Site Statistics  :  Web Resources  :  Past Polls    
 Welcome to WinterSoldier.comTuesday, September 26 2017 @ 03:53 PM MDT 
Contribute
Support WinterSoldier.com


Dedication
WinterSoldier.com is dedicated to the American veterans of the Vietnam War, who served with courage and honor.

Visit The Wall

Read the book: To Set the Record Straight
The inside story of how Swift Boat veterans, POWs and the New Media defeated John Kerry.

Topics

Newsletter

Sign up for WinterSoldier.com updates.

Email:


Interviews
January 30, 2008:
FrontPage Magazine: To Set The Record Straight

August 18, 2004:
FrontPage Magazine interviews Scott Swett


Speakers Bureau
Speaker Biographies

Contact Us
Send feedback to Admin@WinterSoldier.com

For media contacts or to book speakers, email Media@WinterSoldier.com

WinterSoldier.com is an online project of
New American Media Online Services, LLC


Prisoner of War Panel
Moderator:

Don Duncan, M/Sgt., 5th Special Forces (1964 to 1965)

Panelists:

Howard Zinn, Professor of Political Science, Boston University

Stephanie Caldwell, sister of James Warner, Prisoner of War in North Vietnam

Jon Floyd, 24, 1st Lt., VMA 533, Marine Attack Group, 1st Marine Air Wing, 1st Marine Division (February 1967 to July 1968)

Jon Van Dyke, Attorney, worked in State Department in 1966 on POW matters, now Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California

George Smith (E-6), 5th Special Forces; taken prisoner by the NLF in 1963 and released in November 1965

Dr. Marjorie Nelson, medical doctor, worked in Child Day Care Center, Rehabilitation Center for Civilians, treated prisoners in Vietnam; captured in Hue during the Tet offensive in 1968 (October 1967 to October 1968)

Virginia Warner, mother of James Warner, American Prisoner of War in North Vietnam

Jon Drolshagen, 26, 1st Lt., 25th Infantry Division (1966 to 1967)

Veterans Testifying:

Don Dzagulones, 23, SP/5, 635th Military Intelligence Detachment, attached to 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division (January 1969 to December 1969)

Steve Noetzel, 31, SP/4, 5th Special Forces Group Augmentation (May 1963 to May 1964)

MODERATOR. Good morning. This morning the first panel relates to the issue of prisoners of war. Yesterday, we heard some testimony, or quite a bit of testimony, some of it very repetitive, relating to the treatment of prisoners, Vietnamese prisoners, in the hands of Americans. Today we are going to talk about the treatment of Americans in the hands of the Vietnamese. It's an emotional issue, and it's one certainly causing terrible discussion in this country right now. It seems like the whole war issue has centered around the prisoner of war issue. On the panel this morning we have more "alleged" veterans, some of whom "alleged" to have been prisoners of war in an "alleged war." Again I would like to remind you that this is not a mock trial. We are presenting testimony into an investigation relating to the prisoner of war issue, war crimes in general. My name is Don Duncan. I am a veteran. I served in Vietnam in 1964 and 1965. I was a member of the United States Special Forces. At this point I will have the rest of the people at the tables introduce themselves in turn to you.

ZINN. I'm Howard Zinn, I teach Political Science at Boston University. I'm a veteran of the Air Force in another war, but I'm here today because I went to North Vietnam in early 1968 with Father Daniel Berrigan to bring out the first three American pilots who were released as prisoners by the North Vietnamese.

FLOYD. My name is Jon Floyd. I was a pilot with the Marine Corps and I served in Vietnam in 1968. I flew missions over both the North and the South. I was discharged in December of 1969.

VAN DYKE. My name is Jon Van Dyke. I'm an attorney. I worked in the State Department on prisoner of war matters in 1966. I'm now Visiting Fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Santa Barbara.

SMITH. I'm George Smith. I was a member of the Special Forces Aide Team in South Vietnam in 1963. My camp was overrun. I was captured by the NLF troops and held prisoner for two years and released in November 1965.

NELSON. I'm Dr. Marjorie Nelson, and I'm not a veteran. I was in Vietnam from October of 1967 until October 1969. I was captured in the Tet offensive of 1968 in Hue.

CALDWELL. I'm Stephanie Caldwell, and my brother is a prisoner in North Vietnam. He's been a prisoner since October of 1967.

QUESTION. What is your brother's name?

CALDWELL. James Warner.

WARNER. My name is Virginia Warner, and I am the mother of James Warner, who has been a prisoner in Vietnam, North Vietnam, since 1967 in October. I'm here to ask the American people to help get this thing over with.

DROLSHAGEN. I'm Jon Drolshagen. I was a lieutenant. I was a prisoner of war interrogator. I was in Vietnam from '66 to '67.

DZAGULONES. My name is Don Dzagulones. I was an interrogator also. I was with the Americal Division in Southern I Corp. I was inducted into the Army in December 1967. I spent 1969 in Vietnam.

NOETZEL. My name is Steve Noetzel, and I'm from Floral Park, Long Island, New York. I was drafted in 1962, in July. I went to Vietnam June of 1963 and stayed until May of 1964. While in Vietnam, I was attached to the 5th Special Forces Group. I was a member of a psychological warfare civic action team. While in Vietnam I traveled extensively through the Mekong Delta with our psy war efforts, and during this time I witnessed several incidents of mistreatment, maltreatment, of prisoners and that's what I'm here to testify about today. I now work for the Bell System. I'm in management at their headquarters in New York.

MODERATOR. Mr. Noetzel, we'll start the testimony with you. Please explain specifically where you were in the Delta, and elaborate on this mistreatment, some specific instances, please.

NOETZEL. Right. Before I start maybe some of the media people are interested in some kind of proof that I was there, I am who I say I am, was what I say I was, whatever. This is my DD-214 form discharge from the Army. It tells what unit I was in in Vietnam and when I came back. I have a commendation letter from a Brian Mills, who was the psy war director for the CIA in the embassy in Vietnam in '64. Attached to the commendation letter is another commendation letter from Col. Theodore Leonard, who was the commander of U.S. Special Forces at the time.

I have several sets of orders, sending me on different missions in the Mekong Delta. I have an after action report, and official copy of the after action report, from our Civil Affairs Augmentation Team No. 4, U.S. Army Special Forces Provisional, Vietnam Detachment B-5410, November '63 to April '64. I have about 100 pictures from different places in the Mekong Delta, including many recognizable places to any reporters who may have been in the Mekong Delta, including figures like Henry Cabot Lodge, who visited our camp at the time that I was there, and pictures, maybe somewhat incriminating of a forced work detail of Viet Cong prisoners. If that's not enough, I have a copy of a statement that I made to the U.S. Army concerning the things that I had seen.

It's been brought out a few times yesterday, I guess, that some people may or may not be willing to make a statement about what they had seen. I'd like to read to you just a paragraph from the affidavit that accompanies this statement. "I, Steven S. Noetzel, hereby certify the attached eight pages to be an exact copy of a statement concerning my personal observations of war crimes committted by United States and South Vietnamese military personnel while I was on active duty with the U.S. Army in South Vietnam. I further certify that the original of this document was forwarded to the U.S. Army 12th Military Police Group, Criminal Investigations Detachment E, Military Ocean Terminal, Brooklyn, New York, 11250, care of Investigator William H. Bass, on September 12, 1970, for their subsequent investigation. I further certify that since that date Investigator Bass has acknowledged receipt of the original document and has assured me that an investigation is now in progress. To this affidavit and to each of the eight pages of the attached statement, I have affixed my signature and solemnly swear to the truth of all statements therein."

This is the statement that I will be speaking about today, and these are the incidents that are in this statement. Finally I was contacted, I believe on Wednesday of this week, by a reporter from the Detroit Free Press. He called me at my office in New York and asked me if I would give him my Army service number and so on so he could check out my validity at the Pentagon. He had reason to contact Colonel Heath at the Pentagon who said he knew me. I asked the reporter what Heath said about me, and the reporter said that Heath said that "Noetzel is okay." The first incident that I will speak about happened in November or December of 1963. I was stationed in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta and was trying to hitchhike a chopper ride to Saigon. The only flight going to Saigon on that particular day was a five chopper flight.

They were transporting some 16 prisoners, South Vietnamese prisoners, who had been interrogated at several levels before being sent to Saigon. They were transporting these prisoners in two helicopters, double-rotor helicopters, H-121. There were eight prisoners brought onto each helicopter. They were tied, their hands were tied behind their backs, and they were tethered together with rope around their necks, and about a six-foot length of rope to the next prisoner. A string of eight of them like that were put on each helicopter. With them were about an equal number of South Vietnamese or ARVN troops as guards. Also on that flight of five helicopters were three gunships, HUIB single-rotor helicopters. I flew in the first of these helicopters. The point helicopter. We were to fly support for this mission to bring these prisoners to Saigon. Incidentally, during those days, prisoners were brought to Saigon for a six-month rehabilitation program and then they were released after the six months to go back to wherever they wanted to go, that is, South Vietnamese or NLF prisoners. We took off from Can Tho. We heard, or I heard (I had a headset on), the radio message to Saigon. We got in contact with MACV headquarters in Saigon, told them we were coming with 16 prisoners, and they said they would have a greeting party for us at Tan Son Nhut Airport. We flew in one direct nonstop flight. All the ships stayed together the entire flight, about an hour and ten minutes or so. No helicopter left the group at any time. It could never have caught up with us if it did leave, and land anywhere. We landed in Saigon, I got out of the helicopter, and there was a greeting party there to meet us, a colonel from MACV and some other field grade officers. They had a paddy wagon to transport prisoners and so on. When we got off the helicopter, there were exactly three prisoners left on one helicopter, and one prisoner left on the other helicopter. These prisoners were now bound with their hands behind their backs. They were blindfolded, and of course no tether or no rope around their necks attaching to any other prisoners. I instantly realized what had happened and couldn't believe it, although I knew, rationally, what had to have happened. I went over to the American door gunner of one of the transport ships, and I asked him what the _____ happened, and he told me that they had pushed them out over the Mekong Delta. And I said, "Who?" and he said, "The ARVN guards did." And I just shook my head and said, "I can't believe it," and he said, "Go over there and look at the doorway." There are open doorways on these helicopters; they have no closeable door, there's just a door frame.

And I went over to the doorway and stopped when I got about five feet away and didn't want to go any closer because there was flesh from the hands of the prisoners when they were pushed out on the door jambs and on the door frames. And there was blood on the floor where they had been beaten and pushed out of the helicopters. I went back to my own helicopter that I had just gotten out of and there I overheard the conversation between the American pilots and the MACV colonel who had come to meet the prisoners, and he asked them what the _____ happened to the other prisoners and one of the American pilots simply said to him, "They tried to escape over the Mekong Delta." That was the first, or only, incident of helicopter murder that I had seen in Vietnam.

MODERATOR. Steve, could you now relate to treatment of prisoners at a specific A Team Camp or in the Delta?

NOETZEL. Right. This occurred at one particular camp, this was an A Team at a place called Tan Phu which is in the Caman Peninsula, deep in the Mekong Delta, the southernmost A Team. It was in a completely isolated area. It was completely VC controlled (around the A Team camp). In January or February of 1964, I'm not sure exactly which month, I witnessed an almost public, or not almost, a public display of electrical torture of Vietnamese prisoners.

MODERATOR. Excuse me, Steve, when you say public, who was present or who was witness to this specific one?

NOETZEL. Well, the way the camp was situated, it had about four or five foot walls around the compound, maybe even a little higher than that. There were at least 100 or 150 ARVN strike forces watching from inside the compound, all of the American A Team that was there watching, and also there was a little bridge at a canal right next to the camp, a little camelback bridge, and if you stood at the middle of the bridge, on the highest part of it, you could see down into the camp. And the torture was done outside at a place in the camp where anyone standing on the bridge could watch it. It was done for a psychological effect, I suppose, to show off a new invention, or a new kind of lie detector that they had conjured up. A captain there, the commander of the A Team, had conjured up a system of electrical torture, whereby they took a Sony tape recorder, a plain tape recorder with the w-meters on it, and hooked that up with some field telephone batteries (hooked up in series) and a toggle switch, that was held under the table by a Special Forces sergeant.

Then the captain asked questions of a prisoner, who was stripped naked, and electrodes from these field telephones were attached to the back of his neck to his armpits, to his genitals, and his feet. He was told that this apparatus was a lie detector, that he would be interrogated, and that every time he didn't tell the truth, the machine would give him a shock. He didn't know the difference between a lie detector, or had never seen a tape recorder, I guess. In truth, the captain simply asked questions and the interpreter asked them in Vietnamese, when the captain didn't like the answer, he gave some kind of signal to the sergeant who gave him an electrical charge and the fellow would jump and scream. Everyone was very impressed with this new lie detector except, I guess, the fellow who was being questioned and couldn't understand why the lie detector was working so badly. He may or may not have been telling the truth. At any rate, they got information. Whether it was valid or not, I don't know.

