CFM Files

Memorandum by Mr. Samuel Reber, Political Adviser, United States Delegation

Memorandum for the Secretary

As you will recall, representatives of the American Jewish Conference, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and the World Jewish Congress, speaking on behalf of the Jewish committees in Great Britain and the United States, have asked that an opportunity be afforded them to state their views to the Conference. As I understand it, they were informed that they were free to submit any specific proposals which they might have to the Secretary General of the Conference to be brought to the attention of the states members.27

Representatives of these groups called on me yesterday to endeavor in addition to enlist the support of the United States Delegation either in presenting their proposals or in supporting them. As they relate almost in their entirety to already agreed Articles such as the Human Rights, Non-Discriminatory Legislation provisions and certain of the economic clauses in the Hungarian and Rumanian treaties, they were informed that the United States Delegation was committed to support previously agreed texts and could not take the initiative in making any suggestions for their alteration nor could the United States Delegation commit itself to giving support to any such amendments if offered by another Delegation.

In brief, their proposed alterations of the Rumanian and Hungarian treaties amount to the creation of a special status for Jews residing in these countries, the establishment of a special machinery to supervise and enforce the execution of these provisions, and restoration of all property to individuals of Jewish origin.

As you are aware, we have favored a different approach to the problem of minorities whether religious, ethnic or political. It is our contention that the human rights clause in these treaties provides protection for all minorities from the point of view of guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and non-discrimination. The insertion of these general clauses in the treaties makes them a part of international law and provides the forum of the United Nations organization, particularly [Page 839] the Economic and Social Council, for any discussion whether these guarantees are being fulfilled or violated. In our opinion our present Articles are so broad and their principles so general that we should hesitate to see additional clauses specified for particular minorities. Such an insertion would seem to imply that the assurances given minorities in general will not be adequate. Something along the foregoing lines might also be said at a Plenary Session or in Commissions should the question be raised by any Delegation.

Furthermore, if proposals are accepted on behalf of any one group they will inevitably lead to the presentation of demands by other special groups and to an unending discussion of whose particular needs are greater.

  1. The Jewish organizations sent Secretary Byrnes a copy of their letter to the Chairman of the Commission on Procedure, dated August 6. This letter expressed concern that the rules of procedure being considered contained no provision concerning communications to the Conference from non-governmental organizations. Byrnes replied on August 8 that the United States Delegation was confident that such communications would be made known to the Conference by the Secretary General. (CFM Files)

    The Jewish organizations subsequently submitted memoranda on the draft peace treaties with Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, none of which is printed. (CFM Files)