APRIL 21, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—We actually carried through the article on Freedom of Conscience and Religion yesterday at our Human Rights Commission meeting without too much discussion.
The difficulty still exists, though, I am afraid, for certain people who do not accept in their particular religious belief the right to change their religion. But it seemed impossible to change the wording to meet this difficulty. A new idea also was presented to us; namely, that those who change their religion for fraudulent reasons and not because of religious convictions should not be permitted to do so. It did not seem that this idea fitted into this article however, since fraud would be treated elsewhere. Therefore, it was not added.
In addition, the idea was suggested that it be definitely stated that parents have a prior right to choose the religious teaching of their children. But it seemed in this case that this right was already fully covered in the article, since it clearly states that people have a right to manifest their religion, which would certainly include teaching.
We also heard the main speeches on the next following article: Freedom of Information. No one was entirely prepared to make their final presentations, however, and the delegations of France, the United Kingdom and the United States were urged to bring in a joint text if such a thing is possible.
We try constantly between meetings to come to agreements among different delegations if our texts seem not to have any basic differences and the differences seem to be only a matter of words. In this case, however, I am afraid there is one basic difference. The United States and the United Kingdom feel that one should only guard against the interference by government, since it would be practically impossible to attempt to prevent any other type of interference where freedom of expression is concerned.
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I got home from the U.N. meeting at 6:30, just as my youngest son, who is here on business, walked in for a few minutes' chat. Later I dressed and he took me over to the Waldorf-Astoria where I attended the Democratic State Committee dinner. I was almost an hour late, but I was sure I would find no one as yet seated at the tables. And I was right.
We had time for several photographs before we formed into a line and went up to the dais. It was the biggest Democratic State Committee dinner I can remember. I think at least 1,500 people were there, not only from the State of New York, but Senators and Representatives had come on from other states and some members of the Cabinet and their wives were present.
The speeches were good and there was a general feeling of success and confidence in the air. It is a little early to make any predictions, but as of now I would feel that the spirit of the Democratic workers is high "and rarin' to go."
Senator Herbert H. Lehman made a very good speech.
Mr. Averell Harriman was the main speaker of the evening and I was impressed by the great improvement which he has made both in the way he delivered his speech and in the content of it. It was a thoughtful and logical and courageous speech and no one could hear it without being really impressed. He understands the work he is doing in Europe and the importance of that work to us as citizens of the United States. He spoke words of confidence and courage in spite of his full understanding of the difficulties besetting the world and he fully earned the tribute paid him at the end of his speech when everyone rose to applaud him.