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ROBERT MacNEIL: Good evening. The federal deficit and the political heat it generates is the main news today. The Congressional Budget Office said the economy looks good, but high deficits will keep interest rates up. Mondale's camp called the report alarming; the Reagan camp said it has different figures. The federal government promised a sweeping review of safety on Amtrak trains. The Federal Aviation Administration said it's considering new ways to reduce air traffic congestion. Jim Lehrer is off tonight; Judy Woodruff is in Washington. Judy?
JUDY WOODRUFF: The stories we pay special attention to tonight, on the recent rash of attacks on ships in the Red Sea, we get an analysis from an expert on terrorism in the Middle East. On blunt words coming from two Supreme Court justices, on lawyers and on the Supreme Court itself, we talk with a reporter who covers the court. We have a special report on yesterday's historic Olympic race, the first ever women's marathon. We hear both sides of a debate confronting the conference on world population control that gets underway today. And we close remembering Richard Burton.
MacNEIL: The size of the projected federal budget deficits returned to the center of the political arena today. The Congressional Budget Office, the Reagan White House and the Mondale campaign all had things to say about it. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued its forecast for the economy this afternoon. It was generally upbeat, predicting unemployment falling and inflation staying low. But the CBO said that interest rates would remain high because of the size of the budget deficits. Rudolph Penner, the CBO director, said that even quite astounding growth in the economy wouldn't be enough to bring the deficits down to satisfactory levels. The CBO forecast was released after Wall Street closed, after another hectic day of trading.As on Friday, more than 200 million shares were traded. The Dow Jones industrial average was up substantially by noon, but closed up less than a point, at 1202.96.
President Reagan's spokesman Larry Speakes took issue with the CBO report. He said in Santa Barbara, "The CBO, as usual, assumes lower growth rates than we're assuming." He added, "We'll be putting out our own mid-year economic review the latter part of this week, and it will project much lower deficits." But in North Oaks, Minnesota, the Mondale camp described the CBO report as "alarming." Mondale aide Richard Leone said, "We think something has to be done, or we wouldn't be discussing taxes and budget cuts in the middle of an election." The Democratic nominee was reported today to be working on a plan to cut the deficit by two thirds.
President Reagan, who's vacationing at his California ranch, renewed his pledge not to raise taxes and said Mondale was not telling the truth. The President invited Vice President George Bush to lunch to discuss campaign strategy. Afterwards both met reporters and lashed out at the Democrats. Mr. Reagan said, "Walter Mondale is not telling the truth. I said it before and I Will say it again, no matter how many of you try to put in a hedging line, we have no plan for, nor will I allow plans for, a tax increase." Judy?
WOODRUFF: Last month's spate of accidents on the Amtrak railroad network got some attention from the federal government today. The head of the Federal Railroad Administration announced an in-depth investigation of Amtrak's operations, and a nationwide inspection of the tracks that are used by the railroad. John Riley said the inspectors will concentrate on Amtrak's dispatching and signalling procedures along the Boston-Washington Northeast corridor, where more than half of its passengers travel. But Riley acknowledged that the investigation may not tell hoiw the five accidents that left 11 people dead could have been prevented. Three of them involved railroad crossings, and another occurred after a flash flood. At a news conference Riley showed reporters a special computerized car that will be used to make a close check of the more than 22,000 miles of tracks that Amtrak uses nationwide. Riley was joined by Amtrak Chairman W. Graham Claytor, who also talked with reporters.
W. GRAHAM CLAYTOR, Amtrak Chairman: If we find some changes that can be made that would enhance safety, we'll make them.But I'm satisfied that we are running the safest railroad in the United States, and railroading is the safest way to move in the United States. And we'll stand by that.
JOHN RILEY, Federal Railroad Administration: We believe this system is a safe system. We're convinced this assessment is going to show it. But I want to assure everybody who is riding an Amtrak train, as I have done myself twice over the last week, that if we find any deviation from the state of the art in rules or rules compliance, we're going to address it and we're going to resolve it.
WOODRUFF: And, from the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, limited hope that air travel delays will end soon. FAA head Donald Engen said the agency will get new computerized equipment and will consider adding air traffic controllers to ease airport congestion. Engen said he would meet with airline officials to talk about ways of speeding up the air traffic system. But he did not say if he's been able to convince airlines to shift schedules to avoid delays. Engen said the FAA has no plans to allow airlines to hold planes in the air, an industry solution to the problem of delays. Robin?
MacNEIL: In Israel, Shimon Peres, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, began efforts to form a new government and agreed to keep trying to find a way of sharing power with the Likud bloc, the group now in power. Neither Likud nor Labor won a majority of the parliamentary seats in the election on July 23rd, and neither has been able to form a majority by combining with other smaller parties. Today Peres met Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Likud leader, for more than two hours, but there was no report of an agreement. Under Attack -- Red Sea Terror
MacNEIL: In Cairo the government of Egypt said it's consulting the United States, Britain and France about a series of explosions that have damaged at least 10 ships in the Red Sea during the last two weeks. The Egyptians said their navy and air force are searching for mines, and said there are signs that two countries might have been laying them.There was speculation the two might be Iran and Libya. The United States has sent a Navy mine warfare team to help the Egyptians, and is ready to send four mine-sweeping helicopters. Britain is considering a request for sea-going minesweepers, and France said it is willing to help. Judy?
