APRIL 21, 1949
NEW YORK, Wednesday—While I was lunching yesterday in the cafeteria in the United Nations building at Lake Success, I was asked to come and say how-do-you-do to a group of high school youngsters. They had been sightseeing in New York City and were now coming out to look the U.N. over. I wondered what they would find of interest in the work of the various committees just now, because it is rather hard to understand what is going on.
I sat yesterday for the first time with the responsibility in Committee #3 of our convention on Freedom of Information weighing heavily on my shoulders. Erwin D. Canham, who has been taking full responsibility, has to be away for a few days, so with Lloyd Free's help I am trying to fill his place.
We moved quite quickly yesterday, adopting several articles of the draft convention. But as most of the points that have to be covered are rather technical ones, I think it would be hard for any outsiders who did not come and listen, day in and day out, to follow what was going on. Even the delegates themselves become confused. For instance, in a number of articles we use the words "news material" meaning all types of news, such as newspapers, magazines, books, newsreels, radio, etc.
We reached an article yesterday where it was felt by those who had attended the Freedom of Information Conference in Geneva that the words in the article should be "news dispatches." This would mean what might be called unprocessed news, the bare skeleton of information sent by a correspondent to be used by those who would rewrite it in the home office. This completely confused a number of delegates who felt that having begun with the use of the words "news material" we should continue using it.
Obviously, we had to define "news dispatches," and it was suggested that the definition should be added to the article where there were other definitions and form the fourth paragraph. There was complete confusion on this. One delegate asked whether this definition should not go into the body of the article under consideration, rather than into Article #1, where the other definitions were. We worked until 1:30 at the morning session and until 6:45 at the afternoon session, but we really did a good day's work and progressed until nearly the end with a great deal of speed.
In the evening I went to speak before a church group in Yonkers, N.Y., on U.N. activities, and I was impressed by the efficiency of the young married people who ran the meeting.
One of the young couples asked me to dinner and, though I was very late, we got through very comfortably. The dinner was beautifully planned, with not too much food and yet quite enough so that we were unhurried.
I always admire how these young people with little children manage when their household duties are already so exacting. The young woman, who with her husband called for me and brought me home, told me that they had taken in two foster children, a boy of 14 and a boy of 11. They found that the two brothers did not get on well, so the younger one will be given another home in an effort to allow him to develop without the friction which arises between him and his brother.
It seems wonderful to me for a young woman to be willing to undertake the care of two more children in addition to her own small boy, and yet she made light of it and said she thought it was a pleasure because she liked children.