Russian. The Russian side of the Commission has provided archival data primarily from two sources. A fairly extensive diplomatic record from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this incident, to include Soviet denials of the shootdown has been provided the US side. In January 1993, researchers from the U.S. side of the Commission went to the Central Army Archives in Podolsk and were allowed to read, but not copy, the Air Defense Forces (PVO) casefile on this incident. Their report is included after the case study at Tab B.
Soviet archival sources indicate that the C-130 was attacked by four MIG-17s, which used cannon and rocket fire to shoot down the plane. The attackers first damaged the right wing. The tail section separated from the fuselage. The aircraft then crashed and burned. The Russian side has passed to the US side gun camera photographs of the shootdown and photographs taken on the ground after the incident which confirm the catastrophic nature of the crash (copies included at Appendix A).
One piece of historical data differs from the rest. In January 1961, an article printed in the Soviet magazine Ogonyok reported that eleven parachutes were seen coming out of the C-130, and that the crewmembers were captured on the outskirts of Yerevan, Armenia. However, this article was a reprint from an East German magazine. Commission researchers obtained a copy of the original German article, in which there is absolutely no mention of parachutes. The Executive Secretary of the Russian side of the Commission informed the U.S. side that the editor of Ogonyok lost his job over this mistake.
The holdings from Russian archives that have been either reviewed or provided to the U.S. side in the work of the Commission are listed at Tab C. The documents with English translations are attached at Appendix I.
U.S. The archival record on the U.S. side comes primarily from State Department files, in particular the files of Samuel Klaus. Mr. Klaus was the Special Assistant to the State Department Legal Advisor charged with investigating shootdown incidents with the goal of bringing suit against the USSR in the International Court of Justice for aircraft and human losses suffered as a result of these incidents.
The record indicates clearly that Klaus conducted an energetic investigation. Klaus went to the Turkish-Armenian border area, where he interviewed seven eyewitnesses. He also interviewed many people in the Armenian-American community in California who had recently visited Armenia.
The most detailed, informative document in the US record is the Air Force presumptive finding of death, dated 9 November 1961. This document sums up the incident, considers similar incidents, and makes the following judgement on the possibility of survivors: Consideration of the information available to the Air Force and factors involved appear to lead to no other logical conclusion than that the subject personnel crashed with the C-130. It is attached at Tab A.
Summary of U.S. holdings. Documents related to this case from U.S. holdings are listed at Tab D. Copies of the documents are attached at Appendix II.
Interviews of seven Turkish eyewitnesses in 1959, and of over a dozen eyewitnesses carried out in Armenia in 1993 indicate that none of them saw parachutes emerge from the plane either as it was under attack, or from the time of the attack to the aircrafts crash. According to the Armenian eyewitnesses, representatives of the security services were on site shortly after the crash to supervise cleanup operations.
At the Sixth Plenary session in September 1993, both sides in the Cold War Working Group heard the testimony of retired Soviet General Valentin Sozinov, a colonel at the time, who had given the order to shoot down the plane, and who was at the crash site moments after impact. Sozinov said that the plane was an inferno, and that it burned for about eight hours. He said that no one could have survived the crash. General Sozinovs statement to the Commission is at Tab E.
At the Ninth Plenary session in June 1994, former Soviet pilot First Lieutenant Viktor Lopatkov, who was assigned at the time to the 25 th Fighter Air Regiment, testified before the Cold War Working Group. He was one of the pilots who shot down the C-130. He described how he and his mates attacked the plane. He himself did not see the planes actual crash, as he was caught in the C-
130s slipstream and was fighting to save his aircraft. Neither did he hear any rumors about survivors. Lopatkovs statement is at Tab F.
In August 1993, the U.S. side of the Joint Commission went to Armenia to conduct an investigation of the crash site. The Commission, led by U.S. Co-chairman Ambassador Malcolm Toon, inspected the crash site, conducted interviews of witnesses to the incident, and oversaw the beginning of the site excavation work of the team from the Armys Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI).
The CILHI team looked for evidence of human remains, as well as pieces of the plane and its contents, which might provide clues as to how many crewmen were aboard when the aircraft crashed and burned. The CILHI team was on-site for over two weeks, and in October 1993 issued its interim report. The team recovered hundreds of skeletal fragments. However, all were too small on which to perform DNA matching. Artifacts possible related to crew survival gear were brought to Hawaii to be analyzed by aircrash analysts. The report of the CILHI team is at Tab G.
