The document shown here is a short, handwritten letter, dated June 25, 1924, from Albert Einstein to Sir Eric Drummond, secretary-general of the League of Nations, written on the occasion of Einstein’s re-election to the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. The text reads:
“I hereby thankfully accept the renewed election to the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. In light of my past behaviour, the election means an act of special generosity of spirit, and filled me with joy as a result. I shall always try to give my best in the service of this good cause. With best high regards, A. Einstein.”
The committee was established in 1922 by the League of Nations for the purpose of building international relations among teachers, artists, scientists, and members of other intellectual professions. Einstein, a citizen of Germany, had resigned from the committee in 1923 to protest the re-occupation of the Ruhr by the French army, hence the reference his “past behavior.” A committed pacifist who enjoyed enormous international prestige for his scientific discoveries, Einstein was an appealing figure to represent the League of Nations and its ideals.
The letter is preserved in the archives of the League, which were transferred to the United Nations in 1946 and are housed at the UN office in Geneva. The archives were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.