Monday, July 28, 2014

A Diplomatic Reception for Esperanto

The Peace Palace, newly built.
Great place for an Esperanto reception
One clear advantage of having a prominent American diplomat at the head of the U.S. Esperanto organization while the group is hosting the World Esperanto Congress is that Diplomatic Corps can be called upon to attend an event. John Barrett, the Director of the Bureau of American Republics and president of the Esperanto Association of North America planned quite an elaborate soirée to coincide with the 1910 Universala Kongreso.

According to the Washington Times on July 28, 1910, the August 17 reception would have music from the United States Marine Band and speeches from members of the Diplomatic Corps who were in the city. And Barrett was probably justly proud of the new Pan-American Palace of Peace (now the main building of the Organization of American States).

Since I get to look ahead, I already know that reception was ultimately cancelled. As to why, well, you can research it yourself, or wait until August 17. I promise to follow up on this. For now, let’s just enjoy the thoughts of the diplomatic reception that might have been one of the major events of the 1910 Universala Kongreso.
World Congress Delegates Will Be Entertained at B. A. R. Building

John Barrett, director of the Bureau of American Republics and president of the Esperanto Association of North America, will give a reception in honor of the foreign delegates during the Esperanto congress next month.

The function will held in the new “Pan-American Palace of Peace,” in the old Van Ness bounds, and the occasion is expected to serve as the most notable international peace gathering ever held in this country.

Mr. Barrett has set Wednesday evening, August 17, for the reception, and because of the nature of the gathering and the purposes of the men who will be present, the evening is expected to prove a memorable one. Refreshments will be served and the United States Marine Band will play. Those members of the Diplomatic Corps who are in the city will be asked to make addresses.

It is pointed out that the holding of this reception in the Pan-American Bureau’s new home is particularly significant, because both the bureau and the Esperantists both stand for peace.
Back in the days when people held the view that Esperanto would help to end conflict between nations. Oh, those innocent days before World War I. The Organization of American States maintains its own library with an online catalog. A search for “Esperanto” turned up no records. At least in that way, the legacy of Mr. Barrett does not live on.
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