Created: 2/1/1992

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Directorate of Intelligence

Vietnam: Adjusting Its Strategy on the POW/MIA Issuef

An Intelligence Assessment

This paper was prepared by

Office of Fast Asian Analysis, with aoiher analysis in

OEA. Comments and lueiiea are welcome ana may be directed to ibc Chief.1




E4 vFtOOO*



Vielnam: Adjusting Itsthe POW/MIA


Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) Tell to Ihe Communists onoreS military personnel throughout Vietnam. Cambodia, and Laos were listed by the Department of Defense as prisoners of warissing in action (MIAL or killed in action with bodies not recovered; the majority oflost in Vietnam. This paper examines Hanoi's evolving attitude lowird the POW/MIA issue and its use of the issue in diplomatic negotiations wilh the United States. It neither attempts to deal with Hanoi's handling of individual POW/MIA cases nor strives to examine evidence concerning the existence of POWs or

in Vietnam. POW/MIA Office,

of the US Department of Defense


Key Judgment*

*ammmty lt*laW It ihii ttftH

government has made several important gesturesncluding:

Turning over more remains and material evidence lhan during the precedingears.

Participating, for ibc first time, in joint investigations of sites where American crashed or missing US servicemen were last seen. Rfiecnbeen conducted by

Beginningiving US experts limited access to military museums and archives containing records detailing Vietnamese investigations of

doubt lhat Hanoi has any interest in resolving the issue ongrounds. Instead, we believe Hanoi's cooperation has been sparked by iu impression that relations with the United States arc warming, albeitlower pace than Vietnam would like, and is fueled by Hanoi's desperate need lo attract financial assistance to improve the sagging Vietnamese economy. We believe Hanoi is primarily interested in access lo badly needed funds from lhe International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; Hanoi probablyore cooperative altitude on the POW/MIA issue

Ai long as Hanoi believes it will eventually gain economic will stick to its policy of limited accommodalioo. But. at thewc expect Vietnamese leaders will useascontacts with the US businesspress Washingtonfaster in improving economic

As the Vietnamese continuehip away at lhe US-sponsored economic embargo, however. US leverage overthus Washington's ability io wtesl new concessions on the POW/MIAdiminish. US pull would virtually disappear if major international financialsuch as lhe IMF or World Bank began lending substantial sums to Hanoi. Indeed, the Asia Development Bank's decision in Late1 to resume technical aid_to Vietnam may be the first sign thai such funds will be forthcoming


But cooperation on the POW/MIA issue could still falter evenreakthrough in international aid. Vietnam has always been sensitive to bilateral atmospherics, and Hanoi would not welcome widely publicized US condemnation of its policies in the international media. Theare already unhappy with the US "roadmap" outlining Washington's step-by-stcp plan for normalizing relations, and Hanoi would react strongly if it believed Washington were raising new barriers to normalization. Demands in US policy circles or even in the US press, for example, that Hanoi address human rights issues not stressed in the roadmap oromplete accounting for every missing Americaneat Hanoi claims is impossible, could affect Vietnam's cooperation on POW/MIA

addition, Hanoi will remain focused on its sovereignty and internal stability, particularly in the wake of developments in Eastern Kurope and the former Soviet Union.ikely toignificant increase in the number of US POW/MIA investigators in the country, particularly because the leadership believes that the United Suites is behind the problems that Communism has experienced elsewhere in the world. Finally, ongoing debate within Vietnam's foreign policy community over the pace and scope of improving relations, combinedtruggle over wbo has the final authority in determining Vietnam's foreign policy, could result in fluctuations in Hanoi's attitude toward cooperating on POW/ MIA matters!-

Even under the best of circumstances, there arc limits to what thecould expect lo achieve. The fact that morelost over water and the complete destruction of some airplanefor example, make it unpossible to account for all missingHanoi's cooperation would also be constrainedhortagesupport, such as helicopters, especially if the number ofin Vietnam increased


Siocrbilateral negotiation! Io resolve ibe issue of milling Americans in VietnamVietnam has used tbe POW/MIA Usee toariety of political aad economic agendas with the United Sulci. In tie early years, Hanoi used the threat of withholding remainseapon aramil the United Sulci. Vietnamese leaders appeared confident in their ability lo use lhe MIA issue to ensure that concessions contained in3 Parli accords were met: first and foremost. US economic aid, and second, US support for (or at least noninterference with) Hittempts lo esublish itself as tbe legitimate govenunent of Vietnam. When Vietnam first ippbed for admission lo lhe United NauoaiJ. for


