October 31, 2017

1941. Youth Conduct in Air Raid Shelters Worries Londoners

Officials Fret About "Lack of Moral Guidance" Among Youth
A gang of "Dead End Kids" gather in an air raid shelter in London in April 1941 (Getty)
United Press story printed in the Kansas City Kansan, 1941:
Adolescent Morals New British Worry
"Dead Enders" Sent to Country Profit But Air Raid Shelter Conduct of Youth Is Problem
United Press Staff Correspondent

London. — (UP) Two phases of the problem of bringing up children in the midst of war were receiving public attention today.

One concerned the 17 and 18-year-old adolescents of both sexes who are together night after night in the air raid shelters.

The other concerned the "dead end" kids of the cities, finding a new life in the country.

Watson Boyce, probation officer of the Southwark juvenile court, called public attention to the first.

"There are few boys and girls aged 17 and 18 living in present conditions for whose chastity I would be prepared to vouch," he said.

Often he has seen adolescents of different sexes refuse to spend the night in the same shelter their parents were using, and make up a common bed in another. He saw two adolescent girls appear at one shelter "wearing raincoats and little else."

Londoners were becoming more conscious of this problem. A group of prominent social workers wrote The Times calling attention to the lack of moral guidance for adolescents in air raid shelters.  They said, "another winter in shelters under present conditions would have a gravely demoralizing effect upon the coming generation."

The Times, commenting editorially, urged authorities to act quickly and effectively while there was yet time.

The other phase was encouraging to those concerned for the new generation of British men and women. It told of the happiness of "dead end" kids, who are learning to milk cows, and the little beribboned girls from the cities, who are learning from whence come eggs.

Herwold Ramsbotham, president of the board of education, said that 600,000 school children in the country now have greater practical education facilities than they ever had before.

"I dare say some folk have conjured up pictures of schooling abandoned and children largely left uncared for and running wild," Ramsbotham said. "I am glad to say, however, that such a picture has no relation to the actual position."

Ramsbotham admitted that education facilities had suffered by the move through loss of facilities for special work in science, handicraft and related subjects.

October 30, 2017

1934. Anti-Fascist and Fascist Students Clash on College Campuses

Fascist Italian Student Delegations Visit the United States
A crowd of 2,000 students at the City College of New York protest the expulsion of 21 antifascist students and call for the removal of college president Frederick B. Robinson, November 20, 1934 (source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how The New York Times covered the rise and fall of fascism in Europe. In 1934, the City College of New York's president Frederick B. Robinson invited a delegation of Fascist Italian students to visit the campus. It attracted a large protest from anti-fascist students and resulted in several expulsions. The Times reported on the incident. Similar protests occurred at New York University and Princeton around the same time.

From The New York Times, October 10, 1934:
Visiting Group Ushered Out of City College Hall After Free-for-All Begins
Outsider Ejected—200 N. Y. U. Students Attend an Anti-Mussolini Meeting
Anti-Fascist outbreaks marred two college receptions yesterday to visiting groups of Italian Fascist honor students, causing a free-for-all fight among undergraduates at City College and a slight disturbance at Princeton, where a townsman was blamed.

At the same time, a number of New York University students protested plans for welcoming ceremonies in honor of the visitors today.

The Italian students, 350 strong, and representing twenty-six universities, are touring American institutions of higher learning. One group of sixteen visited City College yesterday and another group of thirty went to Princeton.

Robinson Denounces Hecklers

The City College disturbers were denounced by Dr. Frederick B. Robinson, president of the college, who was heckled during his address of welcome. Dr. Robinson declared that the conduct of some of the students "was worse than that of guttersnipes" and warned that "those who were found out would be accommodated with the type of treatment they deserve."

The anti-Fascist feeling at City College manifested itself yesterday morning, before the arrival of the visitors, when a group of undergraduates, carrying placards, marched in a picket line before the entrance to the main building.

The Great Hall was filled with students at noon when the sixteen visitors, accompanied by Dr. Robinson, Dean Morton Gottschall, Professors Alonso Arbib-Costa and Felix Weill of the romance language department and members of the undergraduate Italian Club, entered. As they passed down the aisle to the speakers' platform a mixed chorus of boos and cheers greeted them.

After addresses by Dr. Robinson and others, Edwin Alexander Jr., a student, approached the microphone and said the student council had been invited to greet the visitors and he was its representative. He said the City College undergraduates meant no personal discourtesy to the visitors but he had "a message to the enslaved and tricked student body in Italy."

At that point other students on the platform pushed him away from the microphones. Members of the audience surged forward and there were hand-to-hand fights with the attendants and students, who attempted to drive them back.

Meanwhile the visitors left by way of a rear door.

After the meeting in the Great Hall several students held an Anti-Fascist rally in Lewisohn Stadium, where they passed a resolution asking the dismissal of Dr. Robinson.

Man Ejected at Princeton

The disturbances at Princeton occurred at the close of ceremonies in the faculty room of Nassau Hall, while the Italian students were singing the Fascist national anthem, composed by Dr. Giuseppe Blanc, who was there with them.

David Di Donato, a resident of Princeton but not a student, arose and shouted in English and Italian, "Down with Mussolini!" The visitors finished the anthem and marched in a body to the other end of the room, where Di Donato was being jostled by some of the 150 Princeton students and townsmen in the audience.

Joseph Patuelli, a student from the University of Bologna, who headed the group of visitors, intervened and persuaded spectators to leave Di Donato alone. Di Donato was escorted out of the hall and off the campus.

Joseph Patuelli, one of the students, presented to the university a book containing the histories of the Italian universities, and invited representatives from Princeton to be present at the inauguration of the University of Rome next Summer.

About 200 N. Y. U. students held a meeting in Washington Square Park here under the auspices of the university chapter of the Student League for Industrial Democracy and the National Student League, in protest against the welcoming of the Italian students at the Hall of Fame this afternoon by the university's Circolo Italiano.

At the Hotel Lincoln several of the dozen visitors who are of Jewish extraction declared there was no discrimination against Jews in Italy.
From The New York Times, October 11, 1934:
No Disorder at Hall of Fame as Visitors, Shouting 'Il Duce!' Confront Anti-Fascists
Dean to Talk to Parents About Fight There Before Taking And Further Action
Unabashed by an anti-Fascist meeting of New York University students, a group of visiting Italian honor students emerging from a reception at the Hall of Fame yesterday hoisted one of their number on their shoulders and had him address the assembly in English.

Although New York University students made the occasion an excuse to protest against fascism, there was no disorder such as the free-for-all fight that marked the reception of the Italian visitors at City College on Tuesday. As a result of the City College outbreak, five undergraduates were forbidden yesterday to attend classes pending final disposition of their cases.

200 Italians in Group

Two hundred young Italians, part of a delegation making a good-will tour of American universities, made up the group that visited the uptown centre of N. Y. U., where Dr. Robert Underwood Johnson, director of the Hall of Fame, welcomed them as "representatives of great institutions of learning."

After the reception they encountered a protest meeting on the steps of the Gould Memorial Library, which had been arranged by the Heights Liberal Club, the National Student League and the Student League for Industrial Democracy.

The Italians raised their hands in the Fascist salute, shouting "Il Duce! Il Duce!" Seventeen policemen lined up as a barrier between the two groups. Then the visitors hoisted Piero Vinci, captain of the All-Italian rugby team, on their shoulders.

