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Full-text: April 20 1971 hearing (pages 406-423)
Witness: Larry Rottmann,
Vietnam Veterans Against the War


“ We can hardly expect the enemy, whoever he be, to treat our prisoners any differently.”

Larry Rottmann, page 423.

 

CIS: 71 H381-9 SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1

American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971

 



HEARINGS


BEFORE THE


SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY AND SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENTS


OF THE


COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


NINETY-SECOND CONGRESS
FIRST SESSION


______________________

March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20 {vvaw}, 1971

__________


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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Thomas Ellsworth Morgan, Pennsylvania, Chairman

{Details to come}

______________________

NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY AND SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENTS SUBCOMMITTEE

Clement J. Zablocki, Wisconsin, Chairman

{Details to come}


(II)


 


CONTENTS

{To come} {p.353}

 


American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971


_______________


Tuesday, April 20, 1971


House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on National Security
Policy and Scientific Developments
,

Washington, D.C.


The subcommittee met at 2:05 p.m. pursuant to call, in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Clement J. Zablocki (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. Zablocki.  The subcommittee will please come to order. Today’s session continues a series of hearings on the subject of American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia being conducted by the Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments.

This hearing is a continuation of a session held on March 31. Our witnesses at that time were representatives of the Committee of Liaison with Families of Servicemen Detained in North Vietnam.

Because of a conflict with the Democratic caucus on that day, the session was delayed. As a result, the witnesses were only able to make their statements and answer a few questions from the subcommittee when the hearing had to be adjourned, in accordance with House rules, because of the work being done on the House floor.

We asked the witnesses to come back today to allow members to finish their questioning, and they have consented.

With us today are Mrs. Cora Weiss of New York City, cochairman of the Committee of Liaison, and two members of the board of her organization, Mr. Stewart Meacham of Philadelphia, peace secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, and Dr. Richard Barnet of Washington, D.C., Director of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Thank you for returning. Unless you have a further statement to make at this time, we shall begin the questions. Time permitting, and I assume there will be sufficient time because of the lack of floor action, the subcommittee will hear from Mr. Louis Stockstill of Washington, D.C. Mr. Stockstill is a writer and journalist whose article entitled “Inside the Prisons of Hanoi,” is appearing in the April issue of Reader’s Digest.


The balance of the scheduled portion of this hearing is on a separate webpage (pages 353-406).

What follows is the final witness of the day.

The unscheduled testimony of Larry Rottmann, representing Vietnam Veterans Against the War (pages 406-423).

Preceding his testimony are excerpts from earlier in the hearing, referring to the presence, in the hearing room, of a group of Vietnam veterans and their desire to testify.

It’s a dynamic drama.

During the course of this hearing, the chairman altered his plans, and permitted Larry Rottmann to testify, as spokesman for the group.

With composure and presence of mind, Larry Rottmann made a presentation — spontaneous, assertive, and forceful — which persuaded the members of the subcommittee to alter their schedules and secure the necessary support, consents, and arrangements, to schedule, three days later, the House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (April 23 1971). For the same day, U.S. Senators arranged the Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (April 23 1971). These, followed promptly by four days of Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam, chaired by Congressman Ron Dellums and others (April 26-29 1971).

Larry Rottmann’s presentation, here, in this hearing, is a vivid demonstration of politics at it’s very best:

The power of a moral force, and solidarity, in a just cause.

Two days later, John Kerry testified before Senator Fulbright’s Foreign Relations Committee (April 22 1971).

  CJHjr


* * * {p.354}

Mr. Zablocki.  Before pursuing the questions, the Chair would like to respectfully request that the gentlemen in the room to maintain the proper decorum, take off their hats, at least out of respect for the ladies that are here, please.

* * * {p.368}

Mr. Zablocki.  The members will return as soon as they reply to their names on a quorum call.

POW EXECUTIONS IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Dr. Barnet, in your statement you alleged, and that is, your statement of March 31, you alleged that some summary executions of Vietcong prisoners have been common practice. ¶

What proof do you have of that statement?

Dr. Barnet.  I have, Mr. Zablocki, included in my written record a long account, eyewitness accounts by returned soldiers involved, and newspaper correspondents and others which were introduced into the Senate by Senator Hatfield, and I have included it in the record, as you requested.

There are however, in this room, Mr. Chairman, a number of individuals who informed me before the hearing that they themselves were “witnesses to torture of South Vietnamese prisoners,” and I would strongly suggest that some of them be invited to testify now—

Mr. Zablocki.  Well, we have other witnesses and questions to ask you. ¶

I don’t think we should disrupt the orderly procedure. ¶

I hope you would agree. ¶

Our questions are for you, not of the general public.

Dr. Barnet.  I am certainly glad to answer them. I can answer them secondhand, having spoken with a number of individuals personally, having read the record of the Winter Soldier Investigation in Detroit and other similar hearings which have been conducted around this country by veterans of this war who have been concerned enough, outraged enough by the conduct of our Government and its South Vietnamese Allies that they have gone into communities to tell the American people the truth about this war and who we are fighting for.

COMPETENCE OF RED CROSS INSPECTIONS

Mr. Zablocki.  The International Red Cross inspections of South Vietnamese POW camps have not resulted in the reports of tortures and inhumanities which you alleged in your March 31 report. In your view, is the INCR guilty of publicity or inefficiency?

Dr. Barnet.  I do not know. ¶

I know the testimony of numerous individuals, now in the hundreds, and commonplace reports going back as far as 1963— {p.369}

Mr. Zablocki.  Have you visited a South Vietnamese prisoner of war camp?

Dr. Barnet.  No, as I say it is secondhand information, but there are people in the room who have, and I was sufficiently concerned about reports.

(Interruption from the audience.)

Mr. Zablocki.  The witness will continue.

Dr. Barnet.  I was concerned about the stories of ejection of prisoners from helicopters, about the use of electric generators to extract information in interrogations and other reports by responsible known correspondents, that in 1963 I went to the Department of State and asked for information about it.

At that time, there was the usual denial, as there has been since.

* * * {p.380}

REQUESTS TESTIMONY FROM VIETNAM VETERANS

Mr. Zablocki.  We have another witness.

Mrs. Weiss.  Mr. Chairman, I wonder, considering the unusual circumstances that we are presented with today, if the men who we have {p.381} sent to fight for our cause in South Vietnam and who during their experiences there had first-hand contact and first-hand information regarding the treatment of prisoners by the South Vietnamese and by the Americans, who are Vietnam veterans and who are sitting here today, if they could not join in this testimony?

I think it would be very helpful toward your finding a solution for the problem for which you are sitting.

Mr. Zablocki.  Time permitting, after the subcommittee hears Mr. Stockstill, we will try to hear them. I have a final question.

Mr. Fulton.  Could we have the veterans present designate a spokesman, maybe two or three?

They would designate a spokesman, whoever it might be, and we will then hear two or three and have statements submitted, with the chairman’s permission.

I have some people waiting, I will be right back.

Mrs. Weiss.  I am sure they can consult with each other. ¶

With your assurance that they will be able to testify here today while they are here.

Mr. Zablocki.  The chairman cannot give you any assurance. ¶

We won’t be here until midnight, of course, but the representatives that are here may file a statement. ¶

We have another witness that is scheduled. ¶

At the beginning of this session I had clearly stated that we will try to have an orderly session.

* * * {p.382}

Mr. Zablocki.  Are there further questions?

Mr. Findley.  Just one, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Meacham, I have the highest respect for the Society of Friends and for the Quakers, and for you, and I am sure that you would not make a statement based on very skimpy evidence or hearsay.

You have made a charge against the Government of the United States that is very grave. ¶

I am sure you are aware of that. ¶

You have charged that a Government agency has actually financed torture chambers in South Vietnam. ¶

I think in fairness to our Government, in fairness to the Society of Friends, that you serve, as well as in fairness to this subcommittee which, believe me, is seeking to get the facts about the treatment of prisoners of war, whether it be in the south or the north, you should be as specific as you possibly can be about those charges so that we can delve further into this matter.

Mr. Meacham.  Yes, sir.

Mr. Findley.  I cannot underscore the importance of this too greatly, because I can’t recall a charge against the Government of the United States that has been made that has had greater gravity.

Mr. Meacham.  Yes, sir. ¶

I have reference to the interrogation center that is located in Quang Nghai.

Mr. Findley.  Would you spell that?

Mr. Meacham.  Q-u-a-n-g N-g-h-a-i. That is in I Corps. It is one of the very active combat areas of the northern part of South Vietnam. ¶

The CIA financed the interrogation center that is there.

Mr. Findley.  The construction of this?

Mr. Meacham.  The construction and the management and the training of people who carry on the interrogations in that interrogation center.

* * * {p.383}

Dr. Barnet.  Mr. Findley, there are people, I am informed, in this room, who can give “eyewitness testimony” as to the operation of those camps, and I think there is nothing more important for the committee to do than to hear that testimony.

* * * {p.403}

Mr. Bingham.  I agree we should make every effort to see that the Geneva Convention is applied. ¶

I think we should also do that to many of those in South Vietnam who have not had the benefit of the Geneva Convention. ¶

[Applause.]

Mr. Chairman, I would like to hear from representatives of the veterans, therefore I won’t take any more time at this point.

* * * {p.406}

Mr. Zablocki.  It is the Chair’s understanding the spokesman for the veterans’ group will be Mr. Larry Rottmann, if he will take the stand please.

Identify yourself, Mr. Rottmann by name, your address and your rank while you were in Vietnam and station or location while in the service, length of service, and whatever particular information you desire for the record.


Statement of
Larry Rottmann,
Volunteer Coordinator for Veterans Against the War


Mr. Rottmann.  My name is Larry Rottmann, I am 28 or 29, I can’t remember right now. ¶

I served as a first lieutenant, U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division, Vietnam, June 5, 1967, to March 19, 1968. {p.407}

Mr. Zablocki.  Your legal address?

Mr. Rottmann.  General Delivery, Corrales, N. Mex.

Here is my identification card. The President made some kind of a statement today about the veterans’ groups here, and so if you would like to see my ID, it is right here. ¶

I have been chosen to speak since the committee decided it could only hear one person today from my group.

Mr. Zablocki.  I might say at this point that the hearings are primarily to hear testimony on the status of our prisoners of war and missing in action in North Vietnam; but because some had requested that a different perspective be given as to how prisoners are treated in South Vietnam, you wished more time, we will allow it but have to limit it to one witness.

Mr. Rottmann.  I understand. I will continue.

Mr. Fulton.  Before the witness makes a statement, I would like to hear about his background and his education and what he is now doing, his work and profession. ¶

I would like to hear it from the witness.

Mr. Rottmann.  With your consent, let me finish saying what I have to say; and if Mr. Fulton has additional questions, he can broach them to me at the end of the statement.

Mr. Zablocki.  Well, I might say this is customary. You probably heard the last witness. Mr. Stockstill said what he was doing and gave some background.

Mr. Rottmann.  Fine.

What is your question, Mr. Fulton?

Mr. Fulton.  I would like to know about your background, your education, what do you do now?

Mr. Rottmann.  My background is a small town in Missouri, middle class, my education includes 6 years of college, degree in english and education, and what I do now is I am a full-time volunteer coordinator for the Veterans Against the War working in New Mexico and Arizona. [Applause.]

Mr. Zablocki.  You may proceed.

DESCRIBES “WATER TORTURE”

Mr. Rottmann.  The reason I didn’t include that originally is because I didn’t think it was really that important who I was, only that I had been chosen to speak for my brothers here.

Since you are interested in direct testimony and have chosen because of time limitations to hear one of us, I will move most directly to instances of maltreatment of prisoners and suspects taken by American forces with which I have direct personal knowledge.

The most frequent thing that I saw in regard to this kind of treatment was a thing called water torture. ¶

Water torture usually takes two forms—three forms actually. ¶

One is the denial of water.

Mr. Fulton.  North Vietnam or South Vietnam?

