this is an information
not finaily evalualtd intelligence
Evacuation^ Escape Attempts, Illnesses and Detention of 1 American Prisoners of War
report no. J
date wstr, 0
Summary: American prisoners of war captured lnSouth Vietnam wore evacuated^tp, fieat^ja facilitiesVietnamTp^aTtioUsly as circumstancos 'Tftoeo captured in South Vietnam (SVN) worevia routes used by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA)its units into SVN. One escape attempt became *
North Vietnam valuod American POW's as tyfa,
, potentially very valuable sources of information. Illnesses *by American prisoners of war while in' captivity
NVN lncludod cachexia, general fatigue and nourasthonla. Some prisoners, because" NVN interrogators, woro identified as "hard coroV although a
more appropriate terminology would bo "wayward" ornd Summary.
1. All Americans captured in SVN wore ovacuated to NVN as soon ad possible, consistent with good security procedures and tfith tho combat situation in each area of SVN. While limited exploitation of American prisoners was permitted in SVN,-policy dictated that all Americans be evacuated as soon as local exploitation was concluded. No American prisoners ware bold in SVN boyood_-tho timo needed to oxoloit them for_ tacticalon. I
all captured Amoricans wore evacuated to Hanoi withinsix months nfter capture.
2. Local oxplpitation in SVN, particularly of tho more knowledgeable Americans, was conducted by NVA militaryrepresentatives who wore primarily interested in the protection of local NVA and Viet Cong (VC)nd concentrations from Allied attack. This exploitation^ was concluded us quickly as possiblo so the prisoner could be evacuated to NVN. Strict accountability proceduresfor each captured American, and no VC/NVA commander wished to assumo responsibility for his snfoty longer than was necdssary.
3. American prisoners were evacuated to NVN alongroutos as those used by the NVA to Infiltrate itsintdSVN or to evacuate wounded to NVN. Somethe VC/NVA wounded, were evacuated by truck fromwhich received supplies from NVN by truck, buton foot. Empty trucks returning to NVN fromTri Province area in particular were occasionallytransport American prisoners to NVN, and vehiclessupplies as far south as Kontum Provincesorastimes used. Because truck and train transportto air attack, even In NVN, most prisonersJournoy ln NVN on foot. Fewar VC/NVA ill andevacuated to NVN from southern SVN than from central and
A, Each capturod American was considorod bothotential source of important information. Ac- "'no VC/NVA commander, given the fluid combat sltua- in SVN, wished to irun -the -risk ofaptured Amor- escape once tho prisoner oame under histhere were no secure detention facilities In SVN, transferred Americans to higher echelons and thencentral level in NVN as promptly as2||
5.was not aware of any escapes or attompted
escapes by American prisoners in SVN. ThroughMinistry of National Defense (MND) and tho MinistrySecurity (MPS) learned. pilots had
boon briofod to evade capture If downed over NVN by promptly signalling other aircraft to rescue them or by taking shelter in mountainous areas of NVN. They also had been instructed to seek out shelter in any foreign embassy ln Hanoi if this wore possible. According toprovided during official briefings, all foreign embassies in Hanoi wore intonsoly interested in tho presence of American prisoners in NVN. NVN therefore did not exclude the possibility that the foreign embassies, includingbloc embassies, would attempt to smuggle American prisoners out of NVN. V
inabout thoof two American prisoners in NVN. Inpilots from. 7th Fleet escaped from Hoaabout one month after their capture and afterexploitation had been concludedThe prisoners,given the Impression of being cooperative, were ableout of the prison during the night while thewasarty meeting. They hid theira substitute guard by placing matting under theand the escape was not detected until the Search attempts, coordinated by the MPS and theconcentrated in the area of the Gia Lam airportbelieved that the escapees would attempt to steal racked, the escapees to the Hong River, andwas then concentrated in the down-streamSecurity Services and NVA personnel were used from the
,adjacent districts and provinces to aid in the search. '
escapees were accidentally foundlumpby'a group of students in an area north of the Long about three kilometersppintdogs'had lost their track at the Red River.Tfieadmitted that thoy had intended to escape bythan by plane.storydistorted because such an escape was possible fromfacility b'ut, not from,_Hoa Lo Prison. This was tho ever heard of by AmericanNVN. Both tHe MPS and the MND had reportedlyprocedures to cope with attempted escapes, butthat Americans, because of theireasily identified and apprehended, T
[any other escapes by American'TSrT.soners from NVN would ha"ve been fetaged to serve MPS or MND purposes.)