WOODRUFF: To get a better understanding of the who, what, why and how behind this story of the mysterious mines hitting shipping in the Red Sea, we turn to Paul Jureidieni, an expert on terrorism in the Middle East. Mr. Jureidieni is a politico-military consultant working at Abbot Associates, a private think tank here in Washington. First of all, Mr. Jureidieni, who do we think is behind this? Is the speculation about Iran and Libya correct?
PAUL JUREIDIENI: I think in this kind of game it's very difficult to point a gun at any one person, or find the smoking gun. But in terms of conjecture and why things happen, I think it's obviously either Iran or Libya.
WOODRUFF: What makes you think that?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Well, both have the most to gain from it. In the case of Iran it could be punishing Egypt for supporting Iraq during the last four years. It could be also an attempt to improve on its bargaining positions at the moment by showing that other waterways and transshipment points are just as vulnerable. And, of course, it could be the result of a faction in Iran that does not want peace. You know, at the moment it's very baffling because serious peace negotiations are going on. And one wonders why the acts happen.
WOODRUFF: You think -- I gather you think it's Iran rather than Libya, or do you think it could be either one?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Well, if we accept the fact that --
WOODRUFF: Or both?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Well, one can benefit from the other, obviously. If we accept the fact that it's Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Jihad would not work with Libya.
WOODRUFF: Now, what is Islamic Jihad? This is one of -- the group that has claimed responsibility?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Islamic Jihad, really, does not exist. It's an amorphous group. It doesn't have an office. There is no leadership, no person you can go and talk to. Nonetheless, it's a group of people that are active in the international terrorscene. Normally if one looks deeply, we can draw the line straight to Teheran. But other nations have also claimed Islamic Jihad, since there is nobody to deny it and no office to go to check, like in the days of the PLO. It's very difficult to pin it on anybody. However, given the fact that Islamic Jihad tends to be mainly Shiite, and given the unhappiness of the Shiites with the Libyan regime over the disappearance of the Lebanese Imam, Musa Sadr, it's unlikely that the Shiites will work for Qaddafi. However, Qaddafi stands to gain if the cost of shipping oil goes up, if it becomes more hazardous. Then his oil becomes more attractive. Shorter distances, obviously, less expensive.
WOODRUFF: So you're saying it's still a guessing game.We're still trying to figure out who --
Mr. JUREIDIENI: I think at the moment one, to be honest, has to say it's a guessing game.
WOODRUFF: Why attack ships in the Red Sea rather than in the Gulf, in the Persian Gulf?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Well, I think there is a realization that the Gulf is going to be unstable for awhile. As you know, Saudi Arabia has just finished building a pipeline from Bahrain to the Red Sea, to Yanbu, and plans to and another two pipelines. Iraq is in the process of negotiating a contract to build a pipeline from Iraq to Aqaba in Jordan. Thus -- and even the other emirates are thinking about building a pipeline to Oman, all of them avoiding the Straits of Hormuz. Thus is appears that in a year or two the Arabs may be able to ship the oil without going through the choke point, which is the Strait of Hormuz.
WOODRUFF: So those are all the countries that would be hurt, obviously, by a -- if this --
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Obviously. Well, these are the countries that would be hurt, but I think the Iberian states of the Red Sea would also be hurt. Israel may be hurt. Egypt will be hurt. Djibouti will be hurt. Port Sudan, you know, the Sudan might be hurt.
WOODRUFF: How difficult is it for the terrorists, for the Iranians or whomever they may be, to get the equipment necessary to do this extensive mining?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Actually it's very easy. Mines are available on the international arms black market. You can buy them all over the place without really tracing them back to any one country. Also, it doesn't take very sophisticated knowledge or equipment to drop mines. You can almost toss them overboard.
WOODRUFF: What about to sweep them? I mean, the United States just had --
Mr. JUREIDIENI: To sweep them becomes a problem because you have several types of mine. You have the usual, or the World War II contact mine that we used to see in movies and what not. But now you have dangerous mines like the acoustic mine and the pressure mine. And each one reacts differently, and obviously it's gong to be very difficult --
WOODRUFF: That's the reason Egypt is presumably consulting now with other countries for help --
Mr. JUREIDIENI: It requires a very sophisticated technology to deal with this variety of mines, especially if they're sown all over the place, not in a clear pattern.
WOODRUFF: Okay, one last question. Do you expect this to continue, or do you think we've pretty much seen the end of it?
Mr. JUREIDIENI: I think it's a warning. I personally see it as an attempt by Iran to improve its bargaining positions. However, I also feel that it could be repeated, and it's very difficult to defend against.Very, very difficult to defend against.
WOODRUFF: Paul Jureidieni, thank you for being with us.
Mr. JUREIDIENI: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Robin? Justices in Judgment
MacNEIL: Back in this country, the American Bar Association is meeting in Chicago this week, and two Supreme Court justices have used the annual gathering as a forum for airing their views. Since public speeches by Supreme Court justices are rare, we decided to explore what was behind the speeches. On Saturday, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens spoke at a dedication ceremony for a new Bar Association building at Northwestern University. In a rare moment of public candor, Stevens criticized several of his colleagues for pushing their judicial philosophy instead of deciding cases on their merits. Stevens cited several examples.
