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50–266 CC






JUNE 17, 1998

Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations

BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
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CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
JAY KIM, California
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
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PAT DANNER, Missouri
BRAD SHERMAN, California
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
LOIS CAPPS, California
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
PETER BROOKES, Professional Staff Member

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    The Honorable Charles Kartman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
    The Honorable Frederick C. Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, Department of Defense
    Ambassador Malcolm Toon, Co-Chairman, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
    Ms. Ann Mills Griffiths, executive director, National League of POW/MIA Families
    Ms. Pat Dunton, president, Korean/Cold War Family Association of the Missing
    Mr. John F. Sommer, Jr., executive director, The American Legion
    Mr. Bruce Harder, director, National Security & Foreign Affairs, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Prepared statements:
The Honorable Benjamin Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New York, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations
The Honorable Dana Rohrabacher, a Representative in Congress from California
The Honorable Peter T. King, a Representative in Congress from New York
The Honorable Charles Kartman
The Honorable Frederick C. Smith
Ambassador Malcolm Toon
Ms. Ann Mills Griffiths
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Ms. Pat Dunton
Mr. John F. Sommer, Jr.
Mr. Bruce Harder
Additional material submitted for the record:
Letter of June 17, 1998, from The Honorable Dana Rohrabacher to Mr. Robert Jones, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs
List of Cases Requiring Critical Vietnamese Assistance submitted by Mr. Rohrabacher
Additional information submitted by Ms. Ann Mills Griffiths
Responses by The Honorable Charles Kartman to questions submitted by The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman

House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
Washington, DC.
    The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 3:04 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
    Chairman GILMAN. [presiding] The Committee will come to order.
    We're pleased to welcome with us today the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Steve Buyer, chairman of the National Security Committee, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, who's joining us during our hearing. I anticipate other Members will be along when they finish some of their pending business. And I'm also pleased to see in our audience former Congressman Lester Wolf, who created the initial Select Committee on MIAs and POWs. Welcome, Congressman Wolf.
    I want to welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses to the House International Relations Committee today to testify on the Administration's POW/MIA policies and programs. We appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedules to appear before us today to discuss what we consider a very important issue.
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    Throughout our proud military history, the men and women of our armed services have selflessly preserved freedom and rooted out injustice, fought tyranny, and ensured our national security. American servicemen and women have endured unthinkable hardships in the defense of liberty. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice fulfilling their duties to their country and any duties asked of them. In the two centuries since our Nation's birth, more than a million Americans have sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom. Joining the ranks of those heroes are thousands who've been held as prisoners of war and found missing in action—some whose fate has never been resolved to this day. Perhaps the most difficult of all is the burden of the families who have never learned the destiny of their loved ones who went off to do battle in defense of liberty and on behalf of our Nation.
    But Americans have decided that they will never forget those who served their country far from home and family—those who are listed as missing in action or those who were last known to be alive as prisoners of war. Although I believe my views on this issue are well known, I want to express my continuing commitment to those still missing and renew our Nation's pledge to make every effort to obtain answers to their fate. We owe it to these courageous American heros, and we owe it to their families—families who've endured such profound loss and whose suffering continues as long as their loved ones' fate remains unknown. As is well understood, they also serve who stand and wait.
    And that's the reason we're here today. Our goal is to accomplish a comprehensive review of the Clinton Administration's POW/MIA policies and programs for the war in Southeast Asia, the Korean and cold wars. We'll be interested to hear how the POW/MIA issue fits into our foreign policy priorities and strategy toward such countries as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, China, Russia, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
    We're particularly interested in knowing how this issue is going to play in the upcoming summit between Presidents Clinton and Jiang in Beijing in a few weeks. We've not heard much about this issue with regard to China, and we're all well aware that China had a major role in running the North Korean POW camps during the Korean War.
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    We're also anxious to hear about the level of cooperation that we're receiving from countries such as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, especially since they've been admitted into NATO as fellow members. How cooperative has Russian been in giving us access to Soviet KGB archives?
    We're being reminded that there's a roll call underway, and we may have to recess temporarily while we respond to that.
    As you all know, the President has recommended a continuing waiver to the Jackson-Vanik amendment for Vietnam. But just how cooperative has Vietnam been on the POW/MIA issue? How could they be even more cooperative? We want to examine that issue.
    How can our POW/MIA programs be more effective and efficient in obtaining the fullest possible accounting? We also want to hear about our government's relations with the family groups and our Veterans Service Organizations. Are the families' needs being fully addressed? These are just a few of the questions we hope that the panelists will be able to touch upon this afternoon.
    And finally, we want to express our deep respect for the family groups and the individuals who work so hard and selflessly trying to resolve the remaining POW/MIA cases. Your unwavering devotion to this cause and to your loved ones deserves the admiration of our entire Nation. Your loved ones I know would be proud of your efforts.
    I think we've assembled a good group of panelists today to address these questions and others. We look forward to your testimony. And I want to thank you all for coming.
    Now, Mr. Buyer, for any opening you may have.
    Mr. BUYER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to be here.
    I have a markup going on in the Judiciary Committee, so I don't know long I can participate. I gave a commitment, Mr. Chairman, to the veterans community and to the families and the POW/MIA organizations that I will also conduct an oversight hearing. It will be in the September timeframe, so I'm very interested in the testimony that you're going to have here today that will help form my oversight responsibilities.
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    If I could say a couple of things quickly, and I'll throw out by way of question, Mr. Chairman, because I may not be able to be here. It deals with the efforts between Defense, State, and the intelligence communities to ensure that all things are being done to coordinate the comprehensive approach for the information that we need. For the longest time, I guess we sort of assumed that it's up to the Defense. The HIRC gets intelligence from State, and that normally seems to work out. I don't mind having the International Relations Committee placing a lot of stress on the State Department. But sometimes when issues are on the table, we're not as aggressive in gathering information about the POW/MIA issues as we should be. It's my personal observation, and I look forward to your testimony.
    We've heard repeated assurances that the POW/MIA issue is our highest national priority. Yet, news dispatches from diplomatic sessions with nations that certainly have information pertaining to American service members missing in action rarely ever mention the POW/MIA issue. Issues discussed resolve largely around trade, which leads the families to believe that we're a nation that's more concerned about making money than finding out what happened to their loved ones.
    Moreover, the State Department's most accessible window to the American public, its Web page, covers a great deal of various responsibilities of many components of the State Department, but accounting for POW/MIAs is not even mentioned. So some of the questions I'll throw out is where does this issue reside among our national priorities, and what exactly are we doing country by country? For example, will the President raise this issue during his visit to China? As you know, the Chinese operated POW camps during the Korean conflict and may have information pertaining to missing Americans.
    Also, how can we look families in the eye and say that this issue is of the highest national priority when our government never seems to raise these issues with foreign governments when we sit at the table to discuss trade issues?
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    So let me yield back to the Chairman, and hopefully I'll be able to be here for some of the hearing. But a coordination of all three of your agencies is what we seek in a united effort.
    And, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Buyer. And thank you for joining us. We hope you can return after the votes.
    With that, I'd like to welcome once again our first panel: Charles Kartman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian Affairs, in the Department of State. Secretary Kartman, I understand you soon will be focusing your attention solely on the Four-Party Talks in North Korea. Good luck. It's a tough assignment. We wish you success.
    Next to Secretary Kartman is Fred Smith, Principal Deputy Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Secretary Smith, we look forward to your testimony on Department of Defense policies and programs.
    And rounding out the first panel is the Distinguished Ambassador, Ambassador Toon, Chairman of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POWs and MIAs. Mr. Ambassador, I understand you've been involved in meetings here in Washington on your work with Russia and Eastern Europe, and we look forward to your thoughts today.
    So welcome, gentlemen. For the sake of time, you may summarize your statements or give your statement in full. We will submit your full statement for the record if you so desire. And I would ask our Members to withhold questions until all witnesses on the panel have testified.
    Secretary Kartman, you may proceed.
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    Mr. KARTMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I have already submitted a written statement, and I'll accept your invitation to abbreviate that.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, the full statement will be made part of the record.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Thank you.
    Your staff has correctly noted that my time is normally spent dealing in northeast Asia, and especially North Korea, which is one of the countries that we'll be looking at. But I am very pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you today and speak on the subject of U.S. policy on the POW/MIA issue in Vietnam and elsewhere in East Asia and the Pacific.
    Chairman GILMAN. And Mr. Kartman, if I might interrupt a moment. I hope when you get to the Four-Party Talks, you'll remind them that we're still waiting for information from North Korea.
    Mr. KARTMAN. I always remind them, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Actually, I think we have some prospect of getting somewhere in North Korea over time. But I'm getting ahead of my story.
    While I'll discuss our policy in the area, Mr. Smith will provide the specific details on our activities.
    I'd like to begin, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, with Vietnam, which is for obvious reasons the focal point of our accounting efforts. There's still over 1,500 Americans unaccounted for in Vietnam, as well as another 500 from neighboring countries. We've consistently emphasized to the Vietnamese that obtaining the fullest possible accounting of our missing is our highest priority. Every single senior American official who has met with Vietnamese officials has stressed this point in order to ensure that there can be no misunderstanding.
    Vietnam does understand well the importance of this issue to the American Government and people, and has been providing a high level of cooperation to us in our accounting efforts over recent years. It was this excellent cooperation that enabled us to establish diplomatic relations in 1995, and to develop normal relations in other areas, which I will discuss in a moment.
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    But, first, I would like to summarize where we are on POW/MIA accounting. On March 4 of this year, President Clinton issued a determination that Vietnam has been cooperating fully in good faith with us to account for our missing. This was the third time the President has validated Vietnam's cooperation. The concrete results we have obtained are indicative of substantial progress in POW/MIA accounting. None of this would have been possible without extensive Vietnamese cooperation.
    Cooperation, of course, is a two-way street. As the Vietnamese have worked with us to account for our missing, we have moved forward to normalize relations with them. And one of the most important areas for normalization is the economic one.
    On March 10, the President granted a waiver of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment for Vietnam. And on June 3, he announced his determination to seek renewal of this waiver authority.
    Chairman GILMAN. Secretary Kartman, I regret to interrupt you. We have about 4 minutes to get to the floor. Mr. Buyer and I will have to go to the floor. In the meantime, the Committee stands in recess for a few minutes until we go to the floor, vote, and come back.
    Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order and we regret we had to interrupt Secretary Kartman. Please proceed.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had just mentioned the Jackson-Vanik waiver. And to continue, extension of the Jackson-Vanik waiver clearly is in our interest.
    The Jackson-Vanik waiver makes available to American firms the trade promotion and investment support programs of the Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These programs enable American companies to compete in the potentially lucrative Vietnamese market, and encourage Vietnam's integration into world markets and regional organizations.
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    The ties created are a positive force for regional stability. Most importantly, renewal of the Jackson-Vanik waiver will substantially promote freedom of immigration from Vietnam. The prospect of a Jackson-Vanik waiver was an important factor last October in encouraging Vietnam to modify its processing procedures for the Resettlement Opportunity for Vietnamese Returnees, or ROVR, greatly facilitating that program's implementation.
    We are working to normalize relations with Vietnam in a number of other areas. These include negotiation of a bilateral trade agreement, which, with the Jackson-Vanik waiver, is a prerequisite for granting most favored nation status to Vietnam. Last month, we concluded the fifth round of talks on an agreement.
    Other areas include human rights, civil aviation, science and technology, and counter-narcotics.
    Our goal is to develop a normal relationship with Vietnam that is like our relationships with the other member countries of ASEAN, putting the past behind us. The key to achieving this goal is for both sides to continue the close cooperation on POW/MIA accounting that has made possible the progress in normalization over the last few years. And progress and normalization strengthens our already excellent cooperation in POW/MIA accounting.
    Turning to Laos, the United States has four primary interests. Again, ensuring the most complete POW/MIA accounting possible is our first priority. Our other primary interests are counter-narcotics efforts in the Golden Triangle; facilitating progress on human rights; and securing the transition of the Lao economy, from a command economy to an open market-oriented system.
    Since 1993, we have accounted for 119 Americans missing in Laos. Another 447 remain unaccounted for. Lao cooperation in field exercises is already excellent. However, cooperation in other areas, such as archival research and the oral history program, still could stand further improvement.
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    In Cambodia, superb POW/MIA cooperation continued throughout the past year. Cambodia is usually credited with providing us with the best assistance of any country on this issue. And Cambodia's cooperation was not affected by the turmoil of July 1997 or our subsequent suspension of aid.
    Turning to North Korea—the fullest possible accounting of the more than 8,100 servicemen missing from the Korean War also is a top priority of this Administration. We believe that the remains of most of these men are still in North Korea. We continue to stress to the DPRK at every opportunity that the United States places the highest priority on their location and return home.
    As a result of our strenuous efforts, progress in this area has been among the greatest in the range of issue on which we and the North Koreans cooperate. I will qualify that by saying that we really don't have very much cooperation from North Korea in other areas, so the standard is not very high.
    We also are working with China on POW/MIA accounting. We have received good cooperation from the Chinese Government on World War II and Vietnam War cases, and are continuing to press senior Chinese officials to take steps to advance cooperation on Korean War POW/MIA cases. We hope that our strategy of engagement and our effective cooperation with the Chinese in other important areas will help produce positive results on this issue.
    If I may answer your question now, as part of my statement, we have been preparing the Chinese, through our high-level discussions with them, preparing for President Clinton's summit trip to China. This is an issue that will come up during the course of that trip.
    Obtaining the fullest possible accounting for our missing is the American Government's highest priority. We can do no less for the families. We have expended much effort on this task, and we will continue to do so until we have done absolutely everything possible to achieve our goal.
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    This ends my oral statement, Mr. Chairman.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Kartman appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Kartman.
    Mr. Smith.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit my statement for the record and make a few brief remarks.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, your full statement will be made part of the record.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Thank you.
    While I have worked at the Pentagon on POW/MIA issues for 4 years, this is the first opportunity I have had to testify formally to this Committee on this subject.
    First, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our new Deputy Assistant Secretary for POW-Missing Personnel Affairs, Mr. Robert Jones. Bob replaces Brigadier General Jim Wold, who left the government last fall. Bob is well known to many people in the POW/MIA community. A dedicated public servant, he comes to us from the Veterans Administration. He served two combat tours in Vietnam and has been on four Presidential delegations to the southeast Asia. I am confident the Committee, and also Mr. Buyer's committee, will enjoy working with Bob. I'm equally confident that Bob will be responsive to the Committee's requests on this important subject.
    My written statement outlines our activities over the past 5 years. I would characterize my statement as a positive one. While always well intentioned, the U.S. Government has made mistakes in the past on this issue—mistakes in the way we handled information and in the way we handled the families of the lost ones.
