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General Assembly, 6th session : 3rd Committee, 372nd meeting

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/SR.372
Convention International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Document Type Summary Record
Session 6th
Type Document

4 p.

Subjects Civil and Political Rights

Extracted Text

United Nations GENERAL ASSEMBLY SIXTH SESSION Official Records THIRD COMMITTEE 372nd MEETING Friday, 21 December 1951, at 10.30 a.m. Palais de Chaillot, Paris CONTENTS Page Draft international covenant on human rights and measures of implementation (A/1883, A/1884 (chapter V, section I), E/1992, E/2057 and Add.1 to 5, E/2059 and Add.1 to 8, E/2085 and Add.1, A/C.3/559, A/C.3/L.88, A/C.3/L.180, A/C.3/L.182, A/C.3/L.186 and Add.1, A/C.3/L.189, A/C.3/L.191/Rev.1) (continued) 147 Chairman : Mrs. Ana FIGUEROA (Chile). Draft international covenant on human rights and measures of implementation (A/1883, A/1884 (chapter V, section I), E/1992, E/2057 and Add.1 to 5, E/2059 and Add.1 to 8, E/2085 and Add.1, A/C.3/559, A/C.3/L.88, A/C.3/L.180, A/C.3/ L.182, A/C.3/L.186 and Add.1, A/C.3/L.189, A/C.3/L.191/Rev.1) (continued) [Item 29]* GENERAL DEBATE (concluded) 1. Mr. DEDIJER (Yugoslavia) said he felt obliged to reply to the allegations made against his country by the representative of Czechoslovakia (366th meeting). In speaking (365th meeting) on the necessity of including an article on the right of self-determination, he had not intended to criticize any specific State. He had referred to instances of the necessity of such an article in respect of countries in all parts of the world, and no other delegation had objected to his statements. 2. The Czechoslovak representative had attacked his general statements on violations of that right by the USSR, and in doing so had taken advantage of the fact that he (Mr. Dedijer) had not cited any specific cases ; he proposed therefore to quote them. 3. He recalled that a decree had been adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republics (RSFSR) in June 1946 to abolish the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and transform the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic into the Crimean Region, because the populations of those republics had not wished any action to be taken against Chechens, Ingushes and Crimean Tatars who had sided with the Germans during the Second World War. As a result of that expression of opinion by predominantly loyal populations, whole races had been deported and had disappeared completely. Indicates the item number on the General Assembly agenda. It could not be argued that the obvious hostility to the Soviet system among those populations sprang from their opposition to socialism, since they had fought valiantly for the Bolsheviks during the 1917 revolution. 4. The legal aspect of that action by the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR was particularly disquieting, since the actual deportation of the populations concerned had taken place in June 1945, and the official record of the meeting at which the decree was passed showed that no debate whatsoever had been held on the matter. That showed how a constitution could be altered by an unconstitutional ex post facto decision. 5. The most recent edition of the Constitution of the USSR contained no reference to the Kalmyk Autonomous SSR, the Volga German Autonomous SSR or the Karachai Autonomous Region. Those names had been omitted, without any official explanation. Measures had been taken by the Czarist government to eliminate the group of Germans on the Volga during the First World War, but the Volga German Republic had been set up by Lenin in 1924. The representative of Yugoslavia also mentioned the case of the Tuva People's Republic, which had existed as an independent State outside the borders of the USSR until 1944, when it was incorporated as an autonomous region. 6. In reply to the Czechoslovak representative's challenge of his statement that national rights were not equal even among long-standing republics of the Soviet Union, he quoted figures to show that in the Supreme Soviets of the Byelorussian, Kirghiz and Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republics, Russian representatives tended to predominate. The Ukrainian representative had said (367th meeting) that 67.9 per cent of the Ukrainian SSR's budget had been devoted to social purposes, but had omitted to mention what proportion of the federal budget was spent on other purposes in that country: the industries controlled by the Central Government— which were listed in article 77 of the Constitution of 147 A/C.3/SR.372 148 General Assembly—Sixth Session—Third Committee the USSR—met practically every need that was not social or cultural. 7. Although article 60 of its Constitution purported to empower the Ukrainian SSR to make decisions on its international relations, it was doubtful whether such a right existed in practice ; perhaps the Ukrainian representative could say how many embassies and legations his country maintained abroad and how many foreign embassies and legations were accredited to Kiev. 8. He resented the Czechoslovak representative's insinuations that Yugoslavia had lost its independence. His country had struggled for years for its political integrity and had achieved it at a great cost. The leaders of the Yugoslav people had remained in their country throughout its terrible trials during the Second World War, unlike the leaders of certain other countries, who had remained far behind the front lines. The USSR was making excuses for the passive attitude of the Czechoslovak people on the grounds of lack of leadership, but only the USSR was to blame for that attitude because it kept the Czechoslovak leaders in the Soviet Union. 