Wherefore we will,

and firmly decree

All aforesaid liberties,

Shall be free


For themselves and their heirs

From us and our heirs

In all manners

in all places, forever


Whereas the Members            

of the General Assembly of the United Nations

have proclaimed                        

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved.

And whereas the Declaration proclaimed                    

that every organ of society                                          

should strive to secure their universal observance      

Wherefore we will and firmly decree


That the English Church

shall be free

And that the subjects of our realm

shall have and hold

All aforesaid liberties, shall be free.

Rights and concessions,

Freely, quietly,

Duly and in peace,

Fully, entirely.

Wherefore we will and firmly decree

All aforesaid liberties shall be free.


Forever shall be free.


The late 1940s and 1950s were the autumn of the Victorian Age.


By the end of the decade Macmillan, the last Victorian born Prime Minister, could declare,


' You have never had it so good.'


People had rebuilt their communities at great speed,

fuelled by a common purpose inherited from the war.


The Empire was evolving into a commonwealth with a young queen at it's heart.


With war in abeyance, material progress was embraced steadily by those whose expectations

had been straightened by deppression and war.

It was a long way from the early industrial wasteland of 100 years earlier.



But things were still made.

And faith remained in big universal ideas: a welfare state, social housing, education for all,

and fundamental human rights.



Being the autumn of the Victorian Age, attempts were made to restore public morality,

which once more exposed hypocrisy, and life was still cheap.

On the other hand, thirty years of war and depression had flattened the inequality in wealth a little.


The urchin wraith was smiling.



And on his return from Nuremberg he pursued these themes in papers and speeches.



There is in each of us a sundial factor of our mentality.  We are inclined only to count the sunny hours.  

Moreover after exhausting wars men tend to suffer a weariness of mind.  

This lassitude can make them shrink away from facing the limitations of human nature.  

It can produce a facile scepticism about their evil deeds.  

New generations dislike reading the history of the gas chambers,

and so the fact that men claiming to be civilized put millions to death in the gas chambers slip from history.





Most people approach the subject of War Crimes Trials fundamentally either as cynic or idealist.

This is, I think, because in essence the case for or against trying war criminals

depends on that controversial subject which has become succinctly known as human rights.

Your cynic says, "Human Rights? There are none."


Your idealist, however, takes the view that there are certain rights and freedoms

not created by lawyers but to which mankind as such are heir and which cannot be alienated.

It is a conception akin to the idea of the Law of Nature

which had such a wide influence on relationship in past centuries, although now somewhat outmoded.

The idea of fundamental Human Rights is one in which I firmly believe.




We have found safety with all things undying,

The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,

The deep night, birds singing, and  clouds flying,

And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.


We have found safety,

We have found safety that’s not for Time's throwing,

We have found safety,

Blest security,

‘Who is so safe as we?’



If our unfortunate generation has proved one thing it has demonstrated

that the barbarian is not behind us but always underneath us ready to rise up.



Deep night, morning, sleep and freedom,


The stir of wonder, birds singing, and tears of men and mirth,

We have found safety, and freedom, in the autumnal earth,

We have found safety, in winds, and clouds flying,

We have found safety, with all things undying,


We have found safety that’s not for Time's throwing,

We have found safety, and blest security,

We have found safety, and freedom, in the autumnal earth,


Deep night, morning, sleep and freedom



We have found safety with all things undying,

The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,

The deep night, birds singing, and  clouds flying,

And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.


We have found safety

We have found safety that’s not for Time's throwing

We have found safety

Blest security,

‘Who is so safe as we?’

‘Who is so safe as we?’


We have been tremendously busy.

The committee on Human Rights sat all Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and this morning.

After long debates the committee satisfactorily agreed to the draft which Tietgen and I had prepared

but it was very tense as a very clever Belguim socialist called Rolin, who is president of their Senate,

united with Ungoed-Thomas to kill or idea of a court.

