White House Conference Urges U.S. Senate to Ratify Genocide Pact
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White House Conference Urges U.S. Senate to Ratify Genocide Pact

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The White House Conference on International Cooperation today issued a final draft on human rights recommending that the United States ratify the human rights conventions, including the genocide pact, now pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In an address before the conference, Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, U. S. chief delegate to the United Nations. The report of the National Citizens’ Commission on Human rights, noted that “the Genocide Convention has been ratified by more than 60 nations” but not by the United States. The Convention was sent to the Senate in 1949. Neither the Republican nor Democratic Administrations have pressed for action on it.

The final draft said: “It is in the interest of the United States to have the standards embodied in the United Nations Convention on Human Rights adopted by as many countries around the world as possible. But it cannot exhort others to ratify these conventions, if it is not itself a party to them.” A shift in American attitude was demanded. “Should some other country violate the agreed standards, the United States would be entitled to complain in good faith about it only if the United States has itself accepted the obligations, said the final draft.

A number of committee members criticized the final draft on grounds that it claimed sweeping achievements on human rights in the United States but that action has been lacking on genocide ratification and in other areas. It was stressed that the United States must put its own house in order before it can lecture to other nations on human rights matters.


Rabbi Solomon Sharfman of the Synagogue Council of America, told the committee that the American people are not adequately informed or aroused on human rights problems, He referred to the situation of minorities in the Soviet Union and said more must be done to provide facts. The committee reported that “though the problem of European refugees is largely resolved, the refugee situation in Africa, Asia and the Middle East is constantly deteriorating. New efforts are needed to take care of the increasing numbers of refugees in those areas.”

Citing ratification by many European countries of human rights agreements, the report said that “despite close political, military and economic links to Europe, and a common tradition in the field of human rights, the United States has made no attempt to participate in this highly-advanced system of protection of fundamental freedoms or to extend it to the whole Atlantic community.”

The human rights committee was under the chairmanship of Prof. Louis B. Sohn of Harvard University, and included, among others, Jacob Blaustein, Jewish leader and former U. S. delegate to the U. N. General Assembly; Rabbi Philip Hiat, director of the Jewish Center for the United Nations, and Sidney Liskofsky, director of the U. N. division of the American Jewish Committee. Philip M. Klutznick, noted Jewish leader, served as moderator of a panel on technical cooperation and investment held by the conference. A number of other leading personages of Jewish faith took part in various aspects of the four-day gathering.

(In New York, Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, denounced tonight “the two faces of American policy” where on the one hand our government sponsors a White House Conference on International Cooperation and on the other hand continues the escalation of the war in Vietnam. He spoke at the 50th anniversary dinner of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a religious pacifist group founded in Garden City by a group of clergymen.)

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