December 12, 1981 – A day of Dissidents. The 17-day hunger strike by Soviet Dissidents Andrei Sakharov and wife Yelena Bonner came to an end when Soviet officials unexpectedly granted a reunion with 26 year-old daughter-in-law Liza Alekseyeva before she was allowed to leave the USSR to join her husband, Sakharov’s step-son Alexey Semonov in the U.S. Alekseyeva boarded a train in Moscow earlier in the day, bound for Gorki, where the Sakharovs had been exiled. Western diplomats in Moscow expressed surprise over this sudden decision, but they believed their decision to allow Alekseyeva to emigrate came from “the highest level”, partly as a result of strong pressure from Western governments.
Meanwhile, in Berlin – West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was expected to meet again on this day with his East German counterpart, Communist Party Chairman Erich Honecker. The three day session was aimed at improving relations between the two countries. It was the first meeting between two leaders of east and west Germany on German soil in over a decade. After the first round of talks the previous day, an official accompanying Schmidt said the meetings were proceeding in a “very relaxed fashion”. Fingers crossed.
Back home – Justice Department Criminal Division officials were reviewing whether CIA Diretor William Casey violated the law by not registering as a Foreign agent, while representing Indonesia in 1976. Casey became the third top administration official under scrutiny of the Justice Department. The others were National Security Adviser Richard Allen and Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan.
The Senate sent President Reagan a budget bill that included some $4 billion in new domestic spending cuts. It was a bill the President said he would sign when it reached his desk. The Republican controlled Senate vote 60-35 to adopt the compromise package. Mr. Reagan’s veto of an earlier attempt prompted a one-day shutdown of many government agencies, just before Thanksgiving.
And Muhammed Ali told reporters that Father Time had caught up with him, as he lost a match the previous night to Canadian Trevor Berbick. Ali could not stay away from Berbick, who continually backed him up against the ropes. Fans and reporters commented it wasn’t a fight, more than it was spectacle between an old man who would be turning 40 in January and sporting two rings of flab around his mid-section and a young man who was turning 28, alive and throwing punches. Ali went on to add it was tie to hang the gloves up.
And that’s a small slice of went on this December 12, 1981 as reported by CBS Hourly News as well as segment of Spectrum.