The Second Quarter Century (1946-1971)
The second 25 years of the Belgian American Foundation open on a bleak financial picture. The investments of the Foundation had been nearly entirely in bonds from 1920 until 1933. With many bonds defaulting during the Depression, the Finance Committee of Foundation voted in December 1933 to diversify the portfolio and to include common stocks not to exceed 25% of the holdings of the Foundation. The percentage of common and preferred stocks was further increased to approach about two-thirds of the portfolio by 1940. Nevertheless, the stock market reached its low in 1942, and near the end of World War II the financial means of the Foundation were substantially reduced to about $1,900,000 in 1943, although income still exceeded expenses. From 1946 onward there would be regular overdrafts and all financial reports of this quarter century were in red ink, as expenses continue to exceed income.
After the Liberation of 1944, communication between the New York and Brussels office were reestablished. The President of Fondation Universitaire Félicien Cattier, the Rectors of the four universities and the Director of Fondation Universitaire addressed the following letter to Herbert Hoover, the principal part of which reads as follows:
"It is with unspeakable joy that we grasp this opportunity of addressing you this first message of warm friendship, after the liberation of our Territory for which so many of your Country's sons have gallantly laid down their lives, with a spirit of self-sacrifice that fills us with admiration and gratitude.
We closely associate to yourself, in the expression of loyalty, all your colleagues of the Belgian American Educational Foundation's executive committee, and in particular, Messrs. Edgar Rickard and Perrin C. Galpin.
Already has come to our ears, the echo of the care and sympathy you have bestowed upon our Nationals whom events have compelled to seek refuge in your great Country.
Those who remained in Belgium , to uphold and defend against the invader the rights and interests of the Academic Institutions entrusted to them, hasten to express to you their heartfelt gratitude.
The actual war has revived the memory of the incomparable services which the Commission for Relief in Belgium rendered to our country during the 1914-18 period. More than ever do we appreciate and value the bonds which have thus arisen between us, and we eagerly look forward to resume our future collaboration.
In expressing this wish, we not only voice the feeling of our many colleagues closely associated to our activities, but we are also the spokesmen of all Foundation's Alumni.
With our sincerest wishes for a speedy and crushing Allied victory we address you dear President Hoover, the renewed expression of our deepest attachment".
signed, Félicien Cattier, President of the Fondation Universitaire,
Leon Graulich, Rector Liege University,
M. Frans van den Dungen, Rector Brussels University,
Mgr. H.Van Waeyenbergh, Rector Louvain University,
R. Goubau, Rector Ghent University,
Jean Willems, Director Fondation Universitaire.
As part of the return to normal life in Belgium, the Foundation invited the Rectors of the four Belgian universities to come to the United States in May and June 1946. They traveled as a group and visited important US universities. For three of the rectors Professor Jacques Cox, Rector of the University of Brussels, Professor Edgard Blancquaert, Rector of the University of Ghent, and Mgr. Honoré Van Waeyenbergh, Rector of the University of Leuven-Louvain , it was their first visit to the United States. The Rector of the University of Liège was Jules Duesberg, former B.A.E.F. Fellow 1931. A photograph of this important Delegation of Rectors is reproduced.
The visit to the U.S.A. of the rectors of the four belgian universities in 1946.
From left to right: J. Cox, H. van Waeyenbergh, E. Blancquaert, J. Duesberg
The Foundation lost no time in giving scholars and scientists the opportunity to become acquainted or re-acquainted with members of their profession in the US. A group of individuals traveling independently came as C.R.B. Visiting Scientists, as part of a Belgian Scientific Mission to the United States between 1946 and 1951. Thus, the Foundation endeavored to assist Belgian higher education and scientific research in the aftermath of the war.
Resumption of a full program for Belgian and American Fellows came with the academic year 1946-47. In subsequent years the number of Belgian Fellows was increased and that of the American Fellows proportionately decreased. The Summer Courses in the History of Art were restored in 1949 and continued in 1950. In 1951 this initiative was raised to a more advanced level and renamed the "Brussels Art Seminar" under the general direction of Professor Paul Coremans and Mr. Jacques van der Belen, and the immediate direction of Herman Liebaers, as Assistant Secretary of the Foundation. This was a most propitious change, as these Art Seminars in Brussels and Antwerp between 1951 and 1956 attracted many very qualified participants who would become leaders in the museum and art history education circles of the United States. After Herman Liebaers became Head Librarian of the Royal Library in Brussels in 1956, the Art Seminar was suspended.
Before World War II, a few Americans had paid a visit to the Belgian Congo under the auspices of the Foundation. After 1945 the Foundation was urged to consider sending American Fellows to the Congo as a regular program. Starting in 1948, American Fellowships to the Belgian Congo were included for three to ten months of study in Central Africa. In 1956 a special program of fellowships was announced for Belgian university students resident in Belgian Congo or professionally engaged there, to make study trips to the United States. The program increased its numbers up to the independence of Congo-Zaire in 1960 and lasted until 1962.
