DECEMBER 9, 1947
GENEVA—At last I have seen Mont Blanc! It is a wonderful sight, with a mass of snow-capped mountains on either side. It reminds me of Mount Hood in Oregon. I was taken straight back to areas in our West where we have masses of high mountains covered with snow, when the fog rolled slowly up the mountain sides and gave us our first clear view of the Alps.
When I went to bed at midnight, a half moon hung in the deep blue of the sky, almost as though it were detached. A few stars twinkled and seemed part of the twinkling lights across the lake, all of which were reflected in the water. The steamers which ply this lake in the summer are tied up just below our hotel rooms, and I must say they look inviting—they make me wish it were not too cold to use them.
There have been times when I've thought the soft climate of Southern California provided the best background for those letter-writing people who seem to have plenty of time to develop strange ideas on many subjects, to put them down on paper and mail them to various people whose names appear in the press. But since I've been here, I've decided that climate has little to do with it. Perhaps it's just a desire to get away from rather disagreeable everyday surroundings which makes people take pen in hand and write pages on almost every subject.
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In the quiet time which comes to all of us when we finally close our doors at night, many of us like to spend a short time with a book. Lately, I have enjoyed reading "Gentleman's Agreement" by Laura Hobson.
Whether it would be possible for anyone actually to do what the man in this book does and really to think oneself inside someone else, I do not know. But I'm quite sure his theory that, if you want to write about something, you must try to write from actual experience, is a good one. No one can write about people unless he has actually experienced some of the things they experience.
In any case, this book is stimulating and thought-provoking, and should be widely read both in the United States and other countries, for we have travelled down a road of unthinking prejudice beyond the line of safety.
* * *
Our three working groups in the Human Rights Commission are making progress—the first group, drawing up a declaration of rights; the second, drafting an international convention of rights; and the third, considering methods of implementation. Since our time is short, we established a schedule and asked each group to be ready to submit its report by the evening of December 10.
We arranged that every country which cared to do so could have a representative sitting with each group, so that all the delegates could be kept informed of the work being done in all the groups. As the United States delegate, I'm sitting with the group drawing up the declaration, and I hope we'll succeed in moving forward quickly.