JOHN PAUL STEVENS, Supreme Court Associate Justice: In Firefighters Union v. Stotts, a case that required nothing more than the construction of the terms of a consent decree, the court elected to make a far-reaching pronouncement concerning the limits on a court's power to prescribe affirmative action as a remedy for a proven violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Grove City College, a case that merely required the court to decide whether federal grants to students constituted federal assistance to the college within the meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments, the court went out of its way to announce that the statute did not forbid sex discrimination throughout the assisted institution, even though neither party had argued that it did. And in Colorado v. Nunez, the court unanimously concluded that it had no jurisdiction to review a decision of the Colorado Supreme Court. Nevertheless, three members of the court who are often described as conservatives, and who had expressly agreed with the court's jurisdictional holding, could not resist the opportunity to volunteer their opinion about the rule of law that should have been applied to the merits of the case.
MacNEIL: To give us some background on the Stevens speech, we have Elizabeth Olson, who covers the Supreme Court for United Press International. She joins us from public station WTTW, Chicago.
Elizabeth, how unusual is such an attack as we've just heard Justice Stevens make?
ELIZABETH OLSON: Well, I don't think it's all that unusual. It's a little bit more specific and critical of the justices than Stevens has been in the past. But you should bear in mind that in most of these cases he has dissented, and he has made these dissents public than his speeches to a private dedication group. And he also has used the ABA as a forum in the past for criticism. He, for example, in 1982, at the ABA convention in San Francisco, used that occasion to criticize his colleagues for being sort of inept at screening cases that were going to be coming before the court.
MacNEIL: Of course, this has quite a political content at the moment, if he is accusing, as he just did, conservative colleagues, of deciding cases by ideology rather than on the merits of the case, which is the kind of -- the way the speech was very widely reported in the press. That has enormous sort of political significance, doesn't it, right now?
Ms. OLSON: Well, I think it does. I think there's something more subtle going on here, sort of on two levels. One is Stevens personally has always been known as a lonely maverick on the court. He often dissents. He takes -- he's known for his bench questions which tend to be very smart and get to the heart of the case, but are often not things that other justices are necessarily interested in. He is serving, to a certain extent, I think, as the conscience of the court. Heis sort of needling conservatives, I think, a little bit about their abhorrence of the court. He is sort of needling conservatives, I think, a little bit about their abhorrence of the concept of judicial activism. And he's basically saying, "You are saying you think this is awful, but on the other hand you're doing this when it suits your convenience." The other thing I think that's going on here that has more political overtones to it is the fact that all the members of the court are well aware that this is a court in transition. Five of the members are more than 75 years old. There is a high likelihood that in the next few years there will be retirements or resignations or perhaps even deaths, giving whoever is elected the next president a chance to considerably reshape the court. And I think that people who are in the middle part of the judicial spectrum on the court, such as Justice Stevens, are aware that if the next president is President Reagan it's very likely that the court will be even more conservative than it is now. And I think that he sort of views his role as being a bit, as I said before, a bit of a conscience for the court.
MacNEIL: Let's turn to Chief Justice Mr. Burger for a moment.As we mentioned, Justice Stevens wasn't the only judge to come out in Chicago to get something off his chest. Yesterday Chief Justice Warren Burger addressed the ABA convention and was especially critical of lawyers who advertise their services.
WARREN BURGER, Supreme Court Chief Justice: In 1977 the Association created a committee to study developments in advertising by lawyers. We now have the novel and not always pleasant spectacle of lawyer advertising on television, on radio and in newspapers, much in the same way that automobiles, dog food, cosmetics and hair tonic are touted. No one questions the importance of providing the public with the means to find a lawyer when a lawyer is needed. That, of course, is essential to assure access to justice, because laymen do not find their way to justice. It requires lawyers.But times -- in times past bar associations have taken care of this problem with a much simpler mechanism -- periodic ads perhaps once a week in a box in the local newspaper inviting the public to call the Bar Association referral service.
MacNEIL: Is this kind of criticism taken very much to heart in the legal community? Is the ABA rocked back on its heels today that the Chief Justice makes this kind of criticism?
Ms. OLSON: No, I don't think so, not at all. In fact, as I was coming back from the speech yesterday, one of the delegates said to me, "Well, you know, he's always giving us hell." And I think that there is a -- it's the attitude among most of the lawyers that of sort of resignation. I think that they would basically prefer that he not be so critical, but no one really wants to come right out and say it. So I think that there is this kind of acceptance of it, and just thinking, well, you know, that's what he's going to do, and we'll listen to it. They do, you know, but there's never any disrespect. They do applaud him and treat him, you know, as the top jurist in the nation. Although I don't think they necessarily agree with him.
MacNEIL: Does he have a special moral authority in that position to move people to take action?
Ms. OLSON: Well, I think that some of the criticisms -- he has used the ABA, particularly his February state of the judiciary address, to try to talk about some of the problems that he perceives in the -- that are besetting the judiciary. He hasn't been really successful in changing anything, but I think he does have a role in bringing some of the problems, such as the backload -- or the backlog in the courts to the public's attention. He has dealt in the past with the problems of lawyer advertising, which may be a generational problem. I think a lot of younger lawyers view the problem of advertising quite differently than Burger does. After all, he's 76 and has been in the profession quite a long time.He has also used the ABA as a forum to complain about the poor advocacy training of lawyers. I'm not sure much has happened because of this, but I think it's probably good that someone brings up some of these topics.
