Special Exhibits from UNICEF Archives
THE UNMANNED ROCKET
Excerpt frcm C.B.S. broadcast October 25, 1965
Eric Severeid for Cronkite News
couple of things happened today involving outer space and inner man.
That unmanned Agena rocket, the one that was supposed to keep a date
up there somewhere, went out of its computer's mind, and out of
range. And the Organization that helps hungry, sick and ragged kids
all around the world won the Nobel Peace Prize. The United Nations
Children's Fund, known as UNICEF in the alphabeticalized jargon of
By any common sense casting of accounts, the first failure is more
than compensated by the second success; the rocket Agena can be
replaced; but in all history no one has ever known of a replaceable
The trouble with the Agena seems to have been a good, old fashioned
trouble, the kind the space people experienced in the early days; a
kind of early Wright brothers failure — the thing didn't even get
into orbit. This kind of thing brings scientists as well as gadgets
back to earth. This was the first time men have ever actually tried
to hitch a wagon to a star and the chief consolation is that it was
the wagon that collapsed like the one-hoss shay, not the star. It
was a human failure, of course; all technical failures are.
And the great prize for the Children's Fund, that of course was a
human success. Some people in this country think that U.N. Fund is a
conspiracy and they are right; it is part of an eternal, world-wide
plot; what H.G. Wells called the conspiracy of good will; it goes on
all the time, over and undercover, in board rooms and back alleys,
in palaces and peasants shacks.
It is the warm war, humanity's countervailing force to the cold war.
It may never thaw out the cold war entirely, but it thaws out quite
a few human hearts in the meantime.
On Hallowe'en, American kids go around trick or treating and the
proceeds go to the children's fund. Even a half-thawed middle-aged
American like this one is forced to conclude that this is an advance
over our boyhood practice of tipping over backyard privies on
Hallowe'en and tying pigs on the neighbour's roof.