"We came to the United States," said Vinci, "to find out what kind of life you lead. We invite you to come to Italy to see the progress we have made in the last ten years."

Students in charge of the protest meeting tried to point out that their demonstration was not aimed against the visitors or against the Italian people but against fascism. Some of the visitors asked for a translation of these remarks into Italian, but the police intervened with the request that their leaders parade them away from the scene.

Later, Professor Alvin C. Busse announced that representatives of the Italian students had agreed to debate the Heights Liberal Club on "Fascism versus Democracy." The date for the debate was not given.

City College Action

The five City College students who were forbidden to attend classes until further notice were Gilbert Cutler, Charles Goodwin and Leo Rubenstein, juniors, and Morris Milgram and Edwin Alexander, sophomores. They were called from their studies yesterday morning and told by Dean Morton Gottschall that they were not to return until the dean had had an opportunity to talk with their parents.

Mark Eisner, chairman of the Board of Higher Education, said that the City College authorities had not asked his board to act on the matter.

At the college, opinions on Tuesday's demonstration was sharply divided. Two undergraduate newspapers expressed the view that the college administration should have averted the demonstration by canceling the visit. Professor Allen Overstreet of the Philosophy Department gave a statement to The Campus, an undergraduate tri-weekly, deploring the fact that the visitors could not have been courteously received and courteously informed "of our own fundamental belief in free speech and the liberties of man."

October 29, 2017

1949. Reports of a Shakeup for the U.S. Military Government in Germany

Plans for Shift of Responsibility to the State Department
"American and Russian soldiers during the Changing of the Guard ceremony in front of the entrance to Spandau Prison," 1949 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

January 30, 1949

The impending revision of American military government in Germany, following the Secretary of War's request to shift the responsibility from the Army to the State Department, is not expected to take place before next summer.

Authorities here believe that there is little likelihood that General Clay would step out of his job as American military governor until a provisional government for the Western zones has been established by the Germans.

German politicians right now are writing a constitution in Bonn. They do not think they will complete their work until June or July.

For many months General Clay has been stating privately that he has held the exacting and difficult job in Berlin too long—that he is extremely tired.

Also it has been the opinion of many experts here that the function of directing policy on so vital a matter as Germany belongs to the State Department and not the Army.

Criticism of the present military governor that General Clay has made police on his own—that he has acted first before getting instructions—mostly has been the result of the division of authority between the State Department and the Army in Washington.

Reports have been current for some time that a shakeup is due in American military government here, possibly as the first step in a State Department campaign to reach some kind of settlement with the Soviet Union over the German problem.

Diplomatic observers, in adding up conciliatory speeches from Italian and French communists, President Truman's expressed desire for understanding, and America's new State Department leadership—all of these things seemed to point to important new diplomatic moves.

However, here in Berlin this morning, any existing optimism has almost vanished. The new Russian attacks against the North American defense pact and the vitriolic charges of sabotaging of the peace by Western Powers seems to have set the diplomatic clock back exactly where it was seven months ago when Russia imposed the Berlin Blockade.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

October 28, 2017

1967. Reshaping the Smithsonian's Image

Smithsonian Plans for Ambitious New Projects
Smithsonian staff working on an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC in the 1960s (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

January 5, 1967

Washington's Smithsonian Institution is like no national museum in the world. It appears to have been started by a fraternity of compulsive string-savers, maidenly antique collectors, and overenthusiastic hobbyists whose interests ranged from aardvark tongues to zebra hides.

Dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge and science, the Smithsonian's motto seems to have been that remark familiar to every do-it-yourself handyman. You know the motto. It goes: "Don't throw it away. We can find a use for it later."

Thus the visitor touring the the Smithsonian's many buildings used to find Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis monoplane, soaring over a collection of Civil War uniforms who compete for attention with cases of old political campaign buttons dating from the days of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."

Over the years, this hodgepodge of fascinating Americana has earned the noble Institution the label as "the nation's attic." And there still are people who say that no one will ever be able to sort and classify its millions of items, which include some of the most banal sculptures and artwork ever assembled in one place. Let it also be noted that the good work in the Smithsonian's galleries include some of the best art in the world.

Nevertheless, in recent years new and younger curators and experts have joined the Smithsonian. And bit by bit, as new buildings rise, they are reshaping the Institution's displays into exciting new patterns.

Museums, they say, have gotten a bad name over the centuries as being kind of mausoleums of the dead past. Instead, they should be exciting places where men can make a lively identification with their heritage. This new school of curators believe that the museums belong to the people, not only to the students and scholars.

In fact, the Smithsonian's director of education, Charles Blitzer, says that if the public doesn't come to the museums, then the museums should go to the people—and not only in the neighborhood cultural centers such as schools and churches.

Blitzer thinks there should be museum displays in the local barrooms, in the pool parlors, at the corner drugstore or the local beaneries—everywhere and anywhere the people go.

Now Blitzer has had another idea. The Smithsonian has recreated the past with displays of the kind of homes, kitchens, and bedrooms our American ancestors lived in, the kind of clothing they wore, the kind of tools they used and the dishes they ate out of.

"But suddenly it occurred to me," the young curator explained, "that the railroad flat of earlier industrialized America probably had more influence on our time than Abe Lincoln's log cabin."

Consequently, Blitzer has proposed that the Smithsonian search the slum areas of Washington or Baltimore, find an old-time railroad flat complete with the interminable hallway, tiny parlor, and crowded cold-water kitchen, and take the whole thing apart board by board and rebuild it in the Institution.

To make the display realistic, the visitor should be able to hear the scurrying of the resident rats in the walls. And perhaps outside there could be the roaring vibration of the steam locomotives highballing down the main line outside the windows.

It remains to be decided whether the Smithsonian will actually go ahead with its railroad flat exhibit. We hope they do. We can smell that mixture of wet-wash and corned beef and cabbage now.

This is Bill Downs for ABC News in Washington.

October 27, 2017

1941. Hollywood Stars Return to Britain to Contribute to the War Effort

Hidden Celebrities in World War II Britain
"Hollywood actors Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh with Lieutenant Mary Churchill and Colonel Harry Lebar, commanding officer of the 381st Bomb Group on the control tower at Ridgwell, during a visit 21 April 1944" (source)
Hollywood Stars Join the Fight
United Press Staff Correspondent

London, May 30, 1941 (United Press) — Diligent inquiry for George Arliss, he of the suave diplomacy and disconcerting monocle, was getting exactly nowhere.

The people who ought to have known where the famous actor was, didn't. Finally a harried agent, in a fit of pique or an honest effort to be helpful:

"I believe he is flying a Spitfire in the RAF."

Since the record books say George Arliss was born in London on April 10, 1868, there didn't seem to be much use in following that line of investigation, so the search was abandoned.

Life among the theatrical folk is like that in Britain these days. Second only to a Nazi, the hardest thing to find is one of the dozen movie stars who returned from the United States to do their bit.

It's no trouble at all to find the King of Norway, Queen of Holland, half a dozen countesses, or even the office janitor if you have a spare couple of hours to throw in the effort. But just try to find out where Robert Donat or David Niven, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, Leslie Howard or Ann Dvorak, Arliss or Clive Brooke, Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon are hiding.

Most of them have secret telephone numbers and leave orders with their favorite bartenders not to whisper a soul where they hang their hats.

