The flags of the fifteen member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) were lowered for the last time on French soil today - the eve of the transfer of the Alliance's headquarters from Rocquencourt to Belgium.
MS SHAPE flag and Union Jack
CU Union Jack pan other flags being lowered
MS Flag being folded up, zoom to LS pan up to empty flag posts and down to crowd
MS Flag being carried away
CU General Lemnitzer and others
MS Band playing, leaving, zoom to LS
EDITORS: THIS FILM HAS NATURAL SOUND THROUGHOUT
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Background: The flags of the fifteen member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) were lowered for the last time on French soil today - the eve of the transfer of the Alliance's headquarters from Rocquencourt to Belgium.
General Lyman Lemnitzer, Supreme Commander, will move his headquarters 30 hours ahead of the deadline stipulated by French President Charles De Gaulle. Tomorrow at Casteau, 31 miles (50 kms) south-east of Brussels, the NATO flags will fly over the new headquarters. The French Tricolour will be missing from their number.
The SHAPE and NATO flags, with the fifteen national flags which have flown at Rocquencourt for 16 years, were lowered to the roll of the drums of a British Royal Tank Regiment band.
Speaking at the ceremony, General Lemnitzer commented upon France's withdrawal from the NATO command, resulting in the necessity for the new headquarters. Replying to his speech, General Charles Ailleret, Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces, assured General Lemnitzer that France remains attached to the Atlantic Alliance.
The emergency transfer has taken less than six months, at an estimated cost of about GBP14 million sterling (40 million dollars)