The level of debate was very high indeed,

but keeping discussion within bounds and then yesterday putting 14 resolutions to the committee

of which all bar 3 required a vote required absolute application.

All the continentals are however very kind and complimentary about my presiding.




The Committee of Minsters have left out Human Rights so we must try to get the Assembly to put it back.....

After that we spent nearly two hours drafting subjects including human rights.

If the Council  of Foreign Ministers do not take it after the assembly has approved as I believe it will,

we are going to have a magnificent row about the rights of the assembly as well as the rights of man.

I can’t think what made the ministers reject it.


Arrow black small

Governments of Europe,          

like-minded, with a common heritage

of freedom, ideals, political traditions

and the rule of law

are in a position

to take the first step towards collective enforcement

of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration

and strive to secure their universal observance

Now the parties, re-affirm

their profound belief in these

Fundamental Freedoms

the foundation of justice

and peace in the world

and are best maintained

by political democracy

common understanding

and observance of Human Rights

of Human Rights


on which they depend




There are waters

There are waters blown



One day in 1947 Winston called me across the smoking room of the House of Commons

and asked me if I would join the committee of the United Europe Movement, of which he was chairman.

I had always been anxious to do something positive after the part I had played in destroying Nazi ideology,

and I accepted with enthusiasm. I wanted to do something about human rights.



There are waters

Blown by changing winds



    There are waters,

There are waters blown,

Stormy waters,

Blown by changing winds to laughter

And lit by the rich skies all day



Our draft had as its basis security for life and limb, freedom from arbitrary arrest,

freedom from slavery and compulsory labour, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of marriage, the sanctity of the family, equality before the law,

and freedom from arbitrary deprivation of property.

I was very anxious that we should get an international sanction in Europe behind the maintenance

of these basic decencies of life.



There is safety,

Shored in the dark tides  of a world at rest

War knows no power.

We are secure and blest.

Unshaken and free we shall stay.


And after,

Frost, with a gesture,

Stays the waves that dance

And wandering loveliness.

He leaves a white unbroken glory,

A gathered radiance,

A width,

A shining peace,

Under a tranquil night.



Between the Congress at the Hague

and the first meeting of the Assembly of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg,

I devoted considerable further study to a European Convention on Human Rights.

At home I had the invaluable aid of Professor Lauterpacht of Cambridge

and Professor Arthur Goodhart of Oxford.


“Our lunatic century is looking for a way of guaranteeing ordinary people a quiet life and there is, in my opinion, no more noble subject to which one of our leading juris-consults could devote his pen.”



There was of course resistance to the ideas.


Human Rights in the Council of Europe has, of course, started all wrong

as the results of the non-governmental committee which drew up their wonderful plan

for the European Court of Human Rights

and the extraordinary influence of what is called in the previous minute the  Council of Europe mystique.’


The then Lord Chancellor William Jowitt could not conceive of the convention or the court


‘Of course I realise that for political reasons we must - in some form or other – accept this draft Convention.

At the same time I feel bound to state that from the point of view of the administration of the law

I regard this necessity as an unqualified misfortune.

Our unhappy legal experts – (two distinguished Home Office officials) –

who would have expressed their complete inability to draft a Bill (for example)

to prevent the docking and nicking of horses –

have had to do their best to draw up a code compared to which the Code Napolean –

or indeed the 10 commandments – are comparatively insignificant.’



The Foreign office sighed and suggested


‘I wish some method could be devised – it really would be a most fruitful thing –

by which the Lord Chancellor and Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, who deals with things in the Assembly,

could be brought together to argue things out.’



I was elected chairman of the legal and administrative committee,

to which the question of human rights was referred.

I am proud of being the first British chairman of one of the principal committees

of the assembly of the Council of Europe.

I made a speech in the main meeting in which I asked my colleagues

to accept a system of collective security against tyranny and oppression.

It was, I said, a simple and safe insurance policy.