9. Yugoslavia had a long frontier on which its enemies were massing well-equipped forces. Against those threats, however, it had the strongest defence of all, that of the unity of a free people. 10. The full texts of the "Cominform" resolution of 28 June 1948 and of the letter of 27 March 1948 from Generalissimo Stalin and Mr. Molotov had been published throughout Yugoslavia together with the Yugoslav Government's replies but the replies had not been published in Czechoslovakia or in any other Eastern European country. It was obvious that those countries feared the power of truth and objected to the stand taken by Yugoslavia because it represented the conscience that they had lost. 11. Mr. YU TSUNE-CHI (China), exercising his right of reply under rule 114 of the rules of procedure, said he regarded himself fully as legal a representative at United Nations deliberations as any other. The allegations of the Soviet Union and other delegations to the contrary were slanderous and childish outbursts, the impropriety of which was matched only by the illegality of the deeds committed by the governments which those delegations represented. The USSR representative had described the Chinese representatives as émigrés presumably a variation on the overworked expression "Kuomintang clique" ; but surely the term ought more aptly to apply to the USSR delegation itself, which, by its tendency to walk out of meetings and to return to them as and when it thought fit, showed migratory propensities far more marked than those possessed by his own delegation. He hoped that the Chairman would rule all such abusive statements and allegations out of order. 12. Referring to the statements made by the representative of the Soviet Union on the subject of the traffic in persons and in opium, statements which he considered slanderous, he said a study of paragraph 721 of the Economic and Social Council's report (A/1884) showed that the opium trade, at all events, which had been prohibited by the Chinese Government in 1934, was flourishing in communist-dominated China and not in free China. 13. He also considered slanderous the charge that, in his general statement (369th meeting), he had singled out the United States representative in his protest concerning the violation of human rights in China. The record showed that he had in fact very properly appealed to all United Nations delegations, and only war-mongers could possibly have objected to it. 14. Mr. ULLRICH (Czechoslovakia), also exercising the right of reply, recalled that, in the course of his general statement (366th meeting), the Czechoslovak representative had stated that the armaments race was leading to the violation of human rights in those countries responsible for it. The whole subsequent discussion had proved the correctness of that statement. 15. The Yugoslav representative was apparently at great pains to destroy the impression created by an article in the November 1951 number of the Reader's Digest, in which it was stated that Marshal Tito, having sold his country to United States monopolistic interests, was the most hated individual in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav representative had addressed the Czechoslovak delegation in terms which were inconsistent with the dignity of the United Nations ; that attitude was evidence of the Yugoslav Government's part in the United States' warlike designs. 16. Mr. Ullrich also wished to correct one or two points. In actual fact, a number of Czechoslovak leaders had spent the war in Czechoslovakia, including the Prime Minister Mr. Zapotocky, who had passed six years in a concentration camp, and the ministers Siroky and Cepicka, who had been imprisoned. 17. With reference to the Greek representative's statement (369th meeting), he said the Czechoslovak Government and people respected the great democratic traditions of Greece and regretted that many of the heroes of the struggle against nazism and fascism were suffering persecution by the Greek Government, in flagrant violation of human rights. 18. He would not dwell on the remarks of the speaker who had immediately preceded him, who, as a member of the Kuomintang clique, had spoken only as a private individual with no standing in the Third Committee. 19. Mr. YU TSUNE-CHI (China), speaking on a point of order, appealed to the Chairman to repeat a previous ruling upheld by the President of the Trusteeship Council and to give instructions that representatives should be properly addressed. 20. The CHAIRMAN requested speakers to refer to government representatives in the correct and prescribed form. 21. Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) wished to reply to the statements which certain representatives had made concerning the Soviet Union. 