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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 11, 1993

                Statement by the Press Secretary 
         Announcing Mission to Vietnam by the President's
               Special Emissary for POW/MIA Affairs

The President has asked General John W. Vessey, Jr. to travel to Vietnam April 18-19 to assess Vietnamese cooperation on accounting of American POW/MIA's and to seek further progress. The government of Vietnam has agreed to receive General Vessey.

President Clinton has pledged that the fullest possible accounting for our service personnel must lie at the core of our policy toward Vietnam. General Vessey's trip is a step in the Administration's effort to make progress on this critical issue.While important advances have been made in recent years, the President seeks to determine whether the Vietnamese are cooperating fully.

The President is grateful that General Vessey has agreed to undertake this important mission. No one is better qualified to provide the best possible assessment of the progress to date on this issue or commands greater respect among the American people for his decades of dedicated service to the nation. As the President's Special Emissary to Hanoi for POW/MIA Affairs since 1987, he has been responsible for much of what has been achieved in recent years.

The President is looking forward to working with him, with the families of POW/MIA's, with veterans organizations, and with the United States Congress to assure the fullest possible accounting of our service personnel in Vietnam.

Attached is a biography of General Vessey.