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 . 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
The article goes on to say:
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
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