Mr. Rottmann.  What I am talking about, or what we will all talk about for the rest of the time we have to talk, is treatment of prisoners of war or suspects taken by American personnel.

Mr. Zablocki.  And the mistreatment was perpetrated by U.S. personnel?

Mr. Rottmann.  By American forces, yes. ¶

The most frequent is water torture, as I started to say. ¶

This denial of water to prisoners, in {p.408} other words, just putting them in the sun, putting them in a Conex container, pinning them to the ground, or tying them to a tree and not giving them anything to drink.

Another form is just a bucket of water or a stream, if it happens to be nearby, just keep dunking the prisoner in for longer periods of time until he talks or drowns.

The most frequently used is a thing called towel torture, and we learned this in the infantry OCS in Fort Benning. ¶

The victim is placed on his knees, his hands are bound behind him with common wire, and he is bent over backward and the towel is wrapped around his mouth— his mouth usually and his nose.

Water is then poured onto the towel, and the sensation, I can tell you through experience, was one of drowning. You can sort of half breathe, but every time you breathe you get a big snootful of water. ¶

It is very painful and unpleasant, and a human being can stand an awfully large amount of it before dying.

This is the favorite, almost the favorite, kind that the ARVN troops utilize. They are very good at that.

DESCRIBES “POLE TORTURE”

Another kind has been called pole torture. ¶

We also learned it at infantry OCS, involving having a prisoner face a small pole or tree and put your left leg around the front and you put your right leg over your left leg and tuck it under so you are hanging, in effect, from the pole, and you are sort of like lifted up off the ground, and then you take the prisoner’s neck or his chin or his—just whatever you can grab and bend him over backwards.

What this does is, it pulls the legbone sockets out, the hipbone sockets out. It can break the neck, back, some of the spinal column, and it is really painful, and again I speak from personal experience because I was taught how to do it in OCS, and the way they taught me was they put me on it.

It is a very, very painful experience, and it causes a great deal of pain and bodily injury.

Mr. Zablocki.  You have seen this torture?

Mr. Rottmann.  I have seen this done; yes, sir.

Mr. Zablocki.  Who was the commanding officer?

Mr. Rottmann.  The commanding officer at that time of the division would be—

Mr. Zablocki.  Who gave the orders?

Mr. Rottmann.  I don’t know that anybody gave the particular order. In other words—

Mr. Zablocki.  You mean the U.S. soldiers did that on their own? ¶

Who gave the order?

Mr. Rottmann.  There was nobody who gave a specific order that I heard or saw. ¶

I am talking about, this kind of torture is de facto or official military policy, something that is used and utilized at all times in almost every unit, especially the infantry and field units.

Mr. Fulton.  Mr. Chairman, I would request that the witness not get into generalities or hearsay. ¶

As a practicing attorney, I would ask the witness to give what is firsthand information that he has seen himself, observed, or has suffered personally. {p.409}

Now he started out by saying that he had suffered this punishment so to the ordinary practicing attorney the question is when, where, in what instance, by whom, at whose command and who was present, who saw it?

Mr. Bingham.  Mr. Chairman—

Mr. Fulton.  This other testimony appears just hearsay.

Mr. Bingham.  I don’t understand the procedure. ¶

Normally, we allow a witness to make a statement and complete it.

Mr. Zablocki.  The chairman will allow the witness to complete his statement and the chairman will not interrupt.

Mr. Rottmann.  Thank you very much. [Applause.]

As I said, these are all things I have seen which were seen in the 25th Infantry Division, A.O. (area of operation), during the period June 5, 1967, to March 1968.

DESCRIBES “HALF-A-CHOPPER RIDE”’

Something else I have seen is a thing called half-a-chopper ride. ¶

In “half-a-chopper ride” the prisoner, suspect or detainee goes up in the chopper, but comes down without the chopper.

One or more frequent things that is practiced by some members of the Special Forces units and Vietnamese ARVN units is a thing which has sort of a semantics all of its own called surface cutting.

In “surface cutting” the procedure is to use a very sharp bayonet or knife and cutting strips in the person, usually the chest, the head, and you cut only deep enough to draw blood, maybe the first time, and the next time you cut a little deeper and a little deeper, you know, until either the prisoner talks, gives you information you may want to extract from him or, you know, he passes out or dies.

These are all instances of the kinds of treatment of prisoners of war and detainees and suspects that the American Army engages in in Indochina. ¶

I speak to this effort, and we come here to speak at your hearing, because we are here also for those prisoners of war, for the American prisoners of war. ¶

We feel very strongly that the only way that the American prisoners of war can be released is by the war to end.

But we also come, not just as veterans or as Americans, but as members of the world community and we believe that the men and women of Indochina are not our enemies and we are as concerned about their welfare as we are about our own brothers whom we love, who we know, and who we know we have lost or are missing in Indochina.

SHOOTING “CHIEU HOI’S” ALLEGED

I have seen myself, in War Zone C, “chieu hoi’s,” and this is a program which may or may not be familiar to you in which we use leaflets or use loudspeaker broadcasts to inform the enemy that if they come to us with their arms upraised and a chieu hoi pass, they will be guaranteed to be taken alive and be guaranteed not to be abused. ¶

They will be guaranteed to be taken and returned and be well fed, you know, to a detention camp or prisoner-of-war camp.

In many units, because of the body count obsession, there is a standard procedure to take no prisoners and I have seen a prisoner come forward as a chieu hoi with the chieu hoi leaflet hollering quite audibly, “Chieu hoi,” and being shot. {p.410}

Women are particularly singled out for brutal treatment and are subject to frequent harassment and sort of special kinds of handling. ¶

These are just a few instances which I have very personal knowledge of, but I believe it was said by Mr. Findley, who said that the charge that was made earlier about CIA-sponsored interrogation camps or facilities was one of the most serious that he had heard in the Congress.

REFERS TO ATROCITY PANELS

I would refer him to the Congressional Record of March 1, Congressman Dellums introduced the transcript of the committee — no, it was the V.W., right, the National Veterans inquiry which was held here in Washington {December 1-3 1970} {—} on Monday, April 5, which continued in the Record on the fifth and sixth and seventh of this year, and Senator Hatfield introduced the testimony of Vietnam veterans from the winter soldier investigation in Detriot, which was included in its entirety.

