APRIL 28, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—The day in the Human Rights Commission yesterday was not very peaceful, and I think it was largely because I started the commission off all wrong in the morning.
I did not intend, of course, to offend the honorable delegates or to be discourteous. But I was away on Monday and for some inconceivable reason I got it into my head that the speeches on a resolution presented by the delegates had all been made by the proponents of the resolution. This resolution asked the General Assembly to bestir itself and write a Covenant on Freedom of Information at its next session.
The United States had an amendment to propose. First, we had a suggestion that we drop the resolution, which, I must say, I had little hope of having anyone accept. Then our amendment was to substitute a very much milder last sentence to the resolution to the effect that nothing which the Human Rights Commission had done on freedom of information prevented the General Assembly from proceeding to draft a covenant if it desired.
Then I made the speech on our amendment at the opening of the session without letting anybody else speak first and the result was that I hurt everybody's feelings and made them all feel injured for the rest of the morning. I apologized profusely because I knew only too well how stupid I had been. But one can never undo stupid things of that kind once they are done, nor can one change the way people feel about them.
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Then at home last evening I read the following remark of one of the newspaper columnists: "What it (Secretary Acheson's total diplomacy) means is that in these days every American citizen is a diplomat in himself and another term for it would be total self-responsibility." I could not help feeling that I had fallen far short of "total diplomacy" during the day and deserved exactly what I got—a day in which the whole commission felt anything but cooperative. We argued over the resolution and passed it in its original form.
We then took up Article 19 on Freedom of Association, but we were only able to pass the first two paragraphs.
I hope, however, there will not be a long discussion this morning over the last paragraph and we can take up the next article. We should by the end of this week be through with most of the articles of the covenant, as we have only three weeks more to work. Next week will undoubtedly be devoted to implementation of the covenant.
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It was good news yesterday to read that the CIO Communications Workers of America had postponed the telephone workers' nation-wide strike. A spirit of conciliation must be abroad between the government and all labor leaders, for the leaders of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen has granted the government's request for a two-weeks postponement of their strike.
It is an old saying that strikes take place only in good times and yet at the present time unemployment rates as one of the most important subjects in the Gallup poll lists of matters that the people are really worrying about. All over the country our governors of states should be making surveys on this question and trying to come up with the answers as to how in good times we must make every effort to keep down unemployment.