MIA Facts Site

Report of the
Senate Select Committee
on
POW-MIA Affairs:
Appendix 6f

Normalization Ford
12/01/92 ...I happen to believe that it's very
much in U.S. interests to normalize
our relationship with Vietnam. I
spent two years in Vietnam. I have
every reason to know that country and
the horror of that war, but I think
it's something we need to put behind
us, both in a political sense and in
an emotional sense, and I think
economic and whatever. I think it
makes a lot of sense to move forward.

Normalization Griffiths
12/01/92 Once we do that, I think that the
United States should move forward
just as rapidly as Vietnam acts in
the context of the roadmap.

Normalization Kerry
12/04/92 ...if you read what is in Phase Two,
let us say you were to do the
business piece that involved
permitting U.S. firms to sign a
contract, but they cannot execute on
it, they cannot execute...you are
whetting the Vietnamese appetite.

But Phase Two specifically says
continue the rapid repatriation.
Vietnam in phase two is not
alleviated of any responsibility.
Vietnam specifically is required to
continue the rapid repatriation of
American remains readily available to
Vietnam.

Vice Chairman Smith: If they become
available after Phase One, true.

Chairman Kerry: So they must
continue the process. We have an
expectation of the continuation of
remains in Phase Two. The roadmap
clearly contemplated it, and it
leverages it.

Now, let us say a couple of companies
move in. Let us say you chose to
only let it be certain kinds of
companies, whatever. They go in.
The Vietnamese start to get excited:
Hey, this is working. But you do not
get more of those remains. They
cannot execute on the contracts.
Everybody is going to get angry:
Hey, how come you are not able to
move forward? Gee, we thought we
would be able to make this a real
business thing, but where are those
remains?

All of a sudden you have increased
your capacity to get them. You lose
no leverage. You increase the
leverage. Phase Two contemplates it.

Normalization Kerry
12/03/92 Now some of us may feel, just as
policy people all over the agencies
may feel, that one step or another
may serve better to get some of those
answers. But none of us feels that
we should give up leverage. None of
us feels that we should move to an
actual commercial product-moving
relationship. Every comment that we
have suggested in terms of the
roadmap suggests that those who have
advocated some step are simply
saying, we think we can get more
information and still maintain
leverage.

Normalization Quinn
12/04/92 ...I think it's important to
emphasize that we do have a policy in
place to deal with Vietnam, the
roadmap policy. And it's premised on
two underlying pillars. One, that we
should speak clearly and
authoritatively to the Vietnamese,
and so we gave them our policy in
writing and we told them that it was
approved by the President, by all of
the relevant secretaries.

Secondly, the roadmap was premised on
both parties taking steps,
concomitant steps, to address the
concerns of the others. That policy,
plus the work of General Vessey,
General Needham, all of the people
from DOD who have been up here, has
produced results and I outlined those
in my testimony the other day in
terms of offices and prisons access,
live-sighting investigation, remains
that have been returned.

Normalization Quinn
11/15/91 There was also a charge, a criticism,
of our overall policy, particularly
the State Department's role in the
POW/MIA effort, that we are acting at
the behest of commercial interests,
that we are rushing to normalize
relations with Vietnam.

I doubt that those who would charge
this have heard from the American
businessmen and businesswomen who see
me almost every day, and who leave,
for the most part, disappointed. I
tell them that we will not have the
domestic support system necessary for
Government or a business to move
ahead with Vietnam until we resolve
the POW/MIA issue. I add that there
is hope for the future, because our
policy appears to be working; but the
embargo will remain in place until
the proof is in.

American economic interests have high
standing in our foreign policy, but
in the case of Vietnam, these
interests are weighed against even
higher priorities. It is true we are
in a rush, a rush to obtain the
fullest possible accounting for the
2,271 American POW/MIAs from the
Vietnam War. The uncertainty has gone
on far too long. We are doing our
best to energize the process and
elicit the cooperation we need from
the governments in the region.

We have had some notable success in
the past year, but more must be done.
As we get results, we will take the
commensurate steps that will help put
the past behind us. The response from
Vietnam is slow and begrudging. So,
too, will be the pace and scope of
normalization. At every opportunity,
we remind Vietnam of this fundamental
reality.

Normalization Quinn
12/04/92 ...the question now is how to keep it
going. I believe the record
demonstrates [Vietnamese cooperation]
that the philosophy underlying our
roadmap -- that when each side is
taking steps that we're able to move
ahead, but that whenever we stop
taking those steps that we run the
risk of bringing the whole process to
a halt. I think it should be that
philosophy which continues to guide
us in the future.

Normalization Quinn
12/04/92 ...If I could just say, I think the
explanation you gave of how these
steps were supposed to work is
exactly right and exactly what was in
our minds when we laid them out.

It was intended that as you took them
to increase your leverage and too, as
you draw nearer to what in our view
is what the Vietnamese want from us,
that that would impel them to do all
the more that they could to respond
to what we want from them.

Normalization Smith
12/04/92 ...I think we lose all of the
leverage that we have by moving to
Phase Two at this point, and let me
explain very simply why.