372nd Meeting — 21 December 1951 149 22. With respect to the United States representative's statements (360th, 364th and 371st meetings), he regretted at the outset that that representative had felt herself obliged to make use of the old and discredited term "iron curtain". Not only had that term been invented by Goebbels a fact which should in itself have been sufficient to make it suspect—but the conditions on which foreigners were admitted to the Soviet Union were such as decisively to refute any suggestion of the existence of a barrier shutting the country off from the rest of the world. In the single month of April 1951 foreign delegations visiting the USSR had included delegations of East German youth, the International Union of Students, English teachers, Italian artists, Italian university workers, members of the Finland-USSR Society, Swedish physical culture workers, German women, members of Danish youth organizations and English and American workers. 23. In July 1951 an important United States trade-union delegation including members of the United Automobile Workers and of the Leather, Fur and Leather Products Workers Trade Unions International had visited the Soviet Union. The delegation had travelled some five thousand miles in the Soviet Union, had visited a number of cities, inspected factories, workshops and plants, toured collective and State farms, and paid visits to theatres, cinemas, churches, shops and other institutions. The delegation had had the opportunity of speaking personally with thousands of Soviet workers and on returning to the United States had reported that the Soviet workers, who, like the common people everywhere, longed for peace, were well-fed and enjoyed social care throughout life. The only difficulties which the delegation had encountered had been those which certain of its members had experienced in obtaining permission to leave the United States of America for the purpose of the visit. 24. Lest a trade-union delegation's views should be discounted on the grounds that its members might be naturally prejudiced in favour of the Soviet Union, he would refer to a recent visit paid by Mr. John Smith, an English banker, to the Soviet Union, in the course of which Mr. Smith had, according to his own statement, been allowed entire liberty to act and proceed as he pleased. 25. In view of all those facts he would have thought it impossible for the legend of the "iron curtain" to subsist or for anyone to allege that nothing was known of what happened inside the Soviet Union. 26. Replying to the Yugoslav representative, he observed that the right of secession was guaranteed to all the sixteen republics of the Soviet Union by the USSR Constitution ; it was a cardinal feature of the more general fight of self-determination. The right could obviously not, however, be extended to factions which had betrayed their country. During the Second World War, the Volga German communities had been found to be honeycombed with fascist cells ; the fifth column had to be destroyed by the transfer of the population in the interests of the country as a whole. Otherwise, the Allies might not have won the war and the United Nations would not have come into existence. Of course the Supreme Soviet had unanimously endorsed the transfer ; that had been the expression of the entire Russian people's repudiation of traitors. The strength of the regime in the USSR had been proved in the Second World War and afterwards ; it was a government of the people by the people for the people, streng-thened by the close co-operation of the peoples comprising the country. The Yugoslav representative's reference to the membership of the Supreme Soviets merely showed the prestige and affection enjoyed by the Russians throughout the Soviet Union. It was not for a Yugoslav representative to decide whether the Byelo-russian SSR or the Ukrainian SSR should open legations abroad ; it was for the people of those Republics themselves to decide. Both those Republics had in fact permanent delegations to the United Nations. 27. The memory of the Yugoslav partisans was as sacred to the USSR as to the Yugoslav people ; the latter would undoubtedly demand a reckoning from their current rulers, who had permitted their country to become a base for those who were preparing for a third world war. 28. The Belgian representative appeared (371st meeting) to have misunderstood the quotations he had cited (370th meeting) from Generalissimo Stalin's work on the national question. He had confused the right of self-determination with that of secession. True, the right of secession was inherent in the right of self-deter-mination, but the circumstances and manner in which it could be exercised depended on a number of historical factors. The right of self-determination should certainly be included in the draft covenant; but it would be premature to try to define in detail how and when it might be carried into effect. 29. The statement by the gentleman from Formosa could be dismissed as it merited; it had been merely one more proof that the only recourse for those deprived of their people's confidence was to call for intervention against the Soviet Union. 30. Too much time was being wasted in fruitless recrimination. The Third Committee should pass on from the general debate to the discussion of the specific proposals submitted. He himself would have more to say with regard to the draft resolutions and amendments before the Committee. 