Summary record of the 136th meeting
|UN Document Symbol||E/CN.4/SR.136|
|Convention||International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Civil and Political Rights|
AND 3 April 1950
SOCIAL COUNCIL ORIGINAL; FRENCH
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Sixth Session SUMMARY RECORD OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SIXTH MEETING
Held at Lake Success, New York on Monday, 27 March 1950, at 11 a.m.
Draft resolution submitted by the USSR concerning the representation of China on the Commission (E/CN.4/369) Election of Officers
Election of the Chairman
Election of the Vice-Chairman
Election of the Rapporteur Adoption of the Agenda (E/CN.4/356/Rev.l) Order of the examination of items on the agenda Time-table of meetings
Chairman; Mrs. ROOSEVSLT United States of America
E/CN.4/SR.136 Page 2
Mr. WHITLAM Australia
Mr. STEYAERT Belgium
Mr. SANTA CRUZ Chile
Mr. CHANG China
Mrs. WEIGHT Denmark
Mr. RAMADAN Egypt
Mr. ORDONNEAU Franco
Mr. KYROU Greece
Mrs. MEHTA India
Mr. MALIC Lebanon
Mr. MENDEZ Philippines
Mr. TSARAPKIN Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Mr. HOARS United Kingdom of Great Britain
and northern Ireland
Mr. ROURIGURZ FABPEGAT Uruguay
Mr. JEVREMOVIC Yugoslavia
Representatives of specialized agencies:
Mr. EVANS International Labour Organisation (ILQ)
Mr. ARNALDO United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Mr. KAUL World Health Organization (WHO)
Representative of a non-governmental organization in Category A;
Miss SENDER International Confederation of Free
Trade Unions (ICFTU)
Representatives of non-governmental organizations in Category B;
Miss NOLDE Commission of the Churches on
International Affairs (CCIA)
Mr. BERNSTEIN Co-ordination Board of Jewish Organization
for consultation with the Economic and Social Council of the United National
Mr. HUNTING Friends' World Committee for Consultation.
E/CN.4/SR.136 Page 3
Representatives of non-governmental organizations in Category B: (continued)
Mrs. PARSONS International Council of Women (ICW)
Miss HYMER International Federation of Business
and Professional Women
Mr. BEER International League for the Rights
Miss SCHAEZER International Union of Catholic
Women's Leagues (ICUWL)
Miss CARTER Liaison Committee of Women's
Mr. PERLZWE1G World Jewish Congress Secretaries:
Mr. LAUGIER Assistant Secretary-General for the
Department of Social Affairs
Mr. HUMPHREY Director, Division of Human Rights
Mr. Lin ) Secretaries of the Commission
Mr. DAS )
DRAFT RESOLUTION SUBMITTED BY THE USSR CONCERNING THE REPRESENTATION OF CHINA ON THE COMMISSION (E/CN.4/369)
1. Mr. TSARAPKIN (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) recalled the events which had recently taken place in China and which had culminated in the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Corrupt and demoralized, the reactionary clique of the Kuomintang had suffered political, economic and military defeat and been driven from the mainland of China, and had taken refuge with what was left of its armed bands on the Island of Formosa.
2. The Central Government of the People's Republic of China was currently exercising all the functions of government over the territory of China and its 450 million inhabitants. That Government had officially informed the United Nations that it did not recognize the representatives of the Kuomintang as representing the Chinese people. It had stated that their presence was illegal and asked that they should be excluded. At the same time, exercising its legitimate rights as a State Member of the organization, the Central People's Government had appointed its own representatives to the Security Council and
the Economic and Social Council.
/3. The USSR
3 . The USSR delegation had repeatedly affirmed that it supported the legitimate request of the Central People's Government of China and that it did not recognize the agents of the Kuomintang as representatives of China. It too thought that their presence was illegal and asked that they should be excluded.
4. yet the right of the Chinese people to be represented in the United Nations and to take part in its work had been usurped by a small number of representatives of the Kuomintang group, who could Speak only in their own name. That was an unprecedented situation which had already lasted for over four months and which must be brought to an end without delay. For that purpose the representatives of the Kuomintang should be excluded from all United Nations organs and the true representatives of China permitted to occupy the places to which they were entitled. That being so, the USSR delegation was submitting a draft resolution (E/CN.4/369) according to which the Commission on Human Rights would decide to exclude the representative of the Kuomintang group from membership of the Commission.
