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

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PARIS, Thursday .—I have come to the conclusion that one of the signs of maturity is to be able to overlook remarks that may or may not be intended as slurs against individuals or countries. In a very good speech made before us here last week there were some rather unfortunate remarks in which the speaker suggested that those among us who tried to preach to others should be sure that we were well qualified to do so. I doubt if any of us is well qualified to make suggestions to each other or to criticize each other.

One remark made the following morning among the many speeches that answered that of the previous day was equally applicable to us all. It would be far more profitable if we acknowledged our own shortcomings, said the speaker, and were humble about them before we talked about our hopes. He did not suggest that our particular way of life had much to offer to others and we simply waited for them to ask for such things as they felt they could profitably use from any one of us.

I was amused when our Chilean colleague said that technical assistance should be granted to such nations as could prove that they were advancing the cause of human rights. I wonder if every nation would not claim that what they are doing with aid of technical assistance is aiding the cause of human rights. Who is to be judge—that nation making the claim or some outsider?

I find a few people in France who blame us for not having forced a rise in the standard of living here by tying strings to what money we give. Yet, I cannot make myself believe that in the long run it brings about amity among nations for one sovereign nation to suggest to another that its particular standard of living is better and therefore should be adopted by all.

There was a resolution presented by a number of states that would write an article for the future Covenant on Human Rights that seems repetitive to me.

The principle of this article is already in the Charter because the Charter states in Article 1 (The purposes of the United Nations are) "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace."

Whether such an article should be in the Declaration or in a general resolution is a question that I think may well be considered. But that we are committed to the principle is unquestionable.

There are, however, questions that arise as to the timing of them, for instance, and the preparation of peoples for self-determination cannot be dealt with summarily and may give rise to considerable argument in the future unless the wording of this article or resolution is very carefully thought out.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 14, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.