Sovernment had igrweTio rcl

tbe remains of three US pilots. AftcHha United Sutes can iu

had been withdrawn. Tbe second

veto in6 brought an official letter from tbe Vietnamese UN observers, blaming American "hostility" for lhe stalemate between Ihe two

ttgated the United States for bOCkicgrcuion in Cambodia, unfairly holding Vietnam totally responsible for resolving Ihe MIA issue, and noUliag lhe Paris accord* Byhemeac had returned fewereu of remains of US icrvicerocn^

Vietnam's attempu to manipulate lhe United Stales through changes in iu MIA policy continued through the. Inanoieeting between Vietnamese and US POW/MIA technical experts ro proteat ihe US bombing of Libya Before Ibe visit to Hanoi7 by Gca. John Vessey, the newly appointed Special Presidciiti.ilfor POW/MIA and oiher HumaniUrianHanoitbe tint time sinceit would halt cooperation on the POW/MIA issue until tbe United Sutes provided aid. Analysis of press reports at lhat time suggesu Hanoi's tougher line reflected growing domestic criticism thai lhe policy of cooperating on MIAs was not bringing many benefits to VlelnamJ

the United Sutes announced in7 that it would neither provide reconatruclion aid nor would veto Vietnam's applicatioa to ibe UnitedMIA inresiigabons wereexpanded iu aid demaada. Tbe Vietnamese subsequentlythe names ofore MIAs whose remains were lo be released, bul waited until Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations in7 before allowing repatriation of tbe remains.

nd New

During ibe past several years. Vietnam has continued lo use tbe POW/MIA issue for political purposei. bul hasore conciliatory approach. Hanoi has not threatened to ball cooperation on the POW/MIA issue or impended site exploration activity since lalehen il postponed the investigation of discrepancy cases following whal Hanoi considered were hostile remarks madeSor it

the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia inanoi claimed it would revitalize stalled bilateral negotiations on the MIA issue if the United Sutes recognized the Vietnamese-backedin Phnom Penh. When lhe United Sutes did not recognize (be regime. Vietnam used MIA meetings to denounce US policy. During lhe second of two

Huoi linking iu willingness lo cooperate toof economic aid. In UlcDeputy Foreign Minister Le Mai toldjournalist! ibal the Vietnamese view the nuuchumanitarian matter ihat both parties haveseparate from other political

Whileo evidence Ihat the Vietnamese leaoenvhip bat any real interest in resolving ibe issue on bamaaitanan gronocu, Hanoi's new uraiecy has indeed yielded positive malts for tbe United Stales:

ore American remains and material evidence related to the fate of individuals kat in Vietnam have been relumed than durincears. Tbe official number of American POW/MIAs unaccounted for in Vietnam has fallenIAs, reflectingases officially dosed by Ihe US Government

ietnam began permitting jointof sites where American planes crashed or missing US serviceexn *erc last seen, and by yeataken place.[

Inanoi nude an unprecedented gesture in responseS request that Hanoi investigate pbotas allegedly derMCtiag American MIAs living in Indochina: the government agreed to publiaie the pictures in tbe Vietnamese media, lo1 newly appointed Prime Minister Vo Van Kiel met for the first lime with ihe daughter of anallegedly appeared in one of tbediscuss her father's case.

Perhaps most important, the Vietnamese io ihe past year began giving American researchers limited acoou to doceoMau stored in nHuevms and military archives, including two records detailinginvestigations of American miliury tosses In July andietnam also handed over panslassified Vietnamese report aboutantiiircraf! ccerabons. American investigators confirm some of these documents containon military identification cards, dog tags,

eflecu, nnd reports on the fate of Americans wbo died in captivity.'

