MAY 13, 1949
NEW YORK, Thursday—In Committee Three I thought in the earlier part of the session that it had dawned upon the delegates from the Soviet Union and her satellites that they had repeated their attacks on the United States, the United Kingdom and certain other countries so often that everyone was familiar with their statements.
I felt that the brief statements with which they began to express themselves, were more to the point and helped us expedite our business. But in the ad hoc Political Committee on Tuesday I was to find quite a different atmosphere!
The same old things were being said and provoking the same old answers. The atmosphere was acrimonious, not to say bitter, and it seemed to me most unfortunate.
To my surprise on returning to Committee Three on Wednesday afternoon, after the completion of the meetings of the subcommittee of the Human Rights Commission, I found the Political Committee atmosphere had swelled into Committee Three. Bitter, long harangues were being made by the Russians and their friends, and, of course, being answered in kind by the delegates attacked. One must always defend one's country.
Our chairman, Dr. Malik, of Lebanon, was not present; our Norwegian delegate, who was vice-chairman, had gone home; and so the committee elected Senor De Noriega of Mexico as vice-chairman. I admired his patience and his good temper because it was quite evident that the Soviet bloc was doing all it could to annoy him. When he politely suggested that the delegate from Byelorussia was wandering far afield from the subject in hand and that the time was short, objections promptly were made, saying he was being unfair, that every delegate had a right to have his full say regardless of how far back in history he wished to trace the roots of the present-day subject.
The Soviet Union, not being a member of the International Labor Organization, always takes every opportunity to run it down because it has employer representation. In the eyes of the Russians, the ILO is a capitalist organization. When it was pointed out to them that it was the labor representatives who insisted that this type of representation be continued, they were still unconvinced and went on saying that the ILO was a tool of capital and could not be said to safeguard the rights of labor unions.
Finally, the United Kingdom delegate was goaded into saying some rather sharp things and that started the ball rolling again and the work in hand took about five times as long as it might have if everyone concerned had confined himself at least to surface politeness!
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In the middle of the day I rushed back to New York City and spent three-quarters of an hour meeting the Democratic women of the 20th District who are working for my son, Franklin, Jr.
I wondered whether the vote in New Jersey on Tuesday would be said to foreshadow anything for the future. The women of the 20th District, anyway, seemed heartened by it.
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I was shocked by the stabbing of the representative of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union. It is hard to believe that such a thing could happen in this day and age and in this city. One hopes that there will be a very thorough investigation.