To make it tougher, as if it weren't tough enough already, many of them are doing so much traveling that not even their press agents know where they are. Which is just about the ultimate in toughness.

All the well-known entertainers, including those with the secret telephone numbers, really are doing a great job keeping up with the spirit of the Tommies. That's one of the reasons they are so hard to find. Between radio concerts, plays, and films, there just isn't time to go around leaving calling cards.

For instance, Robert Donat is doing regular broadcasts aimed at Australia. He also is getting ready to make the picture "Pitt the Younger," which he hopes to crowd in between charity shows.

It looked like a big victory finally to get hold of the telephone number and address of Vivien Leigh, the Scarlett O'Hara girl. The bubble burst with the discovery that the house had been bombed out, and Miss Leigh and her husband, Laurence Olivier, had moved to the country.

Further research brought out that Miss Leigh is a "service widow" with Olivier in training for service in the Fleet Air Arm. Which branch he was in was not disclosed, but the boys who should know say his 33 years would prevent him from becoming a "glamor boy"—or fighter pilot—but he might qualify as a "bus driver"—or bomber pilot.

Niven is a captain in the Scots Guards. He may get a leave soon to make a picture about bomb disposal squads. He has a special clause in his contract providing that "work on any picture is to be suspended so Niven may return to his regiment. Work will be started immediately after an invasion attempt has failed."

Leslie Howard lives in a Surrey country house and has been busy making a picture called "'Pimpernel' Smith."

And Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon are known throughout Britain since they started a radio series with the comedian Vic Oliver. Proceeds from the program go to the troops. They are making a picture with the program's title, "Hi Gang!"

October 26, 2017

1967. The Rank-Happy Capital of the United States

Protocol and Prestige in Washington
United States Capitol during the 1959-1960 restoration (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

March 28, 1967

During the past fifty years or so that Washington, D.C. has been growing into one of the major capitals of the world, this politically-conscious community has also become the most "rank-happy" town outside of Annapolis or West Point.

We've seen full-fledged eagle colonels emptying ashtrays for one-star generals. And on military aircraft, it's an unhappy sergeant who gets off the ship in front of a lieutenant—thus violating military protocol about deplaning according to rank.

Originally, protocol was a diplomatic word invented to keep ambassadors from physically cutting each other's throats at international peace conferences, embassy receptions, and legation cocktail parties. "Protocol," according to the dictionary, "is the code prescribing deference to rank and strict adherence to due order of precedence and correct procedure in diplomatic exchanges and ceremonies..."

Thus, in many ways Washington is very much like certain ancient Oriental societies, which have been described as a nation lined up single file, the emperor at the head of the line and the lowliest and most miserable peasant at the tail. Everyone in those aged lands had his place in the population line, with someone higher ranking ahead to kowtow to, and with someone of lesser station behind to kick back on.

Thus in Congress, along Embassy Row, in the State Department, Pentagon, and virtually all government agencies, the question of the official pecking order becomes increasingly vital to the ambitious.

The so-called status symbols take on exaggerated significance for the energetic bureaucrat or politician trying to get ahead. The silent and bloody guerrilla warfare which raises among the staffs of senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill comes to light every once in a while in the bitter struggle for working space in the congressional office buildings there. Office suites with corner windows are a symbol of political status and seniority.

Back during the early days of the Eisenhower Administration, the status symbol was rugs. Wall-to-wall carpeting meant that the government official had at least Cabinet influence at the White House. But even a new 10 by 12-foot rug meant a man was a comer. And in those days, the men with the rugs were easy to identify. It seems that the new government carpeting had a tendency to shed; the bureaucrat with tufts of rug on his shoes or trouser cuffs was a man to watch.

When President John Kennedy was organizing his office, the predominant mark of high station in the New Frontier Administration was youth. And you may remember that a lot of desk-bound softies ended up with charley horses trying to convert themselves into amateur fullbacks on the office touch football teams.

Today we have news of yet another mark of rank in the Washington hierarchy. Since he took office, President Johnson has been intent on applying Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's cost effectiveness programs to the federal bureaucracy.

The General Services Administration has been making job studies, consolidating staff duties, combining offices, and even having a look at the government's outdated furniture, most of which seems to have been designed for Roman emperors.

The GSA has been replacing a lot of big space-wasting walnut and mahogany desks with more modern, more efficient metal furniture.

But the orders now have been promulgated. Only civil servants who earn $17,500 a year or more will be allowed to fly one of those big, bi-motored wooden desks, the kind of desk that a man can really get his feet on.

This is Bill Downs for ABC reporting from Washington.

October 25, 2017

1949. Secretary of State Acheson Lays Out American Foreign Policy in Berlin

Acheson Meets With Allied High Commissioners in Germany
"President Truman with John McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (center), and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, in the Oval Office of the White House," January 23, 1950 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

November 14, 1949

Secretary of State Dean Acheson today pledged continued United States aid to Berlin as long as the German people are determined to struggle for peace and freedom.

The American foreign secretary arrived in this divided city this forenoon and was given a military welcome by the Berlin military post. Several hundred Berliners stood through a drizzling rain to see the official party drive through Airlift square at Tempelhof airdrome.

At a news conference held shortly afterward at High Commissioner John McCloy's headquarters, Acheson gave a general outline of United States foreign policy, at the same time taking a slap at the Chinese Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek.

The world's problems fall into two categories, the secretary of state declared. First, there is a problem of a group of nations thrusting in every direction in an attempt to infiltrate democracy. These must be stopped.

Then, he said, there are other problems—which would exist even without the presence of Soviet Russia—such as postwar economic recovery, reconstruction, and such.

Acheson said the United States stood ready to aid all peace-loving countries in attempting to meet these problems—but only if they attempted also to help themselves.

"I am tired of hearing the statement in America that our foreign policy in the Far East has failed," Acheson declared. "It was not our failure but the failure of Chinese policy."

He said that Berlin had become the symbol of courage and spirit during the days of the Russian blockade. "But today Berlin is becoming another kind of symbol...a symbol of the continuing struggle which must go on between East and West and which will call for effort and resolve on the part of all Germans."

Acheson said that he knew of no plans for further Four Power foreign ministers' meetings on the German problem, but said that he would be glad to see his old friend, General Chuikov, Russian high commissioner, while in Berlin.

The secretary will see Oberbürgermeister Ernst Reuter and other West Berlin city officials this afternoon. This evening he will attend a reception given by High Commissioner McCloy to which all heads of missions, including the Russians, have been invited.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

November 15, 1949

The American, British, and French high commissioners this morning had three hours of secret negotiations with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer; negotiations ordered by the conference of foreign ministers in Paris which eventually will reveal West Germany's new place in the European community of nations.

One report has it that the high commissioners proposed an end to dismantling of German industries in exchange for the government's guarantee that German economic power would not again be turned to war production.

The secret nature of these talks between victors and vanquished are without precedent in diplomatic history. Although we are still technically at war with Germany, and although there has been no final settlement of reparations and war costs, the West now is negotiating with Germany as an ally.

It is the first step in the new American foreign policy to bring German production and the German market into Western European recovery plans, and eventually, I am informed, to bring Western Germany into European defense plans.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson is now on his way back to Washington, winding down his visit to Berlin at a reception last night given by High Commissioner John McCloy.

The reception was marked by the attendance of the Soviet high commissioner, General Vasily Chuikov; the Russian Berlin commandant, General Kotikov; and other Russian officials.

