May 1, 1961 – The Simmering Stew Called Southeast Asia
Click on the link here for Audio Player – NBC Radio – News On The Hour- May 1, 1961 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
News for this First day of May in 1961 was probably more ominous in the long-run for events taking place in the future than seemingly of immediate concern for May of 1961. News from Southeast Asia concerning a proposed meeting of 14 Southeast Asian nations on the situation in Laos by Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia was rejected by the King of Laos. Sihanouk then proposed scheduling the talks in Phnom Penh on a ceasefire over the Laos situation. There was fear the situation in Laos could become a matter of greater concern and how this could upset the delicate balance of peace in Southeast Asia – a peace which was tenuous at best.
Meanwhile, the White House was being appraised of the situation by the National Security Council. Also being appraised was our Foreign Aid situation. Commerce Secretary Luther Hodges told reporters a Communist economic offensive had become a grave concern to the Free World and we needed to step up our efforts if we were going to win the Cold War. And so it went.
Unemployment was up. According to the Labor-Management Committee, the numbers of those out of work were intolerable.
But the good news was, all eyes were on Cape Canaveral for the expected launch the following day of Freedom 7 and the first American in Space. NASA was waiting for weather reports.
And Jordan’s King Hussein announced marriage plans, scheduled to take place “when God wills it“. The bride in question wasn’t an Arab, but rather the daughter of a British Army Officer. Fears quickly evaporated when he assured everyone she was a Muslim. Love conquers mostly all.
And that’s a little of what went on this May 1st in 1961, as reported over NBC Radio’s News On The Hour.