An important record of the development of the UN human rights program.
John Humphrey, McGill University law professor and human rights advocate, became the first director of the United Nations Human Rights Division in 1946 and held the position until 1966. Covering the period from 1952 to 1957, the third volume of his diaries documents a period of enormous change in the UN Secretariat.
During this period Secretariat employees came under scrutiny by un-American activities committees in the United States and Dag Hammarskjold replaced Tryve Lie as secretary-general. With a mandate to cut back on the size of the Secretariat, Hammarskjold was unsympathetic to the aims of the Human Rights Division. The Social Department was merged with the Department of Economic Affairs and human rights activity was redirected from producing a covenant on human rights to promoting its highly successful seminar program held throughout the world.
The Humphrey diaries represent an important primary source for the study of the international law of human rights and the development of the postwar UN human rights program.