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


PARIS, Sunday—We have just had a very interesting and curious experience in Committee Three. Earlier in the session, at the time of the floods in Italy, one delegate from Uruguay offered a resolution expressing sympathy and asking the people of every country to give what they could in aid. It was a situation which was in everybody's mind, and when the chairman asked if there was any objection none were made and the resolution was passed.

A few days ago we were discussing a resolution, together with its amendments, that had to do with item 29 on our agenda—the "Covenant of Human Rights and Measures of Implementation." In the midst of the discussion the Polish delegate suddenly presented a resolution under that item of our agenda, calling upon the General Assembly to ask the Secretary General to confer with the proper authorities in Spain and ask that 24 men who allegedly were being held in prison for taking part in a riot in Barcelona, and who might be condemned to death, should be released and freed from torture.

Some of us are beginning to realize that this introduction of extraneous subjects, and the various delaying tactics which are constantly being used by the Soviet bloc, are really designed to prevent any instructions being given to the Commission on Human Rights. We have come to understand that the Soviet bloc does not desire that the covenant on human rights become a reality, and these delays may prevent it. A group of eleven countries therefore joined in sponsoring a procedural resolution which simply stated that the Polish resolution could not be presented to our committee under item 29, but would have to come up through the regular channels and be referred to our committee by the General Committee.

We went through a perfect nightmare of procedural debate before this resolution was voted upon at the end of the session. There were points of order ad infinitum—31 of them, I believe. There were 22 explanations of votes before we actually came to the vote, and in the end it was voted that the Polish resolution could not be presented in Committee Three now. Of course, if the Polish delegate is really interested in having the motion discussed, it can be presented to the General Committee and come before us in the regular way.

Much to my surprise, too, the lady who usually sits on Committee Three was replaced at this session by Mr. Katz-suchy. Evidently they did not trust the lady to bring enough force to bear in this argument—and I must say that Mr. Katz-suchy, behind his black glasses and with his aggressive manner and power of invective, might easily strike terror into any timid soul! I just feel sorry for him, for his eyes must be very weak to make him wear those frightening glasses; and I always feel pity for all the representatives of satellite states, for they must suffer a great deal.

In casual conversation the other night I discovered that if one wants to contact a Polish, Czech or Hungarian commercial attache, one is told that every communication must be sent to the Soviet Embassy—and then one never gets an answer. That must be a little difficult to swallow for independent nations!

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 21, 1952

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.