--especially those countries that our President visited--all need birth control or population control. Of course, he would have nothing to do with it, and nothing to say about it. We asked him about it, and he said, “That belongs not to the Government but to the people,” private, as it has been, under private auspices, from the beginning of time, since we have begun it, but we have had not money enough, have not had enough people to help us, and so we have not done as much as we could have done and wanted to do. And it certainly is the duty of the Health and Welfare Department of this Government to help other countries, especially if they request it, but that was the President’s declaration, that the Government would have nothing to do with it, and it had to be turned back where it was in the beginning.

In one country that I think you can well study, and I am rather proud of that country--that is Japan. She has cut her birthrate in half. When I first went to Japan in 1922, all of the Japanese who were with me were all put in jail. Today they are all senators. That is hopeful. And Japan is an example. She cut her birthrate in half. She has a eugenic program for the people, that nobody with transmittable diseases can continue having children. They are to be sterilized. She has a eugenic program. She has a wonderful program for the future. I don’t think there is any other country in the world that is so intelligent about the future of their country, and going to make it something. The young people have declared openly and consistently there will never be another war, not as long as they are alive, and I think that is very encouraging, and we could well--I am sorry that some Japanese has not been invited here today. I think we could well have invited some.

(It was brought to Mrs. Sanger’s attention there was a Japanese present.)

I am very glad you are here. It seems to me I hadn’t heard there was a Japanese here, and I think he could tell us there is a great deal going on there that we could well study and congratulate them. Of course, they never asked us to give anything, never asked us for money, or anything. They have gone on their own way, done what they thought was right for their own country.

As I said, I am not going to make a speech, so I am going to say I am happy to be there to see my old friends and see so many new ones. And, again, I want to congratulate Mr. Moore for the splendid meeting.


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