5. In conclusion, he said that his delegation would not take part in the
work of the Commission so long as the representative of the Kuomintang continued
to it on that body.
6. The CHAIRMAN read rule 44 of the rules of procedure, and ruled
that the USSR draft resolution was out of order.
7. At its second session, the Economic and Social Council had decided
that after the Governments elected to the Commission on Human Eights had nominated their representatives, those representatives should be confirmed by the
Council itself. The Government of China had nominated Mr. Chang end the
Economic and Social Council had confirmed him as a member of the Commission
on Human Rights.
8 Accordingly, if the representative of the USSR wished to challenge the right of Mr. Chang to sit on the Commission on Human Rights, he should raise the matter in the Economic and Social Council and not in the Commission.
9. Mr. TSARAPKIN (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) stated that the question which he had raised could not be evaded by procedural arguments. It was a question of considerable political importance which affected all the activities of the United Nations.
/lO. In the
E/CN.4/SR.136 Page 5
10. In the interests of the organizations itself, Mr. Tsarapkin urged that
his draft resolution should he discussed and voted upon. It Was true that
certain States particularly the United States of America -- followed a
different policy from the USSR on the Chinese question, hut merely to state
that the USSR draft resolution was out of order was an arbitrary and unjust
11, The CHAIRMAN noted that her ruling had been challenged and called for a
vote, in accordance with the rules of procedure.
The ruling of the Chairman was upheld by 13 votes to 2.
12. Mr. CHANG (China) remarked that the proposal which had been laid
before the Commission had not been unexpected. He considered it impossible
to tolerate statements such as those which had been made, and which, moreover, had become hackneyed through stereotyped repetition.
13, The question of the recognition or non-recognition of Governments was
outside the scope and competence of the Commission. The Chinese delegation to
the United Nations represented the National Government of China. Notwithstanding
the conflict which was raging in China, it was the only legal Government,
14. The Chinese delegation had always defended the interests of the Chinese people and voiced their aspirations, A great human tragedy was taking place on Chinese territory; during that time the representative of the USSR was seeking to lead the Commission on Human Rights into an unworthy political man oeuvre. The tension which prevailed in the United Nations was caused by the withdrawal of the representatives of the USSR from its various organs rather than by the Chinese conflict. That refusal provided material for newspaper headlines; it did not contribute to the progress of the United Nations.
15. He appealed to the Commission not to allow itself to be diverted from its purposes but to continue its work,
16. Mr. TSARAPKIN (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) maintained that the USSR proposal had been just and necessary. The Chairman's ruling had created a situation which made it impossible for the work of the Commission to follow its normal course.
/l7. The Chairman
17. The Chairman was also the representative of the United States of America; her objections to the USSR proposal were merely a continuation of the attempts of the United States Government to use the United Nations to further its own ends, which were contrary to the interests of the Organization and to the maintenance of peace. Those ends were well known: the detested Kuomintang clique, which had been driven from Chinese territory, was seeking to wreak vengeance on the Chinese people. It was savagely bombing Chinese cities and massacring thousands of innocent women, children and aged persons. American aero planes were used to carry out those bombings. The United States Government was sending arras, including tanks, to Formosa, in order to enable the Kuomintang clique to entrench itself in that last refuge.
18. The CHAIRMAN reminded the USSR representative that the Commission on Human Eights was not the appropriate place for propaganda speeches. She asked him to conclude his remarks.
19. Mr. TSARAPKIN (Union of Soviet Socialist 'Republics') recalled that on 23 March 1950, a 10,000-ton ship belonging to the Canada Argonaut Shipping Company had left Vancouver for Formosa with a cargo of tanks.
20. More than that, the policy of the United States, a policy of hatred for the People's Republic of China, was being reflected in the United Nations, to the detriment of the work of the Organization.
21. All those attempts to sustain a corrupt regime were doomed to failure. The course of history could not be turned back; a militarist clique could hot once again be forced upon the Chinese people.
22. The delegation of the USSR would not take part in the work of the Commission so long as the Kuomintang representative bad not been excluded from it. Moreover, it would not recognize the validity of decisions taken by the Commission with the participation of the Kuomintang representative. The USSR representative left the conference room.
