Skip to comments.CLASSIFIED POW/MIA INFORMATION (Senate - July 31, 1990)
Posted on 11/08/2004 6:48:08 AM PST by Calpernia
Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I want to take the opportunity this morning, and take a moment of my colleague's time to address what I consider a very important but also a curious matter. Like most of my colleagues, I have tried to respond to inquires from my constituents about the POW/MIA issue. Many of them are concerned that we have not done all that we can do to resolve this issue. I have committed myself, as many of my colleagues have, to verifying the assertion that the Government has in fact done everything that it can.
Last summer, for instance, the Secretary of Defense issued what is called the POW/MIA Fact Book. In this book the
Secretary states that the U.S. Government is doing all it can to resolve the POW/MIA issue. Since the end of the Vietnam war the Government has acquired over 10,000 reports on sightings of POW's. Of these 10,000 there have been some 1,200 firsthand live sightings.
Some of these are cases as yet unverified, some are suspected to be fabrications, and some allegedly pertain to individuals since accounted for.
On March 23 of this year--and that is fully 4 months ago--I sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense, requesting from him access to these documents. I asked for the documents in installments and to do that over a period of time, thus trying to mitigate the workload and effort associated with my request--a heavy workload that it would be for the Department of Defense. This, as you can tell, is a pretty straightforward and simple request; simply for information that the U.S. Government claims to be very proud of, with respect to the thoroughness of its investigation, analysis, and evaluation of the POW/MIA issue.
On April 16 I did receive a response to my request. It came from assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Henry S. Rowen.
Mr. Rowen's response, Mr. President, was to deny Chuck Grassley, a Member of the U.S. Senate, access to that information. He did this solely on the basis that the information is classified.
Since when, Mr. President, is that--the fact that the information is classified--a condition for withholding information from a U.S. Senator?
In response to Mr. Rowen's letter I wrote a second letter to Secretary Cheney, dated May 24, indicating--with irritation, I might add--my dissatisfaction with this unacceptable, bureaucratic response. I have yet to receive a reply and it is now over 2 months later.
Now, Mr. President, I am uncertain exactly what this means. Am I getting some sort of a signal from the bureaucracy that a U.S. Senator poking around the POW issue will not be tolerated? Or is this just some kind of bureaucratic bungle that simply fell through the cracks?
Hopefully, Mr. President, the absence of a response reflects the latter. But let me warn those in the Department who handle this issue, there are people around this country, many people, who are incensed about our Government's handling of the POW issue and of legitimate requests for information and accountability. From what I have seen, based on my own recent involvement, I sympathize with these Americans' concerns.
Let me add, Mr. President, that this issue is not going to go away. It is not going to be swept under the rug. An analysis of those firsthand sightings of POW's, some 1,200 of them, have been cited by the Secretary of Defense as the basis for our Government's assertion that it knows of no American POW's in Southeast Asia. If this is true I intend to review
those documents and verify to my own satisfaction the validity of the statement.
One way or another, I will review those documents. If the Defense Department wants to withhold those documents from a U.S. Senator on the mere basis that they are classified, then the Department risks adding to the growing public perception that certain elements of the Defense Department are covering up something with respect to this issue.
Many of us are inclined to believe that DOD has done all it can. If this is the case, then what can possibly be the holdup of providing access to the information? It certainly has nothing to do with the fact that the information is classified.
I am looking into this matter, Mr. President, in the same manner and with the same concern that each of my colleagues in this body has done or would do for his or her constituents.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to print in the Record the correspondence I referred to.
There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC, March 23, 1990.
Hon. Richard Cheney, Secretary, Department of Defense, The Pentagon, Washington, DC.
Dear Dick: In July, 1989, your office issued a POW-MIA Fact Book in support of the U.S. Government's efforts to resolve the POW/MIA matter.