Closer bilateral work in resolving the POW/MIA

issue has not moved forwardniform pace,

xperts, with no apparent political motivation,refused to research or discussiscrepancysenior Vietnamese officials bad agreed toduring meetings with General Vessey inoo the discrepancy cases moved0 In addition, ihe Vietnameserestrict domesticlimits the abilityoHKials to investigate quickly reports ofof American POW/Mlihat US officials would be able toin the country oece they notifyViet-

namese, although willing to provide exccrpii of some wartime documents, are not prepared to fully disclose information found in these documents, making it

Cooperation Elsewhere in Indochina

with the United Statei on POW/MIA issues has also moved ahead, albeit infill and starts at fail, in the other Indo-Chinese countrieshe United Stalesialogue wiih Laos, where moremericans are listed asand.4 someets of remains have been returned to the United States, all identified as American MIAs. Nonetheless,ientiane delayed Joint excavationrash site forear'oup of US citiiens claiming they had official USan Illegal cross-border fomy from Thailand. Cooperation resumedut slowed agains Vientiane apparently followedead in objecting to the US bombing of Libya and later protestedecision not to certify Laos as cooperating in counter narcotics efforts. Sinceaos hasreater commitment lo resolving POW/MIA matters by unilaterallyrash site, allowing an increasing number of Join! crash site excavations, and agreeing1 lo implement the first year-round work plan to resolve POW/MIA Issues.

"jtao motbm forlhe POW/MIA Issue are similar to Vietnam's: the Lao are desperate for outside economic assistance

lo procure American aid.gestures by the United Stales, such as lhe US construction of two schools in areas near joint MIA investigations, appear to be well received in Vientiane.

fad may sparkcooperation, bul real progress will remainrained by Vientiane's shortage af skilled labor and lhe government's insistence lhat investigation teams helicopters to support investigations.

ia, where US officialsost, the Phnom Penh regime did notthe United Stales on MIA Issues duringdemanding that lhe Untied States firstit as lhe legitimate government of Cambodia.tkein an attempt tolegitimacyambodian peaceagreed to allow Joint excavation ofsites, and eight sell of remains haveto the United States Jor identification, Penh,

like Hanoi and Vieniiane. probably hopes cooperation on MIAs will encourage the Untied Slates to provide economic assistance for reconstruction.

to resolve POW/MIA cases. Finally, some Vietnamese officials may be stringing out Ibeprocess either to fill ministry callers or for if financial gain; I

major concession by the United Sutes,'


reports suggest (hat Hanoi viewed tbe USagreement that same year lo send prosthetics teams to help Vietnamese Injured in Ihe war as an Imporunl step toward addressing "urgent Vietnamese humaoiurian concerns "

Economic Aid: Tbe Great Incentive

il is Vietnam's desperate need for economic assistance thai appears to be the driving force behind the of the world's poorestrising unemployment, triple-digit inflation,apid decline in assistance from its primary benefactor. Ihe former Soviet Union. In

otcow provided VietnamecordIn economic ltd, including all of iufuel, ind cotton-fiber imporu. and TO loof iu fertilizer and steel. FxoeanUcereenl8 and hai continued iosince ibea; we believe Soviet aid ceuedBilateral trade has also suffered as Moscowbegan demanding thai Vietnam pay hardfor Soviet

"Senior leia-en ia Hanoi, including former Forciga.Mintttcr Nguyen Cobefore he wai replaced in1 was considered tbe architect of Hanoi's more flexible policy toward tbe United Stale*believe tbe more conciliatory posture oa POW/ MIA issues is necessary to improve Vietnam'! inler-naiional image and attract US and Western

Perhaps mosl important, wcumber of Vietnamese leaders hope that movement on ibe POW/MIA issue will weaken Washington's resolve to continue blocking Vietnam's access lo badly needed funds from the IMP and World Bank. Vice Foreign Minister Le Mai's com menu in November during his tint meeting wiih US oftciah on normaliration suggest tbat Hanoi's primary interest is not todiplomatic relations wiih ihc United Stales but to gain access io funds from these international financial institutions at soon as possible.

Fore igu Minister Nguyen Co Thaeh Leave* His Mark

Tke personal involvement afformer Ftret en Minister Sguren Cotrong advocate of improving relations vith tke United States and the West,eading role In Vietnam 'i willingness to address the POW/MIA

Thoch expressed bitterness about Vietnam bring forced to serve as an "industrial garbage dump" for the Communist countries id Eastern Europe and noted how important improving relations with the United States would be and how hard Hanoi had worked to search far American MIAs.

