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Letter to the President of the Senate in Regard to Three International Human Rights Conventions.

July 22, 1963

Dear Mr. President:

I have today transmitted to the Senate three conventions with a view to receiving advice and consent to ratification. These are:

1. The Supplementary Convention to the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, prepared under the direction of the United Nations in 1956, to which 49 nations are now parties.

2. The Convention on the Abolition of Force Labor, adopted by the International Labor Organization in 1957, to which 60 nations are now parties.

3. The Convention on the Political Rights of Women, opened for signature by the United Nations in 1953, to which 39 nations are now parties.

United States law is, of course, already in conformity with these conventions, and ratification would not require any change in our domestic legislation. However, the fact that our Constitution already assures us of these rights does not entitle us to stand aloof from documents which project our own heritage on an international scale. The day-to-day unfolding of events makes it ever clearer that our own welfare is interrelated with the rights and freedoms assured the peoples of other nations.

These conventions deal with human rights which may not yet be secure in other countries; they have provided models for the drafters of constitutions and laws in newly independent nations; and they have influenced the policies of governments preparing to accede to them. Thus, they involve current problems in many countries.

They will stand as a sharp reminder of world opinion to all who may seek to violate the human rights they define. They also serve as a continuous commitment to respect these rights. There is no society so advanced that it no longer needs periodic recommitment to human rights.

The United States cannot afford to renounce responsibility for support of the very fundamentals which distinguish our concept of government from all forms of tyranny. Accordingly, I desire, with the constitutional consent of the Senate, to ratify these Conventions for the United States of America.



[Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the Senate, Washington, D.C.]

John F. Kennedy, Letter to the President of the Senate in Regard to Three International Human Rights Conventions. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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