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    I sincerely believe, however, that about 4 years ago, we turned the corner. When Jim Wold became Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs, we charged Jim with reestablishing contact with the families, and reestablishing credibility of the U.S. Government on this important and emotional issue.
    Jim, with the help of many talented people in the DPMO Office, began that long process. Through better communications, we have tried to keep the families as well informed as possible on their specific cases and our overall efforts to account for the missing.
    One highly successful initiative has been the scheduling of family update weekends at locations around the country. Once a month, a team from DPMO and several offices involved in the accounting process travel to places such as Boston, Dallas, Charlotte, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon, to conduct a workshop on our POW/MIA activities, and discuss with individual families the most current information about their father, husband, son, or brother.
    I mention this because I believe our most important job is to serve the families. By my rough count, there are approximately 90,000 missing Americans from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the cold war. Multiply that by the number of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, close relatives, and even close friends. These people are our constituents.
    We have an obligation to these people and to ourselves, as public servants, to determine the fate of every American sailor, soldier, airman, and Marine who was lost while serving to protect our Nation.
    As I say in my statement, our efforts span the globe. We seek information whenever and wherever possible. A profound demonstration of this Administration's commitment of not leaving any stone unturned occurred last month when we lifted the marble slab covering the Vietnam remains in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. Secretary Cohen made the difficult decision to disturb the sanctity of the Tomb, because it meant the possibility of identifying just one more missing in action.
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    In making that difficult decision—and a correct one, in my opinion—Secretary Cohen was exceptionally well served by the people in the Defense POW/MIA Office. The professionalism, dedication, and thoroughness of these people were clearly evident as they pulled out detailed facts from their records, analyzed them, and put together the necessary information for the Secretary to make his decision.
    In this process, for example, the 1995 Comprehensive Review conducted by DPMO was totally validated for a number of cases. On the morning of May 14, at the ceremony when we removed the remains from the Tomb, the Army Chaplain, Colonel Leo Joseph O'Keefe, set the solemn tone when he prayed: ''If it be your holy will, make known the identity of this unknown Vietnam serviceman, and bring peace of mind to an American family. If that be possible, we will praise and thank you, O Lord. If the answer we seek is not ours to know, help us humbly to accept this condition. And with faith and trust in your Almighty Province, let us hold fast to our belief that this serviceman's name is known to you alone, O God.''
    The chaplain's prayer sums up our mission. We do our very best to bring peace of mind to American families. Sometimes, however, for reasons beyond our control, and despite our very best efforts, the fate of missing servicemen remains unknown—at least for the time being.
    Again, thank you for this opportunity to appear before the Committee.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Frederick Smith appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
    Ambassador Toon.
    Ambassador TOON. Mr. Chairman, it's a great privilege to be with you again. We've had many meetings in the past, as you recall, at my various posts.
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    Chairman GILMAN. We welcome back to our Committee, Mr. Ambassador.
    Ambassador TOON. And I thank you today for the opportunity to report to your Committee on the work of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on POWs and MIAs. I have submitted a prepared statement, and today I would just like to present a brief summary of that statement.
    Chairman GILMAN. We'll make your statement part of the record, without objection.
    Ambassador TOON. Thank you.
    Since the Commission was established in March 1992, by the Presidents of the United States and Russia—and, incidentally, I should point out that when I accepted this job, I thought it was for 6 months. I'm now in my sixth year.
    Chairman GILMAN. God bless you. Keep going.
    Ambassador TOON. And I should point out also, Mr. Chairman, that I thought, at one point, that when you had subordinates in high places in Washington, you were in good shape. That's not the case with me. A former subordinate of mine, Larry Eagleburger, appointed me to this job. And I'm stuck with it for 6 years.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, we hope we'll resolve this issue at an early date, so you won't have to continue too long. But keep doing the good things you're doing, Mr. Ambassador.
    Ambassador TOON. Thank you.
    Well, in any case, since we established this Commission, we have undertaken an extensive effort throughout the former Soviet Union to identify and acquire information on missing American servicemen. We have held 14 plenary sessions with our Russian counterparts, each time covering a wide range of policy, research, and investigative issues.
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    A determined persistence on our part has led to the establishment of a comprehensive interview and archival research program which is permanently staffed by Commission personnel in Moscow.
    Now, Mr. Chairman, I may be subjective in my view, but I think the Commission and its staff have done a good job. In this regard, I would like to praise the work of each of the Commission's four working groups: the Vietnam War Working Group, chaired by Senator Bob Smith; the Korean War Working Group, chaired by Congressman Sam Johnson, your colleague; the cold war Working Group, chaired by Mr. Dennis Clift, of the Joint Military Intelligence College; and the World War II Working Group, chaired by Mr. Michael McReynolds, of the National Archives.
    On July 20, 1996, I appeared here, in the House of Representatives, before the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the Committee on National Security. Since then, a sense of increasing frustration has come to characterize the Commission's work. Earlier progress has slowed from more than 12,000 pages of Russian documents received prior to our 1996 report—that has slowed to no more than 100 additional pages. At the same time, our staff researchers have been allowed to access documents in the Russian Ministry of Defense Archives and have identified approximately 4,000 pages which are relevant to our work on the Korean War.
    To date, despite our best efforts to negotiate an agreement, the Russian Government has been unwilling or unable to agree to terms for providing copies of the documents. Further, they are unwilling to grant us access to documents related to the war in Vietnam. Clearly, as Russia struggles to define its national interests, cooperation on the POW/MIA issue seems to have ebbed.
    In response to this, a continued commitment by the U.S. Government is required. Backed by this commitment, the U.S. side of the Commission can then frame new initiatives to further advance the national priority of accounting for our missing.
    In 1996, the U.S. Commission recognized, in the changing political dynamics of eastern Europe, an important opportunity for advancing the Commission's work. In July 1997, the U.S. side of the Commission visited Warsaw and Prague. In both capitals, we met with high-level government officials to discuss U.S. Government efforts to account for missing servicemen and to explore ways in which these potential allies might assist in this goal.
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    The Commission's initiative in eastern Europe has expanded to include not only the newest NATO candidates—Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary—but also other eastern European countries, such as the Slovak Republic, Romania, and Bulgaria. Developing bilateral relations with these countries on the POW/MIA issue have allowed us to begin pursuing promising new sources of information which may be useful in the work of the Commission. Much work remains to be done in these countries with regard to interviews and archival research. We are encouraged in this regard by the recent Senate vote, which underscored the importance of these NATO candidate members as potential sources of POW/MIA information.
    We look forward in the years ahead to a continued expansion of our work in eastern Europe.
    Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Toon appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. We appreciate your continual diligent work on this issue.
    Let me ask Mr. Smith. In March of this year, President Clinton certified that the Government of Vietnam was fully cooperating in good faith on the POW/MIA issue. What role did our Department of Defense play with respect to that decision on certification? Was the Department asked by the White House to provide its recommendation to the President on whether or not he should certify? Or did the President already make up his mind what he was going to do and then ask for information to back him up? What was the chronology?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. The Department of Defense did make an input.
    Chairman GILMAN. Before the President made the decision?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, sir.
    Chairman GILMAN. And what was your recommendation?
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    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Our recommendation was that Vietnam is fully cooperating with our efforts in this area.
    Chairman GILMAN. And what did you base that on, Mr. Smith?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. It was based on the experiences that we've had for the past several years of increased cooperation, the number of joint activities, archival research, and access to people and sites.
    Chairman GILMAN. When you made that decision in the Defense Department, did you have before you the National Intelligence Estimate on Vietnam's performance on the POW/MIA issue?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We were actually working on it at about the same time, because we were working with the Central Intelligence Agency on that issue; and so it was concurrent, simultaneous.
    Chairman GILMAN. Did you have that estimate before you at the time you made your decision and made your recommendations to the President?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. The final copy of the estimate was issued in April 1998, and the determination was made in March.
    Chairman GILMAN. So you actually didn't have the final National Intelligence Estimate?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We did not have the final estimate that was issued. That is correct. But we certainly knew what was in it, and we were involved in the preparation of the estimate.
    Chairman GILMAN. You were working on the Estimate? Were you working on the Estimate?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes. The estimate had been in preparation for a number of months before hand.
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    Chairman GILMAN. And you would have had the occasion to see what the report said at the time you made your decision?
    Chairman GILMAN. Is it in your view that the report supports the President's certification that Vietnam is fully cooperative?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes. I believe that the information about the improved cooperation we've received from the Vietnamese, and the reasons that the estimate gives for this improved cooperation, are correct.
    Chairman GILMAN. Were there any negative findings by the National Intelligence Estimate on Vietnam's performance?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, there were. There were a couple of things in the estimate which were not totally positive.
    Chairman GILMAN. Can you recite what those were?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I have the estimate here. I would have to pull them out because the estimate is still classified, although we're hoping to get a declassified version. I would be hesitant to do that here in the open hearing, but I'd be happy to go through it with you.
    Chairman GILMAN. How long will it take to declassify that and make it available to this Committee?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. The Department of Defense has recommended that we do that, and we will work with the classifying agency to try to make that happen.
    Chairman GILMAN. And I would ask of you, when that is declassified, and we hope it will be done at an early date, to make that available to this Committee?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, sir.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Can you comment on any of the negative aspects of that without violating the classification? Is there an executive summary?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. It does say that it is fully possible—probable—that Vietnam has more information that it could give us in investigating some of the cases. I agree with that assessment. So, that's not a positive thing totally. But the overall cooperation of Vietnam certainly warrants, I believe, the President's certification.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Kartman, over 2 years ago, it was widely reported in the press and confirmed by your Department that four alleged military defectors from the 1960's were believed to still be alive in North Korea, and at that time Secretary of Defense Perry indicated that it was the responsibility of the State Department's Consular Affairs Office to pursue access to the defectors, which their families had requested, both to determine their actual status and also to see what they might know about unaccounted for American POWs in the Korean War. Can you tell us what's been done on that matter in the last 2 years and what's been the North Korean response?
    Mr. KARTMAN. That's very easy to answer, Mr. Chairman. We have continuously asked for access to these individuals. And we have not gotten a reply from the North Korean side. We will continue to do that because we agreed that this can be a key to some very important information.
    Chairman GILMAN. And do they acknowledge that these individuals are still alive?
    Mr. KARTMAN. They have acknowledged that these four defectors are still alive. Yes. This is in the context of making the point that these are people who are in North Korea voluntarily, as opposed to a category of people who we have questioned them about who might not be there voluntarily.
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    Chairman GILMAN. The Committee understands that in November 1995, Ken Quinnones from your Department was allowed into the Anti-American Military Museum in North Korea, where he was able to observe the military ID cards of some of our servicemen who are still listed as missing. Can you tell us what's been done in the last 2 1/2 years to press North Korea to account for those specific servicemen? Mr. Kartman?
    Mr. KARTMAN. I'm afraid I don't have the details of that, but I'll get you a reply.
    Chairman GILMAN. Would you give a written reply to our Committee with regard to that?
    Mr. KARTMAN. Yes, I'd be very pleased to do that. I'm familiar with the general case, but I just don't have the specifics.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Smith, are you able to provide some information with regard to that question?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, sir. I was just being informed that we have been back twice to investigate this, and there are two cases of missing people. But I will provide more information on those specific cases.
    Mr. KARTMAN. May I suggest we'll provide a coordinated written reply.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Absolutely.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Kartman, why haven't the POW/MIA questions been part of the Four-Party Talks between the United States, South Korea, North Korea, and China? Shouldn't that be an integral part of the final peace in the peninsula? You say you will be raising it, but why hasn't it been raised until now?
    Mr. KARTMAN. At this point, if you'll permit me to digress into four-party matters, we have not been able to agree on any agenda, except a very generalized one. And so the question of how to get to a peace treaty, the specifics of what might be contained in such a document have not been discussed. In fact, we have made more progress through DPMO on the remains issue than we have made on the peace treaty issue. And, therefore, it is conceivable, to me, that we may actually make faster progress outside the four-party framework. But I have commented on other occasions that should it become necessary to bring the remains issue into the four-party process and work it into the peace treaty, if it's still an outstanding issue by that time, we will not hesitate to bring it in.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Kartman.
    Ambassador Toon, on May 21, 1998, President Clinton certified to the Congress that the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary are facilitating full access to their archives, including the old Communist party records, for any records about the disposition of American POWs. Ambassador Toon, your Commission has taken the lead in pressing these three countries on the POW/MIA issue, isn't that so?
    Ambassador TOON. That's so. Yes.
    Chairman GILMAN. And did your Commission recommend that the President issue this certification on May 21, 1998, or would you have preferred the President wait a little longer to encourage more progress from those countries?
    Ambassador TOON. Well, I think probably we should wait a little bit longer, because my own gut feeling is that we have not gotten the sort of progress that we were entitled to.
    If I may just say a word, Mr. Chairman, on the question of American POWs during the Korean War. Now I have had a gut feeling, from the very beginning of this exercise, that the old Soviet Union must have gotten its hands on hundreds of American POWs during the Korean War. Now you must understand that the Soviet Union was running the Korean War, not North Korea. It did not run the Vietnam War, but it ran the Korean War; and, therefore, they were at a position, at any time, to insist that the North Koreans turn over American POWs to us. Now my opposite member—General Volkogonov, who's now deceased—agreed with me on this gut feeling that I had. But he could not find anything in the Soviet archives that would support this idea.
    Now I think we ought to continue to pursue this idea with the Russian Government, and try to find out exactly what happened.
    Now, it's entirely possible that the archives on this particular issue were destroyed by the Russian Government when they were trying to demonstrate that they were different from the previous Soviet Government in terms of its behavior, and they were trying to demonstrate that they were prepared to be accepted by the world community as a decent state. So it's entirely possible that these archives no longer exist; and, therefore, it's entirely possible that what the Russian side is telling us—that there was nothing in the former Soviet archives to support this supposition—is correct. But I think we ought to continue to hammer away at this, with all parties concerned, because I feel strongly that, at some point, hundreds of American POWs were in the Soviet Union at Soviet request.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. We appreciate your pursuing that issue. And just one last question: Mr. Ambassador, are you and your fellow commissioners satisfied with the level of support you're currently receiving from the President and the Administration? And have you asked President Clinton to pursue your issues directly with President Yeltsin and the leaders of Eastern European nations? And do you know whether he's done that?
    Ambassador TOON. Well, that's a rather unfair question to put to a former ambassador. I have never been satisfied with any level of cooperation, from any government, at any time during my long administration.
    Chairman GILMAN. I think that's frank enough.
