MIA/POW: COMMENTS BY A SENIOR LAO MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICIAL ON THE L

Created: 10/12/1988

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iIRBCTOR, WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM; NSA FOR ZKZKRI, DE (EXCLUSIVE FOR THE DIRECTOR, TATE EXCLUSIVE FOR THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, INR; DIA EXCLUSIVE FOR THE DIRECTOR, DIA (DIA IS AUTHORIZED TO PASS THIS INFORMATION TO THE JOINT CASUALTY RESOLUTION CENTERS PAGE 2 1 SECRET

BANGKOK AND BARBERS POINT, HAWAII, FOR COMMANDERS ONLY).

JEN I'RAL INTfcLLIGKNCF AGENCY

warning: information report, not finally evaluated intelligence.

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october8

DISSEMINATION TO ADDRESSEES LISTED AT END OF REPORT COUNTRY: ^

COMMENTSENIOR LAO MINISTRY OF

FOREIGN AFFAIRS OPFICIAL ON THE LAO GOVERNMENT'S HANDLING OF UNITED STATES MISSING IN ACTION AND PRISONER OF WAR ISSUE

PAGE 3 1 SECRET

OCTOBER

SOURCE:

text: U 'J'Ht Early8 commentsenior

lao ministry of foreign affairs (mfa} official, there are no. prisoners of war (pow) in laos. the official stated that the missing in action (mia)/pow-issue within the lao government is the shared responsiblity of the ministry of national defense (mnd) and ministry of interior (moi), with the ministry of foreign affairs <mfa> becoming directly involved only when remains are found and are turned over to. embassy in vientiane. according to the official, because op the general make-up and outlook op the mnd and moi, the lao government appears toather intransigent position with the united states over site inspections and recovering mia remains. the mfaore accommodating position, but the ministry's influence is limited to persuasion brought to bear by foreign affairs ministerhoun)) sipaseut by virtue of his position page 4 1 secret

in the political bureau of the lao people's revolutionary party.

2. ACCORDING TO THIS SENIOR MFA OFFICIAL, THE LAO CONDITION OF "COMPENSATION" IN RETURN FOR INCREASED COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED STATES IN SITE INSPECTIONS (EXCAVATIONS) AND RECOVERY OF MIA REMAINS CAN BE SATISFIED THROUGH INCREASED ASSISTANCE SIMILAR TO THAT CURRENTLY BEING GIVEN BY THE UNITED STATES IN THE FORM OF MEDICAL CLINICS BEING BUILT IN RURAL AREAS OF LAOS. INDEED, THE OFFICIAL STATED THESE CLINICS PROVIDE COMPENSATION TO THOSE LAO PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED MOST. AGGRESSION DURING THE WAR, AND THIS MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE UNITED STATES WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE LAO

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.VERNMENT'S AGREEMENT TO ALLOW THE SITE INSPECTION TEAM TO COME TO AOS IN EARLY OCTOBER IN ADDITION TO THE CLINICS, THE OFPICIAL STATED SUCH SUPPORT AS INCREASED AID DONATIONS TO LAOS FROM THE UNITED STATES THROUGH SUCH INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AS THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) AND THE UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO) WOULD ALSO SERVE TO SATISFY THE LAO DEMAND FOR "COMPENSATION."

3. IN DISCUSSING THE DISPOSITION OF MIA REMAINS FOUND IN1 SECRET

LAOS, THE OFFICIAL STATED HE KNEW OF NO LAO GOVERNMENT POLICY TO STORE REMAINS OR ANY INSTANCE WHERE THE LAO GOVERNMENT CURRENTLY, OR THE PATHET LAO PRIOR TURNED OVER MIA REMAINS TO THE NORTH VIETNAMESE.

4. (HEADQUARTERS COMMENT: THE LAO MND MAY BE THE CENTRAL REPOSITORY OF ALL POW/MIA DATA. THE MOI IS INVOLVED IN DECIDING WHEN, WHERE AND WHAT AREAS ARE TO BE SURVEYED AND/OR EXCAVATED. THE MFA NEGOTIATES AND COORDINATES WITH THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN VIENTIANE AND OTHER UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS PRIOR TO SURVEYS AND EXCAVATIONS, WITH AN MND REPRESENTATIVE USUALLY BEING PRESENT AT THESE NEGOTIATIONS. DURING AN ACTUAL SURVEY AND SUBSEQUENT EXCAVATION", MND, MFA AND PROBABLY MOI PERSONNEL ARE ALL REPRESENTED ON SITE. THESE MINISTRIES MUST GET PRIOR APPROVAL DIRECTLY FROM THE LAO POLITBURO ON THE POW/MIA ISSUE, AS WELL AS OTHER MATTERS INVOLVING THE UNITED STATES. SOME OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION REGARDING LAO POLICY ON THE POW/MIA ISSUE MAY BE SLIGHTLY DATED, FOR SINCE7 BOTH SIDES HAVEETTER ACCORD AND PROGRESS HAS RESULTED. IN THE PAST THE LAO MAY HAVE BROUGHT UP "COMPENSATION"TALLING TACTIC, PERHAPS TO GIVE THE LAO1 SECRET

GOVERNMENT TIME TO GET APPROVAL FROM VIETNAM. HE LAO SENT MFA OFFICIALS OUT ON THEIR OWN TO SEEK POW/MIA INFORMATION AND TO PREPARE LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND-EFFORTS "TO FIND SUCH INFORMATION. THE MND HAS ALSO CONDUCTED SOME UNILATERAL EXCAVATIONS OP CRASH SITES. AT PRESENT, THE LAO ARE REQUESTING "HUMANITARIAN AID" RATHER THAN WAR REPARATIONS OR "COMPENSATION", AND THEY WOULD PROBABLY WANT AN OFPICIAL AID PROGRAM ON THE ORDER OF ABOUT ONE. DOLLARS PER YEAR AT THECQ: ARLY. DISSEM: FIELD: NONE. WASHINGTON DISSEM:

TO WHSITRM: EXCLUSIVE FOR THE DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM

TOFOR THE ASSISTANT

SECRETARY, INR

TOFOR THE DIRECTOR, DIA

TOFOR THE DIRECTOR, NSA

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