An American convicted of spying for the Soviet Union was exchanged on Monday (1 May) for an American student goaled in East Germany for helping people escape to the West.
GV: Car carrying at American mission in West Berlin.
GV: Activity outside building. (2 SHOTS)
GV: Robert Thompson leaves mission and walks to car.
SV: Alan Van Norman out of mission.
CU: Norman speaking in English to newsmen.
REPORTER: "Could you just tell me what went on when the exchange took place?"
NORMAN: "Ah, I was ah, suffering from culture shock quite bad, I wasn't really sware. People came, people went, I (laughs) saw the man Thompson shortly. I don't remember whether I shook hands or not, people came out of the room and a lot was said, but I was still confused."
REPORTER: "How do you feel now about your attempt to bring out that East German family? How do you feel about that now?"
NORMAN: "Well, I'm not real fond of the idea that I landed in prison, but I think that these people came out was quite important to them, that they needed to come out, and I feel right in trying to bring them out."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: An American convicted of spying for the Soviet Union was exchanged on Monday (1 May) for an American student goaled in East Germany for helping people escape to the West. The spy, Robert Thompson, aged 53, was released on Saturday from gaol in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, after serving 12 of his 30-year sentence. The student, Alan Van Norman, has been in East German custody since his arrest last August.
SYNOPSIS: The exchange took place on the forecourt of the American mission in West Berlin. On his arrival at West Berlin's Tegel airport by jet from the United States, Mr. Thompson was whisked out of a side door to avoid newsmen. At the American mission, both Thompson and Norman were closely guarded, newsmen were kept well away. Eventually Thompson, the convicted spy, was escorted from the building into a waiting car and driven off. He was accompanied by Wolfgang Vogel, the East German lawyer who arranged the exchange.
The student, Alan Van Norman, spoke with reporters.