Since I am the only one who can testify here, although because of time we have everybody here who can substantiate first-hand accounts of things which I have talked about, I would like very much just to take one second to read a couple of things from the Congressional Record.

This sort of goes directly to some of the testimony of the previous witness here, James Mackay, who was formerly, I believe, a sergeant with the Ninth Infantry Division, who says in one of the panels:

Another method used often in regard to helicopters is sometimes when they captured three suspected enemy people, they might take them for a joy ride. They usually tie them up, put a blindfold on them, pull maybe three guys in a chopper and they fly off. They will ask the guys while in the air, what is your unit and all of this jive. If they don’t cooperate, they might just take one of them and say, OK, take off your blindfold, and they shove him right out.

This gives us a psychological edge because it apparently works. When the other two guys come down to the ground, they are scared and cooperate more readily than they have ever before.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055, 9947-9954 (Panel: “1st Marine Division”), at 9954 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition).  CJHjr

I might say at this point that Mr. Sach’s validity as a veteran has been substantiated through the Pentagon via the Detroit Free Press. {Rusty Sachs, another member of that panel.  CJHjr}.

On page E-2828 {Daily Edition} of the March—rather, of the April 6 Congressional Record, former Marine Sergeant Scott Camil says, in response to a question about, did anybody order it or did anybody order it stopped? In regard to mistreatment of prisoners, he says:

The C.O., he never said not to or never said anything about it. The main thing was that if an operation was covered by the press, there were certain things we weren’t supposed to do, but if there was no press there, it was okay. ¶

I saw one case where a woman was shot by a sniper, one of our snipers. When we got up to her, she was asking for water. And the lieutenant said to kill her. ¶

So he ripped off her clothes, they stabbed her in both breasts, they spread-eagled her and shoved an E-tool up her vagina, an entrenching tool, and she was still asking for water. And then they took that out and they used a tree limb and then she was shot.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055, 9947-9954 (Panel: “1st Marine Division”), at 9950 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition).  CJHjr

On page E-2828—I am sorry, that is the one I just read. This is E-2829 {daily edition}, Joe Bangert, formerly, I believe, a sergeant with the 1st Marine Division, said:

Also in Quang Tri City I had a friend who was working with USAID and he was also with CIA. We used to get drunk together and he used to tell me about {p.411} his different trips into Laos on Air America Airlines and things. ¶

One time he asked me would I like to accompany him to watch. He was an adviser with an ARVN group and Kit Carson’s. He asked me if I would like to accompany him into a village that I was familiar with to see how they act. ¶

So I went with him and when we got there, the ARVN’s had control of the situation. They didn’t find any enemy but they found a woman with bandages. So she was questioned by six ARVN’s and the way they questioned her, since she had bandages, they shot her. She was hit about twenty times. ¶

After she was questioned and, of course, dead, this guy came over, who was a former major, been in the service for twenty years, and he got hungry again and came back over working with USAID, Aid International Development. ¶

He went over there, ripped her clothes off, and took a knife and cut from her vagina almost all the way up, just about up to her breasts and pulled her organs out, completely out of her cavity, and threw them out. Then he stopped and knelt over and commenced to peel every bit of skin off her body and left her there as a sign for something or other and that was those instances.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055, 9947-9954 (Panel: “1st Marine Division”), at 9951 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition).  CJHjr

Those, gentlemen, are just a few things from the Congressional Record on the dates I pointed out.

OTHERS PLEDGE ATROCITY KNOWLEDGE

At this point I would like the veterans who are in this room now who witnessed or participated in any of this kind of mistreatment of prisoners, if they would stand up.

(At this point a number of persons stood up.)

Mr. Fulton.  Would the witnesses please give their names, rank and addresses?

Mr. Rottmann.  There are 18 that I count, counting myself. I am sorry, 24 is the count.

Mr. Zablocki.  Name and rank and address for the record. You are attesting to the atrocities read out. You had participated personally in that type of atrocity in which innocent civilians, nonmilitary personnel—

Mr. Bingham.  Wait. I don’t think that is what he said.

Mr. Rottmann.  Mr. Chairman, may I rephrase the question for you?

Mr. Zablocki.  Rephrase the question.

Mr. Rottmann.  The question is this: Would the veterans in the room who witnessed or participated in this kind of maltreatment of trainees, suspects or prisoners of war please stand up?

Mr. Zablocki.  I merely want to protect the various Vietnam veterans who are giving their names. The witness did say that they, in giving their names, are attesting that they witnessed or participated in—and that is a serious admission—atrocities.

Mr. Bingham.  Mr. Chairman, shouldn’t it be clear that what we are talking about is not a given case, such as described, or something of the sort of things he has been talking about here?

Mr. Zablocki.  That is right.

Mr. Rottmann.  That is right, sir.

STATEMENTS FROM MEMBERS OF THE AUDIENCE

Sgt. McLaughlin.  My name is Robert McLaughlin, staff sergeant, 8 years in the Army, 35 Brenton Road, Middletown, Conn.

Mr. Holmes.  My name is Timothy Holmes, and my address is 151 Derby Street, Salem, Mass. I was a sergeant in the Marine Corps with the 3d Marine and 1st Marine Divisions. {p.412}

Mr. McGuy.  My name is Lawrence McGuy, 58 Stockton Street, Boston, Mass.

Mr. Herter.  My name is Eric Herter and I live at 155 Sherman Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. I was a chieu hoi adviser and PFC who got loaned to USAID to become a chieu hoi adviser and participated myself as a chieu hoi adviser civilian with an equivalent rank of major in the Army.

Mr. Moore.  My name is Jim Moore, Box 312, Hollis, N.H., sergeant E-5.

Mr. Greenwald.  My name is Jim Greenwald and I was sergeant adviser, MACV, and my address is 1565 Patio Terrace, Arlington, Tex.

Mr. Beltron.  My name is Tony Beltron, and my address is 7625 Palmar Drive, Fort Worth, Tex. I was sergeant E-5 with the 5th Special Forces Group.

