IO files, lot 71 D 440, US/A/M(SR) series

Minutes of the Eleventh Meeting of the United States Delegation to the Ninth Regular Session of the General Assembly, New York, October 13, 1954, 9:45 a.m.



[Here follows discussion of the disarmament question.]

human rights covenants

Mr. Green then next reviewed the Draft International Covenants on Human Rights pointing out that while the US announced in 1953 that it will not sign the Covenants, it is continuing to assist in the drafting. He further commented that the US program for specific action in the field of Human Rights had not yet been acted upon by the Human Rights Commission. In concluding, he stated that the US did not favor having either Committee 3 or the Human Rights Commission concentrate on the final drafting of the Covenants to the exclusion of other matters nor do we favor convening a special plenipotentiary conference for this purpose.1

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In answer to Senator Smith’s question as to why the US continues to assist in the drafting of Covenants which we will not sign, Mrs. Lord stated that US interest could be served by this procedure as we have some influence in toning down excessive demands by some of the less responsible States and also have the opportunity of getting the US viewpoint on Human Rights questions better understood by other governments.

Mr. Hotchkis indicated his support of continued US participation in the drafting of the Covenants insofar as economic rights are concerned as we could better defend US interests and continue to call attention to the fact that while the Soviets vote for political, economic and social rights, they do not grant such rights to their own citizens.

In answer to a question, Senator Smith confirmed his belief that the US Senate would not ratify the Covenants but expressed his support of continued US participation in the drafting of both Covenants. The meeting adjourned at 10:22 A.M.

  1. The position papers drafted for the instruction of the U.S. delegations to the Eighth Regular Session of the General Assembly in 1953 and the Ninth Regular Session of the General Assembly in 1954, Doc. SD/A/C.3/169/Rev. 1, Sept. 8, 1953, and Doc. SD/A/C.3/181, Sept. 2, 1954, respectively, neither printed, are useful in their recital of the highlights in respect of the progress (or lack of it) of the human rights action program and the formulation of the draft Covenants (IO files).

    Regarding the action program, Mrs. Lord, the United States Representative, in reporting to the Secretary of State on the 10th Session of the Commission on Human Rights, held in New York from Feb. 23–Apr. 16, 1954 said: “The Commission devoted its first five weeks to the completion of the two draft covenants on Human Rights. With the conclusion of this work, which has taken most of the past six sessions of the Commission, the Commission will in the future be able to turn its attention to other activities. Our delegation took a secondary role in these debates.… The last forty minutes of the seven and a half weeks of substantive debate were devoted to the United States’ proposals for an action program.… We will need another year of diplomatic consultations in order to persuade other governments, especially those of the British Commonwealth and Western Europe, to go along with us and to arrange with some governments to co-sponsor our proposals. There is also need for more thorough consideration within our own Government of the implications of our proposal to study individual rights.…” (Letter, Mrs. Lord to Secretary of State Dulles, May 5, 1954, file 340.1 AG/5–554)