China announced that Public Security Minister Hua Kuo-feng had been appointed premier following Chou En-lai’s death. The surprise appointment was confirmed by New China News Agency. The report referred to Hua as acting premier for the first time in an account of a meeting he had with Venezuela’s new ambassador. It was not clear if he had been made a temporary caretaker or whether his name would be passed on to the National People’s Congress for ratification as full premier. The man universally tipped to succeed Chou was Deng Xiaoping, the most senior of the 12 vice premiers who had fulfilled major state functions since Chou fell ill.
Union Minister for Law and Justice H.R. Gokhale stressed the need for early crystallisation of ideas about amendments to the Constitution, judicial reforms and organisation of legal aid for the poor. The parliamentary system was not going to be given up, but the manner of working of the parliamentary system “may undergo changes”.
Peace In Lebanon
Syria and Lebanon sealed an agreement to enforce peace in war-torn Lebanon. Speaking to reporters at the end of a one-day visit to Damascus by Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh, Syrian President Hafeez Assad said: “We were, and still are, with our people in Lebanon and we are optimistic about the future”. He said that the civil war between Muslim leftists and rightwing Christians had no justification. “Violence is not the method of solving the domestic problems of any homeland,” he said. Franjieh’s visit — the first to Damascus by a Lebanese head-of-state in 25 years — put the finishing touches to the Syrian-negotiated truce.
Yugoslav consul in Frankfurt, Edvin Zdovc, was shot dead in the garage of his home by two men who later fled in a car, the police said.