Mr. Romo.  Perry Romo, former first lieutenant, American Division, 196th Light Infantry Brigade and 11th Infantry Brigade, 1561 West 21st Street, San Bernardino.

Mr. Nacel.  Steve Nacel, 51 Belmore Street, Floral Park, N.Y. I was with the Fifth Special Forces augmentation team in Vietnam from 1963 to 1964.

Mr. Miller.  Steve Miller, San Bernardino, Calif., 28853 Fifth Street, 15th Aerial, 4th Squadron, Danang, I witnessed similar abuse of prisoners given in earlier testimony that people were complaining that were being perpetrated against American prisoners in North Vietnam.

Mr. Mays.  My name is David B. Mays and my address is 558 Brockway, Morgantown, W.Va. In 1968 I was on the mobility team from the 6th Aerial, 4th Squadron, and in various locations in Vietnam and witnessed atrocities not only of prisoners, but of one entire village.

Mr. Pitkin.  My name is Steve Pitkin and I was a PFC rifleman with Company C, 2d and 39th Reconnaissance, 9th Infantry Division, 6712 Boneyrich Drive, Baltimore, Md.

Mr. Berliner.  My name is Wade Berliner, 180 Woodhaven Drive, Mount Lebanon, Pa. I served as corporal with the 9th Marines Regiment from January 1968 to February 1969, and I witnessed similar atrocities performed on detainees.

Mr. Baer.  My name is Phillip Baer, specialist 4, and I was with the American Division in Vietnam and 1st Aviation Brigade in this country. I am from 4000 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Mr. Miller.  My name is Thomas Miller. I was with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and served in an infantry line unit and my address is 68 Von Braun, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Mr. Blevins.  My name is Gerald Blevins, 5035 Antelope Trail, Temple, Tex., sergeant E-5, U.S. Marine Corps, 2d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, S-2, and the last 3 months in the country I was S-2 chief and in charge of running our POW compound and can testify to some of the atrocities also having been read into the committee hearing here.

Mr. Paquet.  My name is Basil T. Paquet, 12 Cheney Drive, Storrs, Conn., and I was specialist 4th class, Medical Personnel, at the 24th {p.413} Evacuation Hospital in Lon Bien, Vietnam. I can testify to the fact that it was common practice with military intelligence carrying in wounded Vietnamese prisoners to threaten to withhold medical help unless they spoke first and I had witnessed on occasion where seriously wounded men were held back until they gave information.

Mr. Phinisey.  My name is James Phinisey. I live at 483 Ponderosa Drive, Annandale, Va. I was a lance corporal serving with the 3d Battalion, 1st Marines in Vietnam, and I was a basic 5 combat interpreter.

Mr. Binkerd.  My name is Allen Binkerd, and I was a tank driver and leader in H company, 2d Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam from July 1967 to July 1968, and live at Rural Route 3, Box 132A, Willimantic, Conn.

Mr. Wilson.  My name is Steve Wilson, with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2d Squadron, and in 1968 until a few months later when I was wounded in action and sent home. I witnessed civilian discrimination such as throwing C ration cans at them from the trac at full power and the chopping of heads off dead bodies as signs of, I don’t know exactly what—the signs were, that scared the Vietnamese from attacking us.

Mr. Swann.  My name is Allen Swann, and my address is 14891 Harrison, Allen Park, Mich. I was a first lieutenant with the 5th Special Forces. I was assistant S-2 of Detachment B-43, Company D, 5th Special Forces Group for 6 months, in charge of detainees in interrogation and after the last 6 months of my last 1-year tour, I was with Special Force C in C Detachment and only worked then in Laos and Cambodia.

Mr. Medoof.  My name is Larry Medoof and I live at 1228 South Oakcrest Road, Arlington, Va., and I was with a few companies in Vietnam, but the one in which I witnessed the specific atrocity was the 542d Medical Company clearing through Thieu, Vietnam. I witnessed quelling of the riots over there, a riot staged by MP’s on the anniversary of Tet in 1969. This was a POW camp for injured Vietcong prisoners and they wanted to go and sing songs of their religious holiday and they were denied the permission to do that and they started to sing anyway and the MP’s waded in there and started clubbing them with rifle butts, M-14’s and clubs over their legs and then got them into their huts.

[Applause.]

MEANING OF APPLAUSE

Mr. Zablocki.  I would hope that the applause was for the opportunity to present your cases rather than for the atrocities described.

Mr. Rottmann.  Yes, sir. Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

Mr. Rottmann.  I would like to continue just a few more minutes with my statement, if I can.

Mr. Fulton.  May I say for the record that part of the applause was for the chairman.

[Applause.]

Mr. Zablocki.  You may regret that. I have some questions.

Mr. Rottmann.  I would like to continue with my statement at this time. {p.414}

POW WELFARE: JOB OF CONGRESS

You previously, members of the subcommittee, asked some questions of the witnesses from the COL about their budget, about the question of expanding on their role of what they did with their money, how much and where it came from in their work with the prisoners contacting and working with the prisoners of war of North Vietnam.

I believe that I speak on behalf of all of the veterans here that taking care of the well-being, spiritual and physical, of the prisoners of war in North and South Vietnam is not the work of a subcommittee such as they have here. ¶

It is the work of people who work in this building, it is the work of the people who work in the other—or in the Senate Office Building, and it is the job of the Congress who have allowed the President to continue the war, far beyond the time when it could even be justified by anyone, and now to the point where America’s veterans, men who have shed blood, men who have taken blood, have come here in a mass lobbying effort to speak with you in an honest, lawful, and legitimate way to ask you to give us a redress, to take yourselves to task as to why this war goes on and on and on.

REQUESTS CONTINUED HEARINGS

In light of this and because of the lateness of the day, we respectfully request that the subcommittee continue these hearings tomorrow to hear further first-hand testimony from as many veterans of the over 2,000 who are now camped across the street, as you can hear. ¶

These people all, all with no exceptions, have first-hand knowledge and experience in the maltreatment of prisoners of war.

