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24 H...  [street]
         Glen Ridge, New Jersey
           December 28, 1950
Mr. Leonard V. Harrison
[Alcoholic Foundation]
105 East 22nd Street
New York, New York

Dear Mr. Harrison:

          I have examined the prospectus, dated November

1950, entitled "The General Service Conference of Alco-

holics Anonymous" consisting of a Proposal to create a

Conference and a form of temporary Charter purporting to

be offered by the Trustees, the late Dr.R. S. and W. W.

It seems clear that the Proposal of 1950 has received not

only the approval of the Trustees but will receive, as in-

deed it will require, the active assistance and support of

the Foundation. Presented thus with a fait accompli it

would seem to be a vain and futile gesture even to comment

upon the Proposal of 1950 soon to ripen into the actuality

of 1951 were it not for the fact that in view of past

events certain matters need to be set out for the record.

Let us recapitulate. [fait accompli = A thing done and made irreversible
before those affected by it get knowledge of it]

          "Organization" has been the bête noire of the

Movement since it reached adolescence and since 1945 the

question of reorganization at the top level has been the

subject of discussion and communications among W. W. and

ourselves and others. [bête noir = black beast, a terrible thing which one
cannot stand or bear, an object of aversion]

          On April 8, 1947 W.W.[Bill Wilson] issued a three-part document

entitled "The Alcoholic Foundation of Yesterday, Today and

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                        - 2 -

Tomorrow " Under Part Three, a Plan was suggested for a

"General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous."

This was the Plan of 1947.

          The Plan of 1947 was not adopted.

          Later, the Statement of 1948 was adopted. That

is, the Trustees at their quarterly meeting in July, 1948

adopted a Statement of Principles Governing the Policies

and Activities of the Board of Trustees of The Alcoholic


          The Statement of 1948, so adopted, was formulated

and presented to the Foundation by a working group compris-

ing the A.A. Trustees and other older members apprehensive

over the attempt to convert the Movement into an Organization.

          The Statement of 1948, together with the "Steps"

which gave it validity and authority, constituted until

now the organic Rule of the Movement .

          The Proposal of 1950 is substantially the Plan of


          The Plan of 1947 which was rejected and the Pro-

posal of 1950 which was accepted are both antithetical in

letter and in spirit to the Statement of 1948.

          The Statement of 1948 was not distributed among

the Groups nor was it published in "The Grapevine" except

in emasculated form. The Proposal of 1950 is being repro-

duced, in part, in "The Grapevine" and free distribution of

50,000 copies is planned. The membership as a whole, there-

fore, will probably never be informed about this volte-face


                         - 3 -

on the part of the Trustees. "The Grapevine" is no longer

the Voice of the A.A. Movement; it is the "kept" organ of

the new dispensation. Hence, it is necessary that these

facts be summed up for the record.

          The Proposal of 1950 is one to expand central

organizational activities; the purpose of the Statement of

1948 was to contract them. Thus, the Statement said in part:
     "* * * Development of organizational
structure is inimical to A.A. as a Move-
ment. Organization, therefore, has been
and should be kept to a minimum. As the
Movement grows the need for organization
diminishes. Most of the problems of
relations are coming to be handled by
local and regional groups and committees,
functioning autonomously, which is as it
should be.
          *  *  *  *  *
     "Again more concretely, the Trustees
feel that they will best safeguard the
established tradition of A.A. by seeing
to the application of the Twelve Points
of Tradition to A.A. activities at their
central point, insofar as practicable, in
the following respects: * * * limitation
of volume and scope of activities at the
general headquarters office; and the
inauguration of a program of gradual
decentralization of headquarters activi-
ties to the end that the responsibility
of 'carrying the message' may be gradually
assumed by local groups and committees."

           Another radical break with principle and

tradition is represented by the political character of

the Proposal of 1950. A substantial portion of the

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                          - 4 -

pamphlet is devoted to a witches' brew of elections,

assemblies, representatives, delegates, tellers, chair-

men, secretaries, treasurers, committeemen "available"

and committeemen not "available", election by trial,

election by lot, reports, duties, panel No. 1, panel

No. 2, one-year delegates, two-year delegates, extra

delegates and so on, all of which means "politics" in

anybody's vocabulary and understanding, vehement pro-

testations to the contrary notwithstanding.

          The tongue-in-cheek pretension of "keeping

politics out of it" and the fatuous nonsense about

delegates being servants and not senators could well

have been omitted and a recommendation made that a

body be established, frankly legislative in purpose,

of whose policies the Trustees would be the mere execu-

tants. For, under the proposal of 1950, the Trustees

are to "traditionally favor all resolutions [of the

Conference] passed by a two-thirds vote" and "unques-

tionably look with favor on any advise [sic] offered

by two-thirds of the Conference respecting the com-

position of the Foundation Board." I call your at-

tention to the following excerpt from the Statement

of 1948:
"Finally, the Trustees feel that in order
fully to carry on the duties with which
they are charged the independence of the
Foundation must be observed in respect of
its constituency and its proceedings.

     "It is the considered judgment of
your Trustees that if the A.A. Movement

                           - 5 -
remains unshackled by the fetters of
organization and is kept free from the
corroding effect of political procedures
which stem from over-organization, it
will grow in vast numbers and beneficent
influence among those who are open to
its message."
Henceforth, however, it appears that the appointment and

tenure of the Trustees will be at the pleasure o f politi-

cally selected delegates, amateur Warwicks; the "off

center" position for which you have long struggled will

be forever lost; and the Movement will be permitted to

be shackled "by the fetters of organization" and no longer

"kept free from the corroding effect of political pro-


          But above all, the Proposal of 1950 is patently

a meretricious scheme to create a swift, swelling and

continuous stream of revenue which shall flow into the

New York treasury, there to be used for the aggrandise-

ment of a bureaucratic Headquarters. This is to be ac-

complished by the establishment and operation of a politi-

cal machine efficiently organized from the grass roots up.

"One more word about money", states the brochure, and then

runs on for many, many words about money, concluding

"* * * hundreds of Groups not now giving to the Foundation

will commence to do so."  Thus, the Grand Purpose of it

all is starkly revealed in all its crudity and crassness.

          Money and politics which killeth the spirit be-

come the deus ex machina of the new regime.

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                          - 6 -
          Those who would retain their personal freedom

and adhere to historic principles -- and their name is

legion -- will renounce the "legacy". There should be no

question and there need be no difficulty about the choice

to be made. They will repudiate the Organization and re-

affirm their original faith. They will continue their A.A.

apostolate on an individual and cellular basis in a quiet,

unassuming and humble way.
[apostolate= service to help others and carry the message, repudiate= reject as unauthorized]
          It is not the purpose of this communication to

assess blame or recommend repentance and reparation on

the part of those responsible for perpetrating a catas-

trophe or attempting to thrust upon the members a Hobson's

choice. For it is not a Hobson's choice. There is an

alternative. [Hobson's choice= take what is offered or nothing]

          The purpose of this letter, as stated at the

outset, is to keep the record straight. Copies thereof

go out to your colleagues.

                         Very sincerely yours,

                           ROYAL F.S.
                           [AA member and Trustee]