MAY 5, 1949
NEW YORK, Wednesday—The convention on Freedom of Information submitted by the United Kingdom is slowly being considered in Committee No. 3. Our chairman made a plea to everybody this morning to curtail speeches and hurry the work as much as possible, since the target date for the close of the present session of the United Nations has been set by President Evatt for May 14.
No sooner had this been done than Mexico, backed by Australia, announced that too rapid work sometimes made a poor foundation for anything that was expected to last and it perhaps would be very much better to work more slowly in order to achieve a good convention!
I personally am not at all afraid that the work will not be done slowly enough, because when the chairman tried to close the list of speakers there were twelve more speeches listed on Article 2.
The other items, on our agenda should not take very long and I have been asked to take one item in the Ad Hoc Political Committee, which has been transferred from our committee.
I have had so little to do during this session since Erwin Canham has had to carry the responsible work on the Freedom of Information Convention, that I am delighted to take up any small item in another committee.
I only hope that the final product of this work on the Freedom of Information Convention will be of sufficient value to justify the hours of labor which have gone into it. The object is to give correspondents greater security and freedom to collect and send off news, and to remove censorship of outgoing news as far as possible but at the same time to safeguard countries from untruthful news.
The Soviet Russia amendment on banning of news inciting to war or containing Fascist propaganda is covered by a similar Polish amendment. All the arguments in favor of it are made to sound very virtuous and plausible. The amendment, however, could be used to make it impossible for anyone to send out a story which displeased the government of the country where a correspondent happened to be stationed, so we and many other nations oppose it.
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Mayor William O'Dwyer has named this week "Goodwill Week" in honor of the Goodwill Industries. This organization collects materials and articles of every kind which their workers, who are often old or handicapped people, renovate and convert into useful articles. It is a source of income to the workers who might otherwise have no income and, at the same time, it builds their morale and gives them an interest in life. The articles, when reconditioned, can be bought at very low prices and thereby help is given to low-income families.
From all I hear the New York City branch does a most helpful and competent piece of work and is worthy of the support of the people.