ACCESSION NUMBER:291350 FILE ID:EPF505 DATE:06/25/93 TITLE:SENATOR SMIITH TO HANOI ON POW ISSUE (06/25/93) 1EXT:*93062505.EPF *EPF505 06/25/93 * SENATOR SMIITH TO HANOI ON POW ISSUE (Text: Statement of June 24) (590) Washington -- Senator Bob Smith (Republican of New Hampshire) announced June 24 that he will travel to Vietnam July 7-11, 1993, in his continued efforts to find a valid solution to the issue of American POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Following is the text of the announcement by his U.S. Senate office: (begin text) New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith announced today that he will travel to Vietnam July 7-11, 1993, in his continued efforts to find a valid solution to the issue of American POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. "In June of 1973, Dr. Henry Kissinger held his final meetings with North Vietnam in an attempt to ensure the United States received the fullest possible accounting of our missing American personnel. Twenty years later, many disturbing questions about the fate of the majority of these men are still unanswered," Smith said. Smith, a member of the Joint U.S./Russian Commission on POWs and MIAs, former Vice-Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, and a Vietnam War veteran, has scheduled meetings and investigations in and around Hanoi. Additionally, Smith announced that former Marine Corps PFC Robert Garwood will be participating in the meetings and investigations. Garwood was captured during the war in 1965 and returned to the United States in 1979. The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs extensively deposed Bob Garwood in 1992. Last December, the Vietnamese government invited Garwood to make his first return trip to that country to pursue his reports of other Americans in Vietnam in the late 1970s. "Garwood told the committee, in sworn testimony, that he saw live Americans in captivity after the war. He has also indicated to me that, with Vietnamese cooperation, he can take me to the exact locations where he saw them," Smith said. "I am pleased that the Vietnamese have invited Bob Garwood to their country to assist our investigation of these reports, and I am grateful to Bob Garwood for his willingness to help." Smith said that U.S. evidence, augmented by evidence uncovered in Southeast Asia and Russia, indicated that Vietnam could still account for many Americans. He said he intends to further investigate five specific questions which are "outstanding from last year's Senate inquiry into the POW matter." The areas which Smith will pursue will include: -- The Russian version of the wartime POW report by Vietnamese General Tran Van Quang. -- Live sightings reports from Robert Garwood between 1973 and 1977. -- Intelligence and live sightings reports of Americans alleged to have been in various prisons in northern Vietnam after the war. -- The fate of Americans last known to be alive during the war. -- The fate of unaccounted for Americans who were captured or moved by Vietnamese forces in Laos during the war. "As Americans, we have an obligation to bring home our missing men. As an elected official, I have a responsibility to help the president determine the most expeditious way to accomplish this goal. It is imperative for the United States to develop and present a clear policy to bring honorable resolution to this issue," said Smith. "In order to begin rebuilding a 1ustainable relationship with Vietnam, we must be satisfied that all compelling leads on POWs and MIAs have been thoroughly pursued with maximum cooperation from Vietnam. The families and the men deserve no less." (end text) NNNN .