4th INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLERS
REPORT of the Fourth Conference of The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the second held under the auspices of the INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLERS, held at the Cercle de la Librairie, Paris,
from Monday, September 4th to Friday, September 8th, 1950.
MONDAY 4 SEPTEMBER 1950
The President of the International League, Mr. W. S. Kundig took the chari and opened the session at 3.45 pm.
He first called upon the President of the French Association, Mr. Fernand De Nobele, who, in a warm speech of welcome appealed for unanimity in decisions by means of finding formulae acceptable to everyone. His speech was punctuated with lively and reiterated applause from all quarters.
After reading sympathetic messages from colleagues who were prevented from attending, the President of the League Mr. W.S. Kundig passed to the reading of his opening discourse to the Congress, which comprised also the report of the Treasurer, addressing himself to the delegates in those words:
Ladies and Gentlemen, My Dear Colleagues,
We are here gathered together for the fourth time. It gives me great pleasure to declare this Conference open. It is the second to which you have been invited in your capacity as members of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and I am grateful to you for attending in such numbers. We have here the delegations of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. We have also the delegation from the USA and I look forward very shortly to welcoming them officially into the League. Each of these delegations is represented by several members with the result that about 250 booksellers are attending this Conference. To you all I extend a cordial welcome.
To proceed we would renew the expression of our gratitude to the Dutch and Danish Associations. Without the initiative and enterprise of the Dutch, and most particularly of Menno Hertzberger, who may be regarded as the spiritual father of the League, without the tenacious perseverance of the Danes, the league would not have come into existence and we should not be here today. We should also remember all that we owe to the A.B.A. for the impeccable organisation of the London Conference last year, and for the magnificent reception which was prepared for us. Prior to this Conference in London, we were to one another hardly more than acquaintances, but it was in London and thanks to our English colleagues that the League became all that it should be - an association of friends with perfect mutual understanding. Finally let us not forget the most charming reception which was accorded to us by our Belgian colleagues on the occasion of the meeting of Presidents which took place at Brussels on Jan. 21st and 22nd, 1950. We now know just what the Belgians are like and what they can do. Let us make careful note of it.
lt is a great joy to me to preside at this Conference in Paris; this city which is the capital of the intellectual world; the capital of that civilisation which is ours and without which we could not survive; that civilisation of which we are - we booksellers - humble labourers in its vineyard. I shall have occasion frequently to repeat myself during this Conference and it will be to thank repeatedly and frequently our French friends for having taken up on themselves with such spontaneous cordiality the arrangement of this meeting.
I shall now give you a resume of the activities of the League and of your Committee during the year that is just passed. The Committee has met seven times (in place of four during the previous year) on September 9th, 1949 – on the eve of the London Conference; on October 20th, 1949 at Zürich (a meeting that was extremely animated); on November 20th, 1949 at Geneva; on January21st, 1950 in Brussels on the occasion of the meeting of the Presidents; on March 26th and July 3rd, 1950 at Geneva (this last meeting presided over by Mr Muir), and finally yesterday in Paris, besides special meetings of a limited character for the Directory. You will therefore observe that our desire to limit the meetings of the Committee to two or three in each year is illusory and that the necessities of current affairs as well as of those tasks which you have laid upon us and which we willingly accept, have obliged us willy nilly to meet much more often.
In the course of these various meetings, your Committee had to discuss and to decide on a large number of questions, which it would take too long to expound to you here in detail, and besides, the President of each Association has received the minutes which has kept him in touch with the course of our labours.
I shall refer at greater length to the Extraordinary General Meeting which was attended with only or two exceptions by the Presidents of all the Associations affiliated to the League and which took place in Brussels on January 21st and 22nd, 1950 for it was of the utmost importance for the League. By means of it we were enabled as a sequel to discussions which were as frank as they were carefully considered, to set on foot a system of finance which I have every reason to believe has given satisfaction to every Association while permitting to balance our budget. I do not know how to thank adequately all the delegates who assembled at this meeting at their own expense and in their own time, thus showing the depth of their interest and that of their Association in the League.
This gives me the occasion to express the desire of the Committee that each session of the Conference shall be preceded by a meeting of the Presidents which will give an opportunity to study and discuss the work for the day. Experience has shown us the extreme utility of these meetings of Presidents because they practically always produce that unanimous accord which is so infinitely desirable. Moreover, these meetings of Presidents have become part of our tradition and do not forget that it is due to the first of them at Copenhagen which was entirely improvised that it was possible effectively to constitute the League.
I must express my personal thanks to my colleagues on the Committee who have applied themselves to their tasks with continuous devotion and without sparing either their time or their labour. MM. Poursin and Muir have devoted themselves to the Directory (Mr. Muir has also undertaken all translations from French into English which is no light task). Mr. Hertzberger has taken on the Vocabulary and Mr. Gronholt Pedersen has brought to us the benefit of his good counsel. As to your President, he has done what he could. Outside the Committee, Mr. Thommen has helped us constantly and willingly with his legal advice for which we are grateful to him. The secretary of the League, Mme. Cottet, has worked extremely hard and we must do her honour for that work has been no light one during the current year. In fact more than 20 circular letters have been addressed to the Presidents others have been sent to embassies or legations. The correspondence o, every kind of subject has been enormous and would surpass your imagination. To give you an idea of it, the attempts at recovery of debts alone have necessitated nearly 200 letters.
And finally your Committee offers to you all their thanks for the confidence which you have shown in them and hopes that it has proved worthy. You are doubtless curious to know the membership of the League. Here it is, errors accepted and account not taken of the foreign members of each Association.
Great Britain 214
Total: 1,098 members
The Presidential discourse included the report of the Treasurer for your President is obliged to fulfil those duties. Mr. Poursin by force of circumstances being only Honorary Treasurer without powers and without opportunity or responsibility for financial affairs. You have had the opportunity to study the accounts as they have been circulated with the invitations. The accounts have been balanced to the beginning of July. As you will have seen the expenses amount to Sw. frs 8,495.40. The most considerable expense is necessarily caused by the expenses of the members of the Committee - even these have been reduced to a minimum last year as in the preceding year - the members of the Committee having been reimbursed only for their tickets and having assumed personally all other expenses on their journeys. The Committee can see no possibility whatsoever of diminishing any of these expenses with the possible exception of those associated with the printing of the minutes of the Conference according to the proposal of the A. B. A. which you have to discuss during the present Conference.
The balance in hand at the time of completing the accounts was Sw. frs. 365.35. We have further, as a contingent credit, the payments made by Finland and Denmark which have been effected by the Associations of those countries but which have not yet been received by reason of the delays in the Swiss clearing. On the debit side there is a contingency of Sw. frs. 913 due respectively to MM. Hertzberger and Muir for their latest travelling expenses. In the absence of cash in hand they could not have been reimbursed had they requested it. This situation is a result of the deplorable delay exercised by the majority of the national associations in paying their subscriptions although invoices were sent to them immediately after the Extraordinary General Meeting in Brussels and although they have been further reminded in March and in June. They appear to have forgotten that during that meeting it was agreed and solemnly promised that the subscriptions fixed at that time and universally accepted, should be paid immediately. Now I have to state that at the moment when the accounts were balances, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland have paid and that the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America even before any application was made to them have remitted their contribution. On the other hand Great Britain, France, Austria, Italy, Norway, Holland, Finland and Sweden have greeted my application only with silence. In conclusion, out of a total of subscriptions of Sw. Frs. 8,000 only Sw. Frs. 2,500 in all have been received. You will admit gentlemen that that is discouraging and that we cannot continue our work if you deny us the means. There still remains to be received Sw. Frs. 5,000 plus Sw. frs. 500 due by the clearing for the subscription of Denmark, a total of Sw. frs. 5,500. If we add to this sum the Sw. frs. 365.25 which we have in hand we find Sw. frs. 5,865.25 in the treasury. The expenses for the Conference Meetings of Committee and the various expenses to the end of the year are estimated to be Sw. Frs. 4,000. So that there will remain if all goes to expectation, a balance of some Sw. frs. 1,800 to carry to reserve. It is on this basis that the Committee suggests to you the maintenance for the year 1951 of the same subscriptions as for 1950 and we venture to hope that you will give your consent. It goes without saying that I am ready to reply to any question which may be put to me on the subject of this financial report.
Since the date mentioned, upon which the balance of the accounts was struck we have received the subscriptions of Sweden, Great Britain, Holland, Norway and Italy, and, on the eve of my departure from Geneva, Sw. frs. 750 from France – the half of the subscription – so that we have actually in hand Sw. frs. 3,606.10.
We shall ask you today to ratify the admission of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America which we do not doubt that you will greet with enthusiasm. This gives me an opportunity to express to Mr. Gomme - the President of the A. B. A. A. - and to his American colleagues, the happiness and satisfaction that their entry into the League affords to us. I would also like to thank them now for the very great reception arranged for your President at the luncheon with which they honoured him on his last visit to New York; a visit that coincided so happily with the session in the course of which the A. B. A. A. were to decide on their entry into the League.
This brings me to point 4 of the Agenda which is the proposal to increase the number of members of the Committee to six and I will tell you the reasons for this.
Although it is quite true that the members of the Committee are not the representatives of any country, but that they have been nominated only to guard the interest of the League in general, it is no less true that the Copenhagen Conference, with instinctive wisdom, has so selected them that they represent the point of view, state of mind, the mentality of the various linguistic and economic regions, of which the League is composed. Thus Mr. Gronholt Pedersen is able to inform the Committee on the point of view of the Nordic countries; Mr. Hertzberger on those of the Benelux; Mr. Muir on those of Great Britain; Mr. Poursin on those of France and your President on those of the other countries - Switzerland, Italy and Austria. It is to be hoped that this regional partition of the members of the Committee will be maintained on condition, if I may so express myself, that nominees should always be persons of calibre and of international spirit. In consequence you will admit that it is perfectly logical to add to the Committee a sixth member to play the same role for the United States who are about to be elected to our circle; for it is evident that continual and personal contact should be maintained between the Committee and the ABAA. It is incumbent upon us in the general interest, not only to keep the ABAA constantly informed of what we are doing, but also to request from them their opinion on every matter concerning the League as a whole. It is for this reason that the nomination of a sixth member of the Committee appears to us altogether indispensable. It goes without saying that there is no question that the resources of the League in the state of pernicious anaemia in which it finds itself should be called upon to defray the travelling expenses of an American member of the Committee, but there would be nothing to prevent the ABAA from delegating to a meeting of the Committee such an one of its members qualified for the duty who happened to find himself in Europe at the apposite moment, or if this should not be possible, to express by correspondence before each meeting of the Committee their opinion on every point of the Agenda.