We believe Thoch probably assurormsur leadership that progress on ihe POW/MIA issue, coupled with tke Vietnamese withdrawal from Cambodiaould bring auick normalisation of bilateral relations. When this proved untrue and when Cktna madeondition for improving Sine- Vietnamese relations. Thach lost both his foreign ministryand his Politburo ranking during the Seventh Party Congress In

economic aid and inveslment, wc expect Hanoi to stick lo its policy of limitedowever, we doubt ihat Hanoi will rely oo Ibe POW/MIA card alone to achieve iu goal. Tbe Vietnamese press, for example, frequently highlights tbe expansion ofand commercial relations with variousincluding France, Australia, Great Briuin,and most ASEAN members, implying that Washington ii falling behind in establishinglies and losing valuable economic opportunities. It

pointed out, for rumple, (hai. during hit trip lo Vietnam inrench Foreign Minister Dnmai pledged to doable France'* investment in Vietnam to about SO million and to help Hanoi restore its standing wilh international financial orea-Dilations. The Vietnamese press praised Australia for lifting its invcslmcnl embargo against Vietnam in1 and announcing plan* to resume direct itcral aid worth shoutmillion (or the first year.

Hanoi apparently hopes Ihese developments willUS business groups lo press Washingtonfaster in improving relations and liftingrestrictions. [

ly torn rncuTucTVCTi

US commercialthey

should encourage Washington io speed up tbenormalisation proccss-l

The publicity Hanoi's pres. gaveve-

yeSTagreernent Vietnam signed loetric tons of wheat al market prices fromAustralia the biggest wheallobe another attempt toUS farmers to press for tbe removal of restrictions or risk ceding markets for agricultural imports lo other producers, in our view.

Nonetheless, Hanoi's deepening economic problems make oiligh government priority, and we expect Hanoi to press to lease some of the jytf^faffuproductive acreage sometime this year.

US Uttragc

As tbe Vietnamese continue to chip away at the US-sponsored economic embargo, US leverage overthus Washington's ability to wrest new concessions on the POW/MIA issue from Ibediminish. US leverage would virtually disappear if major international financial institutions such asl- or World Bank began lending substantial sum to Hanoi, although the Vietnamese would almost certainty continue to seek USand access io US markets. Indeed, lhe Asian Development Hank's decision in late1 IO resume technical aid to Vietnam the firstbank assistance io Vietnam sincebe the first sign (hat such funds will be forthcoming.

More recently. Italy announced it willillion in aid over tbe neat few years,illion as partridge loan tbal France is trying to arrange to help Vietnam repay its arrears io tbe IMF

Moreover, cooperation may falter evenreakthrough in international aid to Vietnam. The Vietnamese nave always been sensitive toand ibe leadership is already unhappy wiih the



rrom. been

removed and may be reviewed in the;

hat also accused Washington of "moving tbe goal posts'1 for normalization and could be expected to react negatively if aay additionalas humanraised durtm any debate in US policy circles or even in the US press. Vietnamese leaders have demanded that Washington csubtish the "right atmosphere" by not, criticizing Hanoi, thus

*tne vJcTaamete

press, recarrini recent Li Senate Searings ooIA investigalions, claims that elements in theStates are clearly "using obsolete anti-Vietnamese sentimentramp card in their gamble to obstruct the normalization of US-Vietnameseice Foreign Minister Le Mai also claims Washington is interfering in Vietnam's relations with third countries by linking, for example certain aspects ofrelations to Tokyo's wllbngncss to suspend aid to Vietnam until the MIA issue is solved]

- VStt'ttaty al Slot' PJtkard Solomo* and VlniatimtM Wat fotlf Ui'iurt It Hot mttt le iitimt aarmghtstut* at US- VtttAmtte |

USresented inhich lies POW/MIA cooperation to Washington's four-stage process for normal!ling relations. Vietnam has never formally accepted or rejected tbe US roadmap.

bnd there are many indtca tions that Vietnam strongly objects to the way il was

presented, viewing itS ultimatum.Minister Nguyen Co Thach'sith General Vessey on POW/MIAshumanitarian issues, be hit hard at tbeclaiming tbat itistake toon normalization and calling for theto put the roadmap


Minn Cam, is nota Politbtuo member and doesthe clout that Thacb

[Ibis uncertainty within the foreign policy community suggests to us that Hanoi's policy toward the Unitedthus its willingness to cooperate on POW/MIAstill subject to change, and we" cannot raleess accommodating attitude as the struggle within the leadership unfolds.

Even under the best of circumstances, however, there arc limits to what the United States could expect to achieve. The Vietnamese have pointed out that the loss of moreervicemen over water aod the compku destruction of some airplane crash sites makes it impossible to account for all missing US personnel Hanoi's cooperation could alsohortage of helicopters and other logistic support, especially if tbe number of US investigators

in Vietnam increased dramatically. Moreover, the issue of Vietnamese sovereignty will remainin Hanoi's dealings with Washington, and we doubt that tbe Vietnamese would for tbe foreseeable future be willing to grant unrestricted and immediate access to people, documents, or locations [

leadership is extremely concerned"he ml lapse of Communism inropc aod tbe former Soviet Union and blames the United States for the unrest there. Vietnam has experienced minor ant (government demonstrations over the pad few years as the population became restive over poor economic conditions Hanoi is unlikely to allowparticularly US officials, to regularly visit the countryside out of fear that Ihey may encourage further disturbances j


Chronology of POW/MLA-Related Events

United States and North Vietnam sign the Paris accords, commitling the United States to withdraw its troops and Vietnamespect tbe cease-fire-Hanoi provides list of all POWs in North Vietnam and repatriates tbem within the stipulatedays.

Talks begin on US economic aid to North Vietnam.

Hanoi announces it will not search for individuals missing in action (MIAs) while South Vietnam holds political prisoners.

Hanoi releases names of three dead MIAs to US Senator.

Premier Pbam Van Dong offers to normalize relations with United States, provided Washington honors obligations of reconstruction aid.

ftanoi will tarn

"thrarsetroT remains, ou! oner is" withdrawn alter United States vetoes Vietnam's UN application.

turn over three sets of remains.

again links aid to MIAs and offers lo

United States and Vietnam exchange notes on normalization; United States stresses MIA accounting as precondition; Vietnam stresses US aid obligations.

Hanoi labels President Ford's speech to the National League of POW/ MIA Families "slanderous" and accuses Ford of electioneering.


No-embcr December

announces second try for UN seat and turns over list ofIAs killed in North Vietnam, the first such release sinceanoi again charges that President Ford is using MIAs for electioneering.

US-Vietnamese delegations negotiate on MIA cooperation in Paris.

US Congressional Committee reports belief Ihat no US personnel are being held alive in Indochina and recommends United States begin direct discussions with Hanoi lo gain fullest possible accounting of MIAs.



US Presidential Commission receives special treatment in Vientiane and Hanoi. Vietnam pledges to cooperate in resolving MIA issue, but there is little tangible evidence of change.

United States announces it will not veto next Vietnamese application to UN If Hanoi speeds up MIA investigations; bilateral talks resume. Congressional resolution prohibits US aid to Indochina, except forlid.


announces names ofIAs.

Vietnam gains UN seat; remains ofIAs repatriated.

Jar. usual

Hanoi drops claims that the MIA issue is related to other unresolved issues between the two cocntries

from Vietnam's Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and US Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC) meet in Hawaii to discuss MIA issue.

team visits Vietnam and Laos; four remains promised from Laos,rom Vietnam.

invades Cambodia and US-Vietnamese bilateral discussions break down.


ebruary June December

eb nun







Congressional delegation finds Hanoi willing to talk but not to compromise on resolving the POW/MIA issue.

JCRC and VNOSMP meet in Hanoi.

JCRC and VNOSMP meet; three MIA names released.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) visit Hanoi to discuss MIAs.

Joint US Government-National League of POW/MIA Familiesgoes to Hanoi to discuss MIAs.

Vietnam releases four MIA names to VVA.

JCRC-National League of POW/MIA Families group visits Hanoi and Vientiane; Laos allows them to visit crash sites. Vietnamese Foreign Minister Tbach subsequently announces acceptance of quarterly technical meetings.

Technical experts meet in Hanoi and inspect crash site.

JCRC delegations visit both Hanoi and Vientiane; Hanoi providesonIAs.

US official and the Executive Director of the National League of the POW/MIA Families bold unannounced session with Thach to discuss breaking the deadlock in MIA Degotiations.

Indo-Chinese Foreign Ministers draft adies their countries' willingness to cooperate on the MIA question if the United States renounced its "hostilepress the United Slates io grant de facto recognition to the Phnom Penh regime.

