MARCH 2, 1950
NEW YORK, Wednesday—After a delightful lunch yesterday with Mrs. Beatrice Fox Auerbach and Miss Florence Harrison at the Cosmopolitan Club, I took a plane to Atlantic City to speak in the evening at a joint meeting of educators belonging to various organizations. The principal group, however, was the school administrators.
These people who run our schools and colleges are a very important group. They have a great deal to do with the moulding of public opinion.
I was glad to have an opportunity to present before a group of this kind the whole story of the work of the Commission on Human Rights and its future hopes. They have the opportunity to explain not only the value from the educational point of view of a document such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the possibility of using a Covenant on Human Rights as a foundation stone for future peace and one of the ways to demonstrate to the nations of the world the standards of democracy.
The fact that the Communist states refrained from voting to accept the Declaration—and gave as their reason that it was too reactionary a document—points up a very significant difference between communism and democracy. Andrei Y. Vishinsky pointed out, first, that their amendments, which were designed to strengthen the document, had not been accepted. Secondly, he maintained that the economic and social rights, which are to some extent defined in the Declaration, were not made sufficiently important.
Judging from their speech explaining that they must abstain from voting in favor of the acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Communist states only consider important these economic and social rights. Civil and political rights, and such rights as emphasize the freedom of the individual to think and act for himself, seem unattainable to the Communist-trained mind.
It is well to have this understood by the peoples of the world. It is also well for us to understand that since we are the champions of human rights it is not just our lip service but our performance that is under scrutiny.
Therefore, each and every one of us, as individuals in our own communities, is upholding the ideals of democracy when we see to it that human rights and freedoms for all are observed everywhere in the United States of America. It is only as the nations of the world recognize that our performance goes hand in hand with our Declaration that they gain in trust and confidence and understanding of what democracy really means and why it has value for all people in every part of the world.
Mrs. Auerbach and Miss Harrison have a program which is gaining tremendously in importance throughout the State of Connecticut. It serves the women of the entire state, helps the women to understand the problems not only of our own country but in the world at large and gives them an opportunity to come in touch with people who are carrying out the policies of our government today. They also try to bring the women of Connecticut in contact with women from other lands who come to our shores and just at present there are a great many in a variety of fields coming here to see what life in the United States is really like.