    Ambassador TOON. But I think, in order to avoid getting myself in deep trouble, I will have to say that the level of cooperation we're getting from Washington today is fairly good.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you very much. While Mr. Buyer's not a Member of our Committee, he was the only one with us for the first hour of this hearing, and I understand he has a markup across the way with the Judiciary Committee. So, with permission of my colleagues, I'm going to allow Congressman Buyer to proceed.
    Mr. BUYER. Thank you. I appreciate my colleagues' comments. When I raised the question in my opening statement with regard to China, Mr. Kartman, you said that the President will raise this issue during his visit to China. Will you please explain to me what issue he's going to raise in detail?
    Mr. KARTMAN. We have been talking to the Chinese with great regularity, I myself and at higher levels, seeking their cooperation in obtaining access to sites, archives, museums, whatever information they have from the Korean War, since obviously they were a participant.
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    At this point, I can't say that we're satisfied with Chinese cooperation in this area, and so we'll continue to raise it during the course of the President's summit meetings in China. I wouldn't say that there's a specific list of things that we have to ask them for. If we can get the cooperation started, I think there is probably a gold mine of information to be had.
    Mr. BUYER. I think that's the best non-answer I've heard in a long time.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Thank you.
    Mr. BUYER. Let me ask it this way: Both Russia and North Korea have released prisoners held for many years—Russia released a Japanese prisoner from World War II; North Korea released a South Korean prisoner from the Korean Conflict. So my question is, would the President bring up the issue about live prisoners of war? Or, is it the Administration's position that there are no live prisoners of war of any conflict?
    Mr. KARTMAN. With respect to the Korean War, we have seen some reports that we have pursued, and we take them very seriously. But we've never been able to track down any of them, conclusively. So to say that we're going to raise allegations of live prisoners of war would be misleading you. And I don't wish to do that.
    What we will seek to do is to get full Chinese cooperation on all matters related to the Korean War and our missing. And if that leads to live Americans, that's where we want it to go.
    Mr. BUYER. So, would it be my understanding that when you press another nation with regard to the accounting, the predicate is basically return of remains? Or, do you, when you press the issue for full accounting, believe that it implies live and deceased?
    Mr. KARTMAN. I think that the word that I would use is cooperation. Now, of course, we're dealing with a large sovereign entity. And the first step is to get their cooperation.
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    Mr. BUYER. I'm not used to dealing with the State Department very often. I'm trying to figure out how you answer a particular question and what it really means. By the President or part of his staff raising the issue about live prisoners of war, doesn't necessarily mean that there's an allegation. I think it lays down the proper predicate that when we talk about full accounting, we mean live and deceased. And for us not to lay it on the table means that we don't necessarily care, and that it is not an issue to us.
    Mr. KARTMAN. I do understand what you mean, and I think that the kind of cooperation we would seek from the Chinese or any other government would include live Americans should there be any.
    Mr. BUYER. Good. That's great. It took me a while to get there. Regarding the Four-Party Talks, I know you said nothing's yet on the table. But will that also be a predicate on the table with the North Koreans—live POW/MIA sitings and any information with regards to accounting of deceased remains? I don't want to play word games with you. We're on the same side.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Well, the Four-Party Talks were proposed, and I'm sorry that this is going to end up being a longer answer than you're seeking, because I know you prefer a yes or a no. But the Four-Party Talks were proposed to replace the armistice with a peace treaty. And ultimately, we agreed with the North Koreans that tension reduction would be a part of that generalized agenda.
    Now I think when I was replying to the Chairman, I acknowledged that it's very possible that by the time we get to negotiating a treaty, it will be necessary to have language in that treaty about this subject. And this subject is exactly as you say—whether it includes live—it is the entire subject.
    At this time, we are actually making more progress outside of the four-party progress on the task before DPMO. And so, it's not entirely clear that we would want to drag it into a slower moving process.
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    Mr. BUYER. Alright. I just have one last comment, Mr. Chairman. And this would be in regard to Mr. Smith's comments about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. When that was first raised with me, many wanted my thoughts on the process. I'm going to be very candid. Candid gets me in trouble in this town. But I want you to know that I said that I could see someone within the Administration using the fact that they will seek the fullest accounting possible even to the point that they would dig up the Vietnam unknown to show that we're doing everything possible. That sends the signal to the American people that we're doing everything. We'll even go and touch the sanctity of the tomb. And doggone it, I wish he hadn't said that. I wish he hadn't said it because that pulls politics and other kind of things into it. The President reaches out and holds on to this event as if we're doing such a great job. I wish you just hadn't done that, because what you did is you made my prediction come true. And I just wanted to get it off my chest, and I'll share that with you.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Buyer.
    Mr. King.
    Mr. KING. Mr. Chairman, I believe Mr. Blunt was here before me if he has a question. Fine, OK.
    I also have one question for Ambassador Toon regarding the Korean War. In your statement, you say there's been a lessening of the cooperation from the Russian Governments on the issue of Korean War prisoners. Would you recommend that when it comes to any further assistance to Russia, or IMF funding to Russia, that we use this as leverage, that we not give them any more aid, or not give them any more assistance unless they increase their level of cooperation?
    Ambassador TOON. Well, I think what we ought to do at every level, whether it's the Presidential level, senatorial level, or the congressional level, whenever we deal with the Russian side, we ought to bring up the question of POWs and MIAs. And I think we ought to indicate that there is a feeling in Washington that there were a number of American POWs taken out of Korea by the Soviet Union and taken to the Soviet side. And ask them again to search their archives and find out whether, in fact, there's any such information that should be made available to us.
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    Mr. KING. Yes. I think it should be given the highest priority. In fact, I have a constituent of mine who's here today whose brother it has been reported was sighted in the Soviet Union about 20 years ago. Now whether that's true or not, she certainly has a very real interest in that being pursued. And I think that any leverage we can use with the Russians at all we should, especially if they're going to be looking to us for additional funding or loans, or whatever.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. King.
    Mr. Blunt.
    Mr. BLUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Smith, would you give us just a quick sense of what you think the term ''fullest possible accounting'' means, from your position?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Fullest possible accounting for any missing individual would either be the recovering of a live American, recovering remains that could be further identified as one of the missing, or the reason why the first is not possible—in other words, why the person is not alive, but where are the remains. So the fullest possible accounting covers a whole range of options or possibilities.
    Mr. BLUNT. Is it your belief that in our contacts with the countries involved that we're making a priority on that issue?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, certainly, especially with these countries in southeast Asia, and increasingly more with Korea. Yes, we are.
    Mr. BLUNT. Did the Secretary of State at her recent visit to Vietnam, her first trip to Vietnam I believe, did she bring this issue up when she was in Vietnam?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, she did, but I'll let Chuck answer that.
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    Mr. KARTMAN. Yes, she did.
    Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Kartman, and what was the response she got when she brought that topic up?
    Mr. KARTMAN. The promise of cooperation, full cooperation.
    Mr. BLUNT. Do we think that in the case of Vietnam that if there are prisoners still alive from the Vietnam Conflict they're there, or do we think that they, too, may have been moved to the Soviet Union or China?
    Mr. Kartman or Mr. Smith, whoever wants to answer that.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. First, I would say that we have no evidence that there are live Americans. However, we still operate under the assumption that the possibility exists that there could be live Americans someplace until we make this fullest possible accounting. Those are our basic assumptions, and where these individuals are, whether it's in one country or another, it's something that we still seek information for.
    Mr. BLUNT. In these return prisoners, like the Japanese prisoner of war, are we sending any signals to these countries that if we found out that they now had these prisoners that we would take any kind of action if they turned them over to us? Are we giving them any incentive not to be cooperative in our contacts or our public statements about our expectations of what they've already done?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We're trying to make every incentive to show that it would be to their advantage to provide information.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Blunt, if I might interrupt, we're going to continue right on through. With Mr. Rohrabacher's return, he's kindly consented to chair the Committee, and we'll continue right on through the votes.
    Mr. BLUNT. Could I just have one other question? Ambassador Toon, in the Korean situation did—maybe this leads to a second question—did the Chinese run the prison camps? Is it our belief they ran the prison camps during the Korean Conflict? The Chinese as opposed to the Koreans?
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    Ambassador TOON. You asking me this question?
    Mr. BLUNT. Yes, I am.
    Ambassador TOON. Frankly, I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. I think you should bear in mind that I'm a private citizen these days, and I do not have access to all the information my colleagues have, for example. And I frankly don't know the answer to that.
    Mr. BLUNT. But do you believe—from the Korean Conflict, that it's more likely that those prisoners would have been transferred to the Soviet Union than to China?
    Ambassador TOON. I think so, and the reason for my saying that is that there's no question in my mind that the Soviet Union was running the Korean War, from A to Z, unlike the Vietnam War. It's very interesting. The Soviet relationship with Hanoi during the Vietnam War was worse than the relationship between Washington and Hanoi, and we were at war with each other.
    But during the Korean War, they were running the whole show. And therefore, I think it's reasonable to conclude that any American POWs that were released by the North Koreans wound up in Soviet hands.
    Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Kartman, do you have an opinion on that same topic?
    Ambassador TOON. I beg your pardon?
    Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Kartman. I'm sorry I'm asking Mr. Kartman if he has an opinion on that same topic?
    Mr. KARTMAN. We are reasonably sure that there were large POW camps just across the border in China. During the hand over of POWs, every effort was made to get a complete accounting, but there are some gaps in our knowledge. And I guess I'm not sure that I share Ambassador Toon's belief that all of those gaps can be sourced to prisoners who may have been in the former Soviet Union.
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    However, the period after the Korean War to the present included some periods of tremendous turmoil in China, and I'm not sure that the state of records in China is all that it could be.
    Mr. BLUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. [presiding] Well, I ran over there and voted, and came back, so I'm just catching my breath. But let me weigh in on a few of these issues, especially this idea. Ambassador Toon, could you tell us why, again—I mean, this is the first time that officially I have heard about these bad relations between Hanoi and Moscow during the Vietnam War. I mean, Hanoi was, after all, a recipient of billions of dollars of military equipment and support from the Soviet Union during that time. How is that possible that these Soviet bosses were shelling out without actually having some type of reciprocity and a good relationship?
    Ambassador TOON. Well, I think it's clear that the Soviet Union wanted North Vietnam to win the war, and, therefore, they were prepared to help them as much as possible. But Vietnam's position was that they were perfectly willing to use Soviet ammunition and materiel, but they were not prepared to share any information at all with the Soviet Government about American POWs or about the way to conduct the war. I think that's a matter of record. And the Russians that I have talked to over the past 6 years have told me clearly that they had no information from Hanoi about American POWs.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Ambassador, you know, and this is just to suggest that I wouldn't put credence in the same people that you seem to be putting credence in order to come to that conclusion. Four years ago, I spent considerable time in the hinterland of Vietnam—and about a week and a half just driving up through the country. And I stopped at what was the equivalent of a Vietnamese hotel, which you can imagine. It smelled like the worst subway pit in New York. I mean, to talk about bad. This is a tribute to communism 20 years after the war. And the owner—the manager, or whatever it is the fellow who was in charge of this establishment—looked like an old warehouse—came by and was talking to us. And I had an interpreter with me and he said, oh yes, this is where the Russians stayed during the war. And I say, really, how many Russians were here? He says, oh, hundreds of Russians were here. And they stayed in this place. I said, what did those Russians do? He says, well, their job was that every time an American plane was shot done, they would rush out and take pictures of the plane and try to look at the equipment of the plane et cetera.
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    Now, it seems to me to be a stretch of credibility that the Russians had that type of operation going on in a part of Vietnam, but that they weren't insisting on any information about our POWs. I mean, that just stretches credibility, doesn't it?
    Ambassador TOON. I didn't say they weren't insisting on it. I said they didn't get it.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Alright. But——
    Ambassador TOON. No question about it. The Russians did try to get it, but the Vietnamese said, it's none of your business. We'll accept your ammunition, your materiel, and accept all the support you can give us in order to try to win this war.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. OK, now, you see, I don't accept that as being credible. And I'm not doubting your word. I was just doubting the people who have led you to that conclusion.
    Let me give you another reason why to back up my conclusion there. There's ample evidence that there were many, maybe hundreds, of American POWs that were left after the Korean War. We have all sorts of intelligence reports on that—hundreds, not just 50 or 60, but hundreds of men left behind. We've got memos from Eisenhower where he's trying to make up for that several years later, so we realize that happened.
    Now, did you find—and I think that you testified earlier that you couldn't find anything in the Soviet archives about those hundreds of prisoners. Is that right? From the Korean Conflict?
    Ambassador TOON. No, my opposite number, General Volkogonov, with whom I discussed this question at great length many times, said to me that I know that this information is somewhere in Soviet files. But I can't have access to it. I can't get to it. If he couldn't have access to it, certainly I couldn't.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Now what year was this?
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    Ambassador TOON. This was back in 1962.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Oh, 1962. Somebody must have been asking since the downfall of the Soviet Government that those records be made available. I am assuming that the records about the Korean War prisoners that ended up in Korea, which is something you believed happened, that we just haven't gotten those records. I mean people told us that they don't exist. Am I operating under an illusion here that some records of the Korean War POWs eventually ended in the Soviet Union? Has there been some record that I don't know about?
    Ambassador TOON. All I'm telling you Congressman is that I have not had access to these records. And my opposite number, General Volkogonov, didn't have access. Now it's entirely possible that these records were destroyed, as I indicated before, in order to convey to the world that past Soviet behavior is not going to happen again.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, that is the point I'm about to make or am trying to make. That if they would cleanse their records—if the people who now work for the former Soviet Government would cleanse their records to the point that they would eliminate evidence of things which happened to American POWs from the Korean War, wouldn't you think that that's exactly what they would have done in terms of cleansing their records as to what they learned about prisoners of war during the Vietnam War?
    Ambassador TOON. Exactly. And frankly if I were in Moscow today trying to behave properly and trying to convince the world that a basic change has been made, I would destroy those records.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. So you meant when you were talking about your contact, you meant 1992 and not 1962?
    Ambassador TOON. 1982.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. 1992 or 1982?
    Ambassador TOON. 1982.
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    Mr. ROHRABACHER. 1982? So you're talking about before the collapse of the Soviet Union?
    Ambassador TOON. Yes.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, that's a whole different era? Maybe I should ask Mr. Kartman—have there been requests for any files on American POWs from the Korean War forthcoming from the current Government of Russia?
    Mr. KARTMAN. No, all of the requests have been made through the Joint Commission, headed by Ambassador Toon.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. OK, and so——
    Ambassador TOON. I'm sorry, Congressman. I've had my dates mixed up.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes, sir.
