Ronald Reagan wasn't impressed with a North Carolina representative's claims about MIAs.
According to the recently published "The Reagan Diaries," the president thought then Rep. Bill Hendon was "off his rocker" after a meeting in 1986.
Hendon, an Asheville Republican, and New Hampshire Rep. Bob Smith met with Reagan on Jan. 9, 1996, to talk about the possibility that Vietnam was still holding American prisoners of war.
Afterward, the Great Communicator wrote in his diary:
"Bill is way out yonder on the issue of M.I.A.'s. He claims Mil. Intelligence has all sorts of proof that Vietnam is holding live prisoners but the bureaucracy is covering it up from even the Sec. of Defense, etc."
Reagan then notes that he sent Vice President George Bush to check out some of the stories, one of which involved the president in a meeting that never took place.
"Geo. reported back after lunch. I'm afraid Bill is off his rocker—even Bob (who said nothing in our meeting) told Geo. he can't go along with Bill on his rantings."
A week later, Reagan met with staff about the issue again.
"The lady who heads the M.I.A.-P.O.W. family organization gave further evidence that Cong. man Bill Hendon is absolutely wrong in his wild charges that our govt. has info about the P.O.W.'s & is covering it up."
Hendon later became an M.I.A. activist, chaining himself to the gate of a U.S. office in Vietnam.
More on Hendon at these links:
|Background on Hendon's involvement in the MIA issue and his tactics.|
|How Hendon conspired with former USMC Private Bobby Garwood to produce phony "live sightings."|
|And another phony story generated by Hendon.|