As the Fulbright Program was being organized in the post-war period, the B.A.E.F. assisted in that program's exchange between the United States and Belgium. Thus, Perrin C. Galpin, President of B.A.E.F., served on the Selection Committee in New York recommending American graduate students for study abroad under Fulbright awards. In Belgium, the B.A.E.F. Secretary in Belgium, Mr. Jacques van der Belen acted as the Executive Officer of the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxemburg for the first year and remained the Educational Advisor and on the Board of the Commission thereafter. Needless to add that the building of Fondation Universitaire at 11, Egmontstreet was the first administrative seat of the Fulbright Commission.
In the face of declining B.A.E.F. resources, the first reverse flow of funds among the sister Foundations of B.A.E.F. occurred in 1956. The Francqui Foundation donated annually $8,000 and later $10,000 to B.A.E.F. in order to permit two Belgian B.A.E.F. Fellows to be brought to the United States, under the designation of Edgar Rickard Fellow and Millard Shaler Fellow. These two men were early officers of B.A.E.F. Moreover, Millard K. Shaler and William Hallam Tuck were the first Representatives of B.A.E.F. in Belgium, before they each became Vice-President in Belgium. Their annual salary check of 1921 for one dollar and signed by Herbert Hoover is reproduced.
The second President of the Foundation, Edgar Rickard (see the series of photographs of B.A.E.F. Presidents), died on January 11, 1951. He was with Hoover in London in the Commission for Relief of Belgium, then B.A.E.F. Vice-President from 1922 to 1933, President from 1933 to 1941, B.A.E.F. Chairman from 1941 to 1951. The Honorary Chairman Herbert Hoover resumed the Chair following the death of Mr. Rickard. It is of interest that the most recent B.A.E.F. President (1977- ) held a "Edgar Rickard Fellowship" while being a B.A.E.F. Fellow in 1964.
The third President of the Foundation Perrin C. Galpin was an original incorporator of the Foundation in 1923. He was its Corporate Secretary (1923-1947), Vice-President (1936-1941), President (1941-1962) and Chairman (1962-1963). The fourth President of the Foundation was E. Clark Stillman, who was Secretary (1947-1963) and President (1962-1963). Both Perrin Galpin and Clark Stillman gave considerably of their time and experience to the many Belgian Fellows who studied in the US during that period.
At the time of the World's Fair of 1958 in Brussels , the "Chief" and Founder of C.R.B, the first President of B.A.E.F., Herbert Hoover went to Belgium and was received by the Royal Family. As a special representative of President Eisenhower, Mr. Hoover participated in official activities at the American Pavilion on July 4th. The next day July 5, 1958 was proclaimed "Hoover Day" by the Belgian Government. A meeting of reminiscence was held at the main office of the Société Générale de Belgique, where many meetings of the Comité National and of the Commission of Relief in Belgium had been held forty years earlier. The meeting was closed with a memorable speech by Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens, B.A.E.F. Fellow 1926-28. Mr. Eyskens closed his heartfelt tribute as follows:
"We are proud to have here among us again this man who symbolized the greatness, the generosity, the devotion to peace of the American people; a man who has lived history and has made history; a man who has constantly striven for better understanding among all nations of the world; a man who is dear to the hearts of us all."
It would be the last visit of Herbert Hoover to Belgium. "The Chief" died in 1964.
In response to a request made in September 1962 by Mr. William B. Anderson, President of the Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation, Inc. of West Branch, Iowa , the Executive Committee voted to make a contribution of $900,000 to enable the Birthplace Foundation to build an annex or extension of the Presidential Library which had been dedicated on August 10, 1962. This special expenditure of capital was approved by the Executive Committee at a time when the Foundation had already been experiencing regular annual budgetary deficits. Indeed, the financial statements during the second quarter of the Foundation's history show that functional expenses exceeded income for every single year from 1946 to 1972. The Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation gift proved to be controversial with some Members and among Alumni. The resignations of E. Clark Stillman as President and of Perrin C. Galpin as Chairman followed in short order in June and July 1963. On July 9, 1963, Mr. Maurice Pate was elected President. Mr. Clare M. Torrey would become President in March 1964. A lawsuit against the Foundation was filed in May 1964 stating that the gift to the Herbert Hoover Birthplace had been illegal.. The litigation lasted from May 1964 until November 1970. At the end of the dispute the gift of $900,000 remained with the recipient and litigation costs constituted an added expense for the Foundation of $465,000 between 1964 and 1972. Against a background of claims and disclaimers of planned or impending liquidation, amidst extensive press coverage of the controversy, the Fellowship program continued albeit at a tremendous cost to the assets of the Foundation. All parties, the plaintiffs and the many Alumni of the Foundation opposing the gift, the defendants among the Executive Committee and Directors, learned from this calamitous episode. Were it not for a drastic reorganization in a spirit of reconciliation, the Foundation could not have survived. On November 17, 1970 a summary judgment in the matter of the Herbert Hoover Birthplace gift was granted to the defendants, effectively closing the second Quarter Century of the Belgian American Educational Foundation, Inc. read more
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