MacNEIL: Well, Elizabeth Olson, thank you for joining us.
Ms. OLSON: Thank you.
MacNEIL: Judy?
WOODRUFF: Attorney General William French Smith said today the Soviet Union is responsible for forged letters threatening Asian and African athletes at the Los Angeles Olympic games. Smith told the American Bar Association that the Soviet KGB wrote letters which appeared to have been written by the Ku Klux Klan in an effort to justify the Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles games. At the games, the second week of competition began yesterday with the Americans savoring a historic victory, Joan Benoit's win in the first ever women's marathon. Our special correspondent at the Olympics, Larry Merchant, filed this report on the landmark 26-mile, 385-yard race. Olympic Milestone
LARRY MERCHANT [voice-over]: Baron Pierre de Coupertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, said the role of women in the Olympics was to applaud men. Yesterday in Los Angeles the role of women in the Olympics reached its symbolic and dramatic peak when hundreds of thousands of spectators and hundreds of millions of television viewers applauded 50 women in their first Olympic marathon. Most of the applause was for Joan Benoit, the 27-year-old world record holder from Maine, who turned the race into a personal parade. She had undergone knee surgery only 13 weeks before making history as the runaway winner.
JOAN BENOIT, Olympic gold medalist, marathon: The cheers all along the course were very uplifting, and when I entered the stadium -- I don't know how to express it.It was something very, very special, something that I've dreamed about, something that really hasn't hit me yet, but I think it was a real honor for every woman in this race today. It's been a long time coming, and we've certainly proved that we can run this distance very competitively. And I think you will find that several of the women's times here today will beat the men's times next Sunday.
MERCHANT [voice-over]: Benoit's victory deeply touched other women athletes, especially distance runners like Mary Decker, because they are all pioneers in a sense.
MARY DECKER, Olympic runner: Women have always been behind the men as far as sports goes, as far as recognition, as far as allowances. And I think it's just a natural progression. And, yes, it is a milestone because it is the first time, and Joanie is the first Olympic champion for women in the marathon, and I think it's wonderful.
MERCHANT [voice-over]: Kathy Switzer was a real pioneer in women's marathoning, having once run in the Boston Marathon unofficially, before women were allowed in that prestigious race, she has been instrumental in promoting the marathon to the status it achieved yesterday.
KATHERINE SWITZER, former marathon runner: It's a fantastic realization of a dream. It means so much more than just the inclusion of another sports event for women in the games format. It's something that women everywhere have wanted for a long time and have even campaigned for for the last 10 years. In many ways, it's almost a social revolution because we just never believed -- most of the general public, anyway, didn't believe that women were capable of doing these long-distance events. Women, you know, are inherently capable in any endurance, stamina, flexibility or balance event, and we've only begun to scratch the surface on events that emphasize those capabilities.
MERCHANT [voice-over]: But until yesterday, endurance was not recognized as a feminine virtue in the Olympics. The most popular women's sports were gymnastics, featuring daring, supple child-women, and diving and swimming, featuring graceful mermaids. In track, only short races were deemed suitable for frail women. Long distances were thought to be beyond them, and that barred them from the centerpiece of the Olympics, the marathon. A one-time trial at a mere 800 meters in 1928 set women back when four of them collapsed at the finish line, not unlike the dehydrated Gabriela Andersen-Schiess, who wobbled around the track minute after painful minute yesterday. She was committed to finishing her marathon. That it was seen only as a sub-plot to the main drama indicates how much attitudes have changed.
Ms. SWITZER [voice-over]: The finishing time indicated that she had been on a pretty good pace, so that she did finish in still a respectable time, even staggering across the line.
[on camera] It tells me that women have gone for it and have received equality in long-distance running. And with that equality comes the responsibility of strategy and planning and pacing and all the accolades of crossing the finish line and winning gold medals, but also with it comes the equality of having the suffering, the heat stroke, just like the men have had to do.
MERCHANT [voice-over]: The Canadian team doctor, watching from the stands, felt that Andersen-Schiess should have been removed from the track, but the doctors assigned to the race respected her commitment. Dehydration is common in marathons.
[interviewing] Were you fearful that it could cause a backlash?
Ms. SWITZER: Not really, because I think now that we have plenty of times on television, or even in our own hometowns, among all those 25 million joggers in this country, seen somebpdy who has had heat exhaustion, and they realize it can happen to all of us.
MERCHANT: What events do you see women participating in at the Olympics, say, in the year 2000?
Ms. SWITZER: The movement to get women's long-distance running included in the Olympic Games has sort of opened the flood gates to a lot of women who want a lot of different women's sports, and I think that's fantastic. Judo is one that certainly will be coming up soon. More long-distance running events. Cycling was a new event this year. And I think that we can expect not necessarily women taking part in events like soccer or weightlifting although soccer would be an ideal sport for women as well, but I think we can see perhaps the development of new sports, maybe an offshoot of gymnastics or another kind of endurance activity. Maybe even a 100-mile race ortwo-day race. Who knows?
MERCHANT [voice-over]: One race does not a revolution make, but this much was certain as Joan Benoit ran one purposeful stride after another, through Los Angeles and around the coliseum yesterday: this determined New England woman gave personal testimony to the aspirations and potential of women everwhere. And she did so as a woman's-only marathon was covered by television from start to finish for the first time. No one can foretell the worldwide impact of this emotional show, but at the very least the possibilities for women in the Olympics now seem unlimited.
