American Express In Europe

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American Express in Europe

American Express in Europe

Almost any traveller who avails himself of the American Express Travel Service in going abroad (and a great number who don't) will at some time enter the most famous of all American Express offices at 11 Rue Scribe in Paris. It has been the chosen meeting place of Americans travelling abroad for more than fifty years. On one day in the summer of 1949, more than 8,000 American Travellers visited this office. Despite its spacious rooms, 11 Rue Scribe presented a rather more congested aspect than a five o'clock subway express. In 1950, the Paris office was completely redesigned to handle even larger crowds comfortably.

Vice-President and General Manager Harry A. Hill makes his headquarters at 11 Rue Scribe. Hill's distinguished international career has spanned a varied field.. With a background of culture that includes the study of law at the University of Athens and a deep interest in archaeology, he has been active in diplomatic and welfare work. Hill came to American Express in 1920 following a period with the American Consulate in Athens and the Allied Financial Mission to Greece. He became manager of the Athens office in the twenties.

Hill developed the Athens office into a great factor in the life of the Greek capital. In the nineteen-thirties, it was the only American financial institution in Greece, and American Express paper was considered "better than the Bank of England." For years it handled the tobacco business of Greece, running from £60,000,000 to £100,000,000 annually. A special service that Hill rendered Greek brides was signing contracts for paying their dowries with money sent by their brothers in America.

Evacuated from Greece when the Germans invaded in 1941, Hill served for a time in the Bombay office and then, on leave of absence from American Express, became executive vice-president of the Greek War Relief Association in New York. Later he was appointed by the State Department as special assistant to the American Ambassador to Greece and Yugoslavia. When the Embassy was moved to Greece, he became economic and supply adviser to British and American Army authorities in the Middle East. He is the author of a five-volume study of Greek economy and planned rehabilitation.

Immediately after the war American Express sent Hill to Paris to take charge of its offices in France and supervise the restoration of travel and financial services. Having been one of the foremost residents of Athens for many years, Hill is now a leading figure in the French capital. He is president of the American Club and has been a vice-president of the Paris Chamber of Commerce. He is a great traveller and is familiar with the highways and byways of the whole Continent and all the intricate channels of European diplomacy.

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What next? The American Legion Convention of 1987

The American Legion Convention of 1987

The largest single special movement to Europe ever organized by American Express was to the American Legion Convention in Paris in 1987. Veteran American Expressmen who handled that mass invasion of Europe by 5,000 ex-doughboys state that the fact they all got safely there and back proves American Express really can do anything.

A large and very successful special movement of 1950 was the pilgrimage of 500 Catholics, led by Cardinal Spellman, to Rome. Many other pilgrimages led by various dignitaries of the Church went to Rome. In all, American Express sent more than 5,000 pilgrims abroad throughout the Holy Year.

Another big area of tourist activity is what is called Foreign (or Domestic) Independent Travel - F.I.T. or D.I.T. for short. This is for individuals who prefer to travel alone rather than in a conducted group. A tour is planned to meet the particular specifications of the client. The exact cost is reckoned and,... see: The American Legion Convention of 1987

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