This archive group assembles documents, personal memoirs and records, which were in private possession of either League of Nations officials or consultants to the League of Nations and were incorporated in the Archives of the League of Nations after its liquidation. It includes the papers of: Thanassis Aghnides; Georg Arnhold; International Association of Journalists; Association genevoise pour la SDN; Joseph Louis Avenol; Beyerly; Gabrielle Boisseau; K.A. Chavichvili; René Claparède; Charles de Visscher; Constance Drexel; James Eric Drummond; Estonia/Karl Selter; Nosratdoleh Firuz; Carlos Garcia Palacios; Robert Henri Graf; William Martin Hill; Jan Hostie; International Federation of League of Nations Societies; James Avery Joyce, Esq.; Lecomte; Sean Lester; Alexander Loveday; Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey; Paul Joseph Mantoux; William Martin; René Mayer; Wlodzimierz Moderow; Laura Puffer Morgan; Adrianus Pelt; Nicolas Socrate Politis; T.P. Sevensma; Alfred Silbernagel; Witney Hart Shepardson; Smelter, Trail Tribunal; Royall Tyler; F.M. Van Asbeck; Wurm.
The greater part of Joseph Avenol's papers (Deputy Secretary-General 1923-1933, Secretary-General, 1933-40) are kept by the Archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The seventeen files kept here (two of which consist of photostats) are of varied provenance and content. Among the papers are, for example, an interview with Avenol conducted by Stephen Schwebel (author of "The Secretary-General of the United Nations", 1952) and letters written about Avenol after his death.Avenol, Joseph Louis
Organization of the Library in Geneva; monthly list of book catalogue; admission of library students (interns); supply of documents by Headquarters Distribution Section, by the Sales Section, by the Department of Public Information; access and loan; visits to the Geneva Library; binding service; renovation of Periodical Reading Room; correspondence with governments, individuals and asssociations; furniture for room 352 (Archives); WHO photostat charges; dictionnaires, United Nations Bulletin; relations with other European Office services; relations with FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, ECE, WHO, UNCTAD, UNITAR, UN Social Defense Research Institute; papers of Lord Perth (Sir Eric Drummond), of Mr. Avenol, of Mr. Sean Lester; correspondence on Rockfeller Foundation (Mr. Sweetser); lost books; correspondence with Mr. Donald Cook, with Noel-Baker, with Bertram Pickard, concerning Verwaltungshochschule, ARGUS international de la presse S.A., Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, OCEANA Publications, Inc., Research Publications, Inc.; publication of Mr. G. Thompson's thesis; missions of and correspondence with Mr. Breycha-Vauthier; lighting of Library; International Conferences on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy 1955-1958; Conference of Experts on Nuclear Tests 1958-1959; Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities 1961; Nansen Office stamps; protection of Library material; "Danzig Archives"; questionnaires, enquiries and requests; missions; computer-assisted indexing; reproduction printing, filming; Library staff's private obligations or outside activities.
The reorganisation of the refugee work was initiated following the decisions taken during the 10th Assembly to wind up the refugee organisation within 10 years. The file contains discussions, comments made by Messrs. T. Lodge, I. Kerno, Avenol, Walters on the operation and financial arrangements and the transfer of refugee operations to the League of Nations through the creation of a "International Refugees Office". It also proposed to creat an Executive Council or Committee to oversee the liquidation. It mentioned the nomination of a new High Commissioner following the death of F. Nansen. There was correspondence with other officials of the League, with individual who looked for openings in the new organisation and with an NGO called the "American Society for Relief of Russian Exiles, Inc.", "Joint Foreign Committee of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association". It also contains the inputs to the draft report of the Secretary-Genera on the future organisation of refugee work and a League document A.34.1930.XIII dated 5 September 1930 on "Russian, Armenian, Assyrian, Assyro-Chaldrean and the Turkish Refugees - Report by the Inter-Governmental Advisory Commission attached to the High Commissioner for Refugees".League of Nations Political Section file (Mr. Kerno)
On 30 September 1936, the League of Nations Council decided to appoint S. Lester as Deputy Secretary-General, in replacement of Pablo de Azcarate, although his appointment as High Commissioner in Danzig had been prolonged till October, 1937. S. Lester was to take up new responsibilities in February 1938.
S. Lester's departure from Danzig caused consternation among the opponents of the Nazi regime, and satisfaction among the Nazis, who regarded S. Lester as an obstacle to the establishment of a totalitarian State in Danzig, it was mainly a victory for A. Forster, the Nazi district leader and A. Greiser, the President of the Danzig Senate.
S. Lester succeeded P. Azcarate, who resigned the post of Under Secretary-General to become Spanish Ambassador in London.
September 1936, S. Lester appointed League of Nations Under Secretary-General, a position previously held by Ascarati, of Spain. S. Lester's appointment will take effect when his successor in Danzig is announced. By the appointment S. Lester became the second highest official at Geneva and will be in charge whenever Joseph A.C. Avenol, Secretary-General, is absent.
5 October 1936: the Council considered the position of the High Commissioner in Danzig. The Council asked Poland to take up matter on their behalf, i.e. abandon all formal attempt to hold up Danzig Constitution. Poland did not act. Nazi Government liquidated opposition press, abolished opposition Parties, arrested or forced out opposition leaders.
The Council reluctantly decided to maintain pretence (F. Walters) and to appoint a new High Commissioner in February 1937.
S. Lester placed in a special envelope, marked "Secret-Private Diary" his notes and some letters-copies for a crucial period July-December 1936. This envelope was mislaid but found many years later, after the rest of his papers (perhaps in the early eighties). Its contents have now been incorporated in the general collection of S. Lester papers, chronologically.
18 February 1937, S. Lester officially took up his functions of Deputy Secretary-General, a post on which he was appointed in September 1936, and that was previously held by Ascarati of Spain. S. Lester's appointment took effect when C. Burckhardt, his successor in Danzig, was appointed. By this appointment S. Lester became the second highest official at Geneva and was in charge whenever Joseph A.C. Avenol, League of Nations Secretary-General, was absent.
The Committee of Three including Britain, France, and Portugal replaced by Sweden, was set up in July 1936 to deal with Danzig affairs.
26 July 1940, J. Avenol, Secretary-General of the League of Nations asked S. Lester to act as Secretary-General par interim. This created an ambiguous situation, J. Avenol deciding one day to resign and the following day no longer to resign. J. Avenol, who was appointed Secretary-General in 1932, officially resigned on 31 August 1940. On 1 September 1940, S. Lester officially became Acting Secretary-General.
Von Neurath's opposition to the Anschluss was one of the reasons of his dismissal; A. Forster's role, trip to Italy, Poland; Danzig and German plebiscite; poor press reporting; A. Hitler on the role of Danzig between Poland and Germany; the League of Nations has lost in Danzig; 2000 Jews in Danzig still trust in the League of Nations.
Weakening position of the Danzig High Commissioner; Aryan Law could be pretext to withdraw the High Commissioner.