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Friday, August 18, 2006

August 18, 1960: Francis Gary Powers on Trial and a News Roundup

Francis Gary Powers pleaded guilty in Moscow to having flown a US spy plane over the Soviet Union, which shot down his craft. A Soviet narration of the trial said: "Can a genuine son of a man of labor [Powers had said his father was a cobbler] voluntarily devote himself to the cause of preparing and unleashing a nuclear war? Can he of his own free will, without any compulsion, become an accomplice and hireling of the inveterate spy [CIA Director] Allen Dulles? No, you are not the son of a man of labor, Francis Gary Powers. You are the bondsman of the Rockefellers and the Morgans."

In other news this day civil war threatened in Laos ... The US said it would destroy "sizable numbers" of its nuclear weapons as part of its disarmament proposal, if the Soviets agreed to abide by the terms of the pact ... In Louisiana the Governer assumed control of New Orleans' public schools to prevent integration ... In Greensboro, North Carolina, Vice President Richard Nixon, leading in the polls, 50 to 44, over Sen. John Kennedy for the fall presidential election, called for voluntary measures to improve race relations ... The Defense Department said it would assign nuclear weapons to targets in Communist nations in advance so they could be quickly fired during the 15-minutes of warning time the U.S. would have before an enemy attack.