We got the information that we
received from Mr. Schweitzer when we
indicated to the Vietnamese that we
knew that they had it. So they
provided it to us. Understandable.
Now, if we were to go at this point
and accept the premise that they have
no more remains and move on to Phase
Two or accept the premise that all
live-sighting reports are resolved
and move to Phase Two, not only is
there not an incentive for them to
provide them to us; there is a
disincentive, because if we move into
Phase Two and there is a cache of
remains somewhere or a group of
Americans somewhere still alive, to
bring that information forth would
immediately stop the process of the
roadmap.

Offers McCain
09/24/92 Sen. McCain: Let me ask, at any
time, did you receive or know whether
the Vice President or the President
of the United States received
information of an offer of Americans
for money?

Murphy: I doubt very much that could
have happened. It's something that
he would probably have discussed with
me if he had gotten it separate from
me. He never did. I can only assume
that it never happened.

Offers Perroots
12/01/92 Perroots: ...let me tell you, they
turned into being inquisitions. And
when I found that out I took steps to
alter it. But I was probably to
blame. This was part of the whole
atmosphere that we generated to make
sure that we were responding to
virtually every critic, to make sure
that nobody could make the suggestion
that we were hiding anything.

We trailed that film. It was in
Billy Hendon's office that he said he
had the names of the people on that
film that refused -- it is a two-way
street. You have got to have
cooperation with the agency
responsible for the identification of
those people. And there were other
inconsistencies in the way the
Congressman operated that resulted in
our terminating that kind of
activity.

Sen. McCain: It is worthy of note,
Mr. Chairman, and I was going to wait
until the hearing tomorrow, that
former Congressman Hendon has also
refused to cooperate with a committee
request concerning our investigation
of fraud and fundraising, and I think
that is interesting, particularly
coming from people who are demanding
full disclosure of all other
information...

Offers Schlatter
12/01/92 Schlatter: ...the episodes that we
underwent was that we would be called
to come to this member's office, and
in support of his legislation he
would have some of his colleagues
there. And he would say all right, I
want you to read this report. Well,
we would take the report out and we
would read the report. Well, stop
right there. Read that again. So we
would read this one sentence again.
Now, Colonel or mister or whomever he
was talking to, what do you make of
that report? Well, we would lay out
our investigation and our analytic
findings.

We would then be subjected to
considerable degree of criticism for
our investigations or our findings.
The end result was that we chased
ourselves round in circles. The same
reports were reviewed time and time
again, the same questions asked and
the same answers given. At one
point, the member ordered an analyst
to go stand in the corner after...

Sen. McCain: He told an analyst to
go stand in the corner?

Schlatter: Yes, sir...

Offers Vessey
12/04/92 Chairman Kerry: You have had the
opportunity to raise this issue in
the most personal way on behalf of
the President of the United States?

Vessey: I have.

Chairman Kerry: Have you, in the
course of those meetings, confronted
the Vietnamese repeatedly with the
question of live Americans in their
country?

Vessey: I have.

Chairman Kerry: And what have they
responded to you each time?

Vessey: We hold no live Americans.

Chairman Kerry: Has money been
offered to them, deals been offered
to them?

Vessey: No. I have not offered
money, but I've made it clear that it
is the fundamental basis on which we
can move forward in any fashion.

Offers Vessey
12/04/92 Sen. McCain: Do you believe that
would be a good idea to say to the
Vietnamese that we will give you a
couple of billion dollars if you will
give us any live Americans?

Vessey: I think it's a bad idea.

Sen. McCain: Why do you think that
would be a bad idea?

Vessey: Well, there are -- there are
rules of international warfare.
There's the Geneva Accords. And I
believe that we should promote
civilized behavior among nations and
that we all ought to respect the
dead, the captured in warfare
according to those rules, and that we
should expect nations to abide by
those rules.

 Oral Histories Bell
12/04/92 Chairman Kerry: ...I want to ask you,
in your judgment, on the oral
histories, do you think that is sort
of a gold mine, so to speak, and
something we ought to pursue
significantly?

Mr. Bell: I think the oral-history
program is not only important from
the standpoint of the interviews with
the individuals for verbal testimony,
I think it's also important in that
they can identify areas where records
are stored or areas where records
were stored at one time. And also, a
lot of the personnel -- in fact, most
of the personnel who participated in
the war kept personal diaries, and
they retained those as much as
possible and they still have those
around today.

Oral Histories DeStatte
12/04/92 I agree that what we have referred to
as the oral history program is very
important. As a matter of fact, this
is something I've been discussing
with my counterpart and the people at
the museum. Having a record that
documents the fate of the missing
person is really only one step in the
accounting process. The final step
should be, wherever possible, to
return the prisoner's remains. And
to do that, in many cases, it's going
to require the help of witnesses,
eyewitnesses.

Oral Histories Schweitzer
12/04/92 220 million Americans and 70 million
Vietnamese couldn't do this. And yet
Colonel Dai and I got together and
these things just started coming out.
And it was just so natural and so
easy for us. There was nothing to
it. But, when you look at it is
seems mysterious, and I don't think
it is. I just think it was the time
and it just happened, and it's going
to continue happening. It's just the
beginning, and I think all the rest
is coming.

