Reporter: Pruitt, John.
In this WSB newsfilm clip from May 4, 1968, Secretary of State Dean Rusk speaks at the University of Georgia's Law Day while students protest his appearance and the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War. The sound drops-out and breaks-up throughout the clip.
The clip begins showing student demonstrators marching in front of Park Hall at the University of Georgia. Rusk was scheduled to speak in the Fine Arts Auditorium in Park Hall. The demonstrators, members of the Southern Student Organizing Committee, were hosted at the University of Georgia for the weekend by the Students for a Democratic Society. Many of the demonstrators carry picket signs. The slogans on the signs are not always readable. Some of the signs that are legible have slogans including "end the war now" and "Babies covered with napalm burn at 3,740 degrees end the damn Nam war." Policemen stand across the street from Park Hall and observe the demonstrators as they march.
Later two police motorcycles lead a motorcade as it approaches the rear of the building. A car with several people drives up. Dean Rusk and several other men get out of the car and walk towards the building. An off-screen voice asks "Where have you been?" Rusk pauses for a moment before being escorted inside the building. Inside the Fine Arts Auditorium in Park Hall, the audience begins clapping. A white man steps from the podium to welcome Rusk as he approaches. Rusk stands in front of the audience, puts on his glasses, and unfolds the papers in front of him. As Rusk speaks the camera shows audience members listening to his comments. Rusk's comments are not completely recorded and the audio is inconsistent. According to reports in the Athens Banner Herald and the Red and Black, the University of Georgia's student newspaper, Rusk spoke about the ongoing conflict in Southeast Asia, declaring that an honorable peace in the region means more than an end to the fighting in Vietnam. He also attacked the United Nations for its tolerance of obstruction. He asserted that while the United States will work for world peace, it cannot be the world's policeman. Newspaper reports quoted his summary of the situation, "In a world beset by violence, unrest, and, at best, uneasy peace, the burden of maintaining world security must be shared." Following Rusk's remarks, the audience applauds as he crosses the stage.
Outside, a man stands beside a car ready to open the door for Rusk. As Rusk exits the building, a reporter stops him and asks him about the upcoming negotiations in Paris between the United States and the governments of North and South Vietnam. Rusk indicates his approval of Paris, France, as a location for the negotiations. Asked about goals for the talks, Rusk reminds the reporter that President Lyndon B. Johnson has cautioned what while the purpose of the talks is peace, there are many obstacles ahead. Rusk later declines to speculate about the possibility of a cessation of hostilities as the talks begin and walks away from the reporter towards the car. While Rusk speaks to the reporter, people yell in the background. After Rusk walks toward the car, the camera turns to a young man who is shouting, "Kill for peace! Kill for peace!" Two law officers block the young man who walks back and forth while shouting. The camera turns back to Rusk has he gets into his car. Several women stand nearby and clap and cheer as the motorcade drives away.
President John F. Kennedy appointed Dean Rusk as secretary of state in 1961. Following the death of President Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked Rusk to continue serving in that capacity. During his tenure, Rusk became increasingly unpopular with opponents of the Vietnam War. His public appearances were often targeted by anti-war protesters. In the spring of 1968 the United States and the governments of North and South Vietnam agreed to meet in Paris, France on May 10, 1968 to try to negotiate an end of the conflict in the country. After various lengthy delays, the three governments signed the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 1973.
Title supplied by cataloger.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of demonstrators protesting the appearance of United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk at the University of Georgia Law Day; portions of Rusk's speech; and his comments to reporters as he leaves the event, Athens, Georgia, 1968 May 4, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1460, 30:34/33:56, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.