Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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League of Nations
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/28/19

Parallel with their destruction of reparations, and in a much more direct fashion, the Milner Group destroyed collective security through the League of Nations. The Group never intended that the League of Nations should be used to achieve collective security. They never intended that sanctions, either military or economic, should be used to force any aggressive power to keep the peace or to enforce any political decision which might be reached by international agreement. This must be understood at the beginning. The Milner Group never intended that the League should be used as an instrument of collective security or that sanctions should be used as an instrument by the League. From the beginning, they expected only two things from the League: (1) that it could be used as a center for international cooperation in international administration in nonpolitical matters, and (2) that it could be used as a center for consultation in political matters. In regard to the first point, the Group regarded the League as a center for such activities as those previously exercised through the International Postal Union. In all such activities as this, each state would retain full sovereignty and would cooperate only on a completely voluntary basis in fields of social importance. In regard to the second point (political questions), no member of the Group had any intention of any state yielding any sliver of its full sovereignty to the League. The League was merely an agreement, like any treaty, by which each state bound itself to confer together in a crisis and not make war within three months of the submission of the question to consultation. The whole purpose of the League was to delay action in a crisis by requiring this period for consultation. There was no restriction on action after the three months. There was some doubt, within the Group, as to whether sanctions could be used to compel a state to observe the three months' delay. Most of the members of the Group said "no" to this question. A few said that economic sanctions could be used. Robert Cecil, at the beginning, at least, felt that political sanctions might be used to compel a state to keep the peace for the three months, but by 1922 every member of the Group had abandoned both political and economic sanctions for enforcing the three months' delay. There never was within the Group any intention at any time to use sanctions for any other purpose, such as keeping peace after the three-month period.

This, then, was the point of view of the Milner Group in 1919, as in 1939. Unfortunately, in the process of drawing up the Covenant of the League in 1919, certain phrases or implications were introduced into the document, under pressure from France, from Woodrow Wilson, and from other groups in Britain, which could be taken to indicate that the League might have been intended to be used as a real instrument of collective security, that it might have involved some minute limitation of state sovereignty, that sanctions might under certain circumstances be used to protect the peace. As soon as these implications became clear, the Group's ardor for the League began to evaporate, when the United States refused to join the League, this dwindling ardor turned to hatred. Nevertheless, the Group did not abandon the League at this point. On the contrary, they tightened their grip on it — in order to prevent any "foolish" persons from using the vague implications of the Covenant in an effort to make the League an instrument of collective security. The Group were determined that if any such effort as this were made, they would prevent it and, if necessary, destroy the League to prevent it. Only they would insist, in such a case, that the League was destroyed not by them but by the persons who tried to use it as an instrument of collective security.

All of this may sound extreme. Unfortunately, it is not extreme. That this was what the Group did to the League is established beyond doubt in history. That the Group intended to do this is equally beyond dispute. The evidence is conclusive.

The British ideas on the League and the British drafts of the Covenant were formed by four men, all close to the Milner Group. They were Lord Robert Cecil, General Smuts, Lord Phillimore, and Alfred Zimmern. For drafting documents they frequently used Cecil Hurst, a close associate, but not a member, of the Group. Hurst (Sir Cecil since 1920) was assistant legal adviser to the Foreign Office in 1902-1918, legal adviser in 1918-1929, a judge on the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague in 1929-1946, and Chairman of the United Nations War Crimes Commission in 1943-1944. He was the man responsible for the verbal form of Articles 10-16 (the sanction articles) of the Covenant of the League of Nations, for the Articles of Agreement with Ireland in 1921, and for the wording of the Locarno Pact in 1925. He frequently worked closely with the Milner Group. For example, in 1921 he was instrumental in making an agreement by which the British Yearbook of International Law, of which he was editor, was affiliated with the Royal Institute of International Affairs. At the time, he and Curtis were working together on the Irish agreement.

As early as 1916, Lord Robert Cecil was trying to persuade the Cabinet to support a League of Nations. This resulted in the appointment of the Phillimore Committee, which drew up the first British draft for the Covenant. As a result, in 1918-1919 Lord Robert became the chief government spokesman for a League of Nations and the presumed author of the second British draft. The real author of this second draft was Alfred Zimmern. Cecil and Zimmern were both dubious of any organization that would restrict state sovereignty. On 12 November 1918, the day after the armistice, Lord Robert made a speech at Birmingham on the type of League he expected. That speech shows clearly that he had little faith in the possibility of disarmament and none in international justice or military sanctions to preserve the peace. The sovereignty of each state was left intact. As W. E. Rappard (director of the Graduate School of International Studies at Geneva) wrote in International Conciliation in June 1927, "He [Lord Cecil] was very sceptical about the possibility of submitting vital international questions to the judgment of courts of law end 'confessed to the gravest doubts' as to the practicability of enforcing the decrees of such courts by any 'form of international force.' On the other hand, he firmly believed in the efficacy of economic pressure as a means of coercing a country bent on aggression in violation of its pacific agreements." It might be remarked in passing that the belief that economic sanctions could be used without a backing of military force, or the possibility of needing such backing, is the one sure sign of a novice in foreign politics, and Robert Cecil could never be called a novice in such matters. In the speech itself he said:

"The most important step we can now take is to devise machinery which, in case of international dispute, will, at the least, delay the outbreak of war, and secure full and open discussion of the causes of the quarrel. For that purpose ... all that would be necessary would be a treaty binding the signatories never to wage war themselves or permit others to wage war till a formal conference of nations had been held to enquire into, and, if possible, decide the dispute. It is probably true, at least in theory, that decisions would be difficult to obtain, for the decisions of such a conference, like all other international proceedings, would have to be unanimous to be binding. But since the important thing is to secure delay and open discussion, that is to say, time to enable public opinion to act and information to instruct it, this is not a serious objection to the proposal. Indeed, from one point of view, it is an advantage, since it avoids any interference with national sovereignty except the interposition of a delay in seeking redress by force of arms. This is the essential thing.... To that extent, and to that extent only, international coercion would be necessary."

This speech of Cecil's was approved by The Round Table and accepted as its own point of view in the issue of December 1918. At the same time, through Smuts, the Milner Group published another statement of its views. This pamphlet, called The League of Nations, a Practical Suggestion, was released in December 1918, after having been read in manuscript and criticized by the inner circle, especially Curtis. This statement devoted most of its effort to the use of mandates for captured German colonies. For preserving the peace, it had considerable faith in compulsory arbitration and hoped to combine this with widespread disarmament.

The Group's own statement on this subject appeared in the December 1918 issue of The Round Table in an article called "Windows of Freedom," written by Curtis. He pointed out that British sea-power had twice saved civilization and any proposal that it should be used in the future only at the request of the League of Nations must be emphatically rejected. The League would consist of fallible human beings, and England could never yield her decision to them. He continued: "Her own existence and that of the world's freedom are inseparably connected. ... To yield it without a blow is to yield the whole citadel in which the forces that make for human freedom are entrenched; to covenant to yield it is to bargain a betrayal of the world in advance.... [The League must not be a world government.] If the burden of a world government is placed on it it will fall with a crash." He pointed out it could be a world government only if it represented peoples and not states, and if it had the power to tax those peoples. It should simply be an interstate conference of the world.

"The Peace Conference . . . cannot hope to produce a written constitution for the globe or a genuine government of mankind. What it can do is establish a permanent annual conference between foreign ministers themselves, with a permanent secretariat, in which, as at the Peace Conference itself, all questions at issue between States can be discussed and, if possible, settled by agreement. Such a conference cannot itself govern the world, still less those portions of mankind who cannot yet govern themselves. But it can act as a symbol and organ of the human conscience, however imperfect, to which real governments of existing states can be made answerable for facts which concern the world at large."

In another article in the same issue of The Round Table ("Some Principles and Problems of the Settlement," December 1918), similar ideas were expressed even more explicitly by Zimmern. He stated that the League of Nations should be called the League of States, or the Interstate Conference, for sovereign states would be its units, and it would make not laws but contracts. "The League of Nations, in fact, is far from invalidating or diminishing national sovereignty, should strengthen and increase it.... The work before the coming age is not to supersede the existing States but to moralize them.... Membership must be restricted to those states where authority is based upon the consent of the people over whom it is exercised ... the reign of law.... It can reasonably be demanded that no States should be admitted which do not make such a consummation one of the deliberate aims of their policy." Under this idea, The Round Table excluded by name from the new League, Liberia, Mexico, "and above all Russia." "The League," it continued, "will not simply be a League of States, it will be a League of Commonwealths." As its hopes in the League dwindled, The Round Table became less exclusive, and, in June 1919, it declared, "without Germany or Russia the League of Nations will be dangerously incomplete."

In the March 1919 issue, The Round Table described in detail the kind of League it wanted — "a common clearing house for noncontentious business." Its whole basis was to be "public opinion," and its organization was to be that of "an assembly point of bureaucrats of various countries" about an international secretariat and various organizations like the International Postal Union or the International Institute of Agriculture.

"Every great department of government in each country whose activities touch those of similar departments in other countries should have its recognized delegates on a permanent international commission charged with the study of the sphere of international relations in question and with the duty of making recommendations to their various Governments. . . . Across the street, as it were, from these permanent Bureaux, at the capital of the League, there should be another central permanent Bureau ... an International secretariat.... They must not be national ambassadors, but civil servants under the sole direction of a non-national chancellor; and the aim of the whole organization . . . must be to evolve a practical international sense, a sense of common service."

This plan regarded the Council of the League as the successor of the Supreme War Council, made up of premiers and foreign ministers, and the instrument for dealing with political questions in a purely consultative way. Accordingly, the Council would consist only of the Great Powers.

These plans for the Covenant of the League of Nations were rudely shattered at the Peace Conference when the French demanded that the new organization be a "Super-state" with its own army and powers of action. The British were horrified, but with the help of the Americans were able to shelve this suggestion. However, to satisfy the demand from their own delegations as well as the French, they spread a camouflage of sham world government over the structure they had planned. This was done by Cecil Hurst. Hurst visited David Hunter Miller, the American legal expert, one night and persuaded him to replace the vital clauses 10 to 16 with drafts drawn up by Hurst. These drafts were deliberately drawn with loopholes so that no aggressor need ever be driven to the point where sanctions would have to be applied. This was done by presenting alternative paths of action leading toward sanctions, some of them leading to economic sanctions, but one path, which could be freely chosen by the aggressor, always available, leading to a loophole where no collective action would be possible. The whole procedure was concealed beneath a veil of legalistic terminology so that the Covenant could be presented to the public as a watertight document, but Britain could always escape from the necessity to apply sanctions through a loophole.

In spite of this, the Milner Group were very dissatisfied. They tried simultaneously to do three things: (1) to persuade public opinion that the League was a wonderful instrument of international cooperation designed to keep the peace; (2) to criticize the Covenant for the "traces of a sham world-government" which had been thrown over it; and (3) to reassure themselves and the ruling groups in England, the Dominions, and the United States that the League was not "a world-state." All of this took a good deal of neat footwork, or, more accurately, nimble tongues and neat pen work. More double-talk and double-writing were emitted by the Milner Group on this subject in the two decades 1919-1939 than was issued by any other group on this subject in the period....

The ability of the Milner Group to mobilize public opinion in regard to the League of Nations is almost beyond belief. It was not a simple task, since they were simultaneously trying to do two things: on the one hand, seeking to build up popular opinion in favor of the League so that its work could be done more effectively; and, at the same time, seeking to prevent influential people from using the League as an instrument of world government before popular opinion was ready for a world government. In general, The Round Table and The Times were used for the latter purpose, while the League of Nations Union and a strange assortment of outlets, such as Chatham House, Toynbee Hall, extension courses at Oxford, adult-education courses in London, International Conciliation in the United States, the Institute of Politics at Williamstown, the Institute of Intellectual Cooperation at Paris, the Geneva School of International Studies and the Graduate Institute of International Studies at Geneva, and the various branches of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, were used for the former purpose. The Milner Group did not control all of these. Their influence was strong in all of them, and, since the influence of J. P. Morgan and Company was also strong in most of them and since Morgan and the Group were pursuing a parallel policy on this issue, the Group were usually able to utilize the resources of these various organizations when they wished....

The German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939 marked the turning point for the Milner Croup, but not for the Chamberlain group. In the June 1939 issue, the leading article of The Round Table was entitled "From Appeasement to Grand Alliance." Without expressing any regrets about the past, which it regarded as embodying the only possible policy, it rejected appeasement in the future. It demanded a "grand alliance" of Poland, Rumania, France, Britain, and others. Only one sentence referred to Russia; it said: "Negotiations to include Soviet Russia in the system are continuing." Most of the article justified the previous policy as inevitable in a world of sovereign states. Until federation abolishes sovereignty and creates a true world government amenable to public opinion, the nations will continue to live in anarchy, whatever their contractual obligations may be; and under conditions of anarchy it is power and not public opinion that counts....The fundamental, though not the only, explanation of the tragic history of the last eight years is to be found in the failure of the English- speaking democracies to realize that they could prevent aggression only by unity and by being strongly armed enough to resist it wherever it was attempted."

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

League of Nations
Société des Nations (French)
Flag of League of Nations
Semi-official flag

Anachronous World map showing member states of the League of Nations during its history.
Status Intergovernmental organisation
Capital Geneva, Switzerland[a]
Administrative center Geneva, Switzerland
Common languages French and English
• 1920–33
Sir Eric Drummond
• 1933–40
Joseph Avenol
• 1940–46
Seán Lester
Deputy Secretary-General
• 1919–23
Jean Monnet
• 1923–33
Joseph Avenol
• 1937–40
Seán Lester
Historical era Interwar period
• Treaty of Versailles
10 January 1920
• First meeting
16 January 1920
• Dissolved
20 April 1946
Succeeded by
United Nations

The headquarters were based from 1 November 1920 in the Palais Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland, and from 17 February 1936 in the purpose built Palace of Nations also in Geneva.

The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, (French: La Société des Nations, [la sɔsjete de nasjɔ̃] abbreviated as "SDN" or "SdN" and meaning "Society of Nations") was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.[1] Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.[2] Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe.[3] At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the victorious Great Powers of World War I (France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan were the permanent members of the executive Council) to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed. The Great Powers were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, when the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that "the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out."[4]

After some notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. The credibility of the organization was weakened by the fact that the United States never officially joined the League and the Soviet Union joined late and only briefly.[5][6][7][8] Germany withdrew from the League, as did Japan, Italy, Spain and others. The onset of the Second World War showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war. The League lasted for 26 years; the United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the Second World War and inherited several agencies and organisations founded by the League.



The 1864 Geneva Convention, one of the earliest formulations of international law

The concept of a peaceful community of nations had been proposed as far back as 1795, when Immanuel Kant's Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch[9] outlined the idea of a league of nations to control conflict and promote peace between states.[10] Kant argued for the establishment of a peaceful world community, not in a sense of a global government, but in the hope that each state would declare itself a free state that respects its citizens and welcomes foreign visitors as fellow rational beings, thus promoting peaceful society worldwide.[11] International co-operation to promote collective security originated in the Concert of Europe that developed after the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century in an attempt to maintain the status quo between European states and so avoid war.[12][13] This period also saw the development of international law, with the first Geneva Conventions establishing laws dealing with humanitarian relief during wartime, and the international Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 governing rules of war and the peaceful settlement of international disputes.[14][15] As historians William H. Harbaugh and Ronald E. Powaski point out, Theodore Roosevelt was the first American President to call for an international league.[16][17] At the acceptance for his Nobel Prize, Roosevelt said: "it would be a masterstroke if those great powers honestly bent on peace would form a League of Peace."[18][19]

The forerunner of the League of Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), was formed by the peace activists William Randal Cremer and Frédéric Passy in 1889 (and is currently still in existence as an international body with a focus on the various elected legislative bodies of the world.) The IPU was founded with an international scope, with a third of the members of parliaments (in the 24 countries that had parliaments) serving as members of the IPU by 1914. Its foundational aims were to encourage governments to solve international disputes by peaceful means. Annual conferences were established to help governments refine the process of international arbitration. Its structure was designed as a council headed by a president, which would later be reflected in the structure of the League.[20]

Initial proposals

Lord Bryce, one of the earliest advocates for a League of Nations.

