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British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan Talks of 'Interdependence' at DePauw's Nationally Televised 119th Commencement

June 8, 1958

Audio Link [Download Audio: "Prime Minister Macmillan's Complete Address" - 13,822kb]; See Complete Speech

Harold Macmillan 1958 Address.jpgJune 8, 1958, Greencastle, Ind. - "British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan stood bareheaded under a broiling Indiana sun Sunday and talked hopefully of his future to people of his mother's home state and a DePauw University graduating class," begins an Associated Press summary of today's commencement exercises. "The prime minister, first in office to visit the midwest, told a shirt-sleeved audience of 6,200 that neither Great Britain nor the United States any longer can afford to think parochially. The people of the free world, he said, must see that their political thought and economic policies catch up with scientific and technical advances," writes Dale Burgess. Video Link [Download Video: "Clip #1 of Prime Minister Macmillan" - 4729kb]

"Prosperity is indivisible," stated Macmillan. With Great Britain Macmillan Commencement 1.jpgexperiencing the highest level of unemployment since World War II, the prime minister asserted that "there are too many artificial barriers to the free flow of money and trade in the free world."

Macmillan spoke to the 410-member Class of 1958 in DePauw's Blackstock Stadium on a muggy, 87 degree afternoon on a day when there was a tornado to the west. The 27-minute address was carried live nationally by NBC-TV and radio outlets. Video Link[Download Video: "Clip #2 of Prime Minister Macmillan" - 1602kb]

The view that the current world struggle will end either in war or by the triumph of communism is "too pessimistic a judgment," Macmillan told the 119th commencement at the University. He believes, "Russia will eventually turn away from materialistic doctrine and seek answers to such old questions as theharold macmillan honorary degree.jpg purpose of life. Is there sin? Is there God?"

It is Macmillan's view that if the interdependence the free world now realizes in matters of defense could be developed on the political and economic levels, the threat of communism will erode. "There are too many barriers to the free flow of money and trade in the free world," he said, adding that they are "barriers established when modern civilization and material progress were in their infancy."

During the proceedings, Prime Minister Macmillan was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, which was also witnessed by the coast-to-coast NBC television audience. Video Link [Download Video: "Prime Minister Macmillan Receives Honorary Degree" - 2610kb]

The prime minister addressed the crowd as "fellow Hoosiers," noting that his grandfather, Dr. Joshua Tarleton Belles was a graduate of DePauw (Indiana Asbury). 

Unlike the heads of many nations, Macmillan does not avid crowds. His route to Greencastle was announced via the media to permit people to wave as his motorcade came into the city and proceeded to the home of DePauw President Russell J. Humbert. Many people along the route MacMillan Car Humbert.jpgspoke to Macmillan and the prime minister offered replies. Along Ind. 240, families waited at the end of their gravel driveways for the motorcade. The same scenes could be found along U.S. 40 in towns such as Bridgeport, Plainfield, Bellesville and Stilesville, which the prime minister passed through as he made his way to DePauw. Humbert joined Macmillan in the open convertible for the drive to Blackstock Stadium.

An MP3 audio file of Harold Macmillan's complete address can be accessed and downloaded here: Audio Link[Download Audio: "Prime Minister Macmillan's Complete Address" - 13,822kb]. Several short video clips from the speech can be found at the top of this summary, or view a complete edition at YouTube.

Prime Minister Macmillan's visit was previewed in today's Chicago Tribune magazine. Read more in this story.

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