Denbigh and District Probus Club

THE former First Minister of the Mondcivitan Republic, Donald Hanby, a member of the Denbigh and District Probus Club, delivered an account of his involvement from 1958 until 1967 and its activities in Wales.

The republic was founded in 1956 by Dr Hugh Joseph Schonfield to fulfil a world role as a servant nation, a concept derived from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah.

The aim was to advocate reconciliation as a means of resolving international problems and conflicts.

It provided a body of persons from different countries which would have relations with the governments of all countries without holding any territory itself.

The republic grew strongly following a General Assembly in 1951 in Paris.

By 1956 there were members in 33 countries.

It was decided to proclaim a Commonwealth at a Constituent Assembly at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff on August 29, 1956.

The flag reflected the red and white corpuscles of human blood common to all mankind.

A council was elected to prepare the way for parliamentary elections and government.

The Electoral Reform Society supervised the election in 1958 for 45 countries.

The first Parliament was convened in Vienna in May 1959. ‘Mondcivitan Republic’ was the new name and Hugh Schofield was elected its president and ambassador general.

Donald was elected with the title of First Minister and at the age of 26, was the youngest member of the Parliament.

The speaker, a qualified teacher, was appointed to a teaching post in London.

He visited the republic’s local office and was also in contact with its offices in Buenos Aires, Saigon and Amsterdam.

In 1961, Donald went to Berlin to assist in defusing problems caused by the Soviet blockade of West Berlin.

He arrived the day the Berlin Wall was erected.

Duties required him to travel to Krakow in Poland.

His colleague Nguyen-Huu was working in Saigon regarding the conflict in Vietnam.

Hugh Schonfield was examining ways to resolve the problems between Israel and Palestine.

He was granted an audience of King Hussain of Jordan and he assisted with a project financing the building of a school and vocational training centre in Nablus, Palestine, to assist unemployed Arabs.

The grave 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis found Hugh Schonfield approaching President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev attempting to deal with the actions of each side without criticising them.

Schonfield’s arguments were included in the letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy.

This resulted in a letter of gratitude from The White House to Hugh and recommending him for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The second Mondcivitan Parliament was convened at the Cardiff Temple of Peace in August 1963.

The opening ceremony was filmed by the BBC.

Following interviews and a photo session with Donald, an article for the Sunday Times was vetoed by the editor. Publicity sometimes resulted in unexpected consequences. Donald received a death threat from Venezuela following publicity in a local newspaper.

A supreme council of five members was elected annually each to serve as president for one year.

Donald was appointed permanently as commissioner general and held the brief of minister for external affairs.

At this time, the International Arbitration League, founded by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Sir William Randal Cremer, merged with the republic.

The organisation’s new building near Regent’s Park was opened by the MP for St Pancras.

The International Arbitration League promoted conferences in 1889 and 1907. The former created the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration morphing into the International Court of Justice in 1945, whilst the latter defined rules for the treatment of prisoners.

Membership of the republic came from all walks of life - musicians, sculptors, explorers, publishers, academics innovators and business people to mention a few.

Difficulties arose in communicating with people in the pre-internet pre-digital age with citizens scattered throughout the world.

Donald resigned in 1967 for personal reasons as he wished to relocate from London.

There was no direct replacement for him and influence and work reduced.

Failure to make an appointment may have started the demise of the republic which failed in the 1980s.

However, shortly after this, Hugh Schonfield also passed away.