Abstract

This article examines the official position of the United States on economic, social, and cultural rights during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the detail of which is mysteriously absent from contemporary histories of human rights. An overlooked June 1947 US draft for an international bill of rights proves beyond doubt early official US support for economic, social, and cultural rights, if only in an aspirational Declaration rather than a legally-binding Covenant. The official US position shifted significantly over 1947 and 1948, but this US draft remained surprisingly significant for the eventual phrasing of the 1966 International Covenant on these rights.

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