US Government minion visits Hanoi and reaches agreement with Thach to accelerate cooperation and delink the POW/MIA issue fromrelations in other areas. Vietnam agrees to focus initial efforts on the mosl accessible cases in Hanoi area and those listed as having died in captivity in southern Vietnam.

US delegation to Hanoi discusses Vietnamese plan lo resotvc the POW/ MIA issue within two years.

US official and Vietnamese Ambassador meet in New York to exchange views oo Vietnamese two-year workplan.

Vietnam agrees to allow first joint excavation2 crash site near Hanoi.

US Assistant Defense Secretary leads highest-level delegation lo Hanoi in overears. Agreement is reached to resolve the problem of missing US servicemen within two years and to consider ibe MIAumanitarian question.

Vietnam pledges to investigate claimed live sightings of American servicemen.

US Senator leads Congressional delegation to Vietnam, the firstS, and discusses Vietnam's two-year plan with Thach and visits site of joint excavation for American remains.


Hanoi cancels meeting between Vietnamese and US technical experts in protest over US military operations against Libya. This follows Vietnamese allegations that Washington has refused to formally participate in Hanoi's two-year plan to resolve the MIA issue.


July October

delegation to Vietnam formally backs the two-year plan.

US delegation meets with senior Vietnamese official, charging two-year plan is going too slow, and Vietnamese policy decisions are not being implemented at the technical level.

Director of the US Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii leads delegation lo Hanoi for talks with Vietnamese experts and lorash site.

Former US Secretary of Stale leads delegation to meet with Thach on





Vietnamese reiterate claim that slow progress on MIA issue reflects lack of US cooperation on Vietnamese two-year plan.

US delegation to Vietnam met by low-level official,ooling in the Vktnamcsc attitude toward the United States.

Hanoi links progress on MIA issue to US aid for the first time

Vietnam's Prime Minister expresses doubt thai bilateral relations with the United States would improve during the Reagan ad mi nisi ration, bul notes that Vietnam would consider allowing the United State, toiaison office in Vietnam for handling POW/MIA issues.

US delegation led by the President's Special Emissary General Vessey meets Thach io Hand Vietnamese renew pledge to cooperate and to treat POW/MIA issueeparate humanitarian matter. United Slates agrees to facilitate private humanitarian assistance: Vietnamese press says visitignificant step toward reconciliation. Foreign press claims Vietnam achieves political coup in linking humanitarian assistance to cooperation on MIAs.

Vietnam issues official complaint regarding US Defense Department comments that Vietnam is holding beck information about MIAs.

Vietnam lurns over the possible remains of three American soldiers.




June-July July


September October

US officials meet acting Vietnamese UN representative to discuss progress nn POW/MlAs and other humanitarian matters. United States tells Vietnamese representative about growing frustration in Washington with meager progress on resolution of POW/MIA issue.

Thach claims US Government should provide humanitarian assistance to Vietnam because it is cooperating in searching for MIAs. US spokesman responds thai US policy prohibits direct government assistance to Vietnam and notes that Hanoi's cooperation on POW/MIAs has been disappointing.

US and Vietnamese technical experts meet and share information onIA cases.

Thach meets with Vessey in New York to discuss MIAs. the settlement of Vietnam's humanitarian issues, and the status of newly releasedcamp inmates.

Vietnamese delegation visits JCRC and the US Army Identification Center in Hawaii for the first lime lo review technical cooperation on MIAs.

Thach sends letter to Vessey renewing Hanoi's pledge lo solveriority MIA cases before ihc end8 and asking United Stales to siricllyits promise io address Vietnam's humanitarian issues.

Hanoi postpones investigation of discrepancy cases, claiming il is offended by remarks of US Assistant Secretary of State.

Thach indicates joint US-Vietnamese surveys of possible crash sites can get under way./

US Colonel leads delegation in joint US-Victnamesc search for MIAs

United States ships humanitarian supplies including medicines andto Vietnam.

Vessey meets with Thach in New York to discuss MIAs. Joint US-Vietnameseearch conducted







July-August October

Notcmber IVcember

Defense Department thanks Vietnam for repatriating;ossible American MIA remains, mostly obtained by unilateral Vietnameseiransfer of remains since7 visit.

