San Francisco (Apr. 26)
With the United Nations Security Conference in full swing, leaders of Jewish organizations who are acting as consultants to the American delegation were trying today to obtain a clear Picture as to the Possibilities of securing an international bill of rights, in which Jews are vitally interested as a means of preventing anti-Jewish activities in the post-war world.
Many obstacles lie in the way of adoption of an international bill of rights by the conference, and the Jewish leaders are well aware of them. The delegation of the American Jewish Committee, which is the father of the international bill of rights idea, is, therefore, concentrating on overcoming all possible difficulties. The representatives of the American Jewish Conference, too, are determined to do their utmost here to promote the bill of rights proposal.
As the question of the international bill of rights comes more and more to the foreground, interested circles here are beginning to discover a difference between the proposal for such a bill advanced by the American Jewish Committee and the proposal formulated by the American Jewish Conference. The latter is considered to loan toward a more nationalistic concept than the former. However, both proposals, as well as similar proposals coming from non-Jewish civic groups, face the following dangers:
RUSSIA, BRITAIN AND U. S. BELIEVED RELUCTANT TO SUPPORT PROPOSAL
1. The Soviet delegation, which is very suspicious of any proposal which might eventually load to interference with internal Soviet affairs, is likely to take a very cool attitude to the proposals for the adoption of an international bill of rights on the ground that in a country like the USSR, where there are numerous nationalities, it would be easy for anti-Soviet elements to provoke cases which could be considered violations of the international bill of rights, thus justifying outside intervention.
2. A similar attitude may be taken by the British delegation since irredentists in India and other British-controlled territories might be enabled under the international bill of rights to cause serious international embarrassment for Britain.
3. The American delegation, though, in principle, behind an international bill of rights, may be split on adoption of such a bill by the present conference, in view of the fact that there is a marked division in the ranks of the delegation, as well as in the State Department, with regard to immediate objectives of the conference. Some want the conference to limit itself to erocting the structure of an international organization and to leave all other decisions and pronouncements to the various sections of this organization, while others would like to see basic decisions made by the conference as such.
Leaders of the American Jewish groups, realizing all these difficulties, will nevertheless press for the idea of an international bill of rights and will not be content with anything less than the ostablishment by the conference of a Commission on Human Rights, Such a commission, placed within the Committee on Economic and Social Cooperation – which is one of the major committees of the conference, could best study the possibilities for the adoption of an international bill of rights satisfactory to all and could take the necessary steps to have this bill adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations which will emerge from the present parley.
JEWISH LEADERS WANT CONFERENCE TO ISSUE GENERAL STATEMENT ON BILL
It is the definite belief of the Jewish leaders here that a general statement by the conference approving the idea of an international bill of rights would greatly strengthen the hand of the Commission on Human Rights, and they are pressing for such a statement.
Some of the Jewish leaders believe that while the conference can only lay the foundation for the adoption of a universal bill of rights, such a bill can be easily adopted by members of the United Nations on a regional basis. They point to the fact that the recent conference of Latin-American countries in Mexico went on a record in fever of such a bill. They also emphasize that while in some sections of the globe the adoption of an international bill of rights can stand postponement, that is not the case in liberated European countries where the Nazis filled the minds of the local population with anti-Jewish propaganda, and especially in countries like Germany, Hungary and Rumania which were anti-Semitic even before the outbreak of the war.
An effective curb on anti-Semitism in these countries is an essential part of post-war security and there are no two opinions among the members of the security conference as to this.