JULY 21, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Last week I went out to Rutgers University in New Jersey to take part in a workshop in the afternoon. In the evening I spoke there on the Charter of Human Rights, explaining to my audience just what has been happening in the work of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
I am always very grateful for the opportunity to explain to people and to read them the sections that have been passed, so that they will be better able to evaluate some of the attacks made on this effort. The U.N. hopes to come slowly to a common agreement throughout the world on what we can all say are basic human rights and freedoms. It is quite evident that we in this country may have higher standards than other countries, and it is even possible that some countries have higher standards than we. In the area of economic and social rights, for example, a careful comparison might lead us to decide that some of the Scandinavian countries have higher standards in education, in certain types of social security and certainly in housing.
There are reasons, of course, why states differ in what they have been able to achieve. For instance, it is certainly easier to provide proper and decent housing for the populations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark than it is for the people of the United States. The cities are not as large and nowhere do you find any slums. But there is less demand for certain types of conveniences which have become to many American citizens virtual necessities when you talk about proper housing.
We in the United States quite naturally feel that it is essential to have two covenants. There are a number of underdeveloped countries where they feel that one covenant is preferable. They think that economic and social rights are of greater importance than civil and political rights. We have gained our advances in social and economic rights because of the fact that we had civil and political rights. I hope we will keep these rights in two separate covenants. I do not know what the final articles will be in the two covenants, but I think we should attempt to write them so that as many nations as possible will be able to ratify them. Those who cannot ratify both covenants should at least be able to ratify one and work toward ratification of the other as soon as possible.
I am interested to see that the Democrats, or a group in the Democratic party, has endorsed Mrs. India Edwards, vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for Vice President. This means a step forward in the organization and unity of women, and I think it is a good sign.
I am sure all of us are relieved that the President was able to leave the hospital this past week, and we will certainly hope that he has years of good health and happiness in store for him.