My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—During most of Friday I talked about either the United Nations or the Human Rights Covenant. In the morning I went out to the Air Force Reserve training station at Floyd Bennett Field, where I spent two hours.

In the afternoon I first discussed the Human Rights Covenant with James Simsarian, my State Department adviser on the Human Rights Commission. Then together we met with the representatives of the non-governmental organizations from four to six o'clock. The room which we ordinarily use for our delegation meetings of the General Assembly seemed to me to shrink in size as more and more representatives of organizations crowded in, until I felt sure we had 60 or 70 representatives there. If only they could communicate their interest to the committee in Congress that will eventually have to consider the covenant, it might help us greatly in shaping the kind of bill which would be satisfactory to the Congress.

Most of us who have been interested in the United States attitude toward displaced persons have felt that the recent legislation passed in our Congress should be made clear to more people. It is important information which should be especially known to people who are interested in bringing in family or friends from Europe. By this new legislation of ours, the deadline on the issuance of visas to displaced persons was extended for six months and now is December 31, 1951. Second, the deadline for assurances required by displaced persons was set at July 31, 1951. Third, war orphans are now exempt from payment of visa and head taxes, as were displaced persons, expellees and displaced orphans.

A sponsor, in his assurances, must promise a job at the prevailing wage rate in the community and without displacing someone else from a job. The displaced person must be assured that he and his family will have adequate housing without displacing someone else, that he will not become a public charge and, finally, that his sponsor will provide transportation from the port at which he disembarks to the inland point where he is to be settled.

There are good reasons for this extension, for conditions in Europe made it almost impossible to cover 8,000 people who were entitled to be examined for visas. Expellees are persons of German ethnic origin and forced by the Communists to flee from their homes in Eastern Europe, whereas displaced persons are victims of World War II and under the care of the International Refugee Organization. Nothing has changed in the matter of expellees, since the date for their visas was already set at June 30, 1952.

E. R.
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