"U.S. - Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)

Minutes of the 18th Plenary Session
of the
U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs

Openning Session
Marriott Grand Hotel, Moscow, Russia
18 November 2002, 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Representing the U.S. Side:

Major General (ret) Roland Lajoie, USA – U.S. Co-Chairman, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC)
Dr. Timothy K. Nenninger – Co-Chairman, World War II Working Group, USRJC – Chief, Modern Military Records, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Mr. Norman Kass – Executive Secretary, U.S. Side, USRJC – Senior Director, Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)
Mr. Roger Schumacher – Deputy Director, JCSD
Mr. James Shonborn – Deputy Chief, Moscow Office, JCSD
Mr. Michael Gunshinan – Senior Analyst, Vietnam War Working Group, JCSD
Major Tim Falkowski, USAF – Senior Analyst, Gulag Study Group, JCSD
Major Jeff Jack, USA – Analyst, Marshall Center for Security Studies
Chief Petty Officer Michael Allen, USN – Analyst, Gulag Study Group, JCSD
Master Sergeant Ralph McCall, USAF – Analyst, World War II Working Group, JCSD
Master Sergeant David Hasenauer, USAF – Analyst, Korean War Working Group, JCSD
Technical Sergeant Thomas W. Shipp Jr., USAF – Analyst, Vietnam War Working Group, JCSD
Ms. Svetlana Amvrosova – Interpreter

Representing the Russian Side:

General-Major (ret) Vladimir Antonovich Zolotarev – Russian Co-Chairman, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC)
General-Major Konstantin Viktorovich Golumbovskii – Deputy Co-Chairman, Russian Side, USRJC
Ms. Natalya Mikhailovna Levina – Executive Secretary, Russian Side, USRJC
General-Colonel (ret) Vladimir Fedorovich Korochkin – Chairman, Russian Air Force Veterans' Organization
Colonel Valerii Alekseevich Filippov – Member, Vietnam War Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC – Deputy Director, Memorial Center Archives, General Staff of the Russian Federation
Colonel Nikolai Ivanovich Nikiforov – Co-Chairman, World War II Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC – Institute of Military History
Colonel (ret) Aleksandr Semenovich Orlov – Co-Chairman, Korean War Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC
Colonel (ret) Vladimir Konstantinovich Vinogradov – Co-Chairman, Cold War Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC
Mr. Vasilii Stepanovich Khristoforov – Cold War Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC – Director, Federal Security Services (FSB) Archival Services
Mr. Vladimir Ivanovich Korotayev – Acting Director, Russian State Military Archives
Colonel Viktor Valentinovich Fadeev – Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), General Staff of the Russian Federation
Lieutenant Colonel Igor Plotnikov – Russian Side, USRJC – Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government of the Russian Federation
Lieutenant Colonel Igor Petelin – Russian Side, USRJC – Federal Security Service (FSB), Government of the Russian Federation
Ms. Maria Ivanovna Lotareyeva – Russian Side, USRJC

Opening Statements

General Zolotarev welcomed General Lajoie and his delegation, noting that a parliamentary group in the State Duma recently heard a report on Russian personnel considered to be missing-in-action. During the hearing there were some very emotional moments, including a discussion about a woman who lost her brother in the Second World War, a son in Afghanistan, and a nephew in Chechnya. Zolotarev noted that the report delivered to the State Duma completely supported the work of the Commission's four working groups, and the Duma has requested a copy of the Commission's report that was provided in April 2001 to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zolotarev thanked General Lajoie and Mr. Shonborn for the opportunity to travel to Helsinki in October this year to interview Dr. Philips Brooks about a Soviet officer reportedly taken prisoner during the Korean War.

Zolotarev reminded the U.S. Side of a Russian request for information from the U.S. Immigration Service, stating that the information would be helpful in the work of the Commission. Zolotarev thanked Lajoie for the help and cooperation of the U.S. Side and presented Lajoie with a book on military history.

General Lajoie expressed appreciation for General Zolotarev's warm welcome and for the opportunity to meet again with the Russian Side. Lajoie mentioned that every time he comes to Moscow, he is impressed with the beautiful transformation of the city.

General Lajoie recalled Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry D. Jennings' visit to Moscow in September of this year. DASD Jennings reported that the trip had been successful, and Lajoie recalled that the Russian Side had asked for press releases on the work of the Commission. He handed over to Zolotarev magazines and articles from the U.S., Russian, and Ukrainian press that featured the work of the Joint Commission.

Lajoie noted with satisfaction the successful joint trip to Helsinki. This exchange of information is very important, he said, and he expressed the readiness of the U.S. Side to facilitate a meeting with any U.S. citizen if it will advance the work of the Joint Commission. He hoped that the Russian Side would reciprocate in a similar manner when the U.S. Side requests interviews with Russian citizens.

