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SECTION 01 OF 02
MSGID/GENADMIN/CDR JTF-FA/J223//
SUBJ/INTERVIEW OF REQUESTED SOURCE, NGUYEN VAN MINH//
REF/A/FAX/DET 2/16MAY93//

RMKS/1. BACKGROUND. ON 17 AUG 93, A JOINT U.S./VIETNAM ORAL HISTORY
    
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PROGRAM INTERVIEW TEAM INTERVIEWED PAVN SENIOR COLONEL (SRCOL)
NGUYEN VAN MINH, AN APPROXIMATELY 65 YOA HANOI RESIDENT. SRCOL
MINH CO-AUTHORED A HISTORY OF THE PAVN WESTERN FRONT AND OPERATED
AS A PAVN NEWSPAPER REPORTER IN VIETNAM'S WESTERN HIGHLANDS
DURING THE WAR. THE TEAM MET AT THE GOVERNMENT GUEST HOUSE,
NUMBER 2 LB THACH STREET, HOAN KIEM DISTRICT, HANOI TO INTERVIEW
SRCOL MINH, LISTED IN REFERENCE AS A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF
INFORMATION CONCERNING U. S. PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION (MIA) IN
VIETNAM. THE U.S. CONTINGENT CONSISTED OF TSGT RONALD D. WARD,
JOINT TASK FORCE-FULL ACCOUNTING (JTF-FA) ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
COORDINATOR; AND PO2 JOHN L. HARVEY, JTF-FA ANALYST/LINGUIST. THE
VIETNAMESE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CONTINGENT CONSISTED OF LTC LE KY,
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE; AND NGUYEN VAN THANG LOI, MINISTRY OF INTERIOR.
SRCOL MINH HAD NOT BEEN INTERVIEWED BY A JOINT TEAM BEFORE.
2. SUMMARY. THE SOURCE, SRCOL NGUYEN VAN MINH, PROVIDED
INFORMATION PRIMARILY CONCERNING HIS SOURCES FOR WRITING THE BOOK
THE PEOPLE'S ARMED FORCES OF THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS DURING THE WAR
OF NATIONAL SALVATION AGAINST THE AMERICANS. SOURCES FOR THE
BOOK WERE MAINLY OPERATIONAL BATTLE REPORTS WHICH THE SUBJECT
RESEARCHED AT TUK PAVN 3RD CORPS CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS ARCHIVE IN

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PLEIKU IN 1977. HE BRIEFLY SUMMARIZED HIS ROLE IN CO-AUTIIOIIING
THE BOOR AND RECOUNTED SOME OF HIS EXPERIENCES AS A PAVN
NEWSPAPER REPORTER IN THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS DURING THE WAR. THE

                        UNCLASSIFIED


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SUBJECT CLAIMED NO KNOWLEDGE OF U. S. PERSONNEL, LIVING FREELY OR AGAINST THEIR WILL, IN
VIETNAM SINCE 1973.

3. DETAILS.

A. FOLLOWING INTRODUCTORY STATEMENTS BY LTC LE KY, THE INTERVIEWER OUTLINED
THE TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION. THE SOURCE PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

B. SRCOL NGUYEN VAN MINH (NGUYEENX VAWN MINH) WORKED AS A REPORTER FOR THE
LIBERATION ARMY IN B3 FRONT, THE VIETNAMESE WESTERN HIGHLANDS BETWEEN 1966 AND
1975. PRIOR TO THAT HE TAUGHT COLLEGE LEVEL POPULAR LITERATURE IN HANOI. FROM
1977 TO 1980 HE CONTRIBUTED TO WRITING THE HISTORY OF THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS AS
SENIOR EDITOR FOR THE PROJECT.

C. AS A REPORTER FOR THE LIBERATION ARMY NEWSPAPER, SRCOL MINH WAS STATIONED
AT B3 FRONT HEADQUARTERS (HQ) AND WROTE ARTICLES BASED ON OPERATIONAL
BATTLEFIELD REPORTS. HE SELDOM TRAVELLED TO ACTUAL BATTLEFIELD LOCATIONS AND
RELATED THAT AT FRONT HQ, HE WAS REMOVED FROM THE TACTICAL FRONT AND "COULD
NOT

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HEAR THE GUNFIRE". THE B3 FRONT COMMAND ECHELON DIRECTED OPERATIONS MAINLY BY
RADIO. DURING THIS PERIOD, SRCOL MINH NEITHER VISITED NOR KNEW THE LOCATION OF
ANY PRISONER OF WAR (PW) CAMPS  CONCERNING PRISONERS, HE ONLY KNEW GENERALLY
THAT THE PAVN FOLLOWED A HUMANITARIAN PW POLICY. HE AT TIMES INCLUDED PW
INFORMATION IN HIS ARTICLES, BUT HE COLLECTED THE SOURCE INFORMATION FROM
OPERATIONAL REPORTS SENT FROM FIELD UNITS TO THE FRONT HQ. HE HAD BEEN TO B3
FRONT HOSPITAL V211 (APPROXIMATELY A DAY'S WALK FROM B3 FRONT HQ). BUT CLAIMED
N0 KNOWLEDGE OF A PW CAMP NEAR THAT LOCATION AND NEVER SAW FOREIGNERS THERE.
SRCOL MINH  SAID SRCOL KHUONG XUAN QUE, FORMER B3 FRONT PROSELYTING OFFICER
(SEE PARA. 7. B., BELOW), WOULD KNOW ABOUT PW CAMPS BECAUSE ENEMY PROSELYTING
PERSONNEL HAD REASON TO VISIT THE CAMPS. THE MAJORITY OF PAVN PERSONNEL IN B3
FRONT WERE PROHIBITED FROM GOING TO PRISON CAMPS. SRCOL MINH SAID THE CAMP
SYSTEM, INCLUDING THE ROUTES FOR EVACUATING PRISONERS TO THE NORTH, WAS SECRET
AND UNKNOWN TO THE MAJORITY OF PAVN PERSONNEL. DURING HIS TIME IN THE WESTERN
HIGHLANDS HE KNEW NOTHING OF A B3 FRONT OPERATIONS LOG WHICH MIGHT HAVE
CONTAINED INFORMATION ON PW'S.


