Press Release

Contact: Mokie Pratt Porter, Communications Director 202-628-2700 Ext. 146


WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 18, 1998)

Vietnam Veterans of America strongly objects to President Clinton's March 4, 1998, decision to certify the government of Vietnam at "fully cooperating in good faith" with U.S. efforts to account for missing American soldiers from the Vietnam War. This certification and the subsequent March 10, 1998, waiver of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974, removed the major obstacles to full economic and trade relations with Vietnam.

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment bars the U.S. government from giving trade and investment funding to communist nations that do not allow their citizens to emigrate or travel abroad freely, unless the President certifies compliance with human rights and emigrations. The amendment also has very specific language regarding U.S. personnel missing in action in Southeast Asia and Vietnam's cooperation to (1) to achieve a complete accounting of all United States military and civilian personnel who are missing in action in Southeast Asia; (2) to repatriate such personnel who are alive; and (3) to return the remains of such personnel who are dead to the United States.

President Clinton has certified Vietnam as "fully cooperating in good faith" without waiting for all the data from the National Intelligence Estimate which is ongoing and soon to be released. The National Intelligence Estimate will measure whether Vietnam is meeting U.S. intelligence expectations on the disclosure of information or remains associated with captured and missing American servicemen from the Vietnam War. To proceed with certification for Vietnam without all available intelligence information does not serve the best interest of the missing and their families.

Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."

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