"U.S. - Russia Joint Commission
Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)
VISIT TO MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, of HONORABLE JERRY D. JENNINGS Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
(Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs) September 9 13, 2003
Mr. Jerry D. Jennings, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs), visited Moscow, Russian Federation, from September 9-13, 2003. His primary purpose was to accomplish a command visit to the only field element of the Defense Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)the office of the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD) at the American Embassy Moscow.
As one of nine sitting American commissioners on the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC), Mr. Jennings also met with the Russian Side of the Commission in an effort to advance key U.S. objectives within the Joint Commission.
Conferring with the JCSD Staff, Tuesday, September 9, 2003
Shortly after arriving in Moscow, Mr. Jennings went to the American Embassy to meet with JCSD staff. He inspected JCSDs new office within the embassy and received a briefing on the recent upgrade of computer and information systems. He met privately with each member of the JCSD staff who are permanently assigned or TDY to the Moscow office. He addressed the entire group, emphasizing the importance of the work they perform in Russia and the support of this effort within DPMO, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the current administration.
Meetings with Embassy Officials, Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Mr. Jennings met with several officials at the American Embassy Moscow, whose support to JCSDs mission in Russia is of critical importance.
His first meeting was with the embassys Minister-Counselor for Management Affairs, Mr. Edward M. Alford. Mr. Jennings thanked Alford for the support of his office, soliciting feedback on problems or issues to be confronted. Mr. Alford indicated that his and JCSDs personnel work together harmoniously, and there are no issues of concern. Mr. Jennings noted JCSDs recent hire of two Russian employees and its intent to hire a third in the near future. A discussion ensued about reports of live Americans in the Soviet GULAG and JCSDs effort to get to the bottom of that issue. Mr. Jennings explained the world-wide mission of DPMO, of which JCSD is a part. He discussed DPMOs contacts with American veterans and family organizations, emphasizing the important role they play in supporting and focusing DPMOs work in Russia and elsewhere.
Mr. Jennings met with the embassys Defense Attaché (DATT), Rear Admiral Miles Wachendorf. Mr. Jennings described DPMOs world-wide mission, noting that Cambodia has been the model for cooperation between the U.S. and other countries on the POW/MIA issue. He described ongoing American efforts in North Korea and Burma. A discussion followed about the various forces influencing Russian behavior on a range of bilateral issues, and Admiral Wachendorf expressed his wish that Russia might some day become the U.S. model for cooperation on POW/MIA issues.
The DATT raised the current difficulties being encountered in the issuance of visas, noting the limits of his offices ability to influence this issue. Wachendorf characterized current U.S.-Russian cooperation in the war on terror as close, expressing his optimism about the future of relations between the two nations.
The DATT said that humanitarian issues in Russia (such as the work of the USRJC) are win-win opportunities, bringing advantages to both governments at minimal cost. He suggested an improvement has occurred in American-Russian military cooperation, partially as a result of bilateral cooperation in the war on terror. He cited in example the U.S.-British offer of assistance to the Russian military during its recent loss of a submarine and nine sailors who were aboard at the time. In contrast to such events in the past, this time around the Russian military was open to Western offers of help. Admiral Wachendorf also cited an upcoming joint (i.e., U.S.-Russian) search and rescue exercise in the Black Sea region and one held recently near Alaska, noting that, in the absence of a Status of Forces Agreement, the approval of the Secretary of Defense had been required for such joint exercises to take place. Mr. Jennings offered DPMO assistance in arranging such events in the future.
Norm Kass, JCSD Senior Director, suggested that the improved climate with the Russian military brought about by the war on terror might be harnessed to enhance GRU (Russian military intelligence) cooperation on the POW/MIA issues confronting the Joint Commission. Admiral Wachendorf noted that General Colonel Yu. N. Baluyevskiy, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff (who controls all Russian military archives), will be traveling to Hawaii for a conference hosted by the PACOM Commander from 8-9 October. Mr. Jennings suggested that Baluyevskiy should be urged to visit the Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii during his visit, and the DATT agreed. JCSD-Moscow will work with the DATTs office to influence the trip in this direction. The DATT closed the meeting by offering his personal assistance, if required, to solve problems or to advance issues between JCSD and the Russian Side.
After lunch, Mr. Jennings received a briefing from the embassys Deputy Regional Security Officer, Mr. Tom Barnard, who characterized the problems of crime, corruption, personnel safety, and security in the Russian Federation.
Mr. Jennings met with the embassys Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Mr. John R. Beyrle. They discussed DPMOs current operations in North Korea and Burma, noting with satisfaction that such humanitarian operations can go forward in countries that, in other spheres of our bilateral relations, have difficult problems to confront.
