HA.VI. Nachl. C.H.Becker. Rep.92 Becker C. Nr. 2776
29. Prof. S.M.Zmemer an Professor Chatelier, Wiesbaden, 28.8.1912
My dear Professor Chatelier,
Although I have spent two months this summer in Germany my engagements have been so many that I have not been able to go to Paris much as I should have liked to see you and talk with you on the present Moslem situation.
I have, however, a proposal to make for which I ask your kind consideration.
The changes in the Moslem World and the awakened interest both in secular and religious circles are so great that many of us feel that a small confidential conference of leaders would prove mutually helpful. I propose, therefore, that you, if you are agreed, should issue an invitation to not less than twenty-four and not more than thirty of the leading orientalists and students of Islam to meet some time next summer at the beginning of July or August in Leyden or Paris for a two days’ conference: one half of the number of delegates to consist of men like yourself, Goldziker, Grimme, Becker, Caetani, Hartmann, and others who study Islam but not especially from the missionary standpoint; the other half of the conference members to be composed of men like Prof. Meinhof, Simon, Axenfeld, Gairdner etc., who study Islam from the missionary standpoint.
My thought was that during the first day of the conference we might consider the general topic. How can the Missionaries help the Orientalists in studying the Moslem Problem as regards its literature and politics; and on the second day, we might reverse the subject and consider the same topic, asking How can Orientalists help the Missionaries?
It is my firm conviction that we would gain very much mutually by meeting in this way. The conference would not be public and the discussions and conclusions would not be published unless we agreed unanimously.
What do you think of the plan, of the time proposed, and of its possibility? If you favor the proposal I shall be glad to write to Dr Becker also, as it would perhaps be the best that he should join us in this matter.
Kindly address your reply to me at Cairo.
Yours very cordially (signed S.M. Zwemer)