August 7, 1978 – Day of mourning throughout the world. News of the death of Pope Paul VI from a major heart attack at his summer residence the night before became the dominant piece of news for this day. Egypt declared seven days of mourning – even Pravda posted an obituary. Thousands descended on Castel Gandolfo to pay their respects to the Pontiff.
No sooner was the death announced than Cardinals assembled in Vatican City to install themselves as “caretakers to the Church”, presided over by the Papal Chamberlain, French Cardinal Jean Villot. Their first order of business was to smash the Papal ring of Pope Paul, with the picture of St. Peter the Fisherman – when a new Pope was finally elected, a similar ring would be struck for that Pope, and a new reign would begin. Selection wouldn’t start until August 21st at the earliest.
In other news; Hope remained, but had become dim as Secretary of State Cyrus Vance continued his mission to the Middle East. The Secretary was given a “fingers crossed’ by the Israelis as Vance boarded a plane, heading for Egypt. As soon as he touched down in Alexandria, he was ushered into a meeting with President Sadat.
Closer to home – a movement was afoot to convince Washington to order the recall of some 13 million Firestone 500 Steel-belted Radial tires. The Transportation Department had already recommended the Firestone 500 be recalled. Hearings were being held in order to give the company and consumers the opportunity to comment before any recall order was issued. In New Jersey, the response was overwhelming when the State set up a hot-line for anyone having problems with the Firestone 500. Spokespeople for Firestone said there was no proof the accidents attributed to the Firestone 500 had a common basis in fact. Over the coming days, Firestone was expected to make its argument against any government-ordered recall of the Firestone 500.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this August 7, 1978 as reported by CBS Radio’s The World Tonight.