Mr. Jennings observed that the support rendered to POW/MIA operations in Russia by American Embassy Moscow were very good. Mr. Beyrle asked if there are other ways in which the embassy might support DPMOs work in Russia, and Mr. Jennings raised the issue of U.S.-Russian search and rescue joint exercises, wherein DPMO would like to play a supportive role. He also noted that JCSD would be seeking access to archives in Russias military districts, where we have recently discovered that files pertaining to the Korean and Cold wars are held. Mr. Kass cited post-9/11 intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, offering the prospect of closer support between the Commission and Russian intelligence services. Mr. Beyrle concurred that such cooperation ought to be possible, citing the recent FSB /FBI sting operation against arms dealers trying to peddle Russian Igla surface-to-air missiles. The meeting concluded with the DCMs pledge of continued embassy support of JCSDs work in the Russian Federation.
The embassys Political-Military section provided Mr. Jennings with an overview on a range of Russian issues, including reform of the military and the problem of hazing in the army, the upcoming Duma elections (December), an economic perspective, and the summit next week between Presidents Bush and Putin in Washington. During a discussion on American-Russian cooperation in the war on terror, Mr. Jennings suggested that improved collaboration in this arena suggests the two countries might also improve their cooperation in the POW/MIA area. He offered the idea of contracting a Russian citizen who is trusted by both sidesperhaps a retired intelligence officerto examine Russian intelligence archives for information on POW/MIA topics. All present thought the idea was worth pursuing.
Mr. Jennings met at Marine House with about 20 members of the U.S. Marine Corps detachment who are assigned to the embassy. He told the Marines that their country had a solemn obligation to rescue them if they were lost or held captive and, if they did not survive, to return their bodies to their families in the United States. He described DPMOs mission and the work underway in Russia to contribute toward accounting for every missing American service member. He gave each Marine a command coin.
The day concluded by sharing dinner with the entire JCSD-Moscow staff at a local Georgian restaurant.
Meeting of the Joint Commission, Thursday, September 11, 2003
The day began with a two-hour meeting between the American and Russian Sides of the USRJC. Mr. Jennings laid out a detailed and substantive set of issues, some of which had been discussed in the past and remained open, and others of which were new. The detailed minutes of this meeting are appended at Enclosure 1.
Immediately following this meeting, Mr. Jennings and General Major V.A. Zolotarev, Russian Co-Chairman of the USRJC, greeted Ms. Galina Yakovlevna Dzhugashvili, granddaughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. Present also were representatives of four Moscow television stations (including state-sponsored national station ORT), the Associated Press, Izvestiya, Reuters, and a number of other representatives of the Russian print media, along with the entire delegations of the Russian and American Sides of the Joint Commission. Mr. Jennings recalled that Ms. Dzhugashvili had written a letter to the Russian Side of the Commission in June 2003 asking that the American Side search its archives for information about the fate of her father, Stalins eldest son, Jakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili, who was killed by the Nazis in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in April 1943.
Mr. Jennings described the packet of information found by DPMO researchers at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These included several articles from the American and German press and two U.S. State Department cables discussing allied seizure of documents from the German SS archives. The packet also included a protocol of interrogation by German military officials. Included, as well, was a letter signed by Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler addressed to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, with statements attached by guards and a physician at the camp describing the last moments of Dzhugashvilis life and the nature of his fatal wounds. Three statements by fellow prisoner Valerii Kokozin (nephew of Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov) also were included, recounting conversations Kokozin had with Dzhugashvili just prior to his death.
Mr. Jennings described for Ms. Dzhugashvili and the press DPMOs world-wide mission to uncover the fates of missing American service members and to return them home. He said the intent of this mission is to honor the sacrifice that each service member performed and to honor the surviving family members, who deserve answers on the fates of their loved ones. Through the USRJC, Mr. Jennings noted that it was an honor for the American Side to provide such answers to a Russian family, as well, and he handed over the packet of documents to Ms. Dzhugashvili. General Zolotarev made comments about the obligation of governments to honor the service of their military personnel.
A number of questions were posed by members of the press, and Ms. Dzhugashvili made a statement expressing appreciation for the documents she had just been given. She noted her sadness that the presentation had taken place on a day of mourning for the victims of 9/11 (the second anniversary), but she expressed satisfaction that the American Side had responded so quickly to her request for information.
Secretary Jennings hosted a luncheon for the Russian Side of the Commission in the hotel dining room. Ms. Dzhugashvili was invited as a guest of the Commission. Toasts were offered in memory of the fallen, including missing servicemen of both nations and the victims of 9/11, and private discussions were held between American and Russian representatives of the Commission.
