51. Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts1

124544. From Deputy Secretary for the Ambassador. Subject: Priority Attention to Human Rights.

1. In his speech at Notre Dame, the President reaffirmed that our commitment to human rights is “a fundamental tenet of our foreign policy.”2 To insure that the priority which the President and the Secretary place on human rights is fully reflected at your post, I request that you continue to give human rights matters your personal attention and you direct the Embassy’s work on human rights. Your personal involvement will insure that appropriate attention is given (a) to analysis and reporting on human rights practices; (b) to compliance with new and existing legislative provisions, particularly those bearing on our foreign assistance program; and, (c) in countries that share our respect for human rights, to encouraging international cooperation to protect and promote basic rights.

2. To support your efforts, basic documents in this field will be pouched to you shortly. A follow-up cable will contain general guidance on our agenda for action on human rights and request specific post contributions to our overall action program.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Box 13, Human Rights—Action Plans. Confidential. Drafted by Lamb, Oxman, and Schneider; cleared in S/S–O and in substance by Derian; approved by Christopher.
  2. Reference is to the President’s May 22 commencement address to graduates of the University of Notre Dame, printed in Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pp. 954–962; and scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy.