Report of the
Senate Select Committee
Activities in Moscow
Joint U.S.-Russia Commission
U.S. Delegation to the Commission
Malcolm Toon, the Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1976 to 1979,
is chairman of the U.S. delegations. The other members of the
American delegation are:
KERRY, John (Senator, D-Mass);
SMITH, Robert (Senator, R-N.H.);
MILLER, John (Congressman,R-Wash);
PETERSON, Pete (Congressman,D-Fl.);
KAUZLARICH, Richard (Department of State);
QUINN, Kenneth (Department of State);
PTAK, Al, (Department of Defense);
CLIFT, Dennis (Department of Defense);
PETERSON, Trudy (National Archives;Ad Hoc mbr.);
ROSS, Edward (Department of Defense,Exec.Sec).
Russian Delegation to the Commission
Col. General Dmitri Volkogonov, is chairman of the Russian
delegation. Dr. Vladimir Kozlov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian
Archives, has served as the Deputy Chairman. Other members of the
Russian delegation are:
AMBARTSUMOV, Yevgeniy (Act.Chm. Int'l Affairs Comm,SS)
ARZHANNIKOV, Nikolay Mikhaylovich (DC,Human Rights,SS)
VENKOV, Igor Nikolayevich (Col.Dir.Hist.& Mem.Ctr. GS)
KALININ, Yuriy Ivanovich (Col.Min.of Internal Affairs)
KOVALEV, Sergey Adamovich (Chm.Human Rights Comm, SS)
KRAYUSHKIN, Anatoliy Afanasyevich (BG,Min.of Security)
LEZHIKOV, Gennadiy Lukyanovich (Col.Dir.MVD Info.Ctr.)
MAZUROV, Vyacheslav Petrovich (Col.Foreign Intel Serv)
MIRONOV, Vladimir Fedorovich (Consultant,Min of Jus.)
PODRAZHANETS, Iosif Nikolayevich (Acting Chief,No.Amer
The Joint Commission's inaugural meeting was held in Moscow from
This was followed by a "Working Group" delegation led by Mr. Ed
Ross which met in Moscow from May 27th to 29th. At this session,
Gen. Volkogonov gave the American side free rein to contact and
interview as they saw fit. This resulted in about a dozen
interviews with former colonels and generals who had served in
Vietnam. At this time, Gen. Volkogonov provided the American side
with 21 documents which primarily dealt with World War II and the
Cold War periods.
A full Joint Committee meeting was held between September 21-24
with Ambassador Toon and Gen. Volkogonov in attendance. At that
time, Gen. Volkogonov explained President Yeltsin's statement
before the U.S. Congress on the possibility of live Americans in
Russia as being based on the revelation of Mr. Hamilton in a Soviet
psychiatric hospital. Gen. Volkogonov later admitted that the David
Markin story also played a role. During this Joint meeting, ten
archival directors gave their reports. They all claimed not to have
found any information indicating U.S. soldiers were sent to the
USSR from Korea or Vietnam or that Soviets took part in
interrogating American POWs from these wars. When it was pointed
out that oral interviews were not consistent with President
Yeltsin's statements, Gen. Volkogonov pledged to continue the
interviews of former Soviet military personnel with Vietnam and
Korean experience. Gen. Volkogonov also admitted at this time that
he had not been through the GRU or KGB archives.
December 1992 Meeting
During the Joint Commission's Plenary session in December, Gen.
Volkogonov, stated three Russian positions:
No Americans are detained against their will in Russia and
that is believed to be the case throughout the former Soviet
The Russian side has established the fate of over 23,000 U.S.
personnel held after World War II and considers this issue now
The Russian side considers the remaining work of the
Commission to be the resolution of questions concerning the
Cold War era.
The Russian side of the Commission provided a number of documents
to the U.S. side, including a list of cases of persons who had been
in Russia but were later returned; a document listing four POW
camps in Korea during the war and the number of persons held in
each; a list of 109 Americans who did not return from the Korean
War but who Russian research indicated were not in Russia; and a
document containing data on the Cold War incidents.
Gen. Volkogonov stated categorically that there has never been a
KGB General named Gregoriyev. Thus, any report attributed to this
man is false. Volkogonov reviewed the many files that had been
researched in response to U.S. requests, including more than 40,000
files of the Ministry of Public Health. None of these
investigations has produced information that U.S. persons were held
Ambassador Toon agreed that the World War II issue could be
considered finished, although not all U.S. members of the
Commission agreed. For example, the Commissioner from the National
Archives raised several outstanding issues from World War II, which
the Russians have not satisfactorily addressed.
After a U.S. Commissioner referred to "strong evidence" that
American POWs had been taken to the Soviet Union during the Korean
War, the Russian side said they found no evidence in their archival
research that this had taken place.
In working group interviews, two retired Russian Colonels, veterans
of the Korean War, indicated that it was plausible that a limited
number of American specialists had been taken from Korea to Russia
in connection with efforts to defeat radars used by U.S. F-86 Sabre
Jets during the war. They did not, however, state categorically
that U.S. personnel had been taken to Russia. One retired Colonel
indicated that Russian archives still hold all the answers to U.S.
Gen. Volkogonov told the U.S. Commissioners that answers to POW
issues connected with the Korean War would be found in the War
Museum in Korea, which he had visited six years earlier, and in
China. He also stated that political turbulence in Russia was
overtaking the work of the Commission and that there continued to
be opposition within the Russian Government to its work. He
restated President Yeltsin's support for the Committee, however,
and proposed another meeting in the spring of 1993. The two agenda
items he raised are the Cold War incidents and investigation of
remains recently found on Sakhalin Island. He proposed that the
Joint Commission publish a booklet on its work and on its findings,
with supporting documentation.
Task Force Russia
Task Force Russia (TFR) was formed on June 29, 1992. Its basic
mission has been to field a Task Force capable of collecting,
analyzing and using information provided from Russian archives and
citizens to achieve the fullest possible accounting of American
POW/MIA personnel. The Task Force has a complement of 40 people
based in Moscow and Washington, D.C.
Personnel. Col. Ed Pusey was named the first chief of TFR's Moscow
office on September 1, 1992. He presently supervises a staff of 8-
10 people including a Deputy, an historian, an archivist, three
field interviewers, an interpreter, an administrative NCO, an
administrative clerk and a secretary. The Senate Select Committee
representative also works out of the TFR Moscow Office which is
presently located on the 5th floor of the Old Embassy Building.
Mission. The principal mission of the TFR Moscow Office staff is to
achieve the fullest possible accounting of American POW/MIA
personnel in Russia through the collection and analysis of
information provided by and obtained from Russian archives and
. Organize an effective research, interview and analytical team
. Develop a prioritized research-interview plan supporting TFR's
requirements and priorities;
. Continue archival research and personal interviews in full
cooperation with the Russian side of the Joint U.S.-Russian
Commission on POW/MIA;
. Satisfy Russian concerns, particularly those of the military
and security services pertaining to the mission and personnel
makeup of TFR;
. Assist Russian counterparts, whenever possible, in
overcoming shortages in personnel, funding, equipment, and
information (when lacking) related to mission accomplishments;
. Reduce perceived barriers between General Volkogonov's
commission and the MOD, General Staff, GRU, KGB and other
governmental entities pursuant to TFR's requirements;
. Obtain Russian agency acquiescence in TFR's mission;
. Maintain and improve upon the positive development of the US-
Russian relationship in POW/MIA affairs as well as for the
long term with emphasis on the Russian military;
. Satisfy the priorities up and down both U.S. and Russian
"chain of command;"
. Develop and maintain cooperative work relationship with AmEmb
and DAO Moscow;
. Provide respectable work environment and personal care for
TFR's Moscow Office personnel.
Russian Joint Office. The United States requested that a physical
joint office be established for the purpose of conducting
interviews. The proposal was formally raised at the Joint
Commission meeting on May 28th. On June 8th, Gen. Volkogonov
announced that the POW/MIA Team consisting of Al Graham, Col
William Saxe, and Mr. James Connell, would be permitted to conduct
interviews at the Joint Office which was to be located at Ilyinka,
12, near Staraya Ploshchad [Old Square] the former headquarters of
the Central Committee of the CPSU.
Joint Interview Program in Russia
Background. Committee investigator Al Graham was posted to Moscow
in May, 1992 to represent the Senate Select Committee and work
under the aegis of the Joint Commission on POW/MIA affairs. One of
his principal tasks while in Russia was, in conjunction with TFR-
Moscow team members, to arrange for and conduct interviews with
Russian officials, Russian citizens and retired officers who may
have served in Southeast Asia during the Korean and Vietnamese Wars
and therefore might be knowledgeable about possible U.S. POW/MIAs.
Often, as a consequence of these interviews, other leads were
The majority of interviews have been conducted at Ilyinka 12, the
former headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party. The Committee investigator found that some interviewees were
intimidated by this location and somewhat reluctant to reveal all
they knew, and many believed the room and telephone to be under
surveillance by Russian authorities. Since mid-to-late October
1992, some interviews were held elsewhere to respond to these
Initial interviews were scheduled in early June. Interviewees, at
that time, were drawn from the Soviet Vietnamese Veterans
Association and a few parliamentarians. Others later learned of and
responded to the inquiry as a result of media appeals on Kiev and
Moscow TV, and Ambassador Toon and Gen. Volkogonov's TV broadcast
on June 28, 1992. Advertisements were also placed in a number of
newspapers. Other interviewees were developed from citizens
writing, calling or walking in either the American Embassy or the
Joint Office at Ilyinka 12.
The interview program has been the major source of forward
progress. Russian authorities have provided the Committee with a
substantial number of archival documents, mostly concerning World
War II. However, this archival effort has yielded very little to
date that is verifiable on American POWs during World War II and
virtually nothing new about Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War.
By contrast, the interview results moved the Russians to admit that
they were involved in interrogating American POWs in Korea and
Vietnam. Moreover, although the Committee has no direct evidence to
prove it, there appears to be a strong possibility that at least a
handful of U.S. POWs, possibly more, were transferred to Soviet
territory during the Korean War.
Based on the Committee's experiences with the Russians to date, the
investigators believe the Russian side will likely stick to its
current line until the body of evidence gathered through a vigorous
interview program forces the government and security services to
reevaluate their position.
Interviews with Russian Officials. These included interviews with
Russian active-duty servicemen, GULAG officials, Security service
personnel, doctors, archivists, historians, linguists, and
Interviews with Russian Citizens. These consist primarily of
interviews with retired military officers, foreign service officers
and correspondents who served in Southeast Asia, as well as with
former prisoners who served in the GULAG and ordinary citizens who
had knowledge of possible Americans on Russian territory.
Retired Military Officers: The first interviews were conducted by
Committee staff investigator Bob Taylor during his trip to Moscow
on February 17th, 1992 with Senators Kerry and Smith and his
subsequent visit on March 26-27, 1992 during the Joint Commission
meetings. On those occasions, he succeeded in interviewing mostly
retired senior Soviet officers who had served in Vietnam. The story
that emerges from these interviews was that Soviet soldiers were
forbidden to have any contact with American POWs, were not armed
and did not take part in interrogations of American prisoners.
However, this testimony was contradicted by one former colonel who
said that the non-contact rule was not strictly practiced and
others who admitted that they knew of a Soviet officer sitting
behind a screen during an interrogation of an American. These
sources added that questions to ask POWs were passed to the
Vietnamese from higher Soviet commands. The Committee was also told
that there was a Soviet Analytical Team in Hanoi which exploited
the information learned from the interrogations.
Col. Gen. Vladimir Abramov, former Commander of the Soviet force in
Vietnam, told the Committee in March that the Vietnamese provided
him with a report on every American pilot captured. He said,
however, that his office kept no files or records on the individual
POWs. This information, however, may have been forwarded to Moscow,
During a second interview with Gen. Abramov on June 1, 1992, the
General denied having told investigators during the earlier meeting
that he had received a report on every American pilot captured in
Vietnam. He also denied saying that a high-placed Vietnamese friend
told him at a May 1975 reception in Vietnam that there were still
American servicemen being held in Vietnam as that time.
Perhaps the clearest case in which Russian testimony changed during
the course of the investigation came during a re-interview with
Col. (ret) Gavriil Korotkov, who was stationed in Khabarovsk from
1950-54 and reported directly to the Commander of the Far East
Military District. During the first interview with him, conducted
on August 19th, 1992, he told five Joint Commission representatives
that Soviet military specialists had been given approval to
interrogate American servicemen in Korea and that some of the
senior, more experienced Americans as well as those with specific
specialties were selected for transfer to the USSR for further
interrogation. He asserted that the Soviet Naval Base at Posyet
served as the transit point for the movement of Americans North [by
rail or plane] to Khabarovsk. Col. Korotkov further maintained that
the number of Americans processed through Khabarovsk was in the
hundreds and that they were kept under KGB control during and after
He claimed not to know their fate after the interrogations. Col.
Korotkov said he personally interrogated two American POWs on
Russian soil. One was a Lt. Col. Black. Efforts were made,
according to Col. Korotkov, to recruit and gain cooperation of
Americans. He stated that interrogation reports were sent to the
Far East Military District Headquarters, the 7th Directorate of the
Main Political Directorate and the GRU. He further maintained that
Col. Gen. Shtykov, the Soviet Ambassador to North Korea at the
time, prepared reports for Stalin's eyes only.
In a follow-up interview on September 29th, 1992, Col. Korotkov
modified his previous statements. He now denied that American
Korean War POWs were ever interrogated by Soviets in Khabarovsk. He
categorically denied ever interrogating an American POW named Black
but did admit to interrogating two American POWs in North Korea. He
also asserted that there were between 10 and 25 Soviet
interrogators involved in this process, indicating that a large
number of American POWs may have been interrogated during the
Korean War. Although not completely ruling out the fact that these
interrogations may have taken place on Russian soil, he now
maintained that the interrogation center existed for at least 18
months and was located at a non-demarcated juncture along the North
Korean, Chinese and Soviet borders. He also declared that a 150
question questionnaire used to interrogate American Korean-war POWs
was prepared in Khabarovsk. Col. Korotkov added that similar type
questionnaires were used to interrogate American POWs during
Vietnam. A possible explanation for the modifications in Col.
Korotkov's statements is that he received a call the night before
the interview from an official of the Foreign Intelligence Service
(formerly the KGB).
On December 16, 1992, Col. Korotkov testified at a meeting of the
Joint Commission that approximately 100 U.S. POWs were interrogated
by Soviets during the Korean war era and that possibly "tens" of
these were taken by the special forces to the Soviet Union. Col.
Korotkov said that the Soviets tried "to get first-hand information
from them and then to turn them."
According to Col. Korotkov, the Soviets employed fear, pressure and
appeals to material interests in their effort to "turn" prisoners.
He also said that it was common for the American prisoners to
change their names and that it is likely some died in the Soviet
Union under names different than their own.
Col. Korotkov characterized the Korean-era U.S. POWs with whom he
came in contact as "great patriots" and said:
They were assured, cocky, convinced that someone would
come and get them. Among the (Soviet) specialists, we
discussed how difficult it was to work with the
Americans. The tone of our conversation was that American
were self-assured, they never gave up hope.
Additional testimony on these subjects was received from a number
of other retired Soviet officers:
. Col. Aleksandr Semyonovich Orlov (Ret.), who was brought
forward on the initiative of the Russian side of the Joint
Commission. Col. Orlov said he had no knowledge of American
POWs having been taken to the USSR. He did say, however, that
he had received special MVD[KGB] permission to interview a
certain LTC Black in Pyongyang in July, 1951 primarily for
propaganda purposes. Col. Orlov acknowledged that
questionnaires were routinely used in obtaining information
from American POWs in Korea but that the interrogations were
principally carried out by the North Koreans.
. Col. (ret.) Viktor Aleksandrovich Bushuyev, former
intelligence analyst in North Korea with the 64th Air Defense
Corps, told investigators that the Soviets had access to the
interrogations of hundreds of American pilots. He claimed not
to know if the Soviet officials had taken part in the actual
. Col. (ret.) Georgiy Kuzmich Plotnikov, assistant Soviet
military advisor to North Korea for 7 years, testified that a
high-ranking North Korean officer told him in 1953 that some
American POWs were sent to the Soviet Union. Moreover, he
asserts that he personally interrogated a captured American
captain from the 24th Infantry Regiment at a small POW camp on
the Yalu River in 1952. Col. Plotnikov said that he conducted
the interrogation while dressed in a North Korean major's
. Col. (ret.) Valeriy Ivanovich Ukolov, said in an interview
that he witnessed an American pilot being captured in the
Russian town of Port Arthur in the summer of 1952.
