THE THREE SECRETARIES OF THE INTERNATIONAL
WHO NEVER WROTE A SINGLE LETTER
As more than half a century has now elapsed since the first beloved Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, issued the only Proclamation of his ministry, in which he extolled in unprecedented and glowing terms the decision he had taken "at long last" to constitute the International Baháí Council, as depicted above, it is certain that those believers who have embraced the Faith in recent years would have no knowledge of this auspicious event, much less the momentous significance and implications involved in its formation, which even the Baháís at the time, failed to discern with tragic results for the future of the Faith.
Therefore, it is even more certain that these new believers would never have read this Proclamation and realized that he had hailed his "epoch-making decision" to form the "first International Baháí Council, forerunner of supreme administrative institution" and "this first embryonic International Institution" as the "most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Baháulláh." Or, would they have any knowledge whatsoever that he had stated in his Proclamation that "history will acclaim" the constitution of this International Council "as the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Baháí Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order on the morrow of Abdul-Bahas Ascension, ranking second only to the glorious immortal events associated with the Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith . . ."
Or, would they have known that this decision had been contingent on other developments in Israel and within the Faith that had been long awaited, before his decision to form this International Council such as the "adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions throughout the Bahái World" which, as subordinate administrative institutions, would be responsive to this supreme Council. And, it was for this reason that his Proclamation had been specifically addressed to the "National Assemblies of East and West."
In his cablegram of 2 March 1951, Shoghi Effendi had previously identified Mason Remey, as the President of this supreme Council and Amelia Collins as its Vice-President (both subsequently named Hands of the Cause) and on 8 March 1951, as stated above, announced the other appointed members and officers of the Council, including its Secretary-General and two assistant secretaries with their respective assignments as shown below.
Hand of the Cause, Leroy Ioas, "Secretary-General."
Ethel Revell, "Western assistant Secretary."
Lotfullah Hakim, "Eastern assistant Secretary."
Mason Remey has recorded in his Dairy titled, "Daily Observations" that Shoghi Effendi never directed him to activate the Council under his Presidency during the remaining years of his ministry, although Shoghi Effendi did assign individual tasks to members of the Council and he had himself acted as Shoghi Effendis representative in meetings with officials of the Government of Israel. Although Shoghi Effendi had limited the initial functions of the Council to the Holy Land and to relations with the Government of Israel, he stated that: "To these will be added further functions in the course of the evolution of this first embryonic International Institution marking its evolution into officially recognized Baháí Court, its transformation into a duly elected body, its efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice."
Of significance and puzzling at the time, was the fact that Shoghi Effendi, in a message of 8 March 1952, announced the appointment of Rúhíyyih Khánum as his "chosen liaison" with the Council. It was only some eight years later and some three years following the passing of Shoghi Effendi that it became clear why Shoghi Effendi had found it necessary to appoint a "chosen liaison" with the Council, even though six of its members permanently resided in Haifa and he met them every evening at the dinner table. It then too, became obvious why Shoghi Effendi had never instructed Mason Remey, as its President, to convene this embryonic Council into an actively functioning administrative body during the remaining years of his ministry. For had he done so, he would have had to depose Mason Remey as its President (a permanent appointment and not a temporary one) because, according to the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, only the Guardian of the Faith presides permanently as the " sacred head" of the Universal House of Justice, albeit brought into life in its embryonic form. For, as Abdul-Bahá has stated, "The embryo possesses from the first all perfections. . .in one word, all the powers. . ." (BWF, p. 313)
Shoghi Effendi, in his message of 23 November 1951, outlined the projected "added further functions" of the Council which would be assumed sometime during the period of the Ten Year Global Crusade scheduled to commence at Ridván 1953, when he stated: that this "Master Plan designed by Abdul-Bahá will embrace the continents of the earth, and will bring the Central Body directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the National Assemblies of the Baháí world, which in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Baháulláh, as prophesied by Abdul-Bahá and envisioned by Daniel. . ." As direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies would require the Council to become an actively functioning body that would have been presided over by Shoghi Effendi, himself, if he had not appointed Mason Remey as its President, Shoghi Effendi, obviously had been aware that his own passing was destined to take place before the expiration of the Ten Year Global Crusade and therefore, in preparing this message, had forecast in this indirect way his own early demise which actually took place six years later in November 1957 at mid-point of the Ten Year Crusade.