Referring to the planned research work in the Military Medical Archives in St. Petersburg, Lajoie noted the expectation of the U.S. Side that this work might reveal information on Americans -- perhaps some whose fate remains unknown -- who received medical care from the Soviets during the Second World War. Lajoie handed over a draft copy of the contract for this research effort, and he asked the Russian Side to help facilitate the contract's successful implementation.


Vietnam War Working Group

General Lajoie reminded the Russian Side that, during his meeting in Moscow last month, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jennings requested Russian help in locating and interviewing thirteen former Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) officers. Lajoie asked if the Russian Side had a response to this request.

General Zolotarev referred this issue to Colonel Fadeev, the Russian Side's GRU representative. Fadeev said that there would be an official response on this question in a few days from the GRU Chief. He said that perhaps fifty percent of the persons on this list were, in fact, GRU officers. Fadeev personally knew two of the individuals on the list, but one of them is now deceased. All of the officers had long ago finished their service with the GRU, he noted, and the GRU no longer keeps in touch with them. Several now live in the Moscow area, and they can be easily found in the information bureau. Fadeev said that Russia is a free and democratic society and that GRU officers are not constrained from talking with the U.S. Side if they so desire. He added that the officers are senior citizens and the information they might provide must be viewed critically.

Lajoie expressed disappointment in Fadeev's response, since the U.S. Side had hoped for assistance from the Russian Side in locating these officers and overcoming their resistance to meeting with the U.S. Side. Lajoie noted that Dr. Brooks had initially refused to meet with the Russian Side, but the U.S. Side persuaded him that his information might be important. Lajoie expressed his understanding that former GRU officers may have forgotten some things since their participation in the Vietnam War was a long time ago, but the U.S. Side is still interested in talking with them. These former GRU officers should know that our mission is humanitarian and there is no desire to accuse or find blame for any actions taken in the past. This is a chapter of history that we would like to close, Lajoie said.

The Russian Side stated again that it has no objections to U.S. contact with former GRU officers. Although official Russian contact with the veterans has been lost, veterans' organizations or friends may still have their addresses. Lajoie suggested that the Russian Side should be able to locate veterans by tracking the payment of pensions.

Colonel Vinogradov said that both viewpoints are valid. Locating veterans is difficult, especially after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Colonel Filippov and Admiral Novyy have been successful in this effort, however, despite the fact that Russia has no central information center. Vinogradov noted that some veterans have refused to talk with the Commission.

General Golumbovskii said that the first step is to send a letter of request to the GRU. If the GRU cannot locate its former officers, then the Russian Side of the Commission can take up the work of finding them. He felt it should be possible to interview these officers in the presence of representatives from both sides.

General Lajoie said that the GRU's formal response to this request should include a statement that such officers are not forbidden to talk with the Commission. Golumbovskii agreed, noting that, in the absence of such a statement, the Russian Side would seek such a statement for each officer to be interviewed. General Lajoie pointed out that General Korabelnikov has invited Admiral Jacoby, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, to Moscow next year, and the U.S. Side would seek a discussion of this issue at that meeting.

General Lajoie requested an update on Vietnam War research in the Central Archives of the Russian Ministry of Defense at Podolsk. Colonel Filippov responded that there was no one from the archives at the plenum but the work at the Podolsk archives continues. The Russian Side found documents on 124 incidents and passed this data to the U.S. Side. Filippov called for questions from the Americans on this data. He said that the Russian Side is now studying documents from the years 1970 to 1974. He added that these documents may yield reports on U.S. aircraft and that if such information is found, it will be passed over to the U.S. Side.

Noting Filippov's call for questions about the "List of 124," General Lajoie reminded the Russians that American research in Russia includes two main approaches: the first is the examination of archival documents, and the second is the conduct of interviews with witnesses. He stated that obtaining supporting documents on the incidents described in the "List of 124" may not prove fruitful, but the U.S. Side would be grateful to obtain them nonetheless. In addition, the U.S. Side would like to discuss these events with Soviet officers who might have information about them.

In order to help clarify the questions concerning the information provided by the Russian Side, Lajoie proposed that Mr. Gunshinan discuss the U.S. Side's analysis with Colonel Filippov and General Bezborodov. This meeting could take place later at General Bezborodov's office at the State Duma, Lajoie suggested.


The Korean War Working Group

General Lajoie expressed Congressman Johnson's gratitude for Zolotarev's answer to the Congressman's letter about the work in the Podolsk archives. Johnson had hoped that the letter would provide the requested report on the ongoing Russian research in classified, Korean War materials at Podolsk, but unfortunately it did not. General Golumbovskii said that the Archival Services of the General Staff were in the process of nominating a new director and for that reason people at the archives were very busy now. General Lajoie noted that this question is now more than two years old, and a Russian response is overdue.

