July 5, 1983 – Cold War Haggling And A Kerfuffle Named Watt
July 5, 1983 – the morning after fireworks and barbecues, the world continued to spin. Starting with news from Moscow that a meeting between West Germany’s Helmut Kohl and Russia’s Yuri Andropov didn’t go quite s well as planned. Andropov, who was reported to be looking in not good health, told Chancellor Kohl that it was still possible to limit the deployment of nuclear missiles in Eastern Europe, pointing at Western Europe, but that NATO deploying missiles in answer was a “deep and dangerous mistake”, and went on to say the Soviets would take “effective counter-measures”. Concern over Andropov’s health had many wondering just how long the Soviet leader would stick around, that Andropov was believed to be suffering from Heart and Kidney problems, diabetes and possibly Parkinson’s disease, according to German sources. The Soviet position was reiterated at a dinner later that day, with Prime Minister Tikhnoov stressing that, if an American deployment of missiles occurred, the Soviet government would add to its security, implying that SS-20 missiles would be placed in Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile, The uproar from America came in the form of Interior Secretary James Watt, who disinvited The Beach Boys to perform on the Mall in Washington for 4th of July, saying the group “attracted the wrong crowd”. So instead, Watt invited Wayne Newton to perform. The bungle caused an uproar with even President Reagan wondering what type of “bad crowd” Secretary Watt thought The Beach Boys were attracting. Needless to say, Newton entertained the rain-soaked crowds on the National Mall and The Beach Boys countered with a free concert in Atlantic City. It was one more in a series of faux-pas which came to characterize the somewhat maladroit tenure of Interior Secretary James Watt.
All that, and much-much more for this July 5, 1983 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup, Newsbreak commentary and the 9:00 am network news.