AUGUST 27, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—From this distance one wonders a little at the curious procedure by which Argentinians have apparently nominated their president and his wife for another term of office, giving the impression that at least those who were present at this vociferous gathering desired these two people to rule them and their country indefinitely.
It sounds as though it had all been engineered in the best totalitarian manner. Hitler might have been chosen and nominated in this way. Certainly Stalin could put over something of the kind, and perhaps even Franco could manage it. Crowds are so easily stampeded, and a demonstration for anything can be worked up without too much trouble. This, however, is Argentina's business and we should not criticize—for our nominating conventions must seem as wild and perhaps as astonishing to the rest of the world!
It is reported that, in a truly democratic manner, the President of Argentina said he would abide by the will of the people and that his wife, though she asked for four days grace to think over whether she could accept the arduous task of vice president, agreed, according to the papers, saying that she could not frustrate the will of the people. Let us hope that this demonstration was literally run by the people and for the people, and that now, having nominated their dictator, they will go on to insist that individual freedom be recognized and that differences of opinion at least be permitted expression. The history of the independent newspaper La Prensa makes us feel that, prior to any election, a promise to uphold freedom of thought and of action is essential to curtailing the powers of any dictator and to keeping a people free.
I have had several letters containing the strangest assertions as regards the unfinished Covenant of Human Rights, prepared by the Commission on Human Rights. The people making these statements seem to have no idea that this is not a United States document, sponsored and drafted by us alone. So I think it important to remind all those who are interested that this document was drawn up by the representatives of 18 nations, chosen so that geographically they represent the larger areas of the world. After the commission's work is done, the 18 nations in the Economic and Social Council have their say about it and, finally, 60 nations represented on Committee Three in the General Assembly will have to have their say. I have no idea, of course, what they will do with this preliminary draft. There is material enough prepared so that the 60 nations in the General Assembly might decide to draw up this first International Covenant of Human Rights themselves, or they might decide to return it to the Commission on Human Rights for further study. In its present form it certainly will not be passed. Whether it will be more or less acceptable to the United States in its final form remains to be seen. It is unthinkable from my point of view that the United States should not cooperate in working on the first draft of a covenant on human rights which will apply to the world as a whole. But that will in no way mean that the United States is bound to accept anything that its own representatives in the Senate do not feel is right to accept when the final draft is submitted to them for ratification.