December 18, 1968 – news from Brazil this day – much of it not good. In Rio de Janiero, a spokesman for the Brazilian government said a plot organized by former Governor Lacerda and former President Kubitschek had been crushed. A spokesman said the Leftist plot had necessitated the assumption of extraordinary power, indeed dictatorial power, by president Costa e Silva the previous weekend. What constitution was left after five years of military rule was “tossed in the wastebasket”. There were wholesale arrests, censorship, congress was sent into early recess and a military alarm was sounded. Arrested were politicians, intellectuals, newspaper columnists and a song-writer.
In other news: David Kennedy, the Chicago banker who was Treasury Secretary-designate held a press conference in which he was asked if the Nixon Administration would keep the price of Gold at $35 an ounce, despite the news that the gold markets shot up in value just earlier in the day, while the value of the DollarHolding his proverbial cards close to his chest, he refused to commit the administration, in advance, to the $35 price. It was, in effect a non-statement and the results were spectacular. An economics correspondent wrote; ‘In the rarified air of international gold trading, anything short of a blood-oath by a U.S. Treasury official, was a hint that change was not only possible, it was likely.
In Paris, vice-President Ky continued his peculiar brand of diplomacy by describing as “junk”, one of Henry Kissingers plans to negotiate an end of the war in Vietnam. Ky complained that he had to fight “my so-called friends as well as enemies” since coming to the Paris conference. He said he may fly back to Saigon or to spend Christmas with the troops on the front and to consult President Thieu on new developments in Saigon.
And New York was reeling from the affects of a seemingly endless series of Strikes hitting the city in recent months. Answers were being looked at for ways to end the cycle of strike upon strike and they were not easy.
All that – and a lot more from this broadcast of Newsfront for December 18, 1968.