The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 3/Czechoslovak Chamber of Commerce

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The Bohemian Review, volume 3, no. 3 (1919)
Czechoslovak Chamber of Commerce
4336250The Bohemian Review, volume 3, no. 3 — Czechoslovak Chamber of Commerce1919

Czechoslovak Chamber of Commerce

Since the foundation of the Bohemian National Alliance no such important step has been taken by the Czechoslovaks of America, as will prove to be the establishment oi a chamber of commerce, realized at a convention of American businessmen of Czechoslovak birth or descent, held at Chicago on February 3rd and 4th, 1919.

The great interest which was felt in the projected convention showed itself in a surprisingly heavy attendance. Over one hundred bankers, merchants, manufacturers and other interested persons came to Chicago from all parts of the United States to take part in the American Czechoslovak Commercial Congress. There were visitors from New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Saginaw, St. Louis, Omaha, Boston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Lincoln (Neb.), Washington, Petersburg (Va.), Braddock, Perth Amboy, Bridgeport, and from several cities of Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. The number of Chicago delegates was especially large.

The convention was called to order on Monday, February 3rd ,in the convention hall of the Morrison Hotel, one of the. largest and most modern hotels of Chicago. Chairman of the committee of arrangements, John A. Červenka, called for the election of temporary officers, and by acclamation Mr. fiervenka was elected for chairman and John A. Sokol for secretary. The first morning was spent in listening to speeches of welcome and in attending to various routine matters. On behalf of the governor of Illinois an eloquent address was made by Edward J. Brundage, attorney-general of the state; response was made by James J. Štěpina, president of the American State Bank.

A good friend of the Czechoslovak citizens of Chicago, Harry H. Merrick, presented greetings from the Chicago Association of Commerce of which he is president. Then followed an address by Charles Pergler, commissioner of the Czechoslovak Republic in the United States, who welcomed the work of extending commercial relations between the two republics as being in the best interests of both countries and in the interest of firm friendship between America and Czechoslovakia.

The chairman then announced his list of committees which were to meet during the afternoon and prepare definite proposals for discussion and approval of the congress on the following day. The credit for the smooth transaction of business by the large assembly and the satifastory outcome of the congress should justly go to the officers of the convention and to the members of the committees who did their work well. The committees iippointed and their members were:

Committee on Resolutions: V. A. Geringer, J. F. Smetanka, Albert Mamatey, F. J . Svoboda, Lieut. Albert Hlaváč, Capt. Method Pázdral and Václav Bureš.

Committee on Rules: A. S. Ambrose, John Novák, Chas. S . Chapp, J. J. Wlach, J. F. Kolář, G. Sedláček and Jos. J. Tyra.

Committee on Ways and Means: Paul Jamarik, F. J. Švejda, Geo. Palda, F. Holmans, Joseph Kovář, Chas. Novák, Stanley Šerpán and A. J. Čermák.

Committee on By-Laws: A. J. Čermák, K. V. Janovský, Andrew Shustek, L. A. Zavitovsky, W. F. Severa, A. A. Rumreich, A. S. Ambrose, F. J. Businský, Hynek Dostál, F. J. Vlček, J. Bilza, Jos. Kusek, Rud. Pilnáček, Frank Šimek, Milan Getting, J. F. Kolář, Chas. Zalusky, J. F. Eliáš, C. K. Kosek and Louis Jalovec.

Committee on Permanent Organization: John Švehla, John Pankuch, J. Sklenář, M. Zeman, Otto Stehlík, Jos. Mikšíček and Jos. Zvoneček.

Committee on Credentials, consisting of Thos. Filas, Dr. Rybák , Jos. Kosek, M. Weinberg, John Švehla, C. K. Kosek and Louis Jalovec reported that delegates registered numbered altogether 235, of whom 103 were from out of town, the balance from Chicago and neighborhood.

The afternoon was spent by members of the committees in hard work. Some of the committees were kept at it until time came for the dinner which concluded the first day’s proceedings.

