322. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations 1

1818. 1968 Conference on Human Rights. Ref: CA 6715;2 USUN 2715.3

In discussions with DepAsstSec Sisco Jan 15 British Minister of State Thomson referred to Caradon’s strong advocacy of special conference proposed by Jamaica.4 There was strong resistance to special conference in Foreign Office on basis of costs and likelihood it would become involved in black-white problems such as West Indians in UK and negroes in US rather than broader concepts of need for respect for fundamental human rights.5

Sisco described US suggestion of GA Committee of Whole as set forth CA 6715. We were also continuing to seek some way to get UN involved in systematic world-wide program of human rights which would permit us to get away from straight racial problems. Thompson commented UK had been giving further consideration to idea of UN Commissioner for Human Rights. Sisco said we had also been studying this possibility.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SOC 14. Confidential. Drafted by Brown (IO/UNP), cleared by Buffum (UNP) and Nason (OES), and approved by J. Sisco. Also sent to London.
  2. Dated January 4. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated January 18. (Ibid.)
  4. In late December the Embassy in London reported that Caradon was under instructions from the Foreign Office to oppose the conference, but that the Foreign Office was not certain that he would do so. The Embassy commented: “This probably not last time Foreign Office will have problems as result of appointment UN representative someone with prestige, experience and stubbornness of Lord Caradon. This particularly true during shakedown period Labor Government and preoccupation FonSec on by-election hustings.” (Telegram 3012 from London, December 31; ibid.)
  5. USUN reported that, “Following US presentation Grondin [Canada] expressed view Afro-Asians might want ‘whites’ to attend seminars in order ‘to get at us.’ We agreed regional seminars might be abused politically but thought this could be controlled.” (Telegram 2659 from USUN, January 14; ibid.)