Peace Talks Daschle
09/21/92 Mr. Aldrich, on the 24th of January
of 1973 Dr. Kissinger stated at his
press conference that there were no
secret understandings in the sense of
secret commitments. He said that
there were statements by each side of
its intentions or interpretations of
the agreement on which the other side
might or might not choose to
rely...That is very important public
pronouncement, probably equal in
consequence, in many respects, to the
pronouncement of the President a
couple of months later....Dr.
Kissinger announced on the 24th that
there were no secret agreements, and
that was left unchallenged. No one
came forth on his staff, in the
administration, by the President, to
clarify a fundamental mistruth.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Godley
09/24/92 The Symington Amendment was the final
blow. That amendment, as I recall
it, limited the dollar value of our
military expenses in Laos to $300
million a year. This was to cover
ammunition, aircraft sorties, bombs,
food, and to pay indigenous
personnel.

I don't believe that in the history
of warfare there has ever been a
military commander operating under
such budgetary restrictions. We were
beaten, not by the men in the field,
but by public opinion at home, and
were negotiating from a position of
abject weakness...

Peace Talks -
Implementation Godley
09/24/92 Any efforts to obtain a full
accounting of POW/MIAs were doomed to
failure unless the North Vietnamese
could see some advantage in acceding
to our request.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Grassley
09/22/92 [quoting General Walter's Testimony]
"Something like half the prisoners
that were known to have been captured
alive never came back to France after
they reached a deal with the North
Vietnamese." Peace Talks Haig
09/21/92 ...the bombing halted and the
negotiations began at a time when
Hanoi could see clearly that the
Congress, the American people and the
American psyche no longer had the
stomach to do what it had to do.

Peace Talks Haig
09/21/92 What I'm saying is be sure you know
the constraints that existed, because
it's my personal judgment, maybe
wrong, maybe naive, that Henry
Kissinger and Richard Nixon never
made a decision that they didn't
think (with some probably minor
exception) was not dedicated to the
proposition that we want to get our
prisoners out, all of them, as
quickly as possible. And I believe
that. So that's my contribution to
your deliberation.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kerry
09/24/92 I enlisted in 1965, was commissioned
in 1966, went over in 1968 twice,
came back in 1969, and volunteered,
volunteered to go over, volunteered
to go down to the southern part where
we were fighting in the Navy, and
went over to win. But I came back in
1969 convinced that what was going to
happen in 1975 was going to happen.
And the notion of trying to fight a
war with these crazy restrictions
that we were trying to fight it with
just convinced me that you cannot
fight a war that way.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kerry
09/22/92 There is nothing in the record that
suggests you asked the Congress of
the United States for the right to
bomb because they were holding
prisoners that they would not give
back. Nothing.

Peace Talks Kerry
09/21/92 I do not want this to be
confrontational. It is not meant to
be; no member wants it to be. But 20
years later, folks, you know as well
as I do that we are here because, for
better or worse, the intentions we
sought in 1973 have yet to be
fulfilled. We do not have a full
accounting.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kerry
09/21/92 ...The debate is about what happened
in this country in our attempts to
get our prisoners back and were
families dealt with honestly, were
the American people dealt with
honestly...We are not here..to rehash
the war, to renegotiate the
agreement. We want to know what
decisions were available to us and
how we might have made choices to get
them back.

Now, you said we did not get a full
accounting. All we are trying to do
is understand why we were not able to
get that full accounting. Was there
anything disingenuous in that process
of not getting it? Were we lied to?
Were families not told the truth?
Was it inadvertent, was it simply
impossible as a consequence of the
circumstances you have described?

Now, I have taken up more than my
time here, but I would ask you what
it was that prevented us, once we
knew that did not have a full
accounting, from going to the
American people and raising their
consciousness around that reality?
Would people not have coalesced
around the notion that they were not
getting back Americans who were
supposed to come home?

Peace Talks Kerry
09/22/92 A lot has been said and written about
the man the committee will hear from
today, but the one thing that has
never been said about him is that he
was out of the loop.

Peace Talks Kerry
09/22/92 The pressures on our negotiators
during those critical years were real
and unavoidable. We had a President
elected in 1968 who took office in
1969 on a pledge to end U.S.
participation in the war. We had a
public hungry for that moment,
anxious for the goal to be achieved.
And we had a complex set of political
and military objectives throughout
Indochina that were at risk. We had
a very determined and skillful
adversary, and we had tantalizing but
imperfect information about the
number and status of prisoners in
Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kerry
09/22/92 [citing Kissinger's memoirs] But what
is very clear, we were willing to
move heaven and earth to support
President Thieu, we were willing to
move heaven and earth to enforce the
bombing on the violations for
infiltration, but we never talked
about moving heaven and earth to have
that full accounting and never did
the American people learn, never did
this come to the Congress. And I
think it would have been one of the
great levers that you had, but it was
not there.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger It did not matter whether we could
have added one or another clause to
the agreement. The provisions with
respect to the missing in action were
perfectly plain. They just didn't
carry them out.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 Most commentators -- I would say all
commentators, Congressional or media
-- opposed any effort to stand up to
Hanoi, arguing that the United States
had no right to retaliate at all
against the North's blatant
violations. ...By the middle of
April, Hanoi's violations were
overwhelming.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 Unfortunately, it was also no secret
that these efforts to pin Hanoi down
amounted to firing empty cannons. In
theory we had three sources of
leverage available: bombing the
North, offering economic aid to Hanoi
and giving military and economic aid
to Saigon to deprive Hanoi of the
hope of military victory.