General Chuikov, who I first met in Stalingrad, was most affable, although he carefully refrained from discussing current affairs with reporters present.

The Soviet military leaders talked with Secretary Acheson at length, and for once an American diplomat turned the tables of hospitality and gave the Russian representatives some of their own strenuous treatment.

When Chuikov was bidding goodbye to Acheson, the secretary of state insisted that they have a final drink of brandy. Chuikov at first refused, but accepted a large glass when it was handed him. The two men toasted each other and started to drink. Both men watched each other, but Acheson proved himself up to Russian standards and emptied his glass in one gulp. Chuikov followed suit. It was clearly an American victory—at least that's what the diplomats call it.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

October 24, 2017

1950. Scottish Nationalism on the Rise

Support for Home Rule in Scotland
A man displays posters advocating home rule in Scotland soon after Scottish students removed the Stone of Scone from London, January 23, 1951 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS London

February 19, 1950

It might be said that this land of Scotland is to the British Isles what New England is to the United States—plus a wee bit of whiskey on its breath.

Not that the Scots are immoral with their whiskey, for nowhere do temperance societies flourish with more vehemence. But whiskey is a major dollar-earner and a sterling product of which Scotsmen are proud. And far from being parsimonious, on the subject of Scotch whiskey any American walking into an Edinburgh pub will find the Scot generous to a fault, if you know what I mean. Anyway, it's one way of finding out what people are thinking about the election.

Next Thursday some 3 million, 370 thousand Scotsmen and women of various persuasion will go to the polls. They will send 71 members of parliament to London, and will tell you to a man that they should be sending them to a Scottish parliament in the traditional capital of Edinburgh.

In the 1945 election, the swing to Labour was felt even in this Highland country. The Unionist—or conservative—party elected 27 MPs. The Socialists put in twelve more for a total of 39 members. There were also five Liberals, one Independent, plus Parliament's most likable Communist member, Willie Gallagher.

But like Wales and Ireland, there is a theme that runs through Scottish politics that the visitor finds a little startling. It is the Scottish nationalism, which expresses itself in organizations which want complete independence from England with a Scot foreign minister to deal with her—to more mild groups who hope for a Scottish ministry in Edinburgh where Scots can handle their own affairs.

Generally most Scots resent being governed from 300 miles away in London. And during this election some feelings have run high. In Glasgow, the Minister of State for Scotland was greeted by extremists with signs calling him Scotland's Quisling.

This sense of independence is illustrated by a story that used to be told during the dark days of 1940. In Glasgow they were saying, "If England has to give in, it will be a long war."

How is the election going to go in Caledonia?

I could find no Scotsman who was sure. Both the Labour and Unionist parties are claiming victory. It is certain that Communist Willie Gallagher is going to have a fight to keep his parliamentary seat. In talking with people in their homes and in the pubs, I found many who said they were switching from Labour to Conservative.

But there is little apathy in the election temperament of the people. I walked innocently into a butcher shop in a working class neighborhood in Edinburgh the other day. My recording machine was on—I escaped with my life.

This is Bill Downs in London. I return you now to Howard Smith.

October 23, 2017

1967. Considering the United States' Place in the World

President Lyndon Johnson on Abraham Lincoln's Legacy
President Lyndon Johnson lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial during a ceremony marking the 158th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, February 12, 1967 (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

February 12, 1967

The District of Columbia originally was a ten-mile square piece of land arbitrarily drawn across the tidal reaches of the Potomac river—a plan made at the instigation and urging of George Washington.

It seems that the Continental Congress became so embroiled over where in the original thirteen colonies the capital of the republic should be located that there was concern by the first president that the struggling government might flounder on this comparatively minor question.

The Southerners feared that the big cities of the North would dominate the new federal government if the national capital was located in New York, Boston, or Philadelphia. The Northerners wanted the new Union to have a government center worthy of comparison with other world capitals such as London, Paris, and Madrid.

So to solve the problem, Washington, Jefferson, and other leaders of the thirteen sovereign states drew a line—or rather four lines—that formed a box on the Potomac border between Maryland and Virginia, those two states ceding the one hundred square miles of land for what has become Washington, DC.

Ironically, the District of Columbia is the only bit of territory in these United States which still does not grant a full franchise to its citizens—an undemocratic situation affecting more than a half million Americans who gradually are breaking down congressional resistance to home rule.

The point of this story is that mankind for centuries has had a penchant for drawing lines to solve his problems—historical lines which delineated not only his geography, but also which attempted to contain his ideology.

Perhaps the most abiding and consistent foolishness of the civilizations which have made up the earth's history is the mistaken belief that an idea can be contained by a national border, or that a man's spirit can be controlled in a cage or smothered in a prison.

Since the dynasty era of the Chinese emperors, men have been drawing lines of one kind or another. The Great Wall of China still stands as a monument to this Asiatic linear folly.

In the formative days of the United States, a pair of surveyors named Mason and Dixon drew the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania. As you know, the Mason-Dixon line once was supposed to be the traditional division between the North and the South. But it long has ceased to have any meaning.

In this century, Europe abounded with "lines" of one kind or another—the Maginot Line, the Mannerheim Line, the Siegfried Line—all of them as monumentally futile as the China wall.

And after World War II, history has inflicted another line on the continent—that twelve hundred mile string of minefields and barbed wire that cuts through the center of Europe known as the Iron Curtain. The Berlin Wall is another example of line-drawing and perhaps the most stupid of them all, since it is, so to speak, a line within a line.

Now the United States finds herself confronted with other lines in other parts of the globe. There's the 39th parallel dividing North and South Korea. And now, of course, the line of most immediate and costly importance to Americans, the so-called Demilitarized Zone along the 17th parallel which divides North and South Vietnam.

Perhaps it is a proper thing to do on this 158th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln to recall the words leading to his Civil War decision to grant freedom to the American Negro.

You know them well. "A house divided against itself cannot stand," he declared. A nation "cannot endure, permanently, half-slave and half-free."

President Johnson went to Washington's Lincoln Memorial today to underscore those words. Pointing out that the man from Illinois originally was more interested in preserving the Union than in freeing the three-to-four million slaves mostly concentrated in the South. Lincoln at first advocated separate ways for the white and black people of the country, even considering a mass exodus of the slaves to Africa or Central America.

But Lincoln changed his mind. President Johnson pointed this out today with emphasis—perhaps underlining Mr. Johnson's own break with the Southern racial prejudices and attitudes which he inherited.

The pressures of events—the demands of Negro spokesmen of both the Lincoln and Johnson eras demanded their full rights as Americans in the land they had helped to build.

In the words of Lyndon Johnson at the Memorial today, "So Lincoln began his troubled journey towards a new concept which would go beyond theories of black power or white power; beyond the ancient blinders of racism to the establishment of a multi-racial community in which a man's pride in his racial origins would be wholly consistent with his commitment to the common endeavor."

Such a concept of racial equality was ideologically and economically unfeasible to the Southern slaveholders. To them, Mr. Lincoln was preaching treason—and worse. And not only black Americans felt—and still feel—the effects of fearful ignorance and prejudice. The Civil War did not end this too brutally human phenomenon. There were the Irish, the Jews, the Italians, the Poles, Hungarians, Russians, Swedes, Japanese, and Chinese and virtually every other racial minority whose strange language and customs set him apart when he arrived on these shores.

