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Biography, Autobiography, Journal and Anecdotes

Part II - Autobiography

Switzerland, 1920

There were many reasons both for and against establishing the Headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland), yet the reasons for establishing it there weighed heavier in the balance.
I met in Geneva Mr. Reelfs and his friends, the Selleger family and I spoke before a small audience, mostly foreigners, and those who were most impressed were Mr. and Mrs. Hart van Sautter and their friends.

I found in Baron von Graffenried a deep response to my call and it became possible to establish in Geneva a small group of the Order which was given for some time in charge of Mrs. van Sautter. I spoke in Geneva at the University for the Society 'Vers l'Unite'; the rector of the University presided. I made acquaintance with Pasteur Charles Martin and was surprised at the spirit of tolerance that he showed to a mission like mine, by being present once at a public meeting given in the Salle Centrale, where we first established our Headquarters.

I made acquaintance with Lady Bloomfield, a representative of Bahaism, who was very sympathetic to my ideas. I saw Mrs. Bartram and Dr. Netobi from Japan, who is concerned with the international movements on behalf of the League of Nations. Monsieur de Traz, a Swiss writer, also showed some interest in my philosophy.

I then visited Lausanne, where lectures were arranged by the kind interest shown by Madame Lavanchy and Frau Schroeder and made some mureeds there. I then visited Vevey, where my mureed Miss Nina Mitchell had made every effort to open doors for me, and after my address at the Hotel d'Angleterre I met Baronesse van Hogendorp who became deeply interested and has shown great zeal in forming a group in Vevey. She became one of the most ardent mureeds and an active worker for the furtherance of the Cause. To this group in Vevey many sincere mureeds joined, among them Mr. Fouad Selim Bey Alhigazi, Monsieur Dussaq, Comtesse Pieri, and others.
Not long after, Miss Goodenough who had been away, joined forces with me in Geneva and took charge of the Headquarters as General Secretary and continued working, which relieved me from many responsibilities. Although the Society in Geneva was formed easily and quickly, it has always been difficult to hold it, for most of the members were foreigners and some Genevese, who came with difficulty and went away easily.

The Calvinistic spirit in Switzerland certainly stands as a rock against every spiritual movement. Besides, the Swiss minds his own business and is little concerned with the ideas of others, and there is a reason for it: that all different ideas are brought by different people, coming to Switzerland from all parts of the world. Since the Swiss lay their beauty laden land at the feet of the travelers, they naturally guard their hearts from being caught up in the nets thrown in the lakes of Switzerland by the fishers of men.

The attitude of the Swiss toward those who come to their country, is that of a landlord, who gives houseroom to those who wish to have it, in his property, and he is only concerned with his duty towards it; and yet a Swiss is polite and welcomes all. The Swiss nature is kind and of goodwill, and appreciative to a certain extent of all that seems to him good. There is an exclusive tendency in the Swiss nature and great love of independence, which is to the credit of the Swiss race. Switzerland is sought not only for the beauty of its land, but also because of its being pure of heart from any territorial ambition. In this quality it stands unique as a nation bestowing respect and sympathy to all. It is fir this reason that destiny had prepared it to deserve being the seat of the League of Nations.