10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 2

The Assembly Adjourns

It is, or should be, usual at the conclusion of a United Nations General Assembly to attempt some assessment of what has been achieved in the weeks or months of discussion. Though the Third Assembly ends its sittings in Paris this week, there is little case for such an attempt at this moment, partly because so little has actually been achieved, partly because the agenda is far from exhausted and the sittings are to be resumed in New York in April. This involves a dollar expenditure which few member States can well afford, and an interruption of business to which there are obvious objections. The Assembly in this first stage has not encouraged optimism. Nothing of serious importance has been accomplished. Issues of the first moment, like Palestine, have been largely burked. A resolution on the illegalities of the actions of Greece's northern neigh- bours has no more force than a pious opinion. Attempts to sur- mount, or circumvent, the veto which Russia insists on imposing on the admission of new members have proved fruitless. So have the attempts on the part of "neutral " Security Council members to find a solution of the Berlin deadlock. The isolation of the Slav bloc, which consistently finds itself in a minority of six (out of 58) on most issues is more conspicuous than ever, but there is no reason to believe that that will have the slightest influence on Russian policy. One case in which the Slays have contented themselves with abstaining is the declaration on Human Rights—an enlargement and extension of the Four Freedoms—which was adopted by the Social Committee on Tuesday, and will no doubt be approved by the full Assembly before the Paris session ends. This should be a source of particular satisfaction to Mrs. Roosevelt, who from the first has been foremost in driving these important proposals through the relevant committees ; whether she is not a little sanguine in believing that news of the adoption of a Charter of Human Rights will penetrate the Iron Curtain and give new heart to oppressed peoples on the other side of it must be left for events to prove. The Paris session of the Assembly has at least revealed faults that need, and may or may not receive, correction. The agenda should clearly be shorter, and the conduct of business more businesslike. Set speeches of immense length, replacing the freedom of debate which prevails in a national legislature, are fatal to the efficiency of any consultative or executive body. But for the right to be loquacious most delegates will fight to the death.