February 24, 1978 – 11th hour negotiations for a settlement in the Coal Miners strike brought a cautious sigh of relief to the country, this day 39 years ago. Two hours ahead of Federal intervention in settling the Coal strike, President Carter was informed that the tentative settlement had been reached and that a prolonged, dragged-out strike was averted. Good news on the labor front.
Elsewhere – nervous eyes were looking in the direction of the Horn of Africa and the possible involvement of Cuban and Russian in the Ethiopia‘s war in the Ogaden Desert. Expressing deep concern about the growing Soviet and Cuban involvement in Ethiopia, White hokuse officials revealed that a Russian general had taken command of a mixed force of Ethiopian and Cuban troops in one part of the country. the information came to light as National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezhinski briefed reporters in Washington on the President’s trip during the coming month to South America and Africa. Brzezhinzki said the Cuban presence in Ethiopia was growing almost daily, and had roughly doubled over the previous two weeks and was now including three Cuban brigades, a force of about 10,000 troops. He said the latest intelligence showed that the Soviets had supplied the Ethiopians with 50 jet fighter planes and about 400 tanks. Soviet advisers had been pouring into Ethiopia over the past several months, but the presence of the Russian General marked the first time that the Soviets had taken direct control of a large fighting force in the war between Ethiopia and Somalia.
And on Capitol Hill – the congressional battle over President Carter’s package deal with planes for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel was looming on the horizon. But Secretary of State Vance drew the battle lines more sharply than ever on this day. Vance had been saying regularly that he hoped congress would act on the middle-East airplane package as a package. He reiterated the same thing during a House subcommittee hearing. but he later conceded under persistent questioning that it was an all-or-nothing proposition. The package in question would be formally presented to Congress after the Easter recess and will have 30 days to act.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this February 24, 1978 as presented by The World Tonight from CBS Radio.