The Whitting Conference was a triennial meeting of the Council Lords of the Second Star League which served to elect the new First Lord. The conferences were named in remembrance of the small hamlet on Coventry where Victor Steiner-Davion offered hegira to Clan Jade Falcon during the Battle of Coventry. Only four Whitting Conferences were held, with the last one marking the dissolution of the Second Star League and the spark which would ignite the Word of Blake Jihad.
First Whitting Conference
The first Whitting Conference took place in 3058 on Tharkad. Though Victor had called for the meeting, it was his sister Katherine Steiner-Davion who quickly seized on hosting it within the Lyran Alliance as part of her plan to seize control of the Conference. The leaders and advisers of the five Great Houses, the St. Ives Compact, the Free Rasalhague Republic and ComStar, along with Clan Wolf-in-Exile and the Arc-Royal Defense Cordon, arrived on Tharkad on 1 October, attending a formal ball held by Katherine in the Royal Palace.
When the council met in full on 3 October, after much discussion and political fighting it was eventually decided that the only way to end the threat of the Clan Invasion was to totally defeat one of the Invading Clans. With information provided by Khan Phelan Kell, they chose Clan Smoke Jaguar for destruction based on a number of reasons. With Clan Wolf and Clan Jade Falcon greatly weakened by the Refusal War, the Smoke Jaguars were the strongest Invading Clan militarily and the nominal leader of the Crusader Clans political bloc. If the Smoke Jaguars were destroyed, it would not only prove that the Inner Sphere had become too strong a target to conquer, but would weaken the Crusader faction in the Grand Council and allow the Wardens to take power. Additionally, as the Smoke Jaguar's Occupation Zone encompassed worlds of the Draconis Combine, it would be easier to move units into position and maintain operational security thanks to the Combine's media censorship.
As the political leadership continued to hash out the creation of a new Star League, military leaders from the attending nations set about planning what would become Operation BULLDOG. This planning took on a new aspect when Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht presented startling information: the Exodus Road and the location of Huntress, the Smoke Jaguar homeworld. With their base of operations now know, it was immediately decided that simultaneous strikes against both their Inner Sphere holdings and their homeworld was the only way to ensure the complete destruction of Clan Smoke Jaguar. Marshal Morgan Hasek-Davion volunteered to lead this second strike force, code-named Task Force Serpent, composed of elite House and mercenary units from across the Inner Sphere. This finalized plan was adopted by the political leaders the next day.
It took a few more days before a final draft of the new Star League Constitution was ready to be voted on, until finally the only point of debate left was determining who would serve as the new First Lord. Rather than allow the position to be determined by lot as per the Constitution, the conference members chose the alternative option of election by two-thirds majority. Katherine Steiner-Davion felt confident, thanks to the previous weeks' backroom dealings, that she had engineered events to allow her to be elected as the new First Lord. However, Victor frustrated her plans by successfully maneuvering Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao of the Capellan Confederation to win the resulting vote, citing the idea of letting one of the weakest Great Houses take the lead as a show of unity between the Inner Sphere powers.
The signing of the new Star League Constitution was held on 21 November, announcing the formal creation of the new Star League and Sun-Tzu Liao as the first new First Lord in over three centuries.
Second Whitting Conference
The second Whitting Conference was also held on Tharkad on 3 November, 3061. Operations BULLDOG and SERPENT had succeeded in destroying the Smoke Jaguar Clan, and in the Great Refusal Victor Steiner-Davion and the Star League Defense Force had ended the threat of a renewed Clan invasion. While he had been away though, his sister Katherine Steiner-Davion had succeeded in bloodlessly overthrowing the regency of Yvonne Steiner-Davion and seizing control of the Federated Commonwealth, effectively becoming the leader of both countries. At the same time, Sun-Tzu Liao had used his position as First Lord to instigate the ongoing Capellan-St. Ives War. Tired of war, Victor chose not to immediately confront his sister and instead spent the first few months of his return recuperating on Luthien. Additionally, the Star League Constitution had been amended, removing the decision by lot and requiring only a simple majority to elect a new First Lord, with ComStar casting the deciding vote in a tie.
