THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 13, 1993
Renewal of the Trading with the Enemy Act and U.S. Policy Toward the Embargo Against Vietnam
In order to maintain the embargo against Vietnam and other countries, the President today signed a determination which renews his authorities under the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA). This action extends the President's authority to impose and maintain certain trade assets and fund controls variously affecting Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Baltic nations. It does not alter the specific controls on the countries involved.
The President strongly supports the embargo against Cuba where the people continue to suffer Castro's unrelenting dictatorship. The embargo must also be maintained against North Korea which continues to pose a threat to peace in Asia. We continue to hold certain assets frozen involving Cambodia and the Baltic states pending a resolution of claims.
With respect to Vietnam, the President will maintain the embargo with an adjustment relating to international financial institution lending. The President is committed to achieving the fullest possible accounting of our POW/MIA's from the Vietnam war. Today's action will advance that goal. First, to recognize the recent steps taken by the Vietnamese government and, most importantly to encourage further progress, the President has decided to permit American companies to participate in development projects in Vietnam funded by International Financial Institutions. Second, to make clear to the Vietnamese that more needs to be done, he will otherwise maintain the trade embargo pending further progress on POW/MIA accounting.
To advance the objective of achieving the fullest possible accounting for our POW/MIA's, the President in July set forth four areas upon which further steps in relations between our two nations depend: obtaining additional remains, resolution of
discrepancy cases, trilateral investigation with the Lao and access to POW/MIA-related documents. Some progress in each of these areas has been made in recent months.
The United States has recovered a large number of remains from Vietnam which await identification by our forensic specialists. Together with remains already received this year, this represents the third highest number of remains returned since 1973. Recent increased efforts to resolve discrepancy cases are generating important information which could lead to resolution of a significant portion of the remaining discrepancy cases. For the first time, Vietnam and Laos have agreed to conduct border-area investigations with our teams, cooperating bilaterally and trilaterally with the United States. And, the Vietnamese government has located and provided us access to key POW/MIA- related documents that we have sought since the end of the war. Further details on these steps are attached.
While these efforts by the Vietnamese are welcome, the results are not yet sufficient. To ensure further progress is achieved, our military personnel in Vietnam involved in the POW/MIA mission will continue to travel throughout the country to investigate leads on live sightings and locations of remains, interview Vietnamese witnesses, and excavate possible crash sites and burial locations. We will continue to press Vietnam to recover and return remains and for more information that could lead to a resolution of cases, especially those in which we have reason to believe the Vietnamese at one point recovered remains.
In addition, the Administration is actively investigating the latest document turned over to Ambassador Malcolm Toon, Co- Chairman of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs, alleging the Vietnamese may have held larger numbers of American POW's than known at the time. The President is committed to pressing the Vietnamese and Russian governments for further information. The Administration will leave no stone unturned in the effort to determine the fate of those who served our nation.
The issue of whether the Vietnamese have made sufficient progress in POW/MIA accounting will remain under constant review. In evaluating how best to achieve the fullest possible accounting, the President looks forward to the continued counsel and advice from the families whose loved ones are missing and the veterans whose fellow soldiers did not come home. The President shares with them a deep commitment to obtaining answers and to ensuring our POW/MIA's the honor of being returned to the country for which they fought. The President believes firmly that the decisions announced today will serve that vital national goal.
Progress to Date in Meeting the Four Areas in POW/MIA Accounting
On July 2, 1993, the President announced four key areas in which he sought further progress by the Vietnamese in POW/MIA accounting:
Remains: Concrete results from efforts by Vietnam to recover remains and repatriate American remains.
Discrepancy cases: Continued resolution of 92 discrepancy cases,
live sightings and field activities.
Laos: Further assistance in implementing trilateral investigation with the Lao.
Archives: Accelerated efforts to provide all POW/MIA related documents that will help lead to genuine answers.
To help achieve progress in these areas, the President sent a high level delegation to Vietnam in July to press for further progress and achievements in these key areas; a delegation met in August with the Vietnamese and the Lao to work toward more results. Since the President's announcement last July, the government of Vietnam has increased its efforts in each of the four areas. Below is a summary of the progress since July 2.
Since July, remains of 22 individuals were turned over; added to 28 remains returned earlier in the year, 1993 has already produced the third highest number of remains returned since 1973.
On September 6, Hanoi turned over further reports on investigations with respect to specific cases.
In August, Hanoi boosted publicity of its amnesty program over radio and in the print media to encourage citizens to locate and turn over remains, with a pledge to reimburse expenses incurred in recovering any remains which proved to be American.
At the request of the July delegation, Hanoi set up a permanent office in Ho Chi Minh City dedicated to POW/MIA
work; its current priority is to recover the remains of some POW's known to have died in captivity.
2. Resolution of 92 Discrepancy Cases and Investigation of Live Sightings
As of August 30, all necessary field investigation in Vietnam of live sighting reports had been completed, with assistance from the Vietnamese.
In July and August, 25 of the 92 priority cases were re- investigated; as a result, determination of fate has been made on an additional 12 cases, removing them from the priority last-known-alive discrepancy list. Such cases originally numbered 196.
3. Assistance in Arranging Trilateral Border Cooperation with Laos
In August, Vietnam's ministries of defense and interior for the first time pledged to cooperate on border cases (mainly along the Ho Chi Minh trail). Discussions with Vietnamese and Lao authorities led to a trilateral agreement to collaborate on investigations along the border where there are scores of aircraft crash sites and other locations where remains are likely to be found.
4. Accelerated Efforts to Provide Documents on POW/MIA's
On August 30, Vietnam provided us access to wartime aircraft shootdown records which may related to 14 individuals heretofore unaccounted for.
September 1, we gained access to perhaps the largest compilation of POW/MIA-related documents we have ever received from the Vietnamese: a 46-page document on shootdowns of 2466 aircraft which could lead to determination of the fates of many unresolved cases; long- requested military political-unit documents on POW's which could prove very useful in locating aircraft crash sites inside Laos, and in verifying numbers and other facts about our POW's during the war.