Mr. President, Fellow Delegates: We are particularly happy to meet here
in Paris. France has, through the centuries, nourished the arts for the
enrichment of all mankind and its citizens have striven persistently for
expanding freedom for the individual. It is entirely fitting that this
General Assembly, meeting in France which fired the hearts of men with
Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789, should consider in l948
the approval of a new
Declaration of Human Rights for free men in a free
Not only is it appropriate that we should here reaffirm our respect for
the human rights and fundamental freedoms, but that we should renew our
determination to develop and protect those rights and freedoms: freedom
of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of opinion and expression;
freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; the right of a people to
choose their own government, to take part in its works, and, if they
became dissatisfied with it, to change it; the obligation of government
to act through law. These are some of the elements that combine to
give dignity and worth to the individual.
Charter of the United Nations reflects these concepts and expressly
provides for the promotion and protection of the rights of man as well
as for the rights of nations. This is no accident. For in the modern
world the association of free men within a free state is based upon the
obligation of citizens to respect the rights of their fellow citizens.
And the association of free nations in a free world is based upon the
obligation of all states to respect the rights of other nations.
Systematic and deliberate denials of basic human rights lie at the root
of most of our troubles and threaten the work of the United Nations. It
is not only fundamentally wrong that millions of men and women live in
daily terror of secret police, subject to seizure, imprisonment or
forced labor without just cause and without fair trial, but these wrongs
have repercussions in the community of nations. Governments which
systematically disregard the rights of their own people are not likely
to respect the rights of other nations and other people, and are likely
to seek their objectives by coercion and force in the international
The maintenance of these rights and freedoms depends upon adherence to
the abiding principles of justice and morality embodied in the rule of
law. It will therefore always be true that those members of the United
Nations which strive with sincerity of purpose to live by the Charter,
and to conform to the principles of justice and law proclaimed by it,
will be those states which are genuinely dedicated to the preservation
of the dignity and integrity of the individual.
Third Regular Session of the General Assembly approve by an
overwhelming majority the
Declaration of Human Rights as a standard of
conduct for all; and let us, as Members of the United Nations, conscious
of our own shortcomings and imperfections, join our effort in good faith
to live up to this high standard.
Our aspirations must take into account men’s practical needs -- improved
living and working conditions, better health, economic and social
advancement for all, and the social responsibilities which these entail.
The United Nations is pledged in the Charter to promote "higher
standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and
social progress and development."
The Secretary General has devoted a considerable part of his Annual
Report to the nature of the progress thus far made in this field. It is
evident from the record that we can be encouraged by what is being done.
The United Nations is directly engaged in efforts to alleviate the
social and economic disorder and destruction resulting from the war.
International Refugee Organization is giving assistance to displaced
The International Children’s Emergency Fund is providing
emergency aid to children and mothers over wide areas. As part of the
United Nations’ efforts to increase productivity by applying new and
advanced techniques, the
Food and Agriculture Organization is broadening
the use of improved seeds and fertilizers. The tuberculosis project
jointly sponsored by the
World Health Organization and the International
Children’s Emergency Fund represents another example of the constructive
work of our Organization.
Through the United Nations we are seeking to combine our efforts to
promote international trade, to solve the difficulties of foreign
exchange, to facilitate the voluntary migration of peoples, and to
increase the flow of information and ideas across national boundaries.
International Trade Organization Charter would establish procedures
for expanded multilateral trade, with the goal of raising living
standards and maintaining full employment. The
Conference on Freedom of
Information and the Press was responsible for three conventions now
before this Assembly which embody principles and procedures for
expanding the exchange of information. It is our hope that the Assembly
will give these conventions thoughtful and favorable consideration.
While the United Nations and its related agencies are increasingly
helpful in the economic and social field, primary responsibility for
improving standards of living will continue to rest with the governments
and peoples themselves. International organizations cannot take the
place of national and personal effort, or of local and individual
imagination. International action cannot replace self-help, nor can we
move toward general cooperation without maximum mutual help among close
The United Nations was not intended to preclude cooperative action among
groups of states for common purposes consistent with the Charter of the
United Nations. It has been disappointing that efforts at economic
recovery consistent with this concept have been actively opposed by some
who seem to fear the return of stability and confidence. We must not be
misled by those who, in the name of revolutionary slogans, would prevent
reconstruction and recovery or hold out illusions of future well-being
at the price of starvation and disorder today.
