American prisoners held in North Vietnam have been filmed for the first time by foreign camera teams.
LV EXT. Prison(2 shots)
MV INT. Communal hall with lights
CV Christmas message on wall
MCV Nativity scene painted on wall
CV Presents on Xmas tree
CVs PAN Seven prisoners
MCV Beds in cell (2 shots)
CU Books on shelf
CV Mug & peanut tin PAN UP TO BASKET
MV Baskets, guitar & other furnishings
MV Bars on cell window - prisoners exercising outside
MLV Prisoners playing volley-ball (3 shots)
MV Prisoners seen through cell bars
MV Wilbur & Schweitzer with reporter
CU Schweitzer & Wilbur were interviewed
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: American prisoners held in North Vietnam have been filmed for the first time by foreign camera teams. The film was taken by a Japanese and Algerian news team who were only allowed to film part of the prison and to see and interview seven prisoners.
The single-storey building seen was the only one allowed to be filmed, but it was only one of four like it, forming a square in which there is a large grass area, pond and trees. Not allowed to be filmed were the 15 foot high walls with barbed wire on the top and the homes which surround the camp.
A communal hall was lavishly decorated but empty of life, Christmas messages decorated the walls. On Christmas eve a Japanese television team filmed about 30 prisoners eating and singing carols in this hall, but on Christmas day this Japanese-Algerian television team were only allowed to see seven men.
They Were:Lieutenant Pauil Gordan Brown; Lieutenant M.L.Gardley; Lieutenant William J. Mayhew; Major Roger D. Ingleson; Lieutenant-Colonel Eddison W. Miller; Commander Walter Eugene Wilbur and Commander Robert J. Schweitzer.
Depending on how many men share each room, there could have been upwards of eighty prisoners in this camp. There were six rooms to each of the four blocks and despite the barred windows and bolts could hardly be called cells. Twenty feet wide by twelve, they each had three beds but only two in each room were made up, two blankets on each. Family pictures were to be seen in many of the rooms.
Books were generally evident and some newly arrived gifts, but there were not many normal day-to-day items such as ashtrays, paper or items of clothing: although the locally made baskets could have contained these.
It was a clean well-laid out camp and the familiar way the prisoners referred to and used the facilities suggest that the camp is in regular use. The facilities include a volley-ball and basket-ball court and in their exercise this handful of pilots looked fit, alert, and not notice-ably underweight.
In the interviews only four questions were allowed, and submitted to the prisoners a day ahead. So the pilots had the opportunity to consider carefully what they wanted to say or not say. Wilbur and Schweitzer spoke easily, articulately and with no trace of embarrassment. Some comments of not apparent significance were later censored.