. Col. (ret.) Leonid Ivanovich Ambrosov, Chief of Staff of an
anti-aircraft battalion in Vietnam from September 1965 to
August 1966, stated that he had no knowledge of Russian
participation in the questioning of American prisoners. He did
say that the Russians may have provided some questions to the
North Vietnamese to be asked of captured Americans. He does
not know what happened to the resulting interrogation reports.
Walk-ins: A number of individuals have come voluntarily to the U.S.
Embassy in Moscow. Information provided by these individuals have
included an account of an alleged American POW, David Markin, whose
case is discussed later in this report. Other information has been
provided by naturalized American citizens and by Russian citizens
who had previously spent time in the GULAG. In addition, three
Vietnamese nationals living in Moscow handed over dog tags, ID
cards, photographs, bone fragments and body parts of alleged
Americans. Two of the three did this out of humanitarian concern,
while the third claimed to know where the remains of at least 20
Americans were located in Vietnam and asked $75,000 for each set of
remains. All of this material was turned over to American experts
for verification and analysis.
Write-ins: Since June, 1992, approximately two dozen letters or
telegrams have been received from citizens of the former Soviet
Union. Many of the writers claim to have knowledge about Americans
in Soviet prison camps or psychiatric hospitals. Others claim to
have information about grave sites where Americans are allegedly
buried. The writers are being contacted by members of the
Commission for the purpose of obtaining additional data. Several
have asked for guarantees or assurances from the highest
authorities against recriminations before they speak with the
Recently, the flow of letters to the Commission has slowed to a
trickle. This may be because publicity on the POW/MIA issue has
died down or that all letters sent to the Joint Commission on
American POW/MIAs are now initially screened by the Office of the
President for Letters and Appointments.
Call-ins: Most of the call-ins received so far resulted from
television programs on which Ambassador Toon, Gen. Volkogonov, and
Committee representatives appeared. After the Toon-Volkogonov
appearance on June 28, 1992, six people called the Ilyinka-12 "Hot
Line." Likewise, several people called this number after Ambassador
Toon's press conference in Khabarovsk on September 25, 1992.
Committee representative Graham, TFR Moscow officer director Pusey
and other POW/MIA team members have frequently appeared on TV in
Moscow and other cities throughout the former Soviet Union asking
those with information to call Ilyinka 12 or the Embassy. Newspaper
advertisements have also resulted in call-ins with information.
Summary of Requests to the Russians
Correspondence has been sent to the Russian side of the Joint
Commission since early September 1992. These letters serve two
general purposes. The first is to provide the Russian side with
specific data from the U.S. side on individual servicemen or the
circumstances surrounding Cold War incidents. The second is to
request meetings, interviews with particular people or types of
people, and access to archives. To date, requests for interviews
with specific individuals have met with little or no success.
Structure of Russian Archives. The Archives in the former Soviet
Union and Russia are not under the same kind of unified control
that we have at the Federal level in the United States. Archives of
the Soviet government could be found in a large number of archival
institutions, and many of the main ministries kept their archives
indefinitely in their own facilities and under separate
The Soviet Union did have an archival agency which was supposed to
have administrative control over archival institutions throughout
the USSR. This agency was called the Main Archival Directorate or
"Glavarkhiv." Even this body, however, did not secure control over
the archives of such major ministries as the KGB, Foreign Affairs
and Defense. After the August 1991 coup, President Yeltsin was
quick to see the importance of securing the archival records and
removed the leadership of "Glavarkhiv." In its place, he
established the Committee of Archival Affairs of the RSFSR Council
of Ministers, called "Roskomarkhiv," with control over various
archival institutions, including the older bodies of imperial and
pre-revolutionary archives. Some ministries, however, have remained
outside its ambit and others have been slow to transfer records.
Visits and Trips to Archives. The U.S. members of the Joint
Commission have made a series of visits to Russian archives to
enable staff to better understand the structure of the archival
system and to appraise the prospects for finding material relevant
to the POW/MIA search.
It has become apparent to the American team that the archival
institutions now coming under the administrative umbrella of
Roskomarkhiv are more forthcoming and willing to cooperate than the
officials who were responsible for the ministerial archives in the
security and defense establishments. These older archives contain
substantial amounts of material that might be relevant to the
movement of American POWs from German camps into Soviet hands and
Soviet territory in the closing days and the aftermath of World War
Archival Research Agreements. To ensure progress on all fronts, the
Commission staff decided to seek the Russian archivists' help in
exploiting these earlier records by entering into research
agreements whereby staff archivists would be paid for working extra
hours on the POW/MIA project. By late November, four research
agreements had been approved and two of them were operative. These
agreements cover the Central State Military Archives, the Central
Historical Documentary Collection, the Military-Medical Museum and
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All of the research agreements are
for initial trial periods of either 60 or 90 days, after which the
American side will evaluate results to determine whether
continuation of the effort is justified.
Among the kinds of documents that the U.S. has requested are:
World War II. Lists of Americans liberated from German POW camps
and transported into Soviet territory, especially records that
indicate medical treatment or death and burial, and records that
indicate sentences for crimes, charges and conviction, and
transportation to camps on Soviet territory.
Cold War. Reports of aircraft shootdown incidents, including rescue
and retrieval operations, reports of sightings, interrogations, and
treatment of air crews, recordings and films of shootdowns, log
books plus any reports that may be discovered in files of political
and diplomatic reaction to such incidents.
For the entire Cold War period, the U.S. has also sought, so far
without success, access to records of psychiatric hospitals (or any
hospitals under control of the KGB, MVD and predecessors) and those
of prison and labor camps. In addition, there is a project underway
to compare fingerprints from the FBI collection with those in the
collection of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. With respect to the
fingerprint files, high hopes have been reduced by the perception
that in both collections such files are regularly purged of older
records on actuarial terms. The U.S. seeks to have access to the
records of the Border Guards for the entire Cold War period because
such units may have played a significant role in shootdown
incidents during the Cold War period.