all foreign embassies in Hanoi had been placed under spec: observation. Special attention was paid to the Soviet, Czech and Polish embassies because lt was anticipated that the American prisoners might seok shelter or asylum from those countries,
9, In answer to aspeculated that Pho
Lu, which was located near Lao Cal,ogical site for the detention of American prisoners, Pho Lu, the siteeveral important factories, had been used5elatively large number of Communist Chinese laborers who were detailed to road construction projects in NVN. The .Chinese were billetedamp located in or near Pho Lu,
^considered Baogical site for the detention of imerican prisoners because of the location of an MND instal lation there and because the MND was very active in Ba Sao.
acquainted with Bat Sat, .Coo Mi or Dam
nnd wnn not nwnro of nny American prisonor of wnrsites nt those locations.
Hanoi, American prisoners were held ntdotentlon areas. The first was located in theDe area, bounded byhe second site was west of the dike ataware of the locationAmericanat theo-
. cation, an area which ho considered illogical forecurity. All buildings in this area were small and the man streets intersecting the area precludedaximum
i security detention facility. However, even prior to tho bombing of Hanoi,Retention facilities where Americano hold were relocated on occasion.
of pia most prevalent diseases^jc^ehsgia.. Cacfiex'ia' referreda deterioration in the physical condition of American Their susceptibility to cachexia was attributed toof factors vAi^tinr- to tho prisoners' state ofmental health prior to their capture. Prior to thoirAmericnns woro accustomed to generous diots andplagued with problems of morale. After thoir capture,Americans wore provided with what was considered aration by North Vietnamese standards, thoy weroof whioh therehortage tn NVN, and the wldoof foods to which they had been accustomed. Afterthe Americans sufferedepressed mentalon .by'the-shock of- their incarceration and tho inter-
.rogation to which they wero subjected.
a result, the physical condition of thedotorlorated because of the poor diet, tholiving conditions, and their depressed mentalpoor diet and the confined living conditions usuallya feeling of generalthe prisoners were neglected, thea more advanced state of physica^Tdetoriofntionor into neurasthenia, whichore severe orform 'of physical and mental deterioration. suffering from general fatigue could recoverimpi'ovemept in thoir diet"those^su'ffering from aof cachbxln roqulrod more than an improved diet, supplies of vitamins, glucose.and bloodsufforlng from neurasthenia wero constantly tired,to sloop or rest, andtate Of almost total physical
Khnus-tion. Tharnutlmrmd from *ovoro Thoae uffering from cachexia oneurasthenia, if negloctodlong or if the treatment"provided was inadequate, ultimatply died.
American prisoners in NVN wore described-"hard core" (trung klen) typos. However, noithornor the MND actually made official use of the "hardin making professional reference to Tho "hard coro" expression was used only describe tho intensity of feelings on tho part of aof Amorlcan prisoners. Tho "hard core" exprossionderlvod from otHe'r American prisoners who,about tho stubbornness and lack of oooporatlon onof somo Americans, identified thorn as "hard oore"Amorlcan prisoners told their interrogatorscore" Amorloan prisonors wore those who had Joinedmilitary establishment (regardless of branch ofparticular motivation or ideological
This typo .of individual waa gonornlly considered tounruly, boisterous and uncooperative even in hisunit,[the origin of the
American POW's'so described was "not limited to any particular military service or region of service but rather inoluded persons from any branch of servioe or any area of operation. Thoso "hard core" typos woro gonerally considered by thoto be adventurous and dovoid of any doep-soatod patriotic or ideological convictions.
Jwhile reference was made to" allcollective, discussions nonetheless generally ro-volvod around American pilots, rather than ground force troops, because most important American prisoners in NVN wore pilots.)
14. The more accurate terminology used both by tho MPS and MND Interrogators relating to these "hard core" American POW typos was that they were "wayward (cungr(ngoanor the roasons described above. In spite .of their lack of cooperation, such American prisoners woro considered potentially valuable sources of informationJ suitable for future exploitation.
18. Fiold Dissem: State USMACV 7th Air Force NAVFORV CINCPAC PACFLT PACAF AltPAC
2 1Original document.