A year ago
I expressed the view to the General Assembly that "a supreme
effort is required from us all if we are to succeed in breaking through
the vicious circles of deepening political and economic crisis." I
believe that most of us in this Organization have sought to make such an
effort -- but that this is beginning -- and that this is beginning to bring results.
Despite the cooperative action of most nations to rebuild peace and
well-being, tension during the past year has increased. The leaders of
the other nations are creating a deep rift between their countries and
the rest of the world community. We must not allow that rift to widen
any further and we must redouble our efforts to find a common ground.
Let us go back to the Charter, to words that were solemnly written by
the peoples of the United Nations while the tragedy of war was vividly
stamped on their minds.
"We the People[s] of the United Nations," says the Charter, are
"determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war...
...for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with
one another as good neighbors.1
Three years later, we are confronted
with the need to save not only succeeding generations, but our own.
The first purpose of the United Nations is to maintain international
peace and security, and to that end all members are pledged to settle
their international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with
the principles of justice and international law.
We are pledged to seek an accommodation by which different cultures,
different laws, different social and economic structures, and different
political systems can exist side by side without violence, subversion or
intimidation. An elementary requirement is that international
obligations be respected and that relations among states be based on
mutual confidence, respect and tolerance.
How can we establish among governments and peoples the confidence which
is necessary to a just and stable peace, and is basic to the work of the
United Nations? The need at this session of the General Assembly and in
subsequent months is to achieve, or at least to move nearer, a
settlement of the major issues which now confront us. For its part, the
United States is prepared to seek in every possible way, in any
appropriate forum, a constructive and peaceful settlement of the
political controversies which contribute to the present tension and
I do not wish to deal at this time with the details of any particular
issue, but there are broad lines along which a just and equitable
settlement of each of these questions might be reached. Some of these
matters are on the agenda of the United Nations; others, such as those
dealing with the peace settlements, are to be dealt with in other
forums. Nevertheless, whatever the forum, as members of the United
Nations, we are all subject to the principles of the Charter.
If we want to have peace we must settle the issues arising out of the
last war. The Charter was written with the expectation that the solution
of the problems before the United Nations would not be made more
difficult by long delay in completing the peace settlements.
We should, therefore, make every effort to achieve an early and just
peace settlement so that Japan and Germany may exist as democratic and
peaceful nations, subject to safeguards against the revival of military
or economic means of aggression, and so that they may in due course
demonstrate their qualification for admission to membership in the
United Nations. In Austria our aim is the restoration of its political
and economic freedom within its 1937 frontiers, and its immediate
admission as a member of the United Nations.
Other questions affecting world peace are now before the United Nations,
some of them before this Assembly. We believe that the ends to be sought
on these matters may be briefly summarized as follows:
 A Palestine free from strife and the threat of strife, with both the
Jews and Arabs assured the peaceful development envisaged by the actions
of the General Assembly and the Security Council; an early
demobilization of armed forces to permit the return to conditions of
peace and normal living in Palestine; the repatriation of the refugees who
wish to return and live in peace with their neighbors; economic aid to
Jews and Arabs to restore and strengthen their economic well-being; the
admission of Transjordan and Israel to membership in the United Nations.
 A unified and independent Korea, accepted as a member of the United
Nations, acting under a constitution and a government selected by the
Koreans themselves through free elections, and receiving the economic
and political encouragement which it will need as it embarks upon its
new life as a Korean nation.
 A Greece made secure from aggressive and unlawful interference from
without; ordering its political life by the democratic process and by
respect for law; enabled to rebuild its economy and to provide its
people the essentials of a decent life which they have been without for
 A negotiated settlement without further bloodshed in Indonesia, along
the broad lines of the Renville Agreement, providing within a brief
period both the sovereign independence sought by the peoples of
Indonesia and continued cooperation between them and the people of the
 Continuation of the mediation and negotiation between the great
nations of India and Pakistan with respect to Kashmir, in order that the
processes of peaceful settlement may bring to a conclusion an issue
which has been charged with great dangers.
 The early adoption of an international system for the control of
atomic energy, providing for the elimination of atomic weapons from
national armaments, for the development of atomic energy for peaceful
purposes only, and for safeguards to insure compliance by all nations
with the necessary international measures of control.
 Under adequate and dependable guaranty against violation, a
progressive reduction in armaments as rapidly as the restoration of
political confidence permits.
