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Friday, November 17, 2006

November 17, 1960: Navy Ordered to Protect Guatemala and Nicaragua From Red Attack, Telephone 'Magic Service' Offered in Illinois

U.S. Navy ships were ordered to patrol Central American waters against a possible Communist-led invasion of Guatemala or Nicaragua. The destroyers and carrier-based aircraft were ordered to shoot to prevent an invasion. The State Department told reporters that Cuba's Fidel Castro, supplied with Communist arms, might try to export his revolution. The Cuban government called the U.S. move "Yankee intervention" and said it was the first step in a plan to attack Cuba. "It is believed that the spectacular decision of the White House is part of the plan of provocation against Cuba being carried out by the Pentagon," the newspaper La Calle said.

The neutralist government of Laos said it will establish close relations with Communist China and send goodwill missions to North Vietnam.

In Morris, Illinois, the first electronic central office telephone system was dedicated today. The $25,000,000 American Telephone & Telegraph Company project was described as a major scientific breakthrough, a Cold War victory and "one of the most massive single research and development projects ever sponsored by private enterprise." With the new "bird-dogging" ECO system, a housewife will be able to have her phone calls transferred to her friend's house next door when she visits for coffee. A report prepared for publication tomorrow said that at the time of the demonstration, "sixty-two special telephones around town were sounding off with a beep vaguely resembling the sound of an oboe instead of ringing in the time-honored fashion.

"Of these 62 special phones, fifteen could produce two or three of the 'magic services' for which the system was designed. ... Illinois Bell has 4,500 customers and hopes eventually to have 600 'magic service customers.' Mrs. Alyce Taraba, chief operator for dial service, today made personal calls on the 'magic service' customers and explained the new system. She also left a pocket-size card for those with poor memories and minimal mechanical ability. ... Roswel C. Hyde, a Federal Communications Commission commissioner, said at the ceremony that the experiment was a 'political milestone' in the struggle for world leadership."

Also today, this report on "electronic aids" was prepared for tomorrow's edition of the New York Times: "New advances in physics research that raise the possibility of a whole new family of electronic devices were made public yesterday. The devices foreseen from the research would be able to perform many of the electronic functions of conventional vacuum tubes and transistors. They would have important advantages in versatility, extremely small size, simplicity, ease and economy of manufacture.

"The basic purpose of such devices would be the control and regulation of electric impulses. Potential applications are seen in the fields of radar, computers and similar complex systems. At a news conference yesterday, Dr. Guy Suits, vice president and director of research of General Electric Company, said the advances constituted 'an important scientific discovery' that also had 'raised the clear possibility of a whole new family of electronic devices.'

"The research has linked two rather exotic fields of physics -- one concerned with superconductivity and the other with the electronic process called 'tunneling.'"

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