31. Mr. DEMCHENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) endorsed the remarks of the representatives of Czechoslovakia and the USSR. 32. In further reply to the United States representative, he observed that the five delegations she had criticized had cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—which they had always regarded as too restricted—only because the United States delegation seemed to be departing from the principles laid down therein in its new approach to the draft covenant. The United States representative had incorrectly accused (371st meeting) the delegations in question of misconstruing the position of Negroes in the United States of America and had stated that any discrimination to which they might be subject was merely the work of 150 General Assembly—Sixth Session—Third Committee small irresponsible groups. Yet, the annual report of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People clearly showed that discriminatory legislation existed in a great many states. 33. The USSR representative had shown that many delegations freely entered and travelled in the USSR; the United States representative had failed to mention that when delegations went to her country, they were treated like common criminals, their freedom of movement was restricted and they were obliged to leave as soon as possible. 34. Replying to the Yugoslav representative, he said he was surprised to hear attacks made on the USSR by a delegation which only three years previously had, in the General Assembly, expressed its gratitude to that country for its great assistance in the liberation of Yugoslavia from the German occupation. The Yugoslav people still felt that gratitude, even if. its rulers had found it convenient to forget it. 35. The great industries of the Ukrainian SSR had not been sold to foreign capitalists ; they were owned by the Soviet Union and operated for the benefit of all the people of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, it was wholly up to the Ukrainian people to decide whether they wished to appoint legations abroad or to receive a foreign diplomatic corps in their own capital. 36. Mr. DAVIN (New Zealand) said the USSR delegation and its supporters were deliberately abusing rule 114 of the rules of procedure for propaganda purposes. 37. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America) regretted that the representative of the USSR had spoken as though he felt that a third world war was inevitable; few delegations shared that view. The Leather, Fur and Leather Products Workers Trade Unions International, which that representative had mentioned as having visited the Soviet Union, had been accused of being under communist domination. 38. Mr. KUSOV (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) had hoped that the United States representative in availing herself of the right of reply would answer the statements that United States policy was leading to the refusal to extend human rights of all kinds to all peoples through the draft covenant; her silence might be interpreted as acquiescence in that accusation. The United States representative had claimed' (371st meeting) that her Government had spent vast sums to assist other countries, in particular the under-developed countries. The discussion in the Second Committee1 had elicited the fact that such assistance had not been wholly disinterested ; the milliard dollars so invested since the end of the Second World War had yielded a profit of one milliard four hundred million dollars. At the same time, the under-developed countries were being crippled by having to pay excessively high prices for imports whereas their exports to the United States of America had to be sold at low prices. 39. The Yugoslav representative had failed to appreciate the real relationship between the peoples of the Byelorussian SSR and of the RSFSR and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics itself. The Byelorussian SSR owed its entire development since the Russian Revolution and its rehabilitation since the devastation caused by the Second World War solely to the assistance of all the Soviet republics. That was a debt of gratitude which could be repaid only by the maintenance of the closest relations between the Byelorussian SSR and the other republics. 40. The replies made by some delegations under rule 114 of the rules of procedure had contributed little to the consideration of the draft covenant on human rights. The peoples of the world would eventually learn where respect for human rights was best enforced even if the United States Government did its utmost to prevent visitors to the Soviet Union from publishing their impressions of what they had seen and experienced there. 41. The CHAIRMAN stated that the time limit for the submission of draft resolutions should be set at 6 p.m. on 2 January 1952 and for substantive amendments at 2 p.m. on 5 January 1952. 42. She then recalled that in accordance with the decision taken at its 365th meeting the Third Committee would take up the question of refugees at its 373rd meeting on 2 January 1952. 43. She proposed that the Committee should take up items 30 (Refugees and stateless persons) and 31 (Problems of assistance to refugees) together. It was so agreed. The meeting rose at 1.30 p.m. 1 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixth Session, Second Committee, 163rd meeting. Printed in France SPI—93250—January 1952—3,600