Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Geneva Conventions of the International Red Cross conference comprise four treaties and additional protocols that establish the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war. These four conventions address rights and procedures for the treatment of wounded and sick in armed forces in the field; the wounded, sick and shipwrecked members of armed forces on sea; prisoners of war; and civilian persons in time of war.
In the aftermath of World War II, it was determined that the two treaties of 1929 needed to be updated and enhanced. Between April 14 and 26 in 1947, a conference of government experts was convened to study the conventions for the protection of war victims. As a result, the International Red Cross held a conference in Stockholm in 1948 in which the four conventions were developed. In April of 1949, a Diplomatic Conference for the establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of War Victims was held in Geneva and it appears that members of that conference worked on the details of the four conventions in committees. On August 12, 1949, the four conventions were approved in Geneva. From 1947 to 1949, each act and article of the conventions were compared to past acts and articles, revised, argued, and revised again. Delegates from across the globe met and discussed these conventions before finally agreeing upon the final language.
Albert E. Clattenburg, Jr. (September 6, 1906 – August 28, 1987) was an official and a diplomat with the United States State Department. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1928 and became an expert on prisoner of war questions and international law inside the State Department. During World War II, he was assistant chief of the Department of State's Special War Problems Division. He served as the head of the United States delegation to the Geneva meeting in 1947 and attended the 1948 Conference in Stockholm. He also participated in the 1949 International Red Cross Convention, probably serving on Committee III which focused on rights of civilians during times of war. During his time as a Foreign Service Officer, Clattenburg and his family (including wife, Thelma (1903-1982), and sons Albert (1932-2015) and Charles (1938-2008)) were stationed in Greece, Canada, France, and Batavia (present-day Jakarta).
This collection contains eighteen bound volumes of materials documenting the International Red Cross Conferences of 1947 to 1949, relating to the Geneva Conventions. While most of the material is printed and was clearly disseminated to all members of committees and delegations, these are Clattenburg's working copies of minutes, reports, and amendments. They contain his handwritten notes as well as a few odd bits of memorabilia (bound into the volumes). For the most part, both English and French copies of the material are contained within the volumes, with the exception of Actes de la Conférence Diplomatique de Genève (box 1, folder 1) and La Croix-Rouge et Les Conventions de Genève (box 1, folder 3) which are exclusively in French.
The collection is arranged in four series: I. Research on 1929 Geneva Conventions; II. Conference of Government Experts for the Study of the Conventions for the Protection of War Victims, held in Geneva from April 14 to 26, 1947; III. XVIIth International Red Cross Conference held in Stockholm in August 1948; and IV. Diplomatic Conference for the establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of War Victims held in Geneva on April 21, 1949 and the resulting committee work which took place between February and August 1949.
While the bulk of the material dates from 1947 to 1949, there is some earlier material probably used as research for the revisions suggested. In the first series, researchers will find published material from 1929 Geneva Conventions which includes the revisions to the acts of the 1906 Convention as well as lists of nations which participated in the 1864 and 1906 Conventions. There are copies of the two 1929 Conventions published by the government of the United States, and a 1943 analysis of the 1929 Conventions.
Series II. Conference of Government Experts for the Study of the Conventions for the Protection of War Victims documents Clattenburg's work as chief of the United States Delegation. It is possible that he served on the Prisoners of War Committee as part of his role as Chief of the Special Projects Division. Clattenburg's involvement in the revisions is apparent and there is evidence of close study of the 1929 Conventions--documents begin with suggested revisions to each act and each article and include Clattenburg's annotations. His correspondence (bound into volumes) with members of United States governmental agencies provides a glimpse into the number of groups interested in defining prisoner of war language and ensuring appropriate treatment. Of particular interest to researchers may be the working document entitled "Commission of Government Experts for the Study of Conventions for the Protection of War Victims," (box 1, folder 5) which includes side by side comparisons of each article with the 1929 version on the left side of the volume and the proposed revisions on the right side.
Series III. XVIIth International Red Cross Conference held in Stockholm in August 1948 contains four bound volumes relating to the conference. Material includes a report of activities of the International Red Cross during the second World War, working documents, the conference program and schedule, list of participants, menus, and an opera program, as well as the report of the United States delegation.
The final series relates to the Diplomatic Conference for the establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of War Victims held in Geneva on April 21, 1949, and the resulting committee work which took place between February and August 1949. Researchers will find revised and new draft conventions for the protection of wartime victims and remarks and proposals submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross for consideration by the governments who would participate in the April 21 conference. The following volumes document the work undertaken by committee members, in particular, the work of Committee III, which focused specifically on the Convention on the protection of civilians. It is probable that Clattenburg worked on this committee. This committee's work includes meeting minutes and drafts of articles. There are also memorandums from government delegations requesting further revisions or language changes. While the majority of the material in this series focuses on civilians, there are also reports of the Joint Committee (a committee dealing with language common to all committees) to the Plenary Assembly, the Plenary Assembly's meetings notes, and the drafts of the articles for the other three committees as well as the Legal Commission's report.
It appears that Clattenburg had his copies bound for his own use--even the published documents can be found in matching bindings. Most of the volumes in this collection contain a slip of paper that says "João Cezar, L. Encadernadores Douradores, Casa Fundada em I de Janeiro de 1901 – executamos todos os trabalhos de Encadernador e Dourador. Rua do Norte, 109 Lisboa." This translated roughly to "João Cezar, L. bookbinder/gilder, founded on January 1, 1901 – We perform all the works of bookbinder and gilder." It appears to be a business card left in the volumes by the company that bound them.
- Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War (1949 : Geneva, Switzerland)
- Conference of Government Experts for the Study of the Conventions for the Protection of War Victims (1947 : Geneva, Switzerland)
- International Conference of the Red Cross (17th : 1948 : Stockholm, Sweden)
- International Conference of the Red Cross
- Prisoners of war
- War victims
- War -- Protection of civilians
- War (International law)
- War -- Relief of sick and wounded
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelin Baldridge
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 May 8
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.