Self-appointed supermen seem to be always on hand to save the world for themselves. The irony of it is that some of the Americans who fought hardest against Adolf Hitler's National Socialist racial purists returned home to join his bloody ghost in race-baiting organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the bully-boy American Nazi movement.

Perhaps President Johnson was being overly optimistic when he asserted today that: "It has required the hard lessons of a hundred years to make us realize, as [Lincoln] realized, that emancipating the Negro was an act of liberation for the whites."

"...[N]o man can truly live in creative equality," Mr. Johnson said, "when society imposes the irrational spiritual poverty of discrimination on any man."

This was the lesson that former schoolteacher Lyndon Johnson was trying to teach out at the Lincoln Memorial today—that he who would enslave his brother, becomes his brother's slave.

Most historians agree that the most startling and revolutionary political development since the Magna Carta was the creation and founding of the government of the United States of America. Not only did the framers of the Constitution proclaim that all men, in the eyes of the law of this new government, were created equal; they defined the goals of the infant democracy to be dedicated to the lives of its citizens, to their pursuit of happiness, and most important of all, to their individual liberty.

This concept of government is still capturing the imagination of peoples around the world. The American Revolution started something which is still going on, because justice and democracy is the unfinished business of the modern world.

Consequently, here in Washington since the founding of the capital there has been going on a philosophical debate among American leaders and thinkers concerning the United States' political responsibility to the rest of the world. In the early decades of the nation and up to the early years of this twentieth century, it was a question to be discussed over wine and cigars with a Jefferson or a Franklin; with a Daniel Webster or Elihu Root.

But World War I broke once and for all the American democracy's isolation from the world. And the development of US power to leadership of the Free World during World War II has taken the old debate out of the realm of philosophy into twentieth century reality.

Although some members of Congress still today are questioning the nation's worldwide commitments, the United States now has mutual security treaties with more than forty countries scattered throughout the globe. Others speak of "over-commitment" and the impossibility of playing "policeman to the world."

Foreign aid has become a dirty epithet in some areas of Capitol Hill. Disillusionment with the progress of the Vietnam War seems to be generating an incipient kind of neo-isolationism at a time when worldwide communications are being opened up by space satellites presenting immense opportunities for Americans to establish an electronic dialogue with all other peoples of the globe.

This advancement of scientific miracles in space, the shrinking of the world by increasingly rapid transportation, the easy availability of communications and international projects such as the World Weather Watch, all lead to a rather obvious conclusion.

The "One World" which the late Wendell Willkie liked to talk about will soon be shrunk by science and technology to the shape, size, and character of one nation. It's not a new idea. The men who founded the League of Nations and the United Nations foresaw the inevitable and made a start, at least, on trying to tackle the problem.

The Communists don't like it much—either in Moscow or Peking. Unlike the American Revolution, the Marxist revolution was supposed to have bypassed all the messy evolutionary phases of national adjustment and establish their own little old world government to be known as "the dictatorship of the proletariat."

However, man's scientific ingenuity and advancement has brought him to the point where his nuclear weapons can destroy his civilization. And the time has now arrived, many here in Washington believe, where the world's governments must become good neighbors together on this nation-earth or inevitably annihilate each other.

The obstacles to such a world are enormous. President Johnson mentioned only a few of them today.

"For untold centuries men of different colors, and religions, and castes, and ethnic backgrounds have despised each other, have fought each other, have enslaved and killed each other in the name of these false idols.

"And at what a terrible cost in crippled souls—in human creativity wasted on hate, in lost opportunities for growth and learning and common prosperity."

Mr. Johnson pointed out that "racial suspicions, racial hatreds, and racial violence plague men in almost every part of the earth...

"It is man's ancient curse and man's present shame."

So once again this Lincoln's Day anniversary revives the historic Washington debate growing out of the American revolutionary ideal.

In his "House Divided" speech made in Springfield, Illinois in 1858, Mr. Lincoln said that the United States "cannot endure, permanently, half-slave and half-free."

The question in this last half of the twentieth century would seem to be, "Can the modern world endure, permanently, half-slave and half-free?"

Certainly the United States cannot sit anymore behind the two oceans—or between the Isthmus of Panama and the North Polar cap—and remain secure.

The United States already has reached out her hand into space, where mankind's destiny may or may not lie. Someone will find out. But the American destiny also lies in the rice fields and highlands of Vietnam, and in the security of Europe, and in bringing education and self-government to Africa and Latin America.

In another part of his "House Divided" speech almost 109 years ago, Abraham Lincoln made a prediction.

"I do not expect the house to fall," Lincoln declared in hoping the Union would be preserved. Then he went on, "but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing"—meaning slave-holding—"or all the other"—meaning free.

Projecting Lincoln's words to these difficult times and applying them to the modern nation-world now shrinking around us, it becomes clear that the United States has an important role to play on this globe which is half-slave and half-free.

President Johnson praised the Great Emancipator today as one of the "true liberators of mankind," who "have always been those who showed men another way to live—than by hating their brothers."

In the age of the nuclear-tipped intercontinental missile, no nation can afford such hatred. Nor to allow it to become dominant.

Because it seems to be becoming more and more obvious that our world is rapidly reaching that stage when this half-free and half-slave earth will become all of one—or all of the other.

This is Bill Downs for ABC News in Washington.

October 22, 2017

1941. Beer Shortage Hits British Pubs

A New Threat to Morale
"A group of Home Guard sit in the local village pub in Orford and enjoy a pint of beer and a chat. Many of the these men served during the First World War. Second from the left is Lieutenant Oliver, the local estate manager and Commander of the Home Guard Company," 1941 (source)
United Press story printed in the Kansas City Kansan, 1941:
That 'itler Won't Harf Catch It Now
British Workers' Pubs Feel Pinch of Beer Rationing and It's Tough
United Press Staff Correspondent

London. — (UP) There was more grumbling than beer last night at the famous "Chain and Anchor," the "Bird in Hand," and the "King's Head"—all of which are pubs and all of which represent in these days the core of a real danger to the British war effort.

The average Britisher has shown the world that he can take a lot, but there is no inclination in official sources to disregard the traditional viewpoint that if you deprive him of his regular pint of bitter or ale there will be trouble.

The London Cockney has watched his home burn to the ground without comment, the Welsh miner has dodged bullets from raider planes, and the North Country farmer has filled bomb holes in his fields without complaint.

Rationing Voluntary

But the current shortage of beer is regarded as a real threat to British morale and as more likely to cause widespread discontent than anything that has happened thus far in the Battle of Britain.

Due to lack of grains, sugar and other ingredients, the beer manufacturers have embarked on a program of voluntary rationing of public houses. Some pubs have been forced to close for several days a week. Others have cut down their hours in an effort to give the workers a break in the evening. Some allow only two pints per customer. Others refuse to sell beer until 8 p. m.

The beer itself is not up to standard. Its alcoholic content is less, and most of it is now the same as America's Prohibition "near beer." The seriousness of the beer situation is clear only when it is realized that the "nightly pint" is very important to the average British worker, on whom the greatest war effort is concentrated.

Peril to Adolf

There is nothing comparable in America, but the British pub ranks as a national institution. Many "blue law" communities strictly regulate Sunday theaters and movies but the pubs stay open.

It is in the pub that workers vent their feelings about Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt, King George and anybody else. There is one point, however, that lessens the seriousness of the picture in regard to war effort.