Colonel Orlov observed that the Russian Side had received from the U.S. Side a list of twenty-three Soviet pilots who perished in Korea. From this list, the Russian Side was able to clarify the fate or burial sites for seven of them. Thanks to this effort by the U.S. Side, Russian researchers had the opportunity to review archival holdings relating to these losses and to discuss these incidents with American Korean War veterans.

The Russian Side is interested in a 1951 incident involving an engine from a MiG-15, Orlov said. There was also an event in 1952 concerning the recovery of a MiG-15 that was discussed in Helsinki with Dr. Brooks. Orlov stated that in 1953, a Soviet pilot disappeared over North Korea. The Russian Side is attempting to determine if that pilot is the individual referred to in Brooks' story. However, it seems that the information coincides with information about a Soviet pilot who bailed out of his aircraft somewhere near the 38th parallel, where U.S. troops were operating at the time. Dr. Brooks had indicated on a map the approximate location of a supposed burial spot.

Referring to magazine articles handed over to the Russian Side by General Lajoie, Orlov said that he knew the names on a list of missing F-86 pilots as if they were members of his own family, and their fates have been discussed for years. Orlov believes they died in combat and were not taken captive. The issue of these pilots being transported to the USSR has been discussed quite often in the past, and Orlov thinks this issue should be considered closed. Orlov noted that the Russian Side had provided information on this issue, and there is no data to support a conclusion that American POWs were sent to KGB/GRU camps. He said the Commission should continue its work to resolve the fate of Americans missing in the Korean War, but the U.S. Side feels there is some sort of evidence to support the theory of transfer and that it must be true. He concluded by noting that the U.S. should not waste any more time with this topic.

General Lajoie told Colonel Orlov that the article he was looking at was from a private magazine and was the opinion of a private individual. Lajoie merely wished to show the Russian Side that the issues the Commission deals with are still highly visible, but the U.S. Side is not accusing anyone. The issue is still open even if there is currently no corroborating evidence to support the transfer claim.

Colonel Filippov commented on the declassification of documents at Podolsk. He said that Colonel Ovchinnikov had begun this work and that the documents fall into two groups. The first group is comprised of documents containing information on U.S. losses in Korea that the U.S. Side already has received. The second group of documents contains no information on U.S. losses in Korea and, therefore, does not require declassification. He added that the examination of Korean War documents has been accomplished and that Russian representatives are now examining documents from the Vietnam War. Currently there is no plan to examine Korean War documents further. He emphasized that the Podolsk archive is not a research organization but merely a place for storage for documents. He said the "Pushkarova group" is now engaged in the review of Vietnam War-era documents. [N.B. The reference here is to Irina Pushkar?va, the lead archivist at the Podolsk facility who was selected to head the search for U.S. POW/MIA-related records.]

General Zolotarev said that the new Head of Archival Services is Colonel Sergei Aleksandrovich Ilyenkov and that he is familiar with the work of the Commission. Furthermore, a report of the ongoing work at Podolsk will be drawn up and handed over to the U.S. Side.

Lajoie asked if the U.S. Side would receive a response on the declassification of the Korean War documents. Colonel Filippov answered in the affirmative, claiming that the formal response would be received shortly. General Golumbovskii assured Lajoie that the leadership at the Podolsk archives is undergoing a change but that a reply will be forthcoming. Lajoie urged Golumbovskii to get a response from the archives as soon as possible.

General Lajoie refocused the discussion on the list of 25 Korean War MIAs, passed to the Russian Side by DASD Jennings in September 2002. Colonel Fadeev claimed that GRU interpreters during the Korean War were not allowed to interrogate prisoners. The Russian Side had examined archival documents on this subject again, and on Friday the Russian Side had talked with the Chief of the GRU archives. They found not a single case of this occurring, Fadeev said.

Lajoie expressed skepticism that Soviet Forces in Korea did not gather information on U.S. POWs. Lajoie said he had one more name of an American MIA to add to the list, and he handed the information to the Russian Side. The request pertains to Colonel Robert Martin, who took command of the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, and was reported killed-in-action or missing-in-action the same day, July 7, 1950.

General Lajoie informed the Russians that the U.S. Side is reviewing all American POW debriefings from the Korean War. To date, 235 debriefings have been examined, and more than ten percent of these reported having direct contact with Soviets or "Caucasians" during interrogations. From the preliminary work, U.S. analysts are quite certain that these "Caucasians" were Soviet officials. The U.S. Side will complete its analysis and report to the Russian Side on its findings.

