JANUARY 25, 1946
LONDON—On Wednesday afternoon, Lady Pethick-Lawrence and Mrs. Raymond Gram Swing came to call on me.
They evidently want to prevail on the Economic and Social Council to set up a special commission composed of women which would not be considered as a specialized agency but would have a closer relationship to the Council. I have not studied the question as yet, but it seems to me that any such non-governmental group, no matter how strong numerically, should still be considered, under the provisions already laid down, only in a consultative capacity.
I can quite see that a commission representing many women's organizations throughout the world might speak for a very great number of women, but I think they should be treated on the same basis as other specialized agencies. Otherwise, an infinite number of similar groups would be demanding special recognition and special privileges in their relationship to the United Nations—a situation which would result in chaos.
I think we should make a very great effort to live up to the sections in the Charter which provide for complete equality. I am sorry that governments in all parts of the world have not seen fit to send more women as delegates, alternates or advisers to the Assembly, and I think it is in these positions that the women of every nation should work to see that equality exists.
I feel also that a variety of interests should be represented in every delegation. Business, labor and the professions have a great contribution to make to the questions that will come up before the Assembly. In every field today there are competent women who could be chosen as individuals outstanding in their field and not merely as women.
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We completed on Wednesday morning the committee work in preparation for the first meeting of the Economic and Social Council that afternoon. Our work was, not to decide on how the Council shall deal with various specialized agencies, but only to recommend to them the observations of the Preparatory Commission. Our only function was to make any changes that we wished to make, as a committee, in the subject matter or wording recommended by the Commission.
Despite these limitations, it was more than some members could do to resist mentioning various organizations in which they had a special interest—such as the ILO and the World Federation of Trade Unions. Many speeches were made before we voted on the final point under consideration by the committee. Now the real work and arguments on the manner in which specialized agencies—both governmental and non-governmental—shall come into relation with the Economic and Social Council will have to be done in that group itself.
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Because of committee meetings and meetings with our advisers, I was unable to attend the luncheon given to the Assembly delegates by the Chilean delegation. I was very sorry as I have always had a deep interest in Chile. Some of my husband's Delano ancestors, many whom were sailors, settled there and he always felt a kinship to that particular country of South America. But I think that all the South American countries have come to feel what a very great interest we had in the development of understanding and friendly relations between their countries and the United States.
I was amused the other day to have an American newspaper woman come up to me, as I was sitting down at a meeting, and ask me if I had visited what we at home would call the "pound." She apparently had been told that I was so interested in lost or stray dogs that I was going to take one home with me. I wonder sometimes where these stories start! If I did anything of the kind, I certainly would have trouble with my husband's Scottie, Fala, who probably will treat me with disdain when I return home because I've been away from him for so long, and who certainly would never forgive me if I brought a strange dog with me!
We had our first taste, the other day, of what I call a yellow fog. It wasn't very bad, but you can really "taste" it, and everybody was complaining and coughing. Ironically, Senator Connally from southern Texas bears up well under the climate of cold and foggy London, but Senator Vandenberg from northern Michigan has had a bad cold.