DECEMBER 2, 1948
PARIS, Wednesday —Yesterday we got our Social Committee meeting started at 10:30 in the morning and rejected all the extra articles for the declaration of human rights except the one presented by the Yugoslavs. This reads:
"The rights proclaimed in this declaration also apply to any person belonging to the population of trust and nonself-governing territories."
This seems like a rather foolish article to me because the whole declaration says "everyone" and "every person" and "every human being," and one would think that adequately covered even the people in the colonial areas.
The Soviet group, however, lectures the rest of us on our treatment of minorities and contends that they are the only people in the world who give equal rights really without discrimination to all the peoples that form the Soviet Union. Because they have several different peoples within the orbit of their nation, the Yugoslavs also claim that for the first time—since the new government under Marshal Tito came into power—they are able to give real equality to all these peoples.
This new article will, of course, do no harm, and therefore we move on to the preamble with a clear conscience. We hope there will not be many changes in substance in the preamble since it was given such very careful consideration last spring at the Human Rights Commission meeting.
Our work suffered a little break in the middle of the afternoon meeting when the Spanish translation suddenly ceased to come through. We waited five minutes and still nothing could be done. We then moved to another committee room, which happened to be empty, and there also on the first try the Spanish translation again failed. The chairman then announced that if it went off on our next effort, he would consider that there was sabotage being exercised against the Spanish-speaking nations.
However, with the second try it came through perfectly and before the end of our session at 6:30 a number of delegates had presented their amendments. Since we have three meetings today—morning, afternoon and evening—I have hopes that we may finish the preamble. Then the committee on rearrangement and polishing of the text in French and English will go to work and we may be able to present the Bill of Human Rights to the General Assembly before too many days go by.
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I had a very interesting lunch yesterday with a group of people representing an organization interested in all subjects that touch upon family life. They have formed an international organization and are trying to keep in touch with the same kind of work being carried on by various organizations in other countries.
One of their representatives attended the National Conference on Family Life held in the White House last May. Miss Jane Hoey of the Federal Security Agency has been in touch with them and they are trying to draw together other organizations in the U.S. to work with them.
The French representative, who has been in the U. S., told me he was much impressed by the fact that in our colleges where there are home economic sections or separate courses given in preparation for marriage these courses are often attended by the men students as well as the women. He had also come into contact with some of our Parent-Teacher organizations and was much impressed by their work.
Many employers in France have worked out a very ingenious scheme by which they supplement a man's wage so that if he has a number of children his family receives so much extra for every child. This keeps the standard of living for a family as a whole on an even keel even if one family has more children than another.
These family grants, as they are called, are given from a fund which is raised by assessing each worker a small percentage of his pay and assessing the employer a much larger amount. The fund is under the direction of representatives of both employers and employees. This group directs the business fund and also decides on allocations. The government has no direction, but it takes cognizance and watches over the effectiveness of this family subsidy.