188 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
In the meantime Dunant attended as a delegate a meeting of the International
Congress on Statistics in Berlin. With the assistance of his friend
Dr. J.H.C. Basting, a Dutch delegate to the conference, he prepared a speech
laying out the aims and work of the Committee, which Dr. Basting presented.
The speech wound up with an invitation to the meeting in October
in Geneva. The statisticians refused to put forward a resolution but took
note of Dunant’s work. The necessary advertising had taken effect. Dunant
spent the days following the conference attending all the functions and dinners
he could find and which were being hosted in honour of the delegates.
He lobbied diligently and his efforts bore fruit. Those he had won over to
his side persuaded their governments to nominate delegates to the Geneva
Conference. Dunant and Dr. Basting worked on a circular, which they
caused to be printed. It was a new declaration of the Committee’s aims.
Quite without authority, he signed the circular in the name of the Committee
of Five. Dunant sent the circular to the ministers of war and of foreign
affairs of all the countries in Europe.
The recommendations in the circular were that:
1. each government in Europe should give its protection and patronage
to the national committee to be organized in each capital city,
with a membership of respected citizens;
2. the governments should accord neutral status to military medical
personnel and their assistants, including members of voluntary aid
3. in time of war the governments should give facilities for the dispatch
of medical and other supplies for medical personnel as well
as donations which the national societies collected for countries at
Dunant wrote to the Committee back in Geneva, confessing to the moves
he had made without prior authority. Moynier viewed Dunant’s progress as
an abuse of authority, but the Committee eventually awoke to the fact that
Dunant had succeeded in elevating the initiative from an affair of a few
zealous Swiss committeemen to one of international significance. Dunant
had, on his own responsibility, created an international conference to establish
the principle of neutrality to be applied to the sick and wounded in battle
and to the medical personnel tending them.
“Neutrality” was the significant basis for this proposal.
Dunant spent some time petitioning the King of Saxony and, by correspondence,
Napoleon III, both of whom agreed to send delegates to the conference
on behalf of their countries. On the way home to Geneva via