October 15, 1979 – A day of firsts; on this day, Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng arrived in Paris for a six day visit as the first stop of a trip through Western Europe. It was the first time a Chinese official of his rank visited Europe, ever and it raised more than a few eyebrows and speculation over what such a visit actually meant. Considering the Soviet Union wasn’t making friends, it was seen as an opportunity for China to establish warm relations throughout the Western world at Moscow’s expense. Hua succeeded Mao in 1976, and now holds the three top posts in China; Chairman of the Communist Party, Premier and Chairman of the Military Commission. His arrival in Paris was the first of what would begin a visit including stops in West Germany, Britain and Italy. Chairman Hua was expected to use the visit as a platform for warnings of a Soviet threat. Hua’s essential message to the Western Europeans was this; Stay united, strengthen the Atlantic alliance along with the European Common Market and help China with credits and Technology. Simple.
Meanwhile, a group of Black American leaders arrived in Israel earlier in the morning in a move clearly to counter a tour of the Middle East by Jesse Jackson. The delegates from the NAACP, The Urban League and The Civil Rights wing of the AFofL-CIO had planned their trip before Jesse Jackson came to the Middle East, but the Israelis saw a dramatic relationship shift between the two visits. Simply, Jackson was the enemy, according to them, while this group of visitors were considered friends. During a Press conference earlier in the morning, the group stressed Black America’s overwhelming support for Israel, the vital relationship between Jews and Blacks in the United States, and how important it was for Americans, Black or White, to have no dealings with the PLO. Although it seemed like no coincidence, Prime Minister Begin had no time to meet with Jesse Jackson, however Begin and this group were scheduled to meeting the following morning.
And that’s a small slice of what happened, this October 15th, 1979 as reported by the CBS World News Roundup.