The Congress took all three levers
away, denying us both the carrot and
the stick. When the Congress
eliminated our leverage, we were
trapped in the classic nightmare of
every statesman. We had nothing to
back up our tough words, but more
tough words.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 ...Hanoi sensed our leverage was
rapidly eroding. A host of
congressional resolutions made it
clear that we would have no support
for military action.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 It is totally inappropriate for those
who prevented any sort of military
action to blame those of us who
wanted to enforce the agreement
because they can find this or that
document that gave one or other
reason.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 Monday-morning quarterbacks can argue
that the Paris Peace Accords were not
perfect. I agree. To me, the ideal
outcome would have been an American
victory. But, Mr. Chairman, we had
to deal with the war in the specific
circumstances we faced.

Even with the perspective of 20
years, I am convinced that in those
circumstances, no better agreement
was obtainable. For example, just as
I was leaving for the final
negotiations in January 1973, the
House and Senate Democratic caucuses
each passed, by very large margins,
resolutions calling for legislation
to cut off all funds for the war.
...since Congress removed both
incentives and penalties for Hanoi's
compliance, how exactly would any
achievable amendment have changed
Hanoi's behavior?

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 The problem with the Paris Accords
was not with the words, but with
their implementation by North
Vietnam. ...the U.S. Congress even
more vigorously, and successfully,
undercut our ability to enforce those
accords.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 We have had many disagreements on
policy, and honorable people will
differ about this. But on the fate
of our prisoners, Mr. Chairman, there
can be no division. We had all an
equal concern.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 There were also numerous
Congressional resolutions. Most were
Congress resolutions which were not
binding. But whether they passed or
not, they were all known to the
Vietnamese and weakened our
negotiating position. 35 of these
resolutions were introduced in 1972
alone.

...During this period many political
leaders, including Senator McGovern
and 30 other U.S. Senators, were
calling for unconditional, unilateral
withdrawal of American forces from
Vietnam without any formal North
Vietnamese commitment or the
concurrent or even subsequent return
of our MIAs and POWs, or accounting
for the missing in action. . . .

At the same time, members of the
American peace movement were
spreading the word that they had been
told by the North Vietnamese that
setting a deadline for our withdrawal
would create favorable conditions for
the subsequent release of American
prisoners of war.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 Privately, you see, the problem was
they were counting a great deal on
our domestic opposition, so they were
going extremely slowly in the
negotiations.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 Oh, it's a fair question, Mr.
Chairman, and the answer to it is
that this body prevented the
enforcement of the agreement. When
we spoke of iron-clad guarantees we
never thought we were dealing with a
bunch of Lord Fauntleroys whom we
could hand a document to. We thought
we had the right to enforce the
agreement, which was then taken away
from us.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 From the day we entered office, we
had no more consistent goal than the
release of the brave Americans held
prisoner throughout Indochina and a
full accounting of their missing
colleagues. The negotiating record
makes clear that this matter was
insistently raised with the North
Vietnamese. There was no issue on
which American officials, from the
President on down, were more adamant.
Yet here we are 20 years later being
pilloried in leaks without a shred of
evidence, with the unforgivable libel
that we knowingly abandoned the very
group whose suffering was the biggest
single incentive for our exertions.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 The problem with the Paris accords
was not with the words, but with
their implementation by Vietnam. From
the very start, Hanoi began violating
the accords. The record shows
clearly that while the executive
branch tried strenuously to bring
pressure on Hanoi, in particular
those relating to POWs and MIAs, the
U.S. Congress even more vigorously,
and successfully, undercut our
ability to enforce those accords.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 If the Vietnamese violated these
provisions it was not because of any
omission by the responsible U.S.
officials but because we had been
stripped of the weapons we might have
used to enforce that commitment.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 We had, in meetings with many groups,
said forever that if we got the terms
we asked for we would end the war.
That we were not pursuing the war and
that we were not making these
proposals as gimmicks; we meant it.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 Despite all these obstacles,
strenuous negotiations resulted in a
joint communique on June 13th,
reaffirming and strengthening all the
POW provisions, ...We made no secret
of our outrage with Hanoi's
violation. Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 I therefore cannot accept, Senator
Kerry, that information was knowingly
kept from the American public.
Nobody had a monopoly of anguish in
that period. Nobody had any
conceivable interest in deceiving the
American people.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 In response to my presentations, Le
Duc Tho disdainfully read me
editorials from the American press
and speeches from the Congressional
Record.

