April 24, 1979 – A day with a lot on its plate. Beginning with revelations that the Russians were deploying a new missile in East Germany. The White House expressed concern about that development and President Carter was quoted as taking the action “into account” and weighing the possibilities of deploying our own Neutron Bomb as a deterrent. Asked whether deploying the Neutron weapon was still a possibility, spokesman Jody Powell said “You’re damned right it is!” The cause for all the concern was the SS-21, a nuclear armed short-range missile which was one of three nuclear weapons developed by the Soviets and deployed in Eastern Europe. The weapon was not covered in SALT II, but was slated to be part of future nuclear Arms limitation agreements.
Meanwhile, President Carter got some fresh ammunition in his campaign for a tax on Windfall profits in the Oil industry. The money kept rolling in; so much , that it was almost embarrassing for some oil people to talk about it. Texaco’s net earnings rose 81% in the first quarter of 1979 over the same period the previous year. Some of the reason was explained as a sudden rise in the dollar in overseas markets, a reverse in what happened the previous year. All the oil companies were reporting double digit profits over the previous year, and it prompted increased support over a tough bill in Congress.
And the flood of Cambodian refugees pouring across the Thai border was creating problems between the two countries. With the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, refugees in the thousands were attempting to escape the latest offensive by the Vietnamese on the Khmer Rouge. The problem was, the Thai government wanted to have nothing to do with the refugees. As soon as they crossed the border, Thai officials sent the Cambodians back home – to an uncertain future.
And thats just a small slice of what happened, this April 24th in 1979 as reported by CBS Radio’s The World Tonight.