At the start of the First World War the first schemes for international organisation to prevent future wars began to gain considerable public support, particularly in Great Britain and the United States. Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a British political scientist, coined the term "League of Nations" in 1914 and drafted a scheme for its organisation. Together with Lord Bryce, he played a leading role in the founding of the group of internationalist pacifists known as the Bryce Group, later the League of Nations Union.[21] The group became steadily more influential among the public and as a pressure group within the then governing Liberal Party. In Dickinson's 1915 pamphlet After the War he wrote of his "League of Peace" as being essentially an organisation for arbitration and conciliation. He felt that the secret diplomacy of the early twentieth century had brought about war and thus could write that, "the impossibility of war, I believe, would be increased in proportion as the issues of foreign policy should be known to and controlled by public opinion." The ‘Proposals’ of the Bryce Group were circulated widely, both in England and the US, where they had a profound influence on the nascent international movement.[22]

Within two weeks of the start of the war, feminists began to mobilise against the war.[23] Having been barred from participating in prior peace organizations,[24] American women formed a Women's Peace Parade Committee to plan a silent protest to the war. Led by chairwoman Fanny Garrison Villard, women from trade unions, feminist organizations, and social reform organizations, such as Kate Waller Barrett, Mary Ritter Beard, Carrie Chapman Catt, Rose Schneiderman, Lillian Wald, and others, organized 1500 women, who marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on 29 August 1914.[23] As a result of the parade, Jane Addams became interested in proposals by two European suffragists—Hungarian Rosika Schwimmer and British Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence—to hold a peace conference.[25] On 9–10 January 1915, a peace conference directed by Addams was held in Washington, D. C., where the delegates adopted a platform calling for creation of international bodies with administrative and legislative powers to develop a "permanent league of neutral nations" to work for peace and disarmament.[26][27]

Within months a call was made for an international women's conference to be held in The Hague. Coordinated by Mia Boissevain, Aletta Jacobs and Rosa Manus, the Congress, which opened on 28 April 1915[28] was attended by 1,136 participants from both neutral and non-belligerent nations,[29] and resulted in the establishment of an organization which would become the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).[30] At the close of the conference, two delegations of women were dispatched to meet European heads of state over the next several months. They secured agreement from reluctant Foreign Ministers, who overall felt that such a body would be ineffective, but agreed to participate or not impede creation of a neutral mediating body, if other nations agreed and if President Woodrow Wilson would initiate a body. In the midst of the War, Wilson refused.[31][32]

In 1915, a similar body to the Bryce group proposals was set up in the United States by a group of like-minded individuals, including William Howard Taft. It was called the League to Enforce Peace and was substantially based on the proposals of the Bryce Group.[33] It advocated the use of arbitration in conflict resolution and the imposition of sanctions on aggressive countries. None of these early organisations envisioned a continuously functioning body; with the exception of the Fabian Society in England, they maintained a legalistic approach that would limit the international body to a court of justice. The Fabians were the first to argue for a "Council" of states, necessarily the Great Powers, who would adjudicate world affairs, and for the creation of a permanent secretariat to enhance international co-operation across a range of activities.[34]

In the course of the diplomatic efforts surrounding World War I, both sides had to clarify their long-term war aims. By 1916 in Britain, the leader of the Allies, and in neutral United States, long-range thinkers had begun to design a unified international organisation to prevent future wars. Historian Peter Yearwood argues that when the new coalition government of David Lloyd George took power in December 1916, there was widespread discussion among intellectuals and diplomats of the desirability of establishing such an organisation, when Lloyd George was challenged by Wilson to state his position With an eye on the postwar situation, he endorsed such an organisation. Wilson himself included in his Fourteen Points in January 1918 a "league of nations to insure peace and justice." British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, argued that, as a condition of durable peace, "behind international law, and behind all treaty arrangements for preventing or limiting hostilities, some form of international sanction should be devised which would give pause to the hardiest aggressor."[35]

The war had had a profound impact, affecting the social, political and economic systems of Europe and inflicting psychological and physical damage.[36] Several empires collapsed: first the Russian Empire in February 1917, followed by the German Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empire. Anti-war sentiment rose across the world; the First World War was described as "the war to end all wars",[37] and its possible causes were vigorously investigated. The causes identified included arms races, alliances, militaristic nationalism, secret diplomacy, and the freedom of sovereign states to enter into war for their own benefit. One proposed remedy was the creation of an international organisation whose aim was to prevent future war through disarmament, open diplomacy, international co-operation, restrictions on the right to wage war, and penalties that made war unattractive.[38]

In London Balfour commissioned the first official report into the matter in early 1918, under the initiative of Lord Robert Cecil. The British committee was finally appointed in February 1918. It was led by Walter Phillimore (and became known as the Phillimore Committee), but also included Eyre Crowe, William Tyrrell, and Cecil Hurst.[21] The recommendations of the so-called Phillimore Commission included the establishment of a "Conference of Allied States" that would arbitrate disputes and impose sanctions on offending states. The proposals were approved by the British government, and much of the commission's results were later incorporated into the Covenant of the League of Nations.[39]

Jan Smuts helped to draft the Covenant of the League of Nations.

The French also drafted a much more far-reaching proposal in June 1918; they advocated annual meetings of a council to settle all disputes, as well as an "international army" to enforce its decisions.[39]

The American President Woodrow Wilson instructed Edward M. House to draft a US plan which reflected Wilson's own idealistic views (first articulated in the Fourteen Points of January 1918), as well as the work of the Phillimore Commission. The outcome of House's work, and Wilson's own first draft, proposed the termination of "unethical" state behaviour, including forms of espionage and dishonesty. Methods of compulsion against recalcitrant states would include severe measures, such as "blockading and closing the frontiers of that power to commerce or intercourse with any part of the world and to use any force that may be necessary..."[39]

The two principal drafters and architects of the covenant of the League of Nations[40] were the British politician Lord Robert Cecil and the South African statesman Jan Smuts. Smuts' proposals included the creation of a Council of the great powers as permanent members and a non-permanent selection of the minor states. He also proposed the creation of a Mandate system for captured colonies of the Central Powers during the war.

Cecil focused on the administrative side, and proposed annual Council meetings and quadrennial meetings for the Assembly of all members. He also argued for a large and permanent secretariat to carry out the League's administrative duties.[39][41][42]


The official opening of the League of Nations, 15 November 1920

At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Wilson, Cecil and Smuts all put forward their draft proposals. After lengthy negotiations between the delegates, the Hurst–Miller draft was finally produced as a basis for the Covenant.[43] After more negotiation and compromise, the delegates finally approved of the proposal to create the League of Nations (French: Société des Nations, German: Völkerbund) on 25 January 1919.[44] The final Covenant of the League of Nations was drafted by a special commission, and the League was established by Part I of the Treaty of Versailles. On 28 June 1919,[45][46] 44 states signed the Covenant, including 31 states which had taken part in the war on the side of the Triple Entente or joined it during the conflict.

French women's rights advocates invited international feminists to participate in a parallel conference to the Paris Conference in hopes that they could gain permission to participate in the official conference.[47] The Inter-Allied Women's Conference asked to be allowed to submit suggestions to the peace negotiations and commissions and were granted the right to sit on commissions dealing specifically with women and children.[48][49] Though they asked for enfranchisement and full legal protection under the law equal with men,[47] those rights were ignored.[50] Women won the right to serve in all capacities, including as staff or delegates in the League of Nations organization.[51] They also won a declaration that member nations should prevent trafficking of women and children and should equally support humane conditions for children, women and men labourers.[52] At the Zürich Peace Conference held between 17–19 May 1919, the women of the WILPF condemned the terms of the Treaty of Versailles for both its punitive measures, as well as its failure to provide for condemnation of violence and exclusion of women from civil and political participation.[50] Upon reading the Rules of Procedure for the League of Nations, Catherine Marshall, a British suffragist, discovered that the guidelines were completely undemocratic and they were modified based on her suggestion.[53]

The League would be made up of a General Assembly (representing all member states), an Executive Council (with membership limited to major powers), and a permanent secretariat. Member states were expected to "respect and preserve as against external aggression" the territorial integrity of other members and to disarm "to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety." All states were required to submit complaints for arbitration or judicial inquiry before going to war.[21] The Executive Council would create a Permanent Court of International Justice to make judgements on the disputes.

Despite Wilson's efforts to establish and promote the League, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1919,[54] the United States never joined. Senate Republicans led by Henry Cabot Lodge wanted a League with the reservation that only Congress could take the U.S. into war. Lodge gained a majority of Senators. Wilson refused to allow a compromise and the needed 2/3 majority was lacking.[55]

The League held its first council meeting in Paris on 16 January 1920, six days after the Versailles Treaty and the Covenant of the League of Nations came into force.[56] On 1 November 1920, the headquarters of the League was moved from London to Geneva, where the first General Assembly was held on 15 November 1920.[57][58] The Palais Wilson on Geneva's western lakeshore, named after US President Woodrow Wilson in recognition of his efforts towards the establishment of the League, was the League's first permanent home.

Languages and symbols

The official languages of the League of Nations were French and English.[59] The League rejected adopting Esperanto as its working language. China and Japan wanted Esperanto but France was strongly opposed.[60]

In 1939, a semi-official emblem for the League of Nations emerged: two five-pointed stars within a blue pentagon. They symbolised the Earth's five continents and "five races." A bow at the top displayed the English name ("League of Nations"), while another at the bottom showed the French ("Société des Nations").[61]

Principal organs

League of Nations Organisation chart[62]

Palace of Nations, Geneva, the League's headquarters from 1936 until its dissolution in 1946

The main constitutional organs of the League were the Assembly, the Council, and the Permanent Secretariat. It also had two essential wings: the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Labour Organization. In addition, there were several auxiliary agencies and commissions.[63] Each organ's budget was allocated by the Assembly (the League was supported financially by its member states).[64]

The relations between the Assembly and the Council and the competencies of each were for the most part not explicitly defined. Each body could deal with any matter within the sphere of competence of the League or affecting peace in the world. Particular questions or tasks might be referred to either.[65]

Unanimity was required for the decisions of both the Assembly and the Council, except in matters of procedure and some other specific cases such as the admission of new members. This requirement was a reflection of the League's belief in the sovereignty of its component nations; the League sought solution by consent, not by dictation. In case of a dispute, the consent of the parties to the dispute was not required for unanimity.[66]

The Permanent Secretariat, established at the seat of the League at Geneva, comprised a body of experts in various spheres under the direction of the general secretary.[67] Its principal sections were Political, Financial and Economics, Transit, Minorities and Administration (administering the Saar and Danzig), Mandates, Disarmament, Health, Social (Opium and Traffic in Women and Children), Intellectual Cooperation and International Bureaux, Legal, and Information. The staff of the Secretariat was responsible for preparing the agenda for the Council and the Assembly and publishing reports of the meetings and other routine matters, effectively acting as the League's civil service. In 1931 the staff numbered 707.[68]

The Assembly consisted of representatives of all members of the League, with each state allowed up to three representatives and one vote.[69] It met in Geneva and, after its initial sessions in 1920,[70] it convened once a year in September.[69] The special functions of the Assembly included the admission of new members, the periodical election of non-permanent members to the Council, the election with the Council of the judges of the Permanent Court, and control of the budget. In practice, the Assembly was the general directing force of League activities.[71]

The League Council acted as a type of executive body directing the Assembly's business.[72] It began with four permanent members (Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan) and four non-permanent members that were elected by the Assembly for a three-year term.[73] The first non-permanent members were Belgium, Brazil, Greece, and Spain.[74]

The composition of the Council was changed several times. The number of non-permanent members was first increased to six on 22 September 1922 and to nine on 8 September 1926. Werner Dankwort of Germany pushed for his country to join the League; joining in 1926, Germany became the fifth permanent member of the Council. Later, after Germany and Japan both left the League, the number of non-permanent seats was increased from nine to eleven, and the Soviet Union was made a permanent member giving the Council a total of fifteen members.[74] The Council met, on average, five times a year and in extraordinary sessions when required. In total, 107 sessions were held between 1920 and 1939.[75]
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Other bodies

The League oversaw the Permanent Court of International Justice and several other agencies and commissions created to deal with pressing international problems. These included the Disarmament Commission, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Mandates Commission, the International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation[76] (precursor to UNESCO), the Permanent Central Opium Board, the Commission for Refugees, and the Slavery Commission.[77] Three of these institutions were transferred to the United Nations after the Second World War: the International Labour Organization, the Permanent Court of International Justice (as the International Court of Justice), and the Health Organisation[78] (restructured as the World Health Organization).[79]

The Permanent Court of International Justice was provided for by the Covenant, but not established by it. The Council and the Assembly established its constitution. Its judges were elected by the Council and the Assembly, and its budget was provided by the latter. The Court was to hear and decide any international dispute which the parties concerned submitted to it. It might also give an advisory opinion on any dispute or question referred to it by the Council or the Assembly. The Court was open to all the nations of the world under certain broad conditions.[80]

Child labour in a coal mine, United States, c. 1912

The International Labour Organization was created in 1919 on the basis of Part XIII of the Treaty of Versailles.[81] The ILO, although having the same members as the League and being subject to the budget control of the Assembly, was an autonomous organisation with its own Governing Body, its own General Conference and its own Secretariat. Its constitution differed from that of the League: representation had been accorded not only to governments but also to representatives of employers' and workers' organisations. Albert Thomas was its first director.[82]

Child labour in Kamerun in 1919

The ILO successfully restricted the addition of lead to paint,[83] and convinced several countries to adopt an eight-hour work day and forty-eight-hour working week. It also campaigned to end child labour, increase the rights of women in the workplace, and make shipowners liable for accidents involving seamen.[81] After the demise of the League, the ILO became an agency of the United Nations in 1946.[84]

The League's health organisation had three bodies: the Health Bureau, containing permanent officials of the League; the General Advisory Council or Conference, an executive section consisting of medical experts; and the Health Committee. The Committee's purpose was to conduct inquiries, oversee the operation of the League's health work, and prepare work to be presented to the Council.[85] This body focused on ending leprosy, malaria, and yellow fever, the latter two by starting an international campaign to exterminate mosquitoes. The Health Organisation also worked successfully with the government of the Soviet Union to prevent typhus epidemics, including organising a large education campaign.[86]

The League of Nations had devoted serious attention to the question of international intellectual co-operation since its creation.[87] The First Assembly in December 1920 recommended that the Council take action aiming at the international organisation of intellectual work, which it did by adopting a report presented by the Fifth Committee of the Second Assembly and inviting a Committee on Intellectual Cooperation to meet in Geneva in August 1922. The French philosopher Henri Bergson became the first chairman of the committee.[88] The work of the committee included: inquiry into the conditions of intellectual life, assistance to countries where intellectual life was endangered, creation of national committees for intellectual co-operation, co-operation with international intellectual organisations, protection of intellectual property, inter-university co-operation, co-ordination of bibliographical work and international interchange of publications, and international co-operation in archaeological research.[89]

Introduced by the second International Opium Convention, the Permanent Central Opium Board had to supervise the statistical reports on trade in opium, morphine, cocaine and heroin. The board also established a system of import certificates and export authorisations for the legal international trade in narcotics.[90]

The Slavery Commission sought to eradicate slavery and slave trading across the world, and fought forced prostitution.[91] Its main success was through pressing the governments who administered mandated countries to end slavery in those countries. The League secured a commitment from Ethiopia to end slavery as a condition of membership in 1923, and worked with Liberia to abolish forced labour and intertribal slavery. The United Kingdom had not supported Ethiopian membership of the League on the grounds that "Ethiopia had not reached a state of civilisation and internal security sufficient to warrant her admission."[92][91]

The League also succeeded in reducing the death rate of workers constructing the Tanganyika railway from 55 to 4 percent. Records were kept to control slavery, prostitution, and the trafficking of women and children.[93] Partly as a result of pressure brought by the League of Nations, Afghanistan abolished slavery in 1923, Iraq in 1924, Nepal in 1926, Transjordan and Persia in 1929, Bahrain in 1937, and Ethiopia in 1942.[94]

A sample Nansen passport

Led by Fridtjof Nansen, the Commission for Refugees was established on 27 June 1921[95] to look after the interests of refugees, including overseeing their repatriation and, when necessary, resettlement.[96] At the end of the First World War, there were two to three million ex-prisoners of war from various nations dispersed throughout Russia;[96] within two years of the commission's foundation, it had helped 425,000 of them return home.[97] It established camps in Turkey in 1922 to aid the country with an ongoing refugee crisis, helping to prevent disease and hunger. It also established the Nansen passport as a means of identification for stateless people.[98]

The Committee for the Study of the Legal Status of Women sought to inquire into the status of women all over the world. It was formed in 1937, and later became part of the United Nations as the Commission on the Status of Women.[99]


A map of the world in 1920–45, which shows the League of Nations members during its history

Of the League's 42 founding members, 23 (24 counting Free France) remained members until it was dissolved in 1946. In the founding year, six other states joined, only two of which remained members throughout the League's existence. Under the Weimar Republic, Germany (in fact the Deutsches Reich or German Empire) was admitted to the League of Nations through a resolution passed on 8 September 1926.[100]

An additional 15 countries joined later. The largest number of member states was 58, between 28 September 1934 (when Ecuador joined) and 23 February 1935 (when Paraguay withdrew).[101]

On 26 May 1937, Egypt became the last state to join the League. The first member to withdraw permanently from the League was Costa Rica on 22 January 1925; having joined on 16 December 1920, this also makes it the member to have most quickly withdrawn. Brazil was the first founding member to withdraw (14 June 1926), and Haiti the last (April 1942). Iraq, which joined in 1932, was the first member that had previously been a League of Nations mandate.[102]

The Soviet Union became a member on 18 September 1934,[103] and was expelled on 14 December 1939[103] for invading Finland. In expelling the Soviet Union, the League broke its own rule: only 7 of 15 members of the Council voted for expulsion (United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Bolivia, Egypt, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic), short of the majority required by the Covenant. Three of these members had been made Council members the day before the vote (South Africa, Bolivia, and Egypt). This was one of the League's final acts before it practically ceased functioning due to the Second World War.[104]


At the end of the First World War, the Allied powers were confronted with the question of the disposal of the former German colonies in Africa and the Pacific, and the several Arabic-speaking provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The Peace Conference adopted the principle that these territories should be administered by different governments on behalf of the League – a system of national responsibility subject to international supervision.[105] This plan, defined as the mandate system, was adopted by the "Council of Ten" (the heads of government and foreign ministers of the main Allied powers: Britain, France, the United States, Italy, and Japan) on 30 January 1919 and transmitted to the League of Nations.[106]

League of Nations mandates were established under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.[107] The Permanent Mandates Commission supervised League of Nations mandates,[108] and also organised plebiscites in disputed territories so that residents could decide which country they would join. There were three mandate classifications: A, B and C.[109]

The A mandates (applied to parts of the old Ottoman Empire) were "certain communities" that had

...reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.[110]

— Article 22, The Covenant of the League of Nations

The B mandates were applied to the former German colonies that the League took responsibility for after the First World War. These were described as "peoples" that the League said were such a stage that the Mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.[110]

— Article 22, The Covenant of the League of Nations

South West Africa and certain South Pacific Islands were administered by League members under C mandates. These were classified as "territories"

...which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilisation, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population."[110]

— Article 22, The Covenant of the League of Nations

Mandatory powers

The territories were governed by mandatory powers, such as the United Kingdom in the case of the Mandate of Palestine, and the Union of South Africa in the case of South West Africa, until the territories were deemed capable of self-government. Fourteen mandate territories were divided up among seven mandatory powers: the United Kingdom, the Union of South Africa, France, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.[111] With the exception of the Kingdom of Iraq, which joined the League on 3 October 1932,[112] these territories did not begin to gain their independence until after the Second World War, in a process that did not end until 1990. Following the demise of the League, most of the remaining mandates became United Nations Trust Territories.[113]

In addition to the mandates, the League itself governed the Territory of the Saar Basin for 15 years, before it was returned to Germany following a plebiscite, and the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) from 15 November 1920 to 1 September 1939.[114]

Resolving territorial disputes

The aftermath of the First World War left many issues to be settled, including the exact position of national boundaries and which country particular regions would join. Most of these questions were handled by the victorious Allied powers in bodies such as the Allied Supreme Council. The Allies tended to refer only particularly difficult matters to the League. This meant that, during the early interwar period, the League played little part in resolving the turmoil resulting from the war. The questions the League considered in its early years included those designated by the Paris Peace treaties.[115]

As the League developed, its role expanded, and by the middle of the 1920s it had become the centre of international activity. This change can be seen in the relationship between the League and non-members. The United States and Russia, for example, increasingly worked with the League. During the second half of the 1920s, France, Britain and Germany were all using the League of Nations as the focus of their diplomatic activity, and each of their foreign secretaries attended League meetings at Geneva during this period. They also used the League's machinery to try to improve relations and settle their differences.[116]

