SEPTEMBER 17, 1952
NEW YORK, Friday—General Carlos P. Romulo was the guest of honor on the opening TV program of the New York Times Youth Forum the other day and he made a plea to the nation's youth to have faith in the United Nations.
This forum is one that has existed for some time and it gives young high school students a chance to meet with older people of more experience who can really answer their questions. I was rather glad to hear these youngsters voice their skepticism about the United Nations, for certainly General Romulo was certainly one of the best informed persons they could have queried regarding U.N. accomplishments.
In one of our metropolitan newspapers there was an interesting editorial headed: "What Citizenship Means." It was written in connection with the celebration in Central Park, here, on Citizenship Day.
One point brought up was the age-old question of whether one should mention only the rights of citizens and not their obligations. This point has come up over and over again in the drafting of "The International Charter of Human Rights." Most of us felt in the Commission of Human Rights that it was perhaps better to emphasize the rights of human beings, even though we included an article stating that these rights could not be enjoyed unless the obligations of human beings who enjoyed them were fulfilled.
However, in the case of citizenship in the United States, it seems to me that perhaps the time has come to emphasize very clearly the fact that our rights here carry with them obligations that we cannot escape, and we must emphasize the need for accepting these responsibilities and doing our job as citizens.
This is particularly important because the world looks upon the United States as a symbol of democracy, and no democracy can operate successfully unless every individual citizen plays his part in running the government.
You and I, living in a small town or village, may think our part is a small part. Yet, what happens in our small area is one of the forces that determines what the whole United States shall stand for. If each of us will see to it that our own bailiwick is as alert as possible to its democratic responsibilities and never neglect the democratic process of effort to understand the issues so that the citizens can intelligently partake in decisions on Election Day, then we will gradually have a country in which a real democracy functions.
I was glad to see that the speakers at the citizenship rally in New York City stressed the obligation to vote. That is our first obligation and we should all inform ourselves as well as we can to vote intelligently on Election Day—for local, state and national officials. I realize there may be some difficulty but it is always possible to become well informed.