No. 5 of the Agenda requests you to study and discuss the complete rules on the basis of the draft of which you have received the text. “A constitution” said Napoleon, “should be short and obscure”. We have endeavoured to present to you one which is short, complete and clear.
As you know our rules were drawn up very summarily in Copenhagen and were successfully modified in London and Brussels. They should be completed not only on the grounds of several important points which have escaped us, but from the legal point of view, in view of our inscription on the business register. This inscription is not absolutely indispensable - out League being a society without lucrative aims - but in accordance with the reasons which we shall give you during the discussion of the rules; it is very important that this inscription should be made. We beg of you to study, discuss, modify and complete, if there is time, this draft of the rules in such a way that we shall have a text that will require no alteration for as long a time as possible, and so that we may have them printed. It will be necessary for you to pursue this study and discussion to a point of perfection as great as may be desired.
No. 6 indicates the preparation of a Code of Practice to be applied by booksellers who are members of associations affiliated to the League. As I have written to you, it is concerned with a « Gentleman's Agreement » which should govern our practice not only between ourselves but also with our clientele. We have here one of the most important projects deserving of our study during the present Conference. If the rules govern the organisation and administration of the League, this Code of Practice has no less importance of itself and may even be more important. for it is envisaged as becoming a kind of code of ethics for the international antiquarian trade and one of the most efficacious methods of assuring good relations between booksellers throughout the world. We are not concerned today more than to establish principles, for it goes without saying that we cannot prepare this code in a complete and definitive form during the present Congress without immeasurably extending the discussion. However, we do not count upon you the less to give us numerous suggestions on all the subjects that it is necessary to foresee and to study. Do not hesitate to propose to us a great number of questions of the most varied kind, nor to eliminate those which would be undesirable or useless.
Mr. Poursin and Muir will speak to you of the Directory (paragraph 7 of the Agenda) and Mr. Hertzberger on the Vocabulary (paragraph 8). As to paragraph 9, Collective insurance, I shall have some words to say to you about this.
The question of the emblem of the League figures in paragraph 10. lt is necessary, cost what it may, to arrive at a definitive decision on this during the present Conference. Designs have been submitted to you. It is certain that none of them will give satisfaction to everyone, but it is essential that one of them should be adopted so that in a very short time from now this emblem may be in use.
The proposals figuring on the Agenda under Nos. 11-17 will be presented and defended by the Associations responsible for them.
As to No. 10 - Other Business - I would remind you that proposals to be discussed under this heading should be addressed to the Committee in such time that they may be presented to the meeting of Presidents which precedes the final session. This, not only in order that these questions may be submitted for study before this final session, but also to avoid the possibility that last minute proposals should disproportionately extend discussion.
Among 'Other Business' one of the most delicate for study concerns the request addressed to your Committee of the German Association of Antiquarian Booksellers for permission to send an observer to your Conference. Your Committee has not felt equal to pronouncing on this subject, but it submits the question to you, not in order that your decision should be applied to the course of the present Conference, but for the future.
Still under the same heading - Other Business - we shall speak of the black list. We have prepared one which we will presently submit to you. We shall be very grateful if you will examine it and tell us when it comes up for discussion, if we have made mistakes or omissions. We shall re-draft it according to your suggestions and we shall then present it to you in final form. It is quite understood that this is the first list which will be added to according to necessity - a fact which we deplore in advance.
Immediately after the black list comes the question of the recovery of debts. As I have already mentioned this question has given us much work and much correspondence without great results, for it is quite reasonable that the least bad of the debtors should have paid after our applications of last year and that there remain only the worst of all. The position of the Argentine booksellers remains almost the same. Some have paid all or part of their debts in certain privileged countries, others make no effort at all to meet their responsibilities, in fact they give no sign of life. There are even some who, knowing that they will find it impossible to pay, continue deliberately to send orders. We have not hesitated to put them on the black list for we think that they merit it. Nevertheless, if you are of a different opinion than ours we will annul this decision.
It remains to speak of the holidays or exchange of children. We have the pleasure to tell you that even if the results in this direction are not yet very brilliant, we have nevertheless been able to do something. Two French booksellers have been able to send their children abroad in exchange for other children and the daughter of one of the members of our Committee has been invited by a Danish colleague. We cannot insist too strongly that everyone should take this question very much to heart. We believe, in fact. that these holiday exchanges of children could and should supply to numerous booksellers - members of the League - an occasion to prove their goodwill towards their colleagues, their disinterestedness and that true international spirit by which we should all be animated.
Our relations with UNESCO have remained excellent and we cannot be too grateful to this institution for all that it is doing in the realm of books. I shall have occasion to speak to you about this.
It gives us pleasure to tell you that we have not been approached on any differences whether between members of the League or between associations affiliated to the League and that is a great good fortune for us. We have also the pleasure to inform you that certain dissident Belgian booksellers, grasping the importance that the League represents for them, have re-joined their national association. This may be due to the League. If such is the case, we have scored a good point.
One of the principal cares of your Committee has been to attempt the amelioration of commercial relations between the different countries. It is difficult to know whether the numerous letters and approaches that we have addressed to ambassadors, ministers and consulates of different countries have been effective. We are nevertheless happy to state that conditions have improved during the past year. It is certainly easier now for many countries to send their books abroad and to be paid, but we have not yet arrived at that golden age of which we dream in which there will be no more control of exchange nor impediments of any sort to our international relations - an epoch of which we might say like Demetrius “To be honest, why not, we have accomplished things very much more difficult than that.”
I am at the end of my discourse. It remains only for me to request you to set to work and I know that without the need for my expressing the desire, this Conference will maintain its motto of concord, of mutual comprehension and of friendship.
PRESIDENT: Ladies and Gentlemen, now we come to the Presidential Address which includes the Treasurer's Report.
I will distribute to each of you the balance sheet as it stood prior to the 750 francs deposit from France. Then you will be requested to ratify the admission of the A. B. A. A. Allow me to express our joy and satisfaction to Mr. Gomme at their entry into the League.
PRESIDENT : Thank you. Does anyone wish to say anything about the Committee's report, with the exception of the accounts. Who wishes to speak? :May I consider this part of the Presidential report and the Committee's report as adopted?
Order of the day. Point 2 – Now about the accounts. Does anyone wish to speak before I call on the auditors? Nobody has anything to say about the accounts. I will call therefore on Mr. Tulkens.
M. TULKENS. In order to enable me to fulfil the mission entrusted to me, Mr. Kundig has put at my disposal the League’s accounts and I must say that the balance sheet shows exactly the activities of the League. I advise you therefore to agree to these accounts.
PRESIDENT. May I consider these accounts as adopted? Now I must name two scrutineers. The two youngest booksellers here as scrutineers. Mr. Maggs of course! Mr. Maggs and Mr. Beres are elected scrutineers.
Order of the day. Point 3 – I will ask the American Delegation to be so kind as to leave the room for a few minutes, just a simple formality as we are about to vote by secret ballot, on the subject of the admission of the A.B.A.A. One ballot for each delegation, except the English and the French who each have two. I insist that the vote be made by secret ballot. I am certain you would accept it most cordially, but I do not wish to create a precedent. Mr. Beres, will you be so kind as to start counting the votes. Yes or no about the admission of America into the League.
Ladies and Gentlemen, 13 voting papers have been circulated about the admission of the A.B.A.A. The answer is Yes, by 13 to O.
Order of the day. Point 4 - Before I ask the American Delegation to return we have to decide on the question of bringing the number of Committee Members up to 6 which would enable us to have an American delegate on the Committee. Does anyone wish to speak on the subject? Nobody wishes to speak. I put the matter to the vote.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Committee is now composed of 6 members by 13 votes to 0, therefore, we have an American delegate on the Committee.
Now I will ask the American Delegation to come in.
PRESIDENT: I am glad to inform you that you are invited to come into the League by 13 against nobody, and Mr. Gomme is a Member of the Committee; so Mr. Gomme will come and sit here.
I will ask Mr. Muir to say a few words on this occasion.
Mr. MUIR : If ever there was a task completely unnecessary it is this. I only have to say one word to our American colleagues in the person of Mr. Gomme, and that word is «welcome ».
Mr. GOMME : May I say a few words of thanks to you all for this wonderful welcome that you have given not only to myself but to my colleagues who represent the A. B. A. A., I might say from coast to coast, as we have a member from California and from other parts of the country. We feel we are well represented and we are fortunate to have our delegation constituted as it is.
I want to thank you for the cordial way in which you received us. I feel rather moved by it; it is an occasion that brings great pride for myself and those of the organization I have the honour to represent, and I will take back a feeling of good will, Certainly last year, your courtesy and generosity in allowing me to attend the meetings gave me the hope that this might come about, but it is more than I expected to become members as speedily as we have done. We had hopes last February at the Annual Meeting and it was almost unanimous; as for the country we live in it was not unanimous. but that was perfectly all right; we resolved our difficulties by reducing the lack of unanimity.
We are proud to be members, and I hope we shall be able to join in your Council and express our points of view in all matters that will interest the League, and I hope our contribution will be useful. Although we are small in number, our opinion will have quality, and we will do our best to gain your confidence. I thank you for the personal honour of making me a member of the Committee which was quite unexpected, and thank you very much for your cordial reception of the A. B..A. A.
PRESIDENT : Does anyone wish to speak? The session is over.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th
The President declared this meeting open at 10.15, a. m.