Åland Islands

Åland is a collection of around 6,500 islands in the Baltic Sea, midway between Sweden and Finland. The islands are almost exclusively Swedish-speaking, but in 1809, the Åland Islands, along with Finland, were taken by Imperial Russia. In December 1917, during the turmoil of the Russian October Revolution, Finland declared its independence, but most of the Ålanders wished to rejoin Sweden.[117] The Finnish government considered the islands to be a part of their new nation, as the Russians had included Åland in the Grand Duchy of Finland, formed in 1809. By 1920, the dispute had escalated to the point that there was danger of war. The British government referred the problem to the League's Council, but Finland would not let the League intervene, as they considered it an internal matter. The League created a small panel to decide if it should investigate the matter and, with an affirmative response, a neutral commission was created.[117] In June 1921, the League announced its decision: the islands were to remain a part of Finland, but with guaranteed protection of the islanders, including demilitarisation. With Sweden's reluctant agreement, this became the first European international agreement concluded directly through the League.[118]

Upper Silesia

The Allied powers referred the problem of Upper Silesia to the League after they had been unable to resolve the territorial dispute.[119] After the First World War, Poland laid claim to Upper Silesia, which had been part of Prussia. The Treaty of Versailles had recommended a plebiscite in Upper Silesia to determine whether the territory should become part of Germany or Poland. Complaints about the attitude of the German authorities led to rioting and eventually to the first two Silesian Uprisings (1919 and 1920). A plebiscite took place on 20 March 1921, with 59.6 percent (around 500,000) of the votes cast in favour of joining Germany, but Poland claimed the conditions surrounding it had been unfair. This result led to the Third Silesian Uprising in 1921.[120]

On 12 August 1921, the League was asked to settle the matter; the Council created a commission with representatives from Belgium, Brazil, China and Spain to study the situation.[121] The committee recommended that Upper Silesia be divided between Poland and Germany according to the preferences shown in the plebiscite and that the two sides should decide the details of the interaction between the two areas – for example, whether goods should pass freely over the border due to the economic and industrial interdependence of the two areas.[122] In November 1921, a conference was held in Geneva to negotiate a convention between Germany and Poland. A final settlement was reached, after five meetings, in which most of the area was given to Germany, but with the Polish section containing the majority of the region's mineral resources and much of its industry. When this agreement became public in May 1922, bitter resentment was expressed in Germany, but the treaty was still ratified by both countries. The settlement produced peace in the area until the beginning of the Second World War.[121]


The frontiers of the Principality of Albania had not been set during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, as they were left for the League to decide; they had not yet been determined by September 1921, creating an unstable situation. Greek troops conducted military operations in the south of Albania. Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslav) forces became engaged, after clashes with Albanian tribesmen, in the northern part of the country. The League sent a commission of representatives from various powers to the region. In November 1921, the League decided that the frontiers of Albania should be the same as they had been in 1913, with three minor changes that favoured Yugoslavia. Yugoslav forces withdrew a few weeks later, albeit under protest.[123]

The borders of Albania again became the cause of international conflict when Italian General Enrico Tellini and four of his assistants were ambushed and killed on 24 August 1923 while marking out the newly decided border between Greece and Albania. Italian leader Benito Mussolini was incensed, and demanded that a commission investigate the incident within five days. Whatever the results of the investigation, Mussolini insisted that the Greek government pay Italy fifty million lire in reparations. The Greeks said they would not pay unless it was proved that the crime was committed by Greeks.[124]

Mussolini sent a warship to shell the Greek island of Corfu, and Italian forces occupied the island on 31 August 1923. This contravened the League's covenant, so Greece appealed to the League to deal with the situation. The Allies agreed (at Mussolini's insistence) that the Conference of Ambassadors should be responsible for resolving the dispute because it was the conference that had appointed General Tellini. The League Council examined the dispute, but then passed on their findings to the Conference of Ambassadors to make the final decision. The conference accepted most of the League's recommendations, forcing Greece to pay fifty million lire to Italy, even though those who committed the crime were never discovered.[125] Italian forces then withdrew from Corfu.[126]


The port city of Memel (now Klaipėda) and the surrounding area, with a predominantly German population, was under provisional Entente control according to Article 99 of the Treaty of Versailles. The French and Polish governments favoured turning Memel into an international city, while Lithuania wanted to annex the area. By 1923, the fate of the area had still not been decided, prompting Lithuanian forces to invade in January 1923 and seize the port. After the Allies failed to reach an agreement with Lithuania, they referred the matter to the League of Nations. In December 1923, the League Council appointed a Commission of Inquiry. The commission chose to cede Memel to Lithuania and give the area autonomous rights. The Klaipėda Convention was approved by the League Council on 14 March 1924, and then by the Allied powers and Lithuania.[127] In 1939 Germany retook the region following the rise of the Nazis and an ultimatum to Lithuania, demanding the return of the region under threat of war. The League of Nations failed to prevent the secession of the Memel region to Germany.


With League oversight, the Sanjak of Alexandretta in the French Mandate of Syria was given autonomy in 1937. Renamed Hatay, its parliament declared independence as the Republic of Hatay in September 1938, after elections the previous month. It was annexed by Turkey with French consent in mid-1939.[128]


The League resolved a dispute between the Kingdom of Iraq and the Republic of Turkey over control of the former Ottoman province of Mosul in 1926. According to the British, who had been awarded a League of Nations mandate over Iraq in 1920 and therefore represented Iraq in its foreign affairs, Mosul belonged to Iraq; on the other hand, the new Turkish republic claimed the province as part of its historic heartland. A League of Nations Commission of Inquiry, with Belgian, Hungarian and Swedish members, was sent to the region in 1924; it found that the people of Mosul did not want to be part of either Turkey or Iraq, but if they had to choose, they would pick Iraq.[129] In 1925, the commission recommended that the region stay part of Iraq, under the condition that the British hold the mandate over Iraq for another 25 years, to ensure the autonomous rights of the Kurdish population. The League Council adopted the recommendation and decided on 16 December 1925 to award Mosul to Iraq. Although Turkey had accepted League of Nations' arbitration in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), it rejected the decision, questioning the Council's authority. The matter was referred to the Permanent Court of International Justice, which ruled that, when the Council made a unanimous decision, it must be accepted. Nonetheless, Britain, Iraq and Turkey ratified a separate treaty on 5 June 1926 that mostly followed the decision of the League Council and also assigned Mosul to Iraq. It was agreed that Iraq could still apply for League membership within 25 years and that the mandate would end upon its admission.[130][131]


After the First World War, Poland and Lithuania both regained their independence but soon became immersed in territorial disputes.[132] During the Polish–Soviet War, Lithuania signed the Moscow Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union that laid out Lithuania's frontiers. This agreement gave Lithuanians control of the city of Vilnius (Lithuanian: Vilnius, Polish: Wilno), the old Lithuanian capital, but a city with a majority Polish population.[133] This heightened tension between Lithuania and Poland and led to fears that they would resume the Polish–Lithuanian War, and on 7 October 1920, the League negotiated the Suwałki Agreement establishing a cease-fire and a demarcation line between the two nations.[132] On 9 October 1920, General Lucjan Żeligowski, commanding a Polish military force in contravention of the Suwałki Agreement, took the city and established the Republic of Central Lithuania.[132]

After a request for assistance from Lithuania, the League Council called for Poland's withdrawal from the area. The Polish government indicated they would comply, but instead reinforced the city with more Polish troops.[134] This prompted the League to decide that the future of Vilnius should be determined by its residents in a plebiscite and that the Polish forces should withdraw and be replaced by an international force organised by the League. The plan was met with resistance in Poland, Lithuania, and the Soviet Union, which opposed any international force in Lithuania. In March 1921, the League abandoned plans for the plebiscite.[135] After unsuccessful proposals by Paul Hymans to create a federation between Poland and Lithuania, which was intended as a reincarnation of the former union which both Poland and Lithuania had once shared before losing its independence, Vilnius and the surrounding area was formally annexed by Poland in March 1922. After Lithuania took over the Klaipėda Region, the Allied Conference set the frontier between Lithuania and Poland, leaving Vilnius within Poland, on 14 March 1923.[136] Lithuanian authorities refused to accept the decision, and officially remained in a state of war with Poland until 1927.[137] It was not until the 1938 Polish ultimatum that Lithuania restored diplomatic relations with Poland and thus de facto accepted the borders.[138]

Colombia and Peru

There were several border conflicts between Colombia and Peru in the early part of the 20th century, and in 1922, their governments signed the Salomón-Lozano Treaty in an attempt to resolve them.[139] As part of this treaty, the border town of Leticia and its surrounding area was ceded from Peru to Colombia, giving Colombia access to the Amazon River.[140] On 1 September 1932, business leaders from Peruvian rubber and sugar industries who had lost land as a result organised an armed takeover of Leticia.[141] At first, the Peruvian government did not recognise the military takeover, but President of Peru Luis Sánchez Cerro decided to resist a Colombian re-occupation. The Peruvian Army occupied Leticia, leading to an armed conflict between the two nations.[142] After months of diplomatic negotiations, the governments accepted mediation by the League of Nations, and their representatives presented their cases before the Council. A provisional peace agreement, signed by both parties in May 1933, provided for the League to assume control of the disputed territory while bilateral negotiations proceeded.[143] In May 1934, a final peace agreement was signed, resulting in the return of Leticia to Colombia, a formal apology from Peru for the 1932 invasion, demilitarisation of the area around Leticia, free navigation on the Amazon and Putumayo Rivers, and a pledge of non-aggression.[144]


Saar was a province formed from parts of Prussia and the Rhenish Palatinate and placed under League control by the Treaty of Versailles. A plebiscite was to be held after fifteen years of League rule to determine whether the province should belong to Germany or France. When the referendum was held in 1935, 90.3 percent of voters supported becoming part of Germany, which was quickly approved by the League Council.[145][146]

Other conflicts

In addition to territorial disputes, the League also tried to intervene in other conflicts between and within nations. Among its successes were its fight against the international trade in opium and sexual slavery, and its work to alleviate the plight of refugees, particularly in Turkey in the period up to 1926. One of its innovations in this latter area was the 1922 introduction of the Nansen passport, which was the first internationally recognised identity card for stateless refugees.[147]

Greece and Bulgaria

After an incident involving sentries on the Greek-Bulgarian border in October 1925, fighting began between the two countries.[148] Three days after the initial incident, Greek troops invaded Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government ordered its troops to make only token resistance, and evacuated between ten thousand and fifteen thousand people from the border region, trusting the League to settle the dispute.[149] The League condemned the Greek invasion, and called for both Greek withdrawal and compensation to Bulgaria.[148]


Following accusations of forced labour on the large American-owned Firestone rubber plantation and American accusations of slave trading, the Liberian government asked the League to launch an investigation.[150] The resulting commission was jointly appointed by the League, the United States, and Liberia.[151] In 1930, a League report confirmed the presence of slavery and forced labour. The report implicated many government officials in the selling of contract labour and recommended that they be replaced by Europeans or Americans, which generated anger within Liberia and led to the resignation of President Charles D. B. King and his vice-president. The Liberian government outlawed forced labour and slavery and asked for American help in social reforms.[151][152]

Mukden Incident: Japan attacks China

Chinese delegate addresses the League of Nations concerning the Manchurian Crisis in 1932.

The Mukden Incident, also known as the "Manchurian Incident" was a decisive setback that weakened The League because its major members refused to tackle Japanese aggression. Japan itself withdrew.[153]

Under the agreed terms of the Twenty-One Demands with China, the Japanese government had the right to station its troops in the area around the South Manchurian Railway, a major trade route between the two countries, in the Chinese region of Manchuria. In September 1931, a section of the railway was lightly damaged by the Japanese Kwantung Army as a pretext for an invasion of Manchuria.[154][155] The Japanese army claimed that Chinese soldiers had sabotaged the railway and in apparent retaliation (acting contrary to orders from Tokyo, [156]) occupied all of Manchuria. They renamed the area Manchukuo, and on 9 March 1932 set up a puppet government, with Pu Yi, the former emperor of China, as its executive head.[157] This new entity was recognised only by the governments of Italy, Spain and Nazi Germany; the rest of the world still considered Manchuria legally part of China.

The League of Nations sent observers. The Lytton Report appeared a year later (October 1932). It declared Japan to be the aggressor and demanded Manchuria be returned to China. The report passed 42–1 in the Assembly in 1933 (only Japan voting against), but instead of removing its troops from China, Japan withdrew from the League.[158] In the end, as British historian Charles Mowat argued, collective security was dead:

The League and the ideas of collective security and the rule of law were defeated; partly because of indifference and of sympathy with the aggressor, but partly because the League powers were unprepared, preoccupied with other matters, and too slow to perceive the scale of Japanese ambitions.[159]

Chaco War

The League failed to prevent the 1932 war between Bolivia and Paraguay over the arid Gran Chaco region. Although the region was sparsely populated, it contained the Paraguay River, which would have given either landlocked country access to the Atlantic Ocean,[160] and there was also speculation, later proved incorrect, that the Chaco would be a rich source of petroleum.[161] Border skirmishes throughout the late 1920s culminated in an all-out war in 1932 when the Bolivian army attacked the Paraguayans at Fort Carlos Antonio López at Lake Pitiantuta.[162] Paraguay appealed to the League of Nations, but the League did not take action when the Pan-American Conference offered to mediate instead. The war was a disaster for both sides, causing 57,000 casualties for Bolivia, whose population was around three million, and 36,000 dead for Paraguay, whose population was approximately one million.[163] It also brought both countries to the brink of economic disaster. By the time a ceasefire was negotiated on 12 June 1935, Paraguay had seized control of most of the region, as was later recognised by the 1938 truce.[164]

Italian invasion of Abyssinia

Emperor Haile Selassie escaping Ethiopia via Jerusalem

In October 1935, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini sent 400,000 troops to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia).[165] Marshal Pietro Badoglio led the campaign from November 1935, ordering bombing, the use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas, and the poisoning of water supplies, against targets which included undefended villages and medical facilities.[165][166] The modern Italian Army defeated the poorly armed Abyssinians and captured Addis Ababa in May 1936, forcing Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie to flee.[167]

The League of Nations condemned Italy's aggression and imposed economic sanctions in November 1935, but the sanctions were largely ineffective since they did not ban the sale of oil or close the Suez Canal (controlled by Britain).[168] As Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister, later observed, this was ultimately because no one had the military forces on hand to withstand an Italian attack.[169] In October 1935, the US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, invoked the recently passed Neutrality Acts and placed an embargo on arms and munitions to both sides, but extended a further "moral embargo" to the belligerent Italians, including other trade items. On 5 October and later on 29 February 1936, the United States endeavoured, with limited success, to limit its exports of oil and other materials to normal peacetime levels.[170] The League sanctions were lifted on 4 July 1936, but by that point Italy had already gained control of the urban areas of Abyssinia.[171]

The Hoare–Laval Pact of December 1935 was an attempt by the British Foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare and the French Prime Minister Pierre Laval to end the conflict in Abyssinia by proposing to partition the country into an Italian sector and an Abyssinian sector. Mussolini was prepared to agree to the pact, but news of the deal leaked out. Both the British and French public vehemently protested against it, describing it as a sell-out of Abyssinia. Hoare and Laval were forced to resign, and the British and French governments dissociated themselves from the two men.[172] In June 1936, although there was no precedent for a head of state addressing the Assembly of the League of Nations in person, Haile Selassie spoke to the Assembly, appealing for its help in protecting his country.[173]

The Abyssinian crisis showed how the League could be influenced by the self-interest of its members;[174] one of the reasons why the sanctions were not very harsh was that both Britain and France feared the prospect of driving Mussolini and Adolf Hitler into an alliance.[175]

Spanish Civil War

On 17 July 1936, the Spanish Army launched a coup d'état, leading to a prolonged armed conflict between Spanish Republicans (the elected leftist national government) and the Nationalists (conservative, anti-communist rebels who included most officers of the Spanish Army).[176] Julio Álvarez del Vayo, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, appealed to the League in September 1936 for arms to defend Spain's territorial integrity and political independence. The League members would not intervene in the Spanish Civil War nor prevent foreign intervention in the conflict. Adolf Hitler and Mussolini continued to aid General Francisco Franco's Nationalists, while the Soviet Union helped the Spanish Republic. In February 1937, the League did ban foreign volunteers, but this was in practice a symbolic move.[177]

Second Sino-Japanese War

Following a long record of instigating localised conflicts throughout the 1930s, Japan began a full-scale invasion of China on 7 July 1937. On 12 September, the Chinese representative, Wellington Koo, appealed to the League for international intervention. Western countries were sympathetic to the Chinese in their struggle, particularly in their stubborn defence of Shanghai, a city with a substantial number of foreigners.[178] The League was unable to provide any practical measures; on 4 October, it turned the case over to the Nine Power Treaty Conference.[179][180]

Failure of disarmament

Article 8 of the Covenant gave the League the task of reducing "armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations".[181] A significant amount of the League's time and energy was devoted to this goal, even though many member governments were uncertain that such extensive disarmament could be achieved or was even desirable.[182] The Allied powers were also under obligation by the Treaty of Versailles to attempt to disarm, and the armament restrictions imposed on the defeated countries had been described as the first step toward worldwide disarmament.[182] The League Covenant assigned the League the task of creating a disarmament plan for each state, but the Council devolved this responsibility to a special commission set up in 1926 to prepare for the 1932–1934 World Disarmament Conference.[183] Members of the League held different views towards the issue. The French were reluctant to reduce their armaments without a guarantee of military help if they were attacked; Poland and Czechoslovakia felt vulnerable to attack from the west and wanted the League's response to aggression against its members to be strengthened before they disarmed.[184] Without this guarantee, they would not reduce armaments because they felt the risk of attack from Germany was too great. Fear of attack increased as Germany regained its strength after the First World War, especially after Adolf Hitler gained power and became German Chancellor in 1933. In particular, Germany's attempts to overturn the Treaty of Versailles and the reconstruction of the German military made France increasingly unwilling to disarm.[183]

The World Disarmament Conference was convened by the League of Nations in Geneva in 1932, with representatives from 60 states. It was a failure.[185] A one-year moratorium on the expansion of armaments, later extended by a few months, was proposed at the start of the conference.[186] The Disarmament Commission obtained initial agreement from France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Britain to limit the size of their navies but no final agreement was reached. Ultimately, the Commission failed to halt the military build-up by Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan during the 1930s.