MODERATOR. In your testimony on your sheet here, you mention something about snakes?

NOETZEL. Right. At the B Team in Can Tho, this was the headquarters for the IV Corps, they had an eight foot python snake which was kept at the camp in a cage, supposedly for rat control. When we had prisoners or detainees who were brought to the B Team, they were immediately questioned, and if they balked at all or sounded like they weren't going to be cooperative, they were simply placed in a room overnight. This was like a detention room; the door was locked, and this snake was thrown in there with them. Now the python is a constrictor, similar to a boa. It's not poisonous. It will snap at you, but it's not poisonous, and it probably can't kill a full-grown American or a large male, but it sure terrified the Vietnamese. Two of them usually in a room overnight with the python snake, struggling with it most the night, I guess, and we could hear them screaming. In fact, on one instance, they had to go in there and gag the prisoners, so they wouldn't keep everyone awake all night. In the morning they were usually more cooperative.

MODERATOR. Steve, traveling around through the Delta as you did, just in two words or less, how would you summarize the general treatment of prisoners throughout the A Team camps in the Delta during that period of time?

NOETZEL. I didn't see any humane treatment of prisoners, but I didn't see that many prisoners. However, every time I did see them, they were being mistreated in one way or another. If it wasn't electrical torture, it was the snake torture. If it wasn't the snake torture, it was barbed wire cages, which are also used in Tan Phu. This was a coffin-like cage made of barbed wire, about the shape of a coffin--barbed wire strung around stakes. A prisoner was stripped naked and put into this cage for about a 24-hour period. In the daytime he would bake in the sun, and in the night the mosquitoes would eat him all night I guess. If the mosquitoes weren't particularly attracted to the Orientals, which they're not, they were sprayed with some kind of a mosquito attracting liquid, and they'd be full of bites in the morning. Finally, if it wasn't that, at the B Team at Can Tho, there was another form of torture, a water torture. Prisoners were taken, usually two in a small canoe, out behind the compound in a small rice paddy. They were bound, their hands behind their back. They were blindfolded and were put on this little canoe. An American Special Forces sergeant was there, another Vietnamese soldier was there, and they poled the boat around in circles in this rice paddy. Except that it wasn't a rice paddy anymore, it had been a rice paddy. Now it was used as a latrine really. That's where the drainage from the B Team latrines went, into this rice paddy. It was filled with urine and feces, and it stank to high heaven. The prisoners were rowed around in that water and were asked questions. And when they balked, the fellow who was poling the boat simply took the pole and knocked them out of the boat into this water where they sputtered around for a few minutes. It was about four feet deep or so. They were blindfolded with hands tied behind their back. Finally they surfaced somehow, after drinking half of it, I guess, and were dragged back into the canoe. That was about the only kind of treatment of prisoners I saw.

MODERATOR. George Smith, where were you stationed in the Delta, with your A Team?

SMITH. We were at a camp called Hiep Hoa; it was about 30 miles out of Saigon in the Delta area.

MODERATOR. During what period was this?

SMITH. This was from July 1963 until November 1963 when I was captured.

MODERATOR. So we're talking generally about the time relating to the time that Steve was talking about. This was the same period of time.

SMITH. Right. We were under the jurisdiction of the B Detachment that he was attached to.

MODERATOR. The same B Detachment we just talked about. Did any of this type of treatment of prisoners occur at your camp?

SMITH. Our treatment wasn't as sophisticated as what he had described. We just beat them and put them in barbed wire cages that were about three or four feet high.

MODERATOR. You were captured the 23rd of November 1963?

SMITH. That's correct.

MODERATOR. The same day that President Kennedy was assassinated, right?

SMITH. Right.

MODERATOR. Would you just briefly describe the circumstances of how you got captured?

SMITH. We were in one of those isolated Special Forces camps but we had a strike force of South Vietnamese that were on our payroll and about midnight on November 23rd, I was awakened by an explosion and mortar shells were falling on our house. The camp was very quickly overrun by a large NLF force, and I was captured along with three other Americans.

MODERATOR. You were taken captive. What specifically, you know, did they do. What were your feelings? How did they treat you at that specific moment?

SMITH. During the excitement of battle of course they were a little rougher than they were later on, but they didn't mistreat us terribly bad at the time, and I was sure that we were going to be shot, because all the stories that I had heard at Fort Bragg and after coming into Vietnam was that they didn't take prisoners, and if they did, that they tortured and eventually killed them, if not immediately.

MODERATOR. Were you with the other three prisoners at this time?

SMITH. I was by myself when I was captured, but I was later taken behind the latrine in the camp where I met Sgt. Comacho, who was one of the mortar operators and a string was attached to us sort of like a leash and I thought that we had been taken behind the latrine, of course, to be shot. They set us down in a cross position but nothing happened to us at this time.

MODERATOR. Quite apparently, you weren't shot, what did happen?

SMITH. After they had rounded up all the equipment, the ammunition, weapons in the camp, they took us out over the barbed wire apron surrounding the camp through Madame Nhu's sugar cane field that we were guarding, to a small village on the Oriental River.

MODERATOR. What were your feelings as you were being led away from this camp at that time?

SMITH. I thought they were taking us to another place to execute us. And I was worrying about that along with the air strike that we were under by that time. The South Vietnamese Air Force was attacking the cane field and burned down a lot of sugar cane. I thought they might accidentally drop something on us. But other than that there was no immediate fear, 'cause the guards seemed to have relaxed once we left the camp.

MODERATOR. What did happen in the village?

SMITH. When we arrived in the village, everybody sat down, lit up a cigarette, offered us one, gave us some bananas to eat, patted us and reassured us that everything was going to be all right. That they had no intentions toward us.

MODERATOR. And the next step?

SMITH. After they took their, sort of their break after the battle, we crossed the river and went farther into the Delta area. We traveled for about three or four days until we finally reached a place where we met up with Rohrback and McClure, who were also at our camp and had been captured. This was the first we had seen of them. After we met these two people, the four of us were taken in those little boats that they have through the canal system down into what is probably the Plain of Reeds, the swamp region, and we stayed on a little island there. They constructed a small shack just big enough for the four of us; they slept out in hammocks in the water. And they allowed McClure's foot wound to heal so he would be able to travel at a later time.

MODERATOR. What kind of medical attention did they provide for McClure?

SMITH. They provided immediate attention for him when he was captured. He told me that they dressed his wounds the best they could. He had a fragmentation wound of the foot which was extremely painful for him it turned out. It was difficult for him to walk. They treated it the best they could.