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 [quoting from his 1973 statement]
"...as for us at home it should be
clear by now that no one in this war
has had a monopoly of anguish and
that no one in these debates has had
a monopoly of moral insight. And now
that at last we have achieved an
agreement in which the United States
did not prescribe the political
future to its allies, an agreement
which would preserve the dignity and
self-respect of all parties, together
with healing the wounds in Indochina
we can begin to heal the wounds in
America."

Peace Talks Kissinger
09/22/92 If Saigon collapsed, the residual
American force would become hostage.
The number of our prisoners would
increase exponentially. In the end,
we achieved the terms we set out to
obtain, and which our critics had
repeatedly told us were unattainable.
In the process, we dramatically
improved the conditions for the
return of American forces. We
demanded and obtained release of all
prisoners.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 Only when our leverage was in the
process of being dismantled, while
the Saigon Government was
disintegrating, in the absence of a
cease-fire, would we be permitted to
talk about our prisoners under
conditions of unspeakable chaos.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 Nobody ever questioned that the
accounting for the missing was
unsatisfactory. We raised it at
least 60 times during 1973. The only
difference is that we did not know of
confirmed prisoners. And had we
known it, we would have taken the
most drastic steps. As I will say in
my statement, but it is better
clearly understood now, I advocated
the resumption of military operations
to enforce the agreement starting in
the middle of March, 1973.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Kissinger
09/22/92 ...we never accepted that They're all
dead, and continued to express our
dissatisfaction with Hanoi's failure
to account for the MIAs.

Peace Talks Laird
09/21/92 I knew about the secret negotiations
probably as soon as Ambassador
Harriman went over there. I was a
member of the -- we had, at that
time, a smaller committee in the
House of Representatives that handled
highly classified operations. As a
member of the Defense Appropriations
Committee, I was informed of those
negotiations as they went forward in
Paris. And I was kept informed
regularly, of course, as Secretary of
Defense.

Peace Talks Lord
09/21/92 I believe the final agreement was the
best possible one at the time, given
the mood in America and the pressures
on the U.S. side. It was a far
better deal than almost anyone on the
American scene thought possible, and
that almost all of Congress and the
media and certainly the demonstrators
were calling for.

It is unfair, retrospectively, to
forget the atmosphere of the times in
evaluating the agreement today. It
is unfair to examine our maximum
positions during the course of the
negotiations and complain that they
were not all realized in the end. By
definition, any agreement had to be a
compromise and reflect the realities
of both the battlefield and American
domestic support.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Moorer
09/24/92 The country was in a state of near
anarchy,...

Peace Talks -
Implementation Moorer
09/24/92 ...I don't think that any nation has
ever fought a war with 500,00 troops
and let the capital of the opposing
nation have a sanctuary.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Richardson
09/24/92 The question is one of what the
public will support, what Congress
would support in the circumstances,
what the international political
costs are of a new use of force.
And, indeed, I don't know exactly
when the vote taken by Congress was,
but it was not long after that
Congress specifically prohibited the
use of force for this or any other
purpose having to do with Vietnam.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Richardson
09/24/92 those of us here in Washington and in
the Government -- when you and your
fellow prisoners of war returned, it
was a tremendously, to me, moving and
exciting moment. I had the
opportunity then to talk with many of
you, and it was an indelible
experience.

And I think that this feeling, very
broadly shared, may have had
something to do with the whole
feeling that peace had been achieved,
the prisoners were home, it was over.
It had been truly a nightmare.

All I can say is that it would have
been a very tough call, when the
North Vietnamese in effect abrogated
the whole agreement by re-invading or
invading South Vietnam. Then surely
had the political -- had it been
politically feasible, bombing and, I
think, other military responses
should have been initiated.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Robson
09/24/92 Chairman Kerry: After that initial
60-day period beginning with 29
January to the end of March, what
happened in terms of your effort to
gain accounting for those people?
Can you describe that for us?

Mr. Robson: Yes, sir. We had that
series of folders, as I said,
approximately 80. I don't remember
the exact number. But we also
developed some more information. I
say we, the services, JCRC, and the
intelligence agencies developed more
information which was fed to JCRC in
Thailand, which in turn was passed
back to us, and we ended up with a
total of 104 folders with information
on people that the enemy should be
able to tell us about with any great
amount of difficulty. And I
personally passed that list and stuff
to them, I believe, on the 17th of
April.

Chairman Kerry: What kind of
response did you get?

Mr. Robson: Nothing.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Robson
09/24/92 Chairman Kerry: ...When we deposed
Colonel Bernie Russell, who is --

Vice Chairman Smith: The U.S. head
of the Four-Party Joint Military
Team, he said otherwise. He stated
that in early May the Vietnamese were
linking U.S. aid commitments to
cooperation with the MIAs. And when
the vote came, or when the word was
passed down to the Vietnamese, or
passed to the Vietnamese that there
was no aid forthcoming, or at least
not in the immediate future, that
they stopped cooperating.

Colonel Robson: There is no
contradiction there, sir. That's
exactly what happened.

Vice Chairman Smith: What?

Colonel Robson: When they got the
word that the aid was cut off, they
just --

Vice Chairman Smith: Bailed out.