Korean War. Any documents that indicate the role of Soviet civilian
or military officials in the control, interrogation, or
transportation of U.S. POWs wherever located, or in the shootdowns
of U.S. aircraft during that conflict, or any documents in Russian
files that contain information about control, interrogation, or
transportation of U.S. POWs in North Korea or China.
Vietnam War. Any documents that indicate the role of Soviet
military or civilian officials in the control, interrogation, or
transportation of U.S. POWs wherever located, or in the shootdown
of American aircraft during that conflict, or any documents in
Russian files that contain information about control,
interrogation, or transportation of U.S. POWs in Vietnam, Laos,
Cambodia or China.
Russian researchers have discovered relevant materials on the
POW/MIA issue which they have released to the American side. Early
in the process, Gen. Volkogonov and his aides released batches of
materials during Joint Commission meetings. More recently, the flow
of documents has increased and become more regular.
Documents received thus far from the Russians are too numerous and
varied to be summarized effectively in this report. They are
listed, analyzed and described in the series of reports printed bi-
weekly by the U.S. Army's Task Force Russia, copies of which may be
obtained by Members of Congress from the office of the Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs. In very general
terms, the documents have concerned Americans of other than
military origin who were caught up in the throes of World War II or
who deserted or otherwise sought political refuge in the Soviet
Union, as well as some lists of U.S. military men and some
diplomatic exchanges concerning repatriation efforts or shootdowns.
Little of this information has been new to the U.S. side.
Some documents, however, have provided new and useful information.
For example, interrogation reports on American POWs which the
Russians professed to have received from the Koreans revealed that
at least ten men who were heretofore entirely unaccounted for lived
long enough to be interrogated. Unfortunately, their fates have
still not been determined.
Assessment of Archival Research
The following preliminary judgements can be made based on the
Committee's review, thus far, of Russian archival documents:
. Soviet archivists did an excellent job of record-keeping, and
current research efforts have barely scratched the surface of
what is potentially available throughout the vast archival
system of the former Soviet Union. Even the strategic "fires"
and other destructions that have taken place do not seriously
detract from completeness;
. The traditional archival community is ready and willing to
respond to American inquiries, especially in return for fair
. Officials of the Security and Defense Ministries are currently
more resistant to U.S. inquiries, but this may change if the
political situation becomes more stable;
. The time schedule for gradual disclosure of information
about American POW/MIAs may be determined as much by the
internal political requirements of the Russian regime as
by the needs of Americans for that information;
. It could take many years to carry out a comprehensive program
of research within the centralized and regional archives of
the former Soviet Union, even if the political atmosphere is
hospitable to such an effort;
. The Russian archival material passed to the American side
of the Joint Commission appears thus far to constitute a
carefully-controlled release of information by the
Russian government to convince the U.S. side that the
Soviet Union did not capture, detain, interrogate, move
or eliminate U.S. POW/MIAs.
POW/MIA Family Member Efforts in Russia
Committee and TFR representatives in Moscow have met with the
relatives of several American POW/MIAs who might possibly have been
on Russian territory at one time. The Committee/TFR staff also made
arrangements for the family members to meet with Robert Strauss,
U.S. Ambassador to Russia, and with Gen. Volkogonov and other
Russian officials. The family members asked the Russian authorities
to help find information on the fate of their loved one. TFR
members also passed on correspondence from about two dozen
individual family members requesting any additional documentation
that the Russians may be able to find concerning their missing
Repatriation of U.S. Citizens Buried in Russia
The Committee notes that a report on the ABC television program
"20/20" that four Americans are still buried in Odessa is not
accurate. The remains of at least three, and possibly all four, of
the individuals have been repatriated.
TFR is looking into the alleged existence of graves of American
servicemen from World War II on Iturup Island in the Kuriles.
Accordingly, correspondence has been sent to the Russian side
requesting a check of the archives of the Far East Military
District, the Pacific Fleet, the Central Army, the Foreign
Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Interior [MVD] for any
information on the location of U.S. graves.
The effort to find POW/MIAs is a two-way street. The United States
Government may be able to overcome some of the reluctance of the
Russian Security Services by addressing similar Russian POW/MIA
issues where possible. The U.S. should strive to provide the
Russians with more information from our records on Soviet MIAs from
World War II, Cold War incidents and Afghanistan. Genuine
reciprocity may lead to greater progress.
Russian Inquiries on Afghanistan Veterans
The Russian side has asked the American side for information
concerning 19 former Soviet soldiers who served in Afghanistan and
are currently living in the west, and for information on servicemen
presently held captive in Afghanistan. In September, Ambassador
Toon provided a document to the Russian side listing Soviet POWs
from the Afghan War who resettled in the West.
Soviet Submarine Incident
The Russian side has also requested information on the fate of
Soviet submarine 574 which sank in the Pacific Ocean in March of
1968. On September 21, 1992, Ambassador Toon handed over a document
to the Russians listing three crew members from this submarine.
Moreover, the CIA has provided the Russians with copies of a film
made during the "Glomar Challenger's" raising of sections of this
submarine in August of 1974.
The Case of "David Markin"
An individual named Viktor Pugantsev claimed to have spent 1982-
1986 in labor camp PL-350/5 near Pechora (some 900 miles northeast
of Moscow) with an alleged downed U.S. pilot from the Korean War
called David Markin (Marken).
According to Mr. Pugantsev, Mr. Markin told him that he had been
shot down about 40 years ago in North Korea, after which he and 50
other U.S. POWs were flown to the Soviet Union. According to the
story, Mr. Markin spent the next three decades in one prison or
psychiatric ward after another, ending up in PL350/5 in 1982. He
was apparently sent to Soviet psychiatric hospitals when he told
people he was an American. While there, he claimed to have been put
in a straitjacket, given drugs such as aminazin and an unknown drug
which caused his hands to "twist inward."