General Lajoie noted that the U.S. Side has found information on two MiG-15s captured by American forces during the Korean War. One was recovered in April 1951 and the other in July 1951. The U.S. Side found no information on a MiG-15 recovered in August 1952. Lajoie handed over to the Russian Side a report on the results of U.S. research on this topic. Colonel Orlov responded that perhaps the incident he referred to in September during the meeting with DASD Jennings was actually the July 1951 incident.


The Cold War Working Group

General Lajoie stated that at the last meeting of the Cold War Working Group's Commissioners held on September 25, 2002, the Russian Side agreed to grant Admiral Novyy access to several archives, provided that the U.S. Side first identify in writing its specific requests. Lajoie passed to the Russian Side a request to give Admiral Novyy access to several regional and federal archives pertaining to the 6 November 1951 shoot down incident. Lajoie requested the status of the effort of the Russian Side to locate the remainder of the Cold War shoot down witnesses listed in a letter that was passed by Mr. Clift to the Russian Side in August this year.

Colonel Vinogradov stated that Russian Federation law requires regional archives, such as the Northern Fleet Archives, to send its holdings to the central archives after a certain amount of time. Vinogradov suggested that a formal request be sent to the Central Naval Archives at Gatchina to find out if that archive had yet received the Northern Fleet archival holdings in question.

Vinogradov stated that the Cold War Working Group is interested in identifying the witnesses involved in the burial of Major Eugene Posa. He also said that even if the cemetery were found, it would be extremely difficult to determine the actual burial location because Posa was buried in a fashion similar to victims of Soviet repression. Colonel Vinogradov passed the results of interviews with witnesses on the Posa case to the U.S. Side of the Commission. He stated that all information about the fate of Americans would be passed to the U.S. Side. Declassified or unclassified documents from the Federal Security Services' archives would be handed over as well. He stated that the Russian Federation does not redact documents the way the United States Government does, by blacking out portions with a pen. In cases where documents still contain classified portions, only the declassified sections would be turned over to the U.S. Side. Colonel Vinogradov then asked Admiral Novyy to say a few words.

Admiral Novyy noted that he recently had attended an Air Defense Forces' veterans' conference. While there, he asked the former commander of the 10th Army if he thought any of his Air Defense Forces units in the Severomorsk region might have participated in the burial of Major Posa. The former commander did not know but could not rule it out. Admiral Novyy stated that it is important for us to identify which Air Defense Corps unit(s) was (were) based in Severomorsk at that time.

Admiral Novyy then addressed the question of the transfer of archival documents of the North Fleet to the Central Naval Archives. He said that he had asked officials of the Central Archives of the Leningrad Military District in Saint Petersburg if they had the records of Severomorsk Air Defense units. The central archives reported they had received these records but had returned them to the Corps' local archives in Severomorsk because they had not been properly formatted. The records that the Commission is interested in are still in Severomorsk. Novyy added that the Fleet Commander had told Northern Fleet headquarters not to bury Posa but to turn his remains over to the "pilots." The location of Major Posa's remains may be noted in the Naval Aviation records in Severomorsk, Novyy concluded.

Colonel Khristoforov stated that the Russian Side has interviewed all the members of the Federal Security Services who were involved in the Posa case and that nothing new has surfaced. The Russian Side even interviewed the former Communist Party chief in Severomorsk, who reportedly knew nothing about the Posa case. Khristoforov said that Russian officials had turned over information on 138,000 German POWs to the German Government, and work with the Japanese is continuing on its POWs. Khristoforov promised that any information about Americans would be turned over to the U.S. Side.

General Lajoie asked whether the Russian Side had made any progress in locating information on Aircraft Factory 315. This factory is important because the aircraft debris from the 8 April 1950 incident reportedly was sent there. After consultation with Ms. Levina, General Zolotarev stated that the FSB is still investigating this matter.

General Lajoie passed a letter requesting the full text of Politburo Protocol 84. The U.S. Side of the Commission has a portion of this protocol, which includes a Soviet demarche on the 6 November 1951 incident. Vinogradov said that this was the first he had heard of this issue, but it should be no problem. The Russian Side agreed to look into the question and provide an answer.

General Lajoie announced that the new Chief of the U.S. Side's Moscow Office would be Mr. Yuri Boguslavsky, who will report to Moscow in mid-December.

As the session broke for lunch, General Lajoie presented General Golumbovskii with a congratulatory present on his promotion to the rank of General-Major.


U.S. Hosted Lunch, Samobranka Restaurant, Marriott Grand Hotel

As the two sides of the Joint Commission arrived, they broke into individual working groups to continue discussion on the topics covered by the morning's meeting. Toasts were offered to continuing joint work and future successes of the Commission. Colonel Orlov noted that a medal had been awarded by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksey II, to General-Major Zolotarev for his research on the history of Russia.

