April 23, 1979 – With Capitol Hill out of recess and lawmakers heading back from Easter recess, there was lot on the table to haggle over. President Carter also came back this day from Georgia, where he was also enjoying a respite from the barrage of reporters and crises. He was expected to hit the ground running this week, where he was scheduled to give a news conference and the primary topics were to be Windfall Profits and SALT. Carter was expected to be pushing for Windfall Profits Tax legislation – that, and to lobby for a tax on oil producers. Sources said the topic was going to be Arms Limitation when he goes before the American Newspaper Association in New York later on in the week. In that setting, Carter was expected to go into more detail about verifications of the Arms agreement. The subject of verification was made more difficult because of the leaking and distortion of secrets in a testimony by CIA Chief Stansfield Turner. Fears were that leak could cause the insufficient number of votes in Congress needed to ratify the treaty.
Meanwhile – the subject of the 3-mile Island nuclear power plant disaster from earlier in the month got some scrutiny in the form of claims of miscalculation and misjudging the severity of the emergency as it was unfolding. The Senate Subcommittee was holding hearings on the near catastrophe, with Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thorburgh admitting they had decided not to call for a mass evacuation of the 3-Mile Island area based on information that did not indicate just how serious the situation was.
And the border war between Vietnam and Cambodia was big news this day. Thai military sources were reporting that eyewitnesses were saying some 40,000 civilians and Khmer Rouge soldiers loyal to the Pol Pot regime had fled into Thailand to escape Vietnamese backed forces over the previous three days. The estimates at the total numbers involved in the exodus are “best guesses” because of the chaotic situation. The access of Foreign Journalists to the border area had been heavily restricted by the Thai Military in recent days, leading to a wide range of claims about the situation. It was believed that as many as 100,000 people were squeezed into a section of Western Cambodia which got smaller as the Vietnamese advanced. According to reports, Thai troops were escorting refugees parallel to the border with the apparent intent of finding a location where it was safe to send them a back into Cambodia.
And that’s just a tiny portion of the news that made up April 23, in 1979 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.