Mr. Pugantsev described the American as a tall, frail, polite,
soft-spoken, psychologically-broken and stooped 60 year old, who
had a shaven head, scars on his left shoulder and left forearm and
a name tag on his prison uniform identifying him as "Markin, D."
Although, Mr. Markin kept a low profile in camp, Mr. Pugantsev said
he was treated worse than other prisoners and was harassed by
guards for minor infractions like wearing his cap askew. Three such
reprimands earned him a stay in the "solitary-confinement box"
where, according to Mr. Pugantsev, he spent a good deal of time.
Mr. Pugantsev maintained that Mr. Markin was still alive at the
same camp in 1989.
The Committee and TFR personnel launched an intensive investigation
into this matter despite the fact that no David Markin (or any
close approximation) appeared on U.S. Government lists of
unaccounted for from Korea. Commission investigators flew to
Pechora on June 18, 1992. No person or record found there confirmed
Mr. Pugantsev's claims. After the disappointing trip to Pechora,
Mr. Pugantsev identified another inmate, Vladimir Bageyev, who
might be able to confirm his story. Committee investigator Graham
flew with a Russian foreign service officer to the city of Elista
to interview Mr. Bageyev. Mr. Bageyev confirmed that there was an
individual by the name of Markin in Pechora and that this
individual matched the description given by Mr. Pugantsev.
In response to this news, Gen. Volkogonov arranged to bring the
Director of Operations for the Pechora camp to Moscow to meet face
to face with Mr. Pugantsev to determine the truth. Although the
meeting took place, the differences in the respective stories could
not be resolved. During the course of the discussion, however,
additional names of other inmates and camp officials who might be
able to provide more information on this matter were disclosed.
Seventeen individuals were identified, including 8 officers, 7
inmates and 2 doctors. Five of the eight camp officials provided
virtually identical written statements to the effect that there
were no Americans at PL350/5 during their tour there. U.S.
investigators asked to see the camp hospital records because Mr.
Pugantsev, Mr. Bageyev and Mr. Markin were reportedly in the
hospital at the same time. The official reply to this request was
that the records were destroyed in a fire that took place between
August 30 and September 1, 1989.
At the Committee hearings in November, Gen. Volkogonov discounted
Mr. Pugantsev's story and suggested that he was motivated by a
desire to emigrate to America. Mr. Pugantsev, on the other hand,
has told investigators that he has been harassed and threatened as
a result of his testimony. He claims that he was summoned to appear
at the Security Service [former KGB] office in his native town of
Chernovtsy in the Ukraine and queried about his contact with the
Moscow POW/MIA team members. According to Mr. Pugantsev, he was
told "not to stick his nose where it did not belong." The Committee
has continued concerns over reports pertaining to "David Markin."
Levels of Cooperation
The interview program pursued by the American side of the Joint
Commission has been extremely pro-active while the Russian side's
response has been reactionary at best. The U.S. side has received
little response to correspondence requesting that specific
individuals be made available for interviews. Part of this problem
may be due to the fact that Gen. Volkogonov has only two
assistants. It might expedite things greatly if the number of staff
people on the Russian side were increased.
The level of cooperation from the Russian side has not met the
standard of official statements. For example, a long-standing
request to interview 20 intelligence and security service [former
KGB] officials who served during the Korean and Vietnamese War eras
was made in early June. The request was kicked back and forth
between Col. Kobaladze, the Bureau Chief for Public Affairs of the
Russian Intelligence Service and Col. Mazurov, the Foreign
Intelligence Service representative on the Joint Commission.
Finally, after several months, Col. Kobaladze replied by expressing
surprise that his superiors wished to answer a type of request that
the CIA would not have. He then informed Committee investigators
that of the 20 people we requested to interview four were dead,
four were unlocate-able, six had no knowledge of American POWs, two
worked for other agencies [MFA & MOD], another never worked for
them, one was in England during the entire war effort, one could
not be identified and one refused to be interviewed due to illness.
There are a number of other examples of a failure to provide basic
information about individuals despite the fact that the information
must be readily available to the Russian side. For months, the
Russians said they were unable to provide information concerning
one individual who, when finally located through U.S. efforts, was
found to live scarcely a kilometer from the hotel where the TFR
team is housed.
Media appeals for people with information on American POW/MIAs to
come forward have also met with limited success. Due to doubts
about long term political stability in the country, some citizens
may feel reluctant to speak out. Several potential interview
candidates have requested assurances and guarantees from the
highest authorities before they would talk to investigators. Others
may be afraid to become involved with foreigners, either because of
the sensitive nature of their employment or because of a general
apprehension based on what has happened in the past to Russians who
had contacts with foreigners.
Trips and Visits
The Russian side has agreed to a 48-hour notice policy for on-site
inspections of any camp or archive. Future plans are to visit those
camps where Americans were reportedly held.
The interview program is critical to developing the body of
evidence necessary to open the doors to the official records.
Interviews, especially of retired officers, have provided the most
lucrative source of new or significant information to date. One key
to such an effort is publicity. Therefore, the United States needs
to publicize widely the efforts of investigators and the desire to
obtain additional information.
Follow-up Action Leads
These include finding and interviewing several former KGB generals,
military officers and pilots who are alleged to have been involved
in or to have known about the possible transfer of American
POW/MIAs during the Korean War and the war in Vietnam. It also may
be worthwhile exploring if any of the ex-Republic archives,
especially those dealing with KGB documents, might have been
Investigation of Individual Leads
With the break-up of the former USSR, many of the individuals who
need to be interviewed and many of the archives of importance are
now beyond Moscow's control. More time and effort should be placed
on developing parallel programs in some of the other Republics.
