334. Editorial Note

On August 1, 1968, President Johnson submitted the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees to the Senate for ratification. This protocol was the eighth convention on human rights submitted to the Senate since the founding of the United Nations. Hearings were held on the Genocide Convention (1950); the Convention on Employment Policy [Page 586](1966); and the Supplementary Convention on Slavery, the Forced Labor Convention, and the U.N. Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1967). No hearings had ever been held on the Inter-American Convention on the Political Rights of Women and the Convention on Freedom of Association. Of these, only the Slavery Convention had been ratified in 1967. (Press release of the President’s Commission for the Observance of Human Rights Year 1968, August 9; Johnson Library, National Security File, Office Files of White House Aides, Ernest Goldstein, Human Rights—2, Box 8)

The President urged the Senate to ratify the convention on refugees, which prohibited expulsion or return of refugees to any country in which they would face persecution, arguing that it was in the interest of the United States to do so: “Given the American heritage of concern for the homeless and persecuted, and our traditional role of leadership in promoting assistance for refugees, accession by the United States to the Protocol would lend conspicuous support to the effort of the United Nations toward attaining the Protocol’s objectives everywhere.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968–69, Book II, pages 868–869)

The following week the President’s Commission for the Observance of Human Rights Year 1968 released a resolution publicly supporting the President’s position and urging passage of all of the outstanding treaties: “It is generally recognized that peace is related to progress and ultimately depends on the quality of life of the people governed. The quality of that life depends on the interest and willingness and capacity of each country to assure and to respect human rights… . These human rights conventions are an expression of principles that have guided our own citizens in the development of a progressive and enlightened government… . The United States Senate should move forward on international human rights conventions, just as the Congress has moved forward on human rights legislation at home.” (Resolution of the President’s Commission, August 9; Johnson Library, National Security File, Office Files of White House Aides, Ernest Goldstein, Human Rights—2) On October 1 the Senate ratified the convention with reservations and it entered into force on November 1, 1968.