Colonel Robson: Just started bailing
out. I mean, they'd sit and talk to
you.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Robson
09/24/92 Chairman Kerry: When you say
nothing, they just --

Mr. Robson: They took it and they
said we will study it. The same thing
they told Dr. Kissinger in Hanoi.

Chairman Kerry: So in effect, the
process that was put in place to get
the accounting was truly not working
almost from the beginning.

Peace Talks Schlesinger
09/21/92 ...but one must assume that we had
concluded that the bargaining
position of the United States in
dealing with Vietnam, North Vietnam,
was quite weak, we were anxious to
get our troops out, and that we were
not going to roil the waters if that
could be avoided. That would be my
judgement.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Secord
09/24/92 Sen. Brown: But faced with the cutoff
of funds, what would you have
recommended? What should we have
done? What should the Administration
have done faced with the cutoff of
funds for military alternatives?

Secord: If the Congress totally tied
our hands with respect to ability to
wage another offense, another bombing
campaign, then what I alluded to
earlier seems to be the only option.
That would be to mount an intensive
intelligence operation using all of
our intelligence community and really
putting some dollars behind it.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Shields
09/24/92 Chairman Kerry: But you did choose
14 that you did know were prisoner.

Dr. Shields: No, we did not --
Senator, we did not know they were
prisoner. We knew that they could
have been prisoners. We never had
any intelligence that they actually
entered the prison.

Chairman Kerry: That's not what you
said on that day.

Dr. Shields: I don't know the press
conference transcript.

Chairman Kerry: I will show you.
"These 14 individuals were at one
time identified by the DRV as having
been captured, but were not listed on
the so-called complete list provided
on 22 December." We carried them as
POW. We believed they were POW. We
held a press conference saying they
are POW.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Shields
06/25/92 Shields: I believe we failed to get
as complete an accounting as we could
have gotten at that time, yes, I do.
There is no question about it. In
mind, had Article 8B been
implemented, we would have had the
accounting that we desired.

Chairman Kerry: And your
interpretation of why it was not
implemented is?

Shields: We never had access to the
areas where we needed to go. We
needed to go into the areas where our
men were lost. We needed to begin
with the incident of loss and track
down what happened to them from that
point... in the area of Laos, we did
not have access. We were not allowed
to go. The government was hostile.
The same was true of North Vietnam.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Shields
06/25/92 The record of our efforts to
implement Article 8(b) have been well
documented. Without cooperation from
the other side, the JCRC sent teams
into the field to investigate crash
and suspected grave sites. An
extensive and sophisticated
underwater search effort was made off
the cost of South Vietnam at
suspected crash site locations.

The last U.S. military man to die
from hostile fire in Vietnam in a
U.S. initiated action was killed in
December, 1973. He was a member of a
JCRC field team, and with the ambush
of that team and his death, our
field efforts ceased.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Shields
06/25/92 Shields: Now, the families had all
of the information which we had
available. The family of Richard Van
Dyke, now living I think in Salt Lake
City, knew about his case. They knew
about what the men in the prison camp
had to say about him. They knew
about Commander Ford. So this
information was passed onto families.
It was not information that anyone
tried to hide.

Chairman Kerry: But the point is,
obviously, that here we are 20 years
later with a list called, discrepancy
cases. And General John Vessey who
will testify later, who is an
extraordinary public servant, who has
devoted his time going over there,
has a list of people that 20 years
later we are saying to the
Vietnamese, hey, wait a minute, we
thought these folks were alive. Now,
if 20 years later we are doing that,
it just occurs to me that 20 years
ago the presumption, the information,
the probability, the expectation,...
were a hell of a lot higher, and the
moment was riper.

Shields: Certainly, Senator. We had
at the time of the Paris Peace
Accords an Article 8B which, as Mr.
Sieverts has pointed out, contained
all of the authorities we needed for
an accounting.

Chairman Kerry: So there was a real
failure to pull off the Accord itself
and get the accounting?

Shields: Absolutely.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Shields
06/25/92 Even though we were not having the
cooperation that we needed, we made
overtures to the Vietnamese time and
time again. A Presidential
commission went to Hanoi and to
Vientiane, Laos, in 1977 appointed by
the President, manned by
distinguished Americans, specifically
for this purpose of accounting for
the missing. We had a complete set of
hearings, and numerous hearings
within the Congress on this issue,
and the Department of Defense spoke
out and maintained contact with
families, and let the families know
exactly where this issue was. So if
there was not a hue and cry in the
country, it was not for want of
effort on our part.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Shields
06/25/92 We pinned our hopes on article 8(b).
We negotiated. We staffed the FPJMT
in the field. We had the JCRC in the
field... We did not have access to
Laos. We did not have access to
North Vietnam. We did not have
access to most of the areas in South
Vietnam where we thought we could go.
The man who was killed, Captain
Reese, was killed in an area which we
felt was under friendly control. As
it turned out, of course, it was not.

So we could not go into the field, we
were limited to negotiations, a part
of a treaty which was never observed,
and never implemented. We faced
extraordinary difficulties in those
days. Peace Talks -
Implementation Sieverts
06/25/92 ...our overriding objective during
this entire period was to assure that
all our prisoners were returned, and
to assure that we were pursuing all
available means to secure the fullest
possible accounting for our men.