Page 23 of this Fact Book references 10,173 reports acquired by the U.S. Government related to this issue. Of these reports, 1,210 are firsthand live-sighting reports: 132 relate to cases as yet unverified and under continuing priority investigation; 273 reports are known or suspected to be fabrications; and, 805 pertain to individuals since accounted for.
I respectfully request a copy of each of these 1,210 firsthand sightings. I understand that not all of these reports refer to POWs, but I would like to examine the entire body of evidence your Department has cited.
I am mindful that compliance with my request will require some time. I would therefore suggest that these reports be provided in installments.
The first installment should be the 132 reports that are as yet unverified and under continuing priority investigation; the second installment should be the 273 reports known or suspected to be fabrications; and, the third installment should be the 805 reports relating to individuals since accounted for.
In addition to these 1,210 reports, I would like a copy of each of the reports involving eyewitness accounts of Americans in Southeast Asia that have been received since the July, 1989 Fact Book was completed.
I would expect the first installment of my request within ten days of this date. Thank you in advance for your cooperation, and for your Department's past efforts to resolve the POW/MIA issue.
Charles E. Grassley, U.S. Senator.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE. COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION [TsK KPSS]
Additional Measures To Expose Imperialist Policies
We intend to make use of concrete facts to expose capitalist
reality, political and ideological diversions of imperialism, the
totalitarian character of a bourgeois state, and the strengthening
of reactionary thought in the bourgeois apparatus and in
capitalistic society as a whole.
The realization of such measures will permit us to coordinate
the Soviet press, radio and television in such a way that the
public's attention will be directed to the concrete manifestations
of the anti-popular nature of imperialism.
Such propaganda campaigns will help the press agency Novosti,
and politically oriented radio programs transmitted abroad to force
our idealogical enemy onto disadvantageous paths in the ideological
A calendar of this type of events, mainly pertaining to the
USA is attached. Similar plans pertaining to other imperialistic
states could be developed in the course of work.
We request your review.
Assistant Chief of the Propaganda (A. Iakovlev)
Department, TsK KPSS
January 21, 1971
TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: In the upper left corner are the words
"Without right of publication." In the upper right corner is the
stamp of the TsK KPSS. The hand-written note could not be
deciphered. The second page of the document is blank except for the
handwritten notes: Comrade Ponomarev is absent. Comrades Smirnov
and Parinov have been informed. January 29, 1971.
Attachment 170 Calendar of Certain Events
January 1, 1863 - In the USA the Act to free black slaves went into
effect. Provides a rationale to point out the severity of the
ethnic problem in the United States of America.
January 5, 1957 - President Eisenhower in a message to Congress set
forth an expansionist U.S. policy for the Near East and Middle East
that became known as the "Eisenhower-Dulles Doctrine."
January 5, 1970 - In the USA progressive trade union activist
Yablonsky was killed.
January 17, 1966 - In Spain, in the Palomares region, an American
bomber plane with 4 nuclear bombs on board crashed.
- 140 years ago in the USA, the so-called Lynch
law went into effect.
February 2, 1848 - End of the Mexican-American war, which resulted
in the USA seizing from Mexico Texas, New Mexico, and upper
California and part of Arizona
February, 1951 - In the USA seven falsely accused blacks executed
February 7, 1965 - Beginning of systematic bombing of the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam by the USA
February 9, 1950 - Beginning of the "McCarthy Era"
March 1, 1961 - Decade of the "Peace Corps USA," an organization
engaging in subversive activity in Africa and Asia
March 5, 1946 - Churchill's speech at Fulton - the beginning of the
"cold war" against socialist countries
March 12, 1947 - Acceptance in the USA of Truman's agressive
foreign policy doctrine
March 16, 1965 - Bloody reprisals against participants in the black
freedom march in Selma
March 23, 1947 - Truman's order to verify the loyalty of all
April 1914 - Shooting of participants in Colorado strike
April 4, 1969 - The leader of the movement for the civil rights of
American Negroes, Martin Luther King, is assassinated in the USA.
April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.
