United States Vice President Walter Mondale has defended his government's policy of actively looking for Indo-Chinese refugees.
United States Vice President Walter Mondale has defended his government's policy of actively looking for Indo-Chinese refugees. Mr. Mondale was speaking at the end of a two day visit to Hong Kong where he examined the refugee problem first hand. He denied suggestions that refugees were being tempted out of Vietnam simply because they knew American naval ships would pick them up.
SYNOPSIS: During his visit the Vice President inspected one of Hong Kong's twelve refugee camps. He spent about half an hour walking around the Shamshuipo transit camp with Hong Kong's Governor Sir Murray Maclehose.
During the visit the refugees were confined behind metal barriers and hundreds of local police and security officers were posted around the compound. Mr. Mondale talked freely with the refugees and many applauded. He asked them where they wanted to live -- most said the United States. The Vice President said later that was because America was the only place many of them had heard of. After the visit Mr. Mondale flew to the aircraft carrier Midway anchored off the coast. Since July, the American Seventh Fleet has been under orders to pick up boat people found at sea. While Mr. Mondale was in Hong Kong the USS White Plains picked up another 18 refugees bringing the total number rescued int he last two months to 228. On board the Midway Mr. Mondale spoke to the crew about the refugee situation and the strategic importance of having a United States fleet in the Pacific. There was also time for less importance matters ... like photographs.
Later at a news conference Mr. Mondale reaffirmed the United States policy on Indo Chinese refugees.