As a result of the work of the Joint Commission, the U.S. side has had the opportunity to examine the loss of the C-130 and the fate of the crew still unaccounted for in considerable detail. Archival data, eyewitness accounts, the accounts of officers of the former Soviet Union who actually participated in the downing of the aircraft and the on-site investigation of the crash site have contributed to the information available to the Commission. The U.S. side continues to seek the after-action reports prepared by the security services and the forensic services of the former USSR to make an even fuller account available as a result of the Commissions work.
At the Cold War Working Group session of the Commission held in Moscow in April 1995, a Russian forensic specialist from the Ministry of Defense agreed to research questions related to the forensic work conducted by the Soviets at the time of the incident. The Russian side also agreed to search for additional forensic records related to this incident. This work is still on-going.
A key question addressed by the Commission is whether any member or members of the crew of the C-130 were able to parachute from the aircraft or survive the attack. The statements of participants in the attack and of eyewitnesses to the attack are strikingly similar. Their statements agree that no parachutes were sighted coming from the C-130, there was neither evidence nor rumors of crash survivors, and that no one could have survived the violent impact and hours-long inferno that engulfed the destroyed aircraft. The CILHI excavation of the crash site lends support to the statements of both the participants and eyewitnesses.
U.S. AIR FORCE RB-47 - - 1 JULY 1960 - - BARENTS SEA
Summary of Incident. On 1 July 1960, an RB-47 aircraft stationed at Brize-Norton AB, England, assigned to the 55 th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, carrying a crew of six, was shot down by a Soviet fighter during conduct of a reconnaissance mission. American search and rescue efforts recovered no survivors or remains. A Soviet trawler picked up two survivors, Captains John R. McKone and Freeman B. Olmstead. They were imprisoned in the Soviet Union until January 1961 when they were repatriated. A Soviet search and rescue crew also recovered the body of the pilot, Captain Willard G. Palm. Captain Palms body was returned to U.S. authorities on 25 July 1960. In October 1960 the Soviets recovered but did not repatriate the body of Major Eugene E. Posa. Major Posa and the remaining two crew members are unaccounted for. An official report of death was issued on the unaccounted-for crew members on 30 June 1961 (Tab A).
Personnel Involved. RB-47 crew
|PALM, Willard G., MAJ
|MCKONE, John R., CAPT
|OLMSTEAD, Freeman B. CAPT
|POSA, Eugene E., MAJ
|GOFORTH, Oscar L., CAPT
|PHILLIPS, Dean B., CAPT
U.S. position. The U.S. position prior to the establishment of the Joint Commission was that the plane was on an electromagnetic research flight over international waters when it was shot down. When the case was presented to the Russian side of the Commission in 1992, the U.S. position was that the plane was on a reconnaissance flight and was shot down over international waters.
Russian position. The Russian side included this case on their original list of ten Cold War incidents which they presented at the second Plenary session in September 1992. They acknowledged shooting down this plane after it allegedly violated Soviet airspace.
Work of the Commission. The U.S. side included the issue of those unaccounted-for from the 1 July 1960 shootdown as an agenda item at the Joint Commissions first formal session in Moscow, in March 1992. To further the work of the Commission, the U.S. side presented a case study to the Russian side in 1993 (Tab B). As reviewed in the second through fifth sections, the Commission has researched archival records related to this incident and has interviewed participants in the shootdown and the search and rescue operations which followed. The current status of the Commissions work on this incident is presented in Current status.
Live sighting reports
Russian. The documents on this case provided by the Russian side deal primarily with the repatriation of the survivors, the repatriation of Major Palms remains and the transfer of the body of Major Posa.
The Soviets shot down the plane north of Cape Svyatoy Nos (Holy Nose). The Soviets stated that the plane had violated Soviet airspace within the 12 mile limit. The American survivors contended that they were a full 50 miles off the Soviet coast when the attack took place.
Soviet maritime vessels picked up the two survivors and Major Palms body from the Barents Sea. Captains McKone and Olmstead were taken to Moscow and put in Lubyanka Prison, where they were interrogated at great length by Soviet security services. Captains McKone and Olmstead were subsequently tried and found guilty of espionage. They were released from prison in January 1961.
Major Palms body was found on 4 July 1960 and was returned to U.S. authorities on 25 July 1960.
A document provided by the Russian side indicates that the body of Major Eugene Posa was recovered from the Berents Sea by a fishing trawler in October 1960. According to this document the body was to have been transferred on 17 October 1960 to Severomorsk. At technical talks held in Moscow in February 1996, the Russian co-Chairman of the Cold War Working Group read from a document which stated that Major Posas remains had, in fact, been transferred to Severomorsk (see Current status section).
Another document, a written statement from Captain Poliashov of the fishing trawler Yalta, dated 25 October 1961, indicates that, on 13 October 1961 a Soviet trawler raised part of a human leg, one boot and a sock. This was badly decomposed and was thrown back into the sea by the trawlers captain.
The documents provided by the Russian side to date make no mention of survivors other than Captain McKone and Captain Olmstead.
The documents from the Russian archives which have been provided to the U.S. side in the work of the Commission are as follows (with translations - at Tab C):
Statement: transfer of body of Captain Palm dated 25 July 1960
Statement: confirmation of transfer dated 25 July 1960
Report to Commander in Chief of Air Defense Forces dated 22 September 1960
Letter to Khrushchev from Shelepin dated 17 October 1960
Resolution of Presidium CPSU dated 25 January 1961
Resolution on closing the case dated 28 January 1961
Explanation of Captain Poliashev from Fishing Trawler Yalta dated 25 October 1961
U.S. The documentary record on the U.S. side is fairly complete. A detailed summary of the case is contained in the USAF Report of Death (Tab A). The Soviet government first announced they had picked up and were holding two survivors of the crash in an account of the incident given on 11 July
1960. This Soviet announcement opened an extensive exchange of diplomatic correspondence between the United States and Soviet governments. In the diplomatic exchange, the United States government repeatedly requested the release of the two survivors. On 25 January, in a political overture to the new American administration of President Kennedy, the Soviet Union released the two imprisoned flyers.
The Soviet contention that the RB-47 had violated the airspace of the Soviet Union was heard in the United Nations Security Council from 22 July 1960 to 26 July 1960. The texts of the Soviet draft resolution and the statements by U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge are attached at Tab D.
Summary of U.S. Holdings. Documents related to the incident from U.S. holdings are (at Tab D):
State Department Bulletin excerpts dated 1,8,15 and 22 August 1960
Summary of USAF RB-47 lost in Barents Sea 15 August 1960
Aide-Memoire from Soviet Government to US Government dated 21 January 1961
Telegram to SecState from Ambassador Thompson dated 21 January 1961 10:06 am
Telegram to Ambassador Thompson from State Department dated 23 January 1961 5:57 pm
Aide-Memoire from US Government to Soviet Government dated 23 January 1961 6:56 pm
Declassified NSA documents 3 - 6 July 1960
The recollections of the two surviving American crew members from this plane, Captain McKone and Captain Olmstead are documented in the book, The Little Toy Dog, (White, William L., The Little Toy Dog, E.F. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, 1962.) While descending into the sea after ejecting from the plane, Captain Olmstead recalled seeing three open parachutes in addition to his own.
Captain McKone recalled seeing two in addition to his own. Neither of the survivors saw any of the other crew members after the incident.
The Commission has interviewed more than twenty Russian citizens who had some knowledge of this incident. Those interviewed include participants in the shootdown incident and participants in the subsequent search and rescue operations.
The pilot of the plane which shot down the RB-47, Vasiliy Polyakov, was interviewed on 31 May 1995. He stated that on 1 July 1960 he was on strip alert when he was scrambled to intercept an intruding plane. He approached the plane and identified it visually as an American bomber. He waved the wings of his plane in an attempt to signal the American plane to land. When the American plane gave no response, the ground navigator gave the command to destroy the aircraft. Polyakov fired, the RB-47 burst into flames and began to sharply roll upside down. Polyakov observed the RB-47 until it descended into the clouds. He did not see any parachutes, nor did he see the plane crash into the sea.
