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


WASHINGTON, Wednesday—So far in the Human Rights Commission we have only reviewed two articles of the Covenant on Economic and Social Rights. If we do not move a little faster it looks as though we may remain in session until the General Assembly meets next autumn. But it has not seemed to dawn on most of the members as yet that perhaps what is required of them is less talk! We must learn to say what we have to say extremely briefly and get to the business of voting much more quickly.

I am convinced that all of us do more talking than is necessary, but the worst offenders are those in the Soviet bloc, though some of the rest of us run a close second.

I am never quite sure when the Soviets attack us, as they so often do, that they are not doing much of it in order to force us to make a reply. This is a method of delaying work and I have an idea that their great urge for a perfect document, embodying largely their point of view, is really nothing more than an effort to make it impossible for us to consider any kind of implementation or, in fact, to finish the two covenants.

The Soviet group is interested in only one covenant, the one on economic and social rights. They want no agreement for implementation because they say only the state can implement a document of this kind. So it would suit them very well if we never got beyond the articles of this one covenant. They talk a great deal about following the directions of the General Assembly—but talking is one thing and action is quite another.

They were very angry with me on Monday because they accused the United States of speaking with the voice of our large business monopolies.

Of course, I had to explain the United States government was not speaking with the voice of any monopoly, and if we were going to talk about monopolies there was no greater monopoly than a state which controls all business, all resources, all transportation, all communications.

They spluttered a good deal about that and talked about their constitution which set up the control of the workers, and they said I had slandered them. But it sounded a little to me as though the indignation they manifested was the only way they could think of to respond to something which they did not like to admit was true.

On Tuesday I came to Washington and last night, as Senator and Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman's guest, after dinner I answered questions regarding my recent trip and discussed for a short time the work on the Human Rights Covenant now being done by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

This morning I met with the representatives of a great many nongovernmental organizations to discuss this same subject, saw Mr. Averell Harriman and one or two other people, lunched with Secretary of Defense Lovett and some of our defense organization people, and returned to New York City in the afternoon in time to attend the dinner of the Overseas Press Club in the evening.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 8, 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.