The growing problem of Indo-China's refugees was to be one of the main topics for talks between United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in London on Thursday (12 July).
SCU United nations Secretary-General Dr. Kurt Waldheim, speaking to reporter John Darby
WALDHEIM: "Certainly, the departure of the Vietnamese of Chinese origin from Vietnam has to be settled in an orderly way and this is what we try, very hard. I have discussed this letter with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong personally, and most recently in Hanoi, and he promised to cooperate with the High Commissioner. You see, here we are in a real dilemma. On the one hand we have to maintain the principle of granting asylum, the principle of letting go everybody who wants to leave the country because of political or other circumstances. And here, in this specific case we are suddenly we are suddenly faced with the situation where we should tell the Vietnamese' stop the departure' because too many of your people are leaving the country. So there is a certain dilemma but, evidently for us, it is very clear that everything has to be done in order to make sure an orderly departure of these people. That is the real task that we have and we are deeply involved in this effort, in addition to the purely humanitarian efforts to make sure that the refugees that have already left the country get places of final asylum and that the countries of first asylum get the necessary help from the international community so that they can take care of these people during the interim period."
DARBY: "The Geneva Conference is only really about a week away and yet you have only had about seven acceptances. You must find this discouraging."
WALDHEIM: "Not at all. The answer is very positive. There are more than seven acceptances, I don't know where you had this information. The great majority has accepted to come on a ministerial level and I am very confident that the meeting will take place on a high level, on a ministerial level as I have suggested. A number of countries have already made generous contributions or indicated generous contributions, so I am quite confident."
REPORTER: JOHN DARBY
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Background: The growing problem of Indo-China's refugees was to be one of the main topics for talks between United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in London on Thursday (12 July). Dr. Waldheim, making a brief stopover on his way to Madrid, reviewed with British Ministers the prospects for next week's United Nations sponsored conference on the refugee problem. Before meeting with Mrs. Thatcher he told Visnews' reporter John Darby the problem is one of the most important challenges facing the world.