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SUBJ/INTERVIEW OF REQUESTED SOURCE, NGUYEN HONG NIEM//

REF/A/FAX/DET 2/16MAY93//

AMPN/SUBJ: LIST OF PERSONS FOR INTERVIEW, ENTRY NUMBER 31 OF
83//

RMKS/1. ON 19 JUNE 1993, A JOINT U.S./VIETNAM ORAL HISTORY TEAM
INTERVIEWED RETIRED SRCOL NGUYEN HONG NIEM, A 63 YEAR OLD HANOI
RESIDENT. THE SUBJECT IS A WRITER AND CO-AUTHOR OF THE AIR AND
THE AIR DEFENSE FORCE MEMOIRS, VOLUMES II AND III. THE TEAM MET
AT THE VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY BUILDING, NUMBER 8 TRAN HUNG DAO
STREET, HANOI, TO INTERVIEW MR. NIEW, A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF
INFORMATION CONCERNING U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION IN
VIETNAM. THE U.S. CONTINGENT CONSISTED OF MR.
[XXXX][XXXX][XXXX], DET 2, JOINT TASK FORCE-FULL ACCOUNTING
(JTF-FA) CASUALTY RESOLUTION SPECIALIST; TSGT
[XXXX][XXXX][XXXX], JTF-FA ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM COORDINATOR; AND
P02 [XXXX][XXXX], JTF-FA ANALYST/LINGUIST. THE VIETNAMESE
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CONTINGENT CONSISTED OF LTC LE KY, MINISTRY
OF DEFENSE; AND MR TRINH QUOC KHANH, MINISTRY OF INTERIOR. MR.
NIEM HAD NOT BEEN INTERVIEWED BY A JOINT TEAM BEFORE.

2. SUMMARY. THE SOURCE, NGUYEN HONG NIEM, PROVIDED NO
INFORMATION CONCERNING US PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION, OTHER
THAN WHAT HE HAD READ IN OFFICIAL VIETNAMESE NEWS AGENCY

                                Page 1

SOURCES. HE SUMMARIZED HIS METHODS AND PURPOSES FOR WRITING
A CHRONICLE OF THE VIETNAMESE AIR AND AIR DEFENSE FORCE,
EMPHASIZING THAT THE MEMOIR TYPE INFORMATION CONTAINED
THEREIN CONCENTRATED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON THE VIETNAMESE
ORGANIZATION'S LEADERSHIP, PERSONNEL, AND OPERATIONS, NOT
OPPOSING FORCES. MR. NIEM HAD NO KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING U.S.
PRISONERS OR "STAY BEHIND" AMERICANS LIVING IN VIETNAM SINCE
1973.

3. DETAILS.

A. AFTER FORMAL INTRODUCTIONS, LTC LE KY EXPLAINED THE
JOINT INTERVIEW TEAM'S MISSION AND MR. [XXXX] INVITED THE
SUBJECT TO PROVIDE WHAT INFORMATION HE COULD ON THE
U.S. POW/MIA ISSUE, BEGINNING WITH THE FOLLOWING TWO
KEY QUESTIONS:

(1) HAVE YOU EVER SEEN OR HAD KNOWLEDGE OF U.S.
PRISONERS OF WAR IN VIETNAM SINCE 1973? MR. NIEM ANSWERED
THAT HE HAD.

(2) HAVE YOU EVER SEEN OR HAD KNOWLEDGE OF AMERICAN
"STAY-BEHINDS" IN VIETNAM SINCE 1973? MR. NIEM ANSWERED THAT
HE HAD NOT.

B. HAVING ANSWERED THESE TWO QUESTIONS, MR. NGUYEN HONG NIEM
(NGUYEENX HOONGF NIEMJ) RELATED THAT HE FOUGHT IN THE WAR AGAINST
THE FRENCH. BUT AFTERWARDS HE BECAME A WRITER. HE HAS SERVED IN
THAT CAPACITY FROM THAT TIME UNTIL THE PRESENT. DURING HIS CAREER
AS A WRITER, MR. NIEM STATED, INCLUDING HIS WORK IN RESEARCHING
AND CO-WRITING THE AIR/AIR DEFENSE (AAD) BOOKS, HE NEVER MET A
U.S. POW, NOR DID HE EVER WORK WITH DOCUMENTS CONCERNING U.S.
PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION. TO ILLUSTRATE WHY THIS WAS SO, HE
EXPLAINED HIS PURPOSE AND METHODS IN WRITING THE BOOKS. HIS ROLE
IN THE UNDERTAKING WAS AS A WRITER/COMPILER, NOT A SUBJECT MATTER
EXPERT. HE AND THE OTHER AUTHORS SET OUT TO CHRONICLE THE AAD
FORCE'S WARTIME OPERATIONS, EMPHASIZING THE ORGANIZATION'S
LEADERSHIP, PERSONNEL, AND OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS AND
INNOVATIONS. SINCE THE BOOKS WERE MORE MEMOIRS THAN A HISTORY,
THEY FOCUSED ON THE AAD FORCE AND ITS ACTIVITIES, GENERALLY
EXCLUDING OPPOSING FORCE'S ACTIVITIES. THOUGH THE BOOKS INCLUDED
A SMALL AMOUNT OF INFORMATION DESCRIBING U.S. AIR FORCE
STRATEGIES AND TACTICS, THIS WAS NOT THE INTENDED TOPIC. NIEM
CLAIMED THE AUTHORS GATHERED SOURCE INFORMATION FOR THE VOLUMES
SOLELY FROM OFFICIAL VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY SOURCES (THOONG TAANS
XAX VIEETJ NAM), NOT WARTIME JOURNALS OR DOCUMENTS.

