Secretary of State Alexander Haig and White House counselor Edwin Meese III both encountered heckling and protests aimed at U.S. policy in El Salvador as the two men gave commencement addresses, Haig at Fairfield University in Connecticut, Meese at the University of San Diego law school.
Several hundred protesters demonstrated outside the Fairfield campus and 22 faculty members, who were both applauded and jeered, walked out of the ceremonies as Haig rose to get an honorary degree. Three persons at separate places in the audience of 7,000 stood to shout "murderer" at Haig. One was reportedly arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Haig alluded briefly to one heckler who shouted "Mr. Haig is a murderer." "It reminds me of one of my staff meetings," Haig said.
After the heckling was ended, Haig received polite attention and was applauded for his reference to the United States as a "place where politics and freedom of the mind are compatible."
In his speech Haig said the U.S. must counter Soviet intervention in third world countries as "a task of humanitarian concern" to enable those countries to develop freely. He rejected what he said was an "artificial distiinction between the goal of security and the goal of development."
In San Diego, nearly 50 demonstrators, chanting and carrying signs on a hillside above the university football field, prompted a brief halt in Meese's speech.
As protesters chanted "No draft, no war, get us out El Salvador," Meese said, "I hear that I am being accompained by a chorus. I hope it won't drown out the remarks." He was applauded and continued his address on lawyers' responsibilties and challenges.
Several dozen law school graduates wore arm-bands that one said were in silent protest of Meese's recent characterization of the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an informal lobby to oppose law enforcement.