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

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—Yesterday at 6:45 p.m. the Human Rights Commission closed its work for the present session of the United Nations at Lake Success. There was a pessimistic note voiced by the delegate from the Soviet Union who felt obliged to abstain from accepting the report of the rapporteur because economic and social rights had not been considered and the strengthening amendments presented by the Soviet had not been accepted.

One is almost tempted to believe that a document such as the present Covenant, which deals primarily with the traditional political and civil rights that many of us have accepted in our own country for many years, must have a value for the rest of the world. One reason is that it seems to frighten those who oppose it so vehemently, who insist that it is not progressive enough!

Personally, I am very glad that the Covenant will go to the governments in a form that will make it possible, I think, for them to understand the differences of opinion that were voiced in the Commission and to give us the benefit of their considered comments.

One comes to the end of such a session with great gratitude to the translators, precis writers, and the secretariat. One realizes also that without the cooperation of every member on the Commission, much fruitless discussion would be prolonged to the point where nothing could be accomplished. We on the Commission should be grateful to all our colleagues and we should hope that the same spirit will continue until the final plan is prepared for the General Assembly.

I was amused to see myself taken to task the other day for my light words on the subject of pleasant old traditions, such as a particular job being occupied years later by a member of the same family. I don't think there is any danger that any government job in this country ever could be made a "family heirloom." All jobs should be and must be won by some kind of personal achievement.

History looks back with interest, however, on the rare occasions when in the same family some coincidence brings similar interests and qualifications to the fore. This is probably rarer in government work because it is such unpleasant work that only very unselfish people are willing to face it. I really do not think we will find too many occasions when more than one member of a family are willing to sacrifice themselves in the interests of their fellow men by occupying government jobs. At least, that is my own personal feeling.

We need rain very much in our area and I hope it comes within the next few days in a nice, gentle rainfall. A hard storm probably would bring many of the leaves off the trees. There is no doubt that the farmer fights against the most unpredictable odds. There is nothing he can do to make nature befriend him, and yet farming is probably the only absolutely essential occupation without which the country could not prosper.

The one specialized agency in the United Nations which touches the farmers of every nation is the Food and Agriculture Administration. It probably has one of the most difficult of all the various undertakings because it has to plan how to teach the people of the world to stop wasting their natural resources and conserve and build up everything that this planet can furnish in the way of soils and minerals to care for our future generations upon this earth.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 22, 1949

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