During the last two program years, AFS had faced come financial problems, but as usual had found ways and means of solving them. The Audit as of 31 August 1964 showed a net increase of $93,802 in fund balances (compared with a decrease of $294,471 the year before) and a program deficit of $252,602 (compared with a deficit of $578,354 in 1952-53). The program deficit for 1953-54 was made up by contributions. So the organization had reversed a rather worrisome trend.
The program report, however, revealed statistics which, though not at the time recognized as cause for concern, in retrospect did reveal an underlying problem. Though there were 2670 active Chapters in the United States, of these 325 were without a WP student. 454 were new Chapters; 290 had dropped out of the program.
It is well to note that in the first seventeen years of the AFSIS programs, 16,172 students had come from 72 countries to live and study in the United States; in the first fourteen years of the Summer Program, 8,942 U.S. young people had gone to 42 countries; and in the 7 years of the School Program, 1,682 U.S. students had studied and lived in 26 countries overseas.
Under the new regime of Arthur Howe, Jr. during the year 1964-65 the numbers would be:
|Winter Program||2904 from 59 countries|
|School||304 to 22 countries|
|Summer||859 to 36 countries|
The period of dramatic increases in the Winter Program came to an end, however, and henceforth gains would be hard-won or decreases in numbers would be encountered.
The Budget Forecast for 1964-65, prepared under the direction of Mary T. Annery, Chief Accountant, indicated an expected surplus of $238,700 in a budget of approximately $3.5 million. The total of chapter fees for 2889 WP students was expected to reach $1,199,003 and family contributions $1,176,300. Overseas office salaries were forecast to reach $286,000; at the headquarters in New York $758,600.
On February 17, 1965, revision of the AFS by-laws had provided for a total of 30 Directors of whom 18 were required to be Founding Members. Of the new Directors elected in May, 1965, perhaps the most notable was Mary Chesnut, the first woman and the first Americans Abroad Returnee to be elected to the Board. Two appointments of note were Mr. Robert H. Thayer, as Director of Government Relations, and Mr. Marshall J. Dodge, as Director of Development.
Mary Chesnut had been an AA student to Germany in 1952, a staff member in New York from 1956 to 1963, U.S. Returnee Secretary, and a member of the Bronxville (N.Y.) AFS Chapter since 1961. Robert Thayer had a long and distinguished government service as U.S. Minister to Romania, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State at the United Nations Charter Conference in San Francisco, 1945, and Special Assistant to the State Department as head of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The administration and Board continued to be concerned about AFS membership structure, and in response to his own request, Mr. Howe was authorized to appoint a committee to study the question.
The Stephen Galatti Memorial Fund was designated as a true endowment to provide assistance to both WP and AA students. This fund in 1965 passed the $100,000 mark, and together with two major contributions in 1964-65 constituted a Reserve Fund of approximately $210,000. One of these major contributions was the Frederick W. Hoeing Trust of $40,000 from the estate of long-term AFS member and staff-member Fred Hoeing.
Pressure for more space at AFS/NY headquarters resulted in converting the 4th and 5th floor dormitories into offices for the growing staff, foreshadowing later major developments in the acquisition of property for program administrative and operational use.
Mr. Howe indicated an area of primary concern to him--improved management of overseas offices. As a first step, he instituted a program of overseas staff training in the New York office on a rotational basis.
Another of those almost annual crises that test the mettle of AFS occurred in 1965. Fire aboard the charter ship Seven-Seas incapacitated that vessel and necessitated the cancellation of the eastbound sailing. More than 325 passages had to be rescheduled, onward travel had to be rearranged, and receiving families had to be notified of changes in dates and plans. Accustomed to handling emergencies, the Travel and Onward Travel Departments successfully coped with the situation. Special commendations were given to Mrs. Gerrit Reitsma, AFS Netherlands, Mr. Crawford Appleman, Travel Director, and Mr. Steven (sic) Rhinesmith, Onward Travel, "for loyalty and leadership under conditions of extreme pressure."
In October, 1965, Mr. Clifford Baacke, AA returnee, was appointed Secretary of the United States Returnee Association. The Advisory Committee Members that year were:
Douglas G. Beattie
William R. Brown, Jr.
Mary S. Chesnut
Donald B. Farrow
Loraine J. Heafner
John S. Higgins
Norman R. King
Kathleen M. Knapp
Albert R. Koehl II
Ann McC. Scott
M. Jane Wolf
On 27 October, 1965, a conference for Overseas Representatives and National Committee Chairmen of European countries was convened at Chaudenay-le-Château, Bligay-sur-Ouche, France. To the four days of discussions of operational and philosophical questions came Arthur Howe, Sachiye Mizuki, Vee Greisen, and Josephine Teel of the New York staff, and Ward Chamberlin, John Nettleton, Robert Thayer, and Edward Weeks of the Board of Directors. Delegates from 17 European countries and Lebanon attended.
By November, 1965, offices had been established in 34 countries, with 73 employees. Many of these offices were closely associated with Bi-national Centers (especially in Latin America), and Cultural Affairs and Public Affairs Offices of U.S. Embassies. Fulbright scholars and Peace Corps representatives gave valuable assistance in many countries, primarily in the interviewing of WP candidates.
As the program continued to grow and the staff also, the question of working space in New York became even more pressing. The purchase of the Keys Building, which adjoined the 313 E. 43rd Street headquarters at Number 305-309 was seriously considered and Mr. Howe was authorized to investigate the possibilities. The asking price was reported to be $750,000. John Nettleton, as the real estate expert on the Board, came up with his usual thorough and competent job of analysis. His report is reprinted here as of interest in the current and future requirements and for purposes of comparison with actual later developments. [ED.- I realize this is sort of Monday-morning quarterbacking, but John called the plays--remarkably on target--except for the ultimate purchase price.]
Current AFS office space situation:
It is estimated AFS additional requirements will be commencing in
Total estimated requirements by 1975
Space available AFS Bldg.
Space available entire Keys Bldg.
Air right limitations, etc, preclude additional stories on AFS Bldg. and apartment house blocks expansion to East.
Resulting choices are:
a/ Seek completely new location b/ Rent or buy supplementary space in vicinity c/ Hold on and rent additional space in Keys Bldg. as it MAY become available d/ Purchase Keys Bldg. and so control additional space.
Zoning & Building Code --- If AFS buys Keys Bldg.:
a/ Building Code will permit us to utilize Bldg. without making any changes unless we so choose. b/ Under Zoning we would be non-conforming but as our office utilization up-grades from present mfg. this is OK provided no structural changes or additions are made. c/ If we demolish building now, or in future, zoning would have to be changed to permit us to build a new structure for our use. d/ Any other owner would face same prospect. e/ Land can be used for apartments without recourse.
Land: 75' frontage x 100' = 7,5W sq.ft. Bldg: Mill type loft building constructed 1880-1887. Upper floors were reconstructed after fire in 1919. It has wood floors, sprinklers, manually operated elevator, wooden stairs in fireproof enclosure, heat by outside steam, semi-modern plumbing.
Total floor space - five floors + basement
1st Fl - Keys & Lockwood
2nd Fl - AFS @ $15,000 annual rent--9 mo. cancellation 3rd)
Haskins Lab. $27,500 annual rent - no cancellation clause
5 yr. lease from 5/1/65 to 4/30/70
Current annual operating expenses as supplied by W. Keys Of this $1,345 is N.Y. City property taxes
Keys Bldg. - Valuations & Appraisals
City of N.Y. assessment Land
Building insured for (maximum?)
Horace S. Ely & Co. qualified for more
Seamans Bank top
Richard Hurd Co. top
Area Land values:
Ford Building Church Center Keys claim $ 100 sq.ft. $ 110 sq.ft. reliable source 87 sq.ft. + demol. R. Hurd 80 sq.ft. + demol.
These buildings have frontage on 42nd Street in one case and 2nd Ave. in the other case. Hurd expresses opinion Keys land worth $ 60 sq.ft. + demol.
AFS purchases Keys Bldg. during 1966; Haskins continues on 3, 4 + 5 until 5/70
Keys vacates during 1966
AFS occupies 1 + 2 starting 1967
AFS occupies 3, 4 +5 after 1970
Building purchased for
Renovations 1 + 2 in 1966 + elevator, etc.
Renovations 3, 4 + 5 in 1970
Less: Estimated land value in 1975
Building value to be written off
Cost per year for 10 years
Cost per year for 15 years
11-year write off
Total value of space available to AFS @ $4.50 sq ft/yr
Plus Haskins rent for 4 years
Estimated costs to AFS as landlord to Haskins
and itself taking into account
usual expenses - cash only
annual 3% increment of above
interest on $500,000 @ 6%
cost of equity capital @ 4%
Net profit available to write off purchase price
and improvements before depreciation available per year
15 year write off:
Total value of space available to AFS @ $4.50 SF/Y
Plus Haskins rent for 4 years
Estimated costs to AFS as landlord to Haskins and itself taking into account
usual expenses - cash only
annual 3% increment of above
interest on $500,000 @ 6%
cost of equity capital @ 4%
Net profit available to write off purchase price and improvements before depreciation
available per year
At the November meeting of the Board also, Mr. Howe announced with deep regret that he had received Mr. Masback's resignation for personal reasons as Treasurer of the Corporation and Member of the Board of Directors. It was noted that Mr. Masback as Treasurer had developed financial procedures and had provided financial guidance over period of years during which operations had become increasingly complex as the scope of AFSIS activities widened. Following many expressions of gratitude from various member the Board unanimously: ->
RESOLVED that the resignation of Edwin R Masback, Jr., as Treasurer of the Corporation and Member of the Board of Directors of American Field Service, Inc, be, and hereby is, accepted with great reluctance and deep regret. In accepting the resignation, the Board wishes to express its unqualified appreciation and gratitude to Mr Masback for his unerring judgment in guiding the finances of the Corporation and for immeasurable contributions to the development of the Scholarship Programs in his capacities of Treasurer and Acting Director General. In his devotion to the AFS, Mr. Masback exemplified that unselfish spirit and dedication on which the Service was founded and on which its future rests.(11)
During Arthur Howe's early tenure at AFS a new initiative was undertaken, a project called U.S. Teachers Abroad. Early in 1966 a proposal was presented to the Board that a pilot program be established for the summer of 1966, sending U.S. secondary-school teachers and administrators abroad for approximately two months to live in families, have close contact with professional colleagues in their communities, and to observe and participate in the sessions of the local secondary schools. AFS volunteer committees and Overseas Representatives were to be used to find placements for these teachers. It was proposed that twelve to fifteen placements be attempted in the summer of 1966 in the Southern Hemisphere, where schools would be in session.
Placements were indeed made in Malaysia, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Mr. Howe was able to say in September that the venture had been successful, and that as an alternative to the program, a high school principal from Denmark was being brought to the U.S. to observe the operation of AFS here and to learn first-hand about the educational systems in various AFS communities.
One notices in reviewing the events of these first months of Mr. Howe's presidency, the continuation of some old problems as well as certain new emphases. During the summer, student travel problems again arose as a widespread and extended airline strike occurred. As usual, however, the AFS Travel Department and Divisional Staff rose to the occasion and student movements were accomplished, though with some difficulty.
As staff vacancies occurred, older and somewhat more experienced personnel were brought in to fill them, at least at the level of middle management. In addition, Mr. Howe created new full-time staff positions: a Director of Development, a Treasurer, and an Assistant to the President (primarily for Public Relations). As we have already mentioned, Mr. Marshall J. Dodge, Jr. headed the Development Department. He had been an experienced business executive and a successful fundraiser for several educational institutions including St. Paul's School and Yale University. As Treasurer, the Board appointed Mr. Melvin S. Hathaway, also from the educational world. Mr. Harry Cooper became Assistant to the President.
The problem continued of placing enough Americans Abroad students to satisfy the needs of U.S. Chapters. Late notification of placements and financing of participants' contributions were all problems that had still not been solved. The 1966 Summer Program had sent 867 students overseas, only a small increase over the preceding summer, but there was a gratifying increase in the School Program form 286 to 360. The Winter Program of 1966-67 numbered 3107, an increase of only 13 students. (12)
The recent trend toward operating deficits, however, had been turned around and the operating surplus for fiscal 1965-1966 was $86,614 not including $300,000 set aside for program and travel contingencies. At 31 August 1966, the Corporation's books showed $430,774 in unrestricted surplus and $553,758 in reserve funds. Total program income had amounted to $4,780,014, contributions had reached $267,082, and interest and dividends were $113,012.
The adjoining Keys-Lockwood property at 305 East 43rd Street had been purchased for $725,000 and was now part of the Corporation's assets. New office facilities had been added, salary scales improved, and vacation programs liberalized. All in all, working conditions had been greatly improved for the New York staff, now numbering 170. (Paid staff overseas numbered 82.)
During this period there were 38 AFS offices outside of the U.S., all but four of which were run by Returnees. In 13 countries AFS operated through the U.S. Embassy; in 13 others the operation was a cooperative venture with private individuals or other organizations. In the United States there were 394 Area Representatives and 2900 Chapters. Communications between this far-flung constituency and headquarters in New York continued to be a major concern of the AFS administration.
On 4 November 1966 a notice of a special meeting had been called to the 2,272 Founding Members of American Field Service Inc. This meeting, for the express purpose of amending the By-laws of the Corporation was held at 313 E. 43rd Street in New York City on 12 December 1966. The By-laws were duly amended to provide for 20 Life Trustee Members and as many as 30 Term Trustee Members, who would replace the World War I and II volunteer drivers, individuals who served on the Executive Committee or staff in wartime for at least six months, and the scholars who were granted AFS, Fellowships for French Universities as the legal membership of the Corporation.
