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UNCLAS //N03460//

DIA PASS TO DOD POW-MIA CENTRAL DOCUMENTATION OFFICE//

MSGID/SYS.RRM/CDR JTF-FA/J2//

AMPN/SUBJ/INTERVIEW OF REQUESTED SOURCE. LE TU DONG//

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

AMPN/SUBJ: LIST OF PERSONS FOR INTERVIEW-SENATOR KERRY, ENTRY
NUMBER 32 OF 83//

RMKS/1. BACKGROUND. ON 21 JULY 1993, A JOINT U.S./VIETNAM
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM INTERVIEW TEAM INTERVIEWED MR. LE TU
DONG, A 75 YEAR OLD HUE RESIDENT. MR. DONG IS CURRENTLY
CHAIRMAN OF THE THUA THIEN - HUE PROVINCE VIETNAMESE
VETERAN'S ASSOCIATION, FORMERLY A LIEUTENANT GENERAL,
SECRETARY OF THE REGION PARTY COMMITTEE, AND COMMANDER OF
MILITARY REGION TRI-THIEN-HUE (MR-TTH). THE TEAM MET AT THE
HUE PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE GUEST HOUSE, 2 LE LOI STREET, HUE
CITY, TO INTERVIEW MR. DONG, 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 MR [XXXX][XXXX][XXXX], DET 2  JOINT TASK
FORCE-FULL ACCOUNTING (JTF-FA) CASUALTY RESOLUTION
SPECIALIST; 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

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INTERIOR. MR. DONG  HAD NOT BEEN INTERVIEWED BY A JOINT
TEAM BEFORE.

2. SUMMARY. THE SOURCE. MR. LE TU DONG,  PROVIDED NO
INFORMATION CONCERNING U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING IN SOUTHEAST
ASIA. HE SUMMARIZED HIS MILITARY CAREER AND SHARED HIS VIEWS ON
THE  U.S.PRISONER OF WAR (PW)/MIA ISSUE. HE PROVIDED INFORMATION
RELATING TO VIETNAMESE POLICY CONCERNING THE TAKING OF U.S.
PRISONERS ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF MR-TTH. MR. DONG OFFERED THE
HELP OF THE THUA THIEN - HUE VETERAN'S ASSOCIATIONS OF QUANG
BINH AND GUANO TRI PROVINCES-WITH THE HOPE OF RESOLVING SOME
U.S. MIA CASES. THE SOURCE CLAIMED NO KNOWLEDGE OF U.S. PERSONNEL
LIVING FREELY OR AGAINST THEIR WILL IN VIETNAM SINCE 1973.

3. DETAILS.

A. AFTER FORMAL INTRODUCTIONS. LTC LE KY EXPLAINED THE
JOINT TEAM'S MISSION AND MR. [XXXX] BEGAN THE
INTERVIEW--WITH THE  FOLLOWING TWO KEY QUESTIONS:

(1) SINCE 1973, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN OR HAD KNOWLEDGE
OF U.S. PW'S CAPTIVE IN VIETNAM? MR. DONG REPLIED
THAT HE  HAD NEITHER SEEN NOR HEARD OF ANY PW'S IN
VIETNAM SINCE  1973.  HE ALSO OPINED THAT THE
VIETNAMESE KEPT NO AMERICAN  PRISONERS IN VIETNAM
AFTER 1973.

(2) SINCE 1973, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN OR HAD KNOWLEDGE OF
AMERICAN "STAY-BEHINDS" IN VIETNAM? MR. DONG SAID THERE WERE
NO AMERICAN STAY-BEHINDS IN VIETNAM FOLLOWING 1973. MR. DONG
EXPLAINED THAT THE VIETNAMESE WAY OF LIFE IS MUCH TOO
DIFFICULT FOR WESTERNERS AND HE CAN NOT IMAGINE WHY AN
AMERICAN WOULD  WANT TO STAY IN VIETNAM. UNTIL NOW, MR.
DONG STATED, HE HAD NOT GIVEN THIS PARTICULAR OPTION
MUCH THOUGHT.

