The Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Europe, General Alexander Haig, attended a ceremony near London on Thursday 10 April) to mark the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief for British Air Forces within the NATO Command.
CU PAN FROM Union Jack TO NATO flag
LV ZOOM IN General Haig on saluting base
SV Guard of honour
SV General Haig & Air Chief Marshal Smallwood walking to board and unveiling Head-quarters sign
Lv PAN Flypast
LV INT Haig seated at news conference
CU Haig seated listening to reporter's question and replying
LV Haig seated
TRANSCRIPT (SEQ 7) REPORTER: "General Haig, in connection with Vietnam, could you comment on reports that you told students at the National War College last week about the existence of confidential exchanges between the Nixon and Thieu administrations relating to the 1973 peace agreement?"
HAIG: "I expected that question today. I releases a statement early this morning on the subject. My press assistant is here with a copy of that statement and he's prepared to give it to those who care to see it."
REPORTER: "Would you be so kind as to repeat the statement for us"
HAIG: "Well, no. I prefer not to get into that."
Initials BB/2235 LT/MR/BB/2255
EDITORS NOTE: This film contains an extract from General Haig's news conferences, which is for use.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Europe, General Alexander Haig, attended a ceremony near London on Thursday 10 April) to mark the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief for British Air Forces within the NATO Command.
It's the first time a United Kingdom NATO Command has been formed since the alliance was established in April, 1949.
The new commander is Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Smallwood, who already is the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force's Strike Command. This gives him command of all the RAF's operational forces in Britain.
NATO sees the creation of the new post as a strengthening of the alliance through the important of organisation.
It will enable RAF aircraft to be deployed earlier than before and give greater flexibility to NATO's response to hostile action.
At a news conference, after the ceremony, General Haig was asked if he had said last week that there were confidential agreements between the United States and South Vietnam. The general said he did not want to add anything to a statement he had issued that morning.
In the statement, General Haig denied having said that the United States had secret understandings with President Thieu.