The logic and rationale for this important action is best described in the actual notice sent to the Founding Members:
AMENDMENT OF BY-LAWS
1. During the more than fifty years of its existence, it has always been the purpose of the American Field Service to provide a special service to meet a special need. First it organized an ambulance and transport service with the French Armies during World War I; then between the wars it sponsored a fellowship program with the French universities; again in 1939 it organized a volunteer ambulance service, first in France and later with the British and other Allied forces; and finally at the end of World War II it organized an international scholarship program at the secondary school level to promote friendship and understanding among the people of the world while significantly enriching the education of the young people involved.
Over the years, the AFS has continued to make changes and adjustment to meet the particular challenges of the moment, and once again it is undertaking a significant step forward.
2. The present AFS organization was formed as a New York membership corporation in 1946.
The Charter and By-Laws provided that members (who are the controlling group, as they elect Directors) should basically be the volunteer drivers of World War I and World War II. Furthermore, only such members were eligible to be Directors.
3. During the period since 1946, the principal work of the AFS, namely the international scholarship programs, has grown tremendously. From a modest beginning in 1947 of bringing 52 students to the United States from 11 countries, the program has expanded to the point where by the 1966-67 school year the AFS had awarded more than 38,000 scholarships to American and foreign teenage students from 76 countries and throughout the United States. Thus, the AFS has become a national as well as a truly international organization.
4. Last year the Board became concerned that the legal membership did not in itself effectively represent the current scope of the scholarship programs and that a complete review of the membership structure of the Corporation was advisable. At its annual meeting in May 1965 the Board appointed a special Committee to review the membership structure and to examine and report on the question of membership in and control of the AFS. The findings of the Membership Committee were submitted to the Founding Members (volunteer drivers from World War I and World War II) in a special report along with the notice of annual meeting for May 1966. The voting membership approved the recommendations of the Membership Committee. Basically the proposed new membership arrangement contemplates having Trustee Members who will exercise the ultimate control of the Corporation, principally through their right to elect Directors. This new group of Trustees would initially consist of 20 1ife Trustee Members and up to 30 Term Trustee Members, the latter to be elected for three-year terms. Thus, the present membership would be terminated and replaced by this new group.
5. In June 1966 the Board of Directors unanimously approved the recommendations of the Membership Committee and a Nominating Committee was appointed to draw up a list of Trustee Members. The Board of Directors also asked that a special meeting of Founding Members be held at the earliest possible date to amend the By-Laws and provide for the new Trustee Membership structure.
6. The Nominating Committee is proposing that of the new Trustee Members, approximately half will be volunteer drivers of World War I and World War II. However, the Nominating Committee felt it was vital that the Trustee Membership also reflect other groups which have been active in and responsible for various aspects of the scholarship programs. This includes representation from the Americans Abroad returnees, the regional program Representatives throughout the United States, individuals who have been active in the development and operation of the AFS program overseas, educators within the United States as well as leading citizens in this country who are interested in the international scholarship program.
7. It is, therefore, proposed that the By-Laws of American Field Service, Inc., be amended to read as shown in Exhibit I attached here to.
Exhibit I as referred to in the above notice also listed the first Life Trustee Members and the Term Trustee Members to be elected as well:
Life Trustee Members:
|Paul Abbott |
Frederick E. Balderston
Sir Rex Benson
Ward B. Chamberlin, Jr.
Enos W. Curtin
W. Palmer Dixon
Norman C. Eddy
George H. Edgell
Lincoln S. Harris
Arthur Howe, Jr.
|A. Llewelyn Howell |
Richard McM. Hunt
Edwin R. Masback, Jr.
John L. Nettleton
Ellis D. Slater
Reginald B. Taylor
Robert H. Thayer
Edward A. Weeks
Term Trustee Members:
Mrs. Charles A. Bicking
Mrs. Dorothy Field
Donald Q. Coster
During this same period of time other important steps were taken, all of them indicative of the coming-of-age of the organization.
First, the U.S. Returnees Association Advisory Committee was replaced by an Executive Board of U.S. Returnees of 21 members to "consider and make recommendations to the President of the Corporation, to the Board of Directors, and to the U.S. Returnee Secretary on all aspects of U.S. Returnee involvement in the American Field Service programs."
Second, the Keys-Lockwood Building underwent an extensive and somewhat costly renovation. (Current estimates of the total cost ran about $650,000.)
One senses in going back through the records of this part of AFS history a kind of restless spirit among the young constituents of AFS, specifically the Returnees both of the United States and of other countries. The U.S. Returnees were searching for a way to become more responsibly involved in program operations and policy decisions; the Returnees of many other countries, long involved in AFS program operations, were seeking a stronger voice in policy deliberations. Both groups found a sympathetic listener in Arthur Howe, who saw the future development of the organization in terms of "internationalization." His memorandum to the Trustee Members before their meeting in January, 1967, is an excellent exposition of this viewpoint, a balanced presentation of the status of the organization then and the potential for its future development.
The American Field Service is legally a non-profit, membership corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York. The Trustees are the legal members and the ultimate custodians of the affairs of the corporation. We are required to have at least one trustee who is a resident of the State of New York and to maintain our principal offices in the State, but otherwise, our trustees can be from anywhere in the world, and we can hold meetings and conduct our activities throughout the world.
From the beginnings in 1915 as a volunteer war-time service in France; in its inter-war graduate scholarship program; in its World War II activities in France, the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Burma; and its post World War II scholarship activities the AFS' identification as an "American" organization seemed appropriate. Today there are still many aspects of its structure and operation which support its status as a U.S. organization, for the corporation through which its activities are conducted is an American one, over two-thirds of its resources are provided from the U.S., and the great majority of its legal members are U.S. citizens. Even more significantly, every student participating in its programs comes to or goes from the U.S.A. and 59 other countries
There have, however, been developments which argue for an increasingly "international" rather than purely "American" nature to AFS. Approximately two thirds of the 38,000 students who have been the primary element of AFS programs since 1947 are not U.S. citizens. They feel themselves to be members of the organization, even if not in the strictly legal sense of membership. In 16 countries, primarily the older and larger participants, there are legalized or officially recognized organizations carrying forward the AFS work. We can reasonably anticipate a growth in this number, for we have been encouraging this process on the assumption that to have stable, recognized, indigenous organizations in each country was sound policy.
In certain respects the experience of most scholarship holders is an "international" one. The Winter Program students coming to the U.S.A. have associations throughout the year with fellow students from other countries, and particularly in their final months of bus travel, the close rapport established with students of other nations becomes a significant part of their experience. The lasting impact of the year is the acquisition of insight and skill in living with differences, not merely the difference encountered in the U.S.A. To a degree the same is true for the Americans Abroad.
