APRIL 14, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Numerous people have sent me word of their regret over Fala's death. There are many people who love dogs and who know, therefore, how much one misses a pet that has taken a place as part of the family. The kindness of people and the trouble they take to bring a little warmth and sympathy into this busy and sometimes heartless world always astonishes me. For this I am grateful, even though a little surprised, and I want to thank one and all through my column since I may not be able to thank each one individually.
I have also received this year many lovely Easter cards. Because just now I am getting ready for the Human Rights Commission meeting and trying to do work on a number of other things, I fear I may not be able to thank everyone. So again I want to say here how much I appreciate this kind thought.
The business before the Human Rights Commission, which begins its work tomorrow, is that of drafting two covenants—one covering political and civic rights; the other, economic and social rights. As the United States representative on the commission, I have watched with growing concern the work of the American Bar Association, which has set itself the task of trying to make the people of the United States and the Congress believe that a covenant of human rights will curtail the rights which we, the people of the United States, have under our constitution. We have tried to explain to these gentlemen the fact that the Declaration of Human Rights has no legal binding value. It is true that in certain instances it has been cited in legal cases, but in itself there is nothing which makes it legally binding on anyone to accept any of its provisions. It states standards and aspirations. The sequel to the declaration was always to be the formulation of a covenant or covenants in more precise and legal language, to be accepted as a treaty or treaties, in which such rights as are deemed to be essential to the dignity of human beings will be set forth.
It is true that we have many of these rights in the United States. It is also true that the covenant, as it now is, states that nothing in this covenant can change what any of us have under our constitution. But it is important that we begin to have similar standards in the field of human rights throughout the world, and agreement on these will be one of the foundation stones on which we may build the peace of the world.
I shall take up later the questions raised by the resolution for a constitutional amendment offered by Senator Bricker and deal with them in detail. Here I mainly want to emphasize that if we are unwilling to enter into a treaty on human rights we are putting ourselves in the same position as is the USSR.