More than 600 guests sat down at the tables when Rubringer’s band struck up the American hymn at half past eight o’clock Monday night. At the speaker’s table were the prominent out-of-town guests, representatives of the commercial bodies and consuls of the Allied countries. A Bohemian dinner could not, of course, be complete without music, and Miss Libuše Zdeněk, soprano, and the Bohemian-American quartet helped to keep the large company in good spirits. The principal after dinner speaker was James Keeley, former publisher of the Chicago Herald. He had some interesting reminiscences to relate of President Masaryk. Charles Pergler spoke in Bohemian, but he addressed a few words in English to the Polish representative, assuring him of the continued good will between their closely related Slav nations, in spite of a recent conflict in Silesia. Mr. Pergler’s sentiments were warmly reciprocated by John Smulski, the offical Polish representative in the United States. Short addresses were also made by Albert Mamatey, president of the Slovak League, John R. Palandech, representing the Jugoslavs, Francis Kopecký, Czechoslovak consul general in New York, Major

President of the Czechoslovak Chamber of
Commerce in America.
Secretary of the Czechoslovak Chamber of
Commerce in America.
Fin. Sec’y of the Czechoslovak Chamber of
Commerce in America.
Treasurer of the Czechoslovak Chamber of
Commerce in America.
John Šípek and Dr. J. F. Smetánka. The toastmaster was John A. Červenka, chairman of the convention.

The following morning the delegates met for business at 10 o’clock in the morning. The committee on pernament organization recommended for permanent president of the convention John A. Červenka and for vice-presidents Václav Bureš, M. Zeman, Joseph Domek and Rudolf Pilnáček; John A. Sokol was recommended for secretary, Milan Getting, Alois Jalovec an Jos. Kubíček for assistant secretaries; Paul Kvorka for treasurer. These recommendations were unanimously approved.

The report of the committee on rules contained little of special interest, except the provision that both English and Czech or Slovak might be used on the floor; it was interesting to note that the great majority of the delegates preferred to speak in English.

The committee on resolutions submitted quite a number of resolutions for the approval of the congress, some of them of routine nature, others of considerable significance. A telegram of loyalty was sent to Vice-President Marshall and a letter of greetings and congratulations was ordered sent to Prague to the Czechoslovak Press Bureau. Upon recommendation of the committee on resolutions the congress instructed the secretary to ask Secretary Redfield of the Department of Commerce to send as soon as possible a trade mission to Bohemia for the purpose of gathering information on the trade opportunities between the American and the Czechoslovak Republics. The reports of the committees on Ways and Means and on By-Laws were discussed together. The Ways and Means Committee estimated that the maintenance of the office and the expenses of the work which the proposed Chamber of Commerce should undertake would amount to about $20,000 a year, and figuring on that basis proposed definite membership fees for various classes of members. This matter produced considerable discussion and after having been referred back to the committee it was finally left for final determination by the Board of Directors. The only definite action taken by the Congress was to vote that local Chambers of Commerce and similar societies, such as have already been organized in Chicago, New York, Baltimore and elsewhere, should become members of the national organization by paying $2 for each member. Out of the usual provisions found in the By-Laws of Chambers of Commerce the most significant was the decision to have a board of 21 directors upon whose ability and efficiency the success of the new chamber of commerce will depend. A nominating committee canvassed very carefully the names of all the delegates and brought in a report which was adopted without discussion, as every delegate felt that the recommendation of the committee was most carefully drawn. The convention having decided previously that the headquarters of the Czechoslovak Chamber of Commerce of America should be in Chicago, seven of the 21 directors, that number being a quorum, are residents of Chicago. They are: John R. Červenka, James F. Štěpina, Frank G. Hajíček, John A. Sokol, Andrew Schustek, John Kubíček and Paul Kvorka. Pennsylvania is represented by Michael Bosak and Albert Mamatey, Maryland by J. Civiš and A. J. Švejda, New York by Thomas Čapek and Albert Hlaváč, Connecticut by A. S. Ambrose, Ohio by F. J. Vlček, John Pankuch and Chas. C. Chapp, Nebraska by Václav Bureš, Texas by Method Pázdral and Michigan by J. F. Eliáš. This Board of Directors was divided into three classes, Bosák, Hajíček, Schustek, VIček, Hlaváč, Eliáš and Červenka, serving for one year; Pázdral, Sokol, Civiš, Ambrose, Bureš and Kvorka for two years, and Štěpina, Pankuch, Čapek, Švejda, Mamatey, Chapp, Kubíček for three years.

The elections concluded all the business before the Congress, and at six o’clock on Tuesday, February 4th, the chairman adjourned the meeting sine die. The Board of Directors met immediately after and organized itself by electing John Červenka chairman, Albert Mamatey and Václav Bureš, vice-chairmen, John Sokol, secretary, Andrew Schustek financial secretary and James F. Štěpina treasurer.

The American Czechoslovak Commercial Congress gave the necessary impulse and set into motion the machinery needed to create business ties between the American and Czechoslovak Republics. A good start has been made; all depends on the efforts of the Board of Directors and on the way in which their work will be received and backed by American business men of Czechoslovak descent and by the entire Czech speaking body of American citizenship. Those who attended the convention left Chicago full of confidence that the work begun there would bear fruit.

This work was published before January 1, 1929 and is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 95 years or less since publication.

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