Other situations or problems might be mentioned, but if constructive
steps are taken toward the settlement of those which have been
indicated, new hope would arise among men and new confidence among the
nations of the world. It will be readily seen that the above pattern is
toward peace. No governments or peoples who work toward such ends can be
held to be seeking war, or imperialistic expansion, or disorder and
We have noted with particular interest the report of the Secretary
General on the work of the United Nations relating to the millions of
people who are not yet fully self-governing. We are mindful of the
obligations undertaken in the Charter for the political, economic, and
social development of these peoples. We believe that all possible
assistance and encouragement should be given to them, to the end that
they may play their full part in the family of nations -- either as
independent states or in freely chosen association with other states.
In our efforts toward political settlement we must continue to improve
the functioning of the machinery of the United Nations. We hope that the
Security Council will proceed to recommend during this session of the
General Assembly the admission of additional new members. There are a
number of fully qualified states, now awaiting admission, whose election
has been supported by the United States but has been blocked for reasons
not consistent with the Charter. The most recent applicant, Ceylon,2
of the new states to emerge in Southern Asia, has been denied the
membership to which it properly aspires.
The Report of the Interim Committee on the problem of voting in the
Security Council represents the first comprehensive study of this vital
problem since San Francisco, and contains the views of an overwhelming
majority of the members. The work of the Security Council would be
greatly facilitated if the recommendations of the Interim Committee
could be accepted by the members of the Council.
The Interim Committee itself has worked usefully and effectively during
the past year and can continue to render an important service to the
General Assembly. We hope that the Assembly will agree to its
continuation for another year in order to give us more experience before
deciding whether it should become a permanent part of our Organization.
The United States joins in expressing great appreciation to those
individuals who have served on United Nations missions during the past
year, either as members of national delegations or of the Secretariat.
These representatives in the field have served with courage and devotion
to duty. Their service has been rendered under conditions of great
hardship and personal danger. We have been given a particularly solemn
reminder of these conditions by the tragic death of
Colonel Serot at the hands of assassins. The people of
the United States join in tribute to the man who worked brilliantly and
courageously as the United Nations Mediator in Palestine. We pay tribute
also to those others, who have lost their lives in the service of peace.
We believe that the Assembly should give sympathetic consideration to
the suggestions of the Secretary General for the establishment of a
small United Nations guard force to assist United Nations missions
engaged in the pacific settlement of disputes. The fate of the Mediator
in Palestine and the experience of the several commissions already
working in the field has already demonstrated the need for such a group.
This great world Organization should not send its servants on missions
of peace without reasonable protection. The guards would be entirely
distinct from the armed forces envisaged under Article 43 and would not
carry out military operations. They could, however, perform important
services in connection with United Nations missions abroad not only as
guards but as observers and as communications and transportation
Mr. President, one of the principal purposes of the United Nations,
according to Article 1, is "to be a center for harmonizing the actions
of nations" in the attainment of the common ends set forth in the
Charter. The problem of making and keeping the peace involves many
governments and many peoples. On the issues which call for settlement,
the large powers as well as the small must submit their policies to the
judgment of the world community. For this purpose appropriate forums
have been established for the adjustment of differences through the
impartial opinions of the international society. This process has been
seriously hampered by the refusal of a group of nations to participate
in certain of the important commissions established by this Assembly,
such as the Balkan Commission, the Korean Commission, and the Interim
More important than this boycott, however, is the disturbing lack of
cooperation which the United Nations has received in its efforts to
resolve such questions as Korea and Greece and to bring about the
international control of atomic energy. This persistent refusal of a
small minority to contribute to the accomplishment of our agreed
purposes is a matter of profound concern.
There is no plot among members of this Organization to keep any nation
or group of nations in a minority. The minority position is
self-imposed. The record shows that there are no mechanical majorities
at the disposal of any nation or group of nations. Majorities form
quickly in support of the principles of the Charter. Nations
consistently in the minority would be welcomed among the ranks of the
majority -- but not at the price of compromise of basic principle.
The United Nations has sought to promote the free exchange of ideas on a
basis of full reciprocity. The effort is of the greatest political
importance. Any government which by deliberate action cuts itself and
its people off from the rest of the world becomes incapable of
understanding the problems and policies of other governments and other
peoples. It would be a tragic error if, because of such
misunderstanding, the patience of others should be mistaken for
The United States does not wish to increase the existing tension. It is
its wholehearted desire to alleviate that tension. But we will not
compromise essential principles. We will under no circumstances barter
away the rights and freedoms of other peoples. We earnestly hope that
all members will find ways of contributing to the lessening of tensions
and the promotion of peace with justice. The peoples of the earth are
anxiously watching our efforts here. We must not disappoint them.