MODERATOR. How about in the swamp?

SMITH. In the swamp then they had time to do things and they got a medic from someplace and he was quite a good medic; he was well-trained; he had penicillin; he had the instruments to probe the foot and find if there were any foreign objects in it. Soon McClure's foot did heal quickly enough that we were able to move out in about ten days, I think.

MODERATOR. So, apparently what you're saying is, is that this stopover at the island was specifically for the purpose of taking care of McClure's foot for future movement.

SMITH. Right, I think it was sort of to allow us time to recover from the initial shock of being captured and for McClure's foot to heal so we could be transported.

MODERATOR. Were you ever bothered by American aircraft at this time?

SMITH. In that area there were some overflights, but no harassing fire in the swamp. But the day that we met Rohrback and McClure, that same day we were under extremely heavy attack by B-26s, helicopters, and everything that the Air Force had in '63. They strafed us, bombed us, and we happened to be in a village. They evacuated us from the village into a swamp area where we were luckily not bombed by B-26s.

MODERATOR. By this point you seemed to have the feeling you were not going to be tortured or executed but you had made reference to that. Why, specifically, did you think you were going to be tortured or executed?

SMITH. Well, that was what I would call common knowledge among the Special Forces people that if any of us were captured in South Vietnam, that we'd had it. They certainly hated us very much, and they would surely do everything to us, at least as much to us as we did to them, and that was kind of frightening from the stories that I heard in Vietnam.

MODERATOR. Did you ever think about the way you'd been treating prisoners before you were taken prisoner yourself? How your camp was treating prisoners?

SMITH. Oh, certainly, I was sure that I would be subjected to at least that bad a treatment, the beatings and living in barbed-wire cages, and probably much worse than that because they were reputed to have chopped heads off and tortured prisoners by any means that you could imagine.

MODERATOR. So now you left the swamp, and where did you go then?

SMITH. We went on a long march that led generally north or northwest, I would guess because we passed by the Tay Ninh mountain and went into the heavy jungle area. It was a long walk and very difficult for us because we didn't have shoes, three of us. It wasn't because they had taken our shoes, they did try to give us some shoes, but unfortunately the Vietnamese have small feet compared with Americans, and they just don't fit.

MODERATOR. You say it was difficult, was it because the Vietnamese were making you do something that they weren't doing or what?

SMITH. No, as a matter of fact we carried only the things that were necessary for existence, our hammocks and a change of clothes.

MODERATOR. And they carried the rest?

SMITH. And they carried all the food, and the weapons--and those big weapons they were carrying were some of the ones that we wouldn't carry because they were too heavy, like the BAR rifle that weighs 20 pounds fully loaded. They were carrying those plus sacks of rice around their neck which can weigh 10 to 15 pounds, all of their equipment, and some of our stuff that we weren't able to carry.

MODERATOR. Were you bound and gagged?

SMITH. Never at any time was I gagged; I did, as I mentioned earlier, have a rope around my wrist, that they sort of held on to me so that if I would decide to run away that they could pull me back a little bit.

MODERATOR. Not around your neck though?

SMITH. No, not around my neck.

MODERATOR. And you arrived at something like a permanent or semi-permanent installation?

SMITH. Yes, as permanent as they could build anything in the jungle there, because nothing was very permanent; if it wasn't eaten by termites they went away and left it after a month.

MODERATOR. Were you ever interrogated in this swamp?

SMITH. They asked us what our names were, that was the only thing they asked us.

MODERATOR. No attempt at interrogation?

SMITH. Absolutely none, it was very surprising.

MODERATOR. Were you ever interrogated?

SMITH. Finally, I was interrogated after about three months.

MODERATOR. After you were a prisoner for three months, they finally got around...

SMITH. Right, about three months.

MODERATOR. What type of military information were they looking for?

SMITH. Well, he told us that he certainly wasn't interested in any military information that we had, because it would be outdated anyway, and he reminded me that their intelligence was far superior to any information that we might have.

MODERATOR. Well, what form then did this interrogation take? It sounds like they weren't after information, so what, what were they after, or what form did it take?

SMITH. He wanted to present the views of the National Liberation Front, concerning the war in South Vietnam. In other words, tell their side of the story. And he asked me if I would think about it, and try to rationalize whether we were right or they were right, and to come back later and talk with him about it, and try to have a discussion about South Vietnam.

MODERATOR. Would you think of this as brainwashing?

SMITH. I would think not, unless you would say that what they did at Fort Bragg was brainwashing.

MODERATOR. If you could, elaborate a little bit. In what sense?

SMITH. Well, before we went to Vietnam, they tried to impress upon our minds that the South Vietnamese were something less than human, and that it was quite all right to go over there and kill them because this was the only war that we had anyway. Yeah, it's a report from a Lieutenant in a secret class, they call an area study, and he said that I'm sorry, you know, that it's not much of a war, but it's the only one we have, so we'll have to make the best of it.

MODERATOR. Could you compare this interrogation session, then, let's say, to a command information class?

SMITH. Yeah, you could compare it with the Saturday morning Information and Education classes where they told us about different things that were happening in Vietnam and the way their life was compared with what we were led to believe it was.

MODERATOR. What were the physical circumstances of this class or interrogation session?

SMITH. Well, we sat at tables, approximately like this, except that it was hand made in the jungle, and they served tea and sugar cubes if they had it. They really didn't have chocolate candy for us, but...

MODERATOR. How long would a session last?

SMITH. Usually an hour or so, and they gave us cigarettes while we were in interrogation, and gave us a pack to take back to our hammock with us--or the bed as the case may be.

MODERATOR. At any time--you were a prisoner for two years--at any time were you ever physically abused?

SMITH. Never physically abused. I was really surprised to find that out because contrary to everything we'd heard, they never once laid a hand on me; except when I was captured they pushed me around a little bit, which I would expect to do myself if I captured somebody.

MODERATOR. But still and all, you were a prisoner of war. There must have been difficult times. What was the attitude of the guards towards you and the other three prisoners?

SMITH. Their attitudes varied from time to time. They could be very friendly, and at times they would appear very hostile towards us. We learned during our stay with them that these were reflections of political activities in Saigon, that when the NLF soldier was executed in Saigon it usually influenced their attitude to a certain extent. But it seemed that there was enough control from their commanders that they never took any hostilities out on a prisoner. They may have disliked us intensely because of what was happening, but they still were under the control of the commanders. We were told at one time that our men would like to kill you, but we have discipline and we don't allow them to do so. And I can understand that because of the things that we were doing to them in '63.

