Government by Treaty/What We Can Do About It

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3053291Government by Treaty — What We Can Do About ItWilliam H. Fitzpatrick

This newspaper is opposed to government by treaty. This newspaper is opposed to ratification of the Genocide Convention and the Covenant on Human Rights, because it believes them to be dangerous to our liberties and freedoms.

Members of the American Bar Association's committee on peace and law through the United Nations ask:

"Can we sacrifice fundamental principles of freedom on the altar of necessity for a compromise?

"For which standard of free speech and a free press will we be fighting under the banner of the United Nations—the standard of the covenant or the standard of the Constitution of the United States?"

Proponents of these treaties say that we must ratify them to assume the leadership expected of this Nation in the conflict of ideologies and the battle for men's minds.

But is it leadership to endanger the rights of our citizens to meet upon the common ground of agreement with other countries whose nationals do not possess nor understand nor, in some cases, desire the rights we as Americans hold dear?

If the Government's policy is to set an example, then we recommend the example set by the representatives of the United States, Great Britain, and Canada in refusing to approve the proposed treaty on public information because it included the same sort of general restrictions of public safety and public security that the covenant includes.

But if the policy of our Government ts to agree to these lower standards on the premise that forsaking our own historic ideals is necessary in the interest of world peace and understanding, then there is a way to implement that policy of compromise and still maintain our own traditional rights and freedoms.

This can be done by amending the Constitution to—

Forbid the invasion of domestic law by treaty unless specifically authorized by act of Congress;

Forbid the Congress to make treaties effective by laws not otherwise authorized by the Constitution; and

Forbid any fundamental change in our form of government as now constituted by the device of treaty ratification.

The American Bar Association has authorized a committee to study this suggestion of amending the Constitution to protect our Bill of Rights. But until these three steps—or some equally acceptable safeguards—are adopted to prevent destruction of the United States Constitution through government by treaty, the Senate should reject summarily any and all treaties which are judged to contain unacceptable restrictions on and derogations of our rights as free Americans.