WOODRUFF: That report was by our special correspondent at the Olympics, Larry Merchant. For the record, there are 7,800 athletes competing at the Los Angeles games; 1,718 are women.
Coming up in the NewsHour, both sides of the birth control issue that divides the world population conference starting today in Mexico City. And we remember actor Richard Burton.
[Video postcard -- Oro Valley, Arizona] Population Control
MacNEIL: The United States and some 140 other countries met in Mexico City today for a conference on world population growth, with the U.S. promoting a controversial new policy. The Reagan administration says that too much government control and planning in Third World countries has held back economic growth, which could have led to a decline in birth rate. The U.S. position emphasizes sound economic policies over a population policy. James Buckley, the head of the U.S. delegation, told a news conference that the administration "does not believe that we face a global crisis," in population problems. Robert McNamara, former head of the World Bank, says Americans will be laughed out of the conference if they stress that theme. Another aspect of administration policy has also provoked criticism. The U.S. would cut off aid to private family planning organizations that perform or promote abortion. Critics say such a move would result in the loss of $100 million to family planning programs around the world. Recently Charlayne Hunter-Gault talked to the heads of two such programs in developing countries, Dr. Fernando Tamayo, head of Planned Parenthood in Colombia, South America, and Emile Elias, president of the Trinidad and Tobago family planning Association.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Dr. Tamayo, in your country, Colombia, from a medical standpoint how would this cutback affect your situation?
Dr. FERNANDO TAMAYO: We'd have to diminish our service for about 30%, and this will bring an increase in number of abortions, an increase of complications of abortions, which kill about 5,000 women a year. And it'll be also an increase in child mortality because the unwanted children have a higher mortality than the wanted child. We'll have to cut 30% of our activities, which is a very serious blow to the family planning of my country because we provide over 60% of the whole family planning that is done in the country.
HUNTER-GAULT: Mr. Elias, what about your own country, Trinidad? What kind of impact would a fund cut have there?
EMILE ELIAS: Well, our private family planning association does about half of the national program at the moment. If funds were cut back to the international Planned Parenthood Federation, they in turn would cut the support they give to Trinidad, which is currently about $250,000 U.S. dollars per year.
HUNTER-GAULT: How important is that?
Mr. ELIAS: That represents about 40% of the total cost of running the program in Trinidad, and this means that we'd have to close one of our clinics down. And I guess about 10,000 women would be affected on our little island, and they would have no services available to them that we now provide.
HUNTER-GAULT: What kind of services?
Mr. ELIAS: The services -- we provide a full range of contraceptive services. We also have an infertility service wherewe help women who want to have babies and who can't have them. We do voluntary sterilizations as well, pap smears for cancer detection, and a whole lot of health-related activities that help women. Youth activities. We also do lectures, information and education, and we go to schools --
HUNTER-GAULT: And you'd have to terminate all of that?
Mr. ELIAS: Well, not all of it, but certainly a substantial percentage of it.
HUNTER-GAULT: Well, don't you get funds from other family planning programs?
Mr. ELIAS: Yes, we get funds, and we raise funds locally to about 60% of our total costs, and 40% comes from the international federation. And the international depends very much on the United States contribution. Now, the thing that I want to point out is that the International Federation has 118 members. Each member country is an autonomous, independent family planning association with its own constitution, and they have to abide by the laws in their own country. Now, if India performs a legal abortion and AID cut off support to the IPPF because one of its members in India performs an abortion without AID money, then it's very unfair and very difficult to believe that the United States would turn its back on 40 years of international family planning assistance because some one member performs, within the law of its own country, an abortion with someone else's money.
MacNEIL: One of the prominent members of the U.S. delegation in Mexico City is M. Peter McPherson, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. His agency now distributes some $240 million in family planning aid worldwide. And he joins us tonight from Mexico City. Mr. McPherson, could you hear these two gentlemen who were just talking on our program?
M. PETER McPHERSON: Yes, I could.
MacNEIL: How do you respond to the criticism that you've just heard them make of the new policy?
Mr. McPHERSON: I don't think they understand it. Jim Buckley yesterday, in the conference here, the press conference here in Mexico City, indicated that he felt and the policy so states, that there should be broadened availability of contraceptives. Indeed, that for next year we're asking Congress for more money for family planning than we have this year, for 1984.I think as this policy is put into place these people that family service -- family planning services will be broadly available. I think they just haven't quite thought through and fully had an opportunity to look at this policy.Frankly, one of the big problems here is that the press hasn't reported this on-going U.S. support for family planning.
MacNEIL: Yeah, but isn't it true that while you are increasing the support for family planning, as you just said, you are going to cut off aid to private agencies, like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, if one of their members practices or performs or promotes abortion in an individual country?
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, we're looking through the application of that policy, but International Planned Parenthood only receives about $11 million per year out of that $240 million we have this year. And I honestly believe that the International Planned Parenthood has to think through and is thinking through whether they want to continue to support abortion. We provide 25% of their budget, and they only have 1% of their budget for abortion. I think there's some possibility they may want to not continue to support abortion.
MacNEIL: I wonder, what the justification is for the United States cutting off aid to an activity, abortion, which may be legal in certain countries, and in fact is legal in this country?
