Mr. Alfred E. Lunt
August 12th, 1933.
Dear Baha’i Brother,
I am directed by the Guardian to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated June 24th, 1933, together with your enclosed communication of the same date addressed to the American National Assembly.
The issues you have raised in your letter are extremely important, as they vitally concern the Administrative principles of the Faith. In his message to the National Assembly Shoghi Effendi will, in an unequivocal language, make it clear that the N.S.A. is the supreme administrative body throughout the United States and Canada. This body alone has the right to lay down, amend and abrogate the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws governing the administration of the Faith in that land, subject to the Guardian’s approval. Frequent interferences with, and modifications of the provisions of the Declaration and By-Laws are, however, inadvisable as they lead to misunderstanding and confusion and require automatically a similar revision of the provisions of National Baha’i Constitutions in other lands.
The Convention, though not supreme, is vested with definite rights and prerogatives, has special exclusive functions which are defined and safeguarded by the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws. It is a fundamental principle of the Administration not to restrict, under any circumstances, the freedom and privilege of the delegates to express freely and fully their ideas, feelings, grievances and recommendations, so long as they do hot encroach upon the established principles of the Administration.
The Guardian feels that non-delegates should be given indirectly the right to express their views through an accredited” delegate, for otherwise it will lead to confusion and make it impracticable if non-delegates are to intervene at the sessions of the Convention. The election of the Chairman of the Convention and of its secretary as well, constitute, however, in the opinion of the Guardian, the sole prerogative of the delegates, whose function and obligation is to express, untrammeled by any previous arrangements limiting their freedom, what they believe to be most conducive to the interests of the Faith. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with the liberty of the assembled delegates in the exercise of their sacred and twofold functions of electing, on the one hand, their national representatives and of submitting, on the other, their considered recommendations to the incoming Assembly.
Regarding the principle that the Cause must not be allowed to center around any Baha’i personality, the Guardian wishes to make it clear that it was never intended that well-qualified individual teachers should not receive from local Assemblies every encouragement and facilities to address the public. What the Guardian meant was that the personality and the popularity of such a
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speaker should never be allowed to eclipse the authority, or detract from the influence of the body of the elected representatives in every local community. Such an individual should not only seek the approval, advice and assistance of the body that represents the Cause in his locality, but should strive to attribute any credit he my obtain to the collective wisdom and capacity of the assembly under whose jurisdiction ho performs his services. Assemblies and not individuals constitute the bedrock on which the Administration is built. Everything else must be subordinated to, and be made to serve and advance the best interests of these elected custodians and promoters of the Law of Baha’u’llah.
Assuring you of his deepest Baha’i love and his best wishes for your family and for yourself.
Yours in His Service
Dear and precious Co-worker:
............. I trust that the answers to your questions regarding these fundamental administrative issues will resolve the difficulties and problems which have caused you so much pain and anxiety, and will serve to reestablish the relationships existing between the two leading Baha’i administrative Institutions in that land on a sound and enduring basis. My prayers for your welfare and success as well as for the members of your family will continue to be offered to Baha’u’llah, who I am sure will guide and sustain you in your devoted and exemplary services to His Cause.
Your true brother,