The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PARIS, Sunday—I was amused as I went into the Assembly Thursday morning to find that practically every delegate congratulated me on the results of the elections. I could not conceal the fact that I really felt very proud of the American people for their ability to think independently.

I loved one little item in our papers here stating that Mr. Gallup had said only about 47 million people had voted and of course there were about 47 million more who were eligible to vote, and therefore it would be very difficult to know the meaning of this vote. After all, if I remember correctly, this is a rather normal vote in a campaign which did not stir the passions of men very greatly. The people were sober and quiet in their thinking and evidently made up their minds without too many fireworks.

I also noticed that papers reported in some sections that the weather had made it impossible for people to get to the polls, but they did not state whether these sections were predominantly Republican or Democratic. Then I read an amusing item which stated that the Republicans were so sure of winning they did not think it necessary to go to the polls. What seemed the most sensible remark of all was the one attributed to Governor Warren, who reportedly said, "They just got more votes."

The last remark I heard was one familiar to me from my husband's campaign days. Someone said, "President Truman only had the people with him." That was said on a number of occasions by my husband.

The people were not only with President Truman, but they understood that if he was to keep the promises he made to them they had to give him a House and Senate which could cooperate with him. They proceeded to do so, and now the whole Democratic party is under obligation to fulfill the promises made in the message sent by the President to the last Congress and in his recent campaign speeches.

* * *

We actually passed Article Number Twelve in the Declaration of Human Rights Friday morning. No amendments were accepted except one from Great Britain, which only changed the text by substituting the words "to enjoy" for "be granted." The article now reads: "First, everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Second, prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations do not constitute persecution."

There was considerable argument on this because some people felt it was impossible to order nations to grant asylum where they did not wish to do so. Yet there should be moral pressure, at least, brought upon them to receive any individual who is genuinely fleeing persecution. On the other hand, the USSR felt the article was too weak and should be much more specific as to the categories in which people were granted asylum, because they feared it would permit war criminals and Quislings to be accepted if the language remained so broad.

Several South American nations wanted to emphasize the fact that asylum should be granted in embassies and consulates. This seemed to be going into too much detail. On the other hand, the French delegate was extremely anxious to have it stated clearly that if anyone sought asylum and did not find it, he had the right to ask the United Nations in cooperation with various countries of the world to find him that asylum. It is logical, of course, to say that asking is not really much of a right to grant human beings if it is not also an obligation to find him that asylum. But to put that burden on the United Nations seemed a rather serious complication at the present time, and so the article was left along very broad lines. I think that later, when the world settles down to more normal living, it may be more feasible to re-canvass these particular situations.

From next Tuesday on, we have been told, we will meet twice daily in our committee. This seems to me to put it off rather late, but I am glad that at last we are going to do some intensive work. We were also told we would meet one evening out of every week, which ought not be too difficult for anyone to arrange.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 8, 1948

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.