After lunch, the Commission members returned to the conference table and continued work on World War II Working Group issues.


The World War II Working Group

General Zolotarev opened the WW II discussion with a commentary on a comprehensive book [Russian Book of Memory] currently in the works on Soviet and Allied losses during World War II. The book will include information from 79 of the 89 regions that comprise the Russian Federation. After Zolotarev's remarks, Dr. Tim Nenninger spoke for the American Side.

Dr. Nenninger opened with a description of U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy missions against the Japanese Kurile Islands and the main island during World War II. Nenninger stated that, given the distances covered, poor weather conditions, and possible aircraft damage, many U.S. aircraft sought refuge in the Soviet Union, especially in the Petropavlovsk - Kamchatka region. Nenninger wound up his brief historical recounting with a reminder of the Commission's successful recovery mission of the U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura, which occurred in August 2001.

Nenninger transitioned to the case of Second Lieutenant Richard Brevik, providing a description of the damage to Brevik's aircraft during a raid on Shimushu Island and its crash in nearby waters. Brevik and another crewmember, William Cavanaugh, made it to a life raft, but Brevik soon died of wounds suffered during the crash. The Japanese subsequently captured Cavanaugh, and Brevik was believed to have been buried on Shimushu Island. Nenninger passed to the Russian Side data that the U.S. has received from Japanese sources concerning Brevik's burial. The data included a statement from William V. Cavanaugh, the only survivor from Brevik's crew, who recounted the information he received from the Japanese interpreter who was present during Cavanaugh's interrogation. The packet also included aerial photography of Brevik's possible burial site. In passing the data, Nenninger said that the U.S. considers the information sufficient to request assistance from the Russian Side in organizing a site survey at the possible burial site. Nenninger asked for a recommendation on a good timeframe to conduct the survey.

General Golumbovskii stated that August to September is the best time for such a survey mission, considering weather conditions in the area. Golumbovskii promised to research this question and present the results to the U.S. Side before it departs Moscow. Nenninger suggested that a survey be planned similar to the one completed on Kamchatka in early 2001.

Along with the Brevik case, Dr. Nenninger expressed interest in at least six other crash sites in the Shimushu and Kamchatka areas. He mentioned that some of the aircraft crash sites might be lend-lease aircraft (i.e., Soviet rather than American losses). He explained that there are roughly fifteen U.S. aircrews still missing from bombing raids during WW II. Nenninger stated that the information on the crash sites was gathered from Russian witnesses who were interviewed during the PV-1 recovery in 2001. He stated that the Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) likely would participate in future crash site survey missions in the Russian Far East.

Golumbovskii suggested that CILHI refrain from bringing as much equipment as its personnel brought during the Kamchatka mission. He considers the time, labor, and money expended to ship so much equipment to be excessive. He claimed that much of the equipment CILHI brought could be procured locally, and he cited in example the large amount of drinking water CILHI brought to an area known for the purity of the local water.

Dr. Nenninger asked the Russian Side to check its archives for information on aircraft crashes in the Far East, including U.S. piloted aircraft and lend-lease aircraft. He said that if these sites are in close proximity to the believed Brevik burial site, it might make sense to investigate some or all of these in conjunction with the Brevik site survey.

Golumbovskii said that near Cape Anglichanka, there is a downed U.S. aircraft, but it is not known whether it had been a lend-lease aircraft or a U.S.-piloted aircraft. At still another site, the remains of an airplane can be seen on the side of a volcano. Golumbovskii reminded the U.S. Side that there is a specialist in the Far East, Alla Paperno, who is somewhat difficult to deal with but is quite knowledgeable.

Colonel Nikiforov expressed satisfaction that the focus of the World War II Working Group has shifted to the Far East. He introduced Mr. Korotayev, Deputy Director of the Russian State Military Archives (RGVA), who was prepared to turn over the file of an American citizen who had been drafted into the German Army in World War II while working in a Mercedes Benz factory. The American was taken prisoner by the Red Army and repatriated to Germany in 1945, Nikiforov stated. Korotayev handed over the file.

Dr. Nenninger thanked the Russian Side and expressed the hope that Mr. Korotayev will help researchers from the World War II Working Group and the Gulag Study Group in obtaining access to the prisoner lists of the NKVD and MVD convoy troops and camps of the Main Directorate for Prisoners of War and Internees (GUPVI), which are archived at RGVA. He stated that U.S. researchers would provide lists of camps and prisoners of interest.

