SEPTEMBER 27, 1947
NEW YORK Friday—In Committee 3 of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday afternoon we took up the first item on our agenda, Chapter III of the Economic and Social Council's report. In this report many of the subjects which appear as separate items on our agenda are also mentioned.
The practice is for the chairman to allow general debate on a subject of this kind and so the debate was begun by the delegate from the United Kingdom, Mrs. Florence Payton. She stressed the two points on which her delegation was offering resolutions, and reviewed with pride the achievements of the United Kingdom in the social welfare field. Because one of the resolutions had been circulated previously to the members of the delegation, some confusion seemed to arise, and for a little while it seemed as though we were about to discuss the resolution instead of inviting general remarks on Chapter III of the Economic and Social Council's report.
The delegate from the Argentine then suggested that we return to our agenda and take up the report point by point. Finally, when he realized that general remarks were in order, he made a very eloquent speech on achievements and progress made in Argentina along social security lines.
I cannot say that I felt we really gained a great deal by the afternoon's discussion.
The chairman made an attempt to have us postpone consideration of the report and pass one of the other items which seemed a purely routine thing. It involved transfer of certain functions of the League of Nations to one of the specialized agencies. However, as conventions were involved, the delegate from the USSR felt he must have more time to study them before a vote could be taken, so we ended the afternoon without having accomplished anything very definite.
One can only hope that this type of discussion prepares the delegates better for their ultimate decisions, and that therefore the decisions on specific subjects will be reached more rapidly in our future meetings.
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I had the opportunity last evening to see some very remarkable photographs. A young woman, who has been carrying out a project on a Julius Rosenwald Fund scholarship, brought in her work to show me. It is the story of a number of Americans told largely in photographs. There will be some text, of course, but the vividness of the tale is spread out before you in pictures of people—men, women, children—from every part of the United States. Included in the presentation are Fascists, Communists, young gangsters, little children—a record not all of which is pleasant to read but which nevertheless is essential for us to know.
To achieve success in a democracy, all of us must recognize our failures. The strength of any society lies in its ability to see its weaknesses and to promote growth and improvement.