FEBRUARY 10, 1947
NEW YORK, Sunday—I notice that some newspapers, in discussing the Bill of Human Rights, have singled out for special comment those differences which of necessity must arise from time to time among 18 people representing 18 different nations. They have spoken little, however, of what I find particularly encouraging—namely, that in spite of the differences on procedure which occasionally have meant long discussions, there has been on the whole a very encouraging effort by all members of the Human Rights Commission to expedite the work.
As we begin to know each other, there is a growing sense of confidence and understanding as to the reasons why we take certain stands. An example of this is the reaction to the U. S. government's attitude about the various sub-commissions. We have felt that it might be conducive of better results if, instead of having governments chosen to serve, people were chosen on the basis of their competence for the specific work in hand. We recognize that anyone who serves must have at least the consent of his government or he would carry no weight; but we still believe that such a procedure, particularly on working sub-commissions, would bring us people whom several countries might feel were especially competent to do some particular job.
This point of view, however, did not carry in the drafting committee, and I said I would have to reserve the right to bring the point up before the entire commission when discussing the drafting of the committee's report. It would not have seemed to me very unreasonable if the other members had thereupon objected that this would delay the acceptance of the report, and had shown some annoyance. Instead, they all agreed that since this was the view of my government, I was fully entitled to present it to the commission as a whole. The very pleasant way in which all delegates accepted this was a sign, I felt, that we were working better and better together. Basically, the Marxist and the democratic point of view are different, but where human rights are concerned I hope we will have a considerable area of agreement.
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It was a shock to read on Friday morning of the death of Miss Ellen Wilkinson, Minister of Education in England's Labor government. She had been for a long time a dynamic figure in British politics, and women owe her a great debt of gratitude not only for what she did for them, but for what she accomplished in the welfare and educational fields. It was a fitting recognition of her work that she was made a part of the Labor government, and her diminuitive but energetic figure will be missed in the Hall of Parliament.
I would also like to express my very deep regret at the sudden death of our new Ambassador to Great Britain, the Hon. O. Max Gardner. He had well earned this honor by long public service, and I am sure he would have represented the real American spirit of democracy at the Court of St. James.