Thach agrees to Vessey's proposal io increase the number of joint MIA search teams.

Vietnam returnsossible MIA remains, v

Vietnam reaffirms commitment to consider the search for American MIAsumanitarian act.

Fourth joint US-Victnamesc search for missing American servicemen.

Vietnamese pressS documeni that reportedly concludes that there is no proof of living American POWs in Vietnam.

US and Vietnamese officials carry out fifth search for American MIAs.

Vietnam turns overemains of possible MIAs.

Sixth joint search for MIAs."Victnam hands overets of remains.

Seventh joint search for MIAs Preliminary investigations completed on allf tbe priority discrepancy cases outlined by Vessey

F.ighth joint search for MIAs

Vessey meets Thach in Hanoi to discuss humanitarian issues for first timeoth sides agree to expand joint cooperation to resolve the MIA cases;dditional cases raised by Vessey.

Vietnamese in meeting with American specialists say they are unwilling to address the additionaliscrepancy cases.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State meets with Vietnamese UN Ambassador in New York to discuss POW/MIA progress. Hanoi is concerned thai the United Sutes is delaying closure of jointly investigated cases for political reasons and emphasizes its commitment to full cooperation.

Ninth joint investigation for MIAs

Tenth joint investigation for MIAs.

Vessey sendsetter expressing US disappointment with the pace of MIA searches and investigations. Thach replies lhat Vessey's negative tone is surprising given recent positive bilateral assessments of the issue. Thach also complains about US accusations that Vietnamerious commitment to cooperate and is storing American remains.

Eleventh joint search for MIA remains.


US officials meet Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister in New York lo discuss expanding the bilateral dialogue, especially on POW/MIA issues

Secretary of State Baker meets wilh Thach in New York to discuss bilateral relations, ibc highest-level meeting5 Two issues-for POW/MIAs and establishmenttable government in Cambodia- -are cited as blocking normalization of relations. Vietnamese press cautions thai normalization will not occur quickly.

Thach meets wiih Vessey for the first time in Washington to discuss MIA issue Thach pledges cooperation in accelerating resolution; Vietnamese press claims the mceiing was particularly fruitful.

Thach agrees loroposal toS representative in Vietnam lo deal with MIA issues.

Vietnam hands over remains collectedh joint MIA search. Twelfth joint search for MIA remains.

March April

joint search for Ml As

Vietnam turns over seven sets of recently discovered remains believed to be those of American MIAs.


June Jul)

official presents Vietnamese UN Ambassador in New York with "roadmap" outlining US conditions for normalization, includingprogress on the POW/MIA issue.

Vessey announces during visit to Vietnam that Washington willemporary office in Hanoi lo work on MIA cases.

US announces thai it will give Vietnamillion for prosthetic devices for amputees, the lint direct US aid to Vietnam

Department of Defense personnel establish temporary POW/MIA office in Hanoi. US officials begin examining Vietnamese museum artifacts and mililary records related lo US MIA cases.

Vietnam agrees to US Senator's request to gram permits for US veterans' organizations to set up an MIA liaison office in Hanoi and to allow American MIA families to come to Vietnam to join in the search for MIAs

Suff of new US MIA office leaves Hanoi at Government's request as Hanoi prepares for Seventh Party Congress.

Stale Deputy Assistant Secretary leads POW/MIA team lo Hanoi lo discuss photos reportedly of living MIAs. Vietnamese officials demonstrate willingness to move quickly on remaining POW/MIA discrepancy cases by rapidly responding to US requests to publicize Ihc photo of an alleged MIA in the Vietnamese press and on television.

US and Vietnamese officials in Bangkok note improved cooperation on POW/MIA issue over the past two years

Fourteenth joint search for MIA remains.


asks Vessey to delay trip scheduled for September because of Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam's busy schedule.

Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister comes to Washington to meet with Vessey and US Senators on the POW/MIA issue

returns for fourth visit to Hanoi7 to discuss POW/MIA

issues. He announces that he will recommend that the temporary POW/ MIA office in Hanoi beermanent office but warns that both sides still have room for additional cooperation.

Cam calls for greater US flexibility and an end to US hostility toward Hanoi. Claims Vietnam has been doing its best to meet Washington's conditions for normalizing ties.

joint search for MIA remains.

fifth visit to Hanoi to discuss POW/MIA issues.

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