As the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) celebrates 80 years since its first delegation in Australia, this commentary considers the first Australian ICRC delegation (1941–1947), headed by the Swiss economist Dr Georges Guillaume Morel and his wife Eugenie Ernestine nee Zwerner, as a case study illuminating the importance of personality for a humanitarian mission. Coming through the League of Nations they innovated information flow, and as Russian-Swiss they had insights into the necessity of stateless refugees. Experiences of ICRC delegates, such as the Morels, formed the basis of the post-war 1949 Geneva Conventions. We can thus understand the experiences and reports of ICRC delegates, though often not made public, as essential for the development of international law.
- International humanitarianism
- International Committee of the Red Cross delegation
- Geneva conventions
- Diplomacy at war time
- stateless refugees
- diplomacy during war time