    Ambassador TOON. It was 1992 that I'm talking about.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Alright. That's fine, sir. I'm sure. After running back and forth, I'm surprised I even remembered what the room number is here. But, OK. So we are talking about after the collapse——
    Ambassador TOON. After the collapse.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. After the collapse of the Soviet Government, there is still evidence of a cleansing of Korean War information. Now why wouldn't you think, then, if they cleansed this record about the Korean War, why wouldn't you assume that they had done exactly the same thing concerning their information about the Vietnam War?
    I guess there's no answer to that because it strains credibility to think that that's what they would do. Look, it strained credibility for me when I talked to our American POWs, and correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't it strain credibility to think that we had that war going on, and people imprisoned there for 8 years—you know, 5, 6, 7, 8 years—these American POWs, some of them who were pilots and electronic warfare experts of our most sophisticated weaponry. And that the Russians had hundreds of men in the hinterland of Vietnam who would rush out and take pictures, but they weren't demanding to interview the American POWs personally. Doesn't that strain credibility, somewhat?
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    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Mr. Rohrabacher.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Just feel free.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I agree with you that it certainly is reasonable to assume that the Soviet Union and now Russia would have information on Vietnam as well as Korea and the cold war. And that is exactly what we are pursuing through this Joint Commission. And we have had access to their archives in Moscow. But, as Ambassador Toon says, perhaps the people we're talking to are not necessarily the ones who may know about this information. But we continue to pursue every possible lead.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. All right. Well, I'm hoping to get a further report from you about cooperation in that area. I hope that the actual requests for information are put in writing and that you can transmit it to our office so we can see that. But we have here in writing intelligence reports about large numbers of American POWs after the Korean War being observed in China. Have you made any requests to the Administration to ask about American POWs that had been from the Korean War era in China? Any records there? Is the President going to bring this up at the upcoming summit or anything?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. First I'll respond about what the Department of Defense has done. Yes, we have raised this with the Chinese. Very recently, Assistant Secretary Frank Kramer did, but also Secretary Cohen when he was in China in January of this year raised this.
    Chinese cooperation I would say has been much more forthcoming on the Vietnam War and World War II, and we've had several joint operations—two crash sites from World War II. They have been, I would say, less forthcoming on information regarding the Korean War.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, that's because we haven't had the rights in Korea. Obviously, we've got intelligence reports where people have seen in cities in China large numbers of American POWs being marched through their cities. And it's fair to say here's the report. We know it happened. What do your records show about it? And obviously, you know, so it's easy to be forthcoming about Vietnam because we don't have any records like that that show that absolutely the Chinese had that happen in the Vietnam War. You know, this is a very frustrating issue. And it's frustrating because it seems to a lot of people, and I'm not accusing any of you of playing games here, because you're probably very sincere in your efforts here. But it's clear that our government has played games with the American people on this. It's clear that President Eisenhower knew, when he ended that conflict, in Korea, that there were hundreds of Americans that were still alive that were being held. And that he—and his Administration—did not level with the American people.
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    If you look at the lists and you take a look at people and lists of names, it seems to me the least likely scenario that when America left Vietnam that the Vietnamese decided to give up all of their negotiation leverage by giving up all of their POWs. That's the least believable scenario to me. I'm not saying they're alive today, but somewhere along the line—I mean, it seems to me at that point, and our government did not level with our people. I mean, how many prisoners—POWs came out of Laos? A handful? How many were actually taken hostage or captured there? Hundreds. So it leaves people with the feeling that their government hasn't been honest with them on this issue. I mean, isn't that being an honest assessment that the American people have this skepticism? And that's probably your job to make sure that we try to do something about it, I guess.
    Ambassador TOON. Well, let me just express my own personal point of view.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes, sir. Go right ahead.
    Ambassador TOON. I think there's no question about it. This government has done a lousy job about the POW/MIA problem down through the years, up until fairly recently. I think frankly we're seized with the problem now, and I think we're handling it rather well. But for many, many years, we just didn't concern ourselves with the POW/MIA problem. I think that was a huge mistake that we made. But I think we've corrected it now. And I feel reasonably sure, having worked on this job for the past 6 years, that we are handling the problem adequately in the best way we can.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Mr. Rohrabacher, if I may just add. I said in my verbal statement, which I don't believe you were here, that——
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I was at a meeting in the back room with another government official.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Right. No, I understand. And it's exactly as Ambassador Toon just said, and I said that the government has made mistakes in the past. But I sincerely believe we've turned the corner, and we are doing a better job. And I also said that our commitment is to the American families of these thousands of Americans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the cold war. And that's what we're attempting to do.
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    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, OK, let me challenge here for a moment. And, Tom, do you have questions you'd like to ask?
    OK. Right now, what type of assistance are we providing North Korea? I mean, somebody told me that we're providing them millions of dollars worth of food aid?
    Mr. KARTMAN. That's correct.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. $85 million in food aid?
    Mr. KARTMAN. We have provided them with very substantial quantities of food aid in response to international organization appeal from the World Food Program, based upon assessments not only by the World Food Program, but by our own agencies that there was very severe need in North Korea. And should that need worsen, there was some risk that chaos in North Korea could result in a severe security problem for us on the Korean peninsula.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. You know, I like it when there's chaos in a Communist country. I think that's great. And I think that when the power structure of this iron grip on people's throats begin to loosen because there's chaos, it's a wonderful thing. You know, really when I saw all this chaos in eastern Europe, you know—all these people on top of this wall, pounding on it and tearing it down, it did my heart good, you know. And I think we've got our priorities mixed up here. I think that instead of trying to create stability in the Korean peninsula, we should be trying to build free societies in the Korean peninsula. And also, if we're going to give something to a regime, like $85 million worth of food aid, for Pete's sakes, that we should ask something in return, like maybe you can prove to us that we're on a better road by giving us all the information about the 900 POWs that were left behind. Did we make any type of demand like that?
    Mr. KARTMAN. Mr. Chairman, the kind of chaos I was referring to was not specifically the prospect of the North Korean regime collapsing, but rather that the day before it collapsed, it might choose to do something about it, and specifically target its weapons of mass destruction on the 37,000 American troops in South Korea, and on our allies in South Korea, whose capital and 25 percent of their population lie within artillery range of North Korea.
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    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, I tell you that's really a formula for no progress whatsoever. I mean, just think about those poor Communists who had their fingers on the button in the Soviet Union right to the last minute. Those guys could have thought they were trapped rats and put their finger on the button, and we'd all be history. I mean, there's always a real reason not to do something. Did we make any demand before we decided to give them all of this food aid? Have we required of them any information about our POWs, or do we just sort of do it out of the goodness of our hearts so that they'd know how sincere we are?
    Mr. KARTMAN. The honest answer to that is that the decision was made that we would grant humanitarian aid on the merits, as humanitarian aid.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. On the merits. On the merits. I'll have to tell you that I think that is as stupid and as foolish and as nonsensical a policy as I've ever heard. And I don't believe it builds goodwill. I believe it breeds contempt among dictators for the people of the United States of America.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Mr. Chairman, if I may.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I'd gavel down that applause, but I really like it. But that's not the reason I said that.
    Mr. KARTMAN. If I may have a word. I would say that there's good honest disagreement on that.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. OK, I'll grant you that.
    Mr. KARTMAN. And, in fact, there was debate within the Administration about what to do. Ultimately, the feeling was that targeting the aid on children and pregnant women was something that wasn't really supporting a regime but was simply helping the innocent.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. But listen, most people who are good-hearted I respect them. But some of them have soft heads as well as good hearts. And some of this food aid—no one can tell me that by giving this aid to all these hungry little children over there that that didn't mean that the Koreans used their food to go to the military guys who are aiming their artillery at our guys in South Korea? Much less them taking a step to try to really prove their friendship by providing us some information so that the widows of these poor—of the POWs and the kids from our POWs now can rest a little bit, knowing that their loved one is buried someplace, or, who knows, might be alive. But let's just say that he did pass away and some of the circumstances behind that.
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    I have a letter here that my staff will present to you. And it's just a list of questions that I would hope that, as you move forward, you could answer, and I'm putting this into the record as well as to you gentlemen. And, Tom, Mr. Campbell, has the floor. Go right ahead.
    [The list appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I have only one question. I'm respectful of the second panel which we have yet to get to, so I'll try to be brief. The direction of my question is to Mr. Kartman and Mr. Smith. Ambassador Toon, if you know something fine, but I'm not directing to you for the reasons that you're not in the Administration.
    My question at least attempted to be careful. It is this: After the peace accords in Vietnam, January 27, 1973, do we have evidence that Vietnam kept U.S. prisoners of war? That's my question, and I'm not going to comment on it. I'm not asking you if we believe that there are prisoners of war still there. You've already answered that. But I want to know that specific question. After January 27, 1973, do we have any evidence that Vietnam continued to hold any U.S. POWs?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We have no evidence that Vietnam continued to hold live American POWs. That is true. But as I also said a few minutes ago in answer to a question, the possibility that there may be a live American is reasonable, and we continue to operate under that assumption.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Kartman, would you mind answering the same question?
    Mr. KARTMAN. I'm afraid I have to give you the same answer: that we have no evidence, and we don't reject the possibility.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. And I'm just being very, very lawyer like, but that's my training. After January 27, 1973, did we have any evidence—you answered we do not—so I'm just being very pedantic—did we have any evidence after January 27, 1973, that Vietnam maintained any prisoners of war of the United States?
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    Mr. KARTMAN. I have no information that we had any evidence.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. OK, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I guess you fellows just aren't aware that there was a POW named Garwood who came out after that?
    I mean, that has to be included as a question, doesn't it?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I was going to add that no prisoner of war being held against his will.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Would the Chairman yield?
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Ooooo, the weedle word. Somebody forgot to put the weedle words in?
    Tom, go right ahead.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. There could be Americans——
    Mr. CAMPBELL. The Chairman will yield to me? I didn't intend any trap. But now I'm just going to have to be very careful. Are there any other qualifications in your previous answer?
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Kartman, are there any other qualifications to your previous answer besides Marine Private First Class Robert Greenwood? I'm sorry, Garwood.
    Mr. KARTMAN. No, I have no information that would contradict that.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Alright. I'm going to ask you again, and then I'm done. After January 27, 1973, you do not have any information that Vietnam kept any American prisoners of war with the exception of Marine Corps Private First Class Robert Garwood, is that correct?
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    Mr. KARTMAN. Yes, that is correct.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Smith.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, that is correct.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. You know, having discussed this on many occasions with the North Vietnamese, it always seems that they have little weasel words, so I'm also looking for weasel words. And it seems that every time I've asked someone about this from Vietnam, not from our Administration, but from Vietnam, they also have the same pat answer. And the answer is—correct me, if they've given you another answer. Because I've probably gotten this answer about 10 times. We are not holding any Americans against their will in Vietnam. Isn't that the answer that they usually give? Yes. Yes.
    Would you say that that answer sort of leaves a lot of room for them to have American prisoners stashed someplace, you know, like right over the border in Cambodia or Laos, or maybe suggesting that certain Americans out in the jungle in some little hooch—well, he's free—he's not, you know, surrounded by bamboo poles or something like that. Doesn't that sort of make you suspicious that they're saying that? They're giving an answer that has that much leeway, and every time you ask them again, they repeat the same answer rather than trying to facilitate, as you did, to answer the question specifically? You think, make it a little suspicious?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. As I said, Mr. Rohrabacher, we do operate under the assumption that the possibility exists—that there could be live Americans. We have not closed that possibility.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER You know, another thing I learned on one of my trips to Vietnam. I did a little political work in Vietnam in 1967, and I wasn't in the military, but I was up in the central highlands and got to know the way some people work up there. And these Communists are really meticulous record keepers. I mean, if you take a look, and this is why when Ambassador Toon is dealing with the guys in the Soviet Union and you find these records are cleansed. They say they can't find anything. Why it stretches credibility because these are the ultimate bureaucrats. I mean—bureaucrats are bad, Communist bureaucrats are really bad. And everything has to be detailed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that the Communist Government of North Vietnam, or should I say Vietnam, has still not been willing to give us the records of the prisons in which our own POWs were held? Am I correct in that assumption?
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    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I agree with you that it is true. We've found that their record keeping is meticulous.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Right.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. And I also agree that there is more information that they can provide.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Right.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. On these instances.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. So, why do you think they're not doing it? They might have something to hide, my gosh. And, you know, I asked about the records in Vietnam, when I went there on a trip to Vietnam. Why haven't you given us the records to the prisons, and the answer was, the U.S. bombs came over and destroyed all the records. And I answered back, that's like saying my dog ate the homework. And then the translator said, I can't translate that. What does that mean? And I said, it stretches the limits of credibility.
    And I think that it stretches the limits of credibility that all the records were destroyed by bombs, and there's one other factor to put in place here. Have you spoken to our ambassador, Pete Peterson? Have you been in touch with our new ambassador there? Well, one thing about Pete and some of these other fellows that I've learned is that Pete was not always a POW, did you know that? When he was captured? That for the first 3 years that Pete was in Vietnam, Pete, from what he told me, was an MIA. Is that a surprise? How many of our POWs had also been MIAs? Do you know that? How many?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Many were.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Right. OK.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Many were for several years.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, the interesting thing about Pete's experience was that when he was an MIA, meaning his wife didn't know he was alive; there was nothing official to say that he'd been captured; that he was kept in solitary confinement, and he never met an American during those years that he was an MIA. Now doesn't that indicate something to us? Like there was a dual track system, where some people were kept as MIAs; other people were POWs. And only the POWs were able to interact with other Americans? And when he was classified a POW, he immediately was put in with the other American prisoners.
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    There's something going on here. For the American people not to be suspicious would be idiotic. I mean, I have to tell you that our people have a natural distrust of government, anyway. And this, I'll have to say, is adding greatly to their distrust of government, even our own government. And with that said, I won't carry on any longer. And we'll return the chair to Mr. Gilman, and he always knows that I'll create a stir when he leaves. So, OK. Thank you, very much.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher. We're joined by Mr. Fox.
    Mr. Fox.
    Mr. FOX. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I guess this would be for Mr. Kartman. In regards to North Korea the limited searches to date in North Korea, are they still believed to be holding back additional information regarding our MIAs in that area, in North Korea?
    Mr. KARTMAN. Mr. Fox, the level of cooperation with North Korea is far lower than that we have with any of the southeast Asian countries. And so, I have to preface any remarks by saying we sincerely hope that we'll get more, because there's a lot more to get.
    The North Koreans have told us any number of things. They have used as an excuse the lack of resources and difficulty of getting around; finding information and mistrust of the people who may have information. They won't share it with foreigners.
    They have also used the story that American bombs destroyed records, and, in their case, that may be true, because, if you're familiar with the Korean War, then you know that we did extensively bomb Pyong Yang, where most of the records were.
    I think that DPMO has done a magnificent job of starting the process of opening this up so that we can get their cooperation, but we are in early days.
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    Mr. FOX. Would it not be ill-advised then to lift sanctions on North Korea before we had all the answers and access to those missing?
    Mr. KARTMAN. This is, I think, a fair point to make. But we have had sanctions on North Korea ever since the end of the war. And those sanctions did not result in an outpouring of information from the North Koreans.
    Now we are in a different era, where we are trying to end the Korean War and replace the armistice with a peace treaty, and we have also embarked in an effort to shut down their nuclear weapons program. We reached an agreement, called the Agreed Framework, that froze that program, but didn't remove it yet. And so we have several different initiatives in play. They all are related to each other. I think that the results, if they're going to be results, will be in the future. I wouldn't claim that we're where we want to be right now.
    Mr. FOX. I guess the question I would ask as a follow up—any Member could—is that if the sanctions don't have the impetus, what will be a stimulus to get us the kind of action positively that we need?
    Mr. KARTMAN. Well, of course, nobody knows the answer to that. We don't know what makes North Korea tick. It's, as you've heard before I'm sure, it's perhaps the most sealed country in the world. We guess at what might be useful, and the advice we get from experts not only in the United States, but in South Korea and in China, is to try to open them up. And one of the ways that we can open them up is through very careful selective contacts in several areas, including very small business.
    Mr. FOX. Do you think it would be helpful to have as part of the Four-Party Talks United States, South Korea, North Korea, and China—making that part of the Four-Party Talks?
    Mr. KARTMAN. I have actually answered that previously, and the answer was that I don't reject that, but we aren't at——
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    Mr. FOX. We're not at that point yet.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Yes.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. If I may add, because I had wanted to say this a number of times when it has come about the Four-Party Talks, actually the Department of Defense prefers that we deal with this issue of the POW/MIAs separately, because, as Chuck has said several times, those talks are going so slow. We're making faster progress separately.
    Mr. FOX. Thank you, Mr. Kartman. Thank you, Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Fox.
    Mr. Campbell.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I apologize. I did want to try once more. Because I didn't ask the question completely correctly last time, and I didn't ask it because I didn't refer to Laos, China, or Cambodia. And I referred to being kept as opposed to staying. So alerting you now to my broader intent, my question is: Do you have any evidence that American servicemen or servicewomen stayed in Vietnam, Laos, China, or Cambodia after February 1973, except for Marine PFC Robert Garwood?
    Mr. Kartman.
    Mr. KARTMAN. I still have no evidence—no information that we had evidence.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Smith.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We have evidence that there are two people—someone by the name of Nolan who stayed in Cambodia, and Garwood in Vietnam. But aside from those two, we have no evidence that any serviceman or woman were held in any of those countries.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Do you have any evidence that any American serviceman or servicewoman stayed in Vietnam, Laos, China, or Cambodia, except for Nolan and Garwood after February 1973?
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    Mr. CAMPBELL. And could you tell me about Mr. Nolan.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I'll have to get the specifics. He died?
    I'm told he died in Cambodia. When did he?
    Mr. CAMPBELL. When did he die in Cambodia?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We don't know. I'll get you the specifics on the case.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. I'm going to press just a moment if I may or can right now because I want to know whether his death was soon after the Paris Peace Accords or not. That would be relevant for my judgment of good faith—whether the Vietnamese authorities did their best or not.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I'm told, and again I need to get you the specifics, but we believe he lived for several years, but he was not a POW, he was a deserter. But he lived for several years, and then died. But I'll get you the specifics on the case.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. My purpose was to get a sense of good faith, because if the Vietnamese authorities had knowledge and didn't share it with us, then the fact that those individuals may have died would not undercut the conclusion that they lacked good faith in giving the names and individuals in 1973. And that would affect my judgment of their behavior now. So that's what I'm getting at in that inquiry.
    Alright, I have your answers on the record. And I appreciate it. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Campbell. And I know that we've overextended your time, and I want to tell the panelists how much we appreciate your being patient. Just one last question: I don't recall the exact date, but in our former Select Committee on MIAs and POWs, we had a Chinese mortician who worked for the Vietnamese. And he testified, I think, as I recall, after a lie detector test, that there were 400 remains that the Vietnamese had warehoused. And our Defense Department said he was a credible witness. I don't recall our ever having seen any of those being accounted for. Can you tell us what occurred with regard to that report?
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    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Mr. Chairman, those 400 remains—I believe that was the basis of the 1987 SNIE, which made reference to this warehouse where a mortician said that he estimated that there were about 400 to 600 remains in this warehouse. There's been a subsequent intelligence estimate in 1996 which addresses this issue fully, which goes back and reviews all of the evidence, plus additional information we've gathered. And it turns out that this mortician, who never had access to this room, he was allowed to look into a room where he saw boxes. And he believed, it was his assumption that those were remains, and he made an estimate of about 400. But there's no——
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, Mr. Smith, was that subsequent testimony by the mortician, because as I recall his testimony, and it's been a long time since I looked at it, that he helped in the preparation of these 400 sets of remains. And that's how he related this to us.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. I think if we're talking about the same mortician, I think the mortician——
    Chairman GILMAN. It was a Chinese mortician employed by the Vietnamese.
    Chairman GILMAN. Who said he worked on preparing sets of remains.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Right. I believe that, because I just read this report just very recently, is that he did not work on these remains, but there were about 400 that he estimated were in a room. He just saw boxes. He did not even see remains.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, I'm going to ask you to take a look back, and I will also, at our Select Committee on MIAs report of that hearing. We had a hearing. The transcript is there. If you'd take a look at that. It was a pretty thorough transcript, and I would like you to take a look at that, and if there was no discrepancy about how we arrived at that estimate, I would like you now, then, to tell us in writing what your analysis is of that report. And if you would get back to our Committee.
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    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, sir.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. Just one other request of all of you. Knowing as much as you know now about the status of our MIA and POW situation, what recommendation do you make now for the Congress in order to further pursue this? Ambassador Toon.
    Ambassador TOON. Well, as I indicated in my remarks, I think every time we meet with the North Koreans, with the Chinese, with the Vietnamese, and with the Russians, we ought to mention the POW/MIA issue and the deep concern that the families of MIAs have in this country for any information that they may have about them.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
    And Secretary Kartman.
    Mr. KARTMAN. Mr. Chairman, I'm convinced that the only way we're going to get at substantial amounts of new information will be with the active cooperation of the governments involved. And we're prepared to look at different strategies for obtaining that cooperation. But I think that we're on the right course.
    Chairman GILMAN. I hope we're on the right course.
    Secretary Smith.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I too think we're on the right course. We have over 600 people dedicated full time in the accounting process. I think we need to continue these resources that we're applying to this issue. I think we should continue expanding our efforts in different areas, as we are doing with Ambassador Toon's Joint Commission. I believe we need to work harder on the Korean War remains, and I think we need to work harder on working with the families and in keeping them informed of everything we know.
    Chairman GILMAN. Secretary Smith, how many personnel do we have assigned to DPMO?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. It's broken down in a number of different offices. But what I'm talking about is including DPMO——
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    Chairman GILMAN. Roughly the overall picture.
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Overall, as I said, it's about 600.
    Chairman GILMAN. Six hundred people overall?
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, how many are full time?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. All of those are full time.
    Chairman GILMAN. All full time?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Yes, sir.
    Chairman GILMAN. And how many are deployed to Vietnam?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. We have our Joint Task Force Full Accounting, headquartered in Hawaii with detachments in Bangkok, Hanoi, and Vientiane, Laos. They deploy throughout Vietnam. There are 166 people assigned to the Full Accounting Joint Task Force.
    Chairman GILMAN. And how much in appropriations do you have for this assignment?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. For DPMO alone, there's approximately $14 million. For some of these other——
    Chairman GILMAN. But what is? I have trouble keeping up with the abbreviations. What's DPMO?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. DPMO is the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office.
    Chairman GILMAN. You have $14 million this year?
    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. Approximately. Yes. And then these other offices, which are parts of the Army and the different services have amounts of money too, which I don't have the exact figures for.
    Chairman GILMAN. So there are additional funds for those?
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    Mr. FREDERICK SMITH. There are additional funds that contribute to this effort.
    Chairman GILMAN. Alright.
    Secretary Kartman, is there any other funding available?
    Mr. KARTMAN. I'm not aware of amounts at the State Department, but I'll check that. And we'll provide it if there is.
    [Mr. Kartman's reply was supplied following the hearing.]

    There is no funding in the State Department budget specifically allocated to the POW/MIA accounting effort. Expenditures in support of this effort, both in the Department and at American diplomatic posts abroad, are taken from the Department's diplomatic and consular programs fund, a part of the 150 account.

    Chairman GILMAN. And how many in the State Department are assigned—numbers in personnel?
    Mr. KARTMAN. No one full time, to my knowledge, although we're providing support both to the Defense efforts and to the Joint Commission.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, how many are part time then?
    Mr. KARTMAN. I'd have to research that and give it to you in writing.
    Chairman GILMAN. Would you provide that in writing?
    Mr. KARTMAN. Yes, we will.
    [Mr. Kartman's reply was supplied following the hearing.]

    Country officers for countries with ongoing POW/MIA accounting efforts have continuing responsibilities to provide support and policy input to the Department of Defense POW/MIA initiatives. These include country officers for Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, Korea and the New Independent States. Operational support for and reporting on POW/MIA issues are performed by officers assigned to diplomatic posts overseas. Senior State Department officers provide policy guidance as needed. No officers are assigned full time to POW/MIA issues.
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    Chairman GILMAN. And, Ambassador Toon, how many people are assigned to your efforts?
    Ambassador TOON. In only of staff, you mean?
    Chairman GILMAN. Yes.
    Ambassador TOON. I have no idea. I have to rely upon my colleagues who are on active duty. Sometimes, we feel we don't get the sort of support that we need and want. But for exact figures, you'll have to rely on my——
    Chairman GILMAN. On the average, how many people do you have available?
    Ambassador TOON. I beg your pardon.
    Chairman GILMAN. On the average, how many in personnel do you have available?
    Ambassador TOON. Well, I've just been passed a note by one of my colleagues. We have 18 full-time employees at the DPMO who were assigned to work with the Joint Commission.
    Chairman GILMAN. And how much in funding do you have available for the Commission?
    Ambassador TOON. I beg your pardon?
    Chairman GILMAN. How much, in funds, do you have available for the Commission work?
    Ambassador TOON. That would have to come from the Pentagon. I'm not sure.
    Chairman GILMAN. Are you ever short of funding to do what you have to do?
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    Ambassador TOON. I really don't get involved in that sort of thing. I try to operate from Pinehurst, North Carolina, and I don't want to get myself involved in the expense problem.
    Chairman GILMAN. Who's chairing——
    Ambassador TOON. I think frankly we've had enough money over the past 6 years to take care of the trips that we needed and felt we had to make to the former Soviet Union—all 12 republics.
    Chairman GILMAN. Are you the chairman of that Commission?
    Ambassador TOON. I'm the American Co-Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. And who's the other Co-Chairman?
    Ambassador TOON. It's a man by the name of General Solitzolitayov. He replaced General Volkogonov.
    Chairman GILMAN. He's the Russian counterpart.
    Ambassador TOON. I beg you pardon?
    Chairman GILMAN. Is he your Russian counterpart?
    Ambassador TOON. He's my Russian counterpart.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you very much.
    Well, again, I want to thank our panelists for being with us. And we hope that if there's any additional information you want to provide the Committee, please do. The Committee may have some further questions, in which case we'll submit them in writing to you, and we hope you would respond.
    The panel is dismissed. We thank you for being with us.
    We'll now take the second panel. And with that, I'd like to welcome our panelists, headed by Ms. Ann Mills Griffiths, executive director, National League of Families. We also have Ms. Pat Dunton, president, Korean/Cold War Family Association of the Missing. We also have John Sommer, executive director of the American Legion. And also Bruce Harder, director of National Security and Foreign Affairs, in the VFW.
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    Ann Mills Griffiths and our Committee go back many years on this issue. It's good to see you again, Ann, and we trust that preparations for the league's annual conference, which will begin tomorrow, are proceeding in proper order. Ann Mills Griffiths will be followed by Ms. Pat Dunton, president of the Korean/cold war Family Association. Pat, we're happy you could join us today, all the way from Texas. And we welcome you.
    Next, we'll hear from John Sommer, executive director of the American Legion. The American Legion is the country's largest veterans service organization. We're glad you're able to join us today, John, to give us the veterans' perspective. And finally, we hear from another important veterans' group, Bruce Harder, director of National Security and Foreign Affairs, of the VFW, another veterans group that has been devoting their time and attention to our POW issue. And we welcome both of our veterans groups who are here today with us.
    Ann Griffiths, we'll welcome your testimony. If you'd like to put your full statement in the record, we'll do it without objection. If you'd like to summarize—I know the hour's late—you may want to do that. We'll withhold questions until all the panelists have testified.
    Ms. Griffith.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome another opportunity to represent the POW/MIA families from the Vietnam War, many of whom are here today at this important hearing.
    I have a very brief statement, in fact less than 1,000 words, that I will make at this time. But I would ask that my full testimony and one statistical data sheet be included for the record.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, your full testimony will be made part of the record. You may proceed.
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    Ms. GRIFFITHS. Before we proceed, I would like to say that I wish that those who had just testified had stayed here to hear what all of us have to say about this issue.
    There are some still in the room, and I welcome them. And I'm thankful. But it was the ones who were testifying that I think need to hear what we have to say here today.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, Ann, we'll make the full record available to them, so they'll have an opportunity to read it in full.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. I'm sure you will, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate that, but you I think understand what I'm saying. If they heard it from us directly, if they're doing such a fine job, why is it that the families are not more pleased with what they're doing?
    While these hearings are timely, this is, in truth, a sad occasion for the families. Given President Clinton's rhetoric, we, in fact, had hoped, especially in his first 18 months, that this issue would, as he stated, ''be the highest priority of U.S. relations with Vietnam'' and that normalization steps would be based upon reciprocity tied to POW/MIA accounting. Sadly, any objective observer knows that this is not true.
    The Administration's national strategy was and is, in fact, to move as rapidly as possible toward normalization. And that is their objective regardless of whether bilateral problems are resolved. But to proceed in this way, the Administration had to ensure that the POW/MIA issue was not integrated fully into U.S. foreign policy. Their strategy encompassed downgrading intelligence collection and analysis, moving the issue institutionally to the Department of Defense and field operations, then using those activities as the sole measure of success.
    These actions were followed by Presidential certifications and cabinet-level assurances that Vietnam is fully cooperating, relying solely on joint operational field reports and ignoring Vietnam's ability to unilaterally account for hundreds of Americans not in crash sites and grave sites.
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    Again sadly, this has led to political appointees and newly assigned foreign service officers who have no real knowledge or background on this issue and accept assurances of their predecessors that all is well. That is the primary reason why Hanoi no longer takes this issue seriously.
    In DoD, especially in the Defense POW/MIA Office, we can find knowledgeable, caring people with continuity, but they have little access and no clout. This issue is off the scope for White House personnel unless there is a political context. The Administration created an architecture where POW/MIA is not only not integrated, but a perceived threat to their real objectives.
    Hearings are now scheduled, in fact tomorrow, on the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which has both an immigration and a POW/MIA context. The emphasis is on immigration, but the same strategy has been used on that issue. First, isolate it as a functional issue, then point to whatever progress has been made, and attribute that progress, minor as it may be, to major U.S. policy moves toward the objective of fully normalized relations.
    In the view of this Administration, human rights and narcotics are also functional issues as well. Such issues cannot get too close to policy or the Administration seems to get nervous. Formal dialog has been established on both, and incremental progress is being made. The Administration will likely posit that POW/MIA progress has paved the way for the dialog. And you heard it again today, as in Mr. Kartman's testimony in relation to both Vietnam and to North Korea. Well, that is true. POW/MIA has been the vehicle for the Administration to use. But what they won't say is that the POW/MIA issue is being used to achieve other policy objectives—political and economic—at the expense of accomplishing POW/MIA objectives.
    I also referred to this hearing as a sad occasion because in the past, when the executive branch failed us, we always had Congress to turn to for some redress. This Administration, Mr. Chairman, has ignored you in the Congress. They've ignored your letters, your requests for real certification to the Congress, and most recently, from what I'm understanding, has even politicized the newly published but still classified National Intelligence Estimate. If it's not political or trade-related, then this failure must be due to ignorance, because it's really tragic to think that knowledge and caring are so elusive or ephemeral in our country on such fundamental and basic issues as doing what's right to stand by our servicemen and those who defend our freedoms.
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    Proponents of full normalization have posited various rationales for this sad state of affairs—economic, strategic, healing, and POW/MIA.
    The economic rationale was largely a product of consultants' dreams, lobbyists, and chafing at the bit of some businessmen who appear to believe that no market, no matter how minuscule or what other interests are at stake, should be off limits. Opportunities in Vietnam were always marginal and more so now, given the economic meltdown in Asia. Many people who lobbied loudly, now disappointed in Vietnam business, have gone on to do other things. But we, the POW/MIA families and our veterans, don't have that option.
    The strategic rationale somehow rested on mystic dreams of military ports and harbors to counter the Communist Chinese. The fact is that from statesmen to logisticians, no rational strategic planner believes this. But it was said in statements on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and in think tanks and media articles across the country.
    The healing rationale, we hear a lot about healing. Well, that may relate to the history of our country—our admirable desire to believe that former adversaries change, foes can become friends, and goodwill begets goodwill. Well, I, too, hope for these values from those with whom we deal. But dealing requires reciprocity—beyond smiles and promises. It requires those with whom we deal to dig as deeply as we in America do to demonstrate goodwill. Vietnam has failed in this regard. We heard Mr. Kartman say that the Administration took steps to accomplish Vietnam's agenda based on their tremendous progress on POW/MIA. Well, healing might come to some, but policy and direction now underway will not heal those of us who were involved long before the new best and brightest came to Washington.
    Despite the intellectual and educational qualifications of many in this Administration, I'm not sure they will even understand my message, but it must be said. The road to our future with Vietnam is not through temporary bridges and tactical moves, but through building a real bridge, with a solid foundation, that honestly addresses our past together. Current policy is not building a bridge, but contributing to a future cancer that will be fully revealed when this Administration's archives are opened—a strategy that debased some core American values. There is still time to alter policy and achieve greater accounting results, but in light of the record in the last few years, I am not confident that it will happen.
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    I would like to just say, as to the Chairman's very valid question on stored remains, I believe the exact number was 427. The Vietnamese have returned, I believe the latest statistical data from the central identification laboratory, is 163 or 164, with evidence of storage on the remains. That's a far cry from what our government considered valid intelligence in earlier years. In the League's view, remains and records continue to be withheld purposely and are not being returned due to this Administration's refusal to push for unilateral actions by the Vietnamese as a condition for the steps that our government gives them in advance.
    And that's all, and I look forward to questions, Mr. Chairman.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Griffiths appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Ms. Griffiths. Thank you for continuing your long fight on this painful issue. And we hope that eventually we're going to see a final resolution.
    Our next witness is Ms. Pat Dunton, president, Korean/cold war Family Association of the Missing. Please proceed. You may put your full statement in the record and summarize, or whatever you deem appropriate.
    Ms. DUNTON. I would like to read it into the record. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, the full statement—are you going to summarize?
    Ms. DUNTON. No.
    Chairman GILMAN. Alright. Proceed with your full statement.
    Mr. DUNTON. Thank you for the opportunity to put forth the statement of the POW/MIA American servicemen from the Korean War and the cold war.
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    As president of the Korean/Cold War Family Association of Missing, I am here to express the thoughts of the family members regarding our government's policy and operations in accounting for our missing loved ones. I am sorry to say that most of us feel that any consistent policy on accounting for them should be classified the same as our family members, and that is, ''missing in action.'' Perhaps the MIA classification might be more easily understood if defined for our missing family members as fate unknown, and for our government as policy unknown.
    We are aware that the stated mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing service personnel. With a $14 million-plus budget, the DPMO Office oversees worldwide accounting efforts for missing from all the wars. Do they make policy for the Korean War/cold war accounting? We don't know. We do know the Clinton Administration's instructions to its new DoD appointee, Mr. Jones: Top priority, improve the credibility of the DoD's efforts and expand communications. Credibility would not need improvement if the DoD was actually getting results. The only communications the families want with the DOD is the answers to the fate of their missing loved ones.
    Mr. Jones has already expressed to us that family members must understand the fiscal limitations of his agency's budget and become more realistic about its capabilities under those limitations. Well, all the government entities are under a fiscal limitation these days. Mr. Jones' department is simply being challenged to make the most of the money Congress has already given him. To date, as we see the numbers, DOD has had large amounts of money with which to account for missing service personnel. Since 1993, for approximately 8,500, and we don't know the exact number 45 years later, missing from the Korean War and the cold war, the DOD has had about $8,000 per missing person, or about $70 million total since the inception of the DPMO Office. And so where are we $70 million later?
    For the Korean/cold war families, the Department of Defense cannot even determine who's missing or who's accounted for. To our knowledge, Persons Missing Korea, the PMKOR, only begun in 1995, is still not finished. And we have serious concerns about the content and validity of the information that they have put into that process today.
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    What appeared to be a historic opportunity presented by Boris Yeltsin in 1992, to account for Korean War and cold war missing through archival research and witness interviews in the former Soviet Union, has become a disappointing and a very expensive boondoggle called the U.S./Russian Joint Commission. The Russians could help account for hundreds of missing service personnel, but 6 years later and millions of dollars later, one man has been accounted for. In defense of no results, the DOD published a factually inaccurate ''comprehensive report'' in 1996, patting themselves on the back for being able to represent themselves as making acceptable progress. It is our understanding that at this very moment, and I believe Mr. Toon testified to this, thousands of documents which might shed light on the fate of our loved ones are being held hostage by the Russians. Will the new research agreements being proposed by the U.S. side make clear to the Russians that unless there is immediate cooperation on their part, the plug will be pulled on the Commission? Well, I'm not so sure the Russians even care any more if they have the Commission or not. It accomplished what they wanted already.
    The four-way peace talks between the United States, China, North Korea, and South Korea hopefully will produce a peace treaty to replace the armistice signed at the end of the Korean War. And the Clinton Administration, from what we understand, has determined that POWs will not be included in those negotiations, which Mr. Kartman testified to already today.
    Remains recovery efforts in North Korea do not center on known grave sites or former POW camps, but instead focus on isolated battle sites. In the opinion of the anthropologists, the types of sites being picked for recovery efforts have very little scientific feasibility for successful recovery and identification. I know, I was there. They're searching out in the middle of fields, and have no idea what to look for. Even the North Koreans recognized and commented that it would take over 300 years at the rate they are now getting results. So, what is DOD's point? We don't know.
    Although it is a well documented fact that during the Korean War the Chinese were very involved with the camp system for our POWs and also moved to select interrogation centers in China, to our knowledge, the Chinese Government has not been presented with a specific proposal to solicit their assistance in accounting for our missing. Based on CIA and Army intelligence documents from the 1950's and on information from repatriated POW debriefs, it is possible to ask for missing men by name and location in China. Has this been done?
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    According to DOD, there is no policy to attempt identification of the more than 800 Korean War remains which are interred as unknowns at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii. You should know that some of these remains have almost complete skeletons and ancillary identification documentation exists for many of them. The possibility of positive identification of remains which are on U.S. soil right now is much greater and less costly than for those few being recovered under less than ideal circumstances in North Korea at this time.
    Let me take a breath. I'm sorry.
    Chairman GILMAN. Take your time. Would you like some water?
    Ms. DUNTON. Yes, I would, as a matter of fact.
    Chairman GILMAN. Can we provide some water.
    Ms. DUNTON. Lots of water.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Campbell.
    Ms. DUNTON. Thank you.
    The mitochondrial DNA collection effort from the Korean War families by the DOD is exemplified by Allan Liotta's statement on a recent National Public Radio show. When asked how the nine families involved in the Tomb of the Unknown identification felt about the process, he replied that some families were unsure because they didn't know about or understand DNA identification. Mr. Liotta then used the Korean War as an example of how too much time had gone by to expect to be able to collect DNA samples from the mothers of these missing men. Either Mr. Liotta does not understand the lineage of mitochondrial DNA referencing or he does not intend to make Korean War families aware of the identification process. This should have been one of those expanded outreach opportunities which Mr. Jones has been told is a priority. Instead, misleading information went out over the airwaves to thousands of people.
    And finally, no congressional committee seems to accept oversight responsibility for DOD, over what the policy of the United States is to account for its missing service personnel. The only U.S. policy we can determine to account for our missing is by example. Many empty promises. Many excuses. But it will take last place to the foreign policy goals of whichever Administration inhabits the White House. Firm guidance by the Congress has been missing.
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    Sadly, for everyone except the families, accounting for Korean War and cold war missing is an issue that has languished in obscurity for decades, and now has become an embarrassing relic of the cold war. How ironic that during the cold war we could not risk demanding an accounting for our missing or even recover their remains for fear of starting another war. Now that that era is over, the issue has become one of cynical convenience, to be trotted out when some more politically correct foreign policy goal might be furthered by the use of these missing men and their families. Otherwise, it is, as we have been told, a stand alone issue, addressed occasionally at low diplomatic levels or paid lip service to at higher levels.
    Clearly, North Korea, China, and the former Soviet Union have knowledge about what happened to our loved ones. All three of these countries were involved with the disposition of those men who we know died in their custody and of those men who we know were last known alive in their custody. We have been told by the Clinton Administration that accounting for our men is a stand-alone issue. Yet, we see it used as a political and foreign policy football when it suits his purposes. We know from State Department that the only consistent engagement with North Korea is on the remains issue and the money is well spent if it leads to an engagement on other issues. It is also used to make it appear that Russia is doing something to earn the millions of dollars in aid which we extend to them. And what about China? Well, the tune has not changed since the 1950's. We must tread carefully and slowly. We don't want to upset China over a few thousand missing Americans.
    What do we know about worldwide policy and operations? We know by example that it must go something like this:
    Don't upset other countries with an old issue.
    Go slowly.
    Keep the issue at the lowest possible diplomatic level unless it's useful to accomplish some other foreign policy objective.
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    Don't raise the issue in a meaningful way which could result in concrete results.
    Tell the veterans and the public everything possible is being done.
    Make sure on holidays to announce that remains have been returned, but don't say they are unidentified and at DOD's current pace it could be 5 years before any identification is made, if at all.
    Tell Congress that families are being given clear information, but be careful at family briefings to only give vague generalities.
    The actions of the Clinton Administration are really no different than that of previous Administrations, except in spending more time and money on public relations, spinning the issue to convince veterans and the American public that this issue is of the highest national priority. The PR does not work on the families. We want results. We hope Mr. Jones will make the most of his $14 million-plus budget and realize that his most damaging limitation is not lack of funds, but lack of true policy.
    Where do we go from here? If there has been a policy to account for our missing service personnel, then by 45 years of examples it is a failed policy. We believe it's time for a different approach, one that is less harmful to the family members. One that is more productive, less costly, and focuses on what family members want, to know what happened to our loved ones. We believe a collaborative accounting effort between a private research entity and the Congress would be much more successful. I have presented a privatization proposal to Members of Congress, and I make this available to you today, with the hope for all our sakes, you will give it serious and thoughtful consideration. DOD seems, from what I hear though today, it doesn't seem to have any expertise in accounting for the missing from more recent wars. It is also our understanding that they now have additional responsibility for redefining search, evasion, rescue, and escape procedures for all military services. It is an appropriate time to remove the Korean War and the cold war accounting effort from their control.
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    If we are to be a stand-alone issue, then give us the ability to make the most of standing alone. Almost 45 years of heartbreaking treatment of Korean War and cold war missing and their families must stop. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Dunton appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Ms. Dunton. And we appreciate your eloquent remarks.
    And now we turn to our veterans' representatives. For the American Legion, John Sommer, executive director, American Legion Headquarters. John, welcome to our Committee.
    Mr. SOMMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And the American Legion is deeply appreciative of the fact that you scheduled the hearing today on this most important issue. I must say, for the record, that I share Ann's frustration at the fact that those people who should be hearing what this panel has to say scurried out just as soon as they were finished.
    Chairman GILMAN. We regret that we didn't put your panel on before then. Next time—I hope we don't have a next time, but if we do we'll make certain that we properly do then.
    Mr. SOMMER. Mr. Chairman, some of us on this panel happened to be in a meeting this past week with the Deputy Chief of Mission of our embassy in Hanoi and he made the statement that we have to define what the fullest possible accounting is as it relates to Vietnam. It brought to mind very clearly a statement that was made by former Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord back in about 1995, when he made exactly the same statement.
    The American Legion's definition of what would constitute the fullest possible accounting of our POWs and MIAs is the turning over of live prisoners, the expeditious repatriation of the remains of those who were killed in action or died in captivity, or the provision of a valid conclusive report as to why neither of those is possible. I know that's similar to what Secretary Smith mentioned, and there are probably many of us in this room who share that definition, but because of the fact the State Department feels that there should be a definition, it's the recommendation of the American Legion that all who are seriously concerned with this important issue should unite in adopting such a workable, logical definition of fullest possible accounting so that there's agreement on the ultimate goal toward which we should all be working.
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    Chairman GILMAN. I didn't think we needed any definition. Please continue.
    Mr. SOMMER. With respect to Vietnam, in 1993, President Clinton said that Hanoi should not expect any further favorable action toward normalization by the United States until it fully cooperated in four specific areas relating to the resolution of cases of missing American servicemen. In retrospect, that threat was as hollow as the empty promises that it begot from the Vietnamese Government. Since diluted variations of those original four conditions which he laid out at that time have been used as the benchmarks on which the President has certified to Congress Vietnam's ''full cooperation in helping the United States achieve the fullest possible accounting,'' our full statement will address each one of them. However, in the interest of time, I will only comment on some relative examples.
    The issue of cooperation and the interpretation of cooperation is extremely important. The Vietnamese Office on Seeking Missing Persons is cooperating relatively well with our Joint Task Force Full Accounting, in conducting joint field operations for the purpose of excavating crash sites and other incident locations, as well they should because the United States is paying them approximately $10 million a year to offer up this cooperation. But it is unilateral cooperation on the part of the Vietnamese Government that is important and, in fact, is almost non-existent. And it is unilateral cooperation that would definitely produce results in the accounting process. For one specific example: In August 1993, a State Department official officially asked the Vietnamese Government to turn over information on over 80 cases involving about 98 Americans who either died in captivity or were depicted in Communist photographs. These are cases on which our government knew that the Vietnamese have information. However, as of today, to the best of our knowledge, very little information on any of these cases has been forthcoming from Hanoi, despite the fact that the American Legion, other veterans organizations, and family organizations over the years have followed up on this request during numerous meetings with high-level Vietnamese officials. It's a well known and documented fact that both during and after the war Vietnam had a process in place for the purpose of collecting remains and developing information relating to the cases of Americans who were captured, killed in action, or who had died in captivity. However, a mere modicum of that which exists has been turned over to our government.
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    The infamous list of discrepancy cases originally compiled by General John Vessey in 1991 as part of a broader plan to accelerate Vietnam's efforts on POW/MIA accounting through the establishment of priorities has taken on a life of its own. The 196 last known alive discrepancy cases were not meant to be a yardstick by which fullest possible accounting is measured. The term discrepancy cases goes back to 1975 and the actual development of the case on the list rests solely with the Federal Government. We know that there were other equally compelling cases not added to the list at the time the Vessey discrepancy cases were compiled. These selected cases were merely representative, not definitive.
    We are continually advocating that Stony Beach be increasingly incorporated into the investigation process. It's the American Legion's considered opinion that the expertise of this unit is grossly underutilized, their travel budget is underfunded, and the work that they do is largely unappreciated.
    The resolution of discrepancy cases is important. However, all unresolved cases must be thoroughly investigated to the fullest extent possible. Those cases that were quickly resolved early on—however, there have been very few remains unearthed—need to be rereviewed and reinvestigated.
    As of today, there are 447 unresolved cases of missing Americans in Laos, and 80 percent of the incidents occurred in areas that were under control of the People's Army of Vietnam during the war. Now this is a prime example of an issue where the unilateral cooperation of the Vietnamese Government would be instrumental in resolving a significant number of these cases. The American Legion has consistently requested such cooperation during meetings with high-level Vietnamese officials over the past several years. During our National Commander Anthony Jordan's meetings with Vietnamese officials in December 1997, we were given assurances that cooperation in both Laos and Cambodia would increase. However, as of this date, we're not aware of any appreciable change.
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    In addition to information on individual cases of missing American servicemen, it would be helpful if Vietnam would provide the records relating to units such as Group 559, which was an anti-aircraft unit that operated along the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the war. A summary report has been handed over to the United States and is currently in the hands of the Defense POW/MIA Office. However, the source documents that back up this report on which this summary is based would more likely be of use in investigating unresolved cases in the eastern part of Laos.
    U.S. investigators have been permitted to do a considerable amount of archival research in Vietnam, looking through war museums and military records made available by the Vietnamese Government. A vast array of documents, photographs, and other memorabilia have been produced. However, most of it relates to Americans who have already been accounted for, and very little correlates to unresolved cases of missing American servicemen. One question that begs an answer is how seriously have U.S. officials pushed the central Government of Vietnam for access to Communist party wartime records? One must consider that against both the French in the first Indochina War and the United States in the second, the North Vietnamese incorporated revolutionary warfare, which involved both military and political leadership down to the unit level. It combines military strategy with Communist ideology, and the people provided support for those who were doing the fighting. And, as in any Communist country, the party controlled everything. It only stands to reason that the Communist party archives would contain valuable documents, records, and other material that would help in the resolution of additional cases of missing Americans. However, if U.S. officials do not insist on gaining access to such material, the Vietnamese are certainly not going to voluntarily throw open the doors and invite them in.
    Examples of information that has not been thoroughly investigated by the Clinton Administration are the 1205 and 735 documents. These are Russian language translations of official Vietnamese reports that were found in the old Soviet Union's Communist party central committee archives. The numbers are purportedly related to the numbers of American pilots held by the NVA in September 1972 and January 1971 respectively, as reported to the Vietnamese Communist Party Central Committee. Although there was a flurry of activity when the documents first surfaced, once the Vietnamese Government labeled them as fabrications, they have obviously not been seriously pursued by the executive branch. However, the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, and specifically Senator Bob Smith, who is chairman of the Vietnam War Working Group, are continuing to investigate the validity of these documents.
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    In Laos, the Pathet Lao have yet to unilaterally provide credible information on American POWs last known alive in their control. Although U.S. officials, veterans, and family organizations have for several years urged the Lao Government to commence an oral history program in order to elicit information that would be helpful in resolving some of these cases, questionnaires have just recently been developed and distributed. As of now, there is no guarantee that any significant information will be forthcoming. Joint Task Full Accounting is carrying out joint field activities in Laos, in cooperation with the Lao Government, although it is being done on a restricted north to south basis. The Lao have permitted a few exceptions to this, but, for the most part, hold to the restricted pattern of operation.
    Aside from the joint field activities, there is a paucity of unilateral cooperation on the part of the Lao Government.
    With respect to Korean War POWs and MIAs, during the early 1990's, after much prodding, the North Koreans made some overtures toward limited cooperation on the POW/MIA issue, stating that cooperation would be a humanitarian gesture on their part. Since that time, progress on recovering remains and eliciting information on the possibility of live prisoners from the Korean War has not been smooth. Recently, it appeared that progress was being made between the United States and North Korea in reaching an agreement on the Joint Repatriation of American Remains. However, just a few weeks ago, the North Koreans failed to follow through on an agreement to turn over the remains of what are thought to be two Americans. Following a 10-day stall, the remains were finally turned over on May 25.
    We have a section in this statement that gets into the operation of the U.S. Joint Russian Commission on POWs and MIAs. However, Ambassador Toon has covered that at this hearing, so I won't get into it other than to say that the American Legion's assessment is that the Commission has taken its charge seriously and is doing credible research and investigations, particularly in what was the old Soviet Union.
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    The American Legion does not agree with the policy of this Administration with respect to the series of favorable actions it has taken toward Vietnam, absent a good faith demonstration of increasing unilateral cooperation toward achieving the fullest possible accounting of our POWs and MIAs. Likewise, we do not agree with the President's determination that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is fully cooperating in good faith with the United States in achieving the fullest possible accounting for Americans unaccounted for as a result of the Vietnam War, which he has certified to Congress as recently as March 4 of this year. Cooperation with joint field activities cannot and should not be interpreted as total cooperation, particularly when Vietnam has been unresponsive to requests made by officials of his own Administration. We also share that feeling with respect to the proposed extension of the waiver of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, and we are opposed to that for the same reasons as well as for the problems with emigration and the human rights violations that are taking place in Vietnam.
    Mr. Chairman, the American Legion commends you for your interest and leadership on this important issue for over two decades, and also, again, for scheduling today's hearing. As a Nation, periodically we ask our young people to go to the ends of the earth to protect the freedoms we enjoy. More and more often, our armed forces are becoming involved in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, which many times become hostile actions. The highest moral obligation of this Nation is to protect and liberate American POWs and to account for the missing in action.
    Mr. Chairman, that concludes the summary of our statement. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Sommer appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, thank you, Mr. Sommer. John, please convey to our comrades in the American Legion our heartfelt thanks for your continuing efforts on behalf of our MIAs and POWs.
    Mr. Harder on behalf of the VFW. Mr. Harder is the National Security and Foreign Affairs director of our VFW. Please proceed. You may put your full statement in the record, and summarize it—whichever you deem appropriate.
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    Mr. HARDER. Sir, we have only had a short period of time to prepare our statement, and so I'm going to read our statement. It's relatively short.
    Chairman GILMAN. Please proceed.
    Mr. HARDER. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is pleased to be able to present testimony at this hearing today. We understand that the purpose of today's hearing is to review the current Administration's overall policy on prisoner of war and missing in action issue worldwide.
    The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was asked if we would like to present testimony at this hearing yesterday, and we are pleased to accept that invitation. However, since we've only had minimal time to prepare a written statement, our oral statement will therefore constitute our written statement to the Committee.
    My testimony today is limited to presenting the VFW's views on the impact of the Administration's policies on the POW/MIA issue as it affects Vietnam and North Korea. The POW/MIA issue has been and remains a priority issue with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
    I'd like to begin by making a general statement that the VFW believes that much progress has been made on the POW issue in both Vietnam and Korea over the last 2 years. Since the end of the war in southeast Asia, 494 families have received the remains of their loved ones. Indeed, this fact implies a degree of success that would not have been achieved if our policies with Vietnam were unproductive.
    From the Korean War, largely because of the policies of the North Korean Government, progress has been painfully slow, but finally we're beginning to make some progress. Today, there is hope for continued progress on the issue of missing Americans from the war in Korea, where once there was only despair.
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    However, we still have a long way to go until we reach our goal of the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing from both wars in Vietnam and Korea. As of today, we have 2,089 unaccounted for Americans from the war in southeast Asia and over 8,100 missing from the war in Korea.
    First, I'd like to begin by discussing our views on the POW/MIA issue relative to Vietnam. Since 1979, the VFW has had national resolutions calling for the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing from the war. Until 1991, the VFW presented our objectives and goals on this issue to U.S. Government officials. However, since July 1991, the VFW has been making trips to Vietnam.
    On our first trip, VFW officials accompanied Congressman Lane Evans of Illinois and representatives of the other veterans service organizations to Vietnam and visited Hanoi, Hue City, and Ho Chi Minh City. Since that first visit, the VFW has made regular annual visits back to southeast Asia. On each trip our mission has been the same—to urge both U.S. Government and foreign government officials and other veterans' organizations to diligently work toward resolving the cases of Americans missing from the war.
    The VFW sends national officers to southeast Asia each year to help remind all involved that the mission is still not yet completed. The VFW has made approximately 15 trips to Vietnam since 1991. We will not rest until the mission is accomplished and our missing comrades are accounted for. We will not forget those who are left behind. We want to bring them home to their families and their country.
    Most recently, in March 1998, three of our national officers traveled to southeast Asia to demonstrate our continuing commitment to the fullest possible accounting process for missing Americans from the war. We went there to express our views and to listen to key U.S. and foreign government officials and foreign veterans' organizations. Also, we went to visit Joint Task Force Full Accounting detachments deployed at field recovery sites in remote areas throughout the region—also to follow up on reports received and to collect facts for ourselves. We found the Americans deployed under the command and control of Joint Task Force Full Accounting to be highly motivated, dedicated, focused on the mission, and inspiring to observe.
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    I'd like to point out that the VFW does have a POW/MIA initiative for the last several years. Briefly, we encourage our Members to come forward with information and documentation about Vietnamese casualties from the war. Keeping the information we receive anonymous, we then present the information to the Vietnamese veterans' organizations when we visit Vietnam. We have presented information about their losses to their veterans on four separate occasions. And we believe that this information has helped to improve relations with the Vietnamese people and shows Americans sincerity in attempting to resolve the issue.
    Our trips to Vietnam have occurred both before and after the trade embargo was lifted and diplomatic relations were established. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, we have not seen any decrease in U.S. or Vietnamese efforts to account for our missing men. On the contrary, we have seen progress. On our most recent visit to Vietnam and Laos, we saw no evidence that current U.S. Government policies were resulting in having any negative impact on the accounting process. In fact, we believe the opposite is true.
    We believe that current U.S. policies have resulted in both gradual improvements in U.S.-Vietnamese relations in general and some proportional improvements in the effort to account for missing Americans. A few positive examples we observed are: better overall U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation; the establishment of a joint document center in Hanoi; the creation of a Vietnamese unilateral archival research program which seeks to develop new information on specific loss incidents; cooperation on Trilateral Recovery Operations with the United States and Laos; and the Vietnamese Government taking its own action to publicize activities relating to missing Americans. Given the fact that we're continuing to experience a steady flow in the repatriation and identification of American remains from Vietnam, we see progress, not regression.
    If there was no diminishing of the fullest possible accounting process and effort after lifting of the trade embargo and establishing diplomatic relations with Vietnam, it suggests there will be no decrease of effort now that trade restrictions have been lifted. Based upon our observations and conversations with JTF-Full Accounting personnel and other government officials, including lengthy discussions with Ambassador Peterson and his staff during our visit to Vietnam, it indicates to us that current policies have helped rather than hindered the accounting process. Also, if we can reach our goal of the fullest possible accounting by improving or expanding our bilateral relationship with the United States and Vietnam, then we should do so.
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    Now, I would like to turn to a short discussion on our views on the effect of current U.S. policy on the POW/MIA issue relative to North Korea.
    For many years, North Korea was a closed, secretive society which few Americans or other westerners were permitted to see. Policies of the North Korean leadership and government and its adversarial relationship with the United States and the Republic of Korea did not allow for progress on the POW/MIA issue on the Korean peninsula.
    With the change in North Korean leadership from Kim IL Song to Kim Jong IL, the famine and economic decline of North Korea, and limited diplomatic exchanges on a variety of issues, the situation between the United States and North Korea began to change. The United States successfully established a bilateral dialog with North Korea on the POW/MIA issue that was not linked to other more contentious issues.
