251. Memorandum From the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (Wilson) to the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance (Maw)1 2


  • Talking Points on Human Rights for Your April 24 Luncheon

You asked for some talking points on the Department’s plans for handling of human rights matters for inclusion in your response to Len Meeker’s remarks at the American Society of International Law luncheon on April 24. (I have also been invited to attend—but not to be heard.)

The first points to be made are substantive. You should be prepared to underscore the fact that the Department takes most seriously the entire question of the protection of human rights in foreign affairs.

You will probably wish to draw on the Secretary’s remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his Pacem in Terris speech and pronouncements of Mr. Ingersoll. Excerpts are attached.
You will wish to take special note of the careful attention we are giving the views of Congress—both the views of individual members and those reflected in recent legislation. In particular, Section 32 of the 1973 FAA and Section 502B added to the basic FAA legislation by the 1974 act are being given gravest consideration. With regard to Section 502B, a special effort is currently underway in the Department to review the human rights situation in every country receiving the types of US assistance enumerated [Page 2] therein. This should serve to bring this important facet of our relations with each country into clear focus as decisions are made regarding the levels of US assistance.
Similarly, recent human rights reports on all countries where we have posts are being reviewed so that recommendations may be made to the Deputy Secretary for policies or actions designed for the further promotion of human rights.

You may then wish to explain the following organizational changes made over the past months within the Department to insure that proper attention is placed on human rights matters in the decision making process and in the development of foreign policies and programs.

The appointment of an assistant legal adviser for human rights in L to devote full time attention to the legal questions involved.
The fact that the status of human rights in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs has recently been raised by the elevation of the principal officer to Deputy Office Director.
The designation of human rights officers in each of the five geographic bureaus and PM, S/P and H.
Most recently the appointment of a new special assistant to the Deputy Secretary to be called the “Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs”.

The duties of the new Coordinator will run through a full spectrum of humanitarian interests. He will be responsible to the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary for the following:

He will take over direct supervision of [Page 3] the activities performed by the Office of Refugee and Migration Affairs, which includes asylum matters as well (S/R and ORM).
He will also take over the supervision of the office handling prisoner of war and missing in action problems (D/PW).
Most significantly, he will serve as coordinator of policies on human rights throughout the Department, advising the Bureaus and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs on all aspects of these problems. He will similarly advise the Under Secretary for Security Assistance on the human rights aspects of the various security programs and insure the development and guidance to other Departments and Agencies dealing with humanitarian programs, including AID.
He will also act as a central point of contact within the Department on humanitarian matters with concerned Members of the Congress, private organizations, public interest groups and interested individuals.

All of the foregoing organizational developments represent a major series of steps taken by the Department in the interest of placing a new emphasis on the role human rights play and will continue to play in the development and operation of our foreign policies and programs.

  1. Source: Ford Library, James M. Wilson Papers, Box 1, Human Rights—General, 1975–77. Unclassified. Concurred in by Runyon. The attachment, not published, cited excerpts from several speeches on human rights delivered by Kissinger and Ingersoll.
  2. Wilson suggested talking points on U.S. human rights policy for Maw’s upcoming presentation to the American Society for International Law