April 15-19 1961 - Decade of attempted armed invasion of Cuba by
April 1861 - Beginning of the Civil War in the USA
April 25, 1898 - Beginning of the Spanish-American War. The first
war of imperialism for the redivision of the world, resulting in
USA seizure of the Phillipines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
April 27, 1965 - USA intervention in the Dominican Republic
April 30, 1970 - Invasion of American forces into Cambodia
May 4, 1970 - Anniversary of the shooting deaths of students at
Kent State University in the USA
May 11, 1894 - Beginning of the Pullman strike
May 24, 1918 - Beginning of USA intervention in the Soviet North
May 26, 1938 - Creation in the USA of the Anti-American Activity
June 5, 1947 - USA adopts expansionist "Marshall Plan"
June 5, 1968 - Robert Kennedy assassinated
June 23, 1947 - USA adopts anti-labor Taft-Hartley law
June, 1950 - Beginning of USA intervention in Korea
June 25, 1968 - Destruction of the American poor people's
"Resurrection City" in Washington
June 28, 1932 - "Bloody Thursday" - shooting of war veterans -
participants in a march on Washington
June, 1963 - Murder of Medgar Evers, famous black activist in USA
July 16, 1877 - Beginning of a railroad strike - the first national
strike in the USA to spread to all main railroads in the country
July 20, 1948 - Trial of 11 USA Communist Party leaders begins
August 4, 1964 - Provocations by USA armed forces against
Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin
August 4, 1953 - USA intervention in Guatemala
August 6, 1945 - Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
August 1918 - USA intervention in the Soviet Far East
August 23, 1927 - Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti
August 24, 1954 - USA adopts law "to monitor communist activity"
August 27, 1968 - Political reprisals against participants in mass
antiwar demonstration in Chicago
September 23, 1950 - USA adopts the McCarran-Wood "law on internal
September-October 1919 - National strike in the USA in which 2
million people take part
October 31, 1956 - Triple agression of England, France and Israel
November 19, 1915 - Poet Joe Hill shot in the USA
November 22, 1963 - Assassination of John Kennedy
November 22, 1970 - Portuguese colonizers commit act of armed
aggression against the Republic of Guinea
December, 1931 - Two "hunger marches" on Washington by USA poor
Khruschev Letter to President Kennedy
Dear Mr. President,
Imagine, Mr. President, what if we were to present to you such
an ultimatum as you have presented to us by your actions. How
would you react to it? I think you would be outraged at such a
move on our part. And this we would understand.
Having presented these conditions to us, Mr. President, you
have thrown down the gauntlet. Who asked you to do this? By what
right have you done this? Our ties with the Republic of Cuba, as
well as our relations with other nations, regardless of their
political system, concern only the two countries between which
these relations exist. And, if it were a matter of quarantine as
mentioned in your letter, then, as is customary in international
practice, it can be established only by states agreeing between
themselves, and not by some third party. Quarantines exist, for
example, on agricultural goods and products. However, in this case
we are not talking about quarantines, but rather about much more
serious matters, and you yourself understand this.
Mr. John F. Kennedy
President of the United States of America
You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but
rather issuing an ultimatum, and you are threatening that if we do
not obey your orders, you will then use force. Think about what
you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this!
What does it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean for us
to conduct our relations with other countries not by reason, but by
yielding to tyranny. You are not appealing to reason; you want to
No, Mr. President, I cannot agree to this, and I think that
deep inside, you will admit that I am right. I am convinced that
if you were in my place you would do the same.
.... This Organization [of American States] has no authority
or grounds whatsoever to pass resolutions like those of which you
speak in your letter. Therefore, we do not accept these
resolutions. International law exists, generally accepted
standards of conduct exist. We firmly adhere to the principles of
international law and strictly observe the standards regulating
navigation on the open sea, in international waters. We observe
these standards and enjoy the rights recognized by all nations.