    The Veterans of Foreign Wars began to press the North Korean leadership on the POW/MIA dialog as early as 1992, and that process continues today. In October 1997, on invitation from the Government of North Korea and with the approval of the U.S. Government, Mr. Ken Steadman, our executive director of the VFW Washington office, traveled to North Korea with two other veterans organizations and Pat Dunton from the Korean/cold war Family Association to observe bilateral joint remains recovery operations in North Korea. This was an historic breakthrough.
    Our goal is to achieve the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing from the Korean War. Our intermediate objective is to maintain an open dialog with North Korean officials so that we can continue to urge them to fully cooperate with U.S. Government officials in maintaining forward momentum on the POW/MIA issue.
    As you are aware, we have been conducting limited joint remains recovery ops and archival research operations in North Korea since 1996. Every year since then, we have seen some progress and expansion of the operations in North Korea. Progress has been slow, but we have seen some positive results. Last year, seven sets of probable American remains were repatriated to the United States, and one soldier was returned to his family for burial.
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    After the first joint remains recovery operation was completed and the North Korean Government delayed the repatriation of the remains to the United States, this year we sent a letter to the North Korean Government encouraging them to release the remains according to previous agreements they made with the U.S. Government. Shortly thereafter, two sets of probable U.S. remains were repatriated to the United States through Panmunjom. Although we are currently experiencing difficulties with North Korea in conducting our agreed upon operations for 1998, we are hopeful that operations will resume again shortly, and that progress will continue on this issue.
    In conclusion, our goal is to achieve the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing from the war in southeast Asia as well as Americans missing from all our Nation's wars and conflicts. Our view is that current Administration policies on the POW/MIA issue with regard to Vietnam and North Korea is producing positive results, not negative ones. Therefore, we don't see a need to regress to less successful policies with either country or to change and reverse policies that are helping to achieve our long-range goal on the issue.
    And finally, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, we'd like to thank you for this opportunity to present our views of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States on the issue of the Administration's overall policy. I will be happy to answer any questions that you have.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Harder appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Harder.
    We thank the VFW for their continued support on this issue.
    Mr. Campbell.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Thanks for giving me the chance to begin, and I just want to note with honor your status as a veteran. I did not have the honor, but you did. I wanted to ask each witness, you heard my questions to the government representatives, and so I want to ask you the same one just to begin. If the answer is no, that's OK. I just want to know what you know.
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    And that question was, do you have any evidence that American servicemen or servicewomen stayed in the Vietnam theater—by which I mean Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia—after February 1973 with the exception of the two individuals that were mentioned? And I'd like to ask each witness. Ms. Griffiths?
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. There have been numerous reports of Americans that were held back by the Vietnamese. Our official position is that we do believe that there are Americans that were held. The difficulty for us, Congressman, is that we do not have separate sources of independent intelligence other than what we informally collect. We don't have the capabilities. And what we do have, and what we have always pressed are what Mr. Sommer referred to, the last known alive cases. In this case, when you're dealing with our government, I heard recently, Mr. Harder the same Dennis Harder, the DCM from Hanoi, talk about being ''down'' to 48 cases of the 196 last known alive. I agree with the American Legion. That was, in fact, a representative group. I helped select that group and was on all the Vessey missions. When they say they're down to 48, they mean that they have conducted an investigation and that they have determined that, in fact, the man died. What they don't say is that they have not been able to successfully recover their remains and to account for them. They then add that these are ''the most difficult cases'' now to try to resolve. It's nonsense. If in fact, they were last known alive, they did not blow up in an aircraft. So clearly there are many reports of Americans who were last known to be alive who were in fact prisoner. We do not yet have answers to all of those, and that includes the 1205 and 735 documents.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. And the 48 to which you referred, do you have those names?
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. Not right in front of me, but I certainly have them. But the Defense Department has the latest list.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Jackie, Ms. Dunton, the second witness.
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    Ms. GRIFFITHS. We have taken on many occasions. In fact, the League delegation in 1994 took an entire book of discrepancy cases—a wide variety of discrepancies—to all of those countries. And when we went back in 1997 on another delegation, although I had gone in between with Presidential delegations, we asked for the status of that—of actions on all those cases. The Legion does the same in following that up. We all do. And these are last known alive discrepancy cases. And, in addition to that, we have the reporting on Americans who are still being held captive. That's quite different from what we can put our hands on as a private, non-profit organization.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you. Each one, please. Ms. Dunton, do you have anything to add?
    Ms. DUNTON. You're asking about the Vietnam War, and I would defer to the other experts on that.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Understood. I'm just asking if you have. That sounds good. I have a question for you in a just a moment. Thanks.
    Mr. Sommer.
    Mr. SOMMER. Mr. Campbell, if my memory serves me correctly, the final report of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA does point out that there were Americans left after we pulled out of Vietnam, which would have been after the period of time of which you are speaking. In addition to that, we've seen declassified intelligence reports which showed that there was movement of Americans between Laos and Vietnam after that time. We don't physically have them, but we've seen them, and I know that they're available. Therefore, the answer is yes.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Harder.
    Mr. HARDER. I've been employed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for about 8 months, and so it hasn't been that long. I have not seen any information, and we don't have any information or evidence that we have anybody other than the two names that were previously mentioned there.
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    Mr. CAMPBELL. Alright. Thank you.
    Ms. Dunton, you made reference to Korean War remains in the Unknown Soldiers' part of the Punch Bowl. Are there other U.S. military cemeteries or other locations in U.S. territory or in the territory of U.S. allies to which we would get access that might also prove fruitful for this endeavor?
    Mr. DUNTON. The only other cemeteries that I know of besides the Punch Bowl would be in North Korea. They have recovered remains from South Korea, even in recent years.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Let me put the question slightly differently. In South Korea are there potential sources for tombs of American unknown that we would be——
    Ms. DUNTON. Not that I know of.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Not that you know of.
    Mr. Chairman, my time's up. I wonder if I might continue. I have just a couple more.
    Chairman GILMAN. By all means, please continue.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
    Ms. Dunton, I'm confused about the cold war. In your bio, it's referred to that there are 139 missing in action from the cold war. And to what context is this referring to, please?
    Ms. DUNTON. DOD gave me that number of 139. Sometimes they say 139. Sometimes they say 134. It has just been recent—if you're asking me about the timeframe?
    Mr. CAMPBELL. I'm asking about the conflicts. Are these CIA people? Are these DIA people?
    Ms. DUNTON. No, these are military personnel.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. So they're military. And where would the conflicts have been in the cold war other than in Korea, where we would have missing in action of the total of 139?
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    Ms. DUNTON. There were quite a few shot down along the coast of Russia. There was a plane recovered in China, I believe, not too long ago. Some of them were transport missions. For a long time, they never referred to them as spy missions or ferret missions. But they are now allowing that that happened.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. OK, it's to that that you're referring and the timeframe, you were willing to offer some advice on that—the timeframe?
    Ms. DUNTON. Well, it's been clarified recently that it started after World War II, ended at the beginning of Korea, started again at the armistice of Korea, and then continued forward until the mid–1960's sometime, I believe. It's what they are considering this cold war era.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. OK, I was wondering. That's a large number it seems to me for pilots shot down on spy missions.
    Ms. DUNTON. Some of these planes have crews of 13.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. I see. Although that's news to me, and I appreciate your telling me. I was not informed about it.
    And last to both Ms. Dunton and Ms. Griffiths, I don't undercut in the slightest the tremendous personal consequences. I grant that that is No. 1, 2, 3, 4—it's really the most important. But I do want to ask about the financial status of being the relative of an MIA as opposed to the relative of a proven killed in action. Could you speak to that issue for me?
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. First of all, all of the POW/MIAs for the Vietnam War were presumed killed in action several years ago. We fought against that, not because of the money. And, in fact, tried very hard, with the help of Mr. Gilman and others to get the Department of Defense to separate pay and allowances from the status of the man. And we went through years and years of various versions of status change legislation we called. We were unsuccessful in doing that, but it didn't matter because they had a technicality in the law which has now been changed to some degree with the Missing Persons Act that was adopted in the last few years. And that was that due to a lapse of time without information to prove that our men were still living, which we had to come up with, they could presume them dead.
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    Now, in a case like an unremarried wife, she would continue to receive what's called the DIC from the VA, as would any active duty widow with certain conditions and provisions. Children of men that are missing or prisoners, just like an active duty death, would get educational assistance.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Let me put it this way.
    Mr. GRIFFITHS. For a lot of them, there's none, like if a man was unmarried. He has no benefit.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. I'm interrupting for which I apologize except I could get my question answered by putting it slightly differently. I should have. Which is do you or any relatives like you—I understand it's your brother in your case; and Ms. Dunton, your father. Would any family member be disadvantaged by the status—the unresolved status of your loved one?
    Mr. GRIFFITHS. The disadvantage comes in the continuing state of uncertainty.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Indeed, that's what I meant with my opening comment.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. You mean, monetarily disadvantaged?
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Exactly. I'm only asking financially for a second. OK. Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Campbell. They anticipate a vote shortly so I'm going to try to be brief so we won't hold you after the vote. And I want to thank the panelists for an outstanding testimony today.
    How politicized—and I'm going to pass this onto the whole panel—how politicized is DPMO? Does it act independently or are its actions in response to the Administration's wishes?
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    Ms. DUNTON. Directly to the Administration. I think we all agree on that. They're directed by the Administration.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. I would say that DPMO doesn't have the ability to—DPMO is saying a wide spectrum here—but DPMO, as I mentioned, most people in DOD, in fact, have no access and no clout. And if you're talking DPMO, the Defense POW/MIA Office, in my view they have little to do with policy that is established by this Administration, so they have no choice.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Sommer.
    Mr. SOMMER. I would have to agree with that, because it's very unlikely that this Administration requests much background information from DPMO before it makes a policy decision on things like normalization of relations, waiver of Jackson-Vanik or any of these types of political activities.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Harder.
    Mr. HARDER. Given the fact that the head of DPMO is a political appointee, you would expect that the organization will respond in a political manner.
    Chairman GILMAN. In your opinion, does an atmosphere of reprisal exist at DPMO or do analysts feel free to express their opinion?
    Mr. HARDER. I'll answer first. My experience with them has been that once you get below the top layer that people who are doing the analysis are very cooperative with providing you the answers to the questions that you have. But you just have to keep in mind that the people who are political appointees are, in fact, representing the Administration.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Sommer, do you have a statement?
    Mr. SOMMER. That's a difficult question, but what is spelled out in our statement, and I feel very strongly about this, is that there is a new director who has not really been in place long enough to put his imprimatur on the operation. We feel that he's made a good faith effort to cooperate with veterans organizations and family organizations. It will take a little bit of time to find out whether his leadership within that organization will make a difference.
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    Chairman GILMAN. What's his name, Mr. Sommer?
    Mr. SOMMER. Bob Jones. He was here earlier. He was introduced as a matter of fact.
    Chairman GILMAN. And, Ms. Dunton?
    Ms. DUNTON. All I can address is what I've experienced to date. I don't know what will change tomorrow. But I don't feel like the analysts and the researchers have had the support or the means to get the information that alot of them would like to get.
    Chairman GILMAN. I note, incidentally, Mr. Jones was kind enough to stand by, and he's seated in the back listening. Thank you for being here.
    Ms. Griffiths.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. I would agree with John that Bob Jones is the new guy on the block, and he deserves a honeymoon. But I would say that from an intelligence standpoint, I don't think that, as we all know, the Congress found out that intelligence collection priorities were put in the toilet in this Administration.
    And second, everything has been driven by political skewing of the outcome. I was interested to hear Secretary Smith admit that there was policy involvement in the national intelligence estimate. He said that in his testimony. He reviewed it and had cognizance over it before it was published. It's supposed to be independent intelligence analytic capability here. As far as the people in DPMO, I am aware that there have been times in the past that they would put out a product which they're certainly capable of doing, and it doesn't get past the spin doctors in the front office or up the chain of command.
    Chairman GILMAN. How well does DPMO interact with the family groups and with the veterans groups? And do you think this process can be improved? Quickly, if you would, because we're on a vote, and I don't want to keep you after the vote.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. OK, I think it is improving. It can improve. I think Bob Jones should be given an opportunity to make it improve and none of the hand holding management routine. We don't need to be managed. We just want answers.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Ms. Dunton.
    Ms. DUNTON. I agree with Ann entirely. It needs a lot of improving.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Sommer.
    Mr. SOMMER. I agree. And as I mentioned a moment ago, Mr. Jones has made a good faith effort to reach out to communicate with the organizations and we trust that this will remain an ongoing dialog.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
    Mr. Harder.
    Mr. HARDER. I agree with the statements the others have made. I think I haven't had any trouble dealing with DPMO. They've been pretty forthright with me.
    Chairman GILMAN. My last question. What's the most important thing you think the Congress can do now to help with the MIA-POW issue?
    Ms. Griffiths.
    Mr. GRIFFITHS. That is not a short answer, Mr. Chairman. You've known me too long to think it would be one.
    Chairman GILMAN. Try. Try.
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. Alright. Scrutiny. Serious scrutiny. Not a 5-minute attention span, but a continuing effort that monitors what's taking place. And that means insisting—for instance, you mentioned it would had been good if you had had this panel first. Well, the government always requires that the government panel go first.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, Mr. Jones is here, and he's listening, and I'm sure that he's——
    Ms. GRIFFITHS. It needs continued monitoring, and I think Mr. Buyer is trying to do that with his Personnel Subcommittee. The biggest problem from our standpoint is the foreign policy. We believe in the field operators. We believe they're trying hard. We know they're well motivated. There are improvements needed, but it's the foreign policy of the Administration that is the problem.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Ms. Dunton.
    Ms. DUNTON. I agree. It is the foreign policy and it's been a continual policy all along. I can't blame it on the current Administration. If it's not pressed at the executive level, we're spinning our wheels.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Sommer.
    Mr. SOMMER. The Congress needs to hold the Administration accountable because the Administration is not, in the case of Vietnam, for instance, holding them accountable. So, there has to be some accountability in the process.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
    Mr. Harder.
    Mr. HARDER. I think we need to keep this issue separate from politics and look at it primarily now as a humanitarian issue that we want to get resolved.
    Chairman GILMAN. Let me say this to the panelists: I really appreciate your testimony today. I think you've hit on some important aspects of this. But don't relegate yourself to today's hearing. We need your input. We need your comments. Please don't hesitate to keep our Committee advised.
    I want to thank Mr. Campbell for staying with us right to the end. Did you have any further comment? And I thank our panelists for your patience. And for the family members who are here, please be assured we're not going to let this be on the back burner. We're going to keep on top of it as best we can.
    And I want to commend Ms. Griffiths for her continual efforts over the years on behalf of the League in taking the time to call on us regularly.
    So our Committee now will stand adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 6:52 p.m., the Committee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]
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