Library of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation

Socialist International - A Bibliography
Overview on the organizational development

Socialist Information and Liaison Office

The outbreak of the Second World War in Western Europe in May 1940 destroyed the basis of the Labour and Socialist International which was not able to resume its functions. National groups of exiled socialists were formed in London during the war, and their representatives frequently met under the auspices of the British Labour Party. In September 1944, its National Executive decided to study problems concerning "the future international association of democratic Labour and Socialist parties".
After the end of the war, an informal international conference convened at Clacton-on-Sea in May 1946, "to re-establish contacts broken by the war, to exchange information and to work out, if possible, common policies on problems of common interest". The conference was attended by representatives of 19 socialist/social-democratic parties. It set up a "Socialist Information and Liaison Office", attached to the secretariat of the British Labour Party.
Six month later, in November 1946, a second conference was held (Bournemouth), which established a Consultative Committee to act as a clearing-house for information, and to prepare future conferences. The third conference, held in Zurich in June 1947, was mainly devoted to a discussion of admission criteria. The fourth conference (Antwerp, November 1947) transformed the Consultative Committee into a more representative body called the Committee of the "International Socialist Conference" (C.O.M.I.S.C.O.) composed of one representative from each member party.
Some material concerning the Socialist Information and Liaison Office was integrated into the records concerning the Socialist International that are kept in the IISG in Amsterdam. The most important archival material on this episode in the reconstruction of the Socialist International is to be found in the special collections of the Labour Party archives (National Museum of Labour History - Labour History Archive & Study Centre). The contain Morgan Philips' files; he played a prominent role in the "Socialist Information and Liaison Office".
1946 - 1949

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