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Pennsylvania's POW/MIAs

Dedicated to those who remain unaccounted from the Korean War and the Vietnam War

Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Natio

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Ribbons | Vietnam

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In further examination of events, one must look at the actions of President Nixon during this time. In hopes of expediting the peace process, Nixon wrote a secret letter (often referred to as a cable) to the North Vietnamese Prime Minister. The letter indicated that the U.S. would assist in the rebuilding of Vietnam through aid and/or war reparations (commonly referred to as indemnification). If one were to reflect upon the history of the U.S. and war, you could see this as tradition -- so no real surprise here; however...the U.S. Congress was never informed {and was supposedly never aware} of Nixon's promise to Hanoi. Kissinger, who had been the one who 'hand-delivered' the secret letter, may or may not have been aware of its contents.

In an interview with Life Magazine (Nov 1987 v10 n12 p110(7)), Kissinger was reported as being "adamant that the U.S. was under no obligation to provide reparations." Furthermore, he was quoted as stating, "Here is a country that has broken every goddamn provision in the agreement," [speaking about the Paris Peace Accords no doubt]. Furthermore, on commenting about Nixon's statement regarding our POWs having all been returned, Kissinger was quoted as saying "He could have been mistaken, but he wasn't deliberately fooling the American people."

The promise made by Nixon acted, more or less, like a fulcrum point in the negotiations for our POWs -- whether he had been authorized to make such promises or not. Releasing funds to Vietnam would have most certainly tipped the scales in our favor for gaining the release of our prisoners; but such was not the case. As Operation Homecoming was in full swing, reports from the returning prisoners began to make their way to congress and the media. Tales of severe brutality, in-humane living conditions and torture were coming to light and congress voted [33-8] against providing any aid to Vietnam without their concurrence -- which was never granted.

It should also be noted that the entire country was being swept away by the Watergate scandal at this time. What began with the arrest of five men on June 17, 1972 (and subsequently ended with Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974) only seemed to add more fuel to the chaos of the time. With all that was going on in Washington between the years of 1972 and 1974, it was a wonder that anything was ever accomplished -- and sadly the plight of our remaining POW/MIAs was run asunder. 

Addendum be continued

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