MAY 26, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I have before me a clipping from the Chicago Daily Tribune which gives an account of some of the things said by Senator Bricker recently in discussing the bill which he has before the Senate. The account begins: "Senator Bricker (Republican, Ohio) warned the nation today that adoption of the United Nations Human Rights program might give aliens in a super-state the power to decree death for ailing Americans and subject others to medical and scientific experiments against their will."
When I first read this paragraph, I wondered from where the Senator drew such strange statements. Then I remembered that Article Four in the proposed Covenant on civil and political rights reads: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected against his will to medical or scientific experimentation involving risk, where such is not required by his state of physical or mental health." That article, if it is finally passed, would protect anyone from being subjected to medical or scientific experiments against his will. And, certainly, no alien will carry out these provisions of the Covenant—for if the United States ratifies it, it is the United States that has to pass legislation in conformity with the agreement it makes in the Covenant; and, obviously, laws made in the United States are carried out by United States citizens.
Senator Bricker apparently was relying on the fact that the people would not read the provision in the Covenant, or, if they read it, would not understand it. There is no such thing as a super-state. The U.N. is a free association of 60 nations working under the charter to preserve peace.
Senator Bricker, according to this account, denounced the State Department for telling the world the United States is a nation that does not care for its needy and for portraying American charities as an offense to human dignity that should be abolished in favor of a dole directed by global authorities. Again, this is an effort to fool the American people. The Senator knows full well that not one penny is paid out under the Covenant of Human Rights. Where it says that something is the right of individuals, it is their own government that assures this right and no other nation. Moreover, if any one pays money for anything, it will be done by the governments for their own people after they ratify the Covenant and pass the necessary legislation conforming to it.
It is easily seen that Senator Bricker must create these false ideas in order to justify the proposal in his constitutional amendment. If by any chance this amendment is accepted, it will change the intent in our own American Constitution, which very carefully balanced the legislative, judicial and executive powers in our government. The treaty-making power was given to the Executive branch of the government, with ratification in the hands of the Senate. This effort to change the carefully thought-out balance of powers under our own Constitution requires very careful consideration before it is accepted by the American people.
I will return to a further analysis of this account of Senator Bricker's statement in the Chicago Daily Tribune, because I think the truth should be known. The people have an interest in human rights, and they should not be fooled.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1952, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 26, 1952
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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