And as veterans, as veterans and Americans, and as brothers and sisters of the whole world community, we plead with you to hear us and we plead with you to end the war, because all soldiers are prisoners of war.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

I would like to thank those women and men of the audience who stayed on to hear the important testimony. ¶

We appreciate that and that is what we are trying to do in Washington.

Mr. Zablocki.  The Chair will have to state that you fully realize that without prior arrangements every courtesy was extended to you today. ¶

The hearings were prolonged in order to hear you today. ¶

But I regret I cannot assure you that we can have any further hearings continuing without consultation with all the members. ¶

This is because there are other arrangements made already for subcommittees. ¶

The chairman himself has other commitments tomorrow and it would be impossible to hear additional witnesses then.

Mr. Rottmann.  Mr. Chairman, we are fully cognizant of the fact you have a tight schedule and also cognizant of the fact that just across the street and, as you heard from the veterans here, are honorably discharged veterans maimed in body and spirit who have served your country and have done the job requested of them and they hitchhiked and they thumbed and drove motorcycles and came from California, Alaska, Utah, Missouri, thinking they were going to be here for the {p.415} week and we respectfully request, since you do represent us, since you do work for us, if you could arrange in any way possible to continue these hearings tomorrow, the next day, or Friday, we would be most appreciative, and I believe, sir, the Nation would be more appreciative to hear the testimony these veterans have to present.

[Applause.]

VETERANS HEARING REQUEST SUPPORTED

Mr. Bingham.  Mr. Chairman, I support this request. ¶

I think that we should hear additional testimony from this group. ¶

I frankly have been deeply shocked and saddened by what has been presented here today. ¶

The matter is of enormous importance and I hope we can schedule further meetings with the understanding we would not hear endless repetition of the same material.

We have what we call cumulative evidence and we have already had here a very impressive demonstration of the fact that all of you men are supporting in general the testimony that has been presented, but I for one would not want to give the impression that we are not willing to sit and hear additional testimony and I hope it can be arranged at some point during the week. ¶

I certainly would be willing to adjust my schedule accordingly.

Mr. Fulton.  May I join in saying for the ones who have come all of these far distances that we should hear them. ¶

Representing the city of Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County, Pa., on the Foreign Affairs Committee, I want to congratulate the young men who came from my State, we are glad to have you here, and I am glad to have you present your point of view.

Mr. Zablocki.  Well, the chairman shall give full consideration of the possibility. ¶

I must be honest with you I cannot give you assurance at this moment of a particular time, place, or day during this week. ¶

I will, however, poll the subcommittee, and speak with the chairman of the full committee as well.

Mr. Rottmann.  I hope you appreciate our position, sir, and I don’t mean to press on this way, but many of the men, may I reiterate, many of the men are missing school, many of the men are missing a week’s work, many of the men have lost their jobs, many of the men have wives and families to support, they are here in a very earnest and very sincere effort to talk to the Congress. ¶

That is all they want to do. ¶

They are not here to try to trash the city, they are here to tell their story and we will cooperate in any way, and if you want to see one person from each unit from each year, we will have them here.

If you want to see 10 people or a million people, as many as we can have, we will have them here. ¶

We will have them in the afternoon, morning, night, any time you say we will be here.

Any time you say, we will be here. ¶

All we are asking is you come and meet with us again and extend us the same generosity you have done here now.

PROBLEM OF JURISDICTION IN FURTHER HEARINGS

Mr. Zablocki.  As I had discussed with my colleague to my left, there is also a question, Mr. Bingham, of jurisdiction of this{.} {p.416}

This subcommittee has, within its jurisdiction, the question of the American prisoners of war and the missing in action. ¶

The atrocities on the part of our U.S. servicemen is now within the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee. ¶

I must advise my subcommittee members that it will not be my role to transgress the jurisdiction of another congressional committee and be subject to criticism because of that.

I will cooperate, but there are 12 members of the subcommittee and we have only four that stayed on to this very late hour. ¶

The chairman would like to cooperate fully. ¶

I want to, however, point out that, indeed, this very hearing thus far conducted may already have transgressed the jurisdiction of this subcommittee. ¶

It was only with the very liberal attitude and the cooperation of the chairman and the members here that the courtesy of testifying was extended to you, because we did want to hear what you had to say about treatment of prisoners in South Vietnam.

We did not want to shut you off, but I cannot guarantee you that we can hold future hearings.

Mr. Bingham.  Would the chairman yield?

Mr. Zablocki.  Yes.

DISCUSSION OF JURISDICTIONAL QUESTION

Mr. Bingham.  I might say I think the chairman has been exceedingly fair and this is already an exceptional case. ¶

In the first place, we don’t ordinarily meet in the afternoon, in the second place, we have run late.

I think these are extraordinary circumstances and I want to point out I don’t think it exceeds the jurisdiction of the committee for us to consider what the treatment of prisoners of war or detainees is in South Vietnam. ¶

This was raised during the questioning by some of the members.

The question was raised as to whether the Committee of Liaison would do the same work in South Vietnam. ¶

I think that the question of what we do to ameliorate the treatment of prisoners of war in North Vietnam and secure the release of prisoners of war in North Vietnam is a question before this committee and I think that the record of the American forces in South Vietnam and what is going on there is a part of that problem.

[Applause.]

Mr. Fulton.  Mr. Chairman, will you yield?

Mr. Zablocki.  I will be delighted to yield.

Mr. Fulton.  You will recall in the direct testimony I had brought up the question of the treatment of North Vietnamese prisoners. ¶

I had brought up in the direct testimony the treatment of North Vietnamese prisoners in South Vietnam, saying it was the obverse of what was happening on the other side of the line in North Vietnam. ¶

I would agree with the gentleman from New York, when we are speaking of prisoners of war, we should look at the subject as a whole rather than divide it into halves, because I think you only get half of the view.

