Press Release

Contact: Joe Sternburg, Acting Executive Director 202-628-2700 Ext. 126

HOLD FORMER SOVIET BLOC NATIONS ACCOUNTABLE FOR
PLEDGES MADE ON POW/MIAS

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 13, 1998)

During the current Senate debate on the expansion of NATO, Vietnam Veterans of America strongly urges the United States Senate to hold the former Soviet Bloc countries of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic accountable for their pledges of cooperation on POW/MIA archival research made to the U.S./Russia Joint Commission in July 1997.

The Joint Commission on the POW/MIA issue was established by President Bush and President Yeltsin in 1992. One of its goals was to research the military, intelligence, security, and communist party archives for relevant information on the disposition of American POWs from the Vietnam War. The Eastern Bloc countries actively supported and were allies of the communist government of North Vietnam during this conflict.

The former Soviet Bloc countries had a significant presence in Asia and were aware of communist POW policy. Membership in NATO guarantees an American military presence. Before considering expansion of NATO to include these Soviet Bloc countries, they must grant access to their archives and provide relevant information on American POW/MIA's from the Vietnam War. Vietnam Veterans of America strongly urges the United States Senate, in their current debate, to focus on the unsatisfactory follow up actions by these countries, and to delay the expansion of NATO to include the Soviet Bloc countries until they have fulfilled their previous commitments.

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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