Information on the possible location of the remains of Major Posa was gained in an interview with Retired Admiral Lev Garkusha, a former commander of the naval headquarters at Gremikha, a base at which Major Posas remains were said to have been. In the fall of 1960, Admiral Garkusha was informed by a duty officer that a trawler had recovered parts of a plane and bodies. He personally saw the bodies and remembered there were more than two, perhaps three or four. He received an order to send the bodies and airplane parts to Northern Fleet Headquarters in Severomorsk. They were sent there on Patrol Boat #72 after being at Gremikha for about two hours. Several days later,
Admiral Garkusha was informed by telephone that the bodies had been received at Severomorsk and sent from there to Moscow. He did not know exactly where in Moscow the bodies were sent. The Commission has also received information from a former crew member on a Soviet fishing trawler, Mr. Georgiy Gurinovich who reported that in late July 1960 he personally recovered a leg from the water near the RB-47 crash site. The leg was tangled in the fishing net of his trawler, had a boot on it and was wrapped in parachute lines. The trawlers captain had the leg buried at sea.
As a result of the work of the Joint Commission, the US side has had the opportunity to examine the loss of the RB-47 in some detail. Archival data and interviews with Russian citizens have contributed to the information available to the Commission.
Efforts to locate witnesses to this incident who might clarify the fate of those unaccounted for from the crew of the RB-47 continue. Additional documentation is also being sought on this incident. At technical talks held in February 1996, the Russian co-Chairman read from a document which stated that the remains of Major Posa were, in fact, transferred to Severomorsk. The Russian side agreed to review the document for declassification and release. The Russian side has also volunteered to undertake a review of the criminal proceedings against the two American survivors in an attempt to locate additional information relevant to the fates of those still unaccounted for. The U.S. side continues to pursue leads on the possible location of the remains of Major Posa and other crew members.
Paramount in the efforts of the Commission is the question of survivors. Other than Captain McKone and Captain Olmstead who survived and were later repatriated, there have been no references to survivors in archival evidence from either side, nor do the results of more than twenty interviews indicate that there were survivors of the shootdown incident.
U.S. AIR FORCE RB-57 - - 14 DECEMBER 1965 - - BLACK SEA
Summary of Incident. On 14 December 1965, a USAF RB-57 was lost over the southern Black Sea. The aircraft was assigned to the 7407 th Support Squadron at Wiesbaden, Germany, and was on temporary duty at Incirlik AB, Turkey. A joint Turkish-American search effort began on 15 December 1965, and found parts of the plane but neither of the two-man crew. Presumptive findings of death for the crew were issued by the Air Force in June 1966 (Tab A).
Personnel Involved. RB-57 crew
|LACKEY, Lester L., MAJ
|NAME REDACTED |Unaccounted For
U.S. position. The U.S. position prior to the establishment of the Joint Commission was that the plane had been on a routine flight and crashed in the Black Sea. We had no evidence to indicate that the planes loss resulted from an attack by Soviet fighters. The U.S. did not know whether there had been a Soviet search and rescue effort or whether the crew or their remains had been taken by the Soviets.
Russian position. At the time of the incident, on 24 December 1965, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov called in U.S. Ambassador Kohler and, in a carefully worded, prepared statement, lectured him about U.S. reconnaissance flights near Soviet borders, to include the 14 December flight. Kohler asked specifically for information about the incident and raised questions about Soviet interference with the plane. Kuznetsov would not elaborate on his prepared remarks.
Work of the Commission. The U.S. side included the issue of those unaccounted for from the 14 December 1965 incident as a formal agenda item at the Joint Commissions first formal sesion in Moscow, in March 1992. This incident was not included in the cases on which the Russian side presented data at the September 1992 Plenum. The Russian side indicated it did not consider this as a shootdown case. To further the work of the Commission, the U.S. side presented a case study to theRussian side in 1993 (Tab B). As reviewed in the Archival records section, the Commission has researched archival records relating to the loss. The Commission has also addressed this loss incident in
meetings with leaders of other former Soviet republics. As indicated in the fourth and fifth sections, no eyewitnesses have been discovered by the Commission, and there was no field investigation given the loss over the Black Sea. The Commissions work is presented in the Current status section.
Live sighting reports
Russian. The Russian side has provided two documents bearing on this incident. Both documents address the Soviet search operations. These operations succeeded in recovering parts of the RB-57. There is no mention in these documents of survivors.