Immediately following this luncheon, Mr. Jennings and General Zolotarev gave exclusive interviews (separately, each lasting about one hour) to representatives of Izvestiya and the Associated Press. The press release distributed on this occasion is appended at Enclosure 4, and copies of the resulting articles are appended at Enclosure 5.
Visit to the Central Military Archives, Friday, September 12, 2003
Mr. Jennings traveled to the city of Podolsk, a one-hour drive from downtown Moscow, to visit the Central Archives of the Russian Ministry of Defense. DPMO researchers have had routine access to selected Korean War-era unclassified and declassified holdings of this archive since August 1997. He was greeted by the Chief of Archival Services of the Russian General Staff, Colonel Sergei Aleksandrovich Ilyenkov, Chief of the Central Archives Colonel Sergei Ivanovich Chuvashin, the head of archival research at Podolsk, Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Vladimirovich Tikhonov, and Senior Archivist Ms. Irina Nikolaevna Pushkarova. Defense Ministry officials filmed the entire visit. General Major Konstantin Viktorovich Golumbovskiy, Deputy Co-Chairman of the Commissions Russian Side, and Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Plotnikov, Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, also joined the delegation.
Colonel Chuvashin gave Mr. Jennings a briefing on the history of the archive, which was established on July 2, 1936, for the purpose of preserving the documents of Soviet Defense Ministry directorates. Chuvashin noted that, in 1941, the archive expanded its mission to hold the records of all Soviet military units, excluding those of the Russian Navy, which are held in the Naval Archives at Gatchina (near St. Petersburg). He said that the archive holds 18 million files from World War II and later. The archive comprises 36 buildings on 38 hectares of land and employs 1,000 staff members. He said that the archive is in the process of microfilming its holdings. He acknowledged the work of DPMO researchers in the archive and indicated his readiness to continue cooperation with the Joint Commission.
Mr. Jennings described DPMOs world-wide mission and reviewed the numbers of American servicemen carried as MIA since World War II. He noted that information about the fates of some of these MIAs is contained in Chuvashins archive. Mr. Jennings reviewed the work now underway by American researchers there. He described the process of document acquisition, copying, and conveyance to Washington for detailed analysis. He posited two reasons for the high importance of this work: to provide answers to family members of MIA American servicemen; and to guide eventual recovery operations in North Korea, where American teams are working now.
Mr. Jennings emphasized the importance of the work in the Podolsk archive. He told the Russians that 256 families of Korean War MIA Americans so far had received information on the fates of their missing that was taken directly from the Podolsk archive. He noted that he recently had passed to Chinese officials in Beijing information from this archive about a Cold War loss in China, making possible an American survey of the crash location in China. He said that information from this archive also was passed to the Chinese Government on a second crash at Andun, China, and this information will play an important role in seeking to recover the remains of the pilot of that Korean War-era loss. He thanked the archive for hosting this important work, and he asked that Chuvashin and the Russian Side consider even closer cooperation. He indicated American readiness to continue to help in shedding light on Russian losses, to share archival experience and techniques, and to help the Russians improve their archival practices. He suggested sponsoring a group of Russian archivists and experts in the United States to exchange technical information and to advance our mutual cooperative relationship. Chuvashin indicated a willingness to explore these suggestions.
This meeting was followed by a tour of the archive. An exhibit of historical materials had been arranged for Mr. Jennings, including valuable original materials on World War II, Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi genocide in western USSR, documents pertaining personally to Stalin and his family, and German trophy documents. Of greatest interest (to the American Side) among these materials was a collection of Korean War documents, including the map of a downed American pilot (apparently seized from a crash site or from an interrogation), a half dozen data plates recovered from crashed American combat aircraft, and detailed logs and photo albums created by Soviet military units seeking credit for the downing of American aircraft. These included photos of crash sites and human remains, gun camera photography, diagrams of air battles, and statements of Soviet pilots describing in detail their actions against American and allied fliers.
The American delegation was led to the stacks where documents are archived. They were shown the Podolsk method of acquisition, cataloging, and storing documents. A demonstration had been arranged on the difficulty of declassifying one page out of a file containing hundreds of pages. During the demonstration, the Russian Side showed how the archives files are createdby hand-sewing documents together into a file of about 250 pages. Removing and processing for declassification one page out of the hundreds contained in that file would be very labor-intensive and time-consuming work, the Russians argue, forcing them to break up files that have been preserved as such for 50 years. The American Side suggested that technology might exist that would permit the copying of such documents without destroying the original file, even when the documents are sewn together very close to the left edge of each page.
