René Sand to Jane Addams, July 17, 1926


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Paris, July 17, 1926.


A National Social Service Conference has been meeting for fifty-three years in the United States or Canada; it has contributed in a striking way to the progress of social solidarity, to the perfection of philanthropic applications and to the education of social workers, public opinion as well as the various authorities. These happy results justify the project of a similar meeting in Europe, which would have an international scope and would allow personalities who have specialized in various social questions to meet and have fruitful exchanges of views among themselves.

The idea of this international meeting was put forward at the National Conference of Social Service in 1923 in Washington and in 1924 in Toronto. A motion to this effect, presented by the undersigned, Secretary General of the League of Red Cross Societies, was favorably received.

The General Council of the League of Red Cross Societies sanctioned this initiative by a resolution of May 1, 1924, which its Council of Governors confirmed on June 24, 1925. A Provisional Committee was formed under the presidency of Ms. Alice Masaryk, president of the Czechoslovak Red Cross. This Committee, composed of delegates from seventeen national Red Crosses and nine specific national committees, sponsors the proposed Conference, the program of which would cover questions relating to the following objects:

a) The general organization of social service.

b) Social service for individual cases.

c) The economic and industrial aspects of social service.

d) Social service and social hygiene.

e) Teaching social work.

f) International social service.

On the other hand, the Permanent International Congress of Public and Private Assistance, which has its headquarters in Paris, 49, ru de Miromesnil, whose Presidents are Madame la Comtesse Henri Carton de Wiart, Mr. Paul Strauss and Mr. Brelet , after having provoked the holding of International Congresses of assistance in Paris: (1889 and 1900), in Geneva (1896), in Milan (1906) and in Copenhagen (1910), had envisaged the organization of a Congress which would would follow in London in 1915, and the British Committee set up for this purpose is now planning for 1927 the holding of this Assistance Congress which events have forced to postpone. [page 3]

Among the questions proposed to form the agenda of the said Congress are:

Preventive assistance (progressive removal of the causes of poverty through organized foresight, social hygiene, etc.).

Discreet help to people whose discomfort is the result of new economic conditions (poverty among intellectual workers and small earners).

Assistance to the mentally retarded.

The nurses of the paruvres.

Family allowances.

It seemed to several people who deal with both the whole of Social Service and special questions of assistance that it might be expedient to hold the Social Service Conference and the Assistance Congress simultaneously.

This simultaneity, which would present material advantages on which it is useless to insist, would also make it possible to situate the various questions which would be retained within a general framework, to study in particular the relationships which must exist between assistance and service. social, without causing one or the other organization to lose any of its autonomy or initiative, at least for the present.

If this way of seeing were accepted, we could designate these two meetings - coincident and concordant - under the name of "International Social Week", the holding of which would be [page 4] fixed in London - a time of next year which would remain to be determined.

In order to resolve the various problems raised by the above presentation, a preparatory meeting will open on Monday, September 27, 1926, at ten o'clock in the morning, at the headquarters of the League of Red Cross Societies, 2, Avenue Vélasquez, Paris. There you will meet the most authorized people, notably members of the Secretariat of the League of Nations, and you will be able to participate in the definitive constitution of the Initiative Committee, which will take practical decisions, ensure the necessary assistance and will contact the competent organizations to coordinate a program, as well as to solicit the support essential to the success of the company.

In the event that it is impossible for you to attend this meeting in person or to be represented there, a word from you stating your agreement in principle and presenting the observations that you deem useful would be gratefully received.

Dr. René Sand.

Secretary of the Provisional Committee

organization of the Conference

International Social Service.

2, Avenue Velazquez.
Paris, 8th century.