These holdings from the Russian archives as provided to the U.S. side in the work of the Commission are as follows (in translation - at Tab C):
Message 18 December 1965 Admiral of the Navy Gorshkov to Minister of Defense Marshal Malinovsky
Message 20 December 1965 Minister of Defense Marshal Malinovsky to Central Committee Communist Party of the Soviet Union
U.S. As a result of the Commissions work, certain American records have been recovered on this incident. The loss of the plane resulted in a joint U.S.-Turkish search effort, which succeeded in recovering parts of the aircraft. The accident report described the aircraft as a total loss. Documents related to the incident from U.S. holdings (Tab D) are:
Aircraft Incident Report dated 13 January 1966
Telegram to Amembassy Paris dated 15 December 1965 12:11 pm
Telegram to Amembassy Moscow dated 15 December 1965 4:23 pm
Telegram to State from Amembassy Ankara dated 16 December 1965 8:05 am
Telegram to State from Amembassy Ankara dated 16 December 1965 8:56 am
Telegram to Amembassy Ankara dated 16 December 1965 12:08 pm
Telegram to SecState from Amembassy Ankara dated 16 December 1965 12:52 pm
Telegram to Secstate from Amembassy Ankara 16 December 1965 3:27 pm
Telegram to Amembassy Ankara dated 16 December 1965 5:58 pm
Telegram to Amembassy Ankara dated 17 December 1965 12:59 pm
Telegram to SecState from Amembassy Ankara dated 17 December 1965 7:06 am
Telegram to SecState from Amembassy Ankara dated 18 December 1965 5:16 am
Telegram to SecState from Amembassy Ankara dated 22 December 1965 8:47 am
Telegram to SecState from Amembassy Moscow dated 24 December 1965 2:02pm
Telegram to Amembassy Moscow and Amembassy Ankara dated 24 December 1965 4:37 pm
Telegram to Secstate from Amembassy Ankara dated 27 December 1965 7:28 am
Missing Persons Supplementary Report dated 28 December 1965
Telegram to Amembassy Ankara and Amembassy Moscow dated 28 December 1965 6:43 pm
Telegram to Amembassy Moscow and Amembassy Ankara dated 6 January 1966 6:10 pm
Message Traffic to General Greene dated 25 January 1966
Message Traffic to General Greene dated 31 January 1966
Message Traffic to CSAF dated 4 June 1966
Diplomatic communications at the time indicated that while there was initial speculation regarding Soviet involvement, it was ruled out. Most cables centered on the Turkish involvement in the search effort, and on the need for discretion regarding American bases in Turkey.
The archival record indicates that while both sides were successful in searching for the plane, the crew was not found. None of the US documents mentions survivors of the lost aircraft.
As a result of the work of the Joint Commission, the U.S. side has had the opportunity to examine the loss of the RB-57 and its crew in detail.
The Commission has reviewed the archival data presented by both sides. There is no evidence indicating that the aircraft was lost to hostile action. It is clear that the US and Soviet militaries tracked the plane on their radars and knew with relative certainty when and where the aircraft crashed. Both sides conducted Black Sea search and rescue operations in which parts of the RB-57 were recovered. There is no reference in any document to survivors of the crash. At this point in the work of the Commission, new leads for further inquiry have not yet been developed.
SOVIET LOSSES IN AFGHANISTAN
Summary of Incident. The Soviet conflict against the Afghan rebels, the Mujahadeen, lasted from 24 December 1979 until 16 February 1989. During this conflict, the Soviet Union lost 13,833 military personnel. Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the Soviet military listed 315 servicemen as Missing In Action or Prisoners of War.
U.S. Position Prior to Commission. The United States assisted the former Soviet Union in obtaining information and facilitating exchanges of POWs following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. On 13 September 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union issued the U.S.-Soviet Joint Statement on Afghanistan. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze agreed that the U.S. would assist, to the highest degree possible, in the effort to return Soviet POWs from Afghanistan. This agreement led to an intensification of U.S. efforts.
In accordance with this agreement, Mr. Peter Tomsen, Special Envoy to Afghanistan and the Mujahadeen from 1989 until 1993, travelled throughout Afghanistan to collect information and press for the release of POWs. He met with resistance commanders, tribal leaders and politicians, turned over information and lists of POWs from the Soviet Veterans Association, and met with Western travellers, including correspondents, in Afghanistan. The information gained through these efforts was turned over to the Russian government.
The U.S. intelligence community also provided information on Soviet missing in Afghanistan. In November 1991, a list of 16 servicemen believed to be held by the Mujahadeen was turned over to the Russian government. This list is attached at Tab A.
