MAY 31, 1946
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Here we are back in Hyde Park, having left New York City very early this morning, for I realized that traveling by car on Memorial Day would not be easy. I have now moved to the country and, except for brief returns to New York for a day or a night now and then, the rest of my summer is going to be spent out of the city and I feel very jubilant about it.
I must tell you a little about the past few days in New York, since they covered some rather interesting events. On Tuesday morning, I went up to Hunter College and, as chairman of the Human Rights Commission, made my report to the Economic and Social Council. I had no idea how a report was supposed to be made, but I was told that the one presenting it was expected to say whatever he felt was important, then hand in the written document.
This gave me an opportunity to point out that while nine members had been appointed to the nuclear commission, only six had served, and that we felt it important that the full commission should be appointed immediately. We were all entirely willing, if the Economic and Social Council is able to name the full commission before our year of service runs out, to hand in our resignations. Every member realized the importance of the work which the full Commission on Human Rights would have to undertake, and we felt it should be begun and carried through as soon as possible.
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I then pointed out that the method we had recommended for the choice of members for the commission was a compromise between two different ways of thinking. One group felt that the members should represent only their own governments. The other school of thought believed that those serving on the commission should think primarily of the rights and interests of humanity at large.
Our suggestion, therefore, was that the 51 members of the United Nations should each hand in the names of two persons. These could both be nationals of that country, or one could be a national of another country. All the names would be used by the Economic and Social Council as a panel from which they would appoint the members of the commission, with due regard to geographical distribution, but with particular emphasis on the qualifications of the individuals to serve on this particular commission.
The subcommission on the Status of Women had asked for an opportunity for its chairman, Mrs. Bodil Begtrup, to present her report in person, and so I merely mentioned that we had included in our report the points in theirs which seemed to us the most important to take up first. Mrs. Begtrup suggested that, as this subcommission represented half of the world's population, they would like to be designated as a full commission. This, of course, will have to be decided by the Economic and Social Council. Both of us were thanked for our work, and may be called upon for further information when our reports are taken up for study.