JUNE 8, 1949
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Day by day as the defense attorney in the perjury trial of Alger Hiss, former State Department official brings out facts about Whittaker Chambers as a witness, one cannot help being mystified as to why the gentleman should be believed at all. He has now admitted that he perjured himself before the Grand Jury and before the House Committee on Un-American Activities last February when he declared under oath that he didn't remember who gave him the microfilm about which there has been so much excitement.
Also, he seems to have no hesitancy about telling various unsavory facts about his private life, which make him seem less and less valuable as a witness. One gets the feeling as one reads the newspaper accounts that Mr. Chambers is on trial and not Mr. Hiss.
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We spent all day yesterday in the Human Rights Commission trying to get some work done on methods of making those states who sign and ratify the Covenant to live up to their agreement.
First, we held a committee session on communications so that we could bring a report to the commission, but the point to be voted on had not been 24 hours under consideration and it became a new point. So, we had to wait until this morning. The Soviet delegate felt he needed 24 hours to consider this motion, which necessitated a meeting today just to take this vote.
Then in the full commission we started to find some way of working on the various papers that are before us and must be considered. After innumerable speeches, we finally got one vote on the principle, to which practically everybody agreed, that states should have the right to complain against violations of human rights.
We could not bring to a vote, however, the decision of whether petitions by organizations and individuals should be accepted. The reason for this was because the secretariat has been unable to produce a document in French, as well as in English, and the Soviet delegate objected, as was his right. Any delegate may ask that the vote be held over until the translation in both working languages is before them. We came to an agreement that this vote should be taken without further discussion before lunch today.
These efforts at delay on the part of the Russian delegate make one feel that perhaps now that our time grows short he is not overanxious to see us accomplish any real results. I should think it would be to the advantage of his country, as well as our own, to have something definite circulated to governments on which his country can express itself. Evidently, however, it is easier to say that it was impossible to do anything.
Therefore, many things, which might easily move, prove to be absolutely impossible to accomplish with any speed. Perhaps today we will get a little definite action on some of the remaining articles of the Covenant.
Everyone is aware of the fact that we have only two weeks more of actual work and there are still well over half of the Articles of the Covenant to pass, besides consideration of one or two new articles and the completion of a tentative report on methods of implementation.