The League was mostly silent in the face of major events leading to the Second World War, such as Hitler's remilitarisation of the Rhineland, occupation of the Sudetenland and Anschluss of Austria, which had been forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. In fact, League members themselves re-armed.
In 1933, Japan simply withdrew from the League rather than submit to its judgement,[187] as did Germany the same year (using the failure of the World Disarmament Conference to agree to arms parity between France and Germany as a pretext), Italy and Spain in 1937.[188] The final significant act of the League was to expel the Soviet Union in December 1939 after it invaded Finland.[189]

General weaknesses

The Gap in the Bridge; the sign reads "This League of Nations Bridge was designed by the President of the U.S.A." Cartoon from Punch magazine, 10 December 1920, satirising the gap left by the US not joining the League.

The onset of the Second World War demonstrated that the League had failed in its primary purpose, the prevention of another world war. There were a variety of reasons for this failure, many connected to general weaknesses within the organisation. Additionally, the power of the League was limited by the United States' refusal to join.[190]

Origins and structure

The origins of the League as an organisation created by the Allied powers as part of the peace settlement to end the First World War led to it being viewed as a "League of Victors".[191][192] The League's neutrality tended to manifest itself as indecision. It required a unanimous vote of nine, later fifteen, Council members to enact a resolution; hence, conclusive and effective action was difficult, if not impossible. It was also slow in coming to its decisions, as certain ones required the unanimous consent of the entire Assembly. This problem mainly stemmed from the fact that the primary members of the League of Nations were not willing to accept the possibility of their fate being decided by other countries, and by enforcing unanimous voting had effectively given themselves veto power.[193][194]

Global representation

Representation at the League was often a problem. Though it was intended to encompass all nations, many never joined, or their period of membership was short. The most conspicuous absentee was the United States. President Woodrow Wilson had been a driving force behind the League's formation and strongly influenced the form it took, but the US Senate voted not to join on 19 November 1919.[195] Ruth Henig has suggested that, had the United States become a member, it would have also provided support to France and Britain, possibly making France feel more secure, and so encouraging France and Britain to co-operate more fully regarding Germany, thus making the rise to power of the Nazi Party less likely.[196] Conversely, Henig acknowledges that if the US had been a member, its reluctance to engage in war with European states or to enact economic sanctions might have hampered the ability of the League to deal with international incidents.[196] The structure of the US federal government might also have made its membership problematic, as its representatives at the League could not have made decisions on behalf of the executive branch without having the prior approval of the legislative branch.[197]

In January 1920, when the League was born, Germany was not permitted to join because it was seen as having been the aggressor in the First World War. Soviet Russia was also initially excluded because Communist regimes were not welcomed and membership would have been initially dubious due to the Russian Civil War in which both sides claimed to be the legitimate government of the country. The League was further weakened when major powers left in the 1930s. Japan began as a permanent member of the Council since the country was an Allied Power in the First World War, but withdrew in 1933 after the League voiced opposition to its occupation of Manchuria.[198] Italy began as a permanent member of the Council, but withdrew in 1937 after roughly a year following the end of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. Spain also began as a permanent member of the Council, but withdrew in 1939 after the Spanish Civil War ended in a victory for the Nationalists. The League had accepted Germany, also as a permanent member of the Council, in 1926, deeming it a "peace-loving country", but Adolf Hitler pulled Germany out when he came to power in 1933.[199]

Collective security

Another important weakness grew from the contradiction between the idea of collective security that formed the basis of the League and international relations between individual states.[200] The League's collective security system required nations to act, if necessary, against states they considered friendly, and in a way that might endanger their national interests, to support states for which they had no normal affinity.[200] This weakness was exposed during the Abyssinia Crisis, when Britain and France had to balance maintaining the security they had attempted to create for themselves in Europe "to defend against the enemies of internal order",[201] in which Italy's support played a pivotal role, with their obligations to Abyssinia as a member of the League.[202]

On 23 June 1936, in the wake of the collapse of League efforts to restrain Italy's war against Abyssinia, the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, told the House of Commons that collective security had

failed ultimately because of the reluctance of nearly all the nations in Europe to proceed to what I might call military sanctions ... The real reason, or the main reason, was that we discovered in the process of weeks that there was no country except the aggressor country which was ready for war ... f collective action is to be a reality and not merely a thing to be talked about, it means not only that every country is to be ready for war; but must be ready to go to war at once. That is a terrible thing, but it is an essential part of collective security.[169]

Ultimately, Britain and France both abandoned the concept of collective security in favour of appeasement in the face of growing German militarism under Hitler.[203] In this context, the League of Nations was also the institution where the first international debate on terrorism took place following the 1934 assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseille, France, showing its conspiratorial features, many of which are detectable in the discourse of terrorism among states after 9/11.[204]

American diplomatic historian Samuel Flagg Bemis originally supported the League, but after two decades changed his mind:

The League of Nations has been a disappointing failure.... It has been a failure, not because the United States did not join it; but because the great powers have been unwilling to apply sanctions except where it suited their individual national interests to do so, and because Democracy, on which the original concepts of the League rested for support, has collapsed over half the world.[205]

Pacifism and disarmament

The League of Nations lacked an armed force of its own and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, which they were very unwilling to do.[206] Its two most important members, Britain and France, were reluctant to use sanctions and even more reluctant to resort to military action on behalf of the League. Immediately after the First World War, pacifism became a strong force among both the people and governments of the two countries. The British Conservatives were especially tepid to the League and preferred, when in government, to negotiate treaties without the involvement of that organisation.[207] Moreover, the League's advocacy of disarmament for Britain, France, and its other members, while at the same time advocating collective security, meant that the League was depriving itself of the only forceful means by which it could uphold its authority.[208]

When the British cabinet discussed the concept of the League during the First World War, Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretary, circulated a memorandum on the subject. He started by saying, "Generally it appears to me that any such scheme is dangerous to us, because it will create a sense of security which is wholly fictitious".[209] He attacked the British pre-war faith in the sanctity of treaties as delusional and concluded by claiming:

It [a League of Nations] will only result in failure and the longer that failure is postponed the more certain it is that this country will have been lulled to sleep. It will put a very strong lever into the hands of the well-meaning idealists who are to be found in almost every Government, who deprecate expenditure on armaments, and, in the course of time, it will almost certainly result in this country being caught at a disadvantage.[209]

The Foreign Office minister Sir Eyre Crowe also wrote a memorandum to the British cabinet claiming that "a solemn league and covenant" would just be "a treaty, like other treaties". "What is there to ensure that it will not, like other treaties, be broken?" Crowe went on to express scepticism of the planned "pledge of common action" against aggressors because he believed the actions of individual states would still be determined by national interests and the balance of power. He also criticised the proposal for League economic sanctions because it would be ineffectual and that "It is all a question of real military preponderance". Universal disarmament was a practical impossibility, Crowe warned.[209]

Demise and legacy

[i]World map showing member states of the League of Nations (in green and red) on 18 April 1946, when the League of Nations ceased to exist.

League of Nations archives, Geneva.[210]

As the situation in Europe escalated into war, the Assembly transferred enough power to the Secretary General on 30 September 1938 and 14 December 1939 to allow the League to continue to exist legally and carry on reduced operations.[104] The headquarters of the League, the Palace of Nations, remained unoccupied for nearly six years until the Second World War ended.[211]

At the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied powers agreed to create a new body to replace the League: the United Nations. Many League bodies, such as the International Labour Organization, continued to function and eventually became affiliated with the UN.[84] The designers of the structures of the United Nations intended to make it more effective than the League.[212]

The final meeting of the League of Nations took place on 18 April 1946 in Geneva.[213] Delegates from 34 nations attended the assembly.[214] This session concerned itself with liquidating the League: it transferred assets worth approximately $22,000,000 (U.S.) in 1946[215] (including the Palace of Nations and the League's archives) to the UN, returned reserve funds to the nations that had supplied them, and settled the debts of the League.[214] Robert Cecil, addressing the final session, said:

Let us boldly state that aggression wherever it occurs and however it may be defended, is an international crime, that it is the duty of every peace-loving state to resent it and employ whatever force is necessary to crush it, that the machinery of the Charter, no less than the machinery of the Covenant, is sufficient for this purpose if properly used, and that every well-disposed citizen of every state should be ready to undergo any sacrifice in order to maintain peace ... I venture to impress upon my hearers that the great work of peace is resting not only on the narrow interests of our own nations, but even more on those great principles of right and wrong which nations, like individuals, depend.

The League is dead. Long live the United Nations.[214]

The Assembly passed a resolution that "With effect from the day following the close of the present session of the Assembly [i.e., April 19], the League of Nations shall cease to exist except for the sole purpose of the liquidation of its affairs as provided in the present resolution."[216] A Board of Liquidation consisting of nine persons from different countries spent the next 15 months overseeing the transfer of the League's assets and functions to the United Nations or specialised bodies, finally dissolving itself on 31 July 1947.[216]

The archive of the League of Nations was transferred to the United Nations Office at Geneva and is now an entry in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

In the past few decades, by research using the League Archives at Geneva, historians have reviewed the legacy of the League of Nations as the United Nations has faced similar troubles to those of the interwar period. Current consensus views that, even though the League failed to achieve its ultimate goal of world peace, it did manage to build new roads towards expanding the rule of law across the globe; strengthened the concept of collective security, giving a voice to smaller nations; helped to raise awareness to problems like epidemics, slavery, child labour, colonial tyranny, refugee crises and general working conditions through its numerous commissions and committees; and paved the way for new forms of statehood, as the mandate system put the colonial powers under international observation.[217]

Professor David Kennedy portrays the League as a unique moment when international affairs were "institutionalised", as opposed to the pre–First World War methods of law and politics.[218]

The principal Allies in the Second World War (the UK, the USSR, France, the U.S., and the Republic of China) became permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 1946; in 1971, the People's Republic of China replaced the Republic of China (then only in control of Taiwan) as permanent member of the UN Security Council, and in 1991 the Russian Federation assumed the seat of the dissolved USSR.

Decisions of the Security Council are binding on all members of the UN, and unanimous decisions are not required, unlike in the League Council. Permanent members of the Security Council can wield a veto to protect their vital interests.[219]
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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200. Northedge 1986, p. 253.
201. Northedge 1986, p. 254.
202. Northedge 1986, pp. 253–254.
203. McDonough 1997, p. 74.
204. Ditrych, Ondrej. 'International Terrorism' as Conspiracy: Debating Terrorism in the League of Nations. Historical Social Research Vol. 38, 1 (2013).
205. Quoted in Jerald A. Combs, 'American diplomatic history: two centuries of changing interpretations (1983) p 158.
206. McDonough 1997, pp. 54–5.
207. Northedge 1986, pp. 238–240.
208. Northedge 1986, pp. 134–135.
209. Barnett 1972, p. 245.
210. League of Nations archives, United Nations Office in Geneva. Network visualization and analysis published in Grandjean, Martin (2014). "La connaissance est un réseau". Les Cahiers du Numérique. 10 (3): 37–54. doi:10.3166/lcn.10.3.37-54. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
211. Scott 1973, p. 399.
212. Northedge 1986, pp. 278–280.
213. League of Nations Chronology Archived 30 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine Philip J. Strollo
214. Scott 1973, p. 404.
215. "League of Nations Ends, Gives Way to New U.N.", Syracuse Herald-American, 20 April 1946, p. 12
216. Denys P. Myers (1948). "Liquidation of League of Nations Functions". The American Journal of International Law. 42 (2): 320–354. doi:10.2307/2193676. JSTOR 2193676.
217. Pedersen, Susan (October 2007). "Back to the League of Nations". The American Historical Review. American Historical Review. 112 (4): 1091–1117. doi:10.1086/ahr.112.4.1091. JSTOR 40008445.
218. Kennedy 1987.
219. Northedge 1986, pp. 278–281.

Further reading


• Brierly, J. L. and P. A. Reynolds. "The League of Nations" The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol. XII, The Shifting Balance of World Forces(2nd ed. 1968) Chapter IX, .
• Henig, Ruth B, ed. (1973). The League of Nations. Oliver and Boyd. ISBN 978-0-05-002592-5.
• Northedge, F.S (1986). The League of Nations: Its Life and Times, 1920–1946. Holmes & Meier. ISBN 978-0-7185-1316-0.
• Raffo, P (1974). The League of Nations. The Historical Association.
• Scott, George (1973). The Rise and Fall of the League of Nations. Hutchinson & Co LTD. ISBN 978-0-09-117040-0.
• Walters, F. P. A History of the League of Nations (2 vol. 1952) online


• Pedersen, Susan "Back to the League of Nations." American Historical Review 112.4 (2007): 1091–1117. in JSTOR
• Aufricht, Hans "Guide to League of Nations Publications" (1951).
• Juntke, Fritz; Sveistrup, Hans: "Das deutsche Schrifttum über den Völkerbund" (1927).

League topics

• Akami, T. "Imperial polities, intercolonialism and shaping of global governing norms: public health expert networks in Asia and the League of Nations Health Organization, 1908–37," Journal of Global History 12#1 (2017): 4–25.
• Barros, James. The Corfu incident of 1923: Mussolini and the League of Nations (Princeton UP, 2015).
• Bendiner, Elmer. A Time of Angels: The Tragi-comic History of the League of Nations (1975).
• Borowy, Iris. Coming to terms with world health: the League of Nations Health Organisation 1921–1946 (Peter Lang, 2009).
• Burkman, Thomas W. Japan and the League of Nations: Empire and world order, 1914–1938 (U of Hawaii Press, 2008).
• Clavin, Patricia. Securing the world economy: the reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920–1946 (Oxford UP, 2013).
• Caravantes, Peggy (2004). Waging Peace: The story of Jane Addams (1st ed.). Greensboro, North Carolina: Morgan Reynolds. ISBN 978-1-931798-40-2.
• Cooper, John Milton. Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations (2001) 454pp excerpt and text search
• Ditrych, Ondrej. "“International terrorism” in the League of Nations and the contemporary terrorism dispositif." Critical Studies on Terrorism 6#2 (2013): 225–240.
• Dykmann, Klaas. "How International was the Secretariat of the League of Nations?." International History Review 37#4 (2015): 721–744.
• Egerton, George W (1978). Great Britain and the Creation of the League of Nations: Strategy, Politics, and International Organization, 1914–1919. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-807-81320-1.
• Gill, George (1996). The League of Nations from 1929 to 1946. Avery Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-89529-637-5.
• Ginneken, Anique H.M. van. Historical Dictionary of the League of Nations (2006) excerpt and text search
• Grandjean, Martin (2018). Les réseaux de la coopération intellectuelle. La Société des Nations comme actrice des échanges scientifiques et culturels dans l'entre-deux-guerres [The Networks of Intellectual Cooperation. The League of Nations as an Actor of the Scientific and Cultural Exchanges in the Inter-War Period] (in French). Lausanne: Université de Lausanne.
• Götz, Norbert (2005). "On the Origins of 'Parliamentary Diplomacy'". Cooperation and Conflict. 40 (3): 263–279. doi:10.1177/0010836705055066.
• Jenne, Erin K. Nested Security: Lessons in Conflict Management from the League of Nations and the European Union (Cornell UP, 2015).
• Kuehl, Warren F; Dunn, Lynne K (1997). Keeping the Covenant: American Internationalists and the League of Nations, 1920–1939.
• League of Nations (1935). Essential Facts about the League of Nations. Geneva.
• Lloyd, Lorna. "“(O) n the side of justice and peace”: Canada on the League of Nations Council 1927–1930." Diplomacy & Statecraft 24#2 (2013): 171–191.
• McCarthy, Helen. The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, citizenship and internationalism, c. 1918–45 (Oxford UP, 2011). online review
• Malin, James C (1930). The United States after the World War. pp. 5–82.
• Marbeau, Michel (2001). La Société des Nations (in French). Presses Universitaires de France. ISBN 978-2-13-051635-4.
• Ostrower, Gary (1995). The League of Nations from 1919 to 1929 (Partners for Peace. Avery Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0895296368.
• Shine, Cormac (2018). "Papal Diplomacy by Proxy? Catholic Internationalism at the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation". The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. 69 (4): 785–805. doi:10.1017/S0022046917002731.
• Swart, William J. "The League of Nations and the Irish Question." Sociological Quarterly 36.3 (1995): 465–481.
• Walters, Francis P. (1952). A History of the League of Nations. Oxford University Press.
• Yearwood, Peter J. Guarantee of Peace: The League of Nations in British Policy 1914–1925 (Oxford UP, 2009).

Specialized topics

• Archer, Clive (2001). International Organizations. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-24690-3.
• Baer, George W (1976). Test Case: Italy, Ethiopia, and the League of Nations. Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8179-6591-4.
• Bell, P.M.H (2007). The Origins of the Second World War in Europe. Pearson Education Limited. ISBN 978-1-4058-4028-6.
• Bouchet-Saulnier, Françoise; Brav, Laura; Olivier, Clementine (2007). The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-5496-2.
• Burkman, Thomas W (1995). "Japan and the League of Nations: an Asian power encounters the European Club". World Affairs. 158 (1): 45–57.
• Everard, Myriam; de Haan, Francisca (2016). Rosa Manus (1881-1942): The International Life and Legacy of a Jewish Dutch Feminist. Leiden, The Netherlands: BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-33318-5.
• Gorodetsky, Gabriel (1994). Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917–1991: A Retrospective. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-4506-3.
• Iriye, Akira (1987). The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific. Longman Group UK Limited. ISBN 978-0-582-49349-0.
• Jacobs, Aletta Henriette (1996). Feinberg, Harriet; Wright, Annie (translator), eds. Memories: My Life as an International Leader in Health, Suffrage, and Peace. New York, New York: Feminist Press at City of New York. ISBN 978-1-55861-138-2.
• Kennedy, David (April 1987). "The Move to Institutions" (PDF). Cardozo Law Review. 8 (5): 841–988. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
• Knock, Thomas J (1995). To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-00150-0.
• Levinovitz, Agneta Wallin; Ringertz, Nils (2001). The Nobel Prize: The First 100 Years. World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-02-4665-5.
• Magliveras, Konstantinos D (1999). Exclusion from Participation in International Organisations: The Law and Practice behind Member States' Expulsion and Suspension of Membership. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 978-90-411-1239-2.
• Nish, Ian (1977). Japanese foreign policy 1869–1942:Kasumigaseki to Miyakezaka. Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 978-0-415-27375-6.
• Osmanczyk, Edmund Jan; Mango, Anthony (2002). Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-93924-9.
• Temperley, A.C. The Whispering Gallery Of Europe (1938), highly influential account of League esp disarmament conference of 1932-34. online
• Wiltsher, Anne (1985). Most Dangerous Women: Feminist peace campaigners of the Great War (1st ed.). London, England: Pandora Press. ISBN 978-0-86358-010-9.

External links

• The League of Nations., Boston: Old Colony Trust Company, 1919. A collection of charters, speeches, etc. on the topic.
• League of Nations Photo archive,
• League of Nations chronology
• League of Nations timeline,
• History of the League of Nations, University of Oxford-led project
• Wilson's Final Address in Support of the League of Nations Speech made 25 September 1919
• History (1919–1946) from the United Nations Office at Geneva
• League of Nations Archives from the United Nations Office at Geneva
• Table of Assemblies Dates of each annual assembly, links to list of members of each country's delegation
• LONSEA – League of Nations Search Engine, Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", Universität Heidelberg
• Clippings about League of Nations in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)
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Posts: 36077
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:49 pm

Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila (1896-1997)
by Dhamma Web
Accessed: 4/1/19



Born in 1896 in Pyawbwe, Myanmar.

Studied the scriptures at the age of seven to eight. Ordained a novice at the age of 15 and already well-versed with the primer to Abhidhamma studies, the Abhidhammatthasangaha, also the Mahasatipatthana Sutta and Kaccayana's Pali Grammar, and received his higher ordination in 1916.

Selected, from among five thousand candidates, as the Pathamakyaw Scholar of all Burma (1918), one of the four successful graduates from one hundred and fifty entrants for the highest of all monastic examinations, the Panyattisasanahita (1923). His success accorded him an appointment to co-head a monastery at a relatively young age. Went to India to study English and Sanskrit and had contributed much to the revival of Buddhism in South India (1933). Left for England and further his study of the English language at the London Polytechnic (1938-39). During this time forth he started to teach Abhidhamma to the West.

Accepted an invitation from the Association for Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, U.S.A., to lecture in America (1959), and delivered over a total of one hundred and sixty lectures at various universities and arranged meetings in six months.
His later teaching engagement for two years in England allowed him the opportunity to translate into English from the Pali, for the very first time that it had ever been done, the second of the seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, Vibhanga. It was published by the Pali Text Society in 1969 under the title of The Book of Analysis.

Served as the Spiritual Adviser to the central council of the Sangha Mahanayaka of Burma (1966-82); trustees of the Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Kaba Aye Pagoda among others, examiner for the well known Abhidhamma Propagation Society in Rangoon, and had since traveled to more than 25 countries to lecture.

Venerable U Ṭhittila [Excerpt from Honour Thy Fathers: A Tribute to the Venerable Kapilavaddho ... And brief History of the Development of Theravāda Buddhism in the UK, by Terry Shine

Venerable U Ṭhittila

Source: Extract from “Essential Themes of Buddhist Lectures” by U Ṭhittila

Wisdom is the power of seeing things as they truly are, and how to act rightly when the problems of life come before us. The seeds of wisdom lie latent in us, and when our hearts are soft and warm with love they grow into their powers.

When a man has stilled the raging torrents of greed. hatred and ignorance, he becomes conscientious, full of sympathy, and he is anxious for the welfare of all living beings. Thus he abstains from stealing, and is upright and honest in all his dealings; he abstains from sexual misconduct and is pure, chaste; he abstains from tale bearing. What he has heard in one place he does not repeat in another so as to cause dissension, he unites those who are divided and encourages those who are united. He abstains from harsh language speaking such words as are gentle, soothing to the ear and which go to the heart. He abstains from vain talk, speaking what is useful at the right time and according to the facts. It is when his mind is pure and his heart is soft by being equipped with this morality and mental development that the sublime seed, wisdom, grows. Knowledge of the properties of the magnetic needle enable the mariner to see the right direction in mid-ocean on the darkest night when no stars are visible. In just the same way wisdom enables a man to see things as they truly are, and to perceive the right way to real peace and happiness, Nibbāna.


Venerable Kapilavaddho and the English Sangha Trust

We pay tribute to a man who founded the English Sangha Trust and who, after an absence of ten years, returned to lead it from the dolorous state into which it had fallen. He had in the course of his lifetime several different names, as will appear but it is fitting to head this tribute with the name and designation that he twice bore with wisdom, courage and dignity. There will be many, to whom the earlier parts of the almost incredible saga of this man are unknown, and it is with such people in mind that the story is told at some length.

William August Purfurst was born at Hanwell, Middlesex, on 2nd June 1906. As the name indicates, his father was of German origin, and he was an only child. His father died when he was quite small, and he was brought up under the care of his mother, to whom he remained devotedly attached until her death in 1957. Young William soon showed himself to be a man of many and brilliant gifts. There is no doubt that he could have made a career for himself either in business or in the academic world. He had a remarkable gift for acquiring a wide variety of experiences and — what is more — profiting from them. At the age of 20 he was living in Bristol as manager of a branch of an internationally know typewriter firm, but the world of business could not satisfy him. He started studying such things as psychology and philosophy, eagerly seeking to find answers to life’s riddle. But his compulsively inquiring mind was not so easily satisfied with the “solutions” proffered by the books he read. Perhaps already at this time he began to suspect that the scholars and philosophers of the West had no monopoly of wisdom. In any case, he felt that the only place for him to pursue his studies further was London. After two years, he gave up his Bristol job and set out for the capital where he had been born, on foot: an action, which was symbolic of his future career. From then on, he stood on his own two feet, and if necessary walked on them to wherever he felt he had to go.

An expert photographer, he soon got himself a job in Fleet Street. He returned each night from the day’s work to his private studies, his private questing. He was ever trying to find out the nature of things, the reason for man’s existence, and was not going to be fobbed off with any easy answers. But as happens, the deeper he probed the further off the solution to his questions appeared. At the same time, the first of his teachers appeared on the scene. This man, perceiving qualities that resided in the young Purfurst, took him under his wing, giving him an intensive course in the philosophy of the East. Starting with the Vedas and the Upanishads, Yoga and Vedanta — all as a preliminary to the real kernel of the course, which was Buddhism. Discipline under his teacher was strict — he had to work each evening at his studies, and also undertake a regime of strict physical training. He stuck it out, mastered the philosophical course and at the same time gained considerable control over his own body and emotions. All this had been undertaken in his spare time, in the evenings after his journalistic work.

When his friend and mentor died, he continued on his own, extending his studies into other fields such as anatomy and chemistry. As a result of these studies, he was able to develop a new colour printing process which in one form or another, is still in use today. This was his life until the outbreak of war in 1939, when he became an official war photographer. However as a man of action, he found life dull in the early days of the war. Nothing seemed to happen, so he trained as a fireman. By the time his training was completed, the picture had changed. The blitz had begun. As an officer of the National Fire Service in London he soon found all the “action” he could ask for, and more.

He had some hair-raising experiences amid burning, crashing buildings, while bombs rained down and the ack-ack guns opened up, amid burst mains and sewers. Crawling among precarious ruins, digging out the living and the dead, going without sleep, food, drink, or even his precious cigarettes, and of course constantly risking his own life for the sake of others. In his case, though he distinguished himself by his fearlessness, such a life was after all not so very exceptional. He was a Londoner born and bred. Although they had not yet met, there was another man in London doing very similar things, whom one would scarcely have expected to meet in such a situation. This was a Burmese bhikkhu, the Venerable U Ṭhittila, who had come to work in London at scholarly pursuits when war overtook him. He was equal to the occasion and, boldly doffing the robe, he joined the ambulance service and worked in blitzed London under similar conditions to William Purfurst. This experience gave Venerable U Ṭhittila a unique insight into the British character. And it probably also did much to forge the bond of friendship, which eventually grew between the two men.

As D-Day approached, William Purfurst’s wartime activities changed in character. He became a civilian photographer attached to the Royal Air Force, his job being to take pictures of army parachutists who were dropped on enemy territory. In order to equip himself for this task, he himself volunteered for a parachute course took the full training and did a number of drops. He then went as a photographer on a number of missions until the war in Europe finally ended.

Towards the end of the war he also got married, and having left the service he became a WEA (Workers Educational Association) lecturer in philosophy, in which capacity he travelled a great deal up and down the country. It was about this time that he met Venerable U Thittila, whose pupil he promptly became. The bhikkhu who had been supported by the Buddhist Society resumed the robe somewhat informally (he had to be re-ordained, later, in Burma) and gave many lectures and classes at the Society’s old premises in Great Russell Street, where William Purfurst was also active as a speaker.

Purfurst’s activities were by no means confined to London. There were eleven people in Manchester who had been studying the Buddha Dhamma under him, for nearly a year. They had formed themselves into a group called the Phoenix Society; and each weekend he travelled from London to conduct an exhaustive program of theory and practice. Others came and the group grew, within months it became the Buddhist Society of Manchester. It was the first active society outside London. Almost at the same time the teacher had taken his own first steps towards becoming a Buddhist monk. The urge to proceed along the Buddhist path is the only way open to a man of his temperament, namely the total devotion to and immersion in the Dhamma implied by the bhikkhu life. It was so strong that eventually an understanding wife gave him the freedom to answer this call. It was indeed she who urged this step on him. Thus they parted, and shortly before Wesak in 1952 William Purfurst adopted the status of a homeless one, an anagārika. Following this he took the Pabbajjā or novice ordination to become Sāmaṇera Dhammānanda, which he did under the Venerable U Thittila on Wesak 1952. Venerable U Thittila remained his mentor until himself returning to Burma to take up a university post in Rangoon.

Now the name of William Purfurst disappears, and instead there is the Sāmaṇera Dhammananda working for the Buddhist Society, lecturing and conducting classes, travelling up and down the country in his three cotton robes, inspiring and founding Buddhist Societies at Oxford and Cambridge. During this time the Buddhist Summer School, later taken over by the Buddhist Society, was founded, and continues to this day as an increasingly popular annual event. The sheer physical hardship of his existence at this time should not be under-rated. At one time, in fact, he even “went missing” for a fortnight, virtually starving and sleeping on park benches in his scanty attire, till he almost succumbed to exhaustion and fever. But this was merely typical of the man. He conducted experiments on his own body and mind in much the same spirit as the late Prof. J. B. S. Haldiane had done in the name of science. Nor was he unmindful of the six years of austerity and self-torment, endured by Gautama in the days of his Noble Quest (Ariyapariyesanā, cf. Middle Length Sayings, No. 26), which preceded his enlightenment. Even his sternest critics and it is only truthful to admit that he had many at times, were bound to concede that he had the sheer guts to do many things that most of them would never have attempted.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:51 pm

Tour of Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila, Aggamahapandita, to Western Europe
Accessed: 4/1/19

Aggamahāpandiṭa, meaning "foremost great and wise one," is derived from the following Pali terms: Agga, from Aggasāvaka (အဂ္ဂသာဝက), which was conferred by the Buddha to his foremost disciples, Sariputta and Mahamoggallana.



In 1953, shortly after arriving in Delhi, Nehru sent Freda to Burma as the Indian representative of a UNESCO mission. For the first time in her life Freda found herself in a rich and exclusively Buddhist country. The impact was immediate and galvanic. Surrounded by hundreds of pagodas and thousands of monks roaming the streets in saffron robes, she instantly felt she had come home.

“When I set foot on that soil, the Golden Temple, the monks with their begging bowls, suddenly it was déjà vu. Without understanding anything much about Buddhism, I knew. This is The Way, this is what I have been looking for. I saw the whole thing,” she said. Freda was forty-two years old. Her long, diligent quest to find her true spiritual path was finally over. It had taken thirty-eight years, since her first days of sitting in her local church in Derby before school trying to meditate. Curiously, in spite of her remarkable effort and conscientiousness in searching and trying out the world’s great religious traditions, she had enver come across Buddhism before, even though the Buddha had been born, taught, and attained enlightenment in India. His message had thrived there for over seven hundred years, until the Mughals invaded in the thirteenth century. They had swept in from the Middle East, destroying the renowned Nalanda University, hailed as the greatest center of learning in Asia, and setting fire to the largest Buddhist library in the ancient world, which allegedly burned for three months. Thousands of Buddhist monks and scholars fled into obscurity in the Himalayan kingdoms, from where Buddhism spread to the Far East and Southeast Asia. From then on, the Buddha was incorporated into the pantheon of Hindu gods and was regarded as a mythological figure.

Burma now boasted some of the most accomplished Buddhist meditation masters on the planet. Freda wasted no time seeking them out. As usual she went straight to the top.

Sayadaw U Thittila Aggamahapandita was vice president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and spoke excellent English. He agreed to teach Freda personally for eight weeks. The regime was tough and exceptionally rigorous, demanding she be aware of each detail involved in every activity – walking, eating, brushing teeth, putting on shoes, blinking. Every breath was accompanied by awareness. And then awareness itself was watched by awareness….

“I remember Sayadaw U Pandita telling me, ‘If you get a realization, or a flash, it may not be sitting on your meditation cushion in front of an image of the Buddha. It will probably be somewhere you least expect it.”

That’s precisely what happened. Freda had what she called her enlightenment experience “while I was walking with the Commission through the streets of Kyaukme, in northern Burma. Suddenly I saw the flow of things, the meaning and the connection. It was the first real flash of understanding. I can’t explain exactly what it was because it was beyond words. But it opened so many gates and showed me things I’d been trying to find for a very long time,” she explained. She revealed to a few close friends that her Damascene experience had lasted for hours and was accompanied by great bliss.

A window had been opened, a transcendental window giving a glimpse into another reality. The afterschock was dramatic. “We got a phone call back in Delhi that Mummy had collapsed and we had to bring her home from Burma immediately,” says Ranga. “Of course we had no money, so we went around to Nehru and Indira’s house and they provided the plane fare to fetch her home and an ambulance to meet her at the airport.” Continuing her tour was now out of the question.

“When she arrived, it was shocking. Mummy didn’t recognize anyone. For weeks she stayed in her bed, getting up just to go to the bathroom. That’s as far as she would go. She wouldn’t talk or register anything in the outside world. She’d eat the food put in front of her like an automaton. If you looked at her, it was like looking into a stone wall. She never saw you. It was as though she were catatonic. It was terrifying for all of us – except Papa. He didn’t seem concerned at all. He said it was all happening as it should and that it would work out all right. He was correct. After about six weeks she began to show signs of improvement. Her face became more expressive and she began to interact with us. But it took about three months before she was back to normal.”

Gradually she resumed her work and tried to get back to her old life, but she had irrevocably changed. After Burma she was going in a different direction, and nothing was going to be the same. The first to feel the impact was BPL. Their marriage of twenty years had been founded on love, intellectual compatibility, and their shared vision of an independent India. That last job had been completed. Freda knew with certainty that that phase of her life was over. Her heart and her path now belonged to the Buddha.

She calmly sat her husband down and announced, “I’ve been searching all my life, but it’s the Buddhist monks who have been able to show me what it is that I have been looking for. I am a Buddhist from now on – and I have taken a personal vow of a brahmacharya,” she said, referring to the vow of celibacy said to induce spiritual purity and enhance one’s capacity for divine happiness.

BPL took the news remarkably well....

Another reason that BPL took Freda’s news with such equanimity was that his inner life was running along parallel lines. For some time he had been following his own spiritual quest and was undergoing his own enlightenment experience. It bore all the hallmarks of his originality. “He would sit still for hours without moving. He would babble in voices we didn’t understand. He’d go up onto the roof and stand for hours with his arms outstretched toward a shrine of a Sufi saint,” said Kabir. “We called the doctor, but Papa just smiled at him. ‘What I’m going through is beyond you,’ he told him. The doctor nevertheless insisted on examining him. ‘You won’t find a pulse,’ said Papa. He was right. The astonished doctor left.

“Father started going on walks, discovering the graves of Sufi saints in the area, telling us where they were, both marked and unmarked. He started to do automatic writing. Word got out and people started coming to the house with their problems. Papa would listen, then begin writing, and eventually hand them sheets of paper with answers to their troubles on them. In time he became quite a healer and was known as Baba Bedi, the name given to a holy man.”

Having lost touch with its glorious heritage of classical scholarship, the Muslim world today is divided in squabbles between two opposing camps, who despite their respective deviations, are both attempting to usurp the right to represent orthodox Islam. The Wahhabis and Salafis are the product of a British strategy to undermine Islamic tradition and create fundamentalism. While the Sufis are their most vocal and articulate critics, rightly pointing out their corruptions, they themselves are part of a similar conspiracy, again with close ties to Western intelligence and the occult.

The New Age movement, following the teachings of a leading disciple of H. P. Blavatsky, believes that the coming of the Age of Aquarius will herald the beginning of world peace and one-world government, headed by the Maitreya, who is said to be awaited also by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, though he is known by these believers respectively as Christ, Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna or Imam Mahdi. The New Age’s expectation of the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims has been nurtured through its relationship with Sufism.

Essentially, the pretext of the occult is that in the future the world will be united in peace by eliminating all sectarianism, when the world will be brought together under a single belief system. The basis of that belief will be the occult tradition, which it is claimed has been the underlying source of all exoteric religions. As such, since at least the middle of the eighteenth century, occultists have marketed Sufism as being the origin of Freemasonry.

According to Idries Shah, the twelfth century Qadiriyya Sufi order was the origin of the Rosicrucians, the most important occult movement after the Renaissance, who later evolved into the Freemasons. As detailed in Black Terror White Soldiers, the Rosicrucians were responsible for orchestrating the advent of Sabbatai Zevi, who took the Jewish world by storm in 1666 when he declared himself their expected messiah. However, Zevi disappointed the vast majority of his followers when he subsequently converted to Islam. Nevertheless, an important segment followed him into Islam as well, and to this day consist of a powerful community of secret Jews known as Dönmeh.

The Dönmeh of Turkey maintained associations with a number of Sufi orders, like Whirling Dervishes founded by Jalal ad-Din Rumi, and the Bektashis. Strongly heretical, the Bektashi venerated Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, repudiated many of the legal rulings of Islam, and combined Kabbalistic ideas with elements of ancient Central Asian shamanism.

Through the influence of Bektashi Sufism, the Dönmeh developed the belief of Pan-Turkism, later adopted by the Young Turks, a Dönmeh and Masonic organization responsible for overthrowing the Ottoman Caliphate in 1908. Pan-Turkism begins with Alexander Csoma de Körös (1784 – 1842), the first in the West to mention mysterious Buddhist realm known as Shambhala, which he regarded as the origin of the Turkish people, and which he situated in the Altai mountains and Xinjiang.

