United States Defence Secretary Melvin R. Laird yesterday (Friday) hinted that there would be little?
GV EXT. Capitol
CU Laird speaking (SOF)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: LAIRD: "Certainly the events in Paris in the last few days are being looked at very carefully and closely by our government. There is indication of some change but there are also some very difficult conditions that were outlined yesterday.
REPORTER: Mr. secretary, the previous administration said they could have all the troops out of Vietnam within six months after a settlement. Do you feel this could still be done?
LAIRD: That's a very hypothetical question. I think that the question deals with personnel and not with the supporting equipment. It does not deal with aircraft....other maintenance equipment. We have a vast amount....many thousands of tons of equipment that is part of our base force equipment. This, of course, could not be handled in that short a period of time. Personnel can be handled in a short period of time, but you would certainly have to go to the Congress for many billions of dollars of appropriations to re-support the base force structure of the United States military services if this material is not returned."
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Background: United States Defence Secretary Melvin R. Laird yesterday (Friday) hinted that there would be little difficulty in pulling all U.S. forces out of Vietnam by the end of the year. But the problem, he added, was ferrying back support equipment -- and this could prolong the withdrawal period.
Mr. Laird was questioned by newsmen as he prepared to fly from Washington to Japan and South Korea. His replies were cautious when asked about this week's peace initiative from the Viet Cong negotiators at the Paris talks -- which included a pledge to release American prisoners in response to the U.S. withdrawal: