My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PARIS, Friday—The first day back on the job at the General Assembly began rather badly for me because I overslept and had to dash through breakfast and up to the office to be prepared on the first item we were going to discuss. I was in my office on time, however, and remembered to say Happy New Year to everyone I met. Some had been to London, some to Rome, and some to Germany. Senator John Cooper had been to Italy and Yugoslavia. The south of France was popular, too, but I was glad I had gone home, brief as my stay was and much as I hated to leave again.

We had a delegation meeting and then a meeting of Committee Three at the Palais de Chaillot.

The subject up for discussion was the question faced by the High Commissioner for Refugees now that the International Refugee Organization has come to an end. The activities of the high commissioner are governed by statute, and that statute clearly defines what he is responsible for.

He is not responsible for the relief operation, but he is obligated to protect refugees in countries all over the world—in other words, to act as their home country would act for them if it were able to do so. He must negotiate with the governments of the various countries to get the refugees permits for travel, residence and work, and if the refugees are going to other countries permanently the high commissioner must try to look after their interests.

There are so many different categories of refugees all over the world today that it is hard to say that some come under the high commissioner's jurisdiction and some do not. Also, it is hard to say that in no case shall he help them tangibly with relief.

He is asking for an administrative budget that will permit him to have 11 branch offices to look after the welfare of displaced persons in different parts of the world. Then he also wants permission to appeal for voluntary contributions from United Nations organizations and individuals, and even governments, in order to provide funds that he can use when material aid is essential.

The appeal to individuals and organizations seems quite possible, but it is questionable whether one should begin to have the heads of organizations able to appeal for voluntary contributions from governments. These are the questions Committee Three has to decide and I hope we can make the necessary decisions and finish this item before the weekend.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL