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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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Another article in the U.S. News & World Report (Nov 1993 v115 n20 p26(4)) suggests that the absence of any aid was the reason for no more prisoner releases -- other than the 591 prisoners released through Operation Homecoming in 1974.

"Why might the Vietnamese have detained so many more Americans? Le Quang Khai is an 11-year veteran of Vietnam's foreign ministry who defected to the United States last year [1992]. During the Paris peace talks in 1973, Khai says, political opinion was split in Vietnam on what to do with American prisoners of war. Hard-liners wanted to hold them all until their demands for war reparations were satisfied; liberals wanted to release them to improve Vietnam's image. A compromise was reached to release some POWs -- 591 turned out to be the number, Khai says. The rest were detained, Khai says, because Vietnam believed that the Paris peace talks marked the beginning -- not the end -- of negotiations with Washington."

The article goes on to say:

"With no negotiations, there was no framework to return the POWs." Some, Khai says, were given to Hanoi's allies: "It is a fact that some [Americans] were sent to Russia, China and other countries."

Consider this! In January 1993, a Research Associate from Harvard University was diligently combing through archives within the former headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the former Soviet Union. While searching for information in regards to the history of American intervention in Vietnam, Dr. Stephen J. Morris discovered a secret report by Lieutenant General Tran Van Quang; addressing the Vietnamese Worker's Party politburo. The report, as described by Dr. Stephens, was a speech recorded by a "well-placed Vietnamese agent" and than later translated into the Russian language by a case worker of the Soviet Armed Forces Main Intelligence Directorate. Additionally, the document (dated September 15, 1972) had been found in a file of the Soviet General Staff containing other documents -- all of which were dated and pertaining to events occurring during 1972.

The report, generally known as the "Quang 1205 document" states that North Vietnam had in their possession 1205 American POWs as of that date (Sept. 15, 1972). In Morris' personal narrative (included in The National Interest, Fall 1993 n33 p28(15)), he states that

"General Quang described the American prisoners as being divided into three political categories -- "Progressives," "neutral," and "reactionary." The "progressives" would be released first. More important, Quang stated that Hanoi had created a separate secret camp system unknown to other prisoners. He acknowledged that in public Hanoi had deliberately understated the number of prisoners it was holding. Quang explained that Vietnamese communist policy was eventually to use the secret prisoners to achieve all its political, military, and economic objectives."

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