JUNE 4, 1949
NEW YORK, Friday—June 2 will stand out in my mind as a busy day!
I left my duties at the United Nations in the capable hands of Professor Rene Cassin at a little after noon and drove in to attend the luncheon given in honor of Rose Schneiderman, who for so many years has guided the destinies of the New York State Women's Trade Union League. More than anyone I know in the labor movement, she has had the gift of translating the situations and the needs facing working women into understandable terms for women of leisure or women whose work lay in different fields. Never antagonistic in her approach, she has won many friends for the labor movement as a whole. Those of us who know her well will never cease to be grateful to her and I, for one, feel that the opportunities which she gave me to work with her and her co-workers were of inestimable value to me in many of the ensuing experiences of my life.
Miss Schneiderman has retired from the Women's Trade Union League and yesterday men and women gathered to do her honor. It must be gratifying to know that your efforts through a long and busy life have been appreciated by many people, and I think she will never really retire. As long as she lives she will use her strength to help those who are fighting for democracy and the ideals that this country stands for.
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I was back in my committee at Lake Success at 2:30 p.m., but at 4:45 I again called on Professor Cassin to take over my duties. I left and reached the Hotel Plaza almost on time for the meeting of the Union De Mujeres Americanas. There I found some old friends, including Mrs. Constance Sporborg of the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the state and city president of the Federation. The Union De Mujeres Americanas is a member of the Federation.
Miss Bernadino of San Domingo, who is the president of the International Union of American Women, made a delightful speech, and I was deeply touched by the fact that these women had chosen me to receive their "Woman of the Year" award.
Of course, these honors that come to me should be shared by all the members of the Human Rights Commission. They are given because of the work done by that Commission and I, as chairman, am merely a symbol.
It is heartening to find that the interest is so widespread and the conviction is firm that a standard for human rights and freedoms throughout the world is necessary and a great step in advance for civilization as a whole. Every group of women is primarily concerned to keep peace in the world, and the vision that the recognition of the dignity of the individual—which is, of course, the basic reason for defining human rights and freedoms and is one of the guarantees of peace—seems to be shared by the great majority of women.
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Our work on the Covenant moves slowly. However, I got some encouragement at dinner last night from a number of the eminent men who serve on the International Law Commission, which is having its meetings at the U.N. at present. The dinner was at the home of the French Ambassador, M. Chauvenal, who is the permanent delegate from France to the Security Council. These eminent jurists from many lands are to me a somewhat frighteningly learned group, but it is encouraging to find that many of the problems facing us on the Human Rights Commission are of deep interest to them and that they have as much difficulty to find the right words in the various languages as we have. So perhaps our slow progress is not so strange.