The strength and durability of these "international" impressions is seen in the growing number of activities undertaken by individual returnees and returnee organizations throughout the World. There are now between the European countries well-established relationships which will undoubtedly be strengthened and enlarged through the appointment, as of Jan 1, 1967, of Jacques Contant, our Belgian Overseas Representative since 1960, as the European Coordinator of AFS programs. His office is located appropriately in Brussels, the center of much European cooperation. To date, inter-European activity of AFS has included the work of the European Convention and its European Information Committee, several Summer Conventions (Last summer 24 nations on four continents were represented in Copenhagen), the arrangement of bus trips between European countries, and the planned joint European End of Stay meetings for the Americans Abroad School Program students to be held in Oxford this summer. Additionally there have been several working conferences of European representatives assembled at the invitation of AFS/International (the designation we are using for the headquarters of AFS in New York). Less formally arranged, but nonetheless important, are a large number of visitations between European returnees. It appears likely that these or comparable developments will soon emerge in Latin America, and in due course the African/Near Eastern countries and the Far Eastern countries may be expected to follow the pattern, or to be included in established patterns. Distances and national differences will, of course, affect the rate at which these developments occur.
In the financial area there is also evidence that AFS is an increasingly international or multinational, not just "American," activity. Several overseas governments are providing direct or indirect subsidies for the AFS programs, many Overseas Committees are successfully soliciting contributions from corporations and individuals, and overseas parents of participating students have provided growingly large amounts of support for the overall purposes of AFS through their family contributions.
All these changes are reflected in the decision of the former AFS legal members (volunteers of World Wars I and II) to transfer their responsibilities to our new Trustees, who for the first time have overseas citizens among their members, a change which we anticipate to be the first step toward more representative control of programs throughout the world.
Looking ahead, I cannot but question whether the name of our organization should be changed to the "International Field Service" or some variation thereof. This would raise many technical and emotional problems, but equally there are arguments in its favor, not only to reflect our changing nature, but also to strengthen our ability to work effectively as a private agency, free of governmental control by any one country, or even the suspicion of it.
We are currently seeking official status in one of the several membership categories of both the U.N. and UNESCO, already being recognized by the U.N. as a Non-Governmental Organization supporting its objectives. Just what our legal and organizational patterns should be for the long run is a matter on which much study is needed. There appears to be no comparable private organization whose experience can guide us, though it may prove helpful to examine the structure of the International Red Cross, with its affiliated national organizations throughout the world. This example has its limitations, for the Red Cross would appear to be predominately under government control and primarily supported by government grant in many countries.
However our structure develops, I envisage AFS/International in New York as the coordinating headquarters of a cooperative effort reaching around the world, laying down through its staff, under the policy guidance of trustees and directors, the broad uniform policies that are required, and leaving to individual countries a large degree of autonomy for adjustment to national needs. Contrary to past policy, it may be desirable to bring into the AFS/International a sizable number of overseas returnees.
I also foresee the desirability of our retaining to the degree possible a non-political position, avoiding alignment with any nation or block of nations while vigorously pursuing our purpose of promoting understanding between people and enriching the insights and skills of young people who will play a major role in shaping the future. We can well observe Mr. Robert Thayer's often repeated maxim that the more strained political relationships between countries become, the greater the need for cultural exchange. I state these objectives fully aware of the difficulty of their attainment resulting from most of the world regularly viewing cultural exchange as a political as well as cultural activity.
It is of equal importance that we continue to reintegrate those who have had an overseas year. This is an objective with which we have already achieved notable success in comparison to other overseas scholarship programs.
Finally, I sense the necessity of avoiding the temptation to become all things to all people. With our remarkable world-wide affiliations, we have the inherent capacity to undertake new programs and operations, many of which may be desirable, but which may divert us from our principal task and so dissipate our energies that we become ineffective. The day is not far off when a recognizable proportion of the world's leadership will have had an affiliation with AFS, and this will enlarge our capacity and bring increased proposals for new activities. Thus far the new Teachers Program, which fundamentally supports our other programs, is the only new undertaking which we have promoted in recent years. On frequent occasions, however, we have been urged to support a fully international program in which each participating country would send and receive students from many other countries. Thus far the administrative, political, and financial obstacles have appeared overwhelming, but the desirability of such a program could hardly be questioned.
Against this background, I hope we shall be able to discuss the growingly "international" nature of AFS, and the implications of this for our plans for the future.
Arthur Howe, Jr.
The increasing international character of AFS was indeed evident at the Annual Meeting itself. Among the Members present were: Sir Rex Benson--- from the United Kingdom; Ernesto Ferreyros, Peru; Kenichiro Fujii, Japan; Clive S. Menell, South Africa; and Oystein Tveter, Denmark. Perhaps one of the most significant contributions to the deliberations was made by Mr. Fujii, who presented a recommendation which had the support of the AFS Japan Association. He suggested that perhaps growth and activity had reached a plateau and that it was time to consider a more international format, i.e. a multi-national program exchanging students between countries other than the United States. The meeting, though in substantial agreement with the Japanese proposal, felt that implementation would have to be deferred until administrative and financial problems confronting the organization had been solved.
Other matters of international significance discussed were:
1) The possibility of renaming the organization, removing the word "American", 2) possible association with UNESCO, and 3) bringing overseas personnel to the New York office for a work experience.
Concerning affiliation with UNESCO in a category for non-governmental international organizations, perhaps the most obvious advantage to AFS, would be the privilege of sending official observers to sessions of the General Conference and the opportunity to confer there informally with the Ministers of Education of member countries of UNESCO. Right of attendance at the Conference and meetings of the various commissions carried with it also the right of making statements on matters within their competencies and even of addressing plenary meetings. Conditions laid down for qualification for membership seemed reasonably favorable for acceptance of an application from AFS for membership.
There is no question but that the success of an application to UNESCO by AFS to be an affiliated non-Governmental organization would greatly assist in the continuity of its programs in the developing countries. It would give AFS a position of independence from the temporary political bad weather which the United States is bound to pass through from time to time throughout the world and focus more attention upon AFS as an international organization rather than one under some kind of domination from the United States Government. It would enhance its prestige in the eyes of countries who look upon the United Nations and its subsidiary organizations like UNESCO as the one forum where they can achieve equality with all nations of whatever size or power. It would give through its conferences and committee meetings which take place in great numbers throughout every year, meeting places where its programs could be ever before the eyes and minds of those who can be of the greatest assistance or hindrance to the successful development of AFS in those areas where its objectives most need to be realized.
The increasing internationalism of AFS at this time is perhaps best evidenced by some of the developments reported on by the administration. Though regional conferences had of course long been a fixture in AFS procedures, such meetings for purposes of staff and volunteer development were becoming more frequent and regularized. We have already noted the conferences held in Cairo (Africa and Middle East), Lima (Latin America), and Chaudenay (Europe). Next came the Manila Conference, which was attended by 28 Representatives from Southeast Asia. Staff visits included Mr. Howe's visits to Brazil and Tokyo and the extended two-month trip to the Middle East and Africa of Mr. Stanley Smith, Regional Coordinator.
At this point, Regional Coordinators had been appointed for Europe and Africa/ Middle East and the administration was searching for suitable candidates for coordinators for Latin America and Southeast Asia. This significant development was made possible by a grant of $80,000 a year for three years from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation to underwrite expenses for four Regional Coordinators. (Within a matter of months, Jose Ramon Chavarria would be appointed as Regional Coordinator for Latin America.)
