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Letter to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Urging Early Ratification of the Genocide Convention.

August 26, 1950

My dear Senator Connally:

Ambassador Austin, the United States Representative to the United Nations, has transmitted to me a note from the Ambassador to the Republic of Korea with respect to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. I enclose a copy of this note for your information. As you will see, the note points out that this convention is a very important instrument since it brings under the protection of international law both small nations and religious groups. The Ambassador of Korea calls attention to the imminent danger to the Christian population of Korea from the communist invaders.

This tragic situation brings out the need for the free and civilized nations of the world to cooperate in outlawing this shocking crime of deliberate extermination of entire national, ethnical, racial or religious groups. Genocide has not occurred in the United States, and I cannot believe that it would ever occur here. But in other parts of the world various national and religious groups still face this threat. These unfortunate people need whatever help can be given them by the more fortunate nations of the world. In ratifying the Genocide Convention, we will let the world know that the United States does not condone mass atrocities any more now than in the past, and we will indorse the principle that such conduct is criminal under international law. This action by the United States will at least be a deterrent to the rulers of certain countries who consider genocide a justifiable means to promote their political objectives. I also regard speedy ratification of the Genocide Convention as essential to the effective maintenance of our leadership of the free and civilized nations of the world in the present struggle against the forces of aggression and barbarism.

In view of your own distinguished service in the establishment and subsequent operations of the United Nations, I know that you particularly appreciate the importance of our maintaining our prestige in that organization. I sincerely hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will report favorably on the Genocide Convention within the next few days, and that the Senate will also take favorable action, and that the United States may become a party to the Genocide Convention before the next session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Very sincerely yours,


[Honorable Tom Connally, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The note from Korean Ambassador John M. Chang, urging early U.S. ratification of the Genocide Convention, was released with the President's letter.

The United States is not a party to the Convention. As of January 1965 it was still pending before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The text of the Convention is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 19, p. 756) and in Executive O (81st Cong., 1st sess.).

For the President's message to the Senate transmitting the Convention, see 1949 volume, this series, Item 121.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Urging Early Ratification of the Genocide Convention. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230171

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