Moreover, since much of the information developed to date points to
the KGB as the institution most likely to have been involved in
arranging transfers and escorting Americans onto Soviet soil, the
United States may want to look into which former Republic archives
containing KGB records were capped after the coup and whether we
can gain access to these records.
Gen. Volkogonov's Assessment
Gen. Volkogonov contends that, to his knowledge, no Americans are
currently being held against their will within the borders of the
former Soviet Union. Although the Committee has found evidence
that some U.S. POWs were held in the former Soviet Union after WW
II, the Korean War and Cold War incidents, we have found no proof
that would contradict Gen. Volkogonov's contention with respect to
the present. However, the Committee cannot, based on its
investigation to date, rule out the possibility that one or more
U.S. POWs from past wars or incidents are still being held
somewhere within the borders of the former Soviet Union.
World War II
The Committee found that the Russians have been particularly
successful in producing World War II archival documents, and is
pleased to report that the fate of some American military and
civilian personnel from the World War II era has been determined
through recent investigations in Russia. Moreover, archival
documents provided by Russia indicate that several hundred U.S.
POWs were held against their will on Soviet territory at the end of
World War II. In almost all cases, these were individuals who had
been born in, or who had previously lived in, the Soviet Union, and
who could, therefore, be considered Soviet citizens by the Soviet
Government. Many of these individuals served in the Armed Forces of
Germany, fought against the Soviet Army and were captured in
combat. Some U.S. civilians from this era survived terms in
concentration camps and are still alive today, living freely either
in one of the former Soviet Republics or in the United States.
There is evidence, some of which has been confirmed to the
Committee by President Yeltsin, that some U.S. personnel, still
unaccounted for from the Cold War, were taken captive and held
within the former Soviet Union. This information involves several
incidents stretching across the former Soviet Union from the Baltic
Sea to the Sea of Japan.
The Committee is pleased to report that Task Force Russia has been
actively investigating these cases and is keeping surviving family
members fully apprised of its progress to date. The Committee
notes, however, that progress is, in large part, dependent on
cooperation from Russian authorities. In the Committee's November,
1992 hearings, our investigator in Moscow testified that the U.S.
was "intentionally being stonewalled" by the Russians on the
subject of Cold War incidents, despite pledges of cooperation from
President Yeltsin and Gen. Volkogonov. The Committee, therefore,
urges the Joint Commission to place special attention and focus on
obtaining further information on the fate of those U.S. personnel
who are believed to have been taken captive during the Cold War.
There is strong evidence, both from archived U.S. intelligence
reports and from recent interviews in Russia, that Soviet military
and intelligence officials were involved in the interrogation of
American POWs during the Korean Conflict, notwithstanding recent
official statements from the Russian side that this did not happen.
Additionally, the Committee has reviewed information and heard
testimony which we believe constitutes strong evidence that some
unaccounted for American POWs from the Korean Conflict were
transferred to the former Soviet Union in the early 1950's. While
the identity of these POWs has not yet been determined, the
Committee notes that Task Force Russia concurs in our assessment
concerning the transfers. We are pleased that this subject was
raised by the U.S. side in December, 1992 at the plenary session of
the Joint Commission in Moscow.
The Committee further believes it is possible that one or more POWs
from the Korean Conflict could still be alive on the territory of
the former Soviet Union. The most notable case in this regard
concerns a USAF pilot named David "Markham" or "Markin", who was
reportedly shot down during the Korean Conflict. According to
several sources, this pilot was reportedly alive in detention
facilities in Russia as late as 1991. Although Task Force Russia
has thus far been unable to confirm these reports, we note that the
investigation is continuing.
The Committee is aware of several reports that U.S. POWs may have
been transferred to the Soviet Union during the Vietnam War.
Information about this possibility that was provided by a former
employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), Mr. Jerry Mooney,
was thoroughly investigated and could not be substantiated. The
Committee notes that Mr. Mooney testified that he personally
believed prisoners were transferred to the Soviet Union but that he
had "no direct information" that this took place. Other reports
concerning the possibility that U.S. POWs were transferred from
Vietnam to the former Soviet Union deserve further investigation
With respect to interrogations, the Committee has confirmed that
one KGB officer participated directly in the questioning of an
American POW during the Vietnam Conflict. More generally, Soviet
military officers have told the Committee that they received
intelligence from North Vietnamese interrogations of American POWs
and that the Soviets "participated" in interrogations through the
preparation of questions and through their presence during some of
the interrogations. It is possible that American POWs would not
have been aware of the presence of Soviet officers during these
interrogations. The Committee has also received information that
Soviet personnel operated certain SAM sites in Vietnam which shot
down American aircraft during the war.
The Committee notes that the cooperation received to date from
Russia on POW/MIA matters has been due largely to the leadership of
President Boris Yeltsin. During a visit to Washington last summer,
President Yeltsin declared that "each and every document in each
and every archive will be examined to investigate the fate of every
American unaccounted for." Although there is still much work to be
done, Russian officials deserve credit for providing access to
archival material, for cooperating in efforts to solicit testimony
from Russian veterans and other citizens and for their willingness
to disclose certain previously undisclosed aspects of the
historical record. The ultimate success of the Joint Commission
will be judged, however, on whether the U.S. side is able to obtain
full support for its interview program and archival research from
all levels of power and authority throughout the former Soviet
President Yeltsin has made a heroic effort to demonstrate his own
commitment to full cooperation and Gen. Volkogonov has done a great
deal, with limited resources, to meet this standard. Unfortunately,
the level of cooperation from within the Russian military and
intelligence bureaucracy has been less extensive and has, at times,
seemed intentionally obstructive. This may well be due to the
uncertainty of the current political situation in Russia. It is
vital, therefore, that U.S. officials, both in Congress and the
Executive branch, continue to demonstrate to Russian authorities
that America attaches a high priority to cooperation on this issue
and to ensure that any problems that might develop are raised with
the Russians promptly and at a senior level.
