ACCESSION NUMBER:372172 FILE ID:EUR512 DATE:12/16/94 TITLE:U.S-RUSSIA JOINT COMMISSION ON POW/MIAS CONCLUDES MEETING (12/16/94) TEXT:*EUR512 12/16/94 U.S-RUSSIA JOINT COMMISSION ON POW/MIAS CONCLUDES MEETING (Text: DOD News Release) (690) Washington -- Following is a December 9 news release from the Department of Defense. (Begin news release): U.S. and Russian delegations completed the eleventh plenary session of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC) on December 9, 1994. This session was the second to be held in the United States. At their recent summit in September, President Clinton told President Yeltsin that the USRJC has become an important part of the U.S.-Russian relationship. The USRJC was established in March 1992 by agreement between Presidents Bush and Yeltsin to determine the fates of American service people from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the conflict in Vietnam, who were believed to be missing on the territory of the former Soviet Union or about whom the Russians may have information. The second goal of the Commission is to determine the fates of Russian servicemen who are still missing from various conflicts, including Afghanistan. 1 During the plenary session, the USRJC continued its steady progress in each of the four working groups. The World War II working group met for the first time as a separate group at this plenary session. It established a firm foundation for the work to be conducted for the USRJC to publish an initial report in May 1995. This report is intended to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II and to serve as a gesture to the memory of American and Russian servicemen who fought a common enemy. The Cold War working group agreed on new lines of inquiry relating to several shoot down incidents, identified additional witnesses to be interviewed, and received new information from the Russian Border Guards' Archives which provides a fuller picture of several shoot down cases. The Korean War working group received four sets of documents on aircraft shootdowns. They also determined the search for missing U.S. Air Force personnel should remain a priority topic for future work since the Soviet Union had the most technical interest in aircraft and had anti-aircraft regiments in both China and North Korea. The U.S. side of the Vietnam Working Group was greatly encouraged to learn that the Russian side will conduct an aggressive search to locate newly identified documents with detailed information on American POWs in North Vietnam. Location of any such documents would greatly assist the U.S. efforts in Vietnam. The U.S. side declared that it will continue its work to find information on the 290 servicemen Russia has listed as MIA from its involvement in Afghanistan. The U.S. side will increase its efforts to help the Russian side determine what happened to its missing citizens from World War II, the Cold War, and the Korean War. During the plenary session, U.S.POW/MIA family members asked questions of the Russian side. The Russian delegation also visited the United States Naval Academy and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Their visit to the Naval Academy was significant as this was the alma mater of Captain John Robertson Dunham. After a year of effort, the USRJC located remains on Yuiry Island believed to be those of Captain Dunham. These remains are now at a forensic lab in Hawaii for conclusive DNA testing. The U.S. side of the Commission is headed by Ambassador Malcolm Toon. Other members include Senators John Kerry and Bob Smith; Congressmen Sam Johnson and Pete Peterson -- both former POWs in Vietnam; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs James Wold; President of the Joint Military Intelligence College Denis Clift; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Peter Tomsen; Department of State Director for the Office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs John Herbst; and Acting National Archivist Dr. Trudy Peterson. The Russian side, headed by General Volkogonov, includes parliamentarians, heads of major Russian archives, and officials from the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Security Services. (End text) NNNN .