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Saturday, February 03, 2007

January 31, 1961: Kennedy Wants More for Defense, Computers 'Come of Age'

"President Kennedy challenged Congress and the nation today to face up to grave perils abroad and a worsening economic recession at home. In his first State of the Union Message, given before a joint session of Congress, he called for executive and legislative actions to strengthen the national defenses to avert big and little wars and to spur the lagging economy," the New York Times reported on this day in 1961.

"President Kennedy's State of the Union Message today pictured the problems of the United States and the world as much more ominous and urgent than did former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's message to Congress eighteen days ago," the Times reports in another story.

"Mr. Eisenhower said grave problems lay ahead and there was no room for complacency. But the tenor of his message was that he was leaving the country in sound shape. He said: 'We have carried America to unprecedented heights.'

"But Mr. Kennedy said the American economy was in trouble and needed bolstering immediately. As for the Communist threat, he said, there will be worse news before there is better news, the tide is running now against this country and the free world, 'but turn it we must.' He said he spoke in an 'hour of national peril and national opportunity.'"

In another story, the Times reports, "Digital computers, the so-called electronic brains, have 'come of age' in masterminding industrial production processes, according to a report given yesterday at the winter meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Last year saw a rapid expansion of the use of digital computers in industrial process control, Gerhard L. Hollander said in giving a report on '1960 Computer Progress' compiled by a unit of the institute."

January 30, 1961: Congo Policy Examined, JFK Urged to Cut Funds for Schools That Discriminate

"President Kennedy has ordered the State Department to re-examine United States policies in the Congo and to recommend changes," the New York Times reports on this day in 1961

"A week-long pursuit of the rebel-held Portuguese liner Santa Maria will come to a conclusion later today when a United States admiral boards her near this port to negotiate the removal of the more than 560 passengers," the Times reports.

"Ruanda, northern half of the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, which Belgium operates as a United Nations Trusteeship, has declared itself an independent republic," the Times reports.

"The Southern Regional Council has urged President Kennedy to adopt a sweeping program of executive action in the civil-rights field," the Times reports.

"Representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr. demanded last night that his long-pending proposal to bar Federal funds to schools discriminating against Negroes be adopted now either through legislation or 'Executive order of the White House,'" the Times reports.

January 29, 1961: Communes in China, Peace Corps Tested, Oval Office Fix-up and Sit-ins Spread

"Communist China has substantially modified its system of 'peoples' communes' and slowed down its 'great leap forward' in industry in the wake of severe agricultural reverses last year," the New York Times reports on this day in 1961.

"The Government announced today it planned to send 150 young teachers to Africa this year. The plan is regarded as an experiment to test the practicality of the Administration's proposed 'peace corps' program. This program would send young Americans, primarily teachers and technicians, into under-developed countries to help them attack their most pressing economic, educational and health problems," the New York Times reports.

"White House maintenance crews moved into President Kennedy's Executive Office today for a quick weekend painting and renovation job. When it is reassembled next week, the oval=shaped office will resemble more of a New England sitting room, a warmer and more hospitable atmosphere than the austere formality of the office as it was furnished previously," the New York Times reports.

"The Negro lunch-counter demonstrations that began a year ago next Wednesday have grown into a national protest movement against many forms of discrimination. The sit-ins continue today in cities like Atlanta, where merchants have refused to desegregate eating facilities. But the lowering of racial barriers at lunch counters in more than 125 Southern communities has led the students and their adult supporters to turn to other fields of protest," the Times reports.