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June 20, 1955 – Question Of A Segregated Military – The UN Celebrates 10 Years – The Elephant In The Room Named Bandung

The Bandung Conference of April 1955 – A message to give the UN pause amid celebrations.

June 20, 1955 – NBC News To Now With Ben Grauer – Special From The UN – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

June 20, 1955 – An interesting news day with far-reaching implications. From the opening story about a new Military Reserve bill in which the ban on race segregation was deleted was introduced and under consideration. A previous bill was stalled in the House Rules Committee because of a clause that barred racial segregation in the military. This current bill was expected to pass within a day.

The United Nations celebration of 10 years was taking place at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, the site where the first UN Conference was held in 1945. It was expected to be a week-long celebration and among the dignitaries addressing the conference was President Eisenhower, later on this day.

As part of a special program celebrating the anniversary, a discussion was held after the newscast as a sort of prelude of what to expect over the coming week. A look back, if you will, of the events and changes that have gone on in the world since the initial meeting in 1945. There was still adamant rejection of any notion that The People’s Republic of China be admitted to the UN, continuing insistence that Formosa and the government-in-exile of Chaing Kai-Shek was the only legitimate representative of the people of China. That said, there was brief discussion regarding the recent gathering of Asian and African nations over a week in April which became known as the Bandung Conference, which sought to solidify the bonds between the 29 newly-emerging independent nations and who were (with the exception of India) not part of the United Nations. It was seen as a step towards the Non-Aligned Movement within the two continents – two continents that represented some 1.5 billion people, or 54% of the world’s population. The Conference was primarily organized by Mao Zedong and was held in Bandung Indonesia.

It may have been the catalyst for the United Nations to include many of these emerging nations as members of the UN – it was The Cold War after all. There was a degree of pessimism that this could play out as a rerun of the League Of Nations. But like everything during this period in history – it was a series of carefully executed moves and cautious tip-toeing and maintaining the fragile stability of the United Nations, even 10 years in.

And that’s just a small slice of what happened this day – nationally as well as internationally, via NBC Radio’s News To Now with Ben Grauer and a Special Discussion Program on the 10th Anniversary of The UN.

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