By Bill W., Memorandum - January 1961
I’ve been asked to venture some opinions on the questions of new Delegates to the General Service Conference.
As we know, representation is now based on one Delegate from each State or Province, regardless of population. Then, in large areas, we have extra Delegates, representing large populations. And in a few cases, where the areas are huge but sparsely populated, we have a few extra Delegates, these based on geographical considerations.
For the operation of the Conference itself, this is a sufficiently representative cross-section of A.A. The actual conference meetings would not be hurt if we had ten less Delegates, nor appreciably helped if we had twenty more. For this particular purpose we have enough for the present. More Delegates would just mean more expense.
But this isn’t the whole story. On his return home it is not fair to burden a Delegate with too great a population of groups, even though he has plenty of committeemen. Nor is it fair to burden him with a huge and sparsely populated area, too big for him and his committee to manage. If we don’t make adjustments of these conditions, then our local communications will suffer.
Therefore the Conference Committee on Admissions should weigh each new application for a new Delegate on its own merit, taking into consideration the primary factors of population, geography - and also expense. But this process of adding delegates ought to be gradual, aiming at the remedy of obvious and marked flaws in local communications. We should, our budget allowing, continue to remedy obvious flaws in local communications and that is all.
It should be re-emphasized that the Conference is not a political body demanding a completely rigid formula of representation. What we shall need will always be enough Delegates at New York to afford a reliable cross-section of A.A. plus enough more to make sure of good local communication.
It is my understanding that Ontario has applied for an extra Delegate. Here I would prefer to express no specific opinion, this being the function of the Committee on Admissions and the General Service Board.
I’m only suggesting that the frame of reference described above may be a suitable one within which to make each specific determination.