Work of the Commission
Initial Efforts. At the first Plenary Session in Moscow in March 1992, the Commission included the subject of former Soviet servicemen missing in action in Afghanistan as part of the official work of the Commission. At this initial meeting, the U.S. side presented a U.S. government list of 57 Soviet POW/MIAs in Afghanistan, three photographs of Soviet POWs and a videotape of a Soviet POW.
The U.S. side also turned over a list of 19 former POWs from Afghanistan then living in the West, the names of seven former Soviet soldiers who had returned to the former Soviet Union and a list 16 former Soviet soldiers believed to still be held by the Mujahedeen.
During the early stages of the Commissions work, additional documentation was passed by the U.S. side. One document, compiled with the assistance of governments in the Afghan region and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), provided details on 7-8 former Soviet soldiers and their captors. Another document provided information on Soviet soldiers who were living in the mountains of the Black Valley region of Afghanistan.
In August 1994, the U.S. co-Chairman of the Cold War Working Group presented information to the Russian side on the location of two Russian servicemen who disappeared in Afghanistan and the names of the Mujahedeen commanders holding them. Subsequently, the U.S. and Russian sides agreed to include the discussions on Soviet losses in Afghanistan as part of the work of the Cold War Working Group.
Copies of all the documents mentioned above are included at Tab B.
The Cold War Working Group. The Russian side of the Commission turned over a list of 290 former Soviet servicemen considered missing in action or prisoners of war in Afghanistan. This list continues to serve as the foundation for the work of the Commission on this issue. The Russian side has stressed that although information may indicate that some of these men are dead, Russian military protocol dictates that two witnesses are required to declare a soldier dead. Therefore, all of these servicemen are considered MIA/POW. A copy of this list is located at Tab C.
The U.S. side conducted a detailed analysis of this list and created a computerized, annotated, database which was presented to the Russian side. Commission efforts have assisted the Russian government in reducing the number of missing servicemen to 287 (see the third section).
Meetings with Foreign Officials. In addition to the documentary information exchanged by both sides of the Commission, U.S. government officials have met with Afghan and Pakistani leaders in order to
push for the release of former Soviet POWs. Since the inception of the Commission, the U.S. co-Chairman of the Commission, Ambassador Malcolm Toon, and other Commission members have met with Afghan leaders, including the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and Charge daffaires to urge them to work for the release of any former Soviet servicemen still held as POWs.
On 3 May 1995, Ambassador Toon and staff members met with the Afghan Charge daffaires and a representative from the Afghan Ministry of Defense. The Afghan charge stated that no more than 20-30 former Soviet servicemen were being held against their will in Afghanistan at that time. Ambassador Toon turned over the 290 list and requested the Afghan government investigate these cases and provide the U.S. any new information on these servicemen as it becomes available. The U.S. side sent copies of the 290 list to U.S. Embassies in the Afghan region and the Middle East and requested that the host governments provide any information concerning the missing soldiers to the Commission for passage to the Russian side.
Additionally, in meetings with representatives of the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union the U.S. side has presented information on former Soviet servicemen missing from the war in Afghanistan who came from these countries.
U.S. In January 1995, under the auspices of the Cold War Working Group, the U.S. side of the Commission initiated an exhaustive search of U.S. government archives for information on missing Soviet servicemen in Afghanistan. At technical talks held in Moscow in February 1995, the U.S. delegation turned over information and extracts from 42 Department of State documents and nine documents from the U.S. intelligence community. At working group meetings in April 1995 in Moscow, the U.S. side of the Commission turned over the text of the aforementioned 42 Department of State documents, the text of 40 additional State department documents, the text of 30 documents from the personal files of Special Envoy Peter Tomsen, and information extracted from some 150 intelligence community documents. At the Twelfth Plenary Session held in August 1995, the U.S. side turned over
19 Department of State documents. This information represents a complete and exhaustive search of all
available U.S. government files.
The listing of documents from U.S. archives that have been provided to the Russian side in the work of the Commission is attached in Tab D.
Russian. Since March 1992, the Russian side of the Commission has provided several lists of servicemen missing in Afghanistan as the number of missing has been reduced. In 1992, the Russian side of the Commission provided a list of 22 priority cases of missing servicemen in Afghanistan and the commanders holding them.
