There are no American troops in Laos, American Secretary for Defence, Mr Melvin Laird, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday (2 February).
GV Capitol Building
MV ZOOM TO SCU Laird Speaks (SOF)
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 2): QUESTION: "Mr Secretary, we want to ask you what's going on in Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam, what can you tell us, Sir?"
LAIRD: We had a very pleasant hearing this morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the extension of the draft for two years.
QUESTION: That's not answering the question, Mr President. What's now going on in Laos?
LAIRD: Well, as you know, I have complete confidence in General Abraham. I have absolute confidence in the news media and the new embargo of which you are aware of. I have no further comment at this time and in response to your questions.
QUESTION: Every news agency in the world, including Izvestia, is reporting details of this operations. Izvestia is saying that South Vietnamese troops, commanded by American officers are involved. Doesn't that sort of shoot the embargo full of holes. Is there any reason for security now?
LAIRD: Well, the fact is that of course that Izvestia does not speak the truth.
QUESTION: You mean there are no Americans with the South Vietnamese troops in Laos?
LAIRD: There will be no American ground combat forces operating in Laos or Cambodia. We will abide by the congressional restrictions in this area, and I have no intention of asking the congress to change the congressional restrictions that were written into the law last year. If you don't care to ask any questions about the manpower programme or the draft for selective service, I think we can conclude or conversation."
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Background: There are no American troops in Laos, American Secretary for Defence, Mr Melvin Laird, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday (2 February).
Mr Laird was being interviewed on the reported South Vietnamese incursion into Laos.