The American delegation was shown the archives reading rooms, including the room set aside especially for foreign researchers, including those of the Joint Commission. Colonel Chuvashin noted that the archive receives 17,000 requests annually from individuals and groups for information from the archive. Mr. Jennings suggested ways in which the cost of this service might be reduced.
After finishing the visit at the Podolsk archive, the American delegation toured the World War II memorial at Park Pobedy (Victory Park) in Moscow. The memorial and museum are perhaps the largest and most heroic of Russias numerous monuments to its military accomplishments.
In the evening, the American Embassy hosted a reception for the American and Russian sides of the Joint Commission. DCM Beyrle delivered a stirring presentation on the experiences of his own father, 101st Airborne Division PFC Joseph Beyrle, during World War II. As related by Beyrle, after being wounded in combat, his father was nursed back to health by a Soviet military medical unit, and he received directly from Soviet Marshal Zhukov a pass to permit Beyrles passage through Soviet military lines back to Moscow, from whence he managed his return to the USA. DCM Beyrle expressed his strong support, and that of the embassy, for the work of the Joint Commission in Russia, noting the contribution this work makes to improved U.S.-Russian relations. Mr. Jennings followed these remarks with equally inspiring words about the importance of the Joint Commissions work in Russia.
Departure of the DASD, Saturday, September 13, 2003
General Major Golumbovskiy, his wife, and his youngest child were present at Sheremetyevo Airport to wish Mr. Jennings a safe trip back to the U.S. The visit concluded with the sense that major accomplishments had been achieved and the direction for JCSDs future work had been established.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (POW/Missing Personnel Affairs)
Honorable Jerry D. Jennings
Meeting with the Russian Side
U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on Prisoners of War/Missing in Action
September 11, 2003
Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel, Moscow, Russian Federation
Present on the American Side
Hon. Jerry D. Jennings, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (POW/Missing Personnel
Affairs), and Commissioner, American Side, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on
Mr. Norman Kass, Executive Secretary, American Side, USRJC, and Senior Director,
Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)
Mr. Roger D. Schumacher, Director, JCSD
Mr. Yuri Boguslavsky, Chief, JCSD-Moscow Office
Mr. James Shonborn, Deputy Chief, JCSD-Moscow Office
MAJ Kent Sylvester, Military Aide to Mr. Jennings
CPT Ronald Pepin, Foreign Area Officer Intern, George C. Marshall Center, Garmisch-
CPO Michael E. Allen, Gulag Study Analyst
MSgt David S. Hasenauer, Korean War Analyst
MSgt Ralph McCall, World War II Analyst
MSgt Thomas W. Shipp Jr., Vietnam War Analyst
Mr. Vladislav Sorokin, Senior Researcher, JCSD-Moscow Office
Ms. Irina Koryakina, Office Manager, JCSD-Moscow Office
Ms. Svetlana Amvrosova, Interpreter
Present on the Russian Side
General Major (ret) Vladimir Antonovich Zolotarev, Co-Chairman, Russian Side, USRJC
General Major Konstantin Viktorovich Golumbovskiy, Deputy Chief, Russian Side,
General Major Vasilii Stepanovich Khristoforov, Chief of Archival Services, Federal
Security Service (FSB), and Co-Chairman, Cold War Working Group (CWWG)
Colonel Sergey Aleksandrovich Ilenkov, Chief of Archival Services, Russian Ministry
of Defense (MoD)
Colonel (ret) Vladimir Konstantinovich Vinogradov, CWWG Consultant
Colonel Valeri Alekseevich Filippov, Vietnam War Working Group (VWWG)
Lieutenant Colonel Igor Vladimirovich Pitelin, Federal Border Guard Service
Ms. Irina Nikolaevna Pushkarova, Senior Archivist, Central Archives, Russian MoD
Ms. Marina Ivanovna Lotareva, Presidential Administration
The meeting commenced at 11:10 am.
Russian Sides Opening Remarks
General Zolotarev greeted DASD Jennings and welcomed him back to Moscow. He recalled the previous meeting with Mr. Jennings in September 2002, characterizing that meeting as positive.
General Zolotarev informed Mr. Jennings that Colonel Ilenkov would report on the work conducted by Russian specialists at the Defense Ministrys Central Archives in Podolsk. Colonel Filippov, who was at the meeting representing the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense, also would give a short report, he said.
General Zolotarev indicated that the Russian Side recently had answered a number of correspondences from the American Side, and responses to some of these correspondences are still being prepared.
