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

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PARIS, Tuesday ,—In Committee Three the other day we heard a really fine speech by the delegate from Belgium, Mr. De Housse. He is a widely read and cultivated person besides having a very clear and penetrating mind.

He began by asserting that if it were possible to think of what one preferred to do in the area of drawing a Covenant of Human Rights, he would prefer to see all the rights included in one covenant. But when he faced the realities of the situation he realized that human rights probably would be moved forward more quickly by two covenants, one dealing with civil and political rights and one with social and economic rights.

At luncheon afterward I had a long argument with the delegate from Pakistan, who insisted it would be better not to have any covenant for 10 years if we were sure to have just one covenant in the long run. I am afraid I haven't got enough faith in human nature to believe that a covenant discussed over 10 years would hold the interest of the people and ever come to fruition. Perhaps in Pakistan and in India they have been patient for so long in their efforts for freedom that they think the interest of people can be kept constantly alive if the hearts and minds of the people are really stirred.

If we succeeded in drafting one covenant and this was accepted by a limited number of people, I doubt very much, however, if you would hear of it at all as a question that was constantly being discussed after the first year.

I went to what might be called a Canadian version of "Meet the Press" after lunch and we discussed, among other things, what should be the work of the next session of the Human Rights Commission. The correspondent from Egypt wanted to launch into the whole Moroccan question, but I thought that would take more time than was at our disposal.

He did make the statement, however, that in the United Nations we discussed the shortcomings of the Eastern Europeans and our own shortcomings but not the flagrant violations of human rights in colonial and nonself-governing territories in Africa, and elsewhere. I told him that I thought it was in those areas where a good many people were conscious of shortcomings in the freedoms of human beings that you were bound to hear more murmurs of dissatisfaction.

Since Western Europe is conscious of the rights of human beings, that is why Eastern Europe has often been criticized. In the United States many of us are very conscious of the shortcomings in our own country and we point them out very often, but there is no one to do that in some of the areas of the world which he mentioned.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 12, 1951

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.