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E. BEGINNING IN 1977, SRCOL MINH CONDUCTED RESEARCH FOR TE BOOK AT PAVN 3RD
CORPS HQ IN PLEIKU, AND WAS ALLOWED LIMITED ACCESS TO THE CORPS CLASSIFIED
DOCUMENTS ARCHIVES THE PROCEDURE WAS FOR HIM TO REQUEST DOCUMENTS CONCERNING A
CERTAIN INCIDENT OR BATTLE, SUPPLYING THE DATE, AREA, AND OR PARTICIPATING
UNITS TO THE CLERK, WHO WOULD THEN RETRIEVE THE MATERIAL. THE CLERK USED AN
INDEX OR DIRECTORY TO LOCATE THE DOCUMENTS. SRCOL MINH COULD NOT ENTER THE
ACTUAL DOCUMENTS STORAGE AREA. BUT WORKED IN A NEARBY ROOM. HE COULD ONLY
ACCESS Documents ONE TIME, AND HAD TO LEAVE WHATEVER NOTES HE TOOK IN THE
FACILITY OR DESTROY THEM. UNCLASSIFIED

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SRCOL MINH SUGGESTED THE JOINT TEAM SEEK ACCESS TO 3RD CORPS
CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS ARCHIVE TO FIND INFORMATION POSSIBLY RELATED
TO UNACCOUNTED FOR U. S. PERSONNEL IN B3 FRONT. HE SAID, HOWEVER,
THAT ALL THE DOCUMENTS HE USED FOR THE BOOKS WERE OF OPERATIONAL
NATURE AND CONTAINED VERY FEW DETAILS CONCERNING U.S. S. PRISONERS.
IF PW'S WERE MENTIONED AT ALL. IT WAS ONLY IN TERMS OF NUMBERS
OF PRISONERS CAPTURED. HE DID NOT DISCOUNT THE POSSIBILITY,
HOWEVER, THAT OTHER  TYPES OF DOCUMENTS, SUCH AS PROSELYTING
DOCUMENTS, MIGHT ALSO BE IN THE ARCHIVE. ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH
HIS IDEA, HE SAID, WAS THAT THE 3RD CORPS HAD TRANSFERRED TO THE

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CHINA-VIETNAM BORDER IN 1979, RETURNING TO THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS IN 1985 OR
1986. HE BELIEVED IT PROBABLE THE CORPS HAD DESTROYED THE DOCUMENTS DURING
THAT PERIOD. AT THE TIME HE DID HIS RESEARCH IN PLEIKU, THE 3RD CORPS HAD NO
REGULATION GOVERNING THE DESTRUCTION OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS, BUT HE DID NOT
KNOW IF THE UNIT HAD SINCE ADOPTED SUCH A REGULATION.

F. FINALLY, SRCOL MINH CLAIMED NO KNOWLEDGE OF U.S.
PERSONNEL, LIVING FREELY OR AGAINST THEIR WILL, IN VIETNAM SINCE
1973.

4. CORRELATIONS TO EXISTING POW/MIA CASES. NONE.

5. POTENTIAL LEADS. THE 3RD CORPS CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS ARCHIVE
IN PLEIKU MAY CONTAIN DOCUMENTS  WITH INFORMATION  RELATING TO
UNACCOUNTED FOR U. S. PERSONNEL IN SOUTHEAST ASIA.

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 SOURCE, SRCOL NGUYEN VAN MINH, WAS STRAIGHTFORWARD IN
IS STATEMENTS AND OFFERED INFORMATION AND OPINIONS IN A CANDID,

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RMKS/

ANIMATED MANNER. THE U. S. INTERVIEW TEAM DETECTED NO SIGNS OF


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COACHING OR SCRIPTING. ASSESS THIS SOURCE'S RELIABILITY TO BE GOOD.

B. A JOINT ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW TEAM INTERVIEWED SRCOL KHUONG XUAN QUE ON 17
MAY 1993.

C. THE MEMBERS OF THE JOINT TEAM CONFERRED ON THE QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED
DURING THIS INTERVIEW. TEAM MEMBERS AGREED THAT THE NEED TO RE-INTERVIEW THIS
SUBJECT WOULD DEPEND ON WHETHER FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR SRCOL MINH ARISE DURING
THE COURSE OF THE SPECIAL INTERVIEW TEAM'S  FUTURE WORK.

D. REQUEST  THE VNOSMP MAKE SRCOL NGUYEN VAN MINH AVAILABLE
FOR RE-INTERVIEW IF NECESSARY.//

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