328. Editorial Note

During the long planning for the International Conference on Human Rights scheduled for April 1968 in Tehran, the United States and other developed nations raised budgetary issues and expressed unease with the direction the conference might take. In a meeting on May 6, 1966, Jamaican Ambassador Richardson “expressed concern about alleged foot-dragging of West, and assumed West feared review of progress at HR Conf. degenerate into political debate. Recognized risk was involved for West and suggested best way meet problem would be for West to take initiative and present new ideas. Indicated he personally did not want conf. concentrate on race and colonialism.” (Telegram 4802 from USUN, May 6; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SOC 14–3)

USUN reported on May 25 on the “intensive” consultations on a draft agenda for the conference and its attempt to widen the scope of the agenda to avoid focusing on the politically sensitive issues of racism [Page 575] and colonialism: “We expressed unhappiness at negotiated text, particularly regarding balance and terms… . Result of our discussions on May 25 was agreement to withhold submission of text drafted May 24 … and to engage in further consultations May 26 with West present. We plan resist USSR language such as ‘total and immediate’ elimination of racial discrimination, and ‘liquidation of colonialism.’ However, we believe some form of these topics virtually certain to stay in draft agenda under item on future program. We plan try to expand it to cover matters of importance to West, such as freedom of speech and association and freedom of religion.” (Telegram 5027 from USUN, May 25; ibid.)

On April 19, 1968, the White House announced the appointment of a delegation to attend the conference, which would begin on April 22. Chairman of the U.S. delegation was Roy Wilkins, Executive Director of the NAACP, and the Alternative Chairman was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Affairs David H. Popper. Other senior members of the delegation included Morris B. Abram, U.S. Representative to the ECOSOC Commission on Human Rights; and Bruno Bitker, member of the President’s Commission for the Observance of Human Rights Year. (White House press release, April 19; Johnson Library, National Security File, Office Files of White House Aides, Ernest Goldstein, Human Rights)