Csoma de Körös’s mention of Shambhala became the basis of the mystical speculations offered by H. P. Blavatsky, which she regarded as the homeland of the Aryan race. Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, and came to be regarded as an oracle of Freemasonry and the godmother of the occult. Blavatsky became largely responsible for initiating the popularity of Buddhism as a font of the Ancient Wisdom. However, contrary to popular perceptions, Tibetan Buddhism is a strange amalgam of Buddhist ideas, along with Hindu Tantra and Central Asian shamanism, it was for this reason that Blavatsky regarded it as the true preservation of the traditions of magic.

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the first of the hippies and the Beat Generation were arriving in India, and many found their way to BPL’s door. “Then the house got full of really strange people. Papa always made it quite clear to all of them, however, that he was not a saint, nor was he going to behave like one. ‘I’ll smoke my cigarettes and drink my whiskey as normal – and not be bound by anyone,’ Papa said. Gradually he stopped writing automatic messages and started speaking words that he begun coming through him. At first his voice and way of talking were strange, but then the style evolved and he talked like himself,” said Kabir.....

The next event to send shock waves through the family was when Freda, for reasons of her own, sent Guli to boarding school miles away in North India. her daughter was just five years old. It seemed not only cruel but a terrible dereliction of maternal duty, and out of character with her essentially kind, caring nature. In addition, she performed the deed in what appeared a particularly brutal way.

Guli, now a tall, sociable woman who has dedicated her life to teaching children with special needs, lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, outside Boston, Massachusetts. She recalls every detail of the traumatic event. "When Mummy told me her idea, I told her outright, 'I am not going to boarding school!' We children were all strong characters, who had been taught to speak up. She arranged everything extremely well. We often went touring, and this year Mummy took me to visit an old family friend, Auntie Mera (who had adopted thirteen children) in Naina Tal, in the foothills of Uttar Pradesh. When we got there, she asked if I wanted to see All Saints School, which was nearby and run by Christian nuns. I said yes. I remember the oak tree in the garden, which was huge, and I got very animated and chatty with the nuns. I turned around to tell Mummy something and she was gone. I was absolutely devastated. I cried for three days. The nuns, British Anglican missionaries, were so kind. They really cared for me."

Guli grew to love her school. "It turned out to be the best experience. I studied the scriptures and I know everything about the bible. I loved the hymns and the feeling of the chapel, not that I ever felt the need to become a Christian. There was never any talk about conversion!"....

Whenever she could, she traveled to Burma to continue her meditation training under his strict, watchful eye. Sometimes she took Kabir, her "special child" with her, encouraging him to shave his head and don Buddhist robes as a child monk. Secretly she hoped that one day he would be ordained. That destiny was not to be his, however.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

At 3.25 p.m on 12th April 1958, the Buddhist organisations of Western Europe had the privilege of welcoming Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila and Ven. Pannadipa who had travelled together from Rangoon as representatives of the Union of Burma Buddha Sasana Council. They were met at London Airport by members of the Ven. Sayadaw's particular organisation, the Buddha Study Association of which he is President, and escorted to the London Buddhist Vihara, 10 Ovington Gardens, S.W.3, where Ven. Pandit Saddhatissa Mahathera is in charge.

Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila, being already well-known over a period of many years in England and on the continent of Europe, had a full programms awaiting him concerning both his work amongst the Burmese residents and the specific organisations depending on his lectures, advice and instructions for the work to be undertaken during the coming year. On 13th April, H.E. the Burmese Ambassador and his wife invited the Ven. Sayadaw and Ven. Pannadipa to lunch, after which the Ven. Bhikkhus chanted the Metta Sutta and the Ven. Sayadaw discoursed on Metta, while at each week-end during their stay they were entertained by personnel of the Burmese Embassy and of the Burmese Section of the B.B.C. Gatherings I were always celebrated by the chanting of the Metta Sutta and by short talks. Frequently the Ven. Bhikkhus have been entertained to lunch by Daw Mya Sein, the proprietress of the Burma Restaurant, and the Ven. Sayadaw has been taking to his various appointments in the cars of Mr. I and Mrs. R. Iggleden and Mr. G. Cruikshank.

In the period preceding the Wesak Festival, Ven. U Thittila spoke in Burmese on the Burmese Section of the B.B.C. at 4.30 p.m. on 24th April; his subject was "Wesak". On the 20th, 23rd and 30th April, respectively, he lectured at the Vihara to the Buddha Study Association on "What is Happiness?", "The Laws of Cause and Effect", and "Rebirth". For the Abhidhamma Study Group he held classes on the Patthana on 22nd and 29th April. At the opening ceremony of the Wesak celebrations at the Vihara when, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Gunasena de Soysa, High Commissioner for Ceylon, Ven. Saddhatissa invited H.E. U Aung Soe, the Burmese Ambassador in London. to hoist the Buddhist flag over the building, Ven. U Thittila, heading a list of distinguished speakers, discoursed on the significance of Wesak and all that the terms "Buddha" and "Buddhism" imply. At 2.30 on 3rd May, on the "East Asia Calling" Section of the B.B.C., he gave a talk on "Buddhism" and subsequently answered a number of questions.

Renewing his contact with the University of Oxford Buddhist Society, at 8.15 p.m. on 5th May, the Ven. Sayadaw spoke to the group on "Meditation" returning on 12th May to conduct a discussion relating thereto. At 7.30 p.m. on 8th May, he addressed the World Congress of Faiths 23 Norfolk Square, W.2, and at 7 p.m. on the following evening the Theosophical Society, Tavistock Square, W.C.2; his subjects were, respectively, "The Practical Aspect of Buddhism" and "Buddhist Psychology". On Sunday, 11th May at 5.30, he spoke at the Vihara Sunday Meeting on "Causes of Unhappiness", and on the 13th, 20th and 27th continued his lecture to the Abhidhamma Group on the Patthana. For the Buddha Study Association he spoke on the 14th on "The Origin of Life" and on the 21st on the Paticca Samuppada. Both series of lectures were timed for 7.30 p.m. Finally, at 6.30 p.m. on 28th May he addressed the London Buddhist Society, 58 Eccleston Square, S.W.1, on "Buddhism in Burma."

Having intended to visit France, Germany and Holland, the Ven. Sayadaw expected to leave England on Saturday, 31st May, but since he was obliged, by circumstances beyond his control, to curtail his continental tour, he proceeded to Holland on Tuesday, 10th June. In the interval he has spent more time in reviewing the overall position of his organisations in England and centres of activity which have recently arisen on the Continent.

This review has confirmed the necessity of greater continuity in the direction and personal management if the Buddhist organisations which have been the Ven. Sayadaw's particular care are to expand as healthy organisations should. Many years of work have sown the seeds of success in the expansion of Buddhist teachings, but these cannot mature unless a Burmese centre should be established in Western Europe-and the centre would be in London where the Sayadaw and the assistant Bhikkhus could live and from which they could work. Three points are outstanding regarding the review:

1. that a considerable change of outlook has occurred during the last few months and that in the present state of flux of thought there is exceptional opportunity to attract followers to the Buddhist Teachings,

2. that there are some students who have already made sufficient progress in their studies of Buddhism to be of value to the movement as a whole if they could continue them for another few years,

3. that the demand for headquarters is not for palatial buildings but for a settled genuine place of work.

The last of the three points is, of course, that most generally appreciated by Buddhists in England, for they have raised a certain sum of money amongst themselves and are disappointed that the Burmese authorities have shown no sign of giving substantial help. Moreover, enquiries have been received from continental cities which previously showed no interest in Buddhism, yet without a headquarters it is impossible even to deal with the letters. The British Buddhists, and particularly the members of the Buddha Study Association, while expressing their heartfelt gratitude for the visit of the Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila, do also make an earnest appeal for substantial help from the Burmese authorities, whereby, he may continue to teach them the Dhamma and help them to spread it to others.

A.A.G. Bennett

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Maha Bodhi Society
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Maha: Sinhalese maha large, great, from Sanskrit mahat.

-- Maha, by Merriam Webster

Bodhi: Early 19th century bodhi was translated as "intelligence". The term "enlighten" was first being used in 1835, in an English translation of a French article, while the first recorded use of the term 'enlightenment' is credited ... to the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (February, 1836). In 1857 The Times used the term "the Enlightened" for the Buddha in a short article, which was reprinted the following year by Max Müller.[17]

-- Enlightenment in Buddhism, by Wikipedia

Total Information Awareness (TIA) was a mass surveillance program of the United States Information Awareness Office that began during the 2003 fiscal year. It operated under this title from February until May 2003, before being renamed as the Terrorism Information Awareness.

-- Total Information Awareness, by Wikipedia

In the summer of 1952... Tibet was more inaccessible than ever...One notable exception was the unique window provided by the princely state of Sikkim...

Beginning in 1947 and continuing for the next three years, its royals scrambled to salvage some form of autonomy that would safeguard their exalted status...

The job of negotiating with the Indians went to the prince's son and heir apparent, Palden Thondup...

The result was a December treaty whereby the protectorate of Sikkim was free to manage domestic matters but allowed India to regulate its foreign affairs, defense, and trade...

Though prohibited from making independent foreign policy, they believed that it was still within their right to retain a degree of international personality. This held obvious appeal for the United States, which appreciated Sikkim's unique perspective on Himalayan events, on account of its royals being related by blood and marriage to the elite in neighboring Bhutan and Tibet...In the spring of 1951, the U.S. consulate in Calcutta gingerly tested the waters. The Chinese had already invaded Kham, and Larry Dalley, a young CIA officer who had arrived in the city the previous fall under cover of vice consul, was eager to collect good intelligence on events across the border. He knew that two members of Sikkim's royal family frequented Calcutta and would be good sources of information.

The first, Pema Tseudeun, was the older sister of the crown prince. Popularly known by the name Kukula, she was the stunning, urbane archetype of a Himalayan princess. Her contact with American officials actually dated back to 1942, when she had been in Lhasa as the teenage wife of a Tibetan nobleman. OSS officers Tolstoy and Dolan had just arrived in the Tibetan capital that December and were preparing to present a gift from President Franklin Roosevelt to the young Dalai Lama. The gift was in a plain box, and the two Americans were scrambling to find suitable wrapping. "I came forward," she recalls, "and donated the bright red ribbon in my hair." [During his stay in Lhasa, OSS officer Dolan befriended Kukula's sister-in-law and fathered her child.]

For the next eight years, Kukula had it good. Married into the powerful Phunkang family (her father-in-law was a cabinet official), she now had considerable holdings in Lhasa. After the Chinese invasion of Kham, however, all was in jeopardy. Leaving many of her possessions back in Tibet, she fled to the safety of Sikkim. There she became a close adviser to the crown prince, accompanying her brother to New Delhi that December to finalize their state's treaty with India.

The second royal in Calcutta, Pema Choki, was Kukula's younger sister. Better known as Princess Kula, she was every bit as beautiful and sophisticated as her sibling. Kula was also married to a Tibetan of high status; her father-in-Iaw, Yutok Dzaza, had been a ranking official at the trade mission in Kalimpong. Both Kukula and Kula were regulars on the Indian diplomatic circuit. "They came to many of the consulate's social functions," remembers Nicholas Thacher, "and were known for their ability to perform all of the latest dance numbers."

Not all of that contact, CIA officer Dalley determined, was social. After arranging for a meeting with Princess Kukula at his apartment, he asked her if she thought the Tibetans might need anything during their current crisis. Kukula suggested that they could use ammunition and said that she would bring a sample of what they needed to their next meeting. True to her word, the princess appeared at Dalley's apartment bearing a round for a British Lee-Enfield rifle. She also mentioned that waves of Tibetan traders came to India almost quarterly to get treatment for venereal disease (a scourge in Tibet) and to pick up food shipments for import. Particularly popular at the time were tins of New Zealand fruits packed in heavy syrup.

Based on this information, Dalley devised a plan to substitute bullets for the fruit. He went as far as pouching Kukula's bullet and a sample tin label to CIA headquarters -- all to no avail. "They laughed at the scheme," he recalls.

Later that spring, the U.S. consulate in Calcutta again turned to the Sikkimese royals for help. At the time, the Dalai Lama was holed up in the border town of Yatung, and CIA officer Robert Linn was brainstorming ways of facilitating indirect contact with the monarch. Two of those he asked to assist in passing notes were Kukula and Kula. Although the Tibetan leader ultimately elected not to go into exile, it was not for want of trying on the part of the princesses.

One year later, Sikkim's royals once more proved their willingness to help. In June 1952, Kukula approached the consulate with an oral message from the Dalai Lama. She had just returned from a visit to her in-laws in Lhasa, and although she had not personally seen the Dalai Lama, she had been given information from Kula's father-in-Iaw, Yutok Dzaza, who had been in Lhasa at the same time, circulating among senior government circles. [Back in September 1951, Yutok Dzaza, a former official at the Tibetan trade office in Kalimpong, had been brought down to the consulate in Calcutta and shown Ambassador Henderson's last-ditch appeal to the Dalai Lama written on U.S. embassy letterhead. Yutok took notes from the letter and then went to Lhasa, where he met several senior government officials. He also met with one of the Dalai Lama's older brothers, Lobsang Samten. It was the information gathered from these sources that he passed to Princess Kukula.] Kukula quoted the Dalai Lama as saying that when the time was propitious for liberation, he hoped the United States would give material aid and moral support. Kukula also passed observations about food shortages in Lhasa and about the desperate conditions of the vast majority of Chinese troops in that city.

To maintain the flow of such useful information, the consulate continued its discreet courtship of the Sikkimese sisters. Part of the task fell to Gary Soulen, the ranking Foreign Service officer in Calcutta. In September 1952, Soulen obtained Indian approval to visit Sikkim for a nature trek. Venturing as far as the Natu pass on the Tibetan frontier, Princess Kukula accompanied him on the trip and imparted more anecdotes about the situation in Lhasa.

CIA officials, too, were looking to make inroads. Kenneth Millian, who replaced Larry Dalley in October 1952 under cover as vice consul, counted the Sikkimese as one of his primary targets. By that time, however, the Indians were doing everything in their power to obstruct contact. On one of the rare occasions when he got permission to visit the Sikkimese capital of Gangtok, for example, New Delhi leaked a false report to the press that the American vice president -- not vice consul -- was scheduled to make an appearance. As a result, entire villages turned out expecting to see Richard Nixon. "Discreet contact," lamented Millian, "became all but impossible."

Occasional trysts with the Sikkimese were conducted by another CIA officer in Calcutta, John Turner. Born of American parents in India, Turner spent his formative years attending school in Darjeeling. He then went to college in the United States, followed by a stint in the army and induction into the agency in 1948. For his first overseas CIA assignment, he was chosen in May 1952 to succeed Robert Linn as the senior CIA officer in Calcutta. Given his cultural background and fluency in Hindi, Turner was well suited for the job...

The Sikkimese, Turner found, needed no prompting to maintain contact "They offered us tidbits of intelligence to try and influence U.S. policy," he concluded....

[T]he prince would pass Turner relevant information about Tibet. One such meeting took place in the spring of 1954 immediately after the crown prince's return from a trip to Lhasa. While in the Tibetan capital, the prince had spoken with the Dalai lama, whom he found unhappy but resigned to his fate. Even more revealing, the Chinese had feted their Sikkimese guest by showing off their new Damshung airfield north of Lhasa and had motored him along a fresh stretch of road leading into Kham. Turner found the debriefing so informative that he recorded the entire session and sent a voluminous report back to Washington...

As this was taking place, the Dalai Lama faced mounting challenges on the political front. While in Beijing during 1955, he had been informed by Mao that a Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet (PCART) would be formed to codify Tibet's status under the seventeen-point agreement. The committee was inaugurated in Lhasa during April 1956, with the Dalai Lama as chairman; the majority of PCART members, however, were either directly or indirectly named by the PRC. In this way, Beijing effectively bypassed both Tibet's cabinet and the National Assembly.

Between Beijing's PCART ploy and news filtering into the capital of Chinese brutality in the east, the Dalai Lama was fast reaching his breaking point by mid-1956. Just shy of his twenty-first birthday, he had already entertained thoughts of withdrawing from all secular life. It was at this critical juncture that his earlier foreign guest, the crown prince of Sikkim, made a return visit to Lhasa.

The crown prince was on more than a courtesy call…

Disturbed by Beijing's lack of restraint, Nehru suddenly developed some backbone. By coincidence, the 2,500-year anniversary of the birth of Buddha was to be celebrated during the fourth lunar month of 1957. Special events to mark that date, known as the Buddha Jayanti, were scheduled across India beginning in late 1956. If the Dalai Lama could be enticed to travel to India for the occasion, New Delhi felt that this would symbolically underscore its interest in the well-being of Tibet and its leader. Because he already had good rapport with the Dalai Lama, and because he was president of the Indian Maha Bodhi Society (an organization that represented Buddhists across the Indian subcontinent), the crown prince was tasked by Nehru to deliver the invitation.

Upon receiving his Sikkimese guest and hearing the news, the Dalai Lama was ecstatic. For a Tibetan, a pilgrimage to India -- especially one that coincided with the Buddha Jayanti -- had all the connotations of a visit to the holy sites of Rome or Mecca. But more important, it would allow him to air his concerns directly to Nehru and perhaps offset Chinese influence. Perhaps, too, he could finally make good on his earlier contemplation of exile. Some of his minders, in fact, were convinced that the latter could be arranged, despite the fact that no nation, India included, had given any solid guarantee of asylum. [In his memoirs, the Dalai Lama does not mention his desire to seek exile during the crown prince's 1956 visit to Lhasa.]

Having delivered the invitation, the crown prince returned to India and on 28 June made his way to the U.S. consulate in Calcutta. Speaking directly with the senior diplomat, Consul General Robert Reams, he noted the apparent desire of the Dalai lama to leave his country. The crown prince also relayed stories reaching Lhasa about horrific fighting taking place in eastern Tibet, offering Washington hearsay evidence that anti-Chinese resistance had escalated into armed rebellion. Noting the apparent lack of weapons among the insurgents, the prince astutely suggested channeling arms from East Pakistan (presumably via Sikkim) to Tibet. And in a more fanciful departure, he wondered aloud if the United States could "exfiltrate" Tibetans from Burma and Thailand -- ostensibly while on religious pilgrimages -- and give them artillery and antiaircraft training.

-- The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison

[O]n the 19th of July, I took passage on an English steamer, the Lightning, which, after calling at Penang, brought me to Calcutta on the 25th of the month. Placing myself under the care of the Mahābodhi Society of Calcutta, I spent several days in that city, in the course of which I learned from Mr. [Charu] Chandra Bose, a Secretary of the Society, that I could not do better for my purpose than to go to Darjeeling, and make myself a pupil of Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das, who, as I was told, had some time before spent several months in Tibet, and was then compiling a Tibetan-English dictionary at his country house in Darjeeling. Mr. Chandra Bose was good enough to write a letter of introduction to the scholar at Darjeeling in my favor, and, with it and also with kind parting wishes of my countrymen in the city and others, I left Calcutta on August 2nd, by rail.


About a fortnight after my arrival in Malba I received a letter from Rai Sarat Chandra Das, through a trader of Tukje, with whom I had become acquainted while in Tsarang, and to whom I had entrusted a letter to my friend at Darjeeling, as well as others to my folks at home, on the occasion of his going down to Calcutta on business. Along with his letter Sarat Chandra Das sent me a number of the Mahabodhi Society’s journal, which contained an account of an unsuccessful attempt by a Buddhist of my nationality to enter Tibet, and a well-meant note of his in pencil to the effect that I must not lose my life by exposing myself to too much danger. So far so good; but next something which was not so good happened. The Tukje man, my whilom messenger, had apparently formed an opinion of his own about my personality, and set the quiet village of Malba astir with rumors about myself. Chandra Das was an official of the English Government, with a salary of 600 rupees a month, and, as such, a very rare personage among Bengālīs; and it was with this person that I corresponded; ergo, the Chinese Lama (myself) must be a British agent in disguise, with some secret mission to execute. So went the rumor, and the public opinion of Malba had almost come to the conclusion that it was undesirable to permit such a suspicious stranger in the village, when Adam Naring, who by that time had come home, sought to speak to me in secret, with indescribable fear written on his face. Poor honest soul! What he said to me, when by ourselves, was of course to the effect that if there were any truth in the rumor, he and his folks would be visited with what punishment heaven only knew. I had expected this for some time past, and had made up my mind how to act as soon as Naring approached me on the subject. I turned round and, looking him squarely in the face, said: “If you promise me, under oath, that you will not divulge for three full years to come what I may tell you, I will let you into my secret; but if you do not care to do so, we can only let the rumor take care of itself, and wait for the Nepāl Government to take any steps it may deem fit to take.” I knew Adam Naring was a man of conscience, who could be trusted with a secret: he signified his willingness to take an oath, and I placed before him a copy of the sacred Scripture and obtained from him the needed promise.

Producing next my passport, given me by the Foreign Office in Japan, which had on it an English as well as other translations of the Japanese text, I showed it to my host, who understood just enough English to follow out the spelling of some words in that language, and explained to him the real object of my journey into Tibet. I did more. I said to him that now that he possessed my secret, he was welcome to make of it what use he liked; but that I believed him to be a true and devoted Buddhist, and that it behoved him well to assist me in my enterprise by keeping silence, for by so acting he would be promoting the cause of his own religion.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

In Calcutta, then not only the political but the intellectual metropolis of India, he stayed at the house of a Bengali Theosophist, Babu Neel Comal Mookerjee, who became a lifelong friend of the Anagarika and a loyal supporter of his mission. Together they visited various places of interest in the city, including the Indian Museum and the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengalwhere, to his great delight, Dharmapala made the acquaintance of Sarat Chandra Das, famous for his travels in Tibet, and for his knowledge of the language and religious literature of that country. He also won the friendship of Narendra Nath Sen, the editor of the Indian Mirror, a Theosophist whose eloquent pen was for many years ready to plead for the revival of Buddhism in India.


The World’s Parliament of Religions which was held in Chicago in 1893 was one of the most important and characteristic events of the late nineteenth century. Fifty years earlier the influence of Christian dogma and popular ignorance even of the existence of the great oriental religions would have rendered such a gathering an impossibility. As it was, the organizers of the Parliament were accused by a missionary in China of “coquetting with false religions” and “plannings treason against Christ”. Fifty years later, political unrest and widespread indifference to religion would either have made the venture abortive or reduced it to little more than an anthropological curiosity. In the closing decade of the last century, however, the time was ripe for the presentation of the diverse religions of the world from a common platform not by scholars but by men who actually followed them, and when the special Committee appointed for the purpose by the President of the Columbian Exposition circulated their plans the idea of a World’s Parliament of Religions met with general acceptance. The Chairman of the Committee, Dr. J. R. Barrows, who had received copies of the Maha Bodhi Journal, entered into correspondence with Dharmapala, and in the end invited him to Chicago as the representative of the Southern Buddhist Church. With his usual modesty, Dharmapala doubted his ability to expound the Dharma before such a distinguished gathering, but his friends were insistent that he should go, one of them declaring that far more important than any amount of scholarship was the living conviction of the truth of the Buddha’s Word. Such a conviction was the breath of Dharmapala’s life. After much consideration he decided to accept the invitation, reflecting that it would enable him to visit Japan and China in the interests of the Society without putting any additional strain on its resources. Only Col. Olcott was against the trip, roundly declaring that with so much work to be done in India it was a waste of time. However, Dharmapala was by this time accustomed to deciding things for himself, and in the end the Colonel’s opposition collapsed and he promised to write to Mrs. Besant, who was also attending the Parliament, asking her to keep an eye on his young colleague.

After entrusting the Journal to Sarat Chandra Das, Dharmapala left Calcutta at the beginning of July, and on the evening of the day of his arrival in Colombo was presented with a purse by the Ceylon Theosophical Society.


In May 1892 the Society launched its monthly Journal, in which was recorded, besides the activities of the Society, all that was being done for the propagation of the religion, together with a detailed account of the Buddhist literature in Europe and Asia. The publication of the Journal was conducted first from 20/1, Gangadhar Babu Lane, Bowbazar, — which house had been secured by the Burmans for residence of Burmese pilgrims, — and then from 2, Creek Row. The Journal was edited by Mr. Dharmapala, and during his absence, when he went to America, it was managed by Sarat Chandra Das and Charu Chandra Bose. Among the Society's active sympathizers were Neel Comal Mookerjee and his son Nirod Nath Mookerjee, at whose house Mr. Dharmapala often stayed for long periods, and Narendra Nath Sen, all of whom were always ready to extend to him a helping hand.


Anagarika Dharmapala freely acknowledged the help obtained by him from his Bengali friends and well-wishers in the organisation of the Maha Bodhi Society. He mentioned particularly the following persons: Narendra Nath Sen, Neel Comal Mookerjee, Neerod Nath Mookerjee, Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das, Ras Biliary Mookerjee of Uttarpara, Jadu Nath Mazumdar of Jessore, Maharaja Sir Jatindra Mohan Tagore, Ananda Mohan Roy of Bhowanipore, Nanda Kisor Lall as Hony. Legal Adviser, Durga Sankar Bhattacharya and Hari Das Chatterji of Gaya, Babu Saligram Singh, Prof. Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana, Mahamahopadhyaya Neelmoni Mookerji and Babu Paranieswar Lall (see Dec. 1901 and Jan. 1902).  


In 1917 passed away Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das, who was associated closely with the Maha Bodhi Society in various matters, and who had rendered valuable services to the Society.

-- Maha Bodhi Society of India: Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1891-1951, by Devapriya Valisinha, Maha Bodhi Society


In accordance with the scheme already set forth for the revival of the study of Pali Literature, the Maha-Bodhi Society has decided to open a Literary Section, the object of which will be (i) to transliterate the Pali Buddhist works into Devanagari and the other vernaculars of the country, together with their translations, (ii) to bring out popular editions of important Buddhist texts, with copious notes and explanations so that they may be read and understood by the people of this country and also (iii) to open a class for the study of Pali Literature (which will be converted into a regular Institution afterwards) at 2, Creek Row, where regular instructions will be given to the students who are willing to join. Pali is one of the classical languages of India, whose history can be traced so far back as six hundred years B.C. While every attempt has been made to revive and spread the Sanskrit language both by the people and the Government, we have, up to the present, neglected Pali, which has been the spoken language of India from remote antiquity and which for centuries together flourished in the whole of Upper India as the principal dialect which the people wrote and spoke. The subject was studied and cultivated in the ancient Universities of Nalanda, Takkhasila, Udanta-pu-ri and Vikramsila, and patronised at the Courts of the different Kingdoms.

Though we have done nothing as yet to revive and bring to light this important literature which is contained in the Pali language, thanks to the exertions of the noble band of Orientalists, the subject has been fully appreciated and is being studied in the Universities of England, France, Germany, Russia and America. Pali literature has been almost a sealed literature to us. Our knowledge of the History of India is not at all complete without the knowledge of Pali. For brilliant records of the achievements of kings and princes, the interesting history of the manners and customs of the people, and a faithful account of the internal Government, are all to be met in this ancient literature. The language is important alike to the student of comparative religion, historian and philologist. Its study will at once reveal the glory of ancient Indian wisdom. The Society has undertaken the publication in Devanagari of Kaccayana’s Pali Grammar by Pandit Satish Chandra Vidhyabhushan, M. A., and Dhammapada and Suttanipata by Babu Charu Chandra Bose.

The University of Calcutta recognises Pali as one of the second languages in the Entrance, First Arts, B. A . and M. A. Examinations ....

Those who may be willing to take up this important subject of study in any of their University Examinations are at once requested to communicate with the undersigned. Instructions will be given to lay students as well as to University Examination candidates. For the convenience of the latter the class will be held daily, (Sundays excepted) from 5 to 6 P. M. The tuition fee will be Rs. 2 per mensem for the students of the College Classes and Re. 1 for the students of the School Department. Competent Pali scholars will be in charge of the classes and the whole work will be supervised by a Committee.

To carry out the foregoing objects, viz., undertaking the translation of important Pali works and bringing out popular editions of rare Buddhist books, and also establishing an institution where every facility may be given for the study of this classical language, would require at least two thousand rupees annually. The work will be purely of an unsectarian character. The chief aim of the Maha-Bodhi Literary Section is to give the educated public an opportunity to come in contact with this splendid literature which is an inexhaustible mine of knowledge and an immortal legacy handed down to us by the Sages of old. We ask for the help and co-operation of all who are interested in this work both in this country and in foreign lands. Donations for the furtherance of the cause w ill be gratefully received, and acknowledged in the Maha-Bodhi Journal. All communications on the subject should be addressed to the undersigned.

Honorary Secretary,
Maha-Bodhi Literary Section.

-- Supplement to the Theosophist, September 1901.

Sarat Chandra Das was a distinguished student of Sanskrit and Tibetan (and a British intelligence agent) who made two trips to the Tashilunpo monastery and returned with hundreds of Buddhist manuscripts. Das founded the Buddhist Text Society in Calcutta with Dharmapala, and when he engaged 2 Creek Row, it served as headquarters for the Maha Bodhi Society, the Theosophical Society, and the Buddhist Text Society (Diary, June 30, 1904). Other Bengali scholars -- Charu Chandra Bose and Satis Chandra Vidyabhushan -- shared an interest in Buddhism and became members of the Maha Bodhi Society. Leaving Calcutta for his trip to the Parliament of Religions, Dharmapala left the place "in the hands of Sarat babu and Charu babu" (Diary, February 14, 1893).

-- Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, by Steven Kemper

The Maha Bodhi Society is a South Asian Buddhist society founded by the Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala and the British journalist and poet Sir Edwin Arnold. The organization's self-stated initial efforts were for the resuscitation of Buddhism in India, and restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinara.[1][2][3]

Although some Indians had remained culturally Buddhist for centuries after the decline of Buddhist philosophy, they did not self-identify as "Buddhist". The Maha Bodhi Society renewed interest in Buddhism, and spawned the Ladakh Buddhist Association, All Assam Buddhist Association, and Himalayan Buddhist Society, as well as laying the grounds for the Dalit Buddhist movement.[4]

Headquarters, Maha Bodhi Society of India, Kolkata. October 2014.

Interior of the Dharmarajika Chetiya Vihara of the Mahabodhi Society, officially opened 26th Nov 1920.


In 1891, while on pilgrimage to the recently restored Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) attained enlightenment, Anagarika Dharmapala had experienced a shock to find the temple in the hands of a Saivite priest, the Buddha image transformed into a Hindu icon and Buddhists barred from worship as a result of which he began an agitation movement.[5] Prior to that, in 1885 Sir Edwin Arnold visited the site and published several articles drawing the attention of the Buddhists to the deplorable conditions of Buddhagaya.[1][2][3] The Buddhist renaissance inaugurated by Anagarika Dharmapala through his Mahabodhi Movement has also been described as "conservative" for it considered Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent responsible for the decay of Buddhism in India, in the then current mood of Hindu-Buddhist brotherhood.[6]

Lawrence Dundas, Lord Ronaldshay and Governor of Bengal (1917-22) presents the Buddha relic which had been discovered 1892 in Battiporolu to Ashutosh Mukherjee, then Vice Chancellor of Calucatta University, acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court and President of the Mahabodhi Society, Calcutta to be enshrined in the newly opened Dharmarajika Chetiya Vihara on College Square. Morning of 26th Nov. 1920 on the steps of Government House, Calcutta.

The Mahabodhi Society at Colombo was founded in 1891 but its offices were moved to Calcutta the following year. One of its primary aims was the restoration of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, the chief of the four ancient Holy sites to Buddhist control.[7][8] To accomplish this Dharmapala initiated a lawsuit against the Brahmin priests who had held control of the site for centuries.[7][8] After a protracted struggle this was successful with the partial restoration of the site to the management of the Maha Bodhi Society in 1949.[7][8]

Maha Bodhi Society branches have been established in several countries, most significantly in India and Sri Lanka. A United States branch was founded by Dr. Paul Carus in Chicago.[9] There is also a Maha Bodhi Society of Bangalore, founded by Acharya Buddharakkhita in 1956, which is not a part of or tied to the Maha Bodhi Society of India or Sri Lanka.[citation needed]

The Mahabodhi Temple

The temple as it appeared in the 1780s

After the defeat of the Palas by the Hindu Sena dynasty, Buddhism's position again began to erode and was soon followed by the conquest of Magadha by General Ikhtiar Uddin Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji.[10] During this period, the Mahabodhi Temple fell into disrepair and was largely abandoned. During the 16th century, a Hindu monastery was established near Bodh Gaya. Over the following centuries, the monastery's abbot or mahant became the area's primary landholder and claimed ownership of the Mahabodhi Temple grounds.

In the 1880s, the-then British government of India began to restore Mahabodhi Temple under the direction of Sir Alexander Cunningham. In 1885, Sir Edwin Arnold visited the site and published several articles drawing the attention of the Buddhists to the deplorable conditions of Buddhagaya.[1] He was guided in this undertaking by Ven.Weligama Sri Sumangala[2][3] In 1891, Anagarika Dharmapala started a campaign to return control of the temple to Buddhists, over the objections of the mahant. The campaign was partially successful in 1949, when control passed from the Hindu mahant to the state government of Bihar, which established a temple management committee. The committee has nine members, a majority of whom, including the chairman, must by law be Hindus. Mahabodhi's first head monk under the management committee was Anagarika Munindra, a Bengali man who had been an active member of the Maha Bodhi Society.

Mulagandha Kuty Vihara in Sarnath

MahaBodhi Mulagandhakuti Buddhist Temple at Sarnath

Mulagandha Kuty Vihara in Sarnath is a fitting reminder of Sarnath's past glory. It is also the crowning and most glorious achievement of Anagarika Dharmapala's lifelong dedication. The construction of the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara was taken up by Anagarika Dharmapala in 1926 towards the end of his pious life. When he decided to construct a temple at Sarnath and after making the architectural plans, it was the generous Hawaiian Lady, Mary Foster who gave the first financial assistance came from his parents, brother and well-wishers. He personally supervised the constructional works. The 200 feet high magnificent temple was opened to public in 1931. Later a reputed Japanese artist Mr. Kosteu Nosu and his assistant undertook the task to decorate the temple walls with fresco paintings known famously as the Mural paintings of Mulagandha Kuty Vihara, depicting the life Events of Sakyamuni Buddha. On the opening day of the Vihara, the Buddha's relics donated to Anagarika Dharmapala by Govt. of India under the British Raj was enshrined in the temple. The Vihara, an attractive place of Buddhist worship was visited by numerous Indian and foreign dignataries and millions of pilgrims and tourists over the past decades. At the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara annual function in November, the most attractive items among the programs is the exposition of the Buddha's sacred relic. People from different countries and from the homeland visit the Vihara to homage to the sacred relic considering it as a rare and an opportune moment in their lifetime.

The night view of Sarnath's Mulagandha Kuty Vihara


The Maha Bodhi Society has a robust tradition of publications, spanning from Pali translations into modern Indian vernacular languages (such as Hindi) to scholarly texts and new editions of Pali works typeset in Devanagari to appeal to a Hindi-educated Indian audience. They have also published books and pamphlets in local/regional languages and dialects, sometimes in partnership with other presses.


Ven. P Seewalee Thero, the current General Secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society of India at an event in Sarnath.

Most Venerable P Seewalee Thero is serving as the 12th and current General Secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society of India since 2016 and the Joint Secretaries are Venerable Kahatagollawe Medhankara Thero and Ven.Rathmalwa Sumithananda Thero.

At a meeting in September 2008, the Maha Bodhi Society passed a rule that only persons born into Buddhist families will be eligible to serve as president or as one of the vice-presidents of the Society. The outgoing president, B. K. Modi, was a Hindu; he assumed the position of patron. At the same meeting, the 14th Dalai Lama was given the new title of chief patron.[11]

See also

• Buddhism in India


1. Maha Bodhi Society
2. Arnold, Edwin (1906). India Revisited, London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner
3. Dipak K. Barua (1981). “Buddha Gaya Temple: its history”, Buddha Gaya: Buddha Gaya Temple Management Committee
4. D.C. Ahir. Buddhism in Modern India. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1991. p. 17.
5. Sean O'Reilly, James O'Reilly, Pilgrimage: Adventures of the Spirit, Travelers' Tales, 2000,ISBN 1-885211-56-2 pg 81-82
6. A Close View of Encounter between British Burma and British Bengal
7. Arnold Wright, Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources, "Angarika Dharmapala", Asian Educational Services, 1999, ISBN 81-206-1335-X pg.119
8. C. J. Bleeker, G. Widengren, Historia Religionum, Volume 2 Religions of the Present: Handbook for the History of Religions, Brill Academic Publishers, 1971, ISBN 90-04-02598-7 pg. 453
9. Linda Learman, ed. (2005). Buddhist Missionaries in the Era of Globalizationa. University of Hawai'i Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-8248-2810-0. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
10. The Maha-Bodhi By Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta (page 205).
11. Sengupta, Ratnottama (September 28, 2008).Now, Hindus can't head Mahabodhi Society Times of India

External links

• Mahabodhi Society
• Mahabodhi Society, Bangalore
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:47 pm

Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/19



Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera
Born 8 November 1899
Malamulla, Panadura
Died 23 April 1973 (aged 73)
Nationality Sri Lankan
Alma mater St. John's College Panadura, University of London
Occupation Academic, diplomat

Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera, OBE, JP (8 November 1899 – 23 April 1973) was a Sri Lankan academic, scholar and diplomat best known for his Malalasekara English-Sinhala Dictionary.[1] He was the Ceylon's first Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Ceylon's High Commissioner to Canada, the United Kingdom and Ceylon's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. He was the Professor Emeritus in Pali and Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies.[2][3]

Early life and education

Born on 9 November 1899 at Malamulla, Panadura as George Pieris Malalasekera, his father was a well-known Ayurvedic (native medicine) physician, Ayur. Dr. M. S. Pieris Malalasekera.

