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Release No: 669-03
September 11, 2003

Key U.S. Official Concludes Russia Visit

     Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs Jerry D. Jennings concluded a series of key meetings with Russian officials in Moscow. Jennings is the Department of Defense official responsible for policy oversight of the worldwide mission of accounting for America’s POWs and MIAs.

     During his six-day visit to Russia, Jennings held discussions with Gen. Maj. Vladimir Antonovich Zolotarev, chairman of the Russian Federation Presidential Commission on Prisoners of War, Internees and Missing in Action, as well as other Russian members of the commission. The commission was established in 1992 by then-Presidents Bush and Yeltsin to explore the question of whether Americans were held in, or transported through, the former Soviet Union during WWII, the Cold War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

     In its meeting with the American side of the commission, the Russian side announced that it recently had declassified about 12,000 pages of Korean War-era reports on the shoot down of American aircraft during the war. These files will be made available to U.S. researchers.

     The Russian side also reported that it examined 350,000 pages of Vietnam War-era documents that contained information on 356 incidents of the shoot down of American aircraft during the war. The American side provided information clarifying the fates of 33 Soviet soldiers who perished during the Korean War.

     In addition to his discussions with commission members, Jennings visited the central archives of the Ministry of Defense in Podolsk where he reviewed the work being done by Russian and American archivists in search of relevant POW/MIA information. The Russian government has allowed DoD researchers some access to Korean War air combat records that have shed some light on more than 200 cases of missing American airmen.

     The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office has maintained a permanent office in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow since 1992 to conduct archival research and interview Soviet veterans of past conflicts.

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