MODERATOR. Are you aware that when these NLF soldiers were being executed in Saigon that the American government was being warned against that?

SMITH. Absolutely, they let us listen to Radio Hanoi; they brought the radio around every evening. Of course they didn't force us to listen to it, they turned it on, and if we wanted to talk that was all right. But Radio Hanoi was warning the United States and the Saigon regime that executions had been taking place (we had heard about them) and they were warning the United States if any more executions took place (I think there were three prisoners being threatened at the time) they would definitely retaliate. They said the United States must bear the responsibility for these executions, and so this sort of put us in a crimp, because, you know, who are they going to execute besides American prisoners of war if they want to retaliate against the United States? It worried us a great deal.

MODERATOR. This did in fact lead to such an act. Would you go into that in a little detail?

SMITH. After they had warned for probably a week that the executions would take place, I heard that the executions did in fact take place. At about that time one of the members that was captured with me, a Sergeant Rohrback, was taken from our camp area. And it was later found out that they had reported that they had executed him; the strange thing is that they never told us that they had executed Rohrback; they never used it for coercion. As far as we knew, he had disappeared from the earth and his name was never mentioned again.

MODERATOR. For the record, there was another man executed at that same time?

SMITH. Yes, I understand it was a Captain _____.

MODERATOR. Right. But that was after repeated warnings about the execution of NLF soldiers.

SMITH. Yes, well this was like a final warning. They had warned some months before when they executed somebody in Saigon that had tried to blow up McNamara, but wasn't successful. But they executed him for the attempt. They had warned at that time that they were going to retaliate, but as far as I know, they didn't retaliate at that time.

MODERATOR. How did it make you feel? I mean you were there as a prisoner and the warnings are going out and these executions are still going on?

SMITH. It's kind of a panicky situation, really, you know, that there's nothing you can do about, you know that the United States is so stubborn and bullheaded that they won't listen to someone like the NLF because they don't recognize that they exist. So how could they listen to them protesting? So really we were in a bad position, almost hopeless, because we knew that the United States wouldn't listen to them, and they were saying that they would retaliate, which I didn't appreciate, but gee, they were certainly within their rights. If their soldiers were being executed, there was no reason why they shouldn't retaliate.

MODERATOR. George, I know you can't testify to POWs in the North, but we have heard a lot about POWs in the North, much of which relates to the subject of food. You were a prisoner for two years under some rather strange circumstances in the jungle. How would you describe the food that you had in terms of whether it was sufficient, adequate, whatever?

SMITH. I usually had more food than I could eat; I usually ate better than they did. They brought in things like sardines for us, which they didn't eat themselves. They brought in cases and cases of sardines. And it sort of worked in a cycle, like I would be able to eat the food for a certain period of time and then I would build up an intolerance toward it and I would become ill, and wouldn't be able to eat the food for a while. But strangely this only affected Comacho, McClure, and myself; Rohrback thrived on the food. He ate mountains of rice, and everything else he could get. If one of us was sick, he of course ate what we didn't want. The man was really well-fed and he got fat.

MODERATOR. In other words, there was nothing wrong with the food. There was something wrong with your head, is that what you're...

SMITH. I would suspect that this was the problem. It was a matter of being under the circumstances of being bombed daily, and having rice to eat for breakfast with the sardines, and the whole thing of looking into the future.

MODERATOR. Did you ever eat rice before you went into the service?

SMITH. Oh, of course I ate rice, but not that much, but I was rather fond of rice, and I do still eat rice.

MODERATOR. When you were released, finally, in November of '65, it was, right?

SMITH. Yes, November, '65, almost two years to the day.

MODERATOR. What was your weight in relationship to your weight at the time of capture?

SMITH. I probably weighed about the same as I did when I was captured.

MODERATOR. You mentioned sardines, that they were giving you sardines as sort of a special little diet supplement or something. How about other special things?

SMITH. Well, as I said they gave us sardines and they brought in canned milk for us. It wasn't limited to that. On Christmas, our first Christmas, they brought in a woman who spoke English and asked us what we would like to order for Christmas dinner. We told her, well, a chicken would probably be good, with some bread, and of course this was an asinine request as far as we were concerned. But sure enough, they brought a chicken and bread, along with a paper star with a candle in it, so I had it hung in the cell for us.

MODERATOR. And when you say cell, uh...

SMITH. It was like a little house, it was made of poles that they had cut nearby, in the forest there.

MODERATOR. It's not a permanent installation, though, it's something that...

SMITH. It's something they just constructed, with pegs, and bamboo string.

MODERATOR. When you say "bread," they had bread in the camp?

SMITH. No, they told us that they did not eat bread, and they didn't even buy bread, but since we requested it, they sent men to wherever the nearest bread factory was, and got us some bread. It was at least two days away, I'm sure of that, because there were certainly no towns large enough to have a bakery, and when the bread came, it was long loaves of French bread, so it definitely wasn't made in some jungle.

MODERATOR. And how about smoking material, and things like that?

SMITH. Tobacco they usually gave me more than I could stand, because it was an extremely strong variety that they smoked themselves. If they had the tailor-made cigarettes, they gave us what they had. They'd give us a pack if they had a pack. If they had a couple, they'd divide them with us. They gave us cigarettes, and as I went to talk about this Christmas thing, this prompted us to capitalize on the fact that they recognized our holidays. So we told them how important birthdays were, and about Easter and the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. We were trying to just be kind of silly about the whole thing, but it turned out that the people recognized the fact that, you know, we felt this way about our holidays, because they would bring us a bottle of beer and a chicken dinner, usually something special. If they could get bread, which they couldn't always do, they brought us a loaf or so of bread apiece. At Christmas I think we had twelve loaves. That was a lot of bread for them.

MODERATOR. How did your rations of food, tobacco, whatever, how did that compare with your guards? In terms of quantity and so on?

SMITH. Oh, the quantity of tobacco, we always had the biggest share of tobacco. They brought us so much one time we didn't know what to do with it. We had to store it all over the house trying to keep it from being soaked up with water from the rainy season. But the guards would run out of tobacco very soon after we got our supply because they seemed to get just a handful. They would occasionally bum a cigarette from us. They'd come up and ask if they could have it; they never took the liberty to take our tobacco away from us. They always asked us for it, and we would usually give it to them, if we had some. But they would stand around without a cigarette, watching us puff away all day long while we lay around on our beds and they were out working and digging holes or what have you.

MODERATOR. Did you ever receive mail? As a prisoner?