In accordance with his policy of bringing together all elements of AFS, both national and international, to emphasize and improve communications, particularly at the policy level, Mr. Howe arranged a most informative panel discussion for the Trustee Members at their Annual Meeting in January, 1968. Representing various segments of AFS, both staff and volunteer, all panelists testified to the effectiveness of the AFS experience for the individuals involved in it and to the impact on communities and schools. Members of this panel were:
Mr. George Edgell, Director of Programs, now in his 19th year at AFS;
Mr. Jacques Contant, European Coordinator, the former Overseas Representative in Belgium, and himself a Returnee;
Mr. Anwaral Haq Abally, a WP student from Afghanistan 1967-1968;
Mrs. Matthew Cammen,(13) ex-host parent and current President of the Corning (N.Y.) Chapter;
Miss Katherine Torgerson, ex-Chapter President and currently a teacher in Washington H.S., Brainerd, Minnesota; and
Mr. Robert Kleeb, Americans Abroad student to France in 1953 and presently Corporate Labor Relations Adviser, Mobil Oil Corporation.
Difficulties were being encountered, not new but recurring ones which had a retarding effect on the growth of both the Winter Program and the School Program. It was no longer easy to attract increasing numbers of host families either in the U.S. or in other countries. The idealism of the years following World War II had waned, and difficulties within families and between generations made the receiving of a student stranger into the family a matter of more than ordinary moment in many instances. Parents--and schools--were increasingly concerned with their own problems. The cultural and familial conflicts of the 1960's were having an adverse effect on intercultural exchanges.
Present program numbers were: Winter Program, 3095 students from 61 countries; School Program, 424; Summer Program, 933. The United Arab Republic, Syria, and Lebanon dropped out of AFS because of the war in the Middle East. Important additions were Micronesia, Yugoslavia, and Ghana. The Educators' Program had increased from 10 teachers going to 4 countries to 19 teachers and administrators to and from 7 countries. This new program seemed to have a promising future, though financially it could not be self-supporting.
Internationally, AFS was faced with different needs and priorities in different regions of the world.
The 18 countries that constituted AFS/Europe, having individual national characteristics and having reached varying stages of program development, had to be dealt with individually by AFS/International. At the same time, as a region Europe was taking an increasingly international view of AFS, and more urgent demands for "internationalization of policy-making and of programs" were being heard. The Multi National Program was becoming a major issue. The AFS administration, though agreeing with the idea of such a program, found problems of financing and administration and representation at present too difficult of solution. European Returnees were unhappy with the American image of AFS and were pressing for a change of the organization's name.
Mr. Howe presented a proposal to the Trustee Members that the word Associated be substituted for American in American Field Service, Inc., and requested the appointment of a committee to study the pros and cons.
In support of his proposal Mr. Howe submitted the following carefully reasoned memorandum:
To: Trustee Members Re: Change of Name of American Field Service From: Arthur Howe, Jr.
For many years and in many contexts people interested in the AFS have questioned its name. I am now proposing that we make a careful review of the desirability of changing the legal name of the New York membership corporation to "The Associated Field Services, Inc." The organization would be generally known as "The Associated Field Services." The name of each national organization would be designated by AFS/US, or AFS/UK, or AFS/Japan, etc. Our office here in New York would continue to be called AFS/International, referring to The Associated Field Services International Headquarters.
The following considerations have influenced me in making this recommendation:
1) Approximately two-thirds of the 43,000 students who have participated in and now feel closely affiliated with it are not American citizens. 2) The ultimate significance of AFS lies in its personalized impact on each participant, host family and schoolmate, providing them with unusual insights and skills for the complex task of living with their fellow men everywhere. These objectives are achieved primarily through the voluntary and financial support of private citizens throughout the world. Both the purposes and the administration of AFS are misrepresented by a name implying to at least some people the American Government's control, and nationalistic American purposes. 3) Awareness of our extensive activities overseas forces me to recognize that very large numbers of deeply loyal AFS volunteer workers are not Americans, nor are the organizations they have created American. In approximately sixteen countries we have a legalized or otherwise officially recognized branch having its own national entity. 4) I hope we can save the initials "AFS," in whatever changes we make. These are well established, easy to pronounce and have an emotional connotation for literally hundreds of thousands of people in seventy-five countries. When and as we need more descriptive words for our general activity, we can continue to use "AFS International Scholarships." 5) Continuing to use the words "Field Service," or "Field Services," might be questioned, but it is my impression that those with any involvement in our activity have long ceased to be concerned with the inappropriate word "Field," and the notion of "Service" is still appropriate. Many people would continue to describe our organization as "The Field Service." 6) The proposed name would indicate the inherent nature of our current operations, which rest on the cooperative activity of many national organizations, coordinated through AFS/International. Increasingly it is important to clarify our intent to talk "with" rather than "to" these constituent parts of AFS. Though the change would immediately have more symbolic than operational significance, it would imply to our far-flung constituency a shift in our thinking which would provide a sounder basis for future relationships and future developments. 7) The present name of our organization costs us support in some quarters, whereas the proposed name would, I believe, be enthusiastically received throughout the AFS constituency in the USA and overseas, thus changing whatever negative impact our name now has to a decidedly positive one.
To pursue this proposal, I urge that the Trustee Members endorse the appointment by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of a committee to prepare recommendations for action by the Trustees. This committee would not necessarily be limited to present Directors and Trustee Members.
The Administration and the Trustee Members were meanwhile pursuing a policy of increasing non-U.S. membership, and in January, 1968, two Returnees were elected---Dr. Can Epirden, Turkey, and Hans-Gernot von Albert, Germany. This election brought to eight the number of members from other countries.
Under Marshall Dodge, the Development Department was achieving excellent results. In two years the International Fund, as it was called, had grown from annual receipts of $301,700 to $557,000. The number of gifts had increased from 3604 to 5077, and most significantly the U.S. Returnees were becoming a source of real support: 1671 had made donations during the last year as compared to 562 two years before. Mr. Dodge's efforts to enlist State Development Chairmen were bearing fruit; there were now volunteer state chairmen, and in 6 of the state areas, gifts had increased from $105,216 in 1966 to $249,770, a dramatic demonstration of the impact of this effort.
There was rising concern in the staff and administration of AFS over the students from Vietnam. The anxiety over the fate of their families in their war-ravaged home-land was ever-present during the students' year in the United States. Communications were at best difficult, and usually impossible. The battle situation was, of course, constantly shifting, and there was no certainty that their homes would not be overrun. There was also the probability facing AFS that several of the present group of Vietnamese students would elect to go A.W.O.L and not return home at the end of the year in the U.S. AFS was under pressure from some host families to allow the students to remain in the United States. All of this, of course, besides creating a current problem also raised a strong question about the advisability of continuing the Vietnamese program. Ultimately, AFS would decide against continuance.
Another perennial problem was the Indonesian program, which had been canceled as a result of a change of government in Indonesia in 1964 in the middle of the program year. AFS and the Indonesian Returnees were anxious to resume the program. Mr. Robert Thayer had gone to Indonesia early in 1968 to assess the situation. His letter to Mr. Howe reveals the spirit of the Returnees, an AFS spirit that had kept alive the spark that would eventually result in the program's resumption and exemplifies the feeling of AFSers throughout the world concerning the program's importance.