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, one, the policy paper allows us to continue to provide family planning in countries that have government programs, their government programs, that support abortion. We just need to segregate our money. It is to private groups that have abortion programs that we don't support. And, frankly, we -- the President, the administration, feel strongly about abortion, and we think this would advance the general cause of preventing abortion.
MacNEIL: Turning to the other part of the new administration policy, how does the U.S. think that what are called "sound economic policies" will promote lower birth rates in the Third World?
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, what we've found historically is that, as economic growth occurs, generally -- not always, but generally -- there has been a reduction in birth rates. Overall, we think that economic policy is a critical factor to growth, to meeting basic human needs. And to that end we've been talking about that broadly. Bob MaNamara, when he was president of the bank, was really instrumental in what ultimately became the Berg[?] Report, that argued that as to Africa. I think there is broad acceptance that economic policies are key to growth. What we're talking about is family planning supporting economic growth, but the family planning doesn't support economic growth. They're mutually reinforceable. That, in fact, is not a dramatic change. It's been what we've been arguing for some time. The real change here is the abortion policy. The supporting family planning, the being interested in economic policy is what this administration has been talking about for some time, and I think there has been broad interest. I mentioned the Berg Report to the World Bank.
MacNEIL: Finally, Mr. Buckley's press conference yesterday, saying that the U.S. does not consider that the world population situation is in crisis at the moment. Is that an accurate reflection of the delegation's official position?
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, there is about a billion people in the world that live in countries where the growth rate is very fast and a very serious problem -- Sub-Saharan Africa, the subcontinent of Asia and some other places. It's not global in the sense that every country has this problem. But in those countries where it is a problem -- Kenya, with its 4% -- it's a major problem indeed, and there is where we want to focus. Alternatively, there's other parts of the world [transmission broken]
MacNEIL: I think we've lost Mr. McPherson for a moment from Mexico City, but I was just about to give it to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, just last month -- just picking up on this story, just last month a new report warned that if the world's population doubled by the middle of the next century it would create economic havoc in many countries. The report was issued by World Bank, whose former president is Robert McNamara. Mr. McNamara, who also served as secretary of defense through much of the 1960s, is now an outspoken advocate of world population control. He joins us tonight from public station KQED in San Francisco.
Mr. McNamara, were you able to hear Mr. McPherson before we lost the connection there?
WOODRUFF: What about the last point that he was making? He didn't really say that this matter of world population growth isn't a crisis, but he indicated that it's more of a problem in some parts of the world than in others. Do you have a problem with his interpretation?
Mr. McNAMARA: Well, I want to stress that it is a crisis in many, many parts of the world. In Bangladesh, in Kenya, in Nigeria, in Salvador, and in many, many other countries. And, by the end of this century, unless more is done to reduce the rates of population growth, there will be a crisis in even more countries. And when I say a crisis I mean that by the end of the century there will be widespread adoption of national coercive policies which will limit the freedom of individuals, will impose forced sterilization, restrict movement from rural to urban areas, and will lead to increasing prevalence of brutal family practices -- very high rates of abortion and very high rates of female infanticide. And I'd call that an incipient crisis.
WOODRUFF: How can you be so certain of all that?
Mr. McNAMARA: Because, according to Mr. McPherson's own figures, the rate of growth in Kenya, for example, which had a population of 17 million in 1980, is such that within 40 years from today that population will have quintupled to 80 million, and yet in 1980 Kenya was not able to feed its population.
WOODRUFF: All right, what about --
Mr. McNAMARA: That is a -- that is a sure prescription for political and social disorder in that country.
WOODRUFF: What about the argument that we really are here to discuss, and that is these policies of the Reagan administration that you have said you disagree with? First of all, their view that money should be cut off to private organizations that are promoting or performing abortion? Why do you have a problem with that stated policy?
Mr. McNAMARA: Well, I think that, as Mr. McPherson indicated, that would very likely lead to a cutoff of the funds providing a major part of the support to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which is one of the most important organizations in the world assisting the developing countries to reduce their rate of population growth. And that's an illustration of what would happen. Mr. Buckley yesterday, from Mexico, stated that in addition to withholding funds from private organizations that support abortion directly or indirectly with other funds, the government would also -- the U.S. government would also, in the future, withhold funds from either private organizations or governmental organizations which in any way support what he called "coercive policies." I'm not certain what "coercive policies" mean, but in China, for example, which is supported by the United Nations' population program, they restrict the movement of individuals from rural to urban areas, quite properly, I think, but it clearly is a coercive policy. If that leads to a cessation of U.S. support of the United Nations' population program, it would be disastrous.
WOODRUFF: Why doesn't the United States, though, have a right to carry out the policies that the administration feels strongly about?
Mr. McNAMARA: Well, I think it certainly does have such a right. It would be very unfortunate, however, if that happened. It would be contrary to the U.S. interest.If, for example, we don't help Mexico deal with its problem of high population growth, and in particular the effects of past population growth -- which will lead Mexico to have the most rapidly growing labor force in the world over the next decade or two, those people are born -- if we don't help Mexico help itself to provide labor-intensive employment to prevent the migration of those individuals from Mexico to this country, we're going to be in the deepest of trouble. If we don't help Salvador reduce its rate of population growth, three's going to becontinuing political disorder there. The Kissinger Commission said in its report that one of the major factors contributing to disorder in Salvador was the high rate of population growth. It's in our nation's interest to help these nations help themselves.
WOODRUFF: Mr. McNamara, we'll come back to you. Robin?
MacNEIL: Mr. McPherson, do you hear us again in Mexico City?
Mr. McPHERSON: Yes, I could.There's a whole swirl of, oh, misinterpretation, I think, of people who, in many cases, would like to agree. There has been never any discussion about cutting off family planning to Mexico. The facts are that this administration continues to support a strong family planning program. What we have said is that we don't want to have our money involved with abortion. But that's very different than being against family planning.
MacNEIL: But Mr. McNamara just said that that policy, by the way Mr. Buckley extended it yesterday, would lead to cutting off money also for those countries which practice coercive programs, and he mentioned China, for example.
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, the paper is really clear. I'm not quite sure what his reference was to Mr. Buckley's statement, but the paper is the official U.S. government position, and it's very clear on how we treat governments. And it says essentially that we'll provide money to governments that support abortion, but we'll segregate our money so that they -- so that our money doesn't go for abortion. I think here that we've got to recognize that family -- that what we have in this population expansion, and Kenya, for example, is a real problem. I don't -- I certainly agree with Bob on this point. Is this a product of success? We had tremendous decreases in child mortality and length of life. And the West did an enormous amount to create that. Now, those successes need to be duplicated in our going to work with these countries to help them reduce their population growth and help them with economic policies that'll create growth, mutually reinforcing each other.
MacNEIL: Mr. McNamara, what is wrong with that?
Mr. McNAMARA: If the administration will give freedom to Mr. McPherson to carry out the policies that he has supported in the past, I'll be quite happy.But I fear that from what Mr. Buckley said yesterday -- and, by the way, he said it on CBS's program, "Face the Nation", in which I participated as well -- I fear that the administration, if it follows his words, will severely restrict the financial support. It may increase the total financial support, but it'll redirect it, shift it away from very, very effective programs presently leading and supporting reduced rates of population growth. And that I would be very sad to see.
MacNEIL: And what do you say to that, Mr. McPherson?Is there that danger?
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, I think that we've got to be very careful about how we support -- how we provide money in connection with programs that might have abortion. And we're going to be tough on that because that's what the President wants. But I think we can manage this program to get at the population growth problems in the key areas in the world.
MacNEIL: Let me just go back to Mr. McNamara. Do you have an objection to cutting out the abortion part of it, Mr. McNamara --
Mr. McNAMARA: I do indeed.
MacNEIL: -- if that is simply the administration aim here?
Mr. McNAMARA: I do indeed.
MacNEIL: Why?
Mr. McNAMARA: By law since 1974 the United States has not been authorized to utilize any federal funds in support of abortion policies.I accept that as our law. I do not accept that the Congress, when it passed that law, intended that we would withhold funds from effective programs such as International Planned Parenthood, such as other programs, which, with other sources of funds, are supporting abortion. And I would predict that if we carry out this new policy it will lead not to lower rates of abortion, but to higher rates of abortion by the end of the century.
MacNEIL: Mr. McPherson?
Mr. McPHERSON: Well, family planning is very important for purposes of avoiding abortion. In that I very much agree. I think this program can be properly administered, and we'll spend the money that Congress has given us for it.
MacNEIL: Well, Mr. McPherson, in Mexico City, thank you for joining us; Mr. McNamara, in San Francisco.
Mr. McPHERSON: Thank you.
MacNEIL: Judy?
WOODRUFF: From Moscow there is word on the fate of dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov. He is said to have ended a hunger strike he began last May to win approval for his wife, Yelena Bonner, to travel to the West for medical care. Ms. Bonner talked to friends yesterday and said that Sakharov is well and being kept in a hospital in the city of Gorky. Ms. Bonner also said that she has been formally charged with anti-Soviet slander, a crime punishable by a maximum three-year term in a labor camp.
In Hiroshima, Japan, 40,000 people gathered today for a solemn anniversary. Thirty-nine years ago the first atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima.Diane Griffiths of Visnews reports from Japan.
DIANE GRIFFITHS, Visnews [voice-over]: The bomb flattened the city center and killed an estimated 140,000 people. The names of more than 2,000 radiation victims who've died in the past 12 months were added to the Hiroshima memorial. City officials laid wreaths and made impassioned speeches about the threat of nuclear war.Children too young to remember the full horrors of the blast walked in silence to the monument and left flowers. At precisely 8:15 a.m., the time the bomb dropped, two men swung a boom across a bell and set it tolling across the park. The crowd fell silent for a minute of prayer. The anniversary tribute lasted only 40 minutes, but the aftereffects of the blast are still being felt nearly 40 years on. At the end of a short but simple ceremony, 1,000 doves were released into the warm, early morning sunshine.
WOODRUFF: The Hiroshima anniversary was marked in New York by three protestors who climbed up the Statue of Liberty, unfurled a banner calling for a test ban treaty. That call was also reflected in Washington, where 50 U.S. and international groups launched a campaign to stop nuclear weapons tests.
[Video postcard -- Kane County, Utah]
WOODRUFF: At the National Zoo here in Washington officials are still trying to determine why the giant panda Ling-Ling delivered a stillborn cub last night. The zookeeper said Ling-Ling had what appeared to be a normal delivery. She nuzzled the cub for hours after it was born. But despite her efforts, the five-ounce male cub showed no signs of movement. Last year Ling-Ling's first attempt at motherhood failed when her cub died of a lung infection hours after birth.
Turning now to a recap of today's top stories, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said that deficits will be lower than expected next year, but still high enough to keep up interest rates.
Israeli Labor Party chief Shimon Peres is trying to put together a government. He was given the go-ahead to form a coalition yesterday.
The crew of a tanker hit by a mine in the Red Sea has been rescuedas the U.S. considers sending a Navy team to help clear the mystery mines.
And Amtrak says that it's going to spend more time checking its tracks to make sure the system is safe.
Robin? Burton Remembered
MacNEIL: Finally tonight we recall Richard Burton, the actor, who died yesterday of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 58. Many think of Burton as an actor of great talent whose drinking and womanizing kept his career on a rollercoaster for 30 years. He was a gifted Shakespearian actor by his 20s in England, but his career went on the world stage in 1960, hen he played opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film "Cleopatra." That led to a romance of nearly 20 years and two marriages and divorces that captured the attention of the whole world. The two made a string of films together in the 1960s, many about relationships between couples, the most famous probably "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" They were reunited briefly last year for a stage version of "Private Lives," which portrayed a stormy love relationship similar in many ways to their own. Though they never married a third time, as she predicted, Burton spoke highly of Liz Taylor, as in this 1980 interview with Cick Cavett.
Mr. BURTON: Anyway, I like her very much and she likes me, and I think she's one of the most underrated screen actresses that ever lived. And I think she's one of the best ones who ever lived, at her very finest she is incomparable.
DICK CAVETT: Among actors she's highly thought of, but --
Mr. BURTON: The press I think are deceived by her great beauty, and they can't believe that somebody as pretty or as beautiful as that can actually act as well. But there's no question of it that she is a superb screen actress. And I think that in later years -- I mean, can you remember Bogart ever having a good notice during his lifetime except for, shall we say, "The African Queen" or something like that -- when he played something outside himself -- slightly outside himself. I think that Elizabeth will become a cult figure one of these days and that things will be run endlessly on television, as Bogie's are now, and people will realize that perhaps she was before her time as an actress.
MacNEIL: The other great problem for Burton's career was his drinking, a habit shared with his father, a Welsh coal miner.
Mr. BURTON: Nobody quite knows which drink it is that takes him over the edge of being merely a social or hearty, laughing drinker into a morose and hung-over wretched creature who shakes and creaks and sweats and has nightmares and it's always November, and it's raining and it's three o'clock in the morning, and there's nowhere to go, and you reach out for a cigrette and smoke and think of all the horrible things you've done in your life and all the shame -- all the shames you've endured and suffered, and the shame you gave other people and all the wrongs you've done other people. I don't know whether alcoholics can put it quite as eloquently as that. Usually they just say, "I just stared out of a window for two years," and it is -- believe me, the question of being an alcoholic, I'm not quite sure that I am one, but if I'm not one I'm very near and very right on the edge of being one. It is no laughing matter. It is not a laughing matter.
MacNEIL: For all his troubles, though, Richard Burton could almost always hypnotize an audience with his riveting blue eyes and a voice of remarkable range and expressiveness. Here's a taste of Burton as King Arthur in Lerner and Loew's "Camelot."
Mr. BURTON: When I was a lad of 18, our dear King Pendragon died in London and left no one to succeed him. Only his sword, stuck through a stone, which stood on an anvil. Written on it in letters of gold it said, "Who so pulleth this sword of this stone and anvil shall be rightwise king born of all England." Many men tried to dislodge it, but none could. Finally a great tournament was proclaimed for New Year's Day so that all the mightiest knights in England could be assembled at one time to have an attempt at the sword. I went to London a squire to my cousin, Sir Kay. The morning of the tournament Kay discovered he'd left his sword at home and gave me a shilling to ride back and fetch it.On my way through London I passed a square and saw there this sword rising from a stone. Not thinking very quickly, I thought it was a war memorial. The square was deserted. I decided to save myself a journey and borrow it. I tried to pull it out. I failed. I tried again.I failed again. Then I -- I closed my eyes and with all my strength tried one last time. Lo! It moved in my hand. And slowly it slid from the stone. I heard a great roar. When I opened my eyes, the square was filled with people shouting, 'Long live the King!' Long live the King! I looked at the sword and saw the blade gleaming with letters of gold. That's how I became king."
MacNEIL: Richard Burton.
Good night, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Extraordinary talent. Good night, Robin. That's our NewsHour for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you and good night.
The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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This episode's headline: Under Attack -- Red Sea Terror; Justices in Judgment; Olympic Milestone; Population Control; Burton Remembered. The guests include In Washington: PAUL JUREIDIENI, Terrorism Expert; In Chicago: ELIZABETH OLSON, United Press International; In New York: Dr. FERNANDO TAMAYO, Colombia Family Planning; EMILE ELIAS, Trinidad and Tobago Family Planning Association; In Mexico City: M. PETER McPHERSON, U.S. Agency for International Development; In San Francisco: ROBERT McNAMARA, Former President, World Bank. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNEIL, Executive Editor; In Washington: JUDY WOODRUFF, Correspondent; Reports from NewsHour Correspondents: LARRY MERCHANT, in Los Angeles; CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, in New York; DIANE GRIFFITHS (Visnews), in Hiroshima
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Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” 1984-08-06, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 3, 2021,
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