He suggested that the two sides should consider drafting a new joint report that would cover the period of time since Mr. Jennings was named to his current position. The new report would detail progress the Commission has had in its work, including archival accomplishments, the Far East site survey, and the soon to be finalized contract with the Military Medical Museums archive in Saint Petersburg. General Zolotarev proposed submitting such a report this fall.
General Zolotarev concluded his opening remarks by suggesting that the Commission needs to find new approaches to further its work.
The American Sides Remarks
Mr. Jennings thanked General Zolotarev for his welcome and opening remarks. He reminded the participants that they met last year on September 26, and that meeting was productive. He wished for similar progress at todays meeting.
After an introduction and exchange of gifts, Mr. Jennings reviewed recent progress on archival issues. He expressed appreciation for the effort the Russian Side had made in the past 12 months to get a contract in place for research in the World War II holdings of the Military Medical Museums archive in St. Petersburg. He expressed his hope that the contract would be finalized in the very near future and that this important work would commence soon. Mr. Jennings reiterated his belief that the Military Medical Museum Archive held important information about American soldiers who are missing in action from World War II.
Mr. Jennings also thanked the Russian Side for its close work on the Far East site survey (June 20-30, 2003). He specifically recognized individuals from the Russian Side, along with the Commander of the Border Guards Unit in the Far East, whose dedication made the success of that mission possible.
Lists of Vietnam War Shoot Down Incidents
Mr. Jennings recalled that in September of last year, General Nikolai Maksimovich Bezborodov (Russian Co-Chairman, Vietnam War Working Group) had provided a list of 124 reports on the shoot down of American aircraft over North Vietnam. Mr. Jennings explained that this List of 124 had been studied by American analysts, and a report of this analysis had been provided to General Bezborodov, along with a briefing and a set of questions from the American Side.
Mr. Jennings noted further that General Bezborodov had provided yet another list of shoot down reports from the Vietnam Warthis list containing 90 such reportsin May 2003. Mr. Jennings handed over to the Russian Side an exhaustive analysis of these 90 incident reports, noting that seven of the 90 reports pertain to incidents in which the fates of one or more American crewmembers are unknown. He requested that the Russian Side conduct another search of its archives for any additional information that could shed further light on these seven incidents. He handed over a formal correspondence requesting further Russian research on these seven incidents.
Mr. Jennings observed that, so far, the Russian Side had provided a total of 356 reports on the shoot down of American aircraft over North Vietnam. He thanked the Russian Side for its efforts and requested that this work at Podolsk continue.
A Request to Declassify Vietnam War-Era Documents
Mr. Jennings told the Russian Side that he had noted several Russian press articles from February of this year indicating that General Bezborodovs Defense Committee in the Russian State Duma had requested the General Staff to consider declassifying Vietnam War-era documents. Mr. Jennings characterized this initiative as very important, and he asked for an update from the Russian Side on the status of this initiative. Mr. Jennings also asked General Zolotarev to consider weighing in on this issue with the General Staff. General Zolotarev promised to do so.
A Request to Reinvigorate GRU Involvement in the Commission
Mr. Jennings reminded the Russians that, at last years meeting, the subject of GRU support to the Commission was discussed. The American Side specifically asked for GRU help in locating and interviewing thirteen of its retired officers who served in the Vietnam War. The American Side also requested that the GRU search its archives for information on twenty-five MIA American military servicemen from the Korean War who might have been of interest to Soviet military intelligence. Mr. Jennings informed the Russians that he is still waiting for a positive response to these two requests since the GRUs only response so far was not complete.
General Golumbovskiy said that the Russian Side is still working this issue. He said that, to his knowledge, these questions had been answered, and Mr. Jennings responded that the response received by the American Side was not acceptable. He added that he had a hard time understanding the GRUs claim that it does not have any contact with its retired officers.
Mr. Jennings noted that as far as the twenty-five Korean War POWs were concerned, the GRU claimed that it has shared everything from its archives concerning American servicemen. Mr. Jennings expressed his hope that these answers do not represent the end of Russian efforts and that they would continue to work these issues. General Zolotarev assured Mr. Jennings that this was not the last word on these issues.
Mr. Jennings observed that, when this issue was discussed during the 18th Plenum, the Russian Side indicated that it would assist if the GRU could not or would not locate its retired officers. Mr. Jennings said that the GRU archives are of special interest, and the American Side believes they hold information important to the work of the Commission. He asked the Russian Side for ideas on ways to improve GRU cooperation with the Commission, a request that went unanswered during this session.
Congressman Johnsons Korean War Requests
Mr. Jennings reminded the Russian Side about Congressman Johnsons requests from January of this year to declassify more Korean War files and to agree on a master list of declassified files at Podolsk. He acknowledged the hard work that Ms. Pushkarova and her staff had performed on this issue, and he thanked her and presented her with a small token of his appreciation.
Mr. Jennings told the Russian Side that he was eager to hear its report on the work it had accomplished in response to Congressman Johnsons requests.
A Presentation on the Fates of Soviet Servicemen in the Korean War
Mr. Jennings noted that American researchers working at the Central Military Archives often come across information pertaining to the deaths from all causes of Soviet servicemen who were stationed in China and North Korea from 1950-1953. He explained that American researchers collect this information and periodically pass it to the Russian Side of the Commission. He handed over to General Zolotarev a list of 202 Soviet servicemen who lost their lives during the Korean War and whose fates were clarified by information retrieved by American researchers in the Podolsk archive. He expressed his belief that every soldier, regardless of his citizenship, must be recognized for his sacrifices. He added that it was a great honor for the American Side to remember these men and their sacrifices.
Korean War-Era Documents in St. Petersburg
Mr. Jennings informed the Russians that Rear Admiral Boris Novyy recently had found Korean War-era documents in the Leningrad Military Districts archive in St. Petersburg. These materials included still-classified records of the 216th Fighter Aviation Division, which participated in the Korean War from July 1952 to July 1953. Mr. Jennings indicated that among these records are photo albums and shoot down reports. He indicated that such a discovery raises the likelihood that other military district archives also contain valuable Korean War materials. In example, he raised the likelihood that the Far Eastern Military Districts archive also might contain such information. Mr. Jennings asked that the two sides discuss access to these archives for Moscow-based American researchers.
FSB Declassification Efforts
Mr. Jennings recalled that during last years meeting Colonel Vinogradov reported that FSB specialists were working on declassifying information pertinent to the work of the Commission. Colonel Vinogradov had expressed optimism that these specialists might be able to bring forth information on the fate of the missing. Mr. Jennings called for an update on this declassification effort.
Admiral Novyys Archival Access
Mr. Jennings raised past Russian promises that Admiral Novyy would receive proper credentials to work at the Navys Central Archives at Gatchina and the Border Guard Archives at Pushkino, and he asked for an estimate of when Admiral Novyy might receive such access. General Zolotarev responded that, to his knowledge, Novyy would receive access to these archives.
The Dodin Memoirs
In closing, Mr. Jennings reminded the Russian Side that the American Side had identified the author of the Memoirs, Mr. Benjamin Dodin, a resident of Israel. Mr. Jennings asked whether the Russian Side had yet contacted Mr. Dodin, and he called for a Russian assessment of the Memoirs now that their authorship was no longer an issue.
The Russian Sides Response
General Zolotarev thanked Mr. Jennings for his comments and indicated that the Russian Side was still actively working most of these issues. He expressed his support for all the initiatives brought forward, and he promised Russian assistance in real ways to resolve any open issues. After thanking Mr. Jennings for the document on Soviet Korean War losses and the letter of appreciation to the Border Guards unit commander in the Far East, General Zolotarev turned to Colonel Ilenkov for his remarks.
The Report of the MoDs Chief of Archival Services
Vietnam War Documents
After thanking Mr. Jennings for his praise of the work in the archives, Colonel Ilenkov explained that a group of specialists at the Central Military Archives in Podolsk has been researching Vietnam War-era documents since 1998. These documents contain information about the downing of American aircraft over North Vietnam. In the course of the research, 700 active files had been examined, each consisting of about 500 pages. He further explained that the group had been able to extract materials relating to the downing of American aircraft and that such information contained dates, types of aircraft, and loss locations. He expressed his belief that this would significantly assist the American Side in ascertaining the fates of its missing servicemen.
Colonel Ilenkov explained why the Russian Side found it so difficult to consider favorably U.S. requests to declassify the documents from which these Vietnam War reports were taken. He noted that he heads a commission entitled, the Central Expert Commission, which considers requests to declassify military documents. This commission examined the documents from which the List of 142 had been compiled. Colonel Ilenkov recalled that the List of 142 contained the names of seven American servicemen, and the source of this information had been Soviet specialists who served in North Vietnam during the war. He added that some of the information was taken originally from the North Vietnamese Air and Air Defense Forces Headquarters, and that some witnesses to these events were not only the Vietnamese, but also representatives of third-party (i.e., neither Soviet nor Vietnamese) countries. Because these documents contain information about third-country nationals and their participation in the war, the Russian Side is unable to declassify these materials.
