Summary record of the 77th meeting, Lake Success, New York, Thursday, 17 June 1948 : Commission on Human Rights, 3rd session
United Nations Nations Unies UNFESTRICTED
ECONOMIC CONSEIL E/CN.4/SR.77
AND ECONOMIQUE 28 Jun 1948
SOCIAL COUNCIL ET SOCIAL ENGLISH ORIGINAL: FRENCH
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE SEVENTY-SEVENTH MEETING
Lake Success, New York Thursday, 17 Juno 1948 at 11 a.m.
Chairman: Mrs. Franklin D, ROOSEVELT United States of America
Rapporteur: Mr. MALIK Lebanon
Members: Mr. JOCKEL Australia
Mr. LEBEAU Belgium
Mr. STEPANENKO Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
Mr. LARRAIN Chile
Mr. CHANG China
Mr. LOUTFI Egypt
Mr. ORDENNEAU Franco
Mr. MEHTA India
Mr. QUIJANO Panama
Mr. LOPEZ Philippines
Mr. KLEKOVKIN Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Mr. PAVLOV Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Mr. WILSON United Kingdom
Mr. FONTAINA Uruguay
Mr. VILFAN Yugoslavia
Representative of a Specialized Agency:
Mr. LEBAR United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization
Consultants from Non-Governmental Organizations:
Mr, GARVAN American Federation of Labor (AF of L
Miss STUART World Federation of United Nations
Miss DRENNAN Catholic International Union for
Mr. KOLDE Commission of the Churches on Inter-
Any Corrections of this record should ho submitted in writing, in either of the working languages (English or French), and within twenty-four hours, to Mr. E. Delavonay, Director, Official Records Division, Room CC-119, Lake Success, Corrections should be accompanied by or incorporated in a letter, on loaded notepaper, bearing the appropriate symbol number and enclosed in an envelope marked "Urgent". Corrections can be dealt with more speedily by the services concerned if delegations will be good enough also to incorporate thorn in a mimeographed copy of the record,
Consultants from Non-Governmental Organizations (Cont'd)
Mr. MOSKOWITZ Consultative Council of Jewish
Mrs. VANDENBERG International Women's ALLIEENCEO
Mr. BIENENFELD World Jewish Congress
Mr. HUMPHREY Director, Human Rights Division
Mr. LAWSON Secretary of the Commission
CONSIDERATION OF THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY THE CHINESE DELEGATION REGARDING THE ORDER OF THE ARTICLES OF THE DECLARATION
Mr. CHANG (China) proposed making article 2 the penultimate
article of the Declaration. An article which dealt with the limitations
on the exercise of the rights, and freedoms proclaimed in the Declaration
should not appear at the beginning of the Declaration before those rights
and freedoms themselves had "been set forth.
Mr. LOUTFI (Egypt) did not agree with that view, article 2 was among the articles which set forth the general principles and, as such, should appear at the beginning of the Declaration.
Mr. FONTAINA (Uruguay) supported the Chinese representatives proposal.
He recalled his delegation's objections to the use of the term's "ORERO" Public" (public order) in Article 2, paragraph 2 (see document E/CN.4/SR.74). To place that article towards the end of the Declaration immediately before article 33 would reduce the possibility of misinterpreting that term.
Mr. WILSON (United Kingdom) pointed out that the general scope
of the Declaration would not change with the order in which the articles
were placed. Article 2 should not be placed towards the end of the Declaration so as to avoid giving the reader the impression that the individual
was granted unlimited rights; the reader would not realize, until he had
reached the penultimate article, that the rights and freedoms laid down were
subject to certain restrictions.
Page 3 Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) agreed with Mr. Wilson that the reader should know from the outset that the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration wore to be enjoyed within the framework of society. Logically, the general provisions should precede the more specific clauses.
Mr. LEBEAU (Belgium) entirely agreed with Mr. Pavlov.
Mr. LOPEZ (Philippines) supported the Chinese representative's proposal; since they wore dealing with a Declaration on Human Rights, the rights of the individual should be stressed before his duties to society.
The CHAIRMAN, speaking as United States representative, thought that the article regarding the general limitations on the enjoyment of rights would he better placed towards the end of the Declaration.
The Chinese representatives proposal was adopted by 8 votes to 7, with 1 abstention.