The shortage of beer can be blamed on Hitler. If the British worker gets that idea firmly in his head he almost will certainly be mad enough to do something about it—something like winning the war.

October 21, 2017

1967. Washington's Nuclear Poker Game with Moscow

A Costly Missile Defense Proposal
"A Nike Zeus B missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range at Point Mugu on 7 March 1962" (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

February 11, 1967

This is Bill Downs in Washington for ABC Reports.

The United States is now engaged in history's most dangerous nuclear poker game with the Russians. Defense Secretary McNamara wants to call the Kremlin's bluff, but Congress wants to raise the ante.

When Secretary McNamara took the new defense budget to Capitol Hill the other day, he touched off a debate that affects the lives and pocketbooks of every American.

It really began last fall with the revelation that the Soviet Union had started work on an antimissile defense system. The announcement shook up a lot of Congress, which is dedicated to the proposition that anything the Russians can do we can do better.

Secretary McNamara agrees, but he also says that no nation can build a truly effective antimissile missile, that the Russians are wasting their money; America should not make the same mistake.

To Congress, however, the antimissile defense program also is political. Even if McNamara is right, they point out, the Russians will have a psychological advantage which will not go unnoticed by the American people. And even if the proposed US Nike-X antimissile system does cost an outlandish $40 billion, the American economy can stand the strain.

So goes the argument among the men in Washington whose unhappy job it is to gamble with America's nuclear future.

McNamara says we can now and in the future call any military bet the Kremlin wants to make with our terrible nuclear power. The worried congressman might say maybe so, but let's raise the pot again and try to play it more safely.

But there's another element. In no-limit poker, a gambler plays his hand based on his own capacity to read his opponent's cards. He'll attempt to capture the pot when he convinces himself that his challenger is bluffing and that he holds the winning hand.

Thus, if the United States does not begin on an antimissile system, the Kremlin might be led to misjudge America's truly annihilating nuclear power.

Sitting behind their own ABM system, they may convince themselves they could devastate the US and escape with acceptable losses to themselves.

You see, the Russians are better chess players than they are at the deadly game of no-limit poker.

This is Bill Downs at the Pentagon for ABC Reports.

October 20, 2017

1950. Election Campaigning in the United Kingdom Enters Final Days

Early Predictions Indicate Close Race as Election Day Nears
From left to right, analysts David Butler, R. B. McCallum, and Chester Wilmot are seated in a BBC studio at Alexandra Palace as they await the results of the UK general election, February 23, 1950  (source)
Bill Downs

CBS London

February 20, 1950 (Sevareid show)

The British people tonight are watching the winding-up of one of the most important election campaigns in their history with a great and enthusiastic display of unruffled calm.

Conservative Winston Churchill spoke in Manchester a couple of hours ago. He repeated his proposal for raising the question of the atomic bomb and relations with Russia, saying that his proposition "has rolled around the world and may have created a new situation." He charged that Labour politicians take a poor view of democracy in opposing international issues in the current campaign.

An hour ago I returned from a meeting in working class Battersea, where Sir Stafford Cripps spoke to two-thousand people.

The Labour finance minister discussed domestic issues, but the significant thing about the meeting was the obvious lack of interest of the people in Mr. Churchill's atomic conference proposal. They asked questions about housing, the cost of living, food supplies, and taxation—but not one mention of an international issue except how the Marshall Plan would affect their own lives.

It would appear that the Conservative attempt to make this a "war-or-peace crisis election" has not yet had much effect, at least not in London's Battersea.

The Conservative press today claims there has been a last-minute swing to the right away from socialism. Authorities of the Gallup poll say they have no such evidence, that Labour still maintains a slight lead in the public opinion poll.

The truth of the matter is that no one knows how the election will go on Thursday. CBS reporters and a swarm of other American correspondents have been going over this country with a comb trying to determine the answer.

An informal poll of my colleagues in radio news and representing the American press finds most of them convinced that Labour will win—it is personal observation, however, for few of them are writing it.

This is Bill Downs in London. Now back to Eric Sevareid in Washington.

Bill Downs

CBS London

February 21, 1950

The British elections are less than forty-eight hours away, and British politicians, like the American variety, are beginning to worry about the weather, about the vote, and about the possibility that when the polling ends on Thursday they might be out of jobs.

There are more than 30,000 polling places where the people will vote in England, Scotland, and Wales. The Conservatives are hoping that election day will be blessed with a North Atlantic gale, for the they feel that their Tory backers are angry enough to wade through fire to cast their votes—also they own more automobiles in which to travel to the polls.

In the Labour Party camp, there is fear that their socialist voters may get complacent—and if the weather is bad, that Labourites, particularly in the rural areas, will not bother to go to the polls.

All indications are that this election is so close than an unknown factor such as the weather could possibly swing the result one way or the other.

Labour's campaign manager, Herbert Morrison, said an hour ago that as far as the socialists are concerned the situation "looks good, feels good, and smells good."

Conservative leader Lord Woolton said yesterday that the Tories are leading an extremely close race and expressed confidence in a right-wing victory.

Last night, as you might have heard, Dr. Henry Durant told CBS that his Gallup poll computations slowed Labour slightly in the lead at this point.

Frankly, none of the CBS election reporters are willing to stick out their necks on a prediction. I made a poll of the army of American reporters who have been covering these campaigns the past two weeks.

All of us have been combing the country trying to find the answer to the big question.

The consensus among most Americans here is that Labour will remain in power, but few reporters are sure enough to put it into a story.

This is Bill Downs in London. Now back to Don Hollenbeck in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS London

February 22, 1950 (Hottelet show)

Conservative and Labour politicians are searching for last-minute campaign material in President Truman's speech tonight. But early reaction to the speech from London newspapers has not been decisive. As one Conservative editor said, "It was a speech that can be interpreted either way."

In other words, little likelihood of any charge of American intervention in the British election because of the Truman speech.

The Churchill Conservatives may make use of Mr. Truman's suggestion that the United States does not necessarily take unequivocal pride of authorship in the Baruch control plan. This could be interpreted as support of Churchill's proposal for a high-level conference on atomic control.

At the same time, the Labour socialists could see support for their program of dealing through the United Nations, not precluding top-level consultations, in Mr. Truman's statement that he is opposed to any "sham agreement;" that the only sound agreement will be on a full-scale international basis.

The British election has wound up tonight with an untoward incident—untoward because it is the only fistfight reported from a major political meeting in three weeks of campaigning among thirty-four and one-half million Britons.

One gentleman struck another gentleman tonight at a London political meeting held by Conservative Party leader Lord Woolton. The gentlemen were escorted outside to finish their debate.

Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee spent the day kissing babies and ringing doorbells for the press and radio in another London suburb. Winston Churchill stayed home while his Conservative colleagues continue to predict victory. The Labourites are doing the same.

This election is so close that any factor affecting the polling might contribute to victory or defeat. The Conservatives feel that bad weather would keep Labour voters away. The socialists feel that good weather would increase their vote.

The weather report for election day tomorrow is: "Mainly fair in the eastern districts...occasional slight rain in Southwest England, Wales, and West Scotland which will spread slowly eastward reaching the London area towards midnight..."

The weather report ends: "Polling stations open at 7 AM."

