March 4, 1979 – Begin: “A Deep Crisis” – Beijing: “We Do Not Want To Occupy Vietnamese Territory” – Washington: “The Public Will Pay And Pay And Pay”
March 4, 1979 – A week beginning on a series of ominous notes. The seemingly never-ending optimism/pessimism of the peace talk between Egypt and Israel took another down turn. Menachem Begin announced that a “state of deep crisis” was in serious threat of derailing the peace process as Begin returned to Washington to meet with President Carter. Begin was meeting with Carter in an effort to breakup the deadlock that had held up the peace treaty and the result was no progress. Negotiators on the Israeli team admitted they weren’t disappointed in this turn of events because they were expecting it. They said that, considering the deep divisions within the parties, anyone who thought some magic formula would emerge after a couple of days were being terribly unrealistic. The Israelis were now asking for a pause in negotiations, but not call the whole thing off. And on and on it went.
In Vietnam; fighting was continuing between Vietnam and China. Hanoi told its citizens to prepare for a wider war with China in the coming days, but hints that it may be winding down got stronger as the second week of the war ended with a Chinese military victory that many analysts believed would set the stage for an end to the fighting. The previous Tuesday, sources said waves of Chinese infantry, supported by tanks and massive artillery fire streamed into the town of Long Sun, 25 miles Northeast of Hanoi. Three days of bitter fighting followed with Vietnamese forces taking a heavy beating. Chinese troops pushed through the abandoned provincial capitol and were on the road to Hanoi. By weeks end, the Vietnamese were rushing troops to the front in an effort to stave off any further advance and from Bejing came a series of broadcast reports justifying China’s actions in Vietnam and observers concluded that China would soon declare victory and begin withdrawal.
And back home – predictions of Dollar a gallon gasoline were in the not-too-distant future. With the situation in Iran creating a major depletions of oil supplies – many were concerned a critical shortage would be arriving very soon. On top of that, new pricing rules were set to encourage refiners to make more gasoline and tacking on a nickel a gallon this year, as well as market forces likely to add another dime, and weekend gas stations closings were closer than most thought.
And that’s just a little of what went on the week, ending March 4, 1979 as presented by CBS Radio’s The World This Week.