The second problem in declassifying Vietnam War-era materials is best explained by recognizing that the research group reviewed 700 files containing an average of 500 pages in each file. This meant that approximately 350,000 pages were reviewed. Only 356 extracts concerning the downing of American aircraft were found on these pages. In some cases only one extract was found in a 500-page file. Colonel Ilenkov insisted that it would not be feasible to declassify complete documents or files in this instance. He concluded this subject by stating that the Russian Side is still working on the issue.
Colonel Ilenkov explained that the Central Expert Commission selected the format of the three lists that have been passed so far to the American Side (i.e., the Lists of 142, 124, and 90), and decided that only shoot down events should be listed.
Colonel Ilenkov noted that the Russian Side so far has passed three lists containing a total of 356 extracts. He added that the American Side already has noted some unsubstantiated claims and irregularities on the lists and that, in some cases, entries were duplicated. Because of this, the group re-checked the specific incidents, and they were not able to find additional information.
Colonel Ilenkov said that the Vietnam War documents do not have photographs or search group reports that the Americans had come to expect in Korean War-era documents.
Korean War Documents
Colonel Ilenkov next turned to Korean War documents. He explained that American researchers are provided access to the records of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps (FAC) and to the records of the corps subunits and detachments, and this work continues.
Colonel Ilenkov reminded the Americans that the Russian Side had declassified and made available for research 18 out of the 42 formerly-classified files to which the U.S. had requested access. American researchers are currently working with these 18 files. Ilenkov announced that the Russian Side considered an additional six files for declassification and that, except for a few pages, these files would be presented to the American Side in the near future. He reported that the remaining 18 files do not contain information regarding interrogations or shoot downs, and it is considered therefore infeasible to declassify these files.
Colonel Ilenkov observed that the American Side had requested declassification of an additional 104 files last January. He explained that this was related to the 64th FAC and its subdivisions, units, and detachments. He announced that, after reviewing the list of these 104 files, the expert group decided to declassify more than half of them, and these files would be passed to the American Side. He reiterated that 60 or more files were declassified and would be provided to the Americans, as requested.
Colonel Ilenkov explained that the second half of the list (i.e., the originally-requested 104 files) would not be provided to the American Side because the files are of an administrative character and contain personal information on unit personnel. These files do not contain any information on the combat activities of the 64th FAC, he said. Nevertheless, he recognized that these materials, too, are important for the work of the Commission, because they help Commission researchers locate and interview veterans. Since the Russian Side considers the work of the Commission important, it will review even these files and part of these documents, as well, would be declassified. Ilenkov said that no obstacles would be placed in the way of American research in these materials.
Colonel Ilenkov next recalled that, in January of this year, Congressman Johnson had presented a list of declassified and unclassified files of the 64th FAC, asking that the Russian Side agree to consider this list the master list of files to which American researchers would be permitted unhindered access. Ilenkov said that he saw no problems with this list, and he noted that the list already had been conveyed to the Podolsk archive with instructions that the American Side should be permitted access to the files identified in the list.
Korean War Documents in St. Petersburg
On the subject of Korean War materials in military district archives, Colonel Ilenkov noted that he plans to travel to these archives with a representative of the Russian Side of the Commission to study the situation. He intends to facilitate the transfer of these materials to the Central Military Archives in Podolsk, where they will be declassified and provided to the American Side, Ilenkov said.
Admiral Novyys Access to the Central Naval Archives
Colonel Ilenkov finished by promising that Admiral Novyy would have access to the Central Navy Archives at Gatchina as soon as everything was coordinated with the chief of the archive.
General Golumbovskiy Weighs In
General Golumbovskiy said that the discovery of Korean War materials at the Leningrad Military Districts archive has introduced a new direction in the Commissions research work. The Russian Side would have to take a look at the military districts to which units that participated in the Korean War re-deployed after the war, so that a search of the archives in those military districts could be conducted. General Golumbovskiy said that, in each case where information is found, it should be transferred to the Central Military Archives in Podolsk.
Mr. Jennings thanked Colonel Ilenkov for his thorough report.
Colonel Vinogradovs Remarks
Colonel Vinogradov began by noting that the FSB archive had just celebrated its 85th birthday. He informed Mr. Jennings that his remark citing Vinogradovs optimism (during the 18th Plenum) on the declassification process had been explained by Colonel Ilenkov. (NOTE: This apparently is a reference to Ilenkovs remarks on declassifying documents containing information on third-party nationals.) The FSB probably would follow the American example by blacking out un-releasable information from classified documents. Vinogradov said there would be no problems passing along any information regarding American servicemen. He explained that if the information is unclassified, it would be passed in full, and if it is classified, the FSB would provide declassified extracts of the information.
