Ripple of Hope

American Newspaper Coverage

  1. Bobby Kennedy: a Political Safari
  2. Kennedy Gets Book On Apartheid, Gives One on U.S. Negroes
  3. Kennedy Denounces Apartheid as Evil
  4. Sen. Kennedy In South Africa Hits Policies
  5. Kennedy Foresees Crises for S. Africa
  6. Kennedy Sees Luthuli and Finds Him ‘Impressive’
  7. S. African Crowds Cheer Kennedy On Last Day of Visit
  8. Kennedy's Warns On Racial Issue
  9. Kennedy's Trek
Tuesday, June 7, 1966

Sen. Kennedy In S. Africa Hits Policies
From News Dispatches

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 6--Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) branded apartheid — South Africa's rigid racial segregation — as one of the evils of the world in a speech tonight to the multiracial National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).
     Kennedy told the students— about 7,000 of the audience estimated at 18,000 at Cape Town University — that they and youth everywhere had “to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” His speech made plain that this meant a more democratic society with “the full human equality of all our people” and said this was America’s commitment “outside our borders as it is within.”
     About one third of those who had gathered for the speech were unable to hear Kennedy because some of loudspeakers failed. A student leader said wires had been cut and that sabotage was suspected.
     Before he spoke, Kennedy had a surprise 20-minute meeting with Ian Robertson, the NUSAS president who is under restriction by the South African government and cannot attend any public gathering.
     Kennedy told Robertson he was sorry about the position Robertson was in, expressed the hope that things would turn out all right, and presented him with a copy of President Kennedy's book, “Profiles in Courage.” In his speech later, Kennedy noted Robertson's absence and said, “It is too bad he can't be with us today.”
     The Senator mentioned apartheid only once, saying: “There is discrimination in New York, apartheid in South Africa and serfdom in the mountains of Peru. People starve in the streets of India; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere.
     “These are differing evils; but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion…they mark the limit of our ability to use knowledge for the well being of others. And therefore they call upon common qualities of conscience and of indignation, a share determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and particularly around the world.”
     Kennedy dwelt on racial problems in the United States, and on American efforts to solve them. Citing Negro American accomplishments, he finished the list with Dr. Martin Luther King, “the second man of African descent to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent effort for social justice between races.”
     Kennedy also replied obliquely to criticism of him in the South African press by saying the way to oppose Communism is “not to imitate its dictatorship.” He added, “There are those in every land who would label as ‘Communist’ every threat of their privilege. But . . . the denial of freedom, in whatever name, only strengthens the very Communism it claims to oppose.”
     South Africa’s detention and other measures to control opposition to apartheid come under its “Suppression of Communism” laws.
     Kennedy also said that “in another world, cleansed of hate and fear,” South Africa could play a major role in helping to develop its black ruled neighbors, and cited South African scientists who had contributed to its technological advancement.
     The audience gave the Senator a thunderous five-minute ovation. Observers said the speech was the most important made by a visitor to South Africa since Harold Macmillan, then Prime Minister of Britain, first mentioned the “winds of change” in Africa while here in 1960.
     They also said the speech, despite its dignity and avoidance of harsh words in its criticism of apartheid, would almost certainly anger the South African government.
Before flying to Cape Town today, Kennedy met with black South African journalists in Pretoria at the home of U.S. Ambassador William Rountree. He had met with white journalists on Sunday.
     In another development there were reports that Albert Meyers, the correspondent of the U.S. News and World Report in Africa, had been expelled from South Africa. But Charles Foltz, an editor of the magazine in Washington, said Meyers had cabled to his home office that he was leaving because he was unable to file his stories. Foltz said that, as far as he knew, there was no suggestion that Meyers had been expelled from South Africa.