The Committee also recommends strongly that the U.S.-Russia Joint
Commission be continued and that efforts be made to gain the full
cooperation, as needed and appropriate, of the other Republics of
the former Soviet Union.
Information from North Korea and China
As part of the Committee's investigation into the fate of those
Americans still missing from the Korean Conflict, the Committee
Vice-Chairman traveled to Pyongyang, North Korea from December 19-
21, 1992. This trip was especially significant in that it was the
first time a United States Senator had traveled to the North Korean
capital. Also, for the first time, a State Department official
traveled with Senator Smith to Pyongyang, in addition to two staff
members working with the Committee. The trip itself was a follow-
on to an earlier trip made by Senator Smith to Korea in June, 1991.
The timing of the trip was important in that just a few weeks
earlier, the Committee had held the first in-depth Congressional
hearings on American POW/MIAs from the Korean Conflict in more than
35 years. In view of the fact that the North Korean Government has
provided virtually no information on 8,177 unaccounted for
Americans in the last 40 years, the goal of the trip was to
establish a dialogue which would encourage North Korea to move the
accounting process forward on a humanitarian basis. A second goal
of the fact-finding trip was to gain information from North Korea
on reports which had surfaced during the Committee's November
hearings on the fate of some American POWs.
The Committee is pleased to report that Senator Smith was
successful in achieving both of these goals during the trip.
Meetings were held with Supreme Assembly Speaker Yang Hyong Sop,
Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju, and a staff of ministry
officials who appeared knowledgeable on POW/MIA issues. The
atmosphere was cooperative and it was the sense of Senator Smith
and his delegation that North Korea is prepared and willing to move
forward on this humanitarian issue without any preconditions. As
a sign of good faith, the North Koreans allowed Senator Smith and
his delegation to visit their war museum in Pyongyang, although the
request had been made only hours earlier. This was the first time
any American official had visited the museum. At the museum,
Senator Smith was able to view photographs of POWs, documents,
letters, personal effects and captured weaponry from U.S.
servicemen. Senator Smith's delegation was also permitted to
photograph and take notes concerning many of the items in the
museum. Important new information was also learned from North
Korean officials concerning China's involvement with American POWs.
The principal Committee findings and recommendations concerning
this trip are:
. Although the North Korean officials with whom Senator Smith
met denied that any American POWs had survived to the present
day in North Korea, the Committee cannot exclude the
possibility in view of intelligence information which has been
received by the United States in recent years. Specifically,
the Committee shares Senator Smith's frustration during his
trip at not being able to investigate unconfirmed reports that
a small number of American POWs may be teaching English at a
military language school on the outskirts of Pyongyang. The
Committee, therefore, urges the Government of the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea to cooperate fully in the
investigation of these recent reports, in addition to other
live-sighting reports which have been received by the United
States during the last few decades.
. It is likely that a large number of possible MIA remains can
be repatriated and several records and documents on
unaccounted for POWs and MIAs can be provided from North Korea
once a joint working level commission is set up under the
leadership of the United States. Accordingly, the Committee
strongly urges the Departments of State and Defense to take
immediate steps to form this commission through the United
Nations Command at Panmunjom, Korea. The Committee also
encourages President-elect Clinton, upon taking office, to
appoint a high level representative to sit on the commission.
The Committee further believes that the proposed joint
commission should have a strictly humanitarian mission and
should not be tied to political developments on the Korean
. Comments made by North Korean officials during the trip
substantiated indications that many American POWs had been
held in China during the Korean Conflict and that foreign POW
camps in both China and North Korea were run by Chinese
officials. In addition, North Korean officials confirmed that
propaganda photos showing POW camps with large numbers of U.S.
personnel had, in fact, been taken in China, not in North
Korea as purported by the propaganda publications. The
Committee notes that other information from both high level
Russian intelligence sources and from several U.S.
intelligence reports corroborate the comments made by the
Given the fact that only 26 Army and 15 Air Force personnel
returned from China following the war, the Committee can now firmly
conclude that the People's Republic of China surely has information
on the fate of other unaccounted for American POWs. The Committee,
therefore, strongly urges the Departments of State and Defense to
form a POW/MIA task force on China similar to Task Force Russia.
The Committee also strongly urges the Department of State to raise
this matter at the highest levels in Beijing. In this regard, we
are pleased that the first round of talks was held in January,
1993. We believe that a proposed POW Task Force on China will need
to have several additional rounds of talks with the Chinese in
order to search for and receive POW information in China over the
For the surviving families of those Americans still missing from
the Korean Conflict, the perception has been that determining the
fate of their loved ones is a task that has not been vigorously
pursued by their government. We note that this perception has been
fueled by past intransigence and lack of information from North
Korea and China. In addition, accounting for POWs and MIAs from
the Vietnam Conflict has received far greater media attention in
America. The Committee can therefore understand why the Korean
Conflict has often been labeled the "Forgotten War" by veterans and
POW/MIA family members.
However, in view of the Vice-Chairman's recent trip to North Korea,
the Committee believes that a dramatic breakthough has been
achieved in terms of establishing a dialogue and gaining access to
new information on POWs and MIAs. Consequently, there is now a
window of opportunity which the Committee believes should be fully
exploited by the United States on behalf of the families of those
Americans still missing from the Korean Conflict.