Mr. CHANG (China) proposed changing the order of the first five articles of the Declaration as follows: article 1 to remain where it was; article 3, paragraph 1 (principles of non-discrimination) to become article 2; article 3, paragraph 2 (principles of equality before the law) to become article 5; article 4 (right to life) to become article 3 and article 5 (respect for human dignity) to become article 4,
The Chinese representative's proposal was adopted by 9 votes to 1, with 6 abstentions.
Mr. CHANG (China) proposed placing article 13, which dealt with marriage, after article 9 which dealt with the family,
Mr. LOUTFI (Egypt) pointed out that article 9 did not deal exclusively with the family. He was, therefore, opposed to the proposed change.
The Chinese representative's proposal was rejected by 5 votes to 4
with 7 abstentions.
E/CN.4/SR.77 page 4
Mr. CHANG (China) proposed placing article 15, on nationality,
*** article 12, which dealt with the right to recognition as a person
before the law.
Mr. LOUTFI (Egypt) supported the proposal.
Mr. LOPEZ (Philippines) pointed out that article 12 itself had not been properly placed; it should follow article 3 Which dealt with the right to life and freedom.
Mr. CHANG (China) thought it would be better to place article 12 after article 5 which dealt with equality before the law.
Mr. ORDUNNEAU (France), while remarking that his delegation did not attach much importance to the order of the articles in the Declaration, thought that there was no strong reason to alter the present order.
Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), supported by Mr. MALIK (Lebanon), suggested adopting both the proposals which had been made, namely, to place article 12 after article 3, which would be immediately followed by article 15..
His delegation would only vote for the Chinese representative's proposal to place article 14 after article 12 if the latter followed article 3 concerning the right to life and to liberty.
The CHAIRMAN called on the Commission to vote on the proposal to place article 12, which dealt with the right to recognition as a person before the law, after article 3 on the right to life and to liberty.
The proposal was rejected by 7 votes to 6, with 3 abstentions.
Mr. MALIK (Lebanon) then proposed placing article 12 immediately after article 4 on slavery and respect for human dignity. Article 12 would thus become article 5 and the numbers of the following articles would be altered accordingly.
The Lebanese representative's proposal was adopted by 9 votes to 1 with, 5 abstentions,
The CHAIRMAN, speaking as United States representative, suggested placing article 15, regarding nationality, immediately after article 11, OP the right to asylum.
The proposal was adopted by 15 votes to nope. with 1 abstention.
CONTINUATION OF THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PREAMBLE TO TEE DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (documents E/CN.4/138 and E/CN.4/139)
The CHAIRMAN recalled that the Commission had adopted at its earlier meetings the first three paragraphs of the Preamble to the Declaration. She then read the text prepared by the Drafting Sub-Committee on the Preamble:
"4. WHEREAS the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter determined to re-affirm faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom; and
"5. WHEREAS Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the Organization, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and
"6. WHEREAS this pledge can be fulfilled only on the basis of a common understanding of the nature of these rights and freedoms,
"Now therefore the General Assembly
"PROCLAIMS this Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, Keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and inter-national, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance."
E/CN.4/SR.77 Page 6
The CHAIRMAN called on the: Commission to consider the text
paragraph by paragraph, and opened the discussion on paragraph 4.
Mr. ORDONNEAU (France), supported by Mr. LEBEAU (Belgium), considered the French version of the text unsatisfactory. They would prefer the expression: "larger freedom" to be translated as: "UPE liberte plus complete".
Mr. FONTAINA (Uruguay) would also prefer the expression: "the human person" to be replaced by: "human being".
The CHAIRMAN reminded the Commission that the wording of paragraph 4 had been borrowed from the Charter, and thought that it would be best not to depart from that wording.
Mr. MALIK (Lebanon) and Mr. CHANG (China) also thought that, as long as the wording of the Charter had not been officially modified by the General Assembly, no changes could be made to it.
Mr. JOCKEL (Australia), although unable as alternate to take part in the vote, said that his delegation approved of the text submitted by the Drafting Sub-Committee for the second part of the Preamble.
Paragraph 4 of the Preamble was adopted by 11 votes to none with 5 abstentions.
Paragraph 5 of the Preamble was adopted by 12 votes to none with 4 abstentions.
Mr. FONTAINA (Uruguay) proposed amending paragraph 6 so as to read:
"WHEREAS this pledge can be fulfilled mainly through a common understanding of the nature of these rights and freedoms."
E/CN.4/SR.77 Page 7
The Uruguay representative's proposal was rejected by 10 votes to 4 with 2 abstentions.
Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) wished paragraph 6 to be deleted, as ho thought It introduced not only an erroneous but a dangerous conception. To make the Declaration on Hunan Rights dependent on the application of a common conception of the nature of rights and freedoms would destroy its very purpose. The Commission's discussions had clearly shown the divergencies which existed between the members in the fields of philosophy and ideology; that difference of ideas had not prevented fruitful co-operation, because even though there had been disagreement On the nature of the rights, the Commission has, nevertheless, come to a satisfactory agreement as to their practicable application.
Paragraph 6 in its present wording seemed to require a unity of thought and ideas which was impossible to achieve. His delegation, however, held that, in spite of philosophical differences, international co-operation was possible, as it considered that the minimum of rights, as set forth in the Declaration, could be applied in every detail by all. Its application should not be threatened by an unacceptable provision such as was contained in paragraph 6, at present submitted for the Commission's consideration.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the realization of the purposes
of the Declaration depended above all on a cocoon understanding of the
essential human rights and freedoms. If a common view on the nature
of those rights and freedoms could not immediately be attained, that
identity of views nevertheless retained the supreme aim to be Bought.
There had been disagreement in the Commission, but the decision of the
majority had prevailed in the choice of articles, and the Declaration,
as drafted, Indicated as effectively as was possible at present the
degree of agreement which had been reached.
Mr. CHANG (China) said that there was something to be said for the USSR representative's interpretation: the paragraph, as drafted could mean that the obligation assumed by the Members of the United Nations would not be binding should agreement on a common conception not be reached.
The CHAIRMAN, speaking as United States representative, emphasized that the pledge in question was incumbent on the Members of the United Nations by virtue of the Charter and not of the Declaration which they would be asked to approve. In order to remove any ambiguity she proposed saying:
"WHEREAS this pledge can be fully fulfilled only through a common understanding of these rights and freedoms." The deletion of the words: "of the nature" answered Mr. Pavlov's comments regarding the various philosophical and ideological differences which existed.
Mr. MALIK (Lebanon) advised the Commission to be very cautious in a natter which might lend itself to misinterpretation. The pledge of the Members of the United Nations to ensure the respect of fundamental human freedoms and rights had been token more than three years ago; their task would obviously be facilitated if they could roach a common understanding of those rights and freedoms. Without making that common conception a sine qua non for international co-operation, the usefulness of such an identity of views could be recognized. He therefore suggested saying: "Whereas this pledge could be best fulfilled through a common understanding of those rights and freedoms."
E/CN.4/SR.77 Page 9
Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) recognized
the merit of those various proposals which improved the text, but never-
theless insisted on the deletion of paragraph 6.
Mr. ORDONNEAU (Franco) agreed with the USSR representative that it would be wiser to avoid adopting a text which, owing to hasty drafting, right load to criticism. The Commission agreed that, in spite of the difference in philosophical and political systems, it was still possible to find grounds for common action, and that it was on that conviction that the work it had just completed was founded. As regards paragraph 6, the difficulty was more in the wording than in the substance as there was no doubt as to the authors' intentions. His delegation would, therefore, welcome any amendment which would satisfy the USSR representative and which would cake it quite clear that the Commission had tried to find a common understanding and bad succeeded in doing so.
The CHAIRMAN and Mr. CHANG (China) agreed that paragraph 6 was not essential and could, therefore, be deleted. Mr. Chang pointed out that any reservation regarding the pledge taken under the Charter would weaken that pledge.
Mr. WILSON (United Kingdom) thought on the contrary that it should be emphasized in the Preamble that the Commission had reached a remarkable degree of understanding and that the Declaration was the result of that Identity of views. He reminded the Commission that the terms of paragraph 6 had been taken from a draft submitted by his delegation, and that they had been linked with an earlier paragraph which had not been retained; they should, therefore, be somewhat amended to bring them into line with the paragraph immediately preceding then in the present draft, but they should, not be deleted, as they fulfilled a useful function by providing a transition. He therefore suggested adopting
the Amendments suggested by the Lebanese representative and by Mrs. Roosevelt.
Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) said that he would only agree to the complete deletion of paragraph 6 if no satisfactory formula could be found. Ho suggested that the Commission should acknowledge its common effort by saying:
"WHEREAS this pledge can be fulfilled only through a common effort to reach as broad as possible a common understanding of those rights and freedoms."
Mr. CHANG (China) proposed appointing a snail committee to draft a formula acceptable to all, bearing in mind the various comments made during the meeting.
Mr. JOCKEL (Australia) supported that proposal. His delegation considered paragraph 6 the most important of all the paragraphs of the Preamble, and it should be retained while an attempt was node to satisfy the USSR representative's Justifiable objections.
The CHAIRMAN announced that the Drafting Sub-Committee to amend the form of paragraph 6 would be composed of the representatives of the following countries: China, Franco, Lebanon, the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Mr. ORDONNEAU (Franco) pointed out a translating error in the
French text of the last paragraph of the Preamble. The text gave the
impression that, in the national and International spheres, the efforts
of Rations would be directed only to teaching and education, whereas
the text should read:
"...de developper le respect do ces droits et libertes at
d'assurer par des mesures progressives realisees dans le domaine
national at international, leur reconnaissance et leur application
universelles at effectives."
E/CN.4/SR.77 Page 11
The Commission tool careful note of the correction,
Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) drew the
Commission's attention to the fact that the wording of the English
and French versions did not exactly agree, and he feared that the
difference in the terms eight entail a difference in substance. The
English text spoke of a "common standard" while the French tort
referred to "un ideal common".
Mr. LHBEAU (Belgium), supported by Mr. WILSON (United Kingdom), said that the difference was one of form and did not affect the substance of the paragraph which was clearly the same In both texts, The tern: "common standard of achievement" was the aim which the nations should try to achieve: "l'ideal common" used In the French text corresponded quite well with the Idea expressed.
Mr. FONTAINA (Uruguay) stressed the difficulty of translating accurately the full sense of the English word "standard" into a single French or Spanish word.
Mr. ORDENNEAU (France) pointed out that the difference in fame was duo to the inherent difference in the spirit of the two languages. His delegation considered that the two texts corresponded as
Mr. LOPEZ (Philippines) recalled that the Commission had
decided in principle, that, whenever it was faced with the difficulty
of a translation of that typo, it would adept texts which agreed in
substance rather than in form.
The commission adopted the last paragraph of the preamble by 12 votes by to none with 4 abstention, on the understanding that the translators would endeavour to reproduce the meaning of the original English text paying more attention to substance than to form.
E/CN.4/SR.77 Page 12
Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) proposed adding the following paragraph to the Preamble:
"Recommends to all the States Members of the United Nations the following Declaration on Human Rights;
"For use at their discretion in taking appropriate legislative and other measures and in their systems of upbringing and education; and for the dissemination of the provisions of this Declaration throughout the populations of the States Members themselves, of territories over which such States are performing the functions of the administering authority, of territories under trusteeship. (non-self-governing territories.)"
The text was taken from the Draft Preamble submitted by his deletation (document E/CN.4/139).
He proposed dividing the vote on the addition proposed by him as follows: the first vote to be taken on the measures necessary for the development of teaching and education; the second on the principle of the dissemination of the Declaration throughout the population of the non-self-governing territories.
Mr. MALIK (Lebanon) approved of the second part of the addition suggested by the USSR representative, but feared that the first part would weaken the preceding paragraph Just adopted by the Commission,
Mr. WILSON (United Kingdom) raised an objection with regard to the form, The USSR representative's proposal would give that part of the Declaration the character of a General Assembly resolution.
He was likewise opposed to the apparent discrimination made in the USSR text by especially mentioning the trust and non-self-governing territories, when it was clearly laid down in paragraph 5 of the Preamble that States Members of the United Nations were pledged to guarantee not only effective but universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
E/CN/4/SR.77 Page 13
Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) said that the first part of the USSR
proposal corresponded almost exactly to the last article of the Draft
Declaration proposed by Mr. Casein (document E/CN.4/82/Add.8, article 28).
While agreeing with the USSR delegation on the need to include such a
provision, his delegation considered that its logical place was at the
and of the actual Declaration and not in the Preamble. Thus placed,
the provision would serve as a link between the declaration of rights
and the statement of the enforcement measures to be taken, thereby
achieving the maximum legal force.
He also wholeheartedly agreed with the USSR representative that
the Declaration should be universal. In that regard he pointed out
that the Declaration on the Rights of Man of 1793 applied to all
French territories. But it would not Servo any useful purpose to include
in the Preamble any special provision on non-self-governing territories
which would seen to imply that the populations of those territories did
not enjoy the essential rights and freedoms on an equal footing with
the populations of the metropolitan territories.
On the suggestion of Mr. PAVLOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the CHAIRMAN instructed the Drafting Committee, which had Just been set up, to prepare a text which would take into account both Mr. Pavlov's and Mr. Cassin's drafts and to submit its recommendations to the Commission.
The meeting rode at 1.20 P.M.