Peace Talks Sieverts
06/25/92 ...the January, 1973 Paris Agreement
was the first agreement ending an
armed conflict that contained such
extensive provisions for accounting
for the missing and dead.

Peace Talks -
Implementation Smith
09/22/92 ...we did have iron-clad agreements
with the Vietnamese but what happened
is they did not comply with those
iron-clad agreements. Peace Talks Smith I think it is important to understand
the politics of the times, people in
the streets protesting the war, 300
men dying every week. And those were
the times that you entered onto the
political scene with the President,
and there was a great amount of
political pressure to end the war,
trying to end the war in an honorable
way. And you proceeded into
negotiations to try to do that, since
there did not seem to be the
political will to win it militarily.
So these were difficult times, and
you insisted on many matters
concerning POWs and MIAs in those
negotiations.

The issue, as far as I am concerned,
is did the Vietnamese and the Lao
respond to what you insisted on?

Peace Talks -
Implementation Vessey
06/25/92 Chairman Kerry: Do you share a
feeling that climate of 1973 may have
contributed to... and attitudinal
approach that accepted a sort of
willingness to, perhaps, ask some
tough questions and deal with some
realities?

Vessey: ... there were many people
interested in this issue at the time.
There were unanswered questions at
the time.

At the same time, the country seemed
to be desperate to get out of Vietnam
and be separated from that issue. And
I think that people made the
decisions that they thought were the
best decisions at the time, based on
the information that they had.

Peace Talks Walters
09/21/92 I think it was Ambassador Lord who
said, you know, we cannot second
guess every aspect of it...I am here
to talk about POW/MIA, and what we
knew about that and how that issue
figured into these negotiations, and
perhaps some larger issues about the
negotiations and how they may have
impacted our ability to get the full
accounting that we sought.

Perot Childress
08/12/92 It is my opinion...that Mr. Perot's
trip was counterproductive to U.S.
efforts.

Perot Kerry
08/11/92 We may leave some questions out there
because we are not capable, as
humans, of resolving all of this 20
years later. But the record will be
more complete. And the evidence will
be greater and I think the effort
more significant -- thanks, in part,
to your participation and
contribution.

Perot Perot
08/11/92 Mr. Perot: ...The POW project had to
be a completely private project,
otherwise it would have had no
credibility with the Vietnamese, and
these were the people we were trying
to impact.

Chairman Kerry: But that was your
suggestion that it be kept private?

Mr. Perot: ...No, I think that was
actually Dr. Kissinger and/or Colonel
Haig said this has to be done
privately.... Perot Perroots
08/12/92 Mr. Perot's activities during my
tenure had no adverse affect on my
mission. I considered his efforts to
be a reflection of his patriotism and
sincere concern over the issue and
that still applies. He made no
mention of any enumeration nor any
offer by the Government for any
payback.

Perot Perroots
08/12/92 Soliciting Mr. Perot's support as a
member of my advisory board and
authorizing him access was my idea. Perot Perroots
08/12/92 The White House had acknowledged Mr.
Perot's efforts in support of the
POW/MIA issue and commended him for
his efforts.

In view of his past activities, I
made a decision to provide him access
and to keep him personally involved
for our mutual benefit.

Photos Gray
12/04/92 Mr. Gray: We talked to the sources
who sent these photos out. The
individual that sent them out said he
was never told that these were
American prisoners. He was told
simply by the source of the photo to
find out who these Americans are.
But en route to the American embassy
in Bangkok the story became that
these are American prisoners.

Sen. McCain: You do not know who put
the names on them.

Mr. Gray: Well, we asked the source
who said -- the ceramic merchant in
Khompong Chang, Cambodia, why did
they -- the photos that came forward
as those of American prisoners. He
said, well, if the Vietnamese who
gave him the photos were looking into
these photos, then they had to be
American prisoners, but he was never
told they were prisoners.

Now, the names were not associated
when he sent those photos forward.
None of the names were associated.
The only names associated with the
photos were actually the ones written
on the photos, Chester Wimmer and
others, names which were not of
Americans who were missing. So not
until later in the year of 1990 were
names associated with the photo.

We determined that the names
Robertson and Stevens actually came
from a handbill that had been out in
Southeast Asia since 1987. And it
said across the top $1 million dollar
reward being offered for American
prisoners and the two photos across
the bottom were Robertson and
Stevens.

Photos Kerry
12/04/92 [to Chambers] I think an interesting
example of that was your own
explanation of what happened on the
Lundy-Robertson-Stevens photo where
it went from one person as a photo of
Americans and by the time it got out
of the car it was a photo of
prisoners, and by the time it got
somewhere else it had names of
people, and by the time it got to
America it was on the front page of
Newsweek with three people, startling
new evidence, and so forth.

Photos Sheetz
12/04/92 The photographic experts who used the
computer-enhanced techniques at the
U.S. National Labs to determine if
the alleged Robertson-Stevens-Lundy
photograph was accurate, they noted
that the handwritten sign that the
Senator is referencing was not on the
original photograph, that was a
paste-on, and then the photograph was
re-shot. There was no question about
that.

Priority Apodaca
11/06/91 Earlier this year, I was actively
involved in a highest national
priority, Operation Desert Storm... I
don't know if this is a good
comparison, but if the POW/MIA issue
has the highest national priority,
why are hundreds of remains still in
Vietnam today? Why are agencies
allowed to not follow through on
reports? Why can't we find the
fingerprint records for almost 25
percent of those still missing?

I would not be so upset if the
Government had called this a high
national priority, but they didn't.
For years it has been the highest
national priority, and for years I've
wondered.

Priority Childress
12/01/92 ...in January of '82 ...In the
intelligence area, manpower and
priorities were at an all-time low
and I believe the POW branch had only
nine personnel assigned.

Priority Childress
12/01/92 Let me put it in a perspective. When
we talked at the national level about
a matter of highest national
priority, we were referring to not
just resources that the director of
DIA or someone in the Pentagon could
put to the problem based upon the
priorities we were giving them in the
national documents. There's a
difference between implementation of
the priority which allows them to
move forward or tells them how are
you doing, moving forward, and saying
that, well, we didn't have enough
people.

Priority Gaines
12/01/92 Sen. Daschle: ...give me your sense
of which of these criteria...had the
most to do with our failures over the
last 10 or 15 years? Colonel Gaines?

Colonel Gaines: I would like to
offer that lack of priority as the
one.

Priority Kerry
12/01/92 It is hard for me to believe. I
mean, if you have got 70 people
responding to this committee's
requests. We have got a staff of 15
or 20 people working on it. We have
got 58 people in Vietnam. This is
1992. Here you are with files that,
by your own admission, were not
organized. Are you saying to me you
could not find people to organize the
files? You could not put people to
the task of collecting the lists?
You could not bring all the documents
into one house?

I have to tell you, as I sit here, it
just strikes me that this is one of
those Government euphemisms that --
and I do not blame you guys. I do
not think any of you made this
policy...you were not the
policymakers, you were carrying it
out. But I think a lot of you folks
were left dangling in the dark. Some
people paid lip service to the notion
this was the highest priority, but in
fact, as you just said, it was not
resourced, and that is the way you
get things done, is resources. It
does not do you any good to have a
policy up here, and then you do not
have the resources...

Priority Kerry
12/01/92 Chairman Kerry: In all of your
reviews, did you find that this was
indeed treated as and resourced as a
nation's highest priority?

Mr. Wiand: No, Senator, I did not.

Colonel Hargis: ...no, I do not...

Mr. Nagy: No...

Admiral Brooks: Most assuredly
not...

Colonel Gaines: No... Priority Kerry
06/25/92 I want to, obviously, point out that
the committee feels very strongly
that the effort of the last year, two
years, has increasingly been
augmented, that the Bush
Administration and the Department of
Defense and Secretary Cheney have put
money and personnel where they have
put their stated priorities. And
today we can boast greater attention
to this issue and greater effort to
put it to rest than at any time, I
think, in the history of this issue.
So it is not something that, I think,
we are achieving and we are doing it
on a good schedule.

Priority Nagy
11/06/91 ...The kind of assets that we have
now applied against the problem would
have been best applied then [20 years
ago]. I can't recover from that, and
I can't apologize enough to the
families personally. Priority Perot
08/11/92 Chairman Kerry: Mr. Perot, does all
this not really stem from the fact
that in reality, despite all the
rhetoric about highest national
priority, this issue has been
bouncing around with no real
general -- you know what I am saying,
no person really having seized the
cudgel and managing it. Is that not
accurate?

Perot: Yes sir, it's like a ship
without a rudder. Every now and then
a group will get interested and then
let several years go by and then,
another group will get interested,
but there's no consistent logical
program to resolve it.

Priority Perroots
12/01/92 There was no question within the
agency that the POW/MIA issue was the
top priority. We gave it not only
top budgetary priority, but top
disclosure in terms of exposure.

Priority Williams
12/01/92 Chairman Kerry: And the fact is I
just have a sense that there was a
kind of disregard, is a polite way to
put it, for the real relevance of
this, for what some of that evidence
might really have meant. And it was
kind of a convenient political
highest priority but not really the
highest priority. The highest
priority was figuring out what the
Russians were doing with missiles;
the highest priority was responding
to Grenada, Panama, a lot of other
priorities. But this just was not
there. That is my sense. Much more
there today in 1992 than it ever has
been at any proceeding time in
history since 1973.

General Williams: I think that is a
fair statement. I wold also say,
though, that it was not until
probably 1982 that the Reagan
administration had a chance to
reverse the long decline in
intelligence manpower. The agency,
DIA, had gone from -- had about a 35
or a 40 percent reduction, and you do
not just reverse that in the program
and budget cycle immediately. But
you are absolutely right.

Chairman Kerry: And also, with the
demise of our position in Southeast
Asia we lost our on-the-ground
assets. We were basically shut out
for the 4 years after Saigon fell in
1975. There are clear things that ad
into this that we need to take into
account. And I acknowledge all of
those.

General Williams: And you are
correct about your impression.

 

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