Hotel Indonesia March 7th
Dear Art -
I have just been through a very moving experience which I would like to get down on paper as soon as possible. The four leading returnees met me here today at 2 o'clock and we talked steadily until five. After a few minutes of reminiscence and banter I told them that I had come to find out from them whether the situation was ripe for resuming the program. I made a brief reference to the importance of AFS not becoming a political tool, stressing that the individual political activity of returnees was of course their own affair, but that the precedent of having it broadcast that it was a political action group would be disastrous to the program everywhere in the world. I then asked them to tell me what they thought.
With the attractive bit of formality that has always characterized these Indonesian groups, their new President HARIDJI NOENSIE, gave me a little speech of welcome which was echoed by the others: TAUFIQ ISMAEL, ADHAM ARS-JAD, and HERMAN JUDASUBRATA.
They then, through HARIDJI as spokesman, told me of the convention at which he had been elected President. About 40 of the 246 showed up. They had a thorough discussion of the resumption of the program and came to the following conclusion which was voted on and approved.
Neither the Government nor the people of Indonesia understand the meaning or the results of AFS. First of all there is the usual reluctance at sending young people abroad and having them lose a year of their education. Then there is the remaining residue of anti-Western feeling--and anti-Americanism--though that is disappearing rapidly. The Vietnam war is thoroughly approved of here by the youth as well as others; they are only afraid we will pull out and leave Southeast Asia to the Communists. They pray for our patience and perseverance. They have lived through it. They know. They feel very strongly that to send Indonesians to the USA now would not be popular and might last only a short time. They believe that a definite program to condition Indonesia for the resumption of the U.S. program is necessary. The convention approved a definite plan of action in this regard. Here it is:
The AFS returnees will organize themselves throughout Indonesia into a sort of domestic Peace Corps. (They didn't use that term but agreed with me that it applied when I described the Peace Corps.) They will form groups to take part in assisting in the developing of the country in fields like planned parenthood, irrigation and farming, the teaching of English, community development, sanitation & hygiene--and the spreading of information on all modern developments in all fields; these groups and their activities will be widely publicized as returnee groups so that the Government and the people will see with their own eyes the benefits of the program in furthering not only a desire but a determination to assist in the developing of their country. In this way Indonesia will be won over to the WP program and when this time comes the whole nation will support it enthusiastically.
Meanwhile the AA program could probably start in the summer of 1969--since that part of the program needs no Government or popular approval and they are confident of finding families. Though they didn't say so, I can foresee the AAs participating in this action program of the returnees if there is an opportunity locally where their Indonesian family may live.
I have rather prosaically recited what they said simply because I haven't the power adequately to express the manner in which they did it. All I can say is that it was one of the most thrilling expressions I have ever had to listen to these young men who had all been through the fire of battle during these past years of hell in their country. The iron had surely entered into their souls--and they were lifted up to a plane of action and determination which nothing could stop. Their faith in AFS and their gratitude for what it had done for them and their conviction of what it could do for the future of Indonesia was very moving indeed. I of course agreed with their decision. I am seeing the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs Monday & Tuesday and we decided that my tactics will be to get their opinion of the program, describe it to them in the greatest possible detail, but make no attempt to urge its adoption now.
Tonight we go to Bandung. Haridji has gone ahead to gather the returnees there for a big meeting. Then next week we go to Bali and Djakarta where the other large groups are. Last night the PAC, John Getchell, who curiously enough started the program here with Mrs. Culver and Grace Goodell in 1956/57, had all the returnees to his home for supper. It was a great experience to meet with those I had known as kids six years ago--most of them married now. We had a fine orgy of reminiscing about our trips of 1962. 1 am awfully glad I came. They felt it was essential to get New York approval of their decision on an action program. I felt it was essential to give this approval on the spot and not wait to send it back to you. Everyone in the Embassy of course agrees. I will discuss the details of the AA program and the OR question with them later, but I thought you should get this first news hot off the griddle. I hope you approve.
Changes were taking place in the administration at AFS headquarters in New York. George Edgell had been on leave of absence for several months because of ill health. At the same time Sachiye Mizuki was leaving AFS to return to California. These two, Mr. Edgell and Miss Mizuki, for upward of twenty years had served AFS with the utmost devotion and the highest ability. Both brought to the discharge of their responsibilities also a standard of judgment and an integrity of the highest order. It was they, more perhaps than anyone else except Mr. Galatti, who had made AFSIS what it was, a program operated upon the highest ethical and professional principles and with the welfare of the participants always the paramount consideration.
As a result of the departure of Mr. Edgell and Miss Mizuki, Mr. Howe proposed certain changes in the administrative staff, which were effected in May, 1968.
Mr. Melvin S. Hathaway was appointed Vice President for Finance; Mr. William Orrick, formerly Headmaster of Solebury School, was brought in as Associate Director of Programs, primarily to be in charge of the Winter Program; Miss Alice Gerlach would be in charge of the Americans Abroad Program; and Mr. Stanley Smith, presently Regional Coordinator for Africa and The Middle East, would supervise Overseas Operations.
Other events also worthy of mention include:
- The United Nations Development proposal which envisioned an extensive redevelopment of two whole city blocks between 1st and 2nd Avenues and 42nd and 43rd Streets, threatened to wipe out the AFS headquarters building.
- AFS's application to UNESCO was withdrawn, because its rejection was foreseen, primarily on the grounds that its policy making structure was not acceptably international.
- There was a 5-day Latin American Conference in Bogota, Colombia, attended by 30 Overseas Representatives, Trustee Members Mary Chesnut and Isaac Patch, and 6 members of the New York staff.
- Announcement was made of the First Annual Frances Lehman Loeb Award for "outstanding achievement by a former AFS student." The selection committee was composed of Mr. Robert B. Anderson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Chairman, ex-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and M. Paul Henri Spaak. The first recipient of the Loeb Award would be Yves-Louis Demeer of France.
- The Program Committee (Mr. Patch, Chairman) included in its recommendations to the Board of Directors and Trustee Members two of especial importance--an endorsement of the proposal for a world wide AFS Conference in 1972; and a recommendation not to expand the Program to other than presently participating countries unless opportunities arose to include the USSR or other eastern European countries.
In an important memorandum to the Board of Directors in September, 1968 Mr. Howe dealt directly with some of the problems and issues facing AFS during this period. Excerpts from this memorandum will serve not only to identify these current questions but also to indicate Mr. Howe's approach to solutions and his style of leadership. This was the beginning of some rather difficult times.