PRESIDENT: Before doing anything else, we must fix a figure for the subscription for the year 1951. You have heard in the Committee's report that the Committee proposes to keep the subscription at the same figure as last year. If the accounts show a small surplus, most of it will be needed in advance to carry on the work on the Directory, so that the surplus which appears on paper is in reality an illusion. Does anyone wish to speak regarding fixing the subscription? I remind you that the Committee's proposal is to maintain the subscription at the same figure in 1951 as it was in 1950. No observations? I will put it to the vote and will you be so kind as to vote by a show of hands. Those who are in favour of keeping the subscription at the same figure as in 1950 please put your hand up. France, England and the United States have 2 votes, the other countries one vote. Mr. Maggs and Mr. Beres, will you please count the votes.
Those in favour. 15. The Committee's proposal to maintain the subscriptions for 1951, the same as 1950, has been adopted unanimously. I wish to remind you gentlemen that the memorandum for the subscriptions will be sent at the beginning of 1951, and I will be very grateful to the members of the League if they pay their subscription without delay to make it easier for the Committee.
PRESIDENT : Again, besides the order of the day, we should now designate 2 auditors. During the President's congress we have nominated 2 auditors. Mr. Jorma [Finland) and Mr. Rönnel (Sweden). Any other propositions ? I will then put to the vote the proposal of the President's Conference to nominate Mr. Jorma and Mr. Rönnel as auditors. For: 14 and one abstention.
Point 5 – Study and discussion of the complete Rules. I take it that everybody has a copy of the Rules, either in English or French?
Are you ready Gentlemen? Can we start? No complaints? No reclamations? Good! Let’s start! I am going to read them to you paragraph by paragraph.
We must have statutes ne varietur as it is very important to enter them in the commercial register, and to have them printed for distribution to all booksellers, members of the Association, as well as to Universities, Libraries, etc. There is nothing secret about our League and the whole world should know about the Statutes and the aim and seat of the League. Fristly, Chapter I “Name, aim and seat of the League.” (The President reads the first Chapter of the Statutes). I made it a point of putting the names both in French and English, so that they will figure in the Register of Commerce. It is an Association registered in the Swiss Commercial Register (article 60 and onward).
Any remarks or questions?
M. DE NOBELE. I take the liberty of drawing your attention to the French title submitted which is perhaps not expressive enough. “Librairie Ancienne”, what does it mean exactly? A book which has been used for 3 years or 3 months is a second-hand book, it belongs to the category we are concerned with and yet it is a modern book. The French title should be “Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne”.
PRESIDENT: We understand as « Librairie Ancienne » all dealings in books which do not come from a publisher. When you sell a book which has been published a month ago, if you have not got it straight from a publisher you are a “Libraire Antiquaire “.
Mr. BLAIZOT : We agree on this point, but it is not explained by the title which is proposed.
PRESIDENT : Who has got anything to say on the matter?
Mr. TULKENS : In Belgium we have added the word « modern ».
PRESIDENT : That is because you have not got an Association which deals particularly with modern books.
Mr. STRAND (Denmark) : In Denmark we make a very definite distinction between antiquarian booksellers and modern booksellers.
Mr. NEBEHAY (Austria) : The same in our country.
Mr. MASSEY : We would have to object because the confusion would be so great as we have already a modern booksellers association in Britain.
PRESIDENT : There is such a difference between « Librairie Ancienne » and “Librairie Moderne” that it would create confusion. What concrete proposition would you like to make ? Propose a text" Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne (secondhand books).
I think Gentlemen that these discussions are rather futile. I will ask the French an Belgian delegations to take note.
When you say “Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne” everybody understands.
The English title expresses fairly well the meaning, and the French title is the exact translation of the English title. No, the exact translation would be Ligue Internationale des Libraires Anciens .
Mr. MAGGS : I refer to the Englisb title, it is not: The International League, but International Booksellers' Association.
PRESIDENT : You are right.
Mr. TULKENS : Would it not be possible to give a definition of « Librairie Ancienne » in the Statutes:
Mr. MASSEY : The British think that if the French term « Modern » is the same as « second-hand » why not add the word “Modern” in the French text but not in the English?
Mr. DE NOBELE : Relating to the various proposals we have just heard, I think it would be advisable to refer this question to a later session.
PRESIDENT: I insist that the Statutes be fixed, word by word during this sitting. I have said it over and over again, that it is vital for the Statutes to be established during the present Assembly. I formally object to one single sentence being carried forward.
Mr. POURSIN : Not to 1951, but to next session.
PRESIDENT: You are decided on this point, Mr. de Nobele, to defer the discussion until to-morrow. Who is in favour of Mr. de Nobele's proposal?
Mr. de Nobele's proposal is rejected by 9 votes to 5.
PRESIDENT: I propose to keep the titles as they are now and to add to the text a short definition of « La Librairie Ancienne ». What does the French Delegation think?
Mr. DE NOBELE : We agree.
PRESIDENT : Everybody agrees? Then I will ask Mr. de Nobele to write a short line now. I assume the paragraph is adopted.
Paragraph 4: (The aim of the League...).
Mr. HERTZBERGER : «For the development and standing of the Antiquarian Booksellers» could be added to the sentence.
PRESIDENT : How do you say «standing» in French?
(After a long discussion, contributed to by Miss Myers and MM. Hertzberger, Beres, Tulkens and Muir, it was decided to leave the text as it stood.)
Paragraph 5. – “The seat of the League is in Geneva”. This is necessary in view of the international situation. Geneva is one of the rare spots in the world where commercial and financial relations are absolutely free. Who wishes to say anything on the subject?
Mr. THOMMEN : We have already accepted Article I which says that the Seat of the League is in Switzerland.
PRESIDENT I have jus: received Mr. de Nobele's Text. I propose to add to it “The activities of Antiquarian Booksellers concern not only old books but also all modern books, the moment they become second-hand".
PRESIDENT : Everybody agrees?
After a long discussion contributed by Mr. Aeschlimann, Captain Cohn, MM. Maggs, Massey…
PRESIDENT : All right, and we leave the French text as it is. We adopt the text as it stands, even if we have to amend it to-day or tomorrow morning. We are not in Byzantium, we are in Paris, perhaps we should get on. «The activities of Antiquarian Booksellers not only concern old books but any modern book as soon as it becomes second-hand, out of print or rare »,
PRESIDENT : Any objection? Now can I go further?
Chapter II, paragraph 6. - « The League is composed of national associations of the different countries which are occupied in the business of antiquarian bookselling». Has anyone something to say on the subject?
Mr. JONGBLOED : Each national association should stand security for all its members.
PRESIDENT: Who wishes to speak on the subject? I think it is going a little too far to ask a national association to answer morally and materially for each of its members. A bookseller may be perfectly honorable and solvent at the time he is accepted by an association, which would not accept a bookseller of doubtful standing and credit. But if in 10 or 15 years this bookseller is no longer honorable or solvent the association cannot be held responsible. It is as if I should ask the Swiss Syndicate to pay my debts when I become insolvent.
Mr. THOMMEN : Juridically a third party cannot answer for the solvency or the character of another.
PRESIDENT: This wrecks the Dutch proposition.
Following this same paragraph 6 :
"Each Association is independent in its internal organisation with the provision that its organization shall contain nothing contrary to the Statutes of the League.”
Mr. FLETCHER: On behalf of the English Delegation we would like to reserve the right to refer this to our Committee or to the Assembly.
PRESIDENT: Now I come to another point which is not on the sheet of paper you have in front of you. I ask you to discuss this point very carefully before you accept or reject it.
An Association can only accept or keep as members booksellers who are members of their own National Association provided there is one.
Mr. MAGGS: Are we to get rid of our foreign members?
PRESIDENT : If this sentence is accepted in this form, you will have to get rid of your foreign members if they do not belong to their National Associations. If you take a concrete case, let us say a Danish Bookseller who is not a member of his own Association and cannot become a member of his Association, you would have to get rid of him. This is the proposition - it can be accepted or refused.
AN ITALIAN DELEGATE: May I ask for the text in French?
MISS MYERS : The English Association has no objection, but if we have a case against one of our members, then what do we do?
PRESIDENT : I wish to find something agreeable to everybody, in French it would come like that: From now on a National Association can only accept as foreign members booksellers who are members of their own National Association, if there is one - Does this give satisfaction to everybody?
Mr. STRAND (Denmark) It is incomprehensible that an Association should accept as member a bookseller who is not or could not become a member of the Association of his own country. It would be impossible to understand the reason why he has not been accepted as a member.
Mr. SLATKINE (Swiss) : We cannot legally exclude a member who has not done anything against us, therefore we propose a new text. “The National Association can only accept as new members those who are members of their own National Association, if there is one".
Mr. DURALI (Italy) : The Italian Delegation would like to know what is meant by “foreign member”, does it refer to the nationality of the country he originally comes from, or the country abroad where he carries on his business?
PRESIDENT: You have not got any in Italy. The Swiss Syndicate has members who carry on their business in London.
Mr. MASSEY : The British Delegation would accept the modified text.
Mr. DE NOBELE : I propose the following amendment to the text: « The National Association cannot accept or retain as members booksellers who are not members of the National Association of the country where they carry on their business »,
Mr. RAUCH : Can the Germans be members of the League?
PRESIDENT: We do not know them, they can go where they like. For us the Association of German Antiquarian Booksellers does not exist.
Mr. :MASSEY : The British Association is an International Association. We have always accepted members after finding out they are of good standing; it is our intention to accept members from any countries in the world providing they are members of their own Association.
PRESIDENT: I will read now Mr. Slatkin's text.
« An Association can only accept new foreign members if they are already members of the National Association of the country where they carry on their business, provided there is one. »
Mr. STRAND : I rather deplore the fact that this discussion seems to aim at one member specifically. We can all agree that no foreign organisation be in a position to accept a member who is not a member of his own national organisation.
PRESIDENT : As for the past, it is impossible to ask that a bookseller should be expelled for the simple reason that he is not a member of his own National organisation, unless his dishonourable conduct can be proved.
Mr. STRAND : This bookseller could be asked to explain his conduct and if the case is against him I think it is quite normal that he should no longer remain a member of the national organisation. In Denmark we have proposed arbitration.
