APRIL 15, 1952
NEW YORK, Monday—The last sentence of my column yesterday in which I stated that Senator Bricker's amendment, if accepted, puts us on a par with the Soviets needs perhaps a little clarification.
The Soviets worked with us on the Declaration of Human Rights and used up much valuable time trying to get us to accept their point of view on many articles. In the end, because their amendments were not accepted, they abstained on the Declaration, giving as an excuse that it was a backward document with 18th Century ideals and therefore they could not subscribe to it.
The resolution that was passed at the same time asked those who accepted the Declaration to acquaint their people with its contents and to strive to attain the standards set forth therein. There was nothing legally binding, but the Declaration had certain moral values because 48 nations voted to accept it.
It seems to me inconsistent for the Soviets not to accept a document just because they thought it did not go far enough. If you are working to attain common conceptions, even taking only a few steps forward has some value. If we are now going to say that any legally binding document is detrimental to the interests of the United States because in certain instances it does not give as wide freedoms as our own laws do, we are taking the same attitude as the Soviet Union.
A responsible statement which I saw, sent to a Senator, on the subject of S.J. Res. 130, "proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to the making of treaties and executive agreements," said that in the opinion of the Department of State an amendment to the Constitution such as that proposed in this resolution, would not serve the best interests of the citizens of the United States nor the government of the United States.
The duties of the Judicial, Legislative and Executive branches of the government are clearly defined. This proposed amendment would seriously interfere with the historic and fundamental functions of the Executive in the field of foreign affairs and would jeopardize the influence of the United States in the world today.
This resolution gives Congress the authority by joint resolution to alter the Constitution and laws of the several states without regard to the constitutional limitations in this field. If we are prevented from supporting great humanitarian treaties then we are going to be classed in the category of backward countries.
In any case, the Senate passes on a treaty made by the Executive before it is ratified, and there seems to be no need for such a resolution unless Senator Bricker feels that the future members of the Senate will not have the same intelligence that he and his colleagues have. If he is trying to protect the American people from the possibility of choosing less good Senators in the future, he does not believe in the fundamentals of democracy, since life in democracies is based on a trust in the wisdom of the people.
Does the Senator feel that the rule of a few men in the Kremlin is perhaps more conducive to wise decisions than trusting in the wisdom of our own people?
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1952, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 15, 1952
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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