Foreign Affairs

Published: 1977
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Jay Dyer: May the 23rd in the first terrorist action of the year comes when nine South Moluccans take over a train and a school in North Holland. I'll be back with a recap of terrorism in '77 after this.

Jay Dyer: Within three weeks of taking hostages in a train and a school in North Holland in May, six of the nine South Moluccan terrorists involved were dead, shot when Dutch Marines stormed the train where over 50 people had been held.

The same pattern of swift Government action was followed when four supporters of the Baader-Meinhof Gang hijacked a Lufthansa jet in October. This story had started earlier, when other members of the gang kidnapped West German industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer and it ended violently when West German border guards stormed the plane at Mogadishu Airport in Somalia, killing three of the terrorists.

After the death of the hijackers, Andreas Baader and two others committed suicide in prison in West Germany, and Schleyer's body was later found in the boot of a car in Northern France.

The exception to the determined stand taken against hijacking by these two governments came when Japan gave in to the demands of a group of Red Army terrorists who hijacked a Japanese Airlines plane at Dakar in Pakistan and ended up free and $6 million richer in Algiers, where they freed their hostages.

This is Jay Dyer for Recap '77.

David Pierce: In 1977 Lebanon slowly groped its way back to normalcy. A heavily armed, predominantly Syrian Arab League Army maintained the peace between Christian rightists and Palestinian and Muslin leftists, with Arab oil states footing the bill for the force. About half of the estimated 700,000 Lebanese that fled from the country during what the people here refer to simply as the events or the troubles have not returned.

Investment has been slow to come back, even though Beirut is quickly regaining its position as leading trading center of the Middle East. Put quite simply, things will not be normal here until the continued fighting in the south ends once and for all and there is a full return to peace and stability. That in turn depends on solving the problem of the Palestinians, which in itself depends on a solution to the overall Middle East crisis. Meanwhile, South Lebanon and indeed all of Lebanon could still provide the spark for more violence in the Middle East.

This is David Pierce for Recap '77.

John Needham: For India, 1977 was the year Indira Gandhi's 11-year term as Prime Minister ended in defeat at the polls. The reaction against her harsh emergency rule also ousted her Congress Party, which had ruled the nation since its independence 30 years ago.

The new government arrested Mrs. Gandhi and jailed her briefly on corruption charges. For the new rulers of the junta party, their first task was undoing misdeeds of the past. They appointed Commissions to probe Mrs. Gandhi's emergency, and they held state elections. They won the balloting and increased their power.

But as time went by, criticism grew. There were complaints of a lack of clear-cut policy, especially in economic matters. For the average Indian, the precariousness of life was brought home again. A cyclone devastated the southeastern coast. It killed thousands, left millions homeless and destroyed vast areas of cropland.

On the whole, though, Indians say 1977 was a good year for their country and for democracy.

This is John Needham for Recap '77.

Announcer: 1977 was to be the year of the Anglo-American Peace Plan for Rhodesia; but at the year's ending it seemed no nearer to success. I'll be back with a recap on the situation in Rhodesia after this.

Announcer: The announcement by Rhodesian Premier Ian Smith in November that he will attempt to negotiate an internal settlement to Rhodesia's problems could well have sounded the death knell for the Anglo-American Peace Plan for that country.

Whatever solution is finally found to Rhodesia's racial problems, conditions inside the country have deteriorated during the year, as Janet Damon reports …

Janet Damon: "A mass-circulation Rhodesian newspaper recently summed up the mood of Rhodesians by saying 'Uncertainty is eating like a cancer into the very marrow of the nation's morale'. Behind the gloomy assessment is a five-year-old guerilla conflict which is worsening steadily without bringing the country any closer to a majority-rule settlement. Because of the war, white men are being drafted in increasing numbers. As a result, whites are leaving Rhodesia at an unprecedented rate, further depleting the 268,000-strong white community in this country of ore than 6 million blacks. The economy is sliding deeper into the doldrums, and Rhodesian industrialists are frankly worried about how long it can stand up.

"This is Janet Damon for Recap '77."


Richard C. Gross: Romanians in Bucharest described it to me as hell on earth. An earthquake that ripped into one of Eastern Europe's most picturesque capitals and killed more than 1500 persons. I'll be back in a moment with details.


