MAY 12, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—On Wednesday at Lake Success the Human Rights Commission suddenly awakened to the fact that we had only a brief few days left in which to work. So, it was decided to sit every day until 6:30 p.m. and to work next Saturday. I suppose I ought to be grateful that we haven't spent more Saturdays in town, but this is such a wonderful time in the country I can hardly bear the thought of having to be here all day on Saturday and only getting home in time for dinner!
Nevertheless, it is essential that we finish this first Covenant and send it to the Economic and Social Council. Even this first preliminary step may be looked upon coldly by the Economic and Social Council. We probably will be told that they haven't time to finish our work and that will mean another year before the various countries are confronted with the obligation of ratifying a first Covenant.
It is always interesting to me when I find differences arising out of the meanings which people place on words in different languages. For instance, yesterday a resolution that we voted on had been prefaced with the word "convinced". There was no doubt that most of us were "convinced" and that we needed to pass this resolution and to say what our plan of work for the future was to be. But one of the delegates felt that "convinced" was an apologetic word and certainly not the word with which to start a resolution.
Therefore, he substituted the word "considering," which was a good word and perfectly acceptable. But from my point of view the other word was also acceptable and expressed quite clearly the frame of mind of the commission.
Dr. Charles Malik laid a good deal of stress on being "convinced" because he felt that convinced was a stronger word. It stood to him for a conviction about the work which we must proceed to do. The point of view of the other delegate, however, must have had greater weight with the Commission because he carried his version.
Then there was a long discussion over the substitution of the word "instrument" for "covenant." I could have accepted either word, though covenant was probably the word that ordinarily would be used.
All in all, we spent the whole day on this resolution, which had already been discussed on Tuesday for a considerable length of time. As I look back upon it, I cannot help wondering whether the work would not have been done in any case, since it is quite clear from the record what we should do in our next session.
In the evening I had a few friends at dinner. William Warfield, who has already made a name for himself in this country but who is going on a tour of Australia in June, sang a number of songs for us. One of the loveliest of his songs was a German lullaby that I have loved since my childhood. He ended with the Ave Maria, which my husband used to enjoy so much.
Mr. Warfield has a really wonderful voice and a very good musical education. I feel sure he will be a good representative of American music in foreign lands. Also, during the evening Edgar Roberts played the piano for us, so we had a rather delightful time.