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Document II - Mondothèque

Document II

From Mondothèque

Après la fermeture du PALAIS MONDIAL

Le 1er juin à 6 heures du matin, par un acte d’arbitraire et de force, le Gouvernement belge a fait fermer le Palais Mondial.

Après un mois, le Palais Mondial n’a pas encore été réouvert. Toutes les tentatives amiables avant la fermeture avaient été vaines. Devant le traitement infligé, pour la sauvegarde de sa dignité d’abord, de son trésor d’œuvres intellectuelles ensuite, l’Union des Associations Internationales a estimé qu’il ne lui restait que les voies judiciaires. Les « Amis du Palais Mondial en Belgique » ont vivement conseillé cette manière d’agir et cela pour l’honneur des Belges, ont-ils dit, attendu que la justice est aussi un des pouvoirs qui exprime officiellement l’opinion publique du pays.

Mais où va conduire le développement de l’affaire ? Les procédures sont lentes et, même gagné, un procès laissera derrière lui des animosité rendant l’atmosphère peu favorable.

Il est rappelé que le Palais Mondial a été organisé après la guerre par l’Union des Associations Internationales. Celle-ci fondée dès 1910 et groupant autour d’elle divers Instituts, Associations et Organismes internationaux, avait proposé en 1919 au Gouvernement belge un plan complet en vue de créer à Bruxelles, milieu déjà ancien de vie internationale, une institution ayant pour objet la libre coopération dans le domaine intellectuel. Le Gouvernement d’abord, et ensuite le Parlement, le Roi et l’opinion avaient accepté le plan. Il répondait à l’esprit de la Société des Nations et donnait à la Belgique une certaine compensation de n’avoir chez elle le siège de la Société. Ainsi en témoignent les actes, la correspondance, les débats parlementaires, la presse au moment de la création.

L’œuvre réalisée a reçu des développements matériels mesurés par le chiffre de 17 millions de pièces ; elle est, dans le chef de ses fondateurs, administrateurs et amis, complètement désintéressée ; elle est dans son total l’œuvre d’une offrande universelle ; des milliers de coopérateurs lui ont apporté idées, travail, objet, argent et sentiments de sympathie. Tous les services ont été constamment publics et gratuits et sans qu’aucun droit d’entrée, de location, de visite ou de consultation ait été perçu. D’autre part aucune allocation secrète n’est venue altérer le caractère objectif et impartial de l’institution.

Le Palais Mondial, le Mundaneum — Palais des Nations, de la Civilisation et de la Paix — se dresse au cœur de la capitale de la Belgique comme un grand et volontaire symbole de l’Humanité après la guerre.

Avec la Société des Nations à Genève, la Cour Internationale de Justice à La Haye, le Palais Mondial à Bruxelles est l’affirmation visible et permanente d’une volonté de répondre à l’appel impératif de l’Intelligence, de la Concorde, de la Collaboration.

Il est advenu que pour l’aider à surmonter des difficultés, paraissant toutes temporaires et nées d’un changement subit dans la politique internationale du Gouvernement, siège de son établissement, le Palais Mondial, à peu d’exceptions près, n’a pas trouvé les appuis officiels extérieurs sur lesquels il espérait pouvoir compter. Une action du dehors pour le protéger ne s’est produite ni efficacement, ni en temps utile. La protection demandée à la Société des Nations n’a pu être donnée. Le recours à la Cour Internationale de Justice a été reconnu impossible.

Si dans de telles conditions le Palais Mondial devait définitivement rester fermé, il semble bien qu’il n’y aurait plus place dans notre Civilisation pour une institution d’un caractère universel, inspirée de l’idéal indiqué en ces mots à son entrée : Par la Liberté, l’Égalité et la Fraternité mondiales − dans la Foi, l’Espérance et la Charité humaines − vers le Travail, le Progrès et la Paix de tous !

Mais rejetons les appréhensions pessimistes et continuons à avoir confiance en de puissantes interventions. Des interventions soit pour agir en médiateurs entre l’institution et le Gouvernement belge (modifié récemment dans sa composition), soit pour offrir, en Belgique même, un autre asile, soit pour aider au transfert en quelque lieu qui serait devenu plus sûr et plus accueillant. 1934. 07. 03.

Paul OTLET.

Traité de documentation


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