[300042Z.OH 04/28/96]

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AMPN/SUBJ: LIST OF PERSONS FOR INTERVIEW, ENTRY NUMBER 34 OF 83//
RMKS/1. BACKGROUND. ON 21 AUGUST 1993, A JOINT U.S./ VIETNAM

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ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM INTERVIEW TEAM INTERVIEWED NGUYEN DINH THAO,
A 54 YEAR OLD HANOI RESIDENT. MR. THAO IS A FORMER WRITER OF
"THE PEOPLE'S ARMED FORCES OF THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS DURING THE
WAR OF NATIONAL SALVATION AGAINST THE AMERICANS" (LCWCJ LWONGJ
VUX TRANG NHAAN DAAN TAAY NGUYEEN TRONG CHIEENS CHOONGS MYX CWUS
NWOCS). THE TEAM MET AT THE ANTE-BUILDING MEETING ROOM OF THE
GOVERNMENT GUEST HOUSE, 2 LE MACH STREET, HOAN KIEM DISTRICT,
HANOI, TO INTERVIEW MR. THAO, LISTED IN REFERENCE A AS A POTENTIAL
SOURCE OF INFORMATION CONCERNING U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING IN ACTION
IN VIETNAM. THE U.S. CONTINGENT CONSISTED OF MR. KEITH GARY
FLANAGAN, DET 2 JOINT TASK FORCE-FULL ACCOUNTING (JTF-FA)
CASUALTY RESOLUTION SPECIALIST; AND PO2 JOHN HARVEY, JTF-FA
ANALYST/LINGUIST. THE VIETNAMESE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CONTINGENT
CONSISTED OF LTC LE KY, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE; AND MR. NGUYEN THANH
LOI,  MINISTRY OF INTERIOR. MR. THAO HAD NOT BEEN INTERVIEWED BY
A JOINT TEAM BEFORE.

2. SUMMARY. THE SOURCE, NGUYEN DINH THAO, PROVIDED A SUMMARY OF
THE SOURCES USED TO GATHER MATERIAL FOR THE BOOK "THE PEOPLE' S
ARMED FORCES OF THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS DURING THE WAR OF NATIONAL
SALVATION AGAINST THE AMERICANS" AND SUMMARIZED HIS CONTRIBUTIONS

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TO THE BOOK. MR. THAO CLAIMED NO KNOWLEDGE OF U. S. PERSONNEL, LIVING
FREELY OR AGAINST THEIR WILL, IN VIETNAM SINCE 1973.

3. DETAILS.

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A. AFTER FORMAL INTRODUCTIONS, LTC LE KY EXPLAINED THE JOINT TEAM'S
MISSION AND MR. FLANAGAN BEGAN THE  INTERVIEW, ASKING MR. THAO TO
PROVIDE INFORMATION CONCERNING SPECIFIC PASSAGES FROM THE BOOK, "THE
PEOPLE'S ARMED FORCES OF THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS DURING THE WAR OF
NATIONAL SALVATION AGAINST THE AMERICANS", RELATING TO U.S. SERVICEMEN
TAKEN PRISONER AND THE SOURCES OF THIS INFORMATION. MR. THAO SAID THAT
HE BECAME INVOLVED WITH THE BOOK AS A WRITER FOLLOWING THE LIBERATION OF
THE SOUTH. HE SAID THAT THERE WERE TWO GENERALS AND THREE OTHER AUTHORS
ASSIGNED TO WRITE THE BOOK. THE BOOK, PUBLISHED IN 1980, HE SAID, WAS
WRITTEN FROM BOTH POLITICAL AND MILTARY ASPECTS. HE SAID THAT HE WROTE
THE PREFACE, CHAPTERS FOUR AND FIVE, AND THE CONCLUSION.

B. MR. THAO SAID THAT THERE WERE SEVERAL SOURCES WHICH THE
AUTHORS USED TO GATHER INFORMATION FOR THE BOOK. THE AUTHORS, HE
SAID, USED WESTERN NEWS SOURCES, INTERVIEWED BATTLE PARTICIPANTS
AND MEDICAL WORKERS, READ THE PEOPLE'S ARMY (QUAAN DOOIJ NHAAN
DAN) AND PEOPLE'S (NHAAN DAAN) NEWSPAPERS, AS WELL AS READ

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MILITARY OPERATIONS REPORTS AS SOURCES. HE SAID THAT THE
MILITARY OPERATIONAL REPORTS WERE CLASSIFIED AND KEPT AT A B3
SECRET DOCUMENT FACILITY IN NHA  TRANG DURING 1977 AND 1978.
THESE REPORTS CONTAINED ONLY B3 FRONT BATTLE STATISTICS, SUCH AS
THE NUMBER OF TROOPS KILLED, CAPTURED, AND WOUNDED. THEY  DID NOT
CONTAIN THE NAMES OR ANY SPECIFIC PW INFORMATION, HE SAID. WHEN
AT THE DOCUMENT FACILITY, HE SAID, HE WAS ALLOWED TO TAKE NOTES
ABOUT THE REPORTS HE WAS READING, BUT HAD TO DESTROY THE NOTES
BEFORE LEAVING. MR. THAO OPINED THAT SOME OF THE DOCUMENTS MAY
HAVE BEEN SENT TO HANOI, WHILE MOST HAVE PROBABLY BEEN DESTROYED
SINCE 1978. HE SAID THAT BY 1968 MOST AMERICAN FORCES HAD
WITHDRAWN FROM THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS AND MANY OF THE RECORDS HAD
BEEN DESTROYED BY THE TIME HE WENT TO FIND THEM IN 1977. HE
ADDED, THE WESTERN NEWS SOURCES WERE PARTICULARLY VALUABLE DURING
THE WAR BECAUSE OF THEIR TIMELY REPORTING OF U.S. UNIT LOCATIONS.
MR. THAO SAID HE WOULD HAVE LIKED TO, BUT NEVER DID MEET ANY
AMERICAN PW'S. HE SAID THAT MOST BATTLE PARTICIPANTS AND MEDICAL
PERSONNEL DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH AND THEREFORE COULD NOT HAVE
KNOWN ANY SPECIFICS ABOUT  CAPTURED U.S. TROOPS. EVEN THE ESCORT
PERSONNEL WHO TOOK THE PRISONERS FROM THE FRONT TO PW HOLDINGS

