A Look Back - March 1962
By Wally Peel
Rusk-Gromyko Talks Stalled
In yet another attempt to keep the East -West differences on Berlin from widening, U. S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk met once again with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.
The talks occurred in an atmosphere of deadlock . The only known new proposal before them being a Soviet plan for a vague international watch on the land, air and water corridors.
The plan presupposed that American. British and French garrisons would have to leave Berlin. It gave day-to-day control over the access routes to the East Germans, with an international body acting only in an advisory capacity.
That would put the Western powers in the position of recognizing the Communist East German regime.
The proposal as presented was completely unacceptable to the Rusk and the Western Allies.
The talks took place on the eve of Rusk's scheduled return to Washington,
The seventeen nation conference in Geneva would continue. Rusk and other high level officials made it clear that they would return whenever their presence seemed useful.
Anti-Poll Tax Bill
Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana threatened his colleagues with a rare Saturday session in an effort to speed up the vote on an anti-poll tax bill.
The Senate was in its seventh day of debate on a motion to take up a minor bill to which Florida Senator Spressard Holland had attached a proposed constitutional amendment. The amendment would eliminate the poll tax as a requirement for voting in Federal Elections.
In what one Republican called a friendly filibuster, southern Democrats kept talking against the anti- poll tax measure.
Acting GOP leader Senator Thomas H. Kuchel said Republicans were ready to vote, and had engaged in "no obstruction of any kind".
Note: The anti poll tax measure began as an amendment to a bill that would have made the home of Alexander Hamilton a National Monument. When that bill was presented on the Senate floor, in a political maneuver, Senator Spressard Holland offered an amendment that stated that the rights of citizens to vote should not be denied for failure to pay a poll tax.
Following lengthy debate, Senator Holland's amendment was substituted for the original proposal, completely eliminating the original subject of a national monument.
The anti poll tax measure eventually became the 24th Amendment to the Constitution and was sent to the states for ratification, It was ratified on January 23, 1964.
Mississippi specifically rejected the amendment. Seven other states, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming have not ratified the amendment.