GENEVA (Jul. 8)
The United States today challenged the Soviet Union, at the United Nations here to join an America-Soviet report about violations of human rights, both “the remaining vestiges” of racialism in the U.S.A. and documentation relating to the denial of religious and cultural rights to Jews in the USSR. The challenge–which the USSR ignored–was made before the Economic and Social Council of the UN by Washington’s chief delegate to ECCSOC, Ambassador Franklin H. Williams.
Ambassador Williams had opened today’s discussion of human rights by ECCSOC, by expressing regrets over “shocking violations of human rights by the apartheid policy in South Africa, the cultural deprivation suffered by the Jewish community in the USSR, and the remaining vestiges of racialism in the United States.” “These shocking violations,” he said, “still mark many areas in our world.”
He deplored “the fact that international concern with human rights has not stood at the center of all our activities.” He called on the United Nations “to coordinate the human rights activities of the United Nations family into a coherent whole, because without the recognition of human rights and respect for human dignity, we can have no peace.”
Ambassador G.C. Arkadyev, of the Soviet Union, delivered what he called a “reply” to Mr. Williams. Avoiding the issue of Jewish cultural deprivation in the USSR, he told the Council about research facilities given to Jewish scientists in the USSR, about school facilities offered to Jewish children there, and noted that Jewish children “attend school with other nationalities, and ride buses along side other children.” He contrasted those facts with “racial discrimination in the United States.”
Returning to the debate, Ambassador Williams noted that he had himself referred to remaining racialism in the United States. Then he issued his challenge to the Soviet delegation, He cited a documented report on anti-Jewish discriminations issued last May by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, which had noted that “the freedom of Jewish life in the Soviet Union to practice their cultural traditions is especially restricted.”
The report, said Mr. Williams, called upon the Soviet Union to accord “to the Jewish community the religious and cultural rights guaranteed to all religious and ethnic groups in the Soviet Union.” He requested the Soviet delegation to be a partner with the United States in the filing of a joint report to ECOSOC, embodying the situations in both the U.S.A and the USSR. Mr. Arkadyev did not answer, Ambassador Williams’ challenge to the USSR was judged to have made a deep impression upon most of the 18 members of the Council.