Even if it is going to take some time to do it, I would as one of the minority members, ask the chairman of the committee for an opportunity to hear the views and recommendations of these young men. {p.417}

As you remember, I complimented our chairman, and our subcommittee hearing these veterans who have come here from a great distance and who are vitally concerned. ¶

I think we Congressmen must give these veterans the opportunity to have them stand up and make their statements. ¶

I agree with the gentleman from New York because it is of vital interest to these people. ¶

I don’t believe the fact that question, whether it is a jurisdictional problem, is going to be closely adhered to in deciding whether this is a matter of foreign affairs or a matter of U.S. armed services doctrine. ¶

I believe the question is foreign affairs policy at this point as the question is under the Geneva Convention just as much in South Vietnam as it is in North Vietnam, so it is a matter of international law, foreign affairs, and therefore under the jurisdiction of this committee. ¶

We Congressmen on this Foreign Affairs Subcommittee who thus have jurisdiction, should therefore be fair, take our time and make the effort to give these veterans who have given military service to our country, an adequate opportunity to be heard.

[Applause.]

Mr. Findley.  May I add a comment.

Mr. Chairman, as suggested, why not check out the jurisdictional problem, check out the possibilities for a hearing later this week, and I am sure the staff will be able to reach Lieutenant Rottmann some way.

Mr. Rottmann.  Please call me Larry. These guys won’t dig it if you call me “Lieutenant.”

Mr. Findley.  Yes, and we can communicate through with you. ¶

I certainly hope additional hearings can be arranged.

Mr. Rottmann.  May I ask this, that if you feel for jurisdictional or legal reasons you can’t give us time and date now, will you please, Mr. Chairman give us a time and date when we can meet with you to find out when the time and date will be?

Mr. Fulton.  May I be heard on that point.

If these people have come from out of town, every day they are here is more expensive and more time away from either their school or work, so why don’t we tentatively see if we can set the hearing tomorrow?

OTHER FACTORS BEARING ON FURTHER HEARINGS

Mr. Zablocki.  As the gentleman from Pennsylvania knows, we also have to make inquiry as to the availability of the room, as I stated.

Mr. Fulton.  We can check it and see what we can do and let these people know by tomorrow.

Mr. Zablocki.  It is not a matter of legality, but possibility or availability.

Mr. Rottmann.  You know, sir, if you have trouble finding accommodations, we can put you up across the street.

[Applause.]

Mr. Zablocki.  That is very generous of you. ¶

I might point out to my colleagues that I have been already advised by Mr. Findley that he would be unavailable tomorrow. ¶

I might also point out that the House will be considering the Public Works bill tomorrow on the {p.418} floor. ¶

The rules of the House are that no committee, full committee, or subcommittee, can sit during a markup of the bill and it will take only one Member to raise a point of order and the committee hearing is immediately and abruptly discontinued. ¶

That was the case in the past. ¶

We had to suspend a meeting that was scheduled on March 31 and complete it today.

These are the matters I wish you would understand. ¶

It is not the hearing room alone or the accommodations you may have offered across the street. ¶

Even if we had an open air meeting, I could not hold a meeting legally if the House is in a legislative process where a bill is considered for amendment under the House rules. ¶

One Member can make a point of order and the meeting is over.

Mr. Rottmann.  We understand that and appreciate your situation. ¶

I was just trying to make a point on behalf of the veterans and I think on behalf, according to the polls, of most of the American citizens, that this right now is to us the most urgent, urgent kind of problem this country has, and it is more urgent, I think, more Americans feel than anything else, and if we can possibly work it out, perhaps if you can set a time tomorrow when we can come and work with you on arranging it, that would be sufficient.

CONGRESSIONAL CONCERN FOR ATROCITIES

Mr. Zablocki.  I also might point out, Mr. Rottmann, this subcommittee, all of the members who are present here and I believe all of the Members of the Congress, are very concerned about atrocities regardless of who commits them. ¶

I think it is unthinkable to condone such practices. ¶

I would hope, however, that your colleagues would come prepared, if we have an opportunity to hold another meeting, also to report to the subcommittee upon atrocities that were committed by the VC’s and even civilians in Vietnam against the U.S. soldiers and against Vietnamese civilians. ¶

If you are going to talk about atrocities in South Vietnam, please bring balance to the presentation.

I am sure you must have witnessed some yourself, some atrocities committed on the part of the VC’s. Share them with us. We hate every atrocity, and we want all atrocities stopped.

I want to thank you for appearing before the subcommittee and if there are no other questions, I would—

Mr. Findley.  Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Zablocki.  Mr. Findley.

MR. FINDLEY COMMENDS VETERAN’S GROUP

Mr. Findley.  Mr. Chairman, before we adjourn today—and we do adjourn with the possibility that we won’t have further hearings— although I hope we will—lest we not be together again, I want to express my admiration for the men who have taken the trouble to come to this city, the ones that have served in Vietnam, have been exposed to the hazards of that situation, have been exposed also to the inhumanity of war. ¶

You have come here on a great cause. ¶

I am sure there is no question about the sincerity of the vast majority of the veterans who are here. ¶

You may have exceptions in your ranks and that would be {p.419} natural, but I have no doubt about the high purposes of most of them who are here.

It is a right of American citizen to protest, especially when public policy seems to be so directly against your own interests, and therefore I certainly salute you on this initiative and you come here on a cause that I think requires the attention of the Congress and even if we have no more testimony than you have presented here today, you have certainly given some eloquent reasons for us to press forward with the total withdrawal of our forces at the earliest possible date.

[Applause.]

WAR AND ATROCITIES

Mr. Findley.  I would add one other thought. ¶

I served with the Seabees in World War II on the island of Guam during the occupation, the period in which the island was secured, and many thousands of lives were lost during that period of time and I had direct evidence of a lot of brutality on the part of some American military personnel on that island at that time. ¶

So the atrocity of war is not confined to this one war, perhaps it is at a higher level in some ways, but war itself is an atrocity and every war has, I fear, its share of the sordid, shameful episodes you related here today.

Mr. Rottmann.  Could I say one thing to that, sir.

It may well be true that every war is an atrocity, but the Vietnam War is, we feel, a rather — well — very unique in that the things like Mylai, for instance, are not isolated incidents.

