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Returning the compliment paid President Franklin D. Roosevelt '04 in the Oxford Convocation ceremonies here in June, 1941, Harvard University presented the Right Honorable Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws this noon. The degree was voted by the Corporation and the Board of Overseers in May, to be conferred at the first opportunity for Mr. Churchill to be in Cambridge.
A special academic meeting was called for the occasion in sanders Theatre, with all the pomp and ceremonial detail of a regular Commencement. After this, the Prime Minister addressed' the 6,000 uniformed Harvard students massed in review before Memorial Church, and a similar number of civilians who filled the Tercentenary Theatre to the doors of Widener.
In his formal address at the academic ceremony, the British Prime Minister made his strongest plea yet for continued Anglo-American cooperation, expressing the hope that the gift of a common language might "become the basis for common citizenship some day."
Describes Present Ties
"Whatever form the system of world security may take," he said, "nothing will work soundly or for long without the combined effort of the British and American people."
In another part of his address, the British leader warned against any American attempts at post-war isolation, saying that a nation cannot rise to a position of leadership in the civilized world without being involved in its quarrels.
Paying tribute to the work of the University in its conversion to the war effort, Churchill commented on the fact that "all classes and courses have been transformed" for war work with "even sacred vacation swept away" in the drive.
While discussing the importance of basic English as a factor in promoting post-war international unity, the Prime Minister noted that Harvard led the way in research on this subject, having done more than any other American institution.
Later, in his extemporaneous address to the assemblage in the Yard, Churchill emphasized that the war had not yet reached its climax, and told the trainees "I earnestly trust that when you find yourself alongside our soldiers and sailors in 1943 and 1944, you will feel that we are your working brothers in arms."
He also reiterated his previous statements that the British would continue fighting as long as there were any Axis forces anywhere on the earth.
Stresses Good Leadership
Speaking to a group consisting almost entirely of officers, the British leader stressed the importance of good leadership in battle, saying, "So much depends upon the officer. Not only does he animate, inspire, and direct, he must think and he must take care of the needs of all; all is entrusted to him."
After this address, the Prime Minister and members of the official party went to the Fogg Art Museum for a comparatively small luncheon given by the University before Mr. Churchill returned to the conferences begun at Quebec.
Churchill had barely arrived in Memorial Hall when the formal academic procession, led by Dr. Reginald Fitz '06. University Marshal, began to file into Sanders Theatre.
After the Faculty had entered and filled most of the platform and the center section of the orchestra. President Cenant and Prime Minister Churchill led the President's division into the theatre, with the entire assemblage rising as they mounted the steps to the platform.
Seated at the back of the platform were the members of the Corporation, with President. Conant in the middle. One hundred and eighteen members of the Senior Faculty filled the rest of the stage, with the Deans in the front row on the left and the Housemasters on the right.
There followed the regular proceedings of a Commencement, with Sheriff McElroy of Middlesex County calling the meeting to order, and the traditional prayers and anthems, with Governor Leverett Saltonstall '14 welcoming the Prime Minister and President Conant conferring the degree.
The text of the Governor's address:
More than 300 years ago John Harvard brought to us from England a faith in a land that was to grow beyond his time, and a firm determination that the youth of this land should have the benefits that come with learning. Today that spirit lives again in our distinguished guest from England, the Honorable Winston Chatebill.
As one soon to become an alumnus of Harvard, he is a living sample of the dream of our founders and fulfills our destiny is the words of "Fair Harvard": "from the Age that is past . . . to the Age that is waiting before."
Sir: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is proud to join Harvard in welcoming you today. Your presence here at a moment when our countries are engaged in fighting together on a world-wide front tells us more plainly than words that victory in battle alone will not bring lasting peace; that true peace will come only with our better understanding of one another. Such understanding rests upon the knowledge which John Harvard sought to make more widely available.
Today, when the freedom of education is uncertain, our guest comes to an institution which in periods of peace or of war, and under many leaders, has always pursued with determination the policy that truth can come only from the minds of men who are free. He comes to us as a man who dared to assume the leadership of his country at a moment of dire peril and yet to tell his countrymen that all he had to offer them was, "blood, and sweat and tears.": as one whose unfailing courage and optimism has never wavered, because be knows the worth of that freedom for which he is fighting; and as one who has sworn eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
He tells the truth in dark days as well as bright. That is why his people follow so confidently when he leads. That is why his allies are his steadfast comrades in arms. That is why our country and his will work together for a greater security for each other and for the others who love freedom throughout the world.
Mr. Churchill: You are an inspiring example of the motto of our great President Thomas Jefferson:
"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
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