This is Bill Downs in London. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS London

February 23, 1950 (Thomas show)

The whole of the British Isles tonight is casualty to "election fatigue." And this afternoon, as Winston Churchill's Conservatives gradually closed in on the Labour Party lead, the very proper British began to forget their dignity. A hush settled over the land as the entire nation crowded around its radio sets to hear the dispassionate, inevitable voice of the BBC announcer say:

"Here's a result from Little Chickleworth on the Creeping. A Labour victory," he'd say. Or a Conservative victory. And occasionally a Liberal win.

For five hours this afternoon, the British election was the most exciting and fascinating sporting event this part of the world has witnessed for many years.

Labour started strong this morning sixty-two seats ahead, but about two o'clock the Tory votes began to pour in.

The Conservatives never passed the socialist lead, but for a while they were closing in like a political equipoise. Only when the Labour vote from Wales and Scotland began appearing tonight did Labour pull ahead to gain its present narrow majority.

Mr. Churchill seems to be taking this election with more aplomb and great, good humor than any other individual in the United Kingdom. He, more than any other person, headed the swing to the right that the results have so clearly shown.

He showed up at the Tory headquarters this evening, looking—at seventy-five—younger than most of his colleagues who had stayed up most of the night with him to follow the results.

A newsboy on Regent Street is a pretty good example of what happened. These elderly gentlemen chalk up their own headlines on sheets of paper to announce the news and sell their papers. I walked past one stand several times.

Once, the sheets said "Sensational Labor Gains." An hour or so later it was changed: "Sensational Tory Comeback." And this evening his sign simply said "Sensational." That's what it is.

This is Bill Downs in London. Now back to Lowell Thomas in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS London

February 23, 1950 (Murrow show)

The theme that almost became a monotony in the reports of today's election count were the dreary words: "And the Liberal candidate loses his deposit."

Britain's Liberal Party, which under men like William Gladstone once dominated this land, took the most humiliating beating probably ever administered in this democracy. They entered 475 candidates—and it cost $320 each to do it.

The Liberals elected only eight candidates so far. More than three hundred of them lost their election stake—a total of some $96,000. The money, incidentally, goes to the treasury.

Actually the Liberals polled more votes this year than they did in 1945—something like two million, six hundred thousand.

And to represent this hard core of Liberal opinion are only eight parliamentary members—a paradox of the British electoral system.

They have excellent leadership under Clement Davies and Lady Megan Lloyd George, daughter of the former prime minister.

And as one Liberal told me in discussing the close Labour-Tory division, "We Liberals now can certainly be a bloody nuisance."

The ghost of Gladstone may be greatly reduced in size, but it is no less vigorous. The Liberal Party is the only party to survive today's Labour-Tory steamroller. Except for them, Britain now has a two-party system.

The Liberals say that if there is to be another British election soon, "then chum, we are ready to have another go."

October 19, 2017

1967. President Johnson Freshly Optimistic on Settling Southeast Asia Crisis

Johnson to Meet South Vietnamese Leaders in Guam
South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, US President Lyndon Johnson, and South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ saluting as their respective national anthems are played during welcoming ceremonies at Guam International Airport, March 20, 1967 (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

March 19, 1967

An overworked news reporter leaning against the bar at the National Press Club the other day was heard to remark sadly that: "Trying to keep up with events in this town is a little like the sultan who tried to run a harem with only one eunuch. It's just too much for a man to do."

As this week in Washington ended, there seemed to be a lot of truth to that observation.

The US Senate completed its hearings on the strange case of Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut, while the House of Representatives hired a lawyer to defend it against a court suit that the House had acted illegally in ousting New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell.

Another Senate committee started an investigation into the administration's War on Poverty. And in New Orleans, a three-man panel of judges refused to accept the federal government's Warren Report as evidence in a hearing involving the assassination of the late President Kennedy—a fact that startled the Justice Department here.

Overseas, elections in India and France cast a shadow over the political futures of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and France's stately President Charles de Gaulle. The China watchers here in Washington and in Hong Kong agreed that Mao Tse-tung's "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" seemed to have accomplished its purge of the Chinese party deviationists, and that now Mao was calling on the army to get the people back to work.

The United States Senate moved this week to endorse the so-called "coexistence" policies of the Soviet Union, as well as the indirect backing of Moscow in the bitter Russian struggle against the aggressive Communism of the Peking Red regime.

By a three-vote margin, the Senate approved the consular treaty with the Soviet Union—a small step toward what President Johnson calls "building bridges" with the East.

The narrow two-thirds vote was not only a victory for the White House, but also for the Republican leadership of the Senate. Republican floor leader Everett Dirksen switched his earlier opposition to the consular agreement, and Kentucky's GOP Senator Thurston Morton, a former Republican National Committee chairman, was instrumental in persuading his GOP colleagues to take the long view of the treaty.

The Johnson policy prevailed, but it would have failed without Republicans Morton and Dirksen, who judged that domestic coexistence on this issue was more vital to the interests of the country as a whole than throwing a GOP monkey wrench into Russo-American relations.

President Johnson expressed his gratitude. This bipartisan agreement seemed to be reflected in a new executive buoyancy, not only in the White House but also in the Departments of State and Defense.

In a speech before the Tennessee state legislature in Nashville last Wednesday, Mr. Johnson revealed that he was putting in a new diplomatic team to represent the United States in Saigon.

Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, who long has had his resignation on the president's desk, would be replaced by one of the State Department's most experienced diplomats, 72-year-old Ellsworth Bunker.

The tall, white-haired Bunker has long been a diplomatic troubleshooter and was the US member of the OAS diplomatic team that finally worked out a settlement of the bloody uprising in the Dominican Republic.

Backing up the Bunker mission would be the present ambassador to Pakistan, Eugene Locke, and Robert Komer, a special assistant in the White House in charge of America's civil affairs in South Vietnam—otherwise known as the pacification program.

Before President Johnson took off for the two-day conference on the US island of Guam, his exuberance dominated an extraordinary White House conclave of governors from all fifty states. In two previous such meetings Johnson had requested, and then received, a bipartisan agreement from the state governors supporting his policies for meeting the crisis in Southeast Asia.

This year it was different. Mr. Johnson gave the governors a lecture pleading for greater state and federal cooperation, and by implication at least, demanding a slowdown in the perennial argument over states' rights. The separate United States already are getting some $15 million a year in federal funds, and in the coming years these federal grants—for things such as the national highway program and education—would probably triple to $45 billion or more.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara then briefed the fifty governors on the military situation in Vietnam and the continuing diplomatic search for a settlement of that crisis. And although the White House did not seek a formal resolution of support, the state executives gave it in the form of a standing ovation to the president and his cabinet.

This ovation seemed to symbolize a subtle change in the atmosphere in official Washington, a change from the depressing fog of disappointment and frustration that followed another year-end diplomatic effort to get the Vietnam government to the conference table.

Again the United States envoys around the world—in Washington, London, Warsaw, Prague, and Moscow; in Cairo, Pakistan, Tokyo, and Mexico City—American diplomats everywhere searched for some sign that the Hanoi Communists were willing to negotiate a settlement.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations used his most secret channels of contact—but U Thant was able to confirm only that the Hanoi government had dropped its earlier demands that all foreign troops withdraw from the South before negotiating. It was a meaningless concession, although Thant and some of Washington's "doves" seemed to think it was enough for the White House to order a permanent ban on bombing of North Vietnam, the strategy which forced Hanoi to modify its stance in the first place.

