January 18, 1957; a day where circling the globe took 45 hours, and brokering peace deals took an eternity. A lot of contrasts, this day.
Beginning with news that the U.S. Airforce successfully completed a mission, sending three B-52 bombers around the world without stopping and doing it in just a little over 45 hours and landing at Edwards Airforce Base in California. By refueling in-flight, the B-52’s were able to fly uninterrupted and, as General Curtis LeMay of the Strategic Air Command called the demonstration “a demonstration of the capabilities of SAC to strike any target on the face of the earth”. He went on to add that a simulated nuclear bomb drop had been made by one of the aircraft at a point roughly half-way around the world, south of the Malay peninsula.
The subject of Un-American Activities roared up again, with a federal judge in Washington sentencing Mrs. Mary Knowles, a librarian from Pennsylvania to 120 days in jail and fined $500 for Contempt of Congress for her refusal to say whether she had ever been a Communist. In another case, George Shelton, a New York Times copyreader, was also convicted of Contempt of Congress. Shelton had also refused to say whether or not he had ever been a Communist. Both defendants based their refusal to answer on the guarantees of free speech and press under the First Amendment.
The UN General Assembly continued its debate on the subject of Israeli troops withdrawal from Egypt. Israel demanded assurance that, if it pulled out of the region commanding Aquaba and the Gaza Strip, Egyptian forces would not move in to harass Israel. The U.S. proposed that United Nations troops occupy those areas pending a settlement, so had Australia. Britain proposed that the UN internationalize the Gaza Strip.
And Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria were willing to offer Jordan $36 million a year to take the place of annual subsidy Jordan had been receiving from Great Britain.
And that is a very small slice of news during a very busy day in the world, as presented by the legendary Edward R. Murrow for January 18, 1957.