Alexander Godunov, the Soviet ballet star who defected to the West last week, held his first Western-style news conference today (29 August).
SV & CU Godunov and his American translator answering reporters' questions (5 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: TRANSLATOR: "First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the Ambassador, McHenry, and to the government, of the United States for the tremendous efforts."
REPORTER: "Why didn't you contact your wife, why didn't you inform your wife at the time of defection?"
TRANSLATOR: "I found myself in the situation, I found myself in the situation that couldn't do otherwise. I was absent from the hotel for such a long time that I passed the actual curfew hour established for the performers to return to the hotel, and if I ever returned to the hotel, it could be most likely that I would lose the opportunity to do what I wanted to do, that is, to defect."
REPORTER: "Did you talk to your wife after you defected?"
TRANSLATOR: "We had conversations of that kind, especially when we were discussing other dancers who left the country and certainly this topic, this subject was present in our conversations."
REPORTER: "Did she want to defect?"
TRANSLATOR: "I don't want to answer this question since she's in Moscow."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Alexander Godunov, the Soviet ballet star who defected to the West last week, held his first Western-style news conference today (29 August). At the New York city conference, Godunov answered reporters' questions about why he wanted to leave the Soviet Union, and why he thought his wife hadn't joined him.