SMITH. Yes, I think I received about four letters, three or four letters, anyway, while I was a prisoner, from my mother.

MODERATOR. Back in the jungle.

SMITH. Right.

MODERATOR. Were you allowed to write?

SMITH. They allowed me to write as often as I wanted to. I didn't write often because I didn't believe that the letters would be delivered if I wrote, and possibly they might use it against me at some time or another. I wrote two letters, I believe, two solid letters. But they asked me and said, "You may write every week. We'll furnish you with the paper and material which is necessary to write." But I normally declined. McClure wrote a number of letters himself. How many were delivered, I don't know. The ones I did write were finally delivered to my mother.

MODERATOR. How would you describe the attitude of the prisoners towards your captors?

SMITH. Well, I can speak for myself. I was extremely hostile and very arrogant with them. This ethnocentrism thing was strong enough that even though I was a prisoner I still looked down upon them. And how they were able to tolerate my attitude for a year or so until I finally decided that these were people, and I could look upon them as such, I don't know. But I was really a bad prisoner, and they told me at one time that I was the worst prisoner they had.

MODERATOR. But despite that, you were never physically abused.

SMITH. Never physically abused; and finally released, which was the most unusual thing.

MODERATOR. Did you ever make any statements while you were a prisoner?

SMITH. Yes, I made statements. Like I was telling you, these classes that we had where they presented their views and we would go back and discuss them at some length. I stated that I believed that they were basically right about Vietnam--that I didn't have any business there, that the war in Vietnam was wrong, that we were violating the Geneva agreement, that I certainly didn't want any part of it, and that all the troops should be withdrawn. This was basically what I said. We, of course, elaborated on different points of it. But these are statements I made, and I wrote a letter to that effect in one of the letters to my mother, describing the situation there and how I now felt about it, according to what I had observed from that frame of reference.

MODERATOR. You've been out of the service now five years, about. How do you feel about those statements now?

SMITH. Well, when I first came back, I was not positive that I was taking the right position, so I did considerable research on my own to find out just where I was. The more research I did the more entrenched I became in my beliefs. And now I feel very strongly that what I said then was right. In fact, I say even more then than I do--even more now than I did then, and I'm not under the duress of being a prisoner of war.

MODERATOR. How old were you when you joined the Army?

SMITH. I was seventeen.

MODERATOR. And what are you doing now?

SMITH. I work for the post office in New Cumberland, West Virginia.

MODERATOR. You going to school?

SMITH. I go to the Kent State University branch in Ohio.

MODERATOR. Rather appropriate. Did any of the other prisoners make statements while they were there?

SMITH. All of the prisoners as far as I know made statements very similar to mine and McClure made more statements than I did, I believe, because he wrote more letters to his wife than I did. But everybody that was there were making the same statements because we got together and talked about it after the interrogation. We all generally agreed that it was a bad situation, we really didn't belong there, and that we would just be glad if the war ended and we all went home.

MODERATOR. And, Sergeant Comacho made these statements also?

SMITH. Oh, absolutely, he and I lived together. In fact, he was the senior NCO among the prisoners and when they were asking us to make a statement one time concerning our views (a written statement so they would have something to retain in what could be considered our records I suppose) Comacho said he thought that was a good idea. That we should go ahead and write a statement if we felt that we wanted to do so. They didn't tell us that we had to write anything, but they said that if you would like to write something they would be glad to have it.

MODERATOR. It's a matter of public record that in 1965 Sergeant Comacho, Isaac Comacho, escaped from the same camp that George was at, thereby becoming the first prisoner of war to successfully escape since the Second World War. At the time that he did escape, as it appeared in Life magazine, Comacho made the statement that what made it possible for him to escape was the fact that George Smith was the one that covered for him, so he could. In other words, one man could go and one man had to stay and cover for the other to give the other one a head start. What was the net result for Comacho after he got back?

SMITH. Well, from what I heard after I got back (the Army refused to tell me where Comacho was even), after I got back...

MODERATOR. I mean, what recognition was given to Comacho?

SMITH. This is what I was getting to. I found out after I got back that Comacho had been returned to the United States, to his home in El Paso, and that President Johnson made a special trip to El Paso to personally decorate Comacho with a Silver Star for escaping.

MODERATOR. In November 1965, you were finally released. Did they ever tell you why you were being released?

SMITH. Yeah, the NLF told me that I was being released in direct response to the peace movement in the United States, and more specifically to replace Norman Morrison and a woman who had immolated themselves, Norman Morrison in front of the Pentagon at that time, I believe. They stated that they realized that the American people were basically peace-loving people and did not condone the actions that the United States government was taking in South Vietnam, so they were returning two of their sons to them for the replacement of the two who had given their lives for the cause of peace in Vietnam.

MODERATOR. Where were you actually first released?

SMITH. I was turned over to the Australians in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

MODERATOR. And when did they tell you this about the peace movement and so on?

SMITH. Well, they had mentioned the peace movement back at the camp before I was actually taken to Phnom Penh. And at Phnom Penh of course they set up a press conference for us. International reporters were there. And someone asked me a question of what I intended to do when I got back to the United States. I told him that I was going to tell the true story of Vietnam as I could see it, from my experiences. That the United States had no business in Vietnam, that it wasn't in the best interest of the American people, and that therefore we should all get out immediately. And someone asked me, "How do you intend to tell this story?" I said, "I'll probably get in touch with the peace movement when I get back because I understand they're asking similar things."

MODERATOR. Had you ever heard of the peace movement before you were captured?

SMITH. On Radio Hanoi. I had heard of demonstrations.

MODERATOR. But not before you were captured?

SMITH. I didn't know anything about such a thing existing.

MODERATOR. You had no way of knowing what the attitude of Special Forces toward the peace movement would be?

SMITH. Right, I didn't know what the peace movement did, even.

MODERATOR. So, did you look up the peace movement?

SMITH. No, I never did.

MODERATOR. Now, if I can get this straight, Sergeant Comacho, who made the same statements, and who escaped with your assistance, was given the Silver Star?

SMITH. Right, exactly.

MODERATOR. And you are now under court-martial charges which hold the ultimate penalty of death.

SMITH. Seems rather curious.

MODERATOR. Yes. Would you comment on that?

SMITH. Well, I suspect the fact that I opened my mouth and said I was going to look up the peace movement when I got home didn't set very well with Special Forces and the Army. And to be able to stop me from doing this, they brought the charges against me, which allowed them to hold me on Okinawa indefinitely, until maybe the peace movement forgot about me or I forgot about the peace movement.