When I arrived at AFS I felt strongly that for a time at least our energy had to be directed primarily toward a consolidation of the extraordinary expansion and complexities of operation which we have developed over the years. There were urgent needs in connection with personnel finances, organization, educational liaison policy coordination, and office space. In putting a good deal of emphasis on these things, I have undoubtedly removed the sense of urgency, which Steve Galatti always maintained for rapid expansion of our programs. During the past year various memoranda have gone to our volunteers across the U.S.A. stressing once again our desire for an increase in the number of Chapters and the placement of a second or third student in already active Chapters, and particularly the importance of finding more good host families. Each year the number of highly qualified applicants we receive from overseas is growing, and additionally we need more placements to accommodate new countries that would like to participate and to provide for expansion in those that have recently started with minimal number. The attached documents, accompanied by one of our maps, indicate previous numbers, our approximate figures for the program year now beginning, and an estimate of what might reasonably be set as a target for five years hence. The figures based on consultation with staff members here in the office represent my judgment of what might reasonably be our objective for each country's Winter Program in the light of managerial capacity at AFS/International, strength of our national organizations throughout the world, financial resources, quality of candidates, political and educational realities, inherent problems of placing and properly handling certain kinds of students, and a look into the crystal ball.(14)
There are two points that should be kept in mind: first, that this organization can never do more than the voluntary committees on which it almost totally depends are willing to implement.
Finally, as I write this memorandum at the end of a hectic summer, during which large portions of the staff have been heavily occupied almost every waking hour, and frequently when only half awake, I have to question how far we can reasonably go in expanding programs of such complexity and providing such individualized concern for each participant, without losing that personal touch which is at the heart of the whole effort.
Already we are internally discussing ways in which we can expand the number of good homes that may be available to us in the coming year. During the coming. year there will be a considerable increase in time and money spent on communicating with our constituency throughout the U.S.A. Most important of all however, will be the effectiveness with which we administer our present programs. Whatever the national trends, and however cleverly we may present AFS, the growth of the Winter Program will be determined primarily by its quality, the response of volunteers to its purpose, and its impact on the lives of people here and around the world.
The discrepancy in numbers of placements between the Winter Program and the Americans Abroad program is a constant source of difficulty, for however often we state that the AFS is not by precise definition an "exchange program, each USA. community receiving an overseas student is hopeful of being able to send one of its own abroad, and morale is hurt when this is not possible. Constantly we have to remind communities that their participation in AFS must not be premised on the regular expectancy of the placement of an Americans Abroad candidate, and that they should examine the inherent value of the Winter Program itself in determining whether or not participation is warranted.
In considering this long existing problem, I have felt that a regional screening procedure, under which the candidates from say a hundred mile radius of a given city are placed in competition with one another and evaluated by a locally established central committee, might help to ease the situation. Our first objective must always be to strengthen the quality of those we eventually place, but also we would hope to establish greater equity and to place the initial burden of responsibility for turning down local candidates on screening committees made up of local people, thus easing the unfortunate public-relations burden of a distant, 'insensitive' New York office passing judgment on students from a given community.
We should encourage new Chapters, particularly inner city or rural areas, by making provision for a Chapter fee of approximately $300 the first year for participation, with a firm understanding that the regular $750 fee would be expected thereafter. If this were done with an accompanying suggestion that any new Chapter that could raise the normal fee in its first year would be doing a great service to the organization, I suspect we could encourage expansion without creating an impossible financial situation.
There is always the danger that in trying to meet all the social problems that can be recognized, we lose the things we are already doing effectively. Equally there is a danger of letting one's expectancies run ahead of the realities that students, natural and host parents, and committees of local volunteers will support. While I find worldwide support for the efforts I see everywhere to broaden the base of AFS participation I suspect we would suffer some loss of our voluntary support overseas were we to redirect major resources and effort to specific internal needs of the U.S.A. without showing equal concern for comparable or greater problems elsewhere.
Finally I note that throughout the world educational preparation of the level and quality we require is predominately offered to those in the middle and upper classes. I was interested to note in a report recently sent me by one of our Directors that even in a country such as Sweden with its racial and religious unity and long tradition of government provided social services, only 16% of the university entry came from that huge group of people generally identified as the lower class.
Having stated these concerns about too hasty action in this area, I would reiterate my belief that we are making progress toward broadening the base of participation. I think we should approve in principle the proposal of a reduced Chapter participation fee for new inner city or rural areas. We can and are adopting increasingly flexible and realistic standards for the organization of Chapters in such places. Above all else I sense a great untapped potential in the Americans Abroad Returnee Organization, a significant percentage of whose older members are now living in urban centers, to form the nucleus of groups which can themselves constitute urban Chapters and support the development of the program in inner city schools. It will be difficult to find host families and schools that are deemed appropriate, both to us and to the parents of participants, but I welcome efforts in these directions.
A specific problem held for the Directors' judgment is whether we should authorize a 1969- 70 AFS Winter Program for Vietnamese students. I have previously reported on this subject to the Directors, and would merely remind you that we have painfully learned how difficult it is for us, for our Chapters, but above all else for the participating students, when we administer a program in a country torn by war. Student anxiety for the welfare of parents at home becomes almost intolerable at times, particularly when communication is cut off and there are published reports of military action in the student's home area. Both host parents and Chapters in this country have become deeply attached to Vietnamese students whom they feel we have a moral obligation to keep in this country rather than send back to an uncertain future, in spite of our firm one-year agreement with natural parents, with Vietnamese officials, and with the U.S. State Department. We have been through a number of trying situations in this respect. For each of the past three years at least one student ads "gone over the hill" just prior to the time for departure. Finally it is an unsavory fact that a significant percentage of our Vietnamese students, supported by their natural parents in Vietnam, desire nothing more than an opportunity to get out of their homeland. In spite of these difficult conditions, I have persisted in the belief that it was better to give these young people some opportunity for the kind of experience AFS provides, even if it involved unusual pressures, than to deny it entirely. Further I have faith that they can and in most cases will return to their country as better, more socially responsible citizens in the eventual reconstruction of their country.
For the moment we have advised those who do our selection in Vietnam that they should suspend any effort to commence the screening for students for 1969-70 until we had a decision from our Directors. This has produced a series of strongly worded letters from people high in the State Department, from Ambassador Bunker in Saigon, and from those directly representing us in the Cultural Affairs section of the Embassy in Saigon. There is no doubt of their feeling on the importance of our continuing the program. In view of our own soul-searching in this office, I asked Bob Applewhite to accompany the returning 1967-68 Vietnamese students to Saigon, and to meet with as many people as possible in helping us to formulate a decision. His clear impression is that the students themselves who have just completed their year favor the continuation of the program, while recognizing its pressures. Their parents in Vietnam also support our continued effort. So do the Returnees who have been back in Vietnam for one or more years. Given these circumstances, my recommendation is that we authorize the continuation of a small program in Vietnam for the year 1969-70, approximately at the level of 20 students; this will preserve the continuity of the effort which has been built up over several yews and which has considerable support throughout Vietnam, not only through American interests there, but also through the support of the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Vietnamese people. Specifically we would urge that students be selected from areas where communications are most likely to remain intact. Our staff here would continue and probably extend efforts to give special attention to families and Chapters receiving the Vietnamese students.
An International Incident
During the summer and early fall of 1968, an event received much attention in the press, not only in the United States but also internationally, and particularly in South Africa. The incident that was the subject of the press notices involved a WP student from South Africa.