Mr. Korotayev said that researching the records of the convoy troops might be difficult but that it is important work and must be undertaken. He stated that he had found a list of twelve Americans in labor battalions and camps under GUPVI control dating to 1946. He thoroughly checked the list and eliminated all but two of these individuals as not being American citizens. One of the two is represented in the file he just turned over to the U.S. Side. Korotayev is still looking for the file on the second American. He closed with the observation that all information of interest to the Commission has not yet been exhausted in the RGVA.


Closing Remarks

The meeting ended with renewed promises of cooperation and the continuation of joint efforts by members of the Joint Commission.


Summary of Discussions between
Major General (ret) Roland Lajoie,
Co-Chairman, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
and
General Major Nikolai Maksimovich Bezborodov,
Co-Chairman, Vietnam War Working Group,
U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
Held in the Offices of General Bezborodov, State Duma, Moscow, Russia
19 November 2002, 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Representing the U.S. Side:

Major General (ret) Roland Lajoie, USA – U.S. Co-Chairman, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC)
Mr. Roger Schumacher – Deputy Director, JCSD
Mr. James Shonborn – Deputy Chief, Moscow Office, JCSD
Mr. Michael Gunshinan – Senior Analyst, Vietnam War Working Group, JCSD
Technical Sergeant Thomas W. Shipp Jr., USAF – Analyst, Vietnam War Working Group, JCSD

Representing the Russian Side:

General-Major (ret) Vladimir Antonovich Zolotarev – Russian Co-Chairman, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC)
General-Major Nikolai Maksimovich Bezborodov – Co-Chairman, Vietnam War Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC – Deputy Chairman, Duma Defense Committee
Ms. Natalya Mikhailovna Levina – Executive Secretary, Russian Side, USRJC
Colonel Valerii Alekseevich Filippov – Member, Vietnam War Working Group, Russian Side, USRJC – Deputy Director, Memorial Center Archives, General Staff of the Russian Federation

Opening Statements

General Bezborodov opened the meeting by welcoming General Lajoie and his delegation and apologizing for his (Bezborodov's) absence at the previous day's opening session of the 18th Plenum. Bezborodov explained that he was away on business and was unable to return to Moscow in time for the plenum. Bezborodov expressed his understanding that several Vietnam War Working Group (VWWG) issues already had been discussed, but nonetheless, some issues require further discussion.

General Lajoie expressed his appreciation to General Bezborodov for hosting the U.S. delegation and outlined the VWWG issues he had raised at the opening session of the plenum. Lajoie also noted that Mr. Gunshinan would brief Bezborodov on the U.S. Side's analysis of the "List of 124." [  1  ]


Assistance from the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)

Lajoie noted that the U.S. Side seeks assistance from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU. He reminded the Russian Side that, during his meetings in Moscow, Mr. Jennings (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and Commissioner, USRJC) had provided the Russian Side with a list of 13 GRU officers whom the U.S. Side wishes to interview. At the opening session of the 18th Plenum, Colonel Fadeev (GRU representative) indicated that the list of 13 GRU officers had been reviewed, and the GRU will provide the U.S. Side with an official response to its request in the coming days. General Bezborodov responded that this issue was now entirely in the hands of the Russian Side, which is obligated to see it to its logical conclusion.

Colonel Filippov noted that, at the previous day's plenary session, Colonel Fadeev indicated that he personally knew at least two of the individuals on the list and that one of the two had passed away. This highlighted the difficulty Fadeev has in finding GRU veterans, and unlike pilots or air defense officers, GRU officers do not have their own veterans' group. This makes it difficult for anyone to find former GRU officers. Filippov indicated that the Russian Side has enlisted Colonel (ret) Vinogradov's assistance in finding former GRU officers.

Filippov indicated that the Russian Side is searching archives for information on the former GRU officers. Archives only yield information on deceased veterans, however, since their files are transferred to the archives only after their deaths, he said. Living veterans can be found via local military registration and enlistment offices (voenkomaty). In order to find them, one needs to know where the veteran retired, Filippov finished.

Gunshinan expressed his understanding of the difficulties associated with locating veterans. He also noted that the GRU did not have any objections to the U.S. Side contacting and interviewing former GRU officers with service in Southeast Asia during the war. To this end, Gunshinan requested that the Russian Side provide the U.S. Side with a written statement that can be presented to retired GRU officers during interviews. The statement would confirm that the Russian Government and the GRU support U.S. efforts to interview former GRU veterans. General Bezborodov responded that this is a clear issue and must be resolved positively.

General Lajoie noted that this issue might be raised when General Korabelnikov [  2  ] meets with Vice Admiral Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, sometime next year in Moscow.


Archival Issues

General Lajoie next addressed the issue of the Central Archives of the Russian Ministry of Defense in Podolsk. Lajoie noted that the U.S. Side is always pleased to receive reports about progress at Podolsk and had heard that there was some progress to report on the search for Vietnam War-related documents in that archive.

