The United States Secretary of State for the Middle East and South East Asia, Mr.?
GV: U.S Under Secretary of State Mr. Atherton down aircraft steps and greeted by U.S. Ambassador Mr. Parker SILENT
SV: Mr. Atherton speaking to reporter:
English speech starts: "Mr. Atherton could you....."
English speech ends:.....thank you very much."
REPORTER: "Mr. Atherton, could you perhaps say something about the aim of your visit to Algeria and Morocco and what you are going to discuss and get out of it?"
MR. ATHERTON: "Yes, I would be very happy to say a few words. First of all, I am always very pleased to return to Algeria to return to Algeria to see our friends here. The fact that I am here at this particular time is because our Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Mr. Robinson, is coming for economic talks which have been scheduled for quite some time, and, Secretary, Kissinger thought it would be quite useful if I joined him for a broad exchange of views of the kind we have periodically with the government of Algeria on bi-lateral matters and other matters of mutual interest in the region. I have been in Tunis for similar talks, and i will be going onto Morocco after this for more talks of a broad nature on all matters of mutual interest."
REPORTER: "Thank you very much."
Initials RH/1545 RH/PK/AH/1600
This film includes an interview given by Mr. Atherton to newsmen a transcript of which appears below:
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United States Secretary of State for the Middle East and South East Asia, Mr. Alfred Atherton, arrived in Algiers on Saturday (28 February). His visit is part of a fact finding tour of countries involved in the dispute over the Western (formerly Spanish) Sahara.
On arrival he was greeted by the U.S. Ambassador to Algiers, Mr. Richard Parker, before meeting reporters. His missions started with a visit to Tunisia, and ends with talks in Morocco starting on Tuesday (2 March).
A few hours before the arrival of Mr. Atherton in Algiers, the Algerian backed Polisario Front proclaimed the Western Sahara the "Saharan Arab Democratic Republic". The independence campaign has led to frequent clashes between Polisario guerrillas and Moroccan and Mauritian forces. Spain recently handed over the area to Morocco and Mauritania.
Mr. Atherton did not comment on the crisis when he spoke to reporters. He confined his remarks to explaining that his tour co-incided with the visit of Mr. Charles Robinson, the United States Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, who is visiting several African states.
However, Mr. Atherton's talks with Algerian President, Colonel Houari Boumedienne, were expected to cover the Western Sahara dispute and the situation in the Middle East. Mr. Atherton said that his talks with north African leaders also covered matters of mutual interest and a broad exchange of views.