Melanie Hope had a very successful year in Glendale, California. Following the Midway gathering of all 3100 AFS Winter Program students in Washington, D.C., Melanie, along with 96 other South African students, was provided temporary housing in Bergen County, New Jersey, from July 18 to July 30, awaiting the departure of her charter flight home.
Temporary housing for AFS students is regularly arranged by a local volunteer chairman who solicits the help of responsible, interested families to accommodate students. Melanie was housed with Mr. and Mrs. James Brown of Paramus, New Jersey, who were considered fully qualified.
Because the Browns were Blacks and Melanie was from South Africa, a local reporter in the Paramus area sensed a story and wrote a glowing account, with pictures of Melanie's and the Browns' pleasure in their association. The South African news service representatives in the U.S.A. reported this story to South Africa, where there was widespread publicity, and many questions were raised in the press.
Among those who commented to the press in South Africa was a lady in Pretoria who had served in a voluntary capacity on her local committee of AFS. Her feelings were that Melanie's placement with the Browns was a "mistake," that it was contrary to AFS policy, and that it would not happen again. None of these comments was cleared with the official representatives of AFS in South Africa or with our international headquarters in New York.
Unfortunately U.S. press services picked up this lady's remarks and attributed them to "the organization," which was understandably taken by many readers in the U.S.A. and throughout the world to mean that AFS officially endorsed these positions. It hardly seemed necessary for AFS on the basis of its record of handling over 47,000 students of every race, creed and color going to and from the U.SA and countries all over the world to defend itself against charges of racial discrimination, but AFS disavowed categorically the policies attributed to it directly or by implication.
Because the widespread publicity given Melanie's placement with the Browns contained the aforementioned distortion, and others, it was agreed that the wisest policy for our international headquarters staff was to issue no comment, in the hope the incident would disappear from the papers. This indeed happened. Further, it was agreed that an explanation should subsequently be made to all who wrote us, and that this should be shared with as much of our constituency as could be effectively reached without resorting to press releases.
Thus the incident gradually disappeared from public attention; because of it, however, AFS in most quarters gained rather than lost stature.
The financial statement for fiscal year 1967-1968 indicated a net loss of $34,423. The projection for 1968-1969, however, showed a somewhat worrisome possible deficit of $262,496. The U.S. Department of State had decreased its annual grant, and travel expenses were substantially increased. (The breakdown of the Ryndam and the subsequent rescheduling of transportation by air had alone added $75,000 to travel costs.) In view of this prospective deficit, the Board voted in December to increase the Chapter fee from $750 to $850 and the School Program participation from $750 to $950.
As in the case of most non-profit organizations that rely on fees for the major part of their income, the fees charged generally lag somewhat behind the increase of expenses. There is a built-in reluctance to raise fees in an institution whose aims and purposes are idealistic rather than commercial. The years between 1959 and 1969 in the history of AFS show two deficit periods, both of which followed periods of gradually declining surpluses and preceded an increase in fees, which started anew a period of small surpluses. (See chart, below).
More and more important to reducing or offsetting large deficits became the money brought in by the Development Department. Annually this fund raising activity generated at AFS Headquarters brought in about $400,000, or an important 7.5 percent of the total income. Still the indispensable chapter participation fees (essentially contributions) constituted more than 39 percent of the income of the organization.
Quite appropriately, the first session of the Annual Meeting of Trustee Members on 24 January, 1969, was devoted to the AFS Returnee: Role and Aspirations. A very representative, and interesting panel of Returnees had been assembled to discuss the topic. The Moderator was Clifford M. Baacke, AA to Sweden in 1956. Speakers were Hans-Gernot von Albert, Essen, Germany, WP 1955, and Lawrence V. Levine, AA to Italy, 1963. The panelists were:
Guy Withofs, Belgium, WP 1955
Shin-ichi Kitajama, Japan, WP 1965
Mrs. Sabra Steele Flood, AA to Germany, 1955
Dr. William R. Brown, Jr., AA to Germany, 1957
The Returnees, no longer just a young element, represented the future of AFS. The purpose of the meeting was to hear Returnee concerns about the present activities and future development of the programs. During the remarks of the panelists and the discussion which followed, the two matters of greatest concern to the Returnees emerged: The diversifying of AFS Programs to include more participants from minority groups, and the establishment of a multi-national program. The Americans Abroad Returnees were primarily concerned about diversity. The WP Returnees emphasized the multi-national program. These two concerns were to become increasingly the focal points of AFS meetings and conferences in the United States and around the world.
The improvement of communications between AFS headquarters and those volunteers and staff who were responsible for carrying on the programs in the field was, and still is a primary concern of the Administration. The semi-annual overseas Regional Conferences, as well as those in the U.S., were proving an important means of sharing "know-how," exchanging views, and determining goals and policy. Also contributing to improved local administration was an accelerated program of bringing Overseas Representatives to the New York office for work experience and an inauguration of staff exchanges overseas. The Regional Coordinators were proving effective in maintaining closer relationships with offices and committees in other AFS countries. With the appointment of Mr. Hugh O'Neill as Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific, all regions of the world were now served by Regional Coordinators.
At this time, there were 183 full-time and 7 part-time employees in the New York office, approximately 130 of whom were involved directly in program activities, Overseas, AFS maintained 44 offices with 6 full-time and 41 part-time employees. The emotional and physical strains inherent in working for AFS, however, resulted in a relatively short term of service with the organization; turnover would always be a problem, since in most instances four or five years without a break proved to be the normal span of employment in AFS programs.
The goal of 4500 Winter Program students by 1973 appeared more and more unrealistic. Programs of secondary-school student exchange faced increasing competition for home-finding, fund raising, publicity, and candidate selection. Maintaining the momentum of the programs would occupy more and more of the time and energies of the AFS staff and volunteers.
One important area in which AFS seemed to have continuing and better than moderate success was in attracting contributions. Receipts were largely the result of mail appeals to the regular constituency, but AFS was now receiving major gifts from individuals and organizations without previous AFS ties. The State Chairmen organization was an effective way of reaching out to new donors, as well as the so-called Named Scholarship of $500 for an individual student for one year. Annual giving overall had risen from $197,000 in 1965 to $301,000 in 1966, to $557,000 in 1967, and to $628,000 in 1968.
Increasing concern was felt over the United Nations Development Proposal which would involve the two blocks between East 43rd and 45th Streets between First and Second Avenues, including the property and building owned by AFS, now representing an asset of about $2,300,000 (less a $600,000 mortgage and plus $250,000 worth of furniture and fixtures). The Proposal, which would include hotel, office, commercial, and other facilities for the U.N. had the backing of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and of the City and State Governments. The Power of Condemnation had been passed by the State Legislature in May of 1968. A Special Committee of Directors had been established to monitor developments and to safeguard the best interests of AFS. Fortunately, in the end the Proposal would fail to materialize and the threat to AFS, Headquarters would subside.
Part III: Mr. Howe's Presidency, continued
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