Board of Governors

Report in lieu of Meeting of Board of Governors, Geneva, 1940

As the Secretariat of the League had to relocate from Paris to Geneva as a result of the invasion and occupation of France in the spring of 1940, and as a result of the difficulties of travel at this time, the Meeting of the Board of Governors scheduled for September was cancelled. To compensate, the Secretary General circulated a report on activities during the biennium. Extracts from this report follow below.


It is in the field of relief that the activity of the League has been particularly intense and fruitful during this period. Allusion has already been made to the Anatolian earthquake which caused almost 30,000 deaths and destroyed more than 25,000 houses. Immediately following reports of the catastrophe, the Secretary General of the League went to Turkey as representative of the International Red Cross Committee and the League of Red Cross Societies, to look into the needs of the Turkish Red Crescent. In the report on his mission, which was communicated to the National Red Cross Societies, the Secretary General praised the magnificent efforts of the Rod Crescent in rendering assistance to victims of the earthquake.

As the war spread to new countries, roaching Norway, Holland, Luxemburg and Belgium, the League, in close collaboration with the International Red Cross Committee, redoubled its efforts to stimulate and facilitate in every possible manner the relief work undertaken by National Red Cross Societies in favour of civilian populations, especially of women and children. …”


The situation created by the war on the European Continent has imposed fresh tasks on the Juniors. The Director of the Junior Red Cross Bureau of the League Secretariat addressed a letter to all national sections exhorting them to give their best assistance to their respective Societies in their work for the alleviation of sufferings caused by the war. This appeal met a response everywhere and the efforts made by young people in all countries proved the moral and practical value of the Junior Red Cross movement amongst national societies.

In general, the Juniors concerned themselves especially with assisting child refugees or evacuees, by sending foodstuffs suitable to their particular needs, clothing often being made by girls of Junior Sections, and money collected by the boys. In this connection the activity developped by the Juniors of the United States deserves special mention. …”

Under “MISSIONS AND STUDY VISITS” are mentioned a number of women who visited the Secretariat for study purposes:

  • Mme Stanioniene of the Lithuanian Red Cross
  • Mlle de Souza Barros of the Brazilian Red Cross

Other visitors, sometimes in France or Switzerland (where the Secretariat had been moved as a result of the war) for other purposes, also came, among them:

  • Mme Brieba de Lorca (Chilean Red Cross)
  • Mrs. T.H. Lowrie (New Zealand Red Cross Society)
  • Miss Muzzio (Argentine Red Cross)
  • Miss Oppenheim (American Red Cross)
  • Miss Suitiala (Finnish Red Cross)
  • Miss Jensen (Danish Red Cross)
  • Mme de Costres (Roumanian Red Cross)


Mrs. Maynard L. Carter, who for many years was Chief of the Nursing Bureau of the Secretariat, has been obliged, for reasons of health, to resign her post

The members of the Executive Committee, at their meeting on November 24th, 1938, expressed their deep thanks to Mrs. Carter for her past services and requested her permission to allow the Secretariat of the League to continue to benefit from her great experience by appointing her Technical Adviser on nursing questions.

The Secretary General has appointed Mlle Yvonne Hentsch to succeed Mrs. Carter at the head of the nursing Bureau.”.


The Nursing Bureau has continued to encourage the development of the profession throughout the world by stimulating and facilitating study and lecture courses abroad for nurses.

Scholarships have been awarded by the League to five nurses as follows:

One Polish Red Cross nurse for the 1938/39 course of the Florence Nightingale International Foundation (half-scholarship).

One Turkish Red Crescent nurse for the same course.

Two nurses of the Iraq Red Crescent who in 1940 will complete three years of study at the Royal East Sussex Hospital, Hastings, England.

One Brazilian Red Cross nurse for a course of study at the International Migration Service, Paris.

Four students of the International Florence Nightingale Foundation were invited by the League to spend a few days in Paris in order to visit a certain number of hospitals and charitable organizations.

Moreover, the American Red Cross offered a scholarship to a foreign student selected by the League. A Chinese Red Cross nurse, who had successfully followed the courses of the International Florence Nightingale Foundation in London, was chosen for this scholarship.

Two Yugoslav nurses completed their studies in France and Belgium, under the auspices of the League.

At the end of 1938, two Iraqi nurses, having completed their studies in London, returned to their own country, where they now are in charge of the Maternal and Child Centre of the Iraq Red Crescent”.


The series of articles forwarded to national Red Cross Societies for reproduction in their publications or for communication to the Press, have continued to appear in three languages. The subjects dealt with in this series concern the different aspects of Red Cross activity: Hygiene, campaigns against epidemics, prevention of disease, child welfare, training of nurses and visiting nurses, disaster relief, blood transfusion, etc. The series which appeared in May 1939 included articles prepared for the 20th anniversary of the League, which have been reproduced in a great number of reviews of national Societies”.



since September 1939

“On September 7th, the International Red Cross Committee and the League sent to the national Societies the following telegram:

In everything that concerns its statutory activities in the technical fields of relief, nursing, health problems and the Junior Red Cross the League, while taking into account the new situation created by the war in Europe, will give the national Red Cross Societies the greatest co-operation possible. …”


At the present time, the Secretariat consists, apart from the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General, of six Bureaux the Pan-American, Relief, Hygiene, Nursing, Junior Red Cross and Propaganda, and three Services (Publications, Financial and Administrative)”.


The interest taken by the League in questions connected with nursing has not decreased. The International Nightingale Foundation Courses having had to be suspended on account of hostilities, the Secretariat of the League attempted to obtain facilities in the United States through the intermediary of the American Red Cross which would enable certain nurses to receive complementary training similar to that given by the London courses.

The League participated to the extent of 250 pounds in the expenses connected with the winding up of the Florence Nightingale Foundation’s accounts.

The Nursing Bureau has published two documentary studies on the influence which the war has had on the training of nurses and on old ago insurance and nursing.

At the request of the Turkish Red Crescent, the Nursing Bureau arranged the journey of a Polish Red Cross nurse to Istambul, where she occupies the post of Director of the Society’s Nursing School.

The League has intervened in order to assist nurses, who were unable on account of circumstances to work in their own country, to find posts abroad.

At the request of the Rumanian Red Cross and the Turkish Red Crescent, the Nursing Bureau lent these Societies a series of slides on the life of Florence Nightingale and the history of nursing.

The Venezuelan Red Cross has requested the Nursing Bureau to designate nurses qualified to fill leading positions. Nurses of several nationalities have already been suggested”.