C. ANY REFERENCE TO OR QUOTATIONS FROM DOWNED U.S.
PILOTS, MR. NIEM CLAIMED, THE AUTHORS ALSO EXTRACTED FROM
VIETNAMESE NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES. SOMETIMES THE VIETNAM
NEWS AGENCY REPORTED THESE STORIES LONG AFTER THE FACT. AS AN
EXAMPLE, HE CITED AN INSTANCE IN WHICH THE AAD FORCE HAD
DOWNED A PILOT, ALVAREZ (SEE PARA. 7.C., BELOW, ON 5 AUGUST
1964. THIS INCIDENT DIDN'T APPEAR IN THE VIETNAMESE
NEWSPAPERS UNTIL FOUR YEARS LATER. HE ALSO CLAIMED TO HAVE
DERIVED INFORMATION ON U.S. PILOTS [XXXX],[XXXX], AND
[XXXX][XXXX] FROM THE VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY.

                                Page 2

D. MR. NIEM CLAIMED THAT DUE TO THE AAD FORCE'S MISSION
AND OPERATIONS METHODS, THE ORGANIZATION HAD LITTLE IF ANY
CHANCE TO TAKE OR DEAL WITH PRISONERS. UNLIKE PAVN GROUND
FORCES, WHO ENGAGED OFTEN IN BATTLE AND TOOK PRISONERS ON THE
SPOT, THE AAD FORCE SHOT ENEMY PLANES WITH SURFACE-TO-AIR
MISSILES, ANTIAIRCRAFT ARTILLERY, OR DURING AIR-TO-AIR
COMBAT. THE TARGETED U.S. AIRCRAFT OFTEN CRASHED UP TO 20
KILOMETERS AWAY AND, OTHER THAN KNOWING THAT THEY HAD DOWNED
THE PLANE, THE AAD UNITS USUALLY NEVER LEARNED THE ENEMY
PILOT'S FINAL FATE. COMMUNIST AUTHORITIES IN THE CRASH AREA,
NIEM EXPLAINED, MANAGED TAKING PRISONERS, IF ANY, TO TURN
THEM OVER TO CENTRAL AUTHORITIES.

E. MR. NIEM CONCLUDED BY EXPRESSING HIS WILLINGNESS TO
PARTICIPATE IN FUTURE INTERVIEWS IF NEEDED. WITH NO FURTHER
QUESTIONS FOR THIS SUBJECT, THE JOINT TEAM AGREED TO CONCLUDE
THE INTERVIEW.

4. CORRELATIONS TO EXISTING POW/MIA CASES.

A. SOURCE'S REFERENCE TO PILOT [XXXX] CORRELATES TO
CASE 0035-1-01, A RESOLVED CASE, BASED NAME, INCIDENT
DATE, DUTY POSITION, AND GENERAL LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES.

B. SOURCE'S REFERENCE TO PILOT [XXXX] CORRELATES TO
CASE 0055-1-01, A RESOLVED CASE, BASED ON NAME, DUTY
POSITION, AND GENERAL LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES.

C. SOURCE'S REFERENCE'S TO PILOT [XXXX] CORRELATES TO
CASE 0080-1-01, A RESOLVED CASE, BASED ON NAME, DUTY
POSITION, AND GENERAL LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES.

D. SOURCE'S REFERENCE TO PILOT [XXXX] CORRELATES TO
CASE 0146-1-01, A RESOLVED CASE, BASED ON NAME, DUTY
POSITION, AND GENERAL LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES.

5. POTENTIAL LEADS. NONE.

6. MATERIAL EVIDENCE: NONE. THIS SOURCE BROUGHT NO RECORDS,
NOTEBOOKS, DIARIES, OR ANY MATERIAL EVIDENCE ASSOCIATED
WITH UNACCOUNTED FOR U.S. PERSONNEL.

7. COMMENTS.

A. THE SUBJECT, NGUYEN HONG NIEM, APPEARED SINCERE IN
HIS STATEMENTS AND MORE THAN EAGER TO SHARE INFORMATION
WITH THE //

MSGID/GENADMIN/CDR JTF-FA/J223//

SUBJ/INTERVIEW OF REQUESTED SOURCE, NGUYEN HONG NIEM//

RMKS/

JOINT TEAM. THE JOINT TEAM AGREED THAT, JUDGING FROM HIS
STRAIGHTFORWARD STATEMENTS, NIEM APPARENTLY HAD NO
KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION.

                              Page 3

B. ALL CORRELATIONS DRAWN FROM THIS SUBJECT'S STATEMENTS
ARE BASED SOLELY ON HIS NEWS AGENCY DERIVED KNOWLEDGE OF
DOWNED U.S. PILOTS.

C. THOUGH THE SUBJECT APPARENTLY SPOKE NO ENGLISH, HE
RECITED THE NAMES OF THE FOUR U.S. PILOTS (SEE PARA. 3.C.,
ABOVE) CLEARLY AND, GENERALLY, PHONETICALLY ACCURATELY.

D. THE MEMBERS OF THE JOINT TEAM CONFERRED ON THE
QUESTIONS ASKED DURING THIS INTERVIEW. TEAM MEMBERS AGREED
THAT THE NEED TO RE-INTERVIEW THIS SUBJECT WOULD DEPEND ON
WHETHER FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR MR. NIEM ARISE DURING THE
COURSE OF THE ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW'S TEAM'S FUTURE
WORK.

E. REQUEST THE VNOSMP MAKE MR. NIEM AVAILABLE FOR
REINTERVIEW IF NECESSARY.//

BT

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