MODERATOR. Before you were released, you had to sign a piece of paper relating to classified information, and they specified certain information you were not to discuss.

SMITH. Right.

MODERATOR. Would you give us a couple of examples, a couple of things you weren't supposed to discuss?

SMITH. Well, one of the strangest things (this was a secret you know, I'm under violation of the National Security Act if I discuss this thing, so I expect to be arrested as soon as I finish saying this) but I wasn't allowed to tell anybody that I received a Red Cross parcel while I was a prisoner of war.

MODERATOR. You did receive a Red Cross parcel back in the jungle?

SMITH. Oh, yes, yes we received--Comacho, McClure and myself each received a large Red Cross parcel, probably weighed fifteen pounds apiece.

MODERATOR. They had to be tracked on somebody's back into the jungle?

SMITH. Right. They had to carry it maybe fifty miles at least because they certainly didn't have any roads in the jungle.

MODERATOR. Thank you, George. We're now going to hear from our second prisoner of war, Dr. Marjorie Nelson, and I wonder if she could just begin by saying in her own words how she was captured and what the experience was like in the hands of the Viet Cong.

NELSON. Well--can you hear me?--I had gone to Quang Ngai in October of '67 and I had been there for four months when the Tet holiday was coming up. I went to Hue for Tet to visit friends and, of course, you know, Hue was overrun and held for some time by NLF and NVA forces. I was staying with a friend, Sandra Johnson, who was working for International Voluntary Service teaching English in Dong Thaien High School, which is a girls' high school in Hue, and she and I spent the first four days of the attack in an improvised bomb shelter in her dining room while the fighting went on outside. On the fourth afternoon, NLF soldiers came to the house and pounded on the front door. We were too frightened to respond, so they went around to the kitchen door and broke in through the kitchen. We could hear them kind of rummaging around the kitchen, and then they came to the door between the dining room and the kitchen, which was bolted from our side by two bolts, and they began to shoot the bolts off the door. I said to Sandy, "I'm going to talk to them." And so I asked them in Vietnamese, "What do you want?" and they said, "Open the door," so we did. There were five of them. They came in, asked just a few questions--asked us if we had any weapons in the house, to which we replied, "No," and then they searched the house. We talked a bit more; they attempted to reassure us that we should not be afraid and that they did not intend to take anything. Then the fighting sort of began again and we moved out of the living room and just about that time I heard something coming. I don't know what it was, but I jumped back into the bomb shelter and whatever it was hit the living room where we'd just been, and demolished the living room.

So they went back outside and left us alone for two more days. Then, on the sixth afternoon, they came back and told us that we should go with them.

We were in Hue about three more days before we were officially registered as prisoners of war. We had to fill out forms in triplicate, giving our passport number, our name, who we worked for, etc. And then, finally, someone who spoke English--for the first time we met someone who spoke English--he told us that because of the continued heavy fighting in the city they couldn't keep us safely; that we were going to be taken to the mountains to study, and that when there was peace, we'd be returned to our families. So we expected to be there for the duration of the war.

That night we left with about fifteen or twenty Vietnamese prisoners. We walked into the mountains and were held then in the mountains for a little over six weeks before we were released.

MODERATOR. Just to emphasize one point, when you were captured, Hue was still very much a battlefield, was it not?

NELSON. Absolutely.

MODERATOR. And so, they seem to have taken a great deal of care with you. All this was done while a huge battle was raging throughout the city. Now, once you were in the mountain camp there, and even before, could you say whether there was any physical molestation of you, any abuses taken of you as a woman or as a person?

NELSON. No. This is a question that I know comes up in the minds of, well, certainly of any GI who's been in Vietnam, and many other people. Certainly this thing could have occurred and I think on a couple of occasions, we were simply lucky that it didn't. However, once we were in the camp, it was quite clear that the cadre also were concerned about this, and they made sure that our privacy was respected. In the first camp we were living with a Vietnamese family, and were living family style--I mean we didn't have a separate room. And then in the second camp, we had our own house.

MODERATOR. How many other prisoners were there with you at the second camp?

NELSON. At the second camp Sandy and I, that is, my girl friend and I, were the only ones there during the whole time. When we were separated from the main group of American prisoners, two fellows came with us. They stayed a couple of days and then went on.

MODERATOR. And in the first camp, you were with how many other people?

NELSON. We were with about fifteen or twenty Vietnamese prisoners, and when we got there we found about twenty-five American men already there, all of whom had been captured in Hue.

MODERATOR. Do you have any knowledge that any of these other American or Vietnamese prisoners were mistreated by the Viet Cong?

NELSON. I can't speak about the Vietnamese prisoners. I didn't see any Vietnamese prisoners mistreated. I talked with all the American men. None of them had been maltreated or mistreated, except that at the time of capture, I mean when they were captured, several of them had their shoes or watches or rings taken away from them. One man said that he had been, and I think I quote exactly, "They made me walk over barbed wire on the way out." He did not indicate whether he thought that was a deliberate act or simply an order to go that way and he went.

MODERATOR. This of course was during the heat of battle.

NELSON. This was during a battle, when he was captured. I think two or three others had received wounds before they were captured, you know, fragments and that sort of thing.

MODERATOR. And was there medical attention given to the wounded people?

NELSON. They received medical attention and a nurse came two or three times a week to dress their wounds, which was adequate except for two of them: that was the man I mentioned, whose feet were in bad shape, and another man who'd taken a big piece of something in his side; they needed more medical attention. I spoke to the camp commanders in the best Vietnamese that I could about this. I said that I felt they needed more medical care and they should be sent to a hospital, if possible. He seemed very uncomfortable with this. He said, "I'm sorry. We'll do the best we can. The situation is temporarily very difficult for us, but please don't worry. I'll do the best that I can for these men."

MODERATOR. What about yourself, did you get adequate medical attention?

NELSON. Yes, I did. I didn't need any medical attention at that camp except for blisters, which I could take care of myself. But about two weeks later, at the second camp, I came down with amoebic dysentery, and the cadre, I call him, that is the man who spoke English and who was in charge of prisoners, immediately had a nurse come and see me. She gave me a standard anti-diarrhea treatment, which didn't help very much. And so, after about a day and a half, when it was apparent to them that I was really quite ill, I heard them talking about trying to get me a doctor. So I waited all that day and all the next day and finally, just before supper time on the second day, a doctor did arrive, a young man who'd been educated in Hanoi at medical school, very well-trained. He examined me and prescribed appropriate therapy. Any of you who know medicine, he gave me chloromycetin, and I was really surprised, because I expected at best that I'd get tetracycline, but he did have chloromycetin. He also gave me fluids, intravenous fluids, by dermoclysis, and in four days my symptoms were gone.