There can be no question that "CENTRAL BODY" referred to in Shoghi Effendis message above could be none other than the International Baháí Council, as it certainly did not apply to the Hands of the Cause, the first contingent of twelve living Hands having been appointed by Shoghi Effendi a month following the issuance of this message on 24 December 1951.
Notwithstanding the very clear intention of Shoghi Effendi, as undeniably shown in his message quoted above, that the International Baháí Council would be the body "directing" the "widely ramified operations" of the National Spiritual Assemblies involved in the prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade and thereby clearly require the services of the three secretaries of the International Baháí Council, specifically appointed by Shoghi Effendi for this purpose, these secretaries never wrote a single letter to the National Spiritual Assemblies during this Crusade. For, they were prevented from doing so for the reasons discussed below.
The Hands of the Cause at the time of Shoghi Effendis passing, whose number had increased to twenty-seven through additional appointments, inexcusably failed to recognize the position of the International Baháí Council, potentially at the time of its appointment, as the supreme administrative body in the Baháí Administrative Order, as they had either overlooked, ignored, or completely forgotten the tremendous importance Shoghi Effendi had placed on the formation of the International Baháí Council in his Proclamation and his subsequent message of 30 June 1952 confirming that this International Council was nothing less than the embryonic Universal House of Justice when he stated that "at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are in their embryonic form, unfolding."
The failure of the Hands, upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi, to recognize that this embryonic Universal House of Justice could now emerge into active life and take over direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies in their prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade, as envisaged in Shoghi Effendis message of 23 November 1951, coupled with their loss of Faith in the Covenant of Baháulláh and in the immortality of the divinely-conceived "Child of the Covenant" the Will and Testament of Abdu-Bahá as a result of their misguided search for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, inevitably doomed to failure, as Shoghi Effendi was obligated to appoint his successor "in his own life-time" according to the explicit terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, led to their fateful decision to declare the Guardianship of the Faith forever ended. They then further incredulously deluded themselves into believing that they had become the sole heirs of Shoghi Effendis authority until such time as they would prematurely call for the election of a Universal House of Justice of their own making, during Ridván 1963 and although minus the Guardian as its "sacred head" still pretend it to be and foist it upon an unsuspecting Baháí World as the same Institution delineated by Abdul-Bahá in His Will and Testament.
Although the Hands of the Cause have no administrative responsibilities under the terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, they seized complete control over the affairs of the Faith, established an illicit body of nine Hands which they gave the appellation of "The Custodians of the Baháí World Faith," subordinated the International Council to this body, and, contrary to the intentions of Shoghi Effendi, as expressed in his message of 23 November 1951, took over the direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies in their prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade, as evidenced in the book that was subsequently published under the title of "The Ministry of the Custodians, 1957-1963."
As a result, neither the Secretary General of the International Baháí Council or his two assistant Secretaries ever wrote a letter to the National Spiritual Assemblies pertaining to achieving the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade. If, on the other hand, this supreme Councilthe embryonic Universal House of Justiceestablished by Shoghi Effendi had been permitted to function and evolve through the successive stages that he had outlined, the Hands of the Cause would have come to realize that the irremovable head of this body appointed by Shoghi Effendi, could be none other than his appointed successor and that it was, in this indirect way (chosen to veil from the believers the imminence of his passing) that Shoghi Effendi had clearly and undeniably provided for the continuance of the Guardianship, in faithful compliance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá.
Joel Bray Marangella
Guardian of the Baháí Faith