23. Mr. SANTA CRUZ (Chile) deplored the discourteous behaviour of the
USSR representative. ' In his view, the Chairman had taken the only
possible decision. No member of the Commission had the right to challenge the
validity of decisions taken by the Economic and Social Council regarding the
membership of the Commission on Human Rights. The USSR proposal was manifestly
contrary to the spirit of the Charter and to the rules of procedure.
24. The main task of the sixth session of the Commission on Human Rights
would be to complete the examination of the Covenant on Human Rights In that connection he remarked that the USSR delegation had consistently opposed the idea of a Goventle on Hunan Eights Everyone who was aware of the *** which prevailed, in the USSR regarding the guarantee of individual rights knew that that country could never sign a covenant such as that which was to he drafted by the commission Thus its absence would not prevent the Commission from *** constructive work in that field.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ FABREGAT (Uruguay) said that he had voted to uphold
the Chairman's ruling because in his view it was impossible to consider a proposal such as that made by the USSR delegation. The proposal did not relate to any item of the agenda end it was not important enough to warrant an interruption in the normal course of the commission's work. Finally, he considered that to issue what amounted to an ultimatum to the Commission was an intolerable proceeding.
26. The problem had been stated in perfectly clear terms: the Chairman had proceeded in a manner which was entirely in accordance with the rules of procedure.
27. The withdrawal of the USSR representative signified that the incident was closed, and he hoped that the Commission would be able to resume consideration of the practical application of human rights which was so important for the United Nations in the light of the principles laid down in the Charter.
28. The CHAIRMAN speaking as the representative of the United States, said that the withdrawal of the USSR and probably the Ukrainian representatives from the Commission on Human Rights, solely because the Commission had not sustained a point of order raised by the USSR representative, was unfortunate and ungratified.
29. Rule 55 of the rules of procedure provided that decisions of the Commission should be made by a majority of the members present and voting: the Commission would be unable to proceed if the provisions of that rule were not applied. Obviously, the position of each member of the Commission on every issue could not prevail whenever a vote was taken; the Commission would soon find
it impossible to function if its members were to withdraw whenever a majority decided not to adopt their views, and international co-operation/become impossible,
/The United States
The United States Government felt that every Member of the United Nations should be prepared to accept the parliamentary decisions of the organs of the United Nations.
30. The withdrawal of the USSR and Ukrainian representatives from the Commission was a clear violation of the obligations implicit in the Charter. The USSR and the Ukraine had been elected members of the Commission on Human Rights by the Economic and Social Council and it was their duty to take part in the Commission's work. Their views on the nature of the representation enjoyed by China had no bearing on their responsibility and obligation under the Charter to serve in the United Nations organs to which they had been elected. 31. It was obvious that no Member State of the United Nations could by willful absence impair the normal functioning of the Commission or the validity of the decisions which it might take. The work of the Commission on Human Rights was of fundamental importance in the United Nations and it must be carried forward. The members of the Commission had a serious responsibility particularly during the current session, at which they expected to complete the drafting of the International Covenant on Human Rights and the measures of implementation, and to forward their recommendations to the Economic and Social Council, which would examine them at its eleventh session and subsequently transmit them to the fifth session of the General Assembly. 32. In her opinion, the withdrawal of the USSR and the Ukraine from the Commission and from other organs of the United Nations was evidence that the USSR and the Ukraine were Interested primarily In propaganda tactics rather than in efforts to solve the fundamental international problems existing in the field of human rights. Their actions contradicted their claim that they were seriously concerned with the promotion of human rights.
33. In conclusion, she recalled that the USSR had not taken part in the work of the Trusteeship Council during the first year of the existence of that organ. The members of the Trusteeship Council had expressed their regret at that time and the members of the Commission on Human Rights now did the same. As in the case of the Trusteeship Council, however, the work of the Commission mu3t proceed on its normal courses
34 Mr. CHANG (China) recalled that the Chinese people made it clear that they would never renounce their independence and severe rights. They would never submit to foreign domination from any quarter. wholeheartedly
supported the Chairman's decision. The problem had been stated in perfectly clear terms; the representative of the USSR had not been concerned with the question of who was to represent China in the United Nations, but with imposing a specific policy on the Commission.