MODERATOR. After you were released from prison by the Viet Cong, did you stay in Vietnam?

NELSON. No, I returned to the United States for about four months, and then I went back.

MODERATOR. And what was your job when you returned to Vietnam?

NELSON. I returned to the project in Quang Ngai that I was working with before, which was basically three things. It was a child day-care center for refugee children, and a rehabilitation center for civilians (primarily war-injured, though we had some like polio and other cases). The third thing that I was doing was, once or twice a week, I was going to the local civilian prison, that is, the provincial prison, where I was examining sick prisoners.

MODERATOR. What kind of prisoners were these?

NELSON. Well, this is basically the province jail. In normal times, this would be where any person convicted and sentenced to jail would be sent. But at present, that is, at the time I was there, I was told both by the prison officials and by the prisoners, that eighty percent or more of the people in the prison were there because they were accused of political crimes.

MODERATOR. So these would be Viet Cong or Viet Cong suspects?

NELSON. Well, presumably, though in my conversations with prisoners it seemed to me that many, many of them were there because one, they didn't have proper papers; two, they'd been picked up in an unauthorized area, someplace it was thought they weren't supposed to be; or in the case of the women (and there were usually somewhere between a hundred and fifty and three hundred women in the prison) they couldn't account for where their husbands were, so they were put in jail for that.

MODERATOR. Did you have any chance to discover whether or not these prisoners had been mistreated in prison?

NELSON. Yes. As I say, I was examining sick prisoners. Almost every time that I went I would see one or more prisoners who had been tortured, not in the prison itself, but in the province interrogation center, which I was told by the Vietnamese was the American interrogation center. I examined people who had been severely beaten. On at least two occasions, I was able to document broken bones by x-ray, and I kept very careful records and after several months I went to the province senior adviser, who is the highest-ranking American civilian in a province, and I took my records along and I said, "Look. This is what I'm seeing, and the Vietnamese tell me that this takes place in the American interrogation center. What do I do?" And he said, "Well, yes, the province interrogation center system was started by the Americans. The idea was to teach South Vietnamese enlightened intelligence in interrogation procedures. It's intended to be a total isolation center, but no torture is to be going on, and if it is, we'll stop it." So I said, "Please do." I saw him two or three days later and he was quite embarrassed. He said, "I'm sorry; I didn't know this, but the province interrogation center has been turned over to the Vietnamese. We're no longer in control of it." There was still an American adviser assigned to the center, however. He said, "Since that's the case, I suggest that you go directly to the province chief," which we then did. The province chief at that time was Col. Than Tat Kien. I took my records along and I presented this to him, and he said, "Well, you know, most of the prisoners that we take have been forced to work with the VC and they're very cooperative and they tell us everything that we need to know. But sometimes we meet people who are very hard." Those were the exact words he used, "very hard, and we have to use other methods, and these are used." He said, "There are limits." And I said, "Well, it seems to me that any reasonable limits are being exceeded, that this is inhumane and furthermore, even from your point of view, I would think it would be politically counter-productive. And I'm asking you to do something to stop this."

He did not promise that he would stop it. After about two weeks I began to see the same thing again, and it's still going on.

MODERATOR. So you saw bruises and broken bones from beatings. Any other kinds of torture that you had experience with?

NELSON. I was not able to document by physical examination any other methods, though my patients told me of the electrical torture, such as has been described, with the field telephones. They told me of being forced to drink concoctions containing things like powdered lime. They also told me of being tied up and hung from the ceiling, sometimes upside down, but I couldn't document this.

MODERATOR. Marge, just one last question. What dates are we talking about? When were you working at this?

NELSON. This was from September 1968 until October 1969 in Quang Ngai Province, which is south of Da Nang.

MODERATOR. Thank you, Doctor. Mrs. Warner, I must apologize for having kept you sitting here so long. I hope you have been somewhat reassured by some of the things you've heard here, however. I would just like you, if you would, to express your thoughts. I don't see that we need to ask questions.

WARNER. First of all, I want to say, I am an American. I'm sure I'm going to be labeled Communist; I'm sure I'm going to be labeled revolutionary, but I am not. I am an American. I love my country. It's being torn apart by this war. I want to appeal to the middle-aged, middle-class America. We have to wake up and realize what's happening to us. My son's been a prisoner, and, of course, I'm interested in him coming back. I'd love to have him back, and I know he wants to come back, but this isn't the only consideration. We have to consider the people in Vietnam. What would we do, what would you and I do, if a Vietnamese plane flew over and bombed our town? How would we react to somebody that we've captured?

I think my son isn't being humanely treated. I don't think he's been brutally treated, but he doesn't get steak; I'm sure he doesn't get chicken like George Smith got. But I think he has food enough to sustain him. Lt. Frischman said the food that they get is enough to sustain them, and if we can sustain him till he comes back, fine. We're allowed to send him a package every other month. We send, oh, aspirins, vitamin capsules, and such things as that. We hadn't heard from him for two and a half years. We knew he was a prisoner. We knew he had been captured by the North Vietnamese. We began to write letters for foreign newspapers and letters to foreign governments to try to get the Vietnamese to tell us about the prisoners, where they were and who they were. Now we've gotten two lists. I don't understand why we claim the lists aren't complete; I don't understand that. Of course, maybe it's because my son's name has appeared on it and you know, in the back of my mind, maybe I'm satisfied. But I've talked to other families and the circumstances of their son's disappearance or their husband's disappearance is quite different and it's perhaps that the North Vietnamese don't know where they are. These are the things we have to rationalize with. We have to stop and think what's happening to our country and to that country. Is it worth going on, is it worth tearing everybody apart? I think, I don't know what else to say. I'd just like to say that since Hanoi has said that if we set a date, they'll talk about the release of the prisoners, is that asking so much, just to set a date? Let's put them on the spot. Let's put them on the spot. Let's set a date and see if they really will live up to their word. They've told the whole world that this is what they'll do, and if they're interested at all in world opinion, like we've been told they are, I think they will. I think they'll listen. And will America listen? Will middle-aged, middle-class America listen? Don't let our country be torn apart by this.

MODERATOR. Thank you, Mrs. Warner. Stephanie, did you want to add anything?

CALDWELL. No.


Last Updated Wednesday, March 17 2004 @ 07:54 PM MST; 6,895 Hits View Printable Version