These are an inevitable result of official or de facto military policy. ¶

We want to make that very clear, that we are not here to relate a bunch of gruesome stories. ¶

There are people here, Mr. Congressman, who don’t sleep very well at night and there are people here who have had marital difficulties, have lost jobs, lost positions, lost limbs and not because they have seen an atrocity, but because they have participated in a 10-year atrocity, and that is what we would like to say about that.

Mr. Fulton.  Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Zablocki.  Mr. Fulton.

DISCUSSION OF A FUTURE MEETING

Mr. Fulton.  Recognizing we have a bill on the floor, the Public Works bill, so it would not be within the rules of the House to meet after 12, I would make motion that we meet here tomorrow at 10 for a hearing from 10 to 12. ¶

Then, if this committee room is not available, as I am a ranking member on another House committee and I will get you another room.

[Applause.]

Mr. Fulton.  Can we have a vote?

Mr. Zablocki.  The chairman must respectfully advise the gentleman from Pennsylvania he had repeatedly stated he is not available tomorrow morning and Mr. Findley has so stated that he cannot appear. ¶

I am having the staff consultant check room availabilities.

Mr. Fulton.  There is a ranking member here on both sides of the subcommittee.

Mr. Zablocki.  Mr. Bingham. {p.420}

Mr. Bingham.  I could be here, but there are conflicts and a lot of people have conflicts, I know that.

Mr. Fulton.  I believe it is so important when these veterans are here, that we Congressmen should set aside conflicts. ¶

I have other meetings, too, but when these veterans are now here, we would give them 2 hours more of hearings. ¶

They could then submit statements. ¶

I would strongly recommend we do it. ¶

So I have a motion on the floor and I ask for a vote.

Mr. RottmannWe gave you a year. Can you give us 2 hours?

[Applause.]

Mr. Zablocki.  Will you hold out until we see what the schedule is?

Mr. Bingham.  While we are waiting, could I ask a question and get it in right now in case this does not work out?

TAUGHT TORTURE AT OCS, SAYS WITNESS

Mr. Rottmann.  We will stay as long as you will, sir.

Mr. Bingham.  One of the things you discussed was the instruction you got at OCS.

Now, what was the purpose stated for this instruction with regard to these methods of torture?

Mr. Rottmann.  Right. ¶

The instruction we received on how to handle detainees and prisoners and how to extract information from them was given during the survival, escape and evasion portion of our 6 months training, which took place approximately in the last part of the 6 months of training.

We were placed in a simulated prisoner of war camp in Georgia, in a place that looks not a whole lot unlike Vietnam, where we played the role of the detainees and attempted—you know, this was a war games situation in which we allowed ourselves to be captured in order to be exposed to the experience.

In the camp, attempts were made to elicit information from us since, not of a military nature rather since it is only a game, we didn’t know anything, but like the first girl we had sexual intercourse with, the name of our mother, things like that, things that were of a very personal nature, and to extract this information we were placed, well— another thing we were placed inside a 50-gallon drum, an empty one, which is put down over the top of you and people beat on it with hammers.

Mr. Bingham.  What was the stated purpose of this?

Mr. Rottmann.  To obtain information from us. In other words, they would say, “Tell us the name of the first girl you had intercourse with.”

Mr. Bingham.  What instructions did you receive with regard to this, that you were—

Mr. Rottmann.  Name, rank, serial number and date of birth.

Mr. Bingham.  In other words, were they demonstrating techniques to be used by you?

Mr. Rottmann.  Yes, they were teaching us how to go about it, that was the purpose, teaching us how to extract information from unwilling detainees and suspects by using us as guinea pigs, as it were. {p.421}

TRAINING IN “LAWS OF WAR”

Mr. Bingham.  You were also given training in the laws of war, presumably, at OCS?

Mr. Rottmann.  Would you define what you mean by “laws of war”?

Mr. Bingham.  Well, weren’t you advised that this type of activity was in violation of the laws of war?

Mr. Rottmann.  We were told repeatedly from basic training through advanced infantry training through OCS when you got to the Nam, you threw the book away.

Mr. Bingham.  Were you aware of the fact that this is in violation of the Army manual on the laws of war?

Mr. Rottmann.  Yes, I was.

Mr. Bingham.  How did you feel about not doing anything about that?

Mr. Rottmann.  Sick.

DID NOT REPORT TORTURE INCIDENT

Mr. Bingham.  Did it ever occur to you to report it?

Mr. Rottmann.  Yes, it did.

Mr. Bingham.  But you didn’t report it?

Mr. Rottmann.  I did not.

Mr. Bingham.  Did you feel differently then about the conduct, the justification for the war at that time?

Mr. Rottmann.  There were two reasons I didn’t report it. ¶

One, command influence. In many cases there were people there of higher rank than myself and to report something to somebody who is there doesn’t make too much sense. ¶

There are many cases, documented, of instances where soldiers tried to intervene in this manner and were, you know, transferred or given menial tasks or punished in some cases, I think, and I don’t know details, you know, off the top of my head, but received some kind of punishment.

It was not—well, the other reason was that, like I said, all the way through training—well, the only training I got in the Geneva Convention, for instance, and I think that is what you mean by the rules of war, was a movie, you know—

Mr. Bingham.  Well, surely you know there is a manual, Army manual on it?

Mr. Rottmann.  I went through infantry OCS and was trained to be an officer and nobody ever showed it to me. ¶

The only thing they were taught, well, I was never taught, sir, never taught how to handle a prisoner if I captured one. ¶

I spent 6 months in infantry OCS and graduated, you know, about the top third of my class, for what it is worth, and I never received any instruction about how to take prisoners of war.

I was told in regard to if I was captured, I would give name, rank and serial number and date of birth, and that was it. ¶

You are given a Geneva Convention card sometimes that has the rules on it, treat women with respect and so forth, but like I told you, and they told us when you get to the Nam, you just throw the book away. {p.422}

LINE OF INQUIRY OVERSTEPS JURISDICTION

Mr. Zablocki.  The Chair may observe, as he earlier stated, this line of questioning points up the fact that we are transgressing the jurisdiction of another committee. ¶

This is a matter that should come to the attention of the Armed Service Committee to determine if the rules and regulations of the Military Code of Conduct were violated.

This is not a matter that this committee has proