74. Letter From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to Representative Donald Fraser 1

Dear Don:

Between his return from the Mideast and his departure for China,2 Cy asked me to give you an informal status report on some of the issues raised in the two very helpful memoranda you provided during your discussion with him in June.3 We hope you will continue to keep us apprised of your views and suggestions.

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Your memoranda were sent around to the bureaus for study. We have already made progress in some of the areas you mention. Patt Derian’s shop has taken on more personnel, and we now have full-time human rights officers in each of the geographic bureaus as well as near full-time human rights officers in each of the functional bureaus. As you know, we are moving ahead on our policies within the international financial institutions. We are also studying various approaches for gaining support within the banks for taking human rights concerns into account when loans are in the planning stages.

Embassy officers are now attending political trials, and we are looking into this to see if we can establish a common procedure worldwide. Human rights reporting on a worldwide basis is a question which has received much thought, and of course under the new AID reporting requirements, our list of human rights report countries is very comprehensive. Whether reports on the remaining countries would serve a useful purpose is a question which you might wish to discuss in greater depth with Patt. We like the idea of a worldwide legal defense and aid program. Patt is looking into this question and your suggestions of establishing a U.S. commission to support private-sector human rights programs.4

With respect to the issues you raised concerning particular countries and regions, Cy has asked Patt to have her staff brief your staff on developments. Let me say that we have the problems you discussed very much in mind and that they are receiving continuing attention. In general, I think we are making progress in building legitimacy for the human rights issue and for the idea that a nation is not truly strong unless it protects the welfare of its citizens in all fields.

We look forward to hearing from you again. The pursuit of a successful human rights policy is not easy, and we appreciate all the assistance that is offered.


Warren Christopher 5

I thought you might be interested in the speech I gave last week in Chicago at the ABA Convention concerning the implementation of our human rights policy. A copy is enclosed.6

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Box 16, Human Rights—Don Fraser. No classification marking.
  2. Vance visited the Middle East, July 31–August 11, meeting with governmental officials in Egypt (August 1–3); Lebanon (August 3); Syria (August 3–5); Jordan (August 5–7); Saudi Arabia (August 7–9); Israel (August 9–11); and Jordan, Syria, and Egypt (August 11). Vance also visited London from August 11 through 13. For the text of Vance’s news conferences and remarks and an August 14 statement issued by the White House, see Department of State Bulletin, September 12, 1977, pp. 329–355. Vance also met with Chinese officials August 20–26; Christopher served as acting Secretary in his absence.
  3. See Document 56 and footnote 1 thereto.
  4. See Document 59.
  5. Christopher signed “Warren” above his typed signature.
  6. Not attached. Christopher addressed the American Bar Association in Chicago, Illinois, on August 9. For the complete text of his remarks, see Department of State Bulletin, August 29, 1977, pp. 269–273.