April 26, 1964 - LBJ Announces substantial Nuclear Weapons reduction. Khruschev announces similar reduction. Cuba tensions resume. Dean Rusk returns from Saigon with upbeat assessment. Robert McNamara concedes winning in Vietnam "will take time". Railroad Union settlement reached. LBJ tours Appalachia promoting War On Poverty legislation. Civil Rights Bill at a standstill. Threatened "stall-ins" at opening of Worlds Fair don't materialize, but 300 Civil Rights demonstrators arrested.
April 26, 2012

File under: Best Of Times - Worst Of Times.


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A curious mix of optimism and pessimism for this week, ending on April 26th in 1964.

On the optimistic side - President Johnson announced to the world that the U.S. would make substantial reductions in Nuclear Weapons and Uranium enrichment production. Simultaneously, it was announced by Nikita Khruschev via Radio Moscow, that the Soviet Union would do the same thing. The news was greeted with a sense of relief and UN General Secretary U Thant offered an evaluation on what was deemed a hopeful sign towards an easing of Cold War tensions.

On the Pessimistic side - tensions were brewing between the U.S. and Cuba as Cuban Premier Fidel Castro vowed to down any U.S. Reconnaissance planes flying over Cuban territory as it had been doing since 1962.

On the optimistic side - Sec. of State Dean Rusk returned from a fact-finding mission to Saigon and offered an upbeat assessment of the situation in Vietnam, saying the South Vietnamese Army could handle themselves nicely.

On the Pessimistic side - Defense Secretary Robert McNamara conceded it will "take time" for any progress to be made in Vietnam and that the South Vietnamese Army is running a defensive strategy rather than an offensive one. Oh well.

Meanwhile - the four year long negotiations between the Railroads and the Unions was finally at the settlement stage. And just in the nick of time, as the settlement averted a threatened strike.

President Johnson went on a brief tour of the Appalachia region, hitting the towns and cities worst hit by poverty and unemployment, touting his War on Poverty legislation. He was greeted with waves of enthusiasm.

Not so enthusiastic were reports from Capitol Hill saying the 1964 Civil Rights Bill was at a standstill, making the future unclear for passage of the Legislation.

And the much publicized "Stall-ins", threatened for Opening day of the New York Worlds Fair on April 22nd, didn't materialize. But that didn't stop some 300 Civil Rights demonstrators from being arrested from the Fair opening anyway.

All this in one week, ending on April 26th 1964, as reported on the ABC Radio Voices In The Headlines program.

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