President Johnson demanded instead that Ho Chi Minh curtail his shipment of men and supplies southward. Then, Mr. Johnson pledged, the United States would take appropriate action restricting the bombing.

But the president declared he would not endanger the lives of American fighting men in Vietnam by allowing free passage of Communist men and supplies to the GIs' enemies.

To prove Hanoi's determination to continue the war, Secretary McNamara showed the governors a startling series of reconnaissance photographs taken during the Buddhist New Year's ceasefire last month, pictures which showed scores of boats, thousands of trucks, and tens of thousands of laborers and Communist military personnel loading military supplies for the guerrilla forces in the South, using the four-day ceasefire to beef up the badly battered Viet Cong.

The new spirit of determination and energy which the president is taking with him to the Guam conference also has its roots in an important series of events which now is taking place inside South Vietnam.

To measure the significance of these events, one has to go back to see what was happening to the Saigon government exactly a year ago in March of 1966. Then, the South Vietnamese Buddhists were in open revolt against General Kỳ and his military junta. Their protest was touched off when the Saigon generals fired the commander of the I Corps area which abuts the demilitarized zone separating North and South Vietnam.

The ousted general was Nguyễn Chánh Thi, an able and ambitious leader of the Republic's army in the I Corps which fought alongside the US Marines there. General Thi's differences with the Saigon regime were complicated by the fact that he was a Buddhist, while the military premier in the South was a Christian.

The Buddhists staged demonstrations in Saigon, in Da Nang, and in the ancient city of Huế. General Thi's I Corps troops, in effect, went on strike, as did all the Vietnamese dockworkers in the port of Da Nang.

For a while during those critical March days of 1966 it appeared that the Vietnamese struggle against the Viet Cong—that the war against Communist aggression would be left to the Americans while the opposing factions in the Republic's military forces took time out to fight themselves a civil war. American civilians were evacuated from Huế and Da Nang city to the safety of the Da Nang airbase.

The matter was settled and a bloody showdown averted when Premier Kỳ sent some four thousand government marines to the Allied airbase outside Da Nang, and in the tradition of Oriental politics, worked out a deal with the deposed general and his successor.

That was just a year ago. There were 230,000 US ground troops in the country. Today there are 430,000.

Since that time, the Saigon regime was able to so stabilize the situation that the government was able to hold a nationwide election in September, an election which saw a remarkable turnout of some 80 percent of registered voters. They selected 117 delegates to a constitutional convention, which has been sitting for the past five months. And as this week ended, this convention produced the document designed to give South Vietnam its first democratically-elected, civilian government in the nation's history.

It's a compromise constitution. It was born out of much long and bitter debate, and some of its provisions will sound strange to Western ears.

But the remarkable thing about the new constitution was that it could be drawn up at all. And perhaps even more significant, Premier Kỳ, the chief of the military junta in Saigon, made a point of getting preliminary agreement from his fellow generals to take the new document with him to this week's meeting with President Johnson in Guam.

Whatever the premier's motives in this gesture, the fact remains that General Kỳ is carrying the instrument of his own political destruction—ending government by warlord, a system evolved from ancient times, fostered by the parade of colonialists and by the Communists, who would only substitute commissars for generals.

Furthermore, within the next three months there will be another series of local elections throughout South Vietnam in the villages and the hamlets. And in September or before, there will be national elections to choose the National Assembly of the Republic of Vietnam—the nation's first, popularly-elected congress.

Appearing on the ABC News program Issues and Answers today, Vice President Hubert Humphrey described the presidential meeting in Guam as "a conference of tomorrow." In other words, US and Allied military power has assured that a free South Vietnam now will exist in the future—therefore there must be intensive planning for that future, even while the war is being fought.

Washington officials warn that the coming six months will be the most critical of the entire Southeast Asian crisis. The reason: the Viet Cong guerrillas and the Hanoi Communists must react in some way to a freely-elected civilian government in the South.

The main target of the Viet Cong guerrillas and the National Liberation Front has been the so-called "warlord" system which has put the Vietnamese people at the mercy of the generals. But under the new constitution, the generals lose their power.

One of the main propaganda appeals of the Ho Chi Minh Communists has been for "free elections for a people's government to unify both North and South Vietnam." Come September, the South will hold its free, national elections, which will underline the fact that the Hanoi regime never has gotten around to taking such a risk.

Thus there is speculation here in Washington that the North Vietnamese may try to disrupt the democratic process in the South through terrorism and violence. Or that Hanoi may try to forestall them by a series of so-called peace maneuvers, even agreeing to go to the negotiating table in order to call for their own long-promised national elections.

Here in Washington, it seems clear that the president has made up his mind on one thing—that no outsider will be allowed to sidetrack South Vietnam's march toward a viable, popularly-elected civilian government.

Also that Hanoi's refusal to talk peace is going to increase the price of aggression in the South, particularly while preparations to install a representative government in Saigon are underway.

And although the United States will make every effort to keep out of Vietnamese politics, Premier Kỳ and his generals seem to have got the message that their days are numbered.

US troops and planes will assure that the newly-elected government is not murdered by aggression.

Ambassador Bunker's team of political experts, economists, sociologists, technicians, medical specialists, and engineers will be on hand to see that the infant government doesn't smother its own problems at birth.

And eventually, who knows, the Vietnamese nation may be allowed to develop to its full capability as the showplace of Southeast Asia. Or as Rudyard Kipling might put it, the Pearl of the Orient.

This is Bill Downs for ABC News in Washington.

October 18, 2017

1949. Labor Leader Walter Reuther Visits Germany

Allied Occupation Policy Criticized
"Labor leader Walter Reuther in Germany, 1953" (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 4, 1949

The question of what is a good German and what is a bad German continues to plague Western occupation authorities today. The American High Commission here released the results of a survey claiming that German nationalism is waning—although the survey admits that there has been evidence of this malady in many places.

The office of public opinion says that the recent elections in West Germany were evidence of the collapse of the disease; that only ten percent of the representatives elected have definite chauvinistic tendencies.

Paradoxically, the public opinion survey also revealed that 75 percent of the Germans questioned still believe that the East German territories lost in the war should be returned, including the city of Danzig.

Walter Reuther, head of the CIO United Automobile Workers union, also has something to say on the question of revived German nationalism. He attacked the American and British occupation policy in the Ruhr, charging that we are returning ownership and control of the vital Ruhr industries to the same men who put Hitler into power.

Reuther said that American economic policy vetoed a move to socialize the Ruhr. "The best way to ensure that Ruhr production will not again become war production is to put the industries into the hands of the people."

Reuther is here to confer with leaders of the independent, anti-Communist trade unions and other city officials. The union leader goes to Frankfurt this afternoon to confer with High Commissioner John McCloy.

The mayor of Berlin, Ernst Reuter, this morning has some encouraging things to report about his city. The Berlin economic crisis has finally hit bottom and is on its way to recovery.

Oberbürgermeister Reuter told a city council meeting that more jobs are opening up, more people are searching for real work, and unemployment figures finally are falling.

Reuther however warned that Berlin would continue to be the world's crisis city. "The fate of Berlin is the fate of Europe," he declared, "and Europe does not end at the Rhine."

The first international sporting event this city has witnessed since the end of the war is now in its third day. The six-day bicycle race is drawing big crowds here. This morning a team composed of a Belgian and a German racer is leading by 56 points over their nearest competitors, a team from Australia and Switzerland.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.