Although the yearly Inter-Parliamentary Conferences had been decided upon through the resolution of 30 June 1889, a fixed and permanent organisation was still lacking. That organisation only saw the light of day at the Rome and Bern Conferences in 1891 and 1892, and was completed in 1894 by the adoption of the Statutes.
The second Conference, which was held in London in 1890, with Lord Herschel and Philip Stanhope as Presidents, was indirectly of decisive importance for the organisation of the Union, since it was really international in character and thus proved that the idea was a feasible one. Eleven Parliaments were represented by 111 Deputies, including thirty-nine foreign members. Declarations of sympathy had been received from more than a thousand members of Parliaments. In his speech the British MP Randal Cremer described the presence of German representatives as being the most gratifying feature of the meeting.
As regards organisation, it was decided that an Inter-Parliamentary Committee should be formed in each country for the purpose of exchanging ideas and if necessary of discussing differences of opinion. The resolution of 1889 to hold a meeting every year was renewed, and Rome was chosen as the next Conference venue. A Committee of thirty members was appointed to carry this proposal into effect.
Curiously enough, however, a resolution which was not adopted was of still greater importance. At the close of the session the Danish representative, M. Bajer, suggested that a General Secretariat should be set up. We learn from Cremer that there was no time to vote on the proposal; but the Italian Committee treated it as if it had been adopted and referred to this imaginary "Resolution N° 8" as its authority for including the question of the execution of the decision on the agenda of the Rome Conference.
The Conference, which sat from 3 to 7 November 1891 under the chairmanship of Signor Biancheri, the President of the Chamber, dealt chiefly with the question of organisation…The proposals which were adopted contained the following provisions. "The annual Conference is to be convened by the Parliamentary Committee of the country chosen as the meeting-place of the Conference. Each Parliamentary Committee, moreover, is to have the faculty to convene an extraordinary Inter-Parliamentary Conference. In order to facilitate the work of these Committees a General Secretary is to be created with the duty, among other things, of proposing the questions to be brought before the Conferences. The direction of the Secretariat to be entrusted to a Secretary General nominated annually by the Conference.
The foundations for the organisation of a permanent Bureau and of a Secretariat were thus laid.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union from 1889 to 1939
Librairie Payot & Cie