My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

GENEVA, Sunday—We have come to the end of our work in Geneva. On Friday evening, after a session that lasted until past 7 o'clock, we finished the measures of implementation on civil and political rights contained in the first Covenant on Human Rights, at least as far as it is possible to finish them before the whole covenant is carefully reviewed. On Saturday we devoted the day to going over the report very carefully which is being submitted to the Economic and Social Council.

The secretariat accomplished an extraordinary feat in putting the French and English translations into the hands of every delegate before 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Russian translation was made available to the Russian-speaking people progressively throughout the morning, so that all were able to read each part of the report in a language that they knew. This really put a great deal of work on an already hard-working secretarial group, and I was glad the chairman expressed the thanks of the whole commission for what they have done during this session.

I think this has been a hard-working and very cooperative commission. Though we are far from finishing our agenda, we are sending a report to the Economic and Social Council. The General Assembly can use it either as a basis on which they can complete the first covenant, if they desire; or they can make recommendations on it, if they decide that further work needs to be done by the Human Rights Commission before final decisions are taken in the General Assembly.

As a commission we have seen a great deal of each other, and farewell dinners were given which seemed to me to show a real sense of easy comradeship among us. On Thursday night the President of the Economic and Social Council, who has been here as the delegate from Chile to the Human Rights Commission, gave a dinner at a restaurant called the Prado, which was very popular in the old League of Nations days. In the room upstairs, paper money and some coins from various parts of the world have been pasted on the walls, and the paper money has the signatures of many people who served here in the League of Nations, some of whom are now back working in the United Nations.

On Friday night the delegate from China invited a group of delegates to the Chinese restaurant, where they had a real Chinese dinner. Afterward the host provided the Chilean adviser, who has a fine voice, with a guitar, and we heard some delightful Spanish songs, as well as some in French and English. The evening came to an end with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, and Miss Marjorie Whiteman and I walked home through the almost deserted streets and across the bridge to the Hotel des Bergues. It was lovely to see the lights reflected in the water, but I rather envied Dr. Malik who left just ahead of us and ran down the street at a pace which I don't think I could have matched in my best walking days.

The bags went off on Saturday and I went out to dine with Dr. Goedhardt, the new High Commissioner for refugees. Whenever I talk to these people who are responsible for those in the world who suffer because of past wars, I say a little prayer in my heart that we have seen the sad results of war for the last time, and that somehow the comradeship which can be built up among the members of the Human Rights Commission may extend to the peoples of the 60 nations that meet in the United Nations.

This morning (Sunday) we leave by air for Paris on our way home—and who is not glad to start for home, no matter how pleasant his stay abroad may be?

E. R.
TMs, AERP, NHyP