DECEMBER 13, 1950
NEW YORK, Tuesday—The concert given at the Metropolitan Opera House last Sunday in commemoration of Human Rights Day was really beautiful. The Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York played delightfully and all of the guest artists who participated made this evening a memorable occasion. The house was crowded with the heads of United Nations delegations, their staffs and friends. Also among those present was former President of the General Assembly, Nasrollah Entezam. As I looked around it seemed to me that perhaps the knowledge of what human rights means was now growing to be so well understood that another year we might attempt to have the day celebrated in an even greater auditorium. Perhaps we'll be ready to invite the general public to participate with the United Nations family as represented in New York City.
Of course, it may well be that the General Assembly will not be meeting in New York City next year. This would mean that the United Nations participants would be fewer and the general public would have to fill more seats, but it would show a growth of interest in the meaning of human rights in this country on the part of the average citizen.
Human rights include civil rights and I am interested to read a letter sent last week by the Americans for Democratic Action to the President. ADA asked that a representative citizens committee be appointed to investigate the problems of security and civil rights here in the United States. Francis Biddle, who is the national chairman of ADA and who was Attorney General during part of the last war, suggests four points for consideration and investigation by this committee.
1. Senator McCarthy's particular charges against the State Department. His reason for taking this up first is that, while a Senate committee declared these charges as unfounded, they still "remain as political issues" threatening to damage State Department prestige.
2. The effectiveness of the government loyalty program and other security measures.
3. Unless our people are sure that proper steps are taken to make us secure as far as the loyalty of public servants is concerned, some people will be suspicious of every public servant. What we really need to do is to be sure that we have maximum security and still protect the freedom of the individual.
4. The use of secrecy.
The confusion of many people in the United States today on the question of what we need to do to be safe and what is consistent with our beliefs in the democratic processes and in the freedom of the individual is growing day by day.
I think a really able citizens committee could do a great deal toward removing some of our anxieties at home. It could help to prevent the Soviet Union from using those anxieties to prove to their own people that we are about ready to fall for the Communist party line. At present we really give aid and comfort to the enemy because of our own confusion.