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FACILITIES WOULD NOT KNOW ANYTHING SPECIFIC ABOUT THE PRISONERS, HE
SAID. THE  ENEMY PROSELYTING PERSONNEL AT THE PW CAMPS, HE SAID, WERE
VERY SPECIALIZED AND TRAINED TO DEAL FIRST HAND WITH CAPTURED AMERICANS.
HE SAID THAT THEY WERE THE ONLY ONES WHO KNEW SPECIFICS ABOUT THE
AMERICAN PW'S. HE SAID THAT HE DOES NOT KNOW IF THE ENEMY PROSELYTING
CADRE KEPT RECORDS, BUT IF ANYONE DID KEEP PW RECORDS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
THEM.

D. ALTHOUGH HE HAS NO FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF U.S. PW'S IN
THE B3 FRONT, MR. THAO  SAID THAT HE KNOWS TAKING PRISONERS
CREATED MANY DIFFICULTIES FOR VIETNAMESE TROOPS. THE AMERICAN

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PRISONERS DID NOT MOVE WELL IN THE JUNGLE, HE SAID, CREATING UNSAFE
SITUATIONS FOR THE VIETNAMESE, ESPECIALLY DURING B-52 STRIKES. HE
ALSO SAID FEEDING AND CLOTHING THE PRISONER WAS TOO DIFFICULT AND
COSTLY FOR MANY PEOPLE'S  ARMY OF VIETNAM (PAVN) UNITS.

E. HE RECALLED SEEING A MOVIE ABOUT AMERICAN PW' S AT
CHRISTMAS TIME, IN WHICH PRISONERS SANG CHRISTMAS SONS AND MADE
PRESENTS FOR EACH OTHER. HE SAID THAT KHUONG XUAN QUE, A CADRE
OF THE ENEMY PROSELYTING OFFICE; A MAN NAMED THU (NFI), AND
SEVERAL OTHERS ORGANIZED THE PARTY FOR THE PW'S.

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F. MR. FLANAGAN ASKED MR. THAO IF HE KNOWS OF ANY "CROSSOVERS"
STAYING IN VIETNAM DURING OR AFTER THE WAR. MR. THAO  SAID THAT TO
HIS KNOWLEDGE THERE WERE NONE.

G. IN RESPONSE TO DIRECT QUESTIONING, MR. THAO SAID THAT HE IS
UNAWARE OF ANY. U.S. PW'S IN VIETNAM SINCE 1973.

11. MR. THAO SAID THAT THE U. S. WAS VERY GOOD AT RECOVERING THE
BODIES OF LOST SOLDIERS DURING THE WAR, BUT THERE IS PROBABLY VERY
LITTLE CHANCE OF FINDING REMAINS OF SERVICEMEN NOW. HE CITED THE
CHANGES IN THE WESTERN HIGHLAND'S  BECAUSE OF SEVERE WEATHER HEAVY
U. S. BOMBING DURING THE WAR, AND LACK OF RECORDS AND WITNESSES AFTER
25 YEARS AS REASONS FOR THIS.

I. WITH No FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR MR. THAO,  THE  JOINT TEAM
AGREED TO CONCLUDE THE  INTERVIEW.

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

5. POTENTIAL LEADS.

A. MR. THAO REFERENCED A FILM ABOUT A GROUP OF PRISONERS
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS. KHUONG XUAN QUE, NUMBER 7 OF THE LIST OF
83, WAS INTERVIEWED BY THE JOINT TEAM ON 17 MAY 93, AND WAS,
ACCORDING  TO MR. THAO, ORGANIZER OF THE  PARTY. A MAN NAMED THU //

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RMKS/

(NFI) AND SOME OTHERS WERE ALSO REPORTEDLY INVOLVED WITH THE MAKING OF
THIS FILM.

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B. ACCORDING TO MR. THAO THERE WAS A B3 SECRET DOCUMENTS FACILITY IN THE
NHA TRANG DURING 1977 AND 1978. THE DOCUMENT'S HELD THERE ACCORDING TO
MR. THAO, DID NOT CONTAIN IDENTIFYING PW INFORMATION, BUT MAY HAVE
PROVIDED FURTHER LEADS FOR JOINT INVESTIGATION TEAMS. HE DID NOT KNOW IF
THE FACILITY OR THE DOCUMENTS STILL EXIST.

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

B. REQUEST THE VNOSMP MAKE NGUYEN DINH THAO AVAILABLE FOR REINTERVIEW
IF NECESSARY. //

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