35. The CHAIRMAN requested the commission to proceed to the election of its officers.
36. Mr. SANTA CRUZ (Chile) said that as a rule his delegation preferred to
see the honour of directing the work of organs of the United Nations bestowed
on the various delegations in turn, but in view of,. the fact that during its current session the Commission on Human Rights was called upon to bring to a successful conclusion the task entrusted to it more than three years previously, namely the completion of the Bill of Human Rights, it would be logical to retain the former officers, Whose competence had greatly, assisted the Commission in carrying out the first stage of that task, i.e., the preparation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
3?. He therefore proposed that Mrs. Roosevelt, representative of the United" States of America,. Mr.. Chang, representative of China, Mr. Cassin, representative of France, and Mr. Malik, representative of Lebanon, should be appointed Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and Rapporteur of the Commission respectively.
38. Mr. WHITLAM (Australia) supported the proposal.
39. Mr. RODRIGUEZ FABREGAT (Uruguay) associated himself with the comments of the Chilean representative; he also considered that in the case in point the principle of the automatic non-re-election of officers should be disregarded in the interest of continuity in the Commission's work.
4o. Mr. JEVREMOVIC (Yugoslavia) asked that the various officers should be elected separately. It was the intention of the Yugoslavian delegation to vats against the appointment of the Chinese representative as Vice-chairman.
E/CN.4/SR.136 Page 10
Election of the Chairman
At the invitation of the Chairman Mr. Laugier (Assistant -Secretary-General) took the Chair.
41. Mr. LAUGIER (Assistant Secretary-General) asked the Commission to vote
on the proposal that Mrs. Roosevelt, representative of the United States of America, should he elected Chairman of the Commission.
Mrs. Roosevelt (United States of America) was elected Chairman by acclamation.
Mrs. Roosevelt (United States of America) resumed the Chair.
Election of Vice-chairmen
42. The CHAIRMAN asked the Commission to vote on the proposal that Mr. Chang, representative of China, should he elected first Vice-Chairman.
43. Mr. JEVREMOVIC (Yugoslavia) reiterated that his delegation opposed the election of the representative of China as Vice-Chairman of the Commission.
44. The CHAIRMAN said that in the circumstances a vote would be taken by
secret ballot in accordance with rule 62 of the rules of procedure. A vote was taken by secret ballot.
At the request of the Chairman, Mr. Malik (Lebanon) and Mr. Santa Cruz (Chile) acted as tellers.
Mr. Chang (China) was elected first Vice-Chairman by 12 votes to none, with 2 abstentions.
45. The CHAIRMAN then requested the Commission to vote on the proposal that Mr. Cassin, representative of France, should be elected second Vice-Chairman.' Mr. Cassin (France) was unanimously elected second Vice-Chairman.
Election of the Rapporteur
46. The CHAIRMAN requested the Commission to vote on the proposal that
Mr. Malik, representative of Lebanon, should be elected Rapporteur. Mr. Malik (Lebanon) was unanimously elected Rapporteur.
E/CN.4/SR.136 Page 11
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
The agenda (E/CN.4/356/Rev.l) was adopted unanimously.
ORDER OF THE EXAMINATION OF ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
47. Mr. SANTA CRUZ (Chile) and Mr. WHITLAM (Australia) proposed that the Commission should postpone the examination of item 3 of the agenda to a later date.
The proposal was adopted by 11 votes to none, with 3 abstentions.
48. Mr. KYROU (Greece) suggested that the Commission should examine item 3 at the same time as item 8, since the two questions were related. It was so decided.
49. Mr. SANTA CRUZ (Chile) proposed that item 4 (Draft International
Covenant on Human Rights and measures of implementation), which was the most important item on the agenda, should be broached immediately. The order in which the other items were to be considered could be decided later by the Chairman in consultation with the Secretary-General.
50. The CHAIRMAN put the proposal of the Chilean representative to the vote.
The proposal was adopted unanimously.
TIME-TABLE OF MEETINGS
After a short discussion, it was decided by a unanimous vote that the Commission should meet in the mornings from 11 a.m., to 1 p.m. and in the afternoons from 2.30 to 5.30 p.m.
51. The CHAIRMAN asked members of the commission who intended to make statements of a general character before beginning the detailed examination of the Draft Covenant to inform the Chair immediately of the fact,
52. Mr. CHANG (China) pointed out that the various delegations had had more than three years in which to state their positions. *** Commission would no doubt desire to start drafting the final text of the covenant at its next meeting.
It was so decided.
3/4a.m. The meeting rose at 12.45 p.m.