You want to force us to renounce the rights enjoyed by every
sovereign state; you are attempting to legislate questions of
international law; you are violating the generally accepted
standards of this law. All this is due not only to hatred for the
Cuban people and their government, but also for reasons having to
do with the election campaign in the USA. What morals, what laws
can justify such an approach by the American government to
international affairs? Such morals and laws are not to be found,
because the actions of the USA in relation to Cuba are outright
piracy. This, if you will, is the madness of a degenerating
imperialism. Unfortunately, people of all nations, and not least
the American people themselves, could suffer heavily from madness
such as this, since with the appearance of modern types of weapons,
the USA has completely lost its former inaccessibility.
Therefore, Mr. President, if you weigh the present situation
with a cool head without giving way to passion, you will understand
that the Soviet Union cannot afford not to decline the despotic
demands of the USA. When you lay conditions such as these before
us, try to put yourself in our situation and consider how the USA
would react to such conditions. I have no doubt that if anyone
attempted to dictate similar conditions to you -- the USA, you
would reject such an attempt. And we likewise say -- no.
The Soviet government considers the violation of the freedom
of navigation in international waters and air space to constitute
an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world
nuclear-missile war. Therefore, the Soviet government cannot
instruct captains of Soviet ships bound for Cuba to observe orders
of American naval forces blockading this island. Our instructions
to Soviet sailors are to observe strictly the generally accepted
standards of navigation in international waters and not retreat one
step from them. And, if the American side violates these rights,
it must be aware of the responsibility it will bear for this act.
To be sure, we will not remain mere observers of pirate actions by
American ships in the open sea. We will then be forced on our part
to take those measures we deem necessary and sufficient to defend
our rights. To this end we have all that is necessary.
Respectfully, /s/ N. Khrushchev
24 October 1962
U.S. - Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)
Vietnam War Working Group
The Vietnam War Working Group (VWWG) was established in 1993. The U.S. Chairman is Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), former Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs (1991-1993) and currently a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Russian Chairman is General-Major Nikolay Maksimovich Bezborodov, an active duty Russian Air Force officer and three-term member of the Duma. Senator Smith has been a member of the Commission since its inception in 1992 and has co-chaired the working group since January 1997; General Bezborodov assumed his position as a member of the Commission and VWWG co-chairman in February 2000.
The American side of the Vietnam War Working Group seeks further information from Russian archives and Russian veterans of the Vietnam War about America's missing service members from that conflict. It is pursuing leads and information in a variety of areas.
It appears that this country needs to work on the enemy that is within.
I don't know how to get the word out, as most don't want to hear it.
Mike Savage, might work with this? He is convinced that our rotting is coming from the "Enemy Within".
Ping to this long thread :)
An amazing compilation, Calpernia.
Photo of LTC. David L. Hrdlicka in captivity.
Laos: On 18 May 1965, then Capt. David L. Hrdlicka was the pilot of the lead F105D in a flight of four conducting an early morning interdiction/strike mission. Capt. Hrdlicka made his attack run and then reported he had a fire warning light. David ejected, landed uninjured and was captured by Pathet Lao forces. Wartime reports from Pathet Lao defectors placed Capt. Hrdlicka in a cave in the Vieng Xai area of Sam Neua Province through at least 1966. Further, from the time of his capture, and for years afterward, US intelligence tracked David Hrdlicka through various cave complexes in the vicinity of Ban Nakay Teu and Ban Nakay Neua also located in northern Laos. Capt. Hrdlicka and other POWs were also seen and photographed by US spotter teams while being held in these caves. Some times he was alone, other times David Hrdlicka was being held with other well-documented POWs including Charles Shelton. David was photographed in captivity as late as 1969 by US intelligence/surveillance teams. He is not home yet.
563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli Airbase, Thailand
Thanks for posting the pic.
LTC. David L. Hrdlicka in captivity.
Is he a relative of yours?
It is difficult to keep faith for all these years, that he might come home still.
Oh, no....He's not a relative.
I saw his name in one of the posts above that Calpernia cited. The name rang a bell and I googled him up.