President Nixon yesterday expressed optimism that the United States and the Soviet Union are nearing important agreement on strategic arms limitation.
GV & SV INT Nixon seated with SALT negotiators in White House. (3 shots)
CU Nixon in State Department (SOUND)
MV & LV Melvin Laird on rostrum in Pentagon (2 shots)
SCU Laird (SOUND)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: NIXON:
"Yesterday, a joint announcement was made by the government of the United States and the government of the Soviet Union, indicating a commitment by the leaders at the highest level in both countries to work towards limitation of nuclear arms, both in the defensive and offensive areas. And to work towards an agreement in this field to be implemented sometime this year. As I pointed out in making that announcement some very intensive negotiations now will have to take place to achieve our goal. But we are hopeful that it will be achieved because of the interest and the commitment that has now been expressed at the very highest levels in both governments."
At the Pentagon, however, Secretary of Defence Melvin Laird cautioned a group of government employees not to expect too much, too soon:
SEQ. 4: LAIRD:
"We must be prepared, of course, for the realistic fact that negotiations in such a complex area as strategic arms limitation are going to be extremely complicated. We cannot afford to be impatient and we cannot afford to disarm unilaterally before those talks prove to be successful. We should not anticipate any sudden success. That is part of our realistic assessment of the world in which we live. But I am encouraged and heartened by the President's announcement to the people yesterday."
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Background: President Nixon yesterday expressed optimism that the United States and the Soviet Union are nearing important agreement on strategic arms limitation. But almost simultaneously, Defence Secretary Melvin Laird warned that some hard bargaining is still ahead and that no-one should expect "sudden success" from the negotiations.
Mr. Nixon had just given his chief disarmament negotiators a White House send-off before they returned to the talks in Vienna. He commented on the progress of the talks during a surprise visit to a State Department conference: