Hanoi denies lying about number of PoWs: Brzezinski claims Vietnam massacred hundreds of US officers

WASHINGTON (Agencies) - The Clinton administration said yesterday it wanted to talk directly to the Vietnamese general named as the author of a secret report indicating that Hanoi had lied over the number of US prisoners of war it was holding at the end of the Vietnam War.

The secret document, which is reported to have been written by General Tran Van Quang when he was the North Vietnamese army deputy-chief of staff, was discovered by a US university researcher in Communist Party archives in Moscow. The report has cast a cloud over prospects for a rapid normalisation of ties between Vietnam and the United States.

The report to the Communist Party politburo puts the number of US PoWs held by Vietnam in 1972 at 1,205; however, only 368 were ever officially acknowledged before the 1973 Paris peace accords.

The former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told the New York Times he believed it was likely that Hanoi had shot 'hundreds of American officers' in a Vietnam War massacre comparable to the Katyn woods slaughter of the Second World War, when more than 4,500 Polish officers were killed in a forest near Smolensk by Soviet secret police.

Mr Brzezinski told Stephen Morris, the researcher who discovered the document, that he thought it was authentic, the New York Times said. Mr Brzezinski told the newspaper that after studying the document, he believed that 'the great likelihood is that the Vietnamese took hundreds of American officers out and shot them in cold blood, in a massacre like the one in the Katyn woods'.

Mr Brzezinki noted that he had no concrete evidence to support his belief the US prisoners were massacred. But he said he was struck by three things in the document: its style, which corresponded to other reports of a similar nature; the number 1,205, which he said corresponded to the approximate number of men the United States expected to be returned; and what he called 'the Katyn-like classification system'.

'At the Katyn woods they specially selected members of the Polish aristocracy,' said Mr Brzezinski, an expert on Soviet affairs. 'And here you have the same kind of ominous pattern, with prisoners being classified according to their degree of intransigence in refusing to condemn the war. They say the officers come from rich families, which explains their attitude.'

He speculated that Vietnam concealed the existence of the PoWs after the peace agreement because they feared that Washington would renew fighting, or because Hanoi planned to seek financial reparations, the New York Times said. 'I think the chances are very small that any more than a few might have been kept alive until now,' he said.

Vietnam yesterday rejected the report and denied that it was still holding any prisoners. Vietnam's ambassador to the United Nations denounced it as a 'forgery'. 'Some people in the United States still have the Vietnam syndrome,' he said. 'They can't overcome it and therefore they try to use all sorts of things to obstruct the improvement of relations' between Washington and Hanoi.

President Clinton has asked General John Vessey, the presidential emissary for prisoners of war missing in action, to travel to Vietnam next week to evaluate Vietnam's co-operation in the investigations.

In Moscow, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, said Russia would continue to do everything it could 'in the search for documents that might shed light on the truth on this issue'.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments