University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

[Beginning of April], 1980

Census 1980

April is census month. Every ten years since 1790, a census has been taken in the United States. At this year’s census, a remarkable shift in the ethnic composition of the American population is beginning to show. The wave of immigration to the United States from Southern and Eastern Europe at the beginning of the century is now being replaced by a similar wave of immigration from Latin America and Southeast Asia. This new immigration is especially covered by the census 1980. The Hispanic population coming from Mexico, Cuba and Central America appears to become the largest minority in the United States. In wide areas in the West and Southwest Spanish is becoming next to English the second language spoken. Also the Asian population is becoming more and more visible. The ethnic diversity of the American population has become all the richer by these new waves of immigration.

South Bend, April 7, 1980

Diplomatic Relations Broken Off

After having waited for five months in vain, being kept in the air, and promises never kept, the Carter Administration took stronger measures today in the hostage crisis. President Carter broke off diplomatic relations with Iran. All Iranian diplomats who are still in the United States have to leave the country until midnight tomorrow. At the same time, a complete trade embargo has been declared. Further measures remain open if the hostages in the American Embassy are not released. As all diplomatic attempts at mediation seem to have been exhausted, the Iran crisis is now entering a phase of open confrontation. How much this situation will intensify is hard to tell.

April 13, 1980

Trying to Take Advantage of a Vulnerable Spot

Foreign countries who wish the United States ill have found out that every four years during the American presidential election a vulnerable spot of American democracy is being exposed. The ability of the American president to make decisions is somewhat weakened, for he has to either run for reelection and campaign to get voters on his side or, if he leaves office, as lame duck does not have the full capacity to act along with Congress. Therefore, in presidential election years, time and again attempts have been made to take advantage of this vulnerable spot, trying to influence the U.S. presidential election from abroad. That was the case in the Vietnam War, Cuba tried to do so several times, and obviously a similar method is now being applied in the Iran crisis.

April 25, 1980

The Rescue Operation

Hardly awakened, the American public was surprised this morning by a report from the White House that the rescue operation to free the 50 hostages in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran had failed. Coming from Egypt, a rescue expedition flew over Saudi Arabia into the Iranian desert to establish an outpost. At the same time, helicopters from a carrier in the Persian Gulf arrived, which should have freed the hostages in Tehran. But due to a technical malfunction of a helicopter, the operation had to be called off. Eight marines lost their lives in the mission.

April 27, 1980

Cyrus Vance Resigns

In the aftermath of the failed rescue mission to free the hostages in Tehran, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance today announced his resignation. In fact, he had already offered his resignation to President Carter days earlier, as fundamental differences of opinion over the rescue mission had arisen. Cyrus Vance is a career diplomat who was regarded as a moderate voice in the cabinet of the Carter Administration. The resignation of the American Secretary of Sate will intensify the present unsafe world situation. The fear, which is being expressed on both sides of the Atlantic not without good reason, comes from the uncertainty whether the crises in Afghanistan and in Iran could escalate into a war in the East West conflict.

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