Finland is currently preparing for what's scheduled to be Europe's biggest gathering of political leaders -- the 35-nation european Security Conference, due to start on July 30.
GV PAN Road to Presidential Palace (2 shots)
GV Helsinki centre and street scene (2 shots)
GV Finlandia House
GV Hotel Marski
GV U.S. Embassy
GV Soviet Embassy
GVs Hotels (3 shots)
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Background: Finland is currently preparing for what's scheduled to be Europe's biggest gathering of political leaders -- the 35-nation european Security Conference, due to start on July 30.
But though it's intended to be the continent's most impressive summit, only a handful of countries have so far confirmed their participation. Of the two superpowers, the United States will be represented by President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger. But the Soviet Union has not yet confirmed that Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev will be coming.
Find India House, site of the first stage of the Security Conference attended by Foreign Ministers two years ago, is hurriedly being equipped to meet the needs of about 1,000 delegates and their staff. More than a thousand foreign newsmen are being catered for. Tourists are being turned away form many of the best hotels where 2,500 beds have been reserved.
It's estimated that the cost of staging the conference will be over one million pounds starling (2.2 million dollars) -- and much of this will be spent on ensuring the security of the Security Summit. Five-thousand police and securitymen have been detailed to guard the leaders, backed up by army units and foreign secret servicemen.
If the summit succeeds, it could mark the beginning of a new era of East-West relations. But the initial triumph will belong to the Soviet Union, which has long pressed for the summit as a way of confirming post-war political frontiers in Europe.
The West still contests this -- there is continuing controversy over Moscow's incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union and over the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. But the charter to be signed in Helsinki at least declares that in future frontiers can only be changed by peaceful means.
SYNOPSIS: The streets of Helsinki around the Presidential Palace -- scrubbed clean and already strongly policed ready for the greatest gathering of political leaders ever seen in Europe. On July the thirtieth, Finland's capital plays host to the thirty-five nation European Security Conference. It will cost the Finns over a million pounds to stage the summit. But if it works, the achievements for peace could be beyond price.
Finlandia House, the city's conference and concert centre, is being equipped to meet the needs of a thousand delegates and their staff. Foreign Ministers attended the first stage of the security summit here two years ago. By the end of the final summit, gathered heads of state should put their signatures to a document which pledges that the existing frontiers of Europe can only be changed by peaceful means.
The Hotel Marski has been turned into a press centre for the thousand foreign newsman expected.
The United States Embassy has already confirmed that President Ford will be attending.
But the Soviet Embassy hasn't so far revealed whether Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev will be coming. This is odd, since the fact that the summit is being staged at all represents a triumph for Moscow. Kremlin leaders have pressed for the conference for years as a way of confirming post-war European frontiers.