General Bezborodov agreed that the Russian Side had enjoyed some success in this area. He explained that the Russian Side made an official request to General-Colonel Baluyevskiy, [  3  ] who approved its request to research archival documents from the Vietnam War covering the period of 1970-1974. Bezborodov was uncertain about the number of documents in question, but he stated that the work is ongoing.

Filippov explained that the archival research group led by Irina Pushkareva at the Podolsk archive searches through several documents just to find five or six lines of text related to American pilots. He added that this information is usually small in volume.

Bezborodov stated that the Russian Side would ask for a weekly status update from the Podolsk archive. Filippov added that the research group at Podolsk was almost finished with its work on Korean War documents, and Vietnam War work is ongoing.


Questions on the "List of 124"

Mr. Gunshinan briefed the Russian Side on U.S. analysis of the "List of 124." Gunshinan explained that the U.S. Side analyzed the "List of 124" in the same manner as the "List of 142," [  4  ] comparing the dates, times, locations, aircraft types, and circumstances given in both lists with U.S. loss data. The U.S. Side analyzed the "List of 142" and reported the results to the Russian Side in June 2001. At that time, the U.S. Side had requested originals of the documents represented in the "List of 142" but did not receive a positive response to that request. Gunshinan said that, nonetheless, all of the names occurring in the "List of 142" were found to be those of returnees.

Gunshinan thanked the Russian Side for the "List of 124" and noted that the U.S. Side had compared the two lists. U.S. analysts had identified several cases wherein the information in the "List of 124" duplicated the information in the "List of 142." Both sides agreed that duplicate information from different archival documents should be reported as shown in the original documents, i.e., the information should not be edited or filtered.

Gunshinan remarked that the U.S. Side conducted a statistical analysis of both lists showing shoot down reporting by month and year. The figures show that 1967 was the busiest year by far for Soviet reporting. He passed this analysis to the Russian Side.

On specific questions regarding the "List of 124," the American Side had decided to take an approach that is different from the approach taken on the "List of 142," Gunshinan noted. The U.S. Side is not asking for copies of original documents represented in the "List of 124," but instead is requesting that the Russian Side assist in locating Soviet veterans associated with specific items on the "List of 124."

The items on the "List of 124" may relate to open U.S. cases involving missing servicemen. For example, Gunshinan described entries from both the "List of 142" and "List of 124" that provide details on an F4C that was shot down on 21 November 1967. The "List of 124," however, included the fact that the aircraft was shot down by an R-3S missile. (R-3S is a Soviet designator for an air-to-air missile carried by MiG-21 fighter aircraft.) The 921st and 923rd Fighter Aviation Regiments of the Peoples' Army of Vietnam (PAVN) Air Force were equipped with MiG-21 aircraft that had been provided as military aid to North Vietnam by the Soviet Union. Gunshinan requested that the Russian Side assist in locating former Soviet instructor pilots assigned to the above-mentioned regiments during the Vietnam War. The U.S. Side would like to interview these instructor pilots in the hope that they can provide details about this and any other shoot downs they may have witnessed.

Mr. Gunshinan underlined another item on the "List of 124" involving an incident that occurred on 24 October 1967. The "List of 124" indicates that on 24 October 1967, an American aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile (SAM) battalion. Additional information indicates that the SAM unit involved probably was the 1st Battalion of the 10th Training Center. Gunshinan requested that the Russian Side help locate and interview members of this unit.

At this point, Mr. Gunshinan passed the Russian Side an official copy of U.S. questions on the "List of 124." In all, the questions outlined eleven incidents of U.S. aircraft loss about which entries on the "List of 124" provide sketchy information. The eleven incidents involve pilots or crewmembers whose fates are still unresolved.

General Bezborodov thanked Gunshinan for his briefing and remarked that he was glad to see that the lists had been of some use.

Gunshinan spoke about the difficulty in locating former Soviet personnel with service in Vietnam. He requested that the Russian Side contact the 10th Main Directorate of the General Staff [  5  ] and ask for a check of the archives for lists of Soviet officers who were assigned to Southeast Asia during the war. The U.S. understanding is that Soviet military personnel sent to Southeast Asia were processed through the 10th Main Directorate. Gunshinan and Filippov had discussed this issue the previous day during the 18th Plenum. Filippov reported to Bezborodov that he would arrange for a copy of the questions to be sent both to the Chief of Archival Services of the General Staff and to General Mazurkevich of the 10th Main Directorate with a request for assistance.