Taking place once again in the Royal Court, the second Conference began with an ostentatious ceremony organized by Sun-Tzu Liao in his role as First Lord. Entering the chambers last and accompanied by the Royal Black Watch as his bodyguards, he thanked Katherine Steiner-Davion for once again hosting the Conference, though with a subtle jab at her recent power-grab. However, the first order of business was seized by Kai Allard-Liao, who in no uncertain terms upbraided the First Lord for the uncourteous congratulations he had sent Victor for his success in defeating the Clans. He called for the First Lord to record a new congratulatory note of Kai's own writing, a motion which was seconded by Coordinator Theodore Kurita. Katherine supported and called for an immediate vote on the matter, with the Elected Prince Haakon Magnusson asking that the motion be accepted by universal acclamation. With the motion passed, Theodore Kurita called for the meeting be adjourned so the First Lord would have time to properly record his thanks to Victor.
The next few days were filled with more backroom dealing by the Council Lords regarding the matter of the upcoming election. In an acrimonious meeting between the two, Katherine and Sun-Tzu eventually agreed that he would nominate and vote for her as his successor in exchange for her implicit support for his claim to the St. Ives Compact. Further negotiations by Katherine secured the support of the Free Worlds League's Thomas Marik and, so she believed, that of the Free Rasalhague Republic.
When the Conference resumed on 5 November, the vote was delayed so that an HPG message sent by Victor could be played, thanking the First Lord and the Council for their congratulatory message to him. When nominations were opened, Sun-Tzu nominated Katherine Steiner-Davion as First Lord and was seconded by Thomas Marik. In the resulting vote however Katherine only received votes from herself, Thomas and Kali Liao, with Theodore Kurita, Candace Liao and Magnusson voting against. With those for and against tied, Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht was called in to cast the deciding vote. Before doing so however he announced his formal resignation as Precentor Martial and presented his successor, Victor Steiner-Davion, who appeared before the Lords in person to vote against his sister. In the end, the vote went to Theodore Kurita becoming the second First Lord of the new Star League.
Third Whitting Conference
The Third Whitting Conference was held on Marik in 3064. Christian Månsdottir of the Free Rasalhague Republic was elected. The Word of Blake Protectorate and Taurian Concordat were admitted as provisional members, under the sponsorship of the Free Worlds League and Capellan Confederation, respectively.
Fourth Whitting Conference
The Fourth Whitting Conference was held on Tharkad in the December of 3067. Here, three of the members, Sun-Tzu Liao of the Capellan Confederation, Yvonne Steiner-Davion of the Federated Suns, and Peter Steiner-Davion of the Lyran Alliance, announced their intention to pull out of the Star League. A cornered First Lord Christian Månsdottir saw no solution but to call for a vote of no-confidence, hoping that the measure would be defeated and that this show of confidence and unity would persuade the dissenting members to change their minds.
However despite the provisional membership of the Word of Blake and of the Taurian Concordat the vote of no-confidence passed and the second Star League was dissolved. The Word of Blake was in disbelief, having believed that its pending membership was the fulfilment of a centuries-old prophecy that described the way in which the quasi-mystical order would come to power. Furious it immediately started the Jihad, sparking a new age of war and massive destruction.
- Grave Covenant, ch. 1
- Grave Covenant, ch. 4
- Grave Covenant, ch. 11
- Grave Covenant, ch. 17
- Grave Covenant, ch. 18
- Grave Covenant, ch. 21
- Prince of Havoc, chs. 24–25
- Prince of Havoc, ch. 24
- Prince of Havoc, ch. 28
- Prince of Havoc, ch. 29
- Touring the Stars: "Volume XXXV: Epitaph for a Realm"