MARCH 31, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—We spent the day at the Human Rights Commission meeting yesterday discussing in a general way the Preamble and the first four articles of Part One. It had been agreed that no vote be taken because it was generally conceded that the final decision on these articles would have to be taken after the articles in Part Two and Part Three have been definitely settled.
The discussions were interesting, however, because they brought out certain definite differences of opinion, and some of the speakers emphasized bearing in mind the exact purpose of drawing up a Covenant. Several of them spoke of the great value of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights and stressed that nothing must be done that would take away from the moral force of this document nor any of its legal influence where it has had that influence.
Madame Meta Hansa of India reviewed the history of our work, reminding us that we had been instructed to write an international bill or charter of Human Rights and that we had decided the Universal Declaration was the first part. Now we are engaged on the second part which, she said, is just as important as the first one. Its purpose is to define how the rights and freedoms set forth in the declaration can be made realities in the various countries.
It is quite evident that no one thinks this is the final step. But it is always fair to say that the majority of people feel this Covenant must be a genuine step forward.
The delegate from Lebanon said that at the beginning in Article 2 we should mention in the Covenant that all these rights were to be held without discrimination of any kind, and he also proposed an amendment calling them "inalienable rights." He is most anxious to make it clear that these rights do not flow from the law but are inherent in the value of the human being. Therefore, the law flows from the fact that these rights are inalienable.
* * *
I lunched with some of the United Nations correspondents in a restaurant only a few minutes away from Lake Success. It was very pleasant but, because of our hurry, I had to be asked during the afternoon to come out of the meeting and make sure that I was not being misquoted. As a matter of fact, I was not being misquoted, but I learned I had not made clear exactly what I had said. So it was extremely kind of the correspondents to come and ask me about it and let me clarify my meaning.
I also had an opportunity to shake hands with a group that was on its way to Israel. But I spent only a brief moment with them, for I was looking for the newspaper people and did not dare to stay away too long in the middle of the afternoon session.