During the Twelfth Plenary Session of the Commission held in August 1995, the Russian side indicated that two servicemen, Nikolai Bystrov and Byashimgeldy Yazhkanov, had recently returned. (Note: Nikolai Bystrov does not appear on the U.S. sides copy of the 290 list). The Russian side also indicated that two additional servicemen, Mumin Altyev and Dovletnazar Gulgeldiev, had been located and contacted by both family members and government officials, but decided not to return to the former Soviet Union. Even though these servicemen did not return, the Russian side informed the U.S. side that these men were no longer considered POW/MIA. Based on this information, the list of 290 has been reduced to 287 missing soldiers.
At the Twelfth Plenary Session, the Russian side emphasized that the Russian government knew the names and current locations of all POWs held in Afghanistan. The Russian side requested that the U.S. focus its efforts on assisting in the release of these men. The U.S. side will request that the Afghan Embassy in Washington and governments in the region of Afghanistan turn over any additional information on former Soviet servicemen in Afghanistan and continue to press for the release of any POWs still held against their will. In response to a suggestion by the Russian side of the Commission, the U.S. side stated it would be pleased to receive names requiring priority attention from the 287 list. The U.S. side has not received such a list at this time. The U.S. side continues to be responsive to Russian requests.
SOVIET COLD WAR LOSSES
Throughout the course of the Commissions work, the Russian side of the Commission has inquired about 28 specific Cold War era incidents of Soviet losses of aircraft, submarines and personnel, and requested the U.S. side investigate these incidents. A list of these incidents is located at Tab A.
Work of the Commission
Since the First Plenary Session of the Commission, efforts by the U.S. side to uncover information on Russian requests have taken place under the guidance of the Cold War Working Group. The U.S. side of the Commission has conducted a broad search of U.S. government archives to investigate the incidents raised by the Russian side. The U.S. side searched for information from the Joint Staff, the Navy Historical Center, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, the Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the U.S. intelligence community, the Department of State and the National Archives. In addition, members of the U.S. side of the Commission met with officials at the highest level of the intelligence community in the investigation of these incidents.
In October 1992, the United States government turned over a video tape of the burial at sea of the remains of six crew members of the Soviet Golf-class submarine which sank in 1968. These bodies were recovered during a salvage operation conducted by the United States in 1974. On 30 August 1993, the U.S. Co-Chairman of the Commission, Ambassador Malcolm Toon, turned over the bell of the Golf-class sub to the Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. In May 1994, members of the U.S. side of the Commission presented a picture of a Soviet sailor to the Russian government. This picture was retrieved from film recovered during the 1974 salvage operation. During working group sessions held in April 1995, the U.S. side turned over extracts from the deck logs of the U.S.S. Swordfish from March 1968. The information on this incident which has been passed by the U.S. side of the Commission represents all available information on this Soviet loss.
The U.S. side of the Commission also presented information on the 25 May 1968 crash of a Soviet Tu-16 Badger in the Norwegian Sea. During working group sessions held in April 1995, the U.S. side turned over the Deck Log and Command History of the U.S.S. Essex for May 1968. At the Twelfth Plenary Session in August 1995, the U.S. side passed to the Russian side film footage of the crash of the Tu-16 taken from the U.S.S. Essex as well as a written eyewitness testimony of this
In April 1995, during working group sessions, the U.S. side passed over the deck logs of the U.S.S. Bennington from 1 July 64 to 31 July 1964, the deck log of the U.S.S. Cunningham from 14 July 1964 to 16 July 1964 and the deck log of the U.S.S. Eversole from 14 July 1964 to 16 July 1964. These deck logs all pertain to the crash of a Soviet Tu-16r Badger on 15 July 1964 in the Sea of Japan.
In addition to the information described above, the U.S. side of the Commission has passed extensive information on several other cases. The Navy Historical Center turned over seven pages of information on a Soviet twin engine bomber shot down off the coast of Korea on 4 September 1950. This information included medical reports and a photograph of the pilots body which was recovered by the U.S.S. Philippine Sea. The Joint Staff gathered 17 additional pages of information on this incident, including incident reports, statements from the pilots and combat charts.
The U.S. side of the Commission has also turned over information on 12 additional Soviet loss incidents, including information on eight Soviet advisors captured in the Ogaden in 1978. This information begins to clarify the circumstances surrounding these incidents. In some cases, when no information was found, reports documenting U.S. efforts have been passed to the Russian side. Copies of all the documents described above are located at Tab B.
The U.S. side of the Commission continues its efforts to uncover further information on each of the Russian requests addressing Soviet Cold War losses.