April 14, 1978 – this day in 1978 the word was Panama and the issue was ratifying the treaty. On Capitol Hill, debate was raging back and forth and the issue was becoming more complex than ever before. At issue was the reservation attached by Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, giving the U.S. the right to send troops into Panama in order to keep the Canal open. Panamanian opinion is outraged in what was called a “last gasp at Yankee Imperialism“. And Liberal Senators who agreed, said the issue distorted the meaning of the treaty. They wanted to add a reservation of their own; reaffirming the U.S. policy of non-intervention in Panama.
Debate got so heated that Senate leaders blew the whistle for a time out while they hoped to devise a compromise while the smoke cleared.
Meanwhile, J. Wallace LaPrade, who was removed the previous day as FBI Bureau Chief in New York, disclosed to reporters that the Bureau was continuing investigations in a warrantless area. But he refused to say it was engaged in illegal activities. Under then-present law, the Bureau could tap wires an conduct bugging in search of information on the authority of the President and the orders of the Attorney General, but only in National Security cases involving Foreign intelligence. Such activities could be pursued in domestic criminal cases, but only with a court warrant. LaPrade said Congress needed to pass a law to deal with warrantless investigations.
And the town of Rutherford New Jersey, a community of 20,000 people, experienced an inexplicably high rate of Leukemia, a Cancer of the blood, in Rutherford school children. The night before, anxious parents met with State officials in a packed high school auditorium to discuss what was going on and what could be done. The parents were told that the Leukemia rate at Pierpont Elementary School during the previous five years was significantly abnormal. And for the town as a whole, the officials went on, significantly high incidents of Hodgkins Disease, a related Cancer was also found. The officials attempted to be reassuring, but the audience was having none of it, repeatedly asking what could be done. And repeatedly being told by the hapless officials, “we don’t know”.
And that’s a small sample of what went on, this April 14th, 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.