Mr. MUIR : The members of the Committee are well informed of this particular case. It has been going on since the Conference at Amsterdam, when a bookseller from Denmark turned up suddenly and expressed his intention to attend the Meeting of the Conference. I was presiding at the Conference and the Danish Representative informed me that if this bookseller were admitted, the Danes would remove themselves from all participation in the Conference. The bookseller in question was asked if, for diplomatic reasons, he would refrain from taking any action which would wreck the proceedings of the Conference. I asked him to abstain from any right to attend the Meetings and he agreed. On returning to England, I approached my Association and placed the circumstances that had occurred in Amsterdam before them. They knew there was feeling amongst the Danes about this and ever since Amsterdam the Danes have known that this was a touchy point, a difficult situation to deal with.
He was recommended to the A. B. A. on very good ground, his name advertised in the trade journal, no objection being made, and still the Danes objected to this gentleman being a member of the A. B. A. There was no evidence against this person why he should not be acceptable to an Association. This created an impossible situation; but if the subject is now to be placed before independent arbitration and the results are to be valid, speaking as a loyal member of the British Association, I would say that if the British are supplied with evidence that shows why he is unacceptable, they should act on it. But when they are deprived of any kind of information whatsoever, what can they do?
PRESIDENT : Has everybody understood? Before calling upon the Danish Delegation, I will take the liberty to read a French proposition which should be added to paragraph 10 of the rules. «From now on a National Association can only accept booksellers who are members of their own National Association provided there is one. In any case no foreign members admitted to Foreign Associations before the formation of the League have any right whatsoever to participate in the work of the League ». Will that do? Do you understand?
Mr. Percy MUIR : The point the resolution wishes to make clear is that if any Association has a foreign member, he shall, in no circumstances participate in the work of the League.
Captain COHN : The Directory presumably is a function of the League, if he is denied taking part in it, well then he has legal action against the Association of which he is a member. I do not think the suggestion of the French covers him at all. I think some action should be taken one way or the other.
He has action against the particular association of which he is a member if he is excluded from the Directory.
Mr. STRAND : All these difficulties could be avoided if we accept this special case. Before our Delegation left, the members of the firm in question have declared themselves willing to accept the Danish arbitration. I think it would be a good thing if the firm mentioned, together with its employees conform to this arbitration.
Mr. FLETCHER : I feel that a great deal of time has been spent on this question. We, in the British Delegation, would like the further business of the Conference to proceed as speedily as possible.
PRESIDENT : If we can get out of that point now, do we delete item 15 from the Agenda? Exactly, that is right.
Mr. FLETCHER : Then, may I suggest that the new proposal should now be passed with regard to this one stumbling block? May we suggest further negotiations should take place between Denmark and Great Britain to attempt that the first major difficulty should be cleared up as it should be between men of good will ?
PRESIDENT: We will put it to the vote if we are going to leave this delicate question in suspense for the arbitration between the Danish booksellers. Are you prepared gentlemen to accept the text in French and in English? Now we are going to vote.
Mr. FLETCHER : I did not include the second clause. The clause relating to the refusal to allow members to participate in the functions of the League.
PRESIDENT: Let's vote on this part... «A National Association can only accept in future as members, foreign booksellers who are members of the Association of the country where they carry on their business ».
We are voting on the first part.
Adopted by 13 votes to 0.
PRESIDENT: Paragraph 7. Adopted.
Mr. MAGGS : Can we not take them by number to save time. We need not read everything. We all know how to read, we hope?
PRESIDENT: I know that if I do not read them out, a member will say You pushed them through without reading them, and I did not know what I was voting for.
I am sorry to say that Denmark is reconsidering the French proposal relating to paragraph 7, the part of the proposal which is not on the paper you have got in front of you and which reads as follows:
“… in any case, foreign members of Foreign Associations admitted before the creation of the League who are not members of their National Association have no right whatsoever to participate in any activities of the League.”
The original proposal had been withdrawn. The Danish Association now proposes that it should be put to the vote.
Mr. Percy MUIR : This is the important sentence. “In any case members of Foreign associations admitted before the creation of the League, who are not members of their National Associations, have no right to take any part whatsoever in any of the activities of the League”.
PRESIDENT : We are putting it to the vote. In favour: 7 votes; against 6 votes. I am compelled to declare the Danish proposition accepted.
Mr. FLETCHER : On a point of order, I had asked to speak before this was voted. It is against us and I think it is a very serious position.
PRESIDENT : I deplore this vote.
Mr. FLETCHER : It was my intention to propose to the Meeting that the Danish and British Delegates should meet during this week and attempt to find a solution so that we should not have this vote which places us in a very difficult position.
PRESIDENT: I would propose that this vote should be annulled, and that we should leave the Danish and British Delegations to talk it over.
Mr. FLETCHER : May I make a serious plea to the Danish Delegation?
Mr. DE NOBELE : It surprises me that a vote could be annulled in any way whatsoever.
PRESIDENT : Who is for the annulment of the vote, who is against?
Mr. STRAND: Could I propose that the Danish Delegation discuss this point between themselves.
PRESIDENT: Mr. de Nobele tells me that a vote cannot be cancelled. Mr. de Nobele makes my task still more complicated than it is.
Mr. THOMMEN : You can only annul a vote if the majority of the Assembly agrees.
Vote: The scrutineers count 7 votes to 7 : a draw.
PRESIDENT : I vote for the annulment of the vote. The vote is annulled until the English and Danish Delegations discuss it between themselves.
Mr. POURSIN : There is a mistake. There are 8 votes against and 7 in favour.
PRESIDENT : Would you like to vote a second time? They are checking again. There are 8 against 7. The case has been heard, the vote stands.
Mr. MASSEY : The British Delegation feels very upset that another Delegation will not discuss this matter before the vote is taken.
PRESIDENT: I must say, personally I deplore this vote which is bound to be detrimental to the League. Let's proceed. We have come to No. 8.
PRESIDENT : paragraph 8. Any objections? Adopted.
Paragraphs 9 and 10 : adopted.
Paragraph 11 : Adopted.
PRESIDENT : Any remarks?
Mr. MASSEY : The British Delegation feels that the Agenda together with the accounts...
PRESIDENT: The British Delegation feels that the invitations together with the accounts should be sent out at least 30 days before the General Assembly.
PRESIDENT: Three Associations, it is perhaps not a great deal, but in case of war or invasion it might be difficult to bring together more than 3 Associations...
PRESIDENT: No objection? Adopted.
PRESIDENT : Is anyone wanting to speak?
Mr. THOMMEN : Just a minute detail. If there is an Association with more than 150 members, I suggest to put : “If there are more than 150 members it will count as 2”. No more remarks. - Adopted.
15 and 16: Idem.
Mr. MASSEY ; The British Delegation objects to the word “obligatory”.
PRESIDENT; This will be very expensive, this will bring a copy to a thousand-Swiss francs, it will be the most costly book in the world. What does the British Delegation propose?
Mr. MASSEY : “desirable” instead of “obligatory”.
Mr. DE NOBELE : We cannot give a definition of this in the statutes.
PRESIDENT; Let's keep this for the Order of the Day. Point 17.
PRESIDENT : What do you propose? Listen Gentlemen, now these questions have been discussed too quickly and insufficiently. Let's refer to it tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.
The meeting ended at 12. 45 p. m.
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 6th, 1950
The meeting opened at 10.30 a. m.
PRESIDENT : Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now proceed with the study of the Rules. There is at this very moment a private meeting which brings together the Danish and English delegations under the presidency of Mr. Gomme from America, to endeavour to reach a conclusion satisfactory to everyone. We will carry on and then we will go back to the passage relating to them.
Mr. TULKENS : We have not finished paragraph 17. We have changed "obligatory” but I draw your attention, gentlemen, to the danger that the word “desirable” will entail. If we print 15 copies of this report, each copy will cost 100 Swiss Francs, and it will be one of the most expensive books in the world.
PRESIDENT : That is the whole question. Do we wish, yes or no, to have printed the reports of our assemblies which represent the sum of our activities from the committee's point of view as well as from the General Assembly's, or do we prefer to keep silent.
Mr. TULKENS ; It seems to me that a resume of some of the work would be sufficient. The text in extenso is too long and too costly.
PRESIDENT; I should like to ask if it would make a big difference to print a resume of the whole text.
Mr. POURSIN ; Obviously. If you reduce the number of pages by half, you cut down the expenses by two-fifths - and besides, who would shorten the text - who would undertake it? I have no idea if Mr. Muir would be willing to do it. This report represents an enormous amount of work in comparing texts, checking, translating. If, on top of that, you want it cut short... And what a responsibility to keep intact the intentions of those who have taken part in the debates. We are all interested to know what the opinion of everyone is on any particular subject.
PRESIDENT: I would like the opinion of the British Delegation.
Mr. SAWYER: Of the last report, we received 200 copies and only 40 copies were used. The British Delegation does not want a full report; a resume, as far as we are concerned, would do equally as well.
PRESIDENT: I should like to know what the French delegation thinks.
Mr. DE NOBELE : We think it would be very regrettable to print an abbreviated text. To have the text printed in-extenso is the only way of avoiding misunderstandings. We wonder how we should get on with resumes only. Regarding the expense, we are not against the British point of view. We think we might solve the question in this way: The Bouquiniste Francais is willing to publish the text in-extenso, The other nations might find less burdensome ways of satisfying foreign members who are interested.
Mr. TULKENS: I think that Belgium would agree to receive a complete text and would undertake to distribute it to members.
PRESIDENT: Only one copy? In a year or so it will be nothing but dust.
Mr. NEBEHAY : We must translate the text into German.
Mr. VERREY (USA): I would like to ask Mr. Sawyer why they used only 40 copies?
Mr. SAWYER : We asked how many booksellers would like to have them and only 40 asked for the Verbatim Report.
CAPTAIN COHN : The situation of the U. S.A is this. We are thirty hundred miles away and all original organisations must have a report. I believe that in the interest of justice and clarity the position of each Delegation should be known by all Members.
Mr. SAWYER : The importance of a "Verbatim Report” is realised by the British Association, and we agree, our objection is only on the cost. If the objection made sometime ago that a full "Verbatim Report” should be delivered to our Associations, we ourselves take the responsibility of having it produced for our members.
PRESIDENT : Does anyone wish to speak?
Mr. SLATKIN : I think it would be a good idea to have the reports roneographed. That would bring the cost down to its lowest.
PRESIDENT : Who will roneograph them? Me, probably, and the idea does not appeal to me at all.
Mr. VERRY : How much did the copies cost last year?
Mr. POURSIN : 120,000 francs paid for 1200 copies and only 750 were sold.
ITALIAN DELEGATE: The Italian Delegation agrees with Mr. de Nobele. It will be possible for us to publish the report in-extenso in our Italian Bulletin.
PRESIDENT: The League could publish a resume of the report.
Mr. POURSIN : For the League the problem might be simplified but the total cost would not be less. If this text is printed in 10 different journals the total of the individual costs will be much greater than if we print it as it is. We must know definitely if the Associations are prepared to make an effort to provide a collective edition.
Mr. TULKENS : After thinking it over, it is better to carry on as last year.
PRESIDENT : I ask the British Delegation and the Delegations who do not agree to a complete text if they would agree to a short text, as short as the Committee would be able to make it. It is better to have something printed than roneographed.
I know it will entail an enormous amount of work, but if the Delegations are not prepared to spend the money - it will all fall on us.
Mr. TULKENS : It is dangerous to give an abridged text, as there is always the risk of wrongly interpreting certain discussions.
Mr. MAARSEN : Our opinion is that a short text might involve difficulties later on. We are in favour of the complete text.
Mr. Percy MUIR : I would like to ask the British Delegation if they would explain a little the suggestion they made a little while ago, they said their objection was not to a "Verbatim Report” but to the cost.
If they were supplied with a « Verbatim Report » would they find means for circulating it amongst the members? Mr. de Nobele said that the Bouquiniste Français is available in French. One must realise that the publicity value is considerable for the organ that prints such a text, therefore, the organ to whom the text is given would very well be prepared to put the text at the disposal of the League so that it would be available to the countries who have no printing.
Mr. DE NOBELE : If we undertake to print the report in the Bouquiniste it will cost us 50,000 francs. If the English do the same, it will reach a total of 100,000 francs. We are not far from the sum we paid to have the minutes printed last year.
PRESIDENT: In London it was very well printed. Will you allow me to bring the discussion to a close. I think that the maximum we can possibly save if we only print a short text of the verbatim report will be very little, and I propose to satisfy everybody by undertaking to have the verbatim report printed at my own expense. I am most anxious to have the whole report published. Personally, I make it a point of honour.
Mr. SAWYER : Rather than have our President bear the full expense of this “Verbatim Report" of our Congress, the British Association withdraws the small objection put forward. Now we will take the number of copies that we took last time and pay, of course, accordingly.
PRESIDENT : The League can only exist through the reports. It is the reports which give it its life and if we suppress them there is no more life possible for the League. It is for that reason that I am so insistent.
Mr. SLATKIN : I propose we adopt paragraph 15 and delete only: “it is obligatory for all Associations to acquire copies.”
Mr. TULKENS : “It is desirable”, as the French propose, is better.
PRESIDENT : I think we should leave this paragraph 17. As long as I remain President, the question will not arise. If you wish to save paragraph 17 for my successor, you can take it up again.
Mr. FLETCHER : The British Association would like to know in what order the Executive Committee will resign: “One third of its membership resigns each year after 1951”. It is an important point because it would be undesirable that the President and the Vice-President should resign at the same time. It is important to know at what time the resignations and re-elections will take place.
PRESIDENT: The opinion of the committee is that the order of re- elections should be as follows: One year, the President and one councillor; the second year, the Vice-President and one Councillor; the third year, the Treasurer and one other of the three Councillors :
Mr. FLETCHER : Excellent.
PRESIDENT: Does anyone wish to speak on the subject ? What is the opinion of the French Delegation?
Mr. DE NOBELE : The French Delegation is in perfect agreement. We would only point out that it is not necessary for a member to leave, as members are eligible for re-election.
Mr. Percy MUIR: Mr. de Nobele said that it is understood that resigning officials are eligible for re-election.
PRESIDENT: What is the opinion of the American Delegation?
CAPTAIN COHN : We are perfectly satisfied.
PRESIDENT: Agreed. Does anyone wish to speak?
Mr. DE NOBELE : May I mention a legal question. Is a single signature legally binding on an Association, or are at least two required to make the League responsible?
Mr. THOMMEN : According to Swiss law the League is perfectly free to designate the signatures required to represent it vis-a-vis a third party. Almost all Associations decide in their Statutes that 2 signatures are required, but we can satisfy ourselves with one only - the President's.
PRESIDENT: Yes, there is a practical side to the question. Alone in Geneva I have to take decisions quickly and settle accounts rapidly, and I have no possibility to ask anybody for his signature if I have to draw money from the Bank. If you think that two signatures are necessary, I agree with you. Besides I will see that from now on the Vice-President gets the same right as myself to sign. If anything happened to me he would be able to dispose of the money available immediately.
Mr. SAWYER : We agree to the President's signature only.
Mr. THOMMEN : I only wish to say that it seems clear that if you don't want to act, it is Mr. Muir who will sign.
PRESIDENT: On the financial side Mr. Muir's signature will be legal.
PRESIDENT: Does anyone wish to speak?
Mr. THOMMEN : The Rules are in accordance with Swiss law and in answer to an objection I have just heard, it is not necessary for the President or the Vice-President to be in Switzerland. We are not a business institution, and we have not got to obey commercial laws.
Mr. MAGGS : Does that include American expenses?
PRESIDENT : No, we are not paying American expenses, we cannot we are broke.
Mr. MAGGS: You do not say so in the rules.
PRESIDENT : Do you want us to include this in the rules.
Mr. MAGGS : I think so.
CAPTAIN COHN : Considering the fact that the point has been brought up, suppose a South African Delegation came up! How about the Japanese?
Mr. VERREY : Can't we simplify by saying that no expenses will be paid for any members coming from outside Europe?
Mr. MAGGS : Yes, Sir.
PRESIDENT: The League will pay the travelling expenses of the European members of the Committee. Everybody agrees.
PRESIDENT: No observations or objections?
Mr. FLETCHER : The President or the Vice-President?
PRESIDENT: Yes, that is understood. If I am dead, the Vice- President will come. The last time we had a Meeting of the Committee in my bedroom, I was in bed, and Mr. Muir was vice-President. It went alright!
I must say that I am most anxious that through their Presidents all the members of the League should be informed regularly of all committee meetings as they are an exact reflection of the activities of the League. Very often the committee has to take important decisions and it is therefore necessary that the Presidents of Syndicates should be informed at once.
Paragraphs 23, 24, 25: together.
PRESIDENT : Has anyone anything to say on these 3 paragraphs?
Paragraphs 26 et 27.
PRESIDENT: No objections? Adopted.
PRESIDENT : I am going to say something to you on paragraph 28. This is like a solution of continuity. The fact is that we have the General Assembly at the beginning of September and the financial year goes from the 1st of January to the 31st of December. Our General Assembly in September is not fixed. There might be a difference of several days according to the year. The legal year goes from Jan. 1St. to Dec. 31st. No objections? Adopted.
PRESIDENT : I should like Mr. Muir to read this in English. It is a very important paragraph. I will tell you why I want you to concentrate on this paragraph. Nobody knows what the future has in store for us. Now we are all friends and we all know each other. But it might happen that we have to face people who want to wreck us and create other syndicates while remaining members of the League, and make good use of this Association which they criticize in an attempt to replace it by another. I think, Mr. Thommen, that this paragraph is quite legal? I should like it laid down that at least two thirds of the actual members of the League have to agree to its dissolution and that it cannot be dissolved without the assent of at least two thirds of its members. Does anyone wish to speak on this subject?
We have only one more line to read and after that I will draw your attention to the importance of this paragraph.
CAPTAIN COHN: The two thirds of the Membership, in that case, it is understood of course, that the French, the British, and the U. S. A. should have only one vote?
PRESIDENT: No, they always have two votes. No more questions?
Mr. RONNELL : The word «represented », would mean represented at the General Meeting.
PRESIDENT : Mr. Thommen, will you explain this to Mr. Ronnel. It is a legal question.
PRESIDENT: Mr. Thommen, will you hurry please as Mr. de Nobele wants an explanation from the French point of view,
Mr. DE NOBELE : Dr. Thommen, would you be so kind as to be more precise. Do you mean by the two thirds of the Associations represented, the two thirds of the Associations belonging to the League or the two thirds of the Associations present?
Mr. THOMMEN : According to the Rules if a decision has to be taken only three members of the League need be present. It is clear that these 3 members can declare the dissolution of the League. Two against one is not enough. You must state: «that two thirds of all members of the League can give their opinion ».
PRESIDENT : The Dissolution of the League can only take place after a General Assembly and if two thirds of the Associations representing the League are in agreement.
M. DE NOBELE : The ambiguity persists.
PRESIDENT: I think it is quite clear that my objection is only in case of war. If the Cossacks come here will it be possible for the President to find 3 Associations? Mr. de Nobele tells me that cases of war are exceptions. I call on Mr. Gomme.
We will have to adjourn the meeting for a few minutes as Mr. Rodolphe Rousseau President of the « Cercle de la Librairie » is about to receive us, but later on in the morning I hope we shall be able to resume the meeting for a short while to finish the Rules. I am a slave-driver. I have to work. Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please take your seats.
Mr. DE NOBELE welcomes Mr. Rodolphe Rousseau, President of the Cercle de la Librairie.
Mr. Rodolphe ROUSSEAU then makes a short speech to welcome us.
The President gives thanks in French and the Vice-President in English to Mr. Rousseau and to their colleagues, booksellers of France.
PRESIDENT : I can only add these three words: I thank with all my heart the President of the Cercle de la Librairie.
There is one article I should like to finish this morning while the iron is hot. We now have with us Mr. Gomme just back from an arbitration between the British and Danish delegates. I call on Mr. Gomme to give us a report.
Mr. DE NOBELE : Mr. Rousseau has come specially from the country in order to receive us. We must not keep him waiting.
The sitting ended at 13.30 p. m.
Under the Presidency of Mr. William Kundig.
The meeting opened at 4.30.p.m.
PRESIDENT: We call on Mr. de Nobele.
Mr. DE NOBELE : In the course of the reading of the definitive Rules of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers you will have noticed that we are not now going to put forward the paragraph which drew 8 votes to 7. First of all, I am very happy to see that the pleasant hopes I expressed at the beginning of the meeting have been realised and that it is possible for all of us to agree and for everyone to be satisfied. This clause will be replaced by clause 26 and the heading will be «arbitration». We shall read it later on. You will have to take a decision and I hope it will be to the general satisfaction.
PRESIDENT : Thank you Mr. de Nobele. I will add that these unanimous hopes were those of the committee as well, and I am delighted that we have been successful. I will call on Mr. Poursin to read the French text.
Mr. Poursin reads the text of the Rules in French.
These are the terms of the text we ask you to vote on (the reading of the Rules follows).
ART. 6. - «The League is composed of National Associations from different countries bringing together firms of Antiquarian Booksellers.
Will you please add “Each Association is independent in its internal organisation” - it will not be necessary to ask you to vote again as this addition, which becomes clause 7, was passed yesterday.
Mr. POURSIN : There is a second addition that will come at the end of clause 7, which has been the subject of negotiations, and which we have read to you. «From now on, national associations may accept as foreign members only booksellers who are members of the national associations in the countries in which they are in business, providing that one exists ».
A third additional part has been passed. «In any case, foreign members admitted to foreign associations prior to the formation of the League and not belonging to their national associations cannot participate in the work of the League »,
This was passed 8 votes to 7; but following the negotiations it was decided to ask you to revise your position relating to this second addition and the Danish Delegation agreed to cancel this part of their proposal, if article 29 concerning arbitration was passed.
ART. 29. - In the event of some misunderstanding between national associations who are members of the League, it will be possible for one of the parties concerned to bring the case before the Executive Committee for arbitration. The Presidents of the Associations concerned or their legal representatives will be asked to put forward the facts of the dispute, plead their cause and give proofs.
The Executive Committee will have power to act as an Arbitration Committee, and also to delegate their powers to anybody or to any Committee they choose to mandate.
It is understood and accepted in advance that the interested parties will submit to the decision of the Executive Committee acting as Committee of Arbitration, or that of the appointed Committee of Arbitration which will transmit its conclusions to the Executive Committee of the League.
ART. 30. - The dissolution of the League can only take place after a General Assembly has been convened for the purpose, provided that two thirds are represented. Later on the dissolution will be proclaimed by a majority of two thirds of the votes of the members present. The liquidation shall be executed by the Committee. The General Assembly will decide how to share or use the assets of the League.
Mr. DE NOBELE : Recalls the addition put to the vote during the sitting which will appear in the Rules as clause 3. «The antiquarian book trade comprises not only old books but many other books. The activity of the antiquarian book trade is not solely concerned with antiquarian books so called, but with all modern books, from the moment that they are sold secondhand (out-of-print, used or rare) »,
Mr. MUIR : I am going to read the final text of the rules in English.
(Reads the text.]
PRESIDENT: Has everybody been able to follow the text in English or French?
Mr. MASSEY : (Paragraph 26). Apparently there is one sentence in the French text not translated in the English text. “He has the right to delegate his authority to another Committee member".
Mr. MUIR : I will add that.
Mr. DE NOBELE : Does that endanger article 3 ?
PRESIDENT: We are going to read it to you from beginning to end, Mr. de Nobele.
ART. 2. - The Aim of the League is to co-ordinate all efforts and ideas, to promote friendly relations between Antiquarian Booksellers of the whole world and help them to enlarge their activities.
ART. 3. - Antiquarian Booksellers deal not only in old books but in all modern books sold second hand (out of print, second hand or rare).
That is right Mr. de Nobele?
Mr. DE NOBELE : Yes, this text is satisfactory.
Miss MYERS : It also gives me entire satisfaction.
Vote on the Rules
PRESIDENT : I am going to ask Mr. Beres and Mr. Maggs to count the votes: 15 in favour. The Rules of the Leagues are unanimously adopted. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am grateful to you and feel this is making history. For the first time we have legal status; we have a legal standing. The League exists from this moment legally. Now we proceed to the Code of Practice. I am going to say a few words in French on the subject. We have not the time to deal with it completely, during the present sitting, and the Committee asks you to send as many suggestions as possible.
Mr. Thommen : Can help us much because he has drawn up a code of practice for Swiss booksellers. This code of practice is a «gentleman's agreement ».
My proposition is to give the Committee a large number of cases to study. There are thousands. We could bring forward for example the question of discount on a catalogue. It is usual for a bookseller who sells to a colleague to give him IO per cent discount, and sometimes the colleagues do not settle before 3 or 4 months after delivery. Should we not specify that the discount is for cash only.
There is also the bookseller who sends catalogues to his private customers and not to his colleagues, in that case we should provide a clause « All catlaogues must be dispatched at the same time, but if a bookseller gives an order within 15 days, he must pay the full amount like private customers, and he shares with the customer the advantage of getting the catalogue at the same time». It is just a suggestion and I am welcoming other cases.
It is perfectly understood that in no case whatsoever the Code of Practice should clash with the Rules of the national associations. The Code must not be in opposition to any local practice.
PRESIDENT: Are you in favour of the nomination of a small committee including England, France and any other country to draw up a plan for the next Assembly. My idea would be to bring the Committee up to 5 so that not only the big countries should be represented but the smaller ones as well.
Mr. TULKENS : It was decided last year in London, that all booksellers should give a ten per cent discount on their catalogues.
PRESIDENT : Exactly, this point has not been cleared. We will settle it when we establish this Code. Therefore, I propose a Committee of 5 to elaborate the text we intend to bring forward at the next meeting.
Whom do you wish to propose?
Captain COHN: Mr. Chairman, I propose that the Committee name 5 of the smaller nations and leave out all of the large ones.
PRESIDENT: I do not agree with you, I am sorry. I would propose two big countries and three small ones. The big countries have some ideas and small countries have others.
Captain COHN: The smaller countries must not have the feeling that the big countries have preponderance. I see no particular reason why France and England should be chosen and the U. S. A. left out.
Miss MYERS : No, it is far from my intention to ignore the smaller countries. What I meant was that the Committee should include two big countries. We should not consider this now, but in a year's time on this important subject of a «Code of practice »,
Mr. MASSEY : The British Delegation would be only too pleased if the American Delegation would take it on.
Captain COHN: I stick to the idea that the small nations should be represented better than now; they are qualified for a Code of Practice, that is one thing we must trust entirely to them.
Mr. FLETCHER : Mr. President, I am sorry, but on behalf of the English President, I would like to say we have no intention whatsoever of wishing to exclude any nation from what is proposed. The proposal was made as a suggestion of the type of thing we had in mind. Great Britain would be very happy to stand aside.
PRESIDENT: I just wish to say one word on the technical possibilities; if the U. S. A. comes to a commission regularly to take this over, we must think that there are a few miles between New York and Cherbourg, everybody cannot swim, and that is a difficulty. I would propose, if you agree, ladies and gentlemen, to call for this commission, three small countries. I am sorry to say Switzerland (the Swiss do not like me at all), but we have Dr. Thommen who has a legal mind. Second, I would ask Belgium because it is not very far. Third, Italy, because the Italians have also legal and financial minds. Fourth, France, to have a big country, and fifth, England. What do you think, gentlemen, of this idea? Is some one against it ?
Naturally it is clearly understood that all deliberations of this Committee should be communicated immediately to all the Presidents of the associations of the whole world, including the United States.
PRESIDENT : I think that all that will come to the same, nothing will be done, and nothing proposed without asking everybody. Every nation can write and say what they wish and what they suggest. Even from America, we will ask you, because you have ideas we have not got; you are a new country and you have ideas that would not occur to us.
No one wishes to speak farther?
Mr. MASSEY : Would it be better if the Executive Committee studied the question? On the Executive Committee you have delegates of France, England and Denmark, and also Holland. It might be cheaper to do it that way.
PRESIDENT : Sure, Mr. Massey, but you do not know what the Executive Committee has to do!
Mr. MASSEY : Can it be done by correspondence?
PRESIDENT: Agreed. We will now speak about the Directory.
Mr. Percy MUIR : The Directory.
At last we are able to place before you the first proofs of the geographical section of the Directory. This is the principal part of the work. It comprises, by countries and towns, the names of all the booksellers who are members of associations affiliated to the League. When you have examined these proofs, which we will shortly distribute, we can pass on the final preparation of the two other parts of the Directory. A list of specialities and a general alphabetical table. We would have liked to have produced this document earlier. We were almost at the point of being able to do so last year, in Nov. 1949, when, at the Committee meeting of Nov. 10, 1949, we were obliged to suspend our work and to ask you - on January 21-22, 1950, at Brussels - to provide us with the means of existence for the League and for continuation of the work.
We would remind you on this point, that in all good fellowship, and unanimously, you have all made clear your view to contribute to this collective endeavour.
At that time (January 1950) the question arose of the recruitment to the League of the A.B.A.A. and of our common wish to see this fact realised very soon. We have decided that it would be an inexcusable shortcoming to publish the Directory without the names of our American colleagues, and we therefore postponed further action, in the hope that our designs would be realised, and that we might welcome the inclusion of our transatlantic colleagues. I must tell you that, since then, we have made contact with the distinguished and sympathetic President of the A.B.A.A., Mr. Gomme, and we requested him to collect together the documents necessary for this purpose. And I must say further that this task has been performed with celerity and co-operation by our American colleagues, with the result that their formulas reached us on May 7, that is to say three months after the A.B.A.A. had joined the League.
This in view of the circulation of a questionnaire, at one removed from the centre, the need for reference back and the like, may be considered a record. We offer our repeated thanks to our colleagues, in the person of Mr. Gomme.
We proceeded, thereupon, to the translation called for by our bilingual requirements. But some time had elapsed since the completion of the European formulas. It was therefore necessary to request the Presidents of all the Associations to acquaint us with any changes during the current year. We are grateful to the Presidents of the various associations for their prompt undertaking of this task.