Moscow Visit of the Executive Director, National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia

General Lajoie informed General Bezborodov that Ms. Ann Mills Griffiths will visit Moscow from 6 to 16 December 2002, and she has requested a meeting with Bezborodov. Lajoie passed a letter from Ms. Griffiths to Bezborodov, who read the letter and replied that he would be happy to meet with Ms. Griffiths during her visit to Moscow.


A Review of the Meeting

General Bezborodov wrapped up the meeting by reviewing what had been discussed and resolved. The Central Archives will continue its search for Vietnam War-related documents. Additionally, a request will be sent to the 10th Main Directorate of the General Staff for assistance in locating Soviet Vietnam War veterans. Bezborodov further stated that he was of the opinion that the working group was taking its work seriously and moving forward with its issues.


Chemical Weapons Destruction

General Bezborodov asked that his appreciation be passed along to Senator Richard Lugar via the U.S. Side of the Joint Commission. Bezborodov thanked Senator Lugar for his efforts to ensure that work at the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility in Shchuch'ye is continued. Bezborodov noted that there are still several unresolved issues with the program. He stated that the Russian Federation is serious in its intent to fulfill its Chemical Weapons Convention obligations. To this end, Bezborodov indicated that the State Duma and the Federation Council were planning to appeal to the U.S. Congress for further assistance in this area. Specifically, he stated that the legislature of the Russian Federation would ask the U.S. Congress to lift its financial moratorium on the joint chemical weapons destruction project.

General Bezborodov reported that the Russian Federation has asked the Technical Secretariat (TS) at The Hague to extend Russia's destruction timetable to 2012. The TS decided not to make a final decision on the matter but would re-examine the request next year. Bezborodov said that he wanted to make sure that Senator Lugar is informed of his (Bezborodov's) appreciation. General Lajoie expressed his understanding of the situation.

The meeting concluded at 3:00 pm.




Visit to the
Russian State Military Archives (RGVA)
by
Dr. Timothy K. Nenninger
U.S. Co-Chairman
World War II Working Group
19 November 2002

Representing the U.S. Side:

Dr. Timothy K. Nenninger – Co-Chairman, World War II Working Group, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC) – Chief, Modern Military Records, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Master Sergeant Ralph McCall, USAF – Analyst, World War II Working Group, Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)
Chief Petty Officer Michael Allen, USN – Analyst, Gulag Study Group, JCSD

Representing the Russian Side:

Mr. Vladimir Ivanovich Korotayev – Deputy Director, Russian State Military Archives (RGVA)

Dr. Nenninger toured the Russian State Military Archives (RGVA) and met with its Deputy Director, Mr. Vladimir Ivanovich Korotayev. Korotayev explained the history and layout of RGVA, noting that the archive was originally two separate ones: the Central Special Archives that held the "Trophy Collection" of captured Nazi documents; and the Russian State Military Archives.

Korotayev showed Nenninger various documents from the "Trophy Collection," largely comprising captured German Nazi materials. Asked if any documents in this collection pertained to American POWs, Korotayev said that he personally had not examined the entire collection, but he did know of letters written by U.S. POWs contained in the Censure Bureau's documents. The U.S. Side expressed an interest in looking at these and other documents contained in the collection. Korotayev confirmed that the U.S. Side would have full access to the collection.

Dr. Nenninger and Mr. Korotayev engaged in a lengthy conversation about technical archival matters, followed by an informative tour of the building that houses the "Trophy Collection." At the conclusion of this tour, Dr. Nenninger was introduced to Mr. Kuzelenkov, RGVA Director, who provided a short overview of the archives' history and organization.

Following a tour of the archives' primary military collection and GUPVI holdings, including the two reading halls used by the U.S. Side's World War II Working Group and Gulag Study Group analysts, the two sides exchanged expressions of gratitude and a desire to maintain a close, cooperative relationship.



Footnotes:

1  The Russian Side passed the "List of 124" to the U.S. Side at a meeting between Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry Jennings and General Major (ret) Vladimir Antonovich Zolotarev in Moscow on 26 September 2002. The list contains excerpts from classified files in the Central Archives of the Russian Ministry of Defense concerning U.S. aircraft losses over North Vietnam. (Return)

2  General Colonel Valentin Vladimirovich Korabelnikov is the Chief of the GRU. (Return)

3  General Colonel Yuri Nikolayevich Baluyevskiy is the First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation and, as such, is responsible for all Russian military archives. (Return)

4  The Russian Side passed the "List of 142" to the U.S. in April 2001 in Washington, D.C. The "List of 142" contains 142 excerpts from archival documents related to U.S. aircraft losses during the Vietnam War. (Return)

5  This is the directorate responsible for selecting and assigning Russian military personnel overseas. "

Courtesy DPMO Website - http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/

Department of Defense,
Defense Prisoner Of War/Missing Personnel Office
2400 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-2400