Efforts to Gain Access. PON's In North Vietnam
of2 the residency in Hanoi of the ChiefDirectorate of the USSR Ministry of Defense (CRU)for
a long tine the standing requirement to get direct access. PON's feeing held by the North Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese, however, despite repeated requests from the Soviets, had never provided access to the prisoners- Although the Soviets knew where the POW compounds wera located and could evon drive past them, they had no access to the compounds or the PON's.
CRU residency in Hanoi learned through agentnames of aome of the PON's and asked the North Vietnameseto specific Individual prisoners. The North Vietnsmeseaccede to these specific requests,I 1
not know whether specificlm'i sbcsb to the
In Hanoi were forwarded to Hoscow, but he assumed that they were.) The usual North Vietnamese response to Soviet requests was that access to the prisoners for questioning was not neccsssry and that they would tell the Soviets everything about
tho prisoners. The North Vietnamese expressed bewilderment as to why the Soviets would wish to talk with the prisoners.
North Vietnamese never -trovided any information on
the prisoners to the Soviets through official liaison In response to specific questions the North Vietnamese answered only in general terms. As ofhe CRU residency in llxnoi had for *ome time been undertaking unspecified mc.mircs to persuade the North Vietnamese authorities to grant access to the prisoners.
FOR RFXFASF. DATE:6
to interview the prisoners in conjunction with these press The impression gained by Soviet personnel attending the conferences was that the prisoners were hardly blooming; they had the look of tired people.
Field Dissem: Sent to Saigon (for Ambassador Bunker, Deputy Ambassador Whitehouse and General Veyand only, Vientiane (for Ambassador CodleyINCPAC (exclusiveCPAC and POLAD only) and Paria (for Ambassador Porter and
ff,Jgftmm 'Original document.