Thus, by July 11 , we had received almost all the documents revised by the national associations. This gave us three weeks to put them in hand, for our printer was closed for almost the whole of the month of August.
Herewith are the proofs of the major portion of our Directory. We shall distribute them to each Association, with the request to check them rapidly for errors of omission or commission in the names and addresses of our colleagues. As soon as your approbation is in our hands we can give the printing order for this first part. We request you, if physically possible, to see that these proofs, approved by you, are in our hands by September 20, and we thank you in anticipation.
The geographical section constitutes the first part of the Directory. It comprises all the information that we possess at the moment on all the members of our associations. The second part will be the list of specialities with subsections. The third and final part will be the alphabetical table, which will contain cross-references to the lists by countries. We confidently hope to have arranged the material in such a fashion that any bookseller can find his way about it whether he begins with the name of the country he wishes to explore (1st part), the specialities in which he is interested (2nd part), or the name of the bookseller of whom he is in search (3rd part). At the beginning of the volume there will be an introduction, a sort of guide in consulting the Directory. As often as we consider it needful we shall repeat, in each section, the necessary instructions. Finally, as a preface - a kind of dedication - to this first production of the League, there are to be a few brief memorials of several of our colleagues who have passed on. That is the general outline of the Directory, the publication of which we shall hasten by every means in our power.
The proofs that we submit today will show you that we have preferred clarity to typographical elegance. Alphabetical order has been used for the classification: (a) of countries, (b) of the towns in each country, and (c) of the booksellers in each town. Following the name of each bookseller - or each firm - will be found in roman type: The address, the telephone number, the telegraphic address, the number of the postal account and the bank. Then follows, in italic type: The specialities, limited to five for each bookseller. For certain firms, after the specialities, will be found, in italic capitals, special information. This special information, although of great interest, is not in the nature of literary speciality, but rather an indication of a business style, such as, organisation of public auctions, valuations, library-supplies, etc. We have not thought it advisable to provide specialised headings in such cases, for they are, in fact, employed by every firm. Nevertheless, as they are concerned with information of some interest, we have added them in capital letters in the geographical list.
Equally, in the second section it has not been possible to provide special headings for very general entries, such as, old and modern books, out of print books, rare books, etc. These are specialities common to all members of our trade. When our task is completed, we ask you to regard it indulgently. However important a volume this may be, this edition is only our first attempt. We are conscious of the very great imperfections that are contained in it. At least it has been our endeavour to serve the best interests of everyone. We can assure you that we have spared neither time nor effort in connection with it. Doubtless we are far from assurance of complete success: we are fully aware of our shortcomings, and, in accordance with accepted formula, we will try to do better next time. Finally, we would remind you of an old but relevant recommendation not to shoot the pianists, they have done their best.
P. S. - We are distributing, therefore, as promised, to the President of each association, proofs of the geographical list, concerning his own country! We request you to return them at latest by September 20, in such a form that they can be passed direct to the printer.
This final scrutiny need be direct to only two questions:
I) Mistakes in names or addresses;
2) The omission of particulars already supplied.
We cannot accept, for obvious reasons, particulars of new members; nor any change of specialities.
And we beg you, once more, to expedite the return. For this further proof of your co-operation, MM. les Presidents, our thanks.
One last word on the subject of advertisements. We have previously made application to the Associations for news of advertisements for insertion in the Directory.
I) Advertisements of firms other than booksellers;
2) Advertisements of booksellers who are members of their associations. (Cost of advertisements about 7'500 French francs per page).
So far we have received requests for : 8 pages from England; I page from Finland; 2 pages from Sweden.
We would ask all Presidents to convey to firms in their countries desirous of participating in advertisement and to send us the copy before October 10.
Mr. GOMME : Relating to the list of members, I think it is a very important thing, and I should like to announce that, during our Conference this morning, it was agreed by the Danish Representative and the English Representative that it was absolutely necessary for all Associations to urge foreign members to join their National Associations; and that would make it possible for us to complete our lists. I take pleasure in mentioning this fact, and urging upon all national organisations to see that foreign members are members of their national organisations. I thank Miss Myers for making that suggestion. I think it should be done in time to be included on the present list next year. We shall have no differences at all.
PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Gomme. Only one thing, I would like to ask Mr. Poursin when the Directory is going to appear.
Mr. POURSIN : If the proofs can be returned before the 20th of September, we hope to publish before the end of January, without binding ourselves.
PRESIDENT: I hope you have understood everything, it is entirely in your hands, the proofs must be returned quickly.
Mr. HERTZBERGER : I shall be very brief about the Dictionary. I understand that the dialect of the Dictionary has 300 words. I received a long letter from the President giving me some words, but they were too technical to be used, because they applied only to libraries. Since then I have gathered some 600 or 700 words altogether, the translation of these words gives the greatest difficulty. I expect that by January the Committee will have the Dictionary in hand, and that I hope to have it, completed during the coming year for the next Assembly in September 1951.
PRESIDENT: We have now «Collective Insurances». I thought I had a marvellous idea, it was to have a Collective Insurance for the whole League, all the despatches of the booksellers of the League being insured by Lloyd's. As there are so many currencies it is not possible, but Lloyd's could insure every country separately for a fixed sum of money according to the importance of the country's business and its currency. My idea is to protect booksellers against the risks of transport, either through the League or otherwise.
Mr. MAGGS : I think all the English booksellers are already insured.
PRESIDENT: I am speaking for foreign booksellers.
Mr. TULKENS: All Belgian booksellers are insured by a Belgian Society.
PRESIDENT: How much do you pay? Lloyd's almost give back some change.
Now the question of emblems. Vie have this evening to select one emblem which will be on view. We cannot find one that will give satisfaction to everybody, but it must at least be characteristic.
AUSTRIAN DELEGATE: I have a few sketches I will submit to you.
PRESIDENT: Has anybody else other sketches to submit.
Mr. JORMA : The French idea: Mr. Bonnet's sketch is very good.
PRESIDENT: This is the situation: we have now a French sketch, several Finnish, one Austrian, and one English. I will make you a proposition. As in any case we cannot finish our work tonight, do you agree to postpone the decision till tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon after our visit to the Bibliothèque Nationale.
Paragraph II: Creation of a Committee of Honour.
Mr. BLAIZOT : This lacks originality, there is no large association without a committee of honour composed of the important personalities of the country: that is a fact that needs no emphasis. In an International League a Committee of Honour would include international celebrities from different nations. There are two considerations, the first is for prestige and the second is practical. It is obvious that in a Committee such as ours with extensive activities, a Committee of Honour could be a great asset, and when an Assembly is sitting such a Committee of Honour composed of important personalities could serve to advertise the organisation.
PRESIDENT: Has anybody anything to say on the question? It is late, I propose a General Assembly on Friday at 3. 30 p. m. No objections? All right.
The meeting ended at 6. 30.p.m.
FRIDAY, Sept. 8th 1950
Under the Presidency of Mr. P. H. Muir,
The meeting opened at 4.50 p. m.
Mr. Percy MUIR ; The subject that we have to discuss is not a simple one; for we have to find a solution to a difficult situation; and I will ask your patience for a few moments to explain. The reason why it has taken so long before we could meet you is that we are faced with the resignation of our President, for reasons of health. It has been obvious to most of us during the present Congress; and to some of us on the Committee at an even earlier date, that this must arise, and that it could not be distant. In his desire to do the utmost for the League, the President has continued too long to fulfil the office; and he was doing himself serious damage which might possibly be irremediable. His resignation has, we sincerely hope, been given in time to prevent any such possibility. Before this meeting disperses I shall ask all of you to join with me in expressing the very great sense of loss that we all feel in accepting the resignation of our President, which acceptance is unavoidable; because it is purely for reasons of health.
Mr. Kundig was a great President, and whoever may follow in his steps
will always stand a little in the shadow of a very great man indeed. A very
great President, one who established the League, who carried it through
periods of extreme difficulty, who overcame obstacles that another man • might have found insuperable; on more [than one occasion the League
was prevented from shipwreck by the strength and force of his character.
His successor will have a hard task to perform. Perhaps, of all of you,
I have known best what sort of man he is, and what sort of force and driving
power has to be replaced, and somehow continued. After I have asked
Mr. Franco to translate those few remarks, I will ask Mr. Poursin to read
you the text of the President's letter in French; which I will follow with an
«Paris, September 7th, 1950. «Mr. P. H. Muir, Vice-President of the International League of
«I regret to inform you that my state of health places me under the absolute necessity of resigning the position of President of the International League. You will be good enough in my stead and place to continue to direct the discussions of the present Congress, which I shall be in no condition to attend.
This Congress will also have to designate a new President to whom I shall bring all the assistance possible until he is acquainted with the necessities of his task.
You may be sure that it is not without a very deep sense of grief that I find myself obliged to abandon the Presidency of the League, to which I have brought all my strength. I have done all that I could do and all my thoughts have been increasingly directed towards its prosperity.
I have directed the discussions of two of the Congresses with all the impartiality that I believed possible to a character such as mine, which I know to be very hasty, and if it has happened that sometimes I have been too ardent, I offer my excuses to any that I may have offended.
You will be my interpreter to all members of the League present at this Assembly to tell them how much I regret to cast involuntarily a shadow on the end of this Congress which, thanks to our French friends, has so far been so brilliant.
“(Signed) W. S. KUNDIG.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, before adding anything else, I want to give you all an opportunity of demonstrating the deep feeling you have in accepting this letter. I propose to ask all the Assembly to stand up for one moment to show their recognition, and their regret for the circumstances that have arisen.
Merci!... We are without a President: and the reason why there has been such considerable delay in meeting you has been of the extreme difficulty of finding a modus-operandi for overcoming a situation unforeseen by our Rules. It is necessary that such an important matter should be taken care of in a way that is technically proper and correct. It is a situation that may occur at some future time. We have therefore thought it necessary to provide a solution which would apply, not only to the present situation, but also to the possibility of a similar situation arising again. We propose an addition to the Rules which we feel, and we are unanimous in feeling, will cover this situation, and any future situation of the same kind that may arise. I will ask Mr. Poursin to read to you the text of the supplementary Rule that we will ask you to pass. It is of the utmost desirability to have complete unanimity amongst you all; and we hope that this text will be acceptable to you all, and that we will get it passed unanimously.