Colonel Vinogradov said he had been consistent since the beginning of the Commission by insisting that the FSB would not be able to provide complete access to its archives, because the information contained therein is not related to the work of the Commission.
On the Dodin Memoirs, Vinogradov claimed that when the document first came out, his specialists checked the document carefully and concluded that Dodins claim that American servicemen were held in Far East mining camps was not realistic, especially in light of the fact that Dodin could not have been everywhere the Americans had allegedly been held.
Colonel Vinogradov expressed doubts about the Memoirs, arguing that the American Side should understand that the security services have researched this issue with a clean conscience and are not hiding anything. One of the problems regarding the Memoirs has been solved, he said, and that is the identity of the author. Dodin had no legal obligation to identify himself, but he did have a moral obligation, Vinogradov said. The Commission has struggled with these people since its inception, he continued, and this has distracted researchers. It is a waste of time for Americans and Russians to follow up on such bad information, and it also gives the impression that both sides were not working effectively, which is harmful and untrue, he said.
Vinogradov continued by saying that the security agencies of both countries always have supported the Commissions work, and the Russian Side can honestly say that it does not have any problem providing information on the fates of American citizens.
Colonel Vinogradov returned to the subject of Dodin, expressing doubt that Dodin is his real name. He added that, if it is his real name, the Russian Side would be able to check it out and correlate Dodins claims. Vinogradov doubted that Dodin would have had access to such information, since he was just a common Soviet citizen. Vinogradov said that the Russian Side could not correlate any of Dodins information and requires more information on him.
Mr. Jennings replied that the American Side had verified Dodins credentials and would be happy to provide his address and telephone number. Colonel Vinogradov indicated he would be glad to receive the information. Mr. Jennings stated that, while Mr. Dodin did not have a high position in the Soviet Government, the American Side felt that a person such as Dodin could have credible information. Colonel Vinogradov promised to research the issue.
Colonel Filippovs Remarks
Colonel Filippov welcomed the American Side to the hero city of Moscow. He noted complete agreement with Colonel Ilenkovs assessment of the archival research work, and he said that the research group at the Central Military Archives had been very thorough and worked fruitfully. He added that the lists of 142, 124, and 90 came from these efforts. He assured the meeting that the group did not leave out any pertinent information.
Colonel Filippov explained that the agency that originated each document is the deciding authority on declassification. This policy delays the process of declassification. He noted that, in principle, the General Staff does not oppose the declassification of archival materials.
Colonel Filippov reported that the work on Vietnam War documents is nearing completion, but if the Russian Side receives any new archival files, it will study them and provide what it can.
Filippov stated that Russian experts would study the American analysis of the List of 90 and try to answer the questions raised by the American Side.
General Zolotarevs Closing Remark
General Zolotarev closed his portion of the meeting by requesting his best wishes be relayed to Congressman Johnson. Mr. Jennings assured him he would pass on these wishes.
Mr. Jennings Closing Remarks
Mr. Jennings closed the meeting by stating that he could not let the day pass without making reference to 9/11. He observed that at present both governments (i.e., American and Russian) are working together in the fight against international terrorism. This is not the first time that Russia and the U.S. have fought as allies, and he noted that Colonel Filippovs reference to Moscows status as a hero city gives him many thoughts. Mr. Jennings agreed that Moscow truly was a city of heroes during World War II. Mr. Jennings cited a book called The Greatest Generation. The book is about the experiences of Americans during World War II, and it sold millions of copies. The greatest generation included more than just Americans, he said. The fight against the Nazis was not just done by Americans. The Greatest Generation also included Russians. So with World War II and the war on terrorism, we fought and still fight together. We need to honor the greatest of this generation and those fighting the war on terrorism, especially those Russians and Americans who have fallen in the fight.
Mr. Jennings thanked the Russian Side for its work on our noble mission. He stated his belief that real progress was made in the current meeting and both sides would continue to make progress on these issues. He added that he was gratified by the reports and by recent efforts on the Military Medical Museum contract, the Far East site survey, and todays meeting. Mr. Jennings stated that this was all evidence that both sides can work together on such important issues.
Mr. Jennings concluded with an explanation that he and General Zolotarev would present to the granddaughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin documents taken from the U.S. National Archives concerning the events surrounding the killing of her father and Stalins son, Sr. Lt. Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili, in a Nazi prisoner of war camp.
The meeting adjourned at 1:00 pm."