NEW YORK (Feb. 17)
Arthur J. Goldberg, former Supreme Court Justice and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has been named Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Human Rights and Genocide Treaties, it was announced today by Hershel Halbert, retiring Chairman, and Betty Kaye Taylor, Executive Secretary of the Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee, formed in 1964, combines 52 national religious groups of various denominations, together with labor, civic and veterans organizations, in a coalition designed to persuade the United States to ratify the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and other human rights conventions that seek to implement the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights. “Failure to ratify these conventions, which so clearly accord with our commitment to the Charter of the U.N., has been a continuing source of embarrassment and an impediment in our foreign policy,” Goldberg stated.
Continuing, Goldberg observed, “These are very important agreements, to which our country should adhere in its own interests as a world leader in human rights. Constitutional objections originally proposed by opponents to ratification in the United States have long since been proved unfounded.” A major step toward U.S. ratification of the Genocide Convention was taken by President Nixon in February 1970 when in a special message to the Senate, he endorsed the recommendations of Secretary of State Rogers and Attorney General Mitchell, and called for Senate consent. In November 1970, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10 to 2 to recommend ratification. However, with the changes in Senate membership resulting from last year’s elections, the Foreign Relations Committee must now reconsider its action. The treaty, drafted with the active cooperation of the United States delegation to the United Nations, accepted unanimously by the General Assembly in 1948, and adopted by 75 nations to date.