Malalasekera was educated at St. John's College Panadura, (now the St. John's College National School). It was a leading school in the English medium in Panadura under the head master Cyril Jansz, a reputed educationist of the colonial era. After receiving his education in that school from 1907–17, he joined the Ceylon Medical College, Colombo to qualify as a doctor with a Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (LMS).

The death of his father cut short his medical studies. Circumstances compelled him to give up his hopes of becoming a medical doctor. By following a correspondence course from England, he gained a BA from the University of London External System, 1919 with a first division. His subjects were English, Latin, Greek and French. He was the youngest candidate to obtain the Bachelor of Arts degree in the British Empire in that year with a first class.

In 1923, he proceeded to join the University of London and obtained the two post-graduate degrees of a MA, PhD and a concurrently in 1925, in oriental languages majoring in Pali from the London School of Oriental Studies. Malalasekera would later gain a DLitt in 1938, his thesis was 'Pali Literature in Sri Lanka'.

Teaching career

Malalasekara Theatre of Nalanda College Colombo

Coming under the influence of Buddhist renaissance of Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala, he changed his foreign names of George and Pieris to those of Gunapala Piyasena and henceforth came to be known as G. P. (Gunapala Piyasena) Malalasekera. After gaining his BA he took to teaching at Ananda College, Colombo as an assistant teacher, then under the principal P. de S. Kularatne. Both of them were the architects of the Sinhala national costume. In quick succession Malalasekera rose up the ranks to be the Vice Principal and acting Principal of Ananda College. Thereafter he left for London for his graduate studies. On his return to the motherland in 1926, he was appointed Principal of newly formed Nalanda College Colombo.. The student assembly hall of Nalanda College Colombo is named Malalasekara Theatre in memory of him.

Academic career

Shortly afterwards in 1927, he succeeded Ven. Suriyagoda as lecturer in the then University College, Colombo to lecture in English on Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit for the University of London degree examinations. When the University of Ceylon was founded in 1942, he became the Professor of Pali and Head of the Department of Pali. Later he would serve as Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Ceylon. His research was on Buddhism and Buddhist Civilization was extensive and he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. His contribution by way of research papers and publications to the Pali Text Society of London under the patronage of scholars like Rhys David and Miss I. B. Horner. From 1927 twice he was elected the Joint Secretary of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress. Thrice he was the Vice-President and functioned as its President from 1939–1957.

During his tenure of office, he saw to it that the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress constructed a new building for its headquarters at Bullers Road (now Bauddhaloka Mawatha). He took a delight in the activities of the Viharamahadevi Girls' Home, Biyagama and was responsible for the establishment of boys' homes at Panadura and Ja-Ela. During his presidency of the Buddhist Congress for 25 years, he addressed 20 of its annual sessions. His 'magnum opus' or great work is the famous 'Gunapala Sinhala-English Dictionary'. Of equal importance is the Pali dictionary – Sinhala-English. An ardent member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon. He represented Ceylon at several parleys abroad notably, Conference on Living Religions (1924 – London), Conference on World Religious (1936 – London), Association of Occidental (Western) and Oriental Philosophers (Hawaii – 1949), Association of Indian Philosophers – India, meeting of the Pakistani Philosophers (1953 – Karachi), and the Seminar on Religions for Peace, (San Francisco, USA, 1965). So numerous were the essays, write-ups, literary contributions he made and radio talks delivered over Buddhist, religious and cultural matters and Social service assignments. He was the founder president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists inaugurated within the hallowed precincts of the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy in 1950 at the suggestion of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress.

He was president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists from 1950 to 1958 as well as the Ceylon Arts Society;

Diplomatic career

Malalasekera was appointed the first Ambassador for Ceylon to the USSR in 1957 by Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike when he established diplomatic relations with socialist countries such as Russia, China, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. In 1959, he was appointed concurrently first Ambassador for Ceylon to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania.[4]

Subsequently, he functioned as the Ceylon High Commissioner in Canada and was Ceylon UN Permanent Representative in New York. There he served as chairman, Security Council Member, Fact Finding Mission to Saigon and also in the Committee on Information from North Non-self Governing Territories. Finally, he was the Ceylon's High Commissioner in the UK from 1963 to 1967.

In 1967, he returned to the island to accept the post of chairman of the National Higher Education Commission which responsible post he held till 1971. He died on 23 April 1973.

Family life

He married Margaret Russel in 1927, she was a concert pianist he met while he was a student at the London School of Oriental Studies. The marriage lasted only three years and produced a daughter Chitra who excelled in classical music (piano). He thereafter married Lyle, they had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Indrajith, Arjun and Vijaya. Vijaya studied law at the University of Cambridge and was called to the English Bar as Barrister-at-Law. His second daughter became a science graduate.


• Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) (1949)[5]
• Justice of the Peace
• Membre d'Honneur of École française d'Extrême-Orient
• Commander of the Royal Order of Monisaraphon
• Buddha Sasana Vepulla Hitadhara from the Supreme Council of Buddhist Monks, Burma

See also

• Sri Lankan Non Career Diplomats


1. Wijenayaka, Walter. "Remembering Professor G. P. Malalasekera – outstanding personality", "The Island (Sri Lanka)", Sri Lanka, 24 April 2011. Retrieved on 16 January 2018.
2. Outstanding Buddhist Leader.
3. Professor G. P. Malalasekera – outstanding personality.
4. unesco
5. London Gazette

External links

• Dictionary of Pali Names by G. P. Malalasekera
• Books by Professor G. P. Malalasekera
• Biography of Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera
• Local symbol of global Buddhism
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:07 am

Archives of the World Congress of Faiths
Accessed: 4/1/19



Archive Collection

For more information, email the repository Advice on accessing these materials. Cite this description Bookmark:

This material is held at University of Southampton Special Collections
Reference GB 738 MS 222
Dates of Creation 1924-1992
Name of Creator The World Congress of Faiths
Language of Material English.
Physical Description 35 boxes

Scope and Content

Papers for annual general meetings, 1945-82; minutes of the executive committee, 1934-92, including minutes of the executive committee of the predecessor of the World Congress of Faiths, the World Fellowship of Faiths, chaired by Sir Francis Younghusband

Sir Francis Younghusband's proposal for an International Congress of World Faiths, 1935

World Congress of Faiths Trust Association: memorandum and articles of association, 1943 and 1955-88; council minute book, 1955 62 (1 vol.)

Correspondence, membership and financial papers, 1935 92; alphabetical sequence, including correspondence with the Association of World Federalists, 1976-85; the Church Education Movement, 1987-9; Human Rights Society, 1978; the Inter-Faith Association, 1980-7; the Inter-Faith Network, Great Britain, 1985-91; Mount Abu summit on global co-operation for a better world, 1989; the Standing Conference on Inter-faith Dialogue in Education, 1975-85; the Temple of Understanding, 1974-92; the United Nations Association, 1975-89; the Vatican, 1975-9; and the World Conference of Religion for Peace, 1974 89

Records of branches: Brent, 1974 5; Cambridge, minute book, 1948 60; Canterbury, 1977; West Germany, 1968 75; Pakistan, 1971 4

Newscuttings, 1924, 1953 74 (4 vols.)

Administrative / Biographical History

The World Congress of Faiths was founded in 1936 by Sir Francis Younghusband (1863-1942). He served with the First Dragoon Guards, transferring in 1890 to the Indian Political Department. He was subsequently British commissioner to Tibet, 1902-4, and British representative to Kashmir, 1906-9; he was President of the Royal Geographical Society, 1919. One of the mainsprings of the World Congress of Faith were the spiritual experiences of Sir Francis, but it also had roots in the Religions of Empire conference held in London in 1924 and in the second World's Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago in 1933. The aim of the World Congress of Faiths is to promote fellowship between followers of all faiths; to revitalise man's spiritual being through religion and to encourage study of religions whilst allowing members to follow their own tradition. It publishes INTERFAITH NEWS and WORLD FAITH INSIGHT. (M.Braybrooke A WIDER VISION: THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD CONGRESS OF FAITHS, 1936-1996 (Oxford, 1996).

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation


Compiled by Gwennyth Anderson

Other Finding Aids



Christianity and other religions
GlobalizationReligious aspects

Personal Names

Younghusband Sir Francis 1863-1942 founder of the World Congress of Faiths

Corporate Names

World Congress of Faiths, formerly World Fellowship of Faiths
World Congress of Faiths Trust Association
Association of World Federalists
Church Education Movement
Human Rights Society
Inter-Faith Association
Inter-Faith Network Great Britain
Mount Abu summit
Standing Conference on Inter-faith Dialogue in Education
International Congress of World Faiths
Temple of Understanding
United Nations Association

World Conference of Religion for Peace

Geographical Names

Cambridge (England)
Canterbury (England)
Brent (London, England)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:11 am

World Congress of Faiths
by ICERM: International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation
Publish date: 12:38 pm, July 2, 2018



Younghusband stressed that the primary aim of the initiative was to promote fellowship between faiths: there was no intention of formulating a new religion through convergence, nor of seeking the lowest common denominator, nor of appraising the value of existing religions and discussing respective merits and defects. Through discussion and reflection, and by coming closer to each other, members of different religions would deepen their own spiritual communion and the concept of God was strengthened.

The organisation has its roots in the Parliament of World Religions, first held in Chicago in 1893 and the Religions of Empire Conference, held in London in 1924. Inspired by these movements and his own spiritual experiences, explorer Sir Francis Younghusband, once described as ‘the last great imperial adventurer’, organised two international conferences in London, and after the second of these, in the shadow of a looming World War, WCF became established as an independent body.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:14 am

New Chair in Tibetan Buddhist Studies: The endowed chair is the largest gift to study Tibetan Buddhism that has been awarded in North America.
New Chair in Tibetan Buddhist Studies Established at University of Michigan
by College of Literature, Science & the Arts, University of Michigan
June 27, 2018



From Tavistock to Rand

In 1967, the head of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London was a man named Dr. Fred Emery, an expert on the 'hypnotic effects' of television. Dr. Emery was particularly struck by what he observed of crowd behavior at rock concerts, which were a relatively new phenomenon at that time. Emery referred to the audiences as 'swarming adolescents.' He was convinced that this behavior could effectively be refined and used to bring down hostile or uncooperative governments. Emery wrote an article about this for the Tavistock Institute's journal, Human Relations, which he confidently titled, "The Next Thirty Years: Concepts, Methods and Anticipations." The article detailed ways in which to safely channel or directly manipulate what he termed 'rebellious hysteria.' This is precisely what the RAND studies later observed, and manufactured, as 'swarming.' [19]

Following World War I, the British Military had created the Tavistock Institute to serve as its psychological warfare arm. The Institute received its name from the Duke of Bedford, Marquis of Tavistock, who donated a building to the Institute in 1921 to study the effect of shell-shock on British soldiers who had survived World War I. Its purpose was not to help the traumatized soldiers, however, but instead to establish the 'breaking point' of men under stress. The program was under the direction of the British Army Bureau of Psychological Warfare. For a time Sigmund Freud worked with Tavistock on psychoanalystical methods applied to individuals and large groups.

After World War II, the Rockefeller Foundation moved in to finance the Tavistock Institute and, in effect, to co-opt its programs for the United States and its emerging psychological warfare activities. [20] The Rockefeller Foundation provided an infusion of funds for the financially strapped Tavistock, newly reorganized as the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. Its Rockefeller agenda was to undertake "under conditions of peace, the kind of social psychiatry that had developed in the army under conditions of war." [21]

That was a fateful turn.

Tavistock immediately began work in the United States, sending its leading researcher, the German-born psychologist, Kurt Lewin, to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1945 to establish the Research Center for Group Dynamics. Lewin was interested in the scientific study of the processes that influence individuals in group situations, and is widely credited as the founder of 'social psychology.' After Lewin's death, the Center moved to the University of Michigan in 1948 where it became the Institute for Social Research. [22]

Tavistock's work over the next two decades was to co-opt legitimate psychological insights into social groups and social dynamics in order to refine techniques for social manipulation.

Then, Fred Emery's 1967 insights about 'swarming' crowds seemed validated by massive student uprisings in Paris during May 1968. Thousands of 'swarming adolescents' grew into a movement of millions, destabilizing the French government and eventually toppling President Charles de Gaulle. [23] That spontaneous outpouring was closely studied by Tavistock and by various US intelligence agencies for methods, patterns, and tactics that would be developed and implemented over the ensuing three and a half decades by the US intelligence community.



20. Bill Cooke, Foundations of Soft Management: Rockefeller, Barnard, and the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, Lancaster University Management School, accessed in ... =clnk&cd=6

Cooke notes, 'While Tavistock histories have been previously written, this is the first to draw on archival material which sets out the early relations between the Rockefeller and TIHR founder ATM "Tommy" Wilson in the 1930s, and shows how the Tavistock's development into a centre of social and organizational science was supported by the Rockefeller's medical research program up until the 1950s. It also situates the rise of the Tavistock in a nexus of transatlantic inter-personal relationships on the one hand, and changing UK, US, and world politics on the other.'

21. Eric Trist and Hugh Murray, The Social Engagement of Social Science -- A Tavistock Anthology: The Foundation and Development of the Tavistock Institute to 1989, quoted in ... 0Institute.

22. University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Research Center for Group Dynamics, History, in

23. A curious tiny group named Situationist International played an inordinately large role behind the student uprisings in May 1968 leading some researchers to posit that it was backed or steered by US intelligence. Even the powerful French Communist trade union, CGT, attempted to quell the student unrest to no avail. De Gaulle was considered a 'friend' of the Soviet Union for his opposition to US-run NATO.

-- Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy In The New World Order, by F. William Engdahl

Accepted an invitation from the Association for Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, U.S.A., to lecture in America (1959), and delivered over a total of one hundred and sixty lectures at various universities and arranged meetings in six months. His later teaching engagement for two years in England allowed him the opportunity to translate into English from the Pali, for the very first time that it had ever been done, the second of the seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, Vibhanga. It was published by the Pali Text Society in 1969 under the title of The Book of Analysis.

-- Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila (1896-1997), by Dhamma Web

Later in Delhi, she became editor of the magazine "Social Welfare" of the Ministry of Welfare. She briefly served as a member of the United Nations Social Services Planning Commission to Burma, during which she was first exposed to Buddhism, which quickly became the defining aspect of her life. In Rangoon she learned vipassana from Mahasi Sayadaw, and Sayadaw U Titthila.[6][7]




7. Andrew Rawlinson, op. cit. "In 1952 she went to Rangoon and practised vipassana with Mahasi Sayadaw (Friedman, 276), one of the first Westerners to do so. She also practised with Sayadaw U Titthila (Snelling, 321). "

-- Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

After Independence, she edited Social Welfare, a magazine of the Ministry of Welfare; and was also appointed as the social worker of the United Nations Social Services, assigned to Burma. And much later, she was nominated as the advisor on Tibetan Refugees to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

In 1952, while working for the United Nations, Freda went to Rangoon; and, there she was drawn to Buddhism, learnt Vipassana meditation with Mahasi Sayadaw and Sayadaw U Titthila. Freda was one of the first Westerners to be initiated into Vipasana.

-- MN Roy: brief outline of life-events and thoughts – Part 15: Western Women in leftist and national movements, by sreenivasarao's blogs

(ANN ARBOR, JUNE 27, 2018)—The University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has received a gift of $2.5 million to establish the Khyentse Gendun Chopel Professorship of Tibetan Buddhist Studies, which will further enhance one of the largest Buddhist studies programs in North America. The gift is largest dedicated to the study of Tibetan Buddhism in North America.

Tibetan Buddhism, a tradition of Buddhism practiced in Tibet, Nepal, India, Mongolia, and other regions in China, today counts millions of followers around the world.

The professorship is made possible through the generosity of the donors of Khyentse Foundation, which provides support for institutions and individuals engaged in all traditions of Buddhist study and practice. Michigan is only the second Khyentse chair in North America. The first was established at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2006.

“As citizens of a world that is ever shifting, changing and even precarious, we must all seek and contemplate sources of strength and sanity. For centuries, Buddhist study and practice have proved to bring stability and harmony to both individuals and society,” said Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, founder of Khyentse Foundation. “So in this day and age, it is more crucial than ever that such wisdom be preserved and kept alive in important institutions of learning like the University of Michigan.”

The Khyentse Gendun Chopel Professorship will reside in LSA’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. It is named after the Tibetan poet, philosopher, and painter Gendun Chopel (1903-1951), regarded by many as the leading Tibetan thinker of the twentieth century.

In fall 2019, the department will conduct an international search to fill the newly created professorship with a faculty member who will teach courses and conduct research to advance knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism.
This research will be shared with students and scholars of Buddhism around the globe, enriching knowledge and understanding of an ancient religion whose teachings continue to inspire the modern world.

"Michigan has a long and distinguished tradition of excellence in the field of Buddhist studies," said Donald Lopez, chair of Asian languages and cultures and the Arthur E. Link Distinguished Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies. "This historic gift will allow us to expand both our undergraduate and our graduate programs in new directions. We are deeply grateful to Khyentse Foundation."


CONTACT: Tamra Talmadge-Anderson
University of Michigan
CONTACT: Sarah Anne Wilkinson
Khyentse Foundation

About Khyentse Foundation

Khyentse Foundation is an international 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. The foundation supports all traditions of Buddhist study and practice, with beneficiaries in 30 countries over the past 17 years. Projects funded include a chair of Buddhist studies at the University of California at Berkeley, a lectureship at the University of Sydney, the digitization of the entire Tibetan Buddhist scriptural canon, endowments for traditional monastic colleges in Asia, a worldwide scholarship program, and numerous other innovative initiatives. Learn more about Khyentse Foundation at
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