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    The First International Astronautical Congress.

    International Astronautical Federation: Original 1950 Organizational Documents, Signed by the Founding Members. An amazing and important archive of approximately twenty-four pages (in either French or German) regarding the first ever "Space Congress," a meeting of representatives from various private rocket and astronautical societies, held in Paris in 1950. Included in this archive is a two-page carbon-copy typed document in French, 8.25" x 10.75", titled "Premier Congress International D'Astronautique Resolutions". It is signed at the close by all nine of the representatives mentioned as committee members: Dr. G. Loeser & F. K. Jungklaas (Germany); Teofilo M. Tabanera (Argentina); Ferdinand Cap (Austria); L. Hansen (Denmark); T. Mur (Spain); Alexandre Ananoff (France); Val Cleaver (Great Britain); and Ake Hjertstrand (Sweden). Also included (in French) are a schedule of meetings and a program for the public gathering on the first night of the conference. Most of the balance of the archive is in German. This meeting led to the formation of the International Astronautical Federation the following year in London. An exceedingly rare and desirable collection of signatures and documents from the earliest pioneers in rocketry and space flight. Generally very good condition with expected light toning and wear. Below is the text of the Resolutions document, translated from French:

    "The delegates attending the first International Astronautical Congress noted with great pleasure that the meetings of October 1st and 2nd, 1950, held in private committee at the Aero Club of France, had the result of strengthening the ties of friendship and of brotherhood, certain pledges of cooperation between the different foreign astronautical associations

    "The following decisions were taken, the vote was unanimous:
    1. Creation of an international body for the study and development of interplanetary navigation.
    2. Given the limited time reserved for discussions and the difficulty of establishing a body of such importance, it was decided that it would be created that next year, during the second International Astronautical Congress.
    3. This congress will be held in London in September 1951.
    4. By this date, delegates from each country represented will send to the organizers of the second International Congress of London their suggestions and proposals in founding an international organization.
    5. The British Interplanetary Society has agreed to centralize, coordinate and start all proposals made to them in this direction.
    6. The delegates undertake a study in advance of all the details and proposals made to them to trim the work as much as possible to avoid unnecessary discussion at the London Congress.
    7. It will be only during the International Astronautical Congress in London that the final decisions regarding the operation of an International Federation of Astronautical Societies. The creation will be solemnly proclaimed.
    8. Pending the creation of this international organization, it was decided provisionally, an International Bureau would be established, whose chief, a neutral member Mr Eugen Sänger, and members of the Committee for the Heads of Delegations represented at the First International Astronautical Congress whose names follow:
    Germany: Dr. G. Loeser & F. K. Jungklaas
    Argentina: Teofilo M. Tabanera
    Austria: Ferdinand Cap
    Denmark: L. Hansen
    Spain: T. Mur
    France: Alexandre Ananoff
    Great Britain: Val Cleaver
    Sweden: Ake Hjertstrand
    PARIS, October 2 1950"

    More Information:

    In the years immediately following the Second World War, astronautical societies and groups, a few of which had already existed in the pre-war years, began to function in a number of countries. With the great step forward in rocket technology, the possibility of space flight was being taken more seriously and the societies attracted a greater proportion of professional scientists and engineers to their memberships. There was considerable communication between these societies and a strong desire for a working international collaboration began to emerge. This was brought to a head when, in June 1949, the Board of Directors of the Stuttgart Gesellschaft fur Weltraumforschung (GfW) passed a resolution calling for an international meeting of all societies concerned specifically with rockets, interplanetary flight and space research, to foster collaboration and consider the possibility of forming an international astronautical association. The resolution was communicated to other national societies and, in particular, a request to organise such a meeting was made to the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) which was at that time one of the two largest national astronautical societies (the other being the American Rocket Society, ARS).

    The BIS readily agreed to do this in London, but required two years for its adequate preparation, having in mind a major conference, along the lines of the subsequent congresses. The BIS offer was accepted, but there was a strong feeling that the affair ought not to be delayed by as much as two years; and, in that situation, M. Alexandre ANANOFF, President of the Groupement Astronautique Francais of the Aeroclub de France, offered to organise a preliminary meeting of the interested societies in Paris.

    The meeting took place, as promised, between 30 September and 2 October 1950, and was publicly described as the "Premier Congres International d'Astronautique" a style of title that was adopted in the subsequent annual meetings. It involved a large and impressive public gathering held on the afternoon of 30 September in the Richelieu Grand Amphitheatre of the Sorbonne, and two business meetings held on the mornings of the following Monday and Tuesday at the Paris headquarters of the French Aeroclub. The latter were attented by the representatives of astronautical societies from eight countries (Argentina, Austria, Britain, Denmark, France, Spain, Sweden and Germany) and by four independent individuals, pioneers distinguished in the field of rocket technology, one of whom was Dr Eugen SANGER, who was one of the architects of our Academy.

    The outcome of these business discussions was an agreement that there be set up an international organisation devoted to the study and development of interplanetary flight, and that the act of establishing such a body should be the main purpose of the Second International Astronautical Congress, to be held in London in September 1951. A provisional committee, consisting of the leaders of the delegations at Paris under the chairmanship of Eugen SANGER, was appointed to represent the proposed organisation and the BIS was charged with collecting and co-ordinating the views of the various societies during the intervening period, and producing from these a set of proposals covering the nature and constitution of the intented body. This was done, the proposals were circulated, and the International Astronautical Federation was duly founded at the London Congress, where the representation had been augmented by delegates from four other countries (Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and the USA) who, thereby, joined the ranks of the founder-member societies. SANGER was elected first President of the Federation, with Andrew G. HALEY and Guenter LOESER as the Vice-Presidents. ( )

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