Mr. Poursin reads the text of the supplementary Rule:
« If any member of the Executive Committee shall resign, or shall be compelled to relinquish his position for any other reason before the end of the term for which he was elected, he shall be replaced by an election at the next General Assembly. The new member thus elected shall be considered to have been elected only for the unexpired period of the mandate of the committee member whom he replaces.
.If the person elected is already a member of the Committee, measures shall be taken to fill his position, also for the unexpired period of the mandate as above.»
Mr. MUIR : Are there any observations or questions relating to this?
Mr. RAUCH : Has Mr. Kundig resigned as President, or has he resigned from the Committee as well?
Mr. MUIR : Perhaps I can best answer that by informing you of a Resolution adopted with unanimous enthusiasm by the Presidents just now. We want to ask you to make Mr. Kundig President of Honour of the League. (Applause). Any other observations, any other questions?
Mr. TULKENS : I think it would be wise to request Mr. Percy Muir to continue the mandate of Mr. Kundig,
Mr. MUIR: Mr. Tulkens, Ladies and Gentlemen, in my opening remarks, I mentioned the commiseration that I should extend to anyone who would follow Mr. Kundig. It is rather unsatisfactory that that prospect should be offered to myself. I am deeply sensible of the honour that you do to me in making such a suggestion; but it is a position that I am very reluctant to assume. In fact, if there were an alternative, I would resign the post of Vice-President, rather than assume the post of President, so as to be free from the duties which either of these posts entail. In view of that I must make it quite clear to everyone concerned that your very kind suggestion could be accepted by me only on the condition that it was unanimously acceptable to you all. If there is any shadow of doubt in your minds about the desirability of my assuming Mr. Kundig's post, it would be a matter of great relief lo me to have that excuse for declining the very great honour of this serious and considerable task. I would ask, therefore, that, before you make up your minds definitely on the point, it should be perfectly clear to you that I would accept, if you ask it, only as a matter of convenience to keep things going; and under no circumstances whatever could I be persuaded to continue after the end of Mr. Kundig's mandate. If you are kind enough to offer this post to me unanimously, I will accept with a deep sense of gratitude, but only on the condition that, between now and the next conference, you make up your minds to replace myself with a new President; and whoever he may be I shall assure him in advance of my full support.
Mr. MUIR : Before proceeding further on that point are there any observations, any other nominations, any questions that anyone would like to ask? And also before I can put such a resolution to the Meeting, I shall have to call on another delegation to second the resolution.
CAPTAIN COHN : Mr. Chairman, I move what was not a motion of the Belgian Delegation, but merely a suggestion. I move that this body elect Mr. Percy Muir to complete the term of Mr. Kundig.
Mr. Tulkens seconded this.
Mr. MUIR : Ladies and Gentlemen, any other observations, any other nominations, any questions? Before actually putting that motion to the vote, I would like to put one previous motion supplementary to it. Do you wish to vote by secret vote, or by show of hands.
MEMBERS : Show of hands.
Mr. MUIR : Ladies and Gentlemen, I put to you the proposition of Captain Cohn, seconded by Mr. Tulkens, that Mr. Percy Muir be elected to fulfil the post of President during the remaining period of Mr. Kundig's mandate.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much indeed. ( Applause).
Mr. MUIR : You have given me some very pleasant news, now I will give you some. I propose to abandon most of the rest of the Agenda for the Conference, because our latest task should be the last thing that we carry away from the Conference.
I am sure you will welcome the possibility of concluding in a very short time. If anyone is against, I would like to hear the suggestions now.
Mr. COHEN Here reminded Mr. Muir that he had not yet put to the meeting the proposition of the French Association, which must be passed before the next step was possible.
Mr. MUIR Thanked Mr. Cohen for the reminder, put the question and received a unanimous agreement to the new rule.
Now Ladies and Gentlemen, we must pass to the selection of a Vice-President. If a member of the Committee is elected to a new post, it is necessary to provide a new candidate for the post which he has left. At this moment, we are without a Vice-President. I propose to adopt the privilege of my new position to make a motion from the Chair. I ought to be allowed some say as to whom it shall be. I should like to nominate my friend, Mr. Andre Poursin.
(Carried with cheers and acclamation.)
Mr. POURSIN : My dear colleagues and my dear friends - I may well say so - , I am too moved to tell you how much I thank you for this great honour. I will be pleased to fulfil this task with my good friend Percy Muir,
PRESIDENT: That still leaves us with the post of Treasurer. You must remember that Mr. Poursin was simply honorary Treasurer. He made it quite clear that he accepted it only under difficult circumstances, without the possibility of fulfilling his functions. It was agreed by you all that the actual functions of Treasurer should be fulfilled by the President. But the President, at that time, was a citizen of one of the few countries in Europe in which there are no currency restrictions of any kind. In view of that situation, and in view of the fact that we need a Treasurer, you must bear in mind, in electing an honorary Treasurer, to elect one from a country in which there are no currency restrictions.
CAPTAIN COHN: What other nations beside Switzerland have no restrictions?
Mr. MASSEY ; The British Delegation proposes Mr. Tulkens.
(Holland seconded the proposal.
Mr. TULKENS ; We must put this to the vote (Adopted unanimously).
Mr. TULKENS : My dear colleagues. I thank you most cordially for the honour you do me, the post of treasurer is delicate and dangerous. I'll do my best.
PRESIDENT; Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I have now one formal request for your authorisation. I will now put to the vote the question that we abandon the rest of our Agenda for the present Conference; and carry it forward to the next Meeting. That is a proposal from the Chair that may receive an amendment from any member of the Conference.
Mr. DE NOBELE : Before we put it to the vote I will ask the Committee to define the points in paragraph 18, other business, so that each Committee may be able to study them at its leisure and communicate its observations to the Committee of the League, in order that we can proceed further with the work of the League.
PRESIDENT (after detailing these points) : Ladies and Gentlemen, before actually passing to the vote on the motion I put to you from the Chair, I have, of course, to mention one of the most important points that we must settle before we leave. That is the venue of the next Conference. Our new and distinguished Treasurer of the League extends an invitation to us to meet in Brussels next year. (Loud applause). May I be permitted to add that it is not the first occasion upon which the Belgian delegation has taken upon itself the duties of entertaining the Members of the League. It is, therefore, a particularly generous gesture of our Belgian Colleagues that we accept with affection and enthusiasm as it will be the second time they will be our hosts.
Mr. Tulkens, I extend to you our warmest thanks and greetings.
Mr. MARSILY : I think Mr. Kundig intended to take a decision on the question of the League's emblem. We might be able to come to some agreement as it is rather important, besides it would be a tribute to Mr. Kundig.
CAPTAIN COHN : Mr. Chairman, I suggest that should be left entirely in the hands of the Committee. They are perfectly able to do it !
PRESIDENT: It is precisely for the opposite reason that we passed it to the general Assembly. If you wish, we could suspend the formal proceedings for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, so that the designs may be circulated amongst you.
Mr. VERRY proposes to leave it to the Committee. This proposition is seconded by Mr. Rauch (Switzerland).
Mr. MARSILY : We approve the American proposal.
Mr. DE NOBELE : I agree to leave the choice of the emblem to the decision of the Committee. It is a good thing to circulate the designs amongst delegates in order to have the opinion of each Delegation.
PRESIDENT: I think it is indispensable that you should have the opportunity of seeing the designs. I will suspend the formal procedure for ten minutes, or as long as is necessary to pass these designs round.
AUSTRIAN DELEGATE: The Committee could propose to us the emblem they like best.
PRESIDENT: The first thing to do is to decide whether you are now prepared to select an emblem, or leave it to the decision of the Committee. Ladies and Gentlemen, are you all of the opinion that the final decision should be left to the Committee? I propose immediately after taking the vote on this question to ask each delegation to express the opinion of that delegation, so that the Committee has some guidance about your opinions.
(Unanimously adopted.) •
I am now going to ask each delegation to express its opinion on the designs you have seen.
(This was done and the preferences were noted by the Treasurer.)
PRESIDENT: Any observations? Ladies and Gentlemen, in terminating these proceedings, I am sure we adopt the suggestion of Great Britain and America that a few words should be said to our French Colleagues for the wonderful organization of this Conference.
Mr. FLETCHER : Ladies and Gentlemen, your applause has covered to some extent the words we would have said. We are all anxious that Mr. de Nobele should reply. I am sure it is the wish of you all that we should offer the most cordial thanks to France for the organisation of this Conference. We will have, tomorrow, the opportunity of giving thanks, perhaps more amiably; but we would refer now to the great work they have undertaken in making this business side of the Conference possible. We, in Great Britain, have had the recent experience of entertaining our foreign colleagues; we know what it means. What we would like to do now is to say that we have tried to bring to France, and to instil into the hearts of our French friends, our sentiments of gratitude.
CAPTAIN COHN ; Mr. Chairman, I very much prefer that Mr. Gomme says a few words in regard to the reception we had here; but, all I want to say is : O.K, check and double check.
ITALIAN DELEGATE: On behalf of the Italian Delegation I offer my warmest thanks to the French for all they have done for us and for their splendid organisation.
Mr. DE NOBELE : My dear friends. I call you my dear friends, for I have known many of you for 4 years. I was present at the birth of the League, and during these four years I have followed its work. I am happy to express to you in the name of the French Delegation our satisfaction at having succeeded in all the aims we had set ourselves. We had two aims: the first was to succeed in the work of the League to the satisfaction of all of us. I believe that, apart from the grief which we feel in knowing that our Honorary President is ill, everything has been satisfactory because in the end we have agreed unanimously on all points.
Our second aim was that you should not leave Paris without taking with you a lasting happy memory. If we have attained these two aims we are more delighted than you can imagine. I thank all of you for coming in such numbers to visit us. And that's all.
PRESIDENT: Ladies and Gentlemen, on this very pleasant note, which is a cheerful remembrance of the business part of our Meeting, I declare the Conference closed, with my thanks to you all on my own behalf, and on behalf of the President of Honour, who conducted a considerable portion of our procedure.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much indeed.