B. HAVING ANSWERED THE FIRST TWO KEY QUESTIONS, MR. LE TU
DONG (LEE TWJ DOONGF) SAID THAT IN 1937  HE JOINED THE
ANTI-FRENCW REVOLUTIONARY FORCES OPERATING IN THE HUE REGION
AND WAS IMPRISONED BY THE FRENCH IN 1940. HE SAID THAT
FOLLOWING HIS RELEASE IN 1945 HE REJOINED THE REVOLUTIONARY
FORCES IN HUE, WHERE HE STAYED FOR THE NEXT NINE YEARS. MR.
DONG SAID HE WAS SENT TO HANOI TO BE AN INSTRUCTOR IN 1954
AND BETWEEN 1969 AND 1973 WAS A STUDENT IN RUSSIA. IT WAS NOT
UNTIL 1973, THAT HE DIRECTLY PARTICIPATED IN THE WAR.

C. MR. DONG SAID THAT HE ARRIVED IN MR-TTH IN 1973 TO
BEGIN PREPARING TO TAKE COMMAND OF THE REGION. BY THIS TIME,
HE SAID, ALL U.S. TROOPS HAD WITHDRAWN FROM THE REGION AND
ALL SURVIVING U.S. PW'S HAD BEEN SENT TO THE NORTH. HE ALSO
SAID THAT ALL RECORDS CONCERNING AMERICAN PRISONERS WOULD
HAVE BEEN SENT TO THE MR-TTH STAFF HEADQUARTERS POLITICAL
OFFICE AND ON UP THE CHAIN OF COMMAND TO HANOI. MR. DONG SAID
THAT WHILE COMMANDING MR-TTH, HE RELIED HEAVILY ON THE
EXPERIENCED CADRE SUBORDINATE TO HIM, SOME

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OF THEM HAVING BEEN IN THE AREA SINCE 1966. MR. DONG
REMEMBERED ONLY NGUYEN XUAN HOANG (SEE PARA. 5.A.) AS ONE
OF THESE CADRE.

D. MR.[XXXX] ASKED ABOUT THE VIETNAMESE POLICY FOR TAKING
AND  MOVING PRISONERS IN MR-TTH. MR. DONG SAID THAT THE ARMY
OF  THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM (ARVN) FORCES DID RECEIVE U.S.
SUPPORT FOLLOWING 1973 AND HE IS UNAWARE OF ANY DIRECT U.S.
INVOLVEMENT AFTER 1973. MR. DONG SAID THAT PRIOR TO 1973, DUE
TO HIT AND RUN TACTICS EMPLOYED IN MR-TTH. IT IS HIGHLY
PROBABLE THAT THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE VIETNAMESE TROOPS
BURIED OR LEFT U.S. SERVICE MEN LYING ON A BATTLE FIELD
WITHOUT FIRST IDENTIFYING THEM. HE SAID THAT HE BELIEVES
THERE MAY BE NO WAY TO ACCOUNT FOR THESE U.S. TROOPS. MR.
DONG EXPLAINED THAT IS WAS NECESSARY TO GET OUT OF A BATTLE
AREA AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE OR RISK BEING BOMBED BY U.S
FORCES. MR. DONG SAID THAT IF AN AMERICAN WAS TAKEN PRISONER,
THE VIETNAMESE TROOPS WERE ORDERED TO TREAT THE PRISONER IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE VIETNAMESE HUMANITARIAN POLICY; EXTRACT
VITAL INFORMATION,  TREAT THE PRISONER'S WOUNDS, FEED HIM,
AND SEND HIM TO THE NORTH. MR-TTH DID NOT,  HE STRESSED HAVE
PW CAMPS. HE SAID THAT PRIOR TO 1973 HE WAS AWARE OF PRISONER
HOLDING PLACES' SUCH AS THE HANOI HILTON IN THE NORTH. BUT
THESE PLACES WERE NOT HIS SPECIALTY AND THEREFORE NOT HIS
CONCERN.

E. MR. [XXXX] PRESENTED THE GENERAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
RELATING TO CASES 1402, 1086. AND 1748. MR. DONG SAID THAT
HE HAS NO KNOWLEDGE OF THESE, OR ANY OTHER SPECIFIC
INCIDENTS,  BUT OFFERED THE NAMES TRAN LUU CHU AND TRAN VIET
HA (SEE  PARA. 5.B,C.) AS POSSIBLY HAVING INFORMATION
RELATING TO CASE 1402. HE CONCEDED THAT THERE IS MUCH
INFORMATION THAT MAY YET BE GAINED BY PURSUING THESE CASES.
MR. DONG SAID THAT HE IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE THUA THIEN-HUE
PROVINCE VETERAN'S ASSOCIATION. HE SAID THAT HIS VETERAN'S
ASSOCIATION HAS FOLLOWED THE MIA PROBLEM FROM BOTH SIDES AND
ALTHOUGH IT IS RELATIVELY LATE, HE WILL ASK THE MEMBERS
TO CONSULT THEIR DIARIES AND TRY TO REMEMBER ANY
CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAY HAVE LEAD TO AN AMERICAN LOSS. MR.
DONG CONTINUED TO SAY THAT HE KNOWS THE CHAIRMEN OF THE
QUANG BINH AND QUANG  TRI PROVINCES' VETERAN'S ASSOCIATIONS
VERY WELL. THEY TOO, HE  SAID, CERTAINLY WILL HELP WITH THE
SEARCH FOR MIA'S. MR. DONG VOLUNTEERED TO ASSIST IN GAINING
THE ASSISTANCE OF THE VETERANS//

DIA PASS TO DOD POW-MIA CENTRAL DOCUMENTATION OFFICE//
MSGID/SYS.RRM/CDR JTF-FA/J2//
RMKS/

OF THE TWO OTHER PROVINCES.

F. WITH NO FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR MR. DONG,  THE JOINT
TEAM AGREED TO CONCLUDE THE INTERVIEW.

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

                              Page 3

5. POTENTIAL LEADS.

A. MR. NGUYEN XUAN HOANG (NGUYEENX XUAAN HOANGF). MR.
DONG SAID, WAS AN EXPERIENCED MR-TTH CADRE. HE SAID THAT
MR. HOANG WORKED IN THE POLITICAL DIRECTORATE AND COULD
HAVE BEEN HELPFUL IN GATHERING FURTHER MIA INFORMATION,
BUT MR. HOANG DIED IN 1987. MR. HOANG IS ALSO NUMBER 32
OF REF.

B. TRAN LUU CHU (TRAANF LWU CHUR), MR. DONG SAID, IS
NOW A RETIRED SENIOR COLONEL (SRCOL), AND MAY HAVE
INFORMATION CONCERNING CASE 1402.

C. TRAN VIET HA (TRAANF VIEETJ HAF), MR. DONG SAID, IS
NOW A RETIRED SRCOL, FORMERLY A DEPUTY COMMANDER AND
POLITICAL OFFICER, AND MAY HAVE INFORMATION CONCERNING CASE
1402.

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

7. COMMENTS.

A. MR. DONG EXPRESSED HIS SYMPATHY FOR THE FAMILIES OF
U.S. SERVICEMEN WHO ARE STILL MISSING IN VIETNAM AND HE SAID
THAT HE HOPES THEY CAN UNDERSTAND THAT MANY OF THOSE LOST IN
THE LAOTIAN BORDER AREA MAY NOT EVER BE FOUND. HE SAID THAT
IS VERY DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE WHEN IN A JUNGLE
REGION AS MOUNTAINOUS AND RUGGED AS THE LAOTIAN BORDER AREA.
OFTEN, HE SAID, THE PEOPLE'S ARMY OF VIETNAM (PAVN) FORCES
ONLY KNEW THAT THEY HAD TO MOVE FOR A NUMBER OF DAYS IN A
CERTAIN DIRECTION TO REACH THEIR GOAL AND DID NOT KNOW FOR
CERTAIN WHERE THEY WERE. ADDED TO THIS, HE SAID, WAS THE
CONSTANT CONFUSION BROUGHT BY AMERICAN BOMBING OF THE AREA.
THIS BOMBING AND 2D YEARS OF HARSH RAINS IN THE AREA MAKE
FINDING AN ISOLATED GRAVE A NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK. HE
EXPLAINED THAT HE HAD TRAVELED TO THE REGION' FOLLOWING THE
WAR, TO FIND HIS OWN BROTHER'S GRAVE. HE SAID THAT HE HAD
KNOWN EXACTLY WHERE THE GRAVE SITE WAS, BUT AFTER CUTTING
THROUGH THE JUNGLE FOR THREE DAYS, HE WAS UNABLE TO LOCATE
IT. THE GRAVES MAY JUST NOT BE DETECTABLE,  HE SAID, AND THE
AMERICANS MAY NOT CLEARLY UNDERSTAND THE DIFFICULTIES
INVOLVED.

B. 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. DONG ARISE DURING THE COURSE OF
THE ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW TEAM'S FUTURE WORK.

C. REQUEST THE VNOSMP MAKE MR. DONG AVAILABLE FOR
REINTERVIEW OR TO ASSIST WITH THE VETERAN'S
ASSOCIATION IF NECESSARY.//

BT
 
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