Richard C. Gross: The frost still was biting on that March 4th evening when the earth under most of Romania moved for more than a minute, toppling old apartment buildings and damaging newer ones in its capital city of Bucharest. Hundreds of persons were trapped where they ate their Friday night dinner in restaurants when whole buildings caved in on them or in apartments in the center of Bucharest, once known as the Paris of the East.

The devastating earthquake killed more than 1500 persons and wounded more than 10,000 others, some of whom were not hauled out of the tons of rubble until more than a week after the quake struck. The disaster created a checkerboard pattern of horror in Bucharest. Older buildings fell in on themselves right where they stood, creating a pile of masonry and plaster between two other buildings that remained standing.

By the end of the first week, an army of laborers in the Communist state had removed most of the rubble and began rebuilding, a process that is still going on.

This is Richard C. Gross for Recap '77.


Bob Kaylor: May 21st, President Carter orders General John Singlaub removed from his post in South Korea and summons him to the White House for a reprimand. A recap after this.

Bob Kaylor: President Carter orders General John Singlaub removed from his post in South Korea and summons him to the White House for a reprimand. The reason? Singlaub's statement that Mr. Carter's decision to withdraw U.S. ground-combat troops will lead to war.

The incident touches off a small furor in Congress. It becomes apparent from testimony before the lawmakers that military leaders have advised against the plan, finally going along with it when the administration agrees to give the South Koreans enough military aid to bolster their own forces. The investigations also bring the suggestion the President's decision had in effect already been made on the basis of campaign statements before he took office.

The withdrawal of about 30,000 men is to take place by the end of 1982. U.S. air power will remain in South Korea, and the Administration faces a battle with Congress to leave behind $800 million worth of military hardware that will have to be replaced for the American units that come back home.

Bob Kaylor at the Pentagon for Recap '77.


Bob Kaylor: June 30th, President Carter, saying it is one of the most difficult decisions he's made, tells a news conference he's cancelling further production of the B-1 bomber. A recap after this.


Bob Kaylor: President Carter, saying it is one of the most difficult decisions he's made, tells a news conference he's cancelling further production of the B-1 bomber. The decision comes as a shock to the Air Force and to many officials, who had expected the President to at least go along with limited production of the plane. Mr. Carter's announcement also touched off further controversy over the B-1, which had been attacked by opponents as being obsolete before it was built and too expensive at more than $100 million a copy.

Supporters of the B-1 charged that the President made his decision largely on the basis of campaign promises. Attempts by diehard B-1 supporters in Congress continued until late in the year.

But Mr. Carter and Defense Secretary Harold Brown maintained the decision was based on an assessment of Soviet air defenses. Instead of the B-1, the Administration chose to increase priority on development of a cruise missile, small, pilotless jet planes that offer high accuracy and lower cost.

Bob Kaylor at the Pentagon for Recap '77.

Roger Giddens: "The Navy Hymn", for many an unforgettable funeral dirge for John Kennedy, now a fanfare as another ex-Navy man takes the Oath of Office. James Earl Carter, Jr., small-town millionaire peanut farmer with a warm, toothy smile and icy blue eyes, ends eight years of Republican control over the White House …

President Jimmy Carter: "Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end we will triumph together in the right."

Roger Giddens: The Carter family shunned the Queen Mary, the aptly nicknamed Presidential armor-plated limousine. They walked the 15 blocks from the Capitol to the White House, a surprise symbolic gesture that signaled that the long political siege was over.

This is Roger Giddens in Washington for Recap '77.

Roger Giddens: The President stood by his beleaguered Budget Chief for weeks; the pressure was ferocious, and as the revelations of Lance's wheeling and dealing mounted, Mr. Carter's political platform, built on trust and honesty, buckled. His standing in the public-opinion polls dropped from a peak of well over 70% to under 50%, not all attributable to the Lance controversy, but a powerful factor. Finally, Mr. Carter faced the inevitable and accepted Lance's resignation …

President Jimmy Carter: "Bert Lance is my friend. I know him personally as well as if he was my own brother. I know him without any doubt in my mind or heart to be a good and an honorable man."

Roger Giddens: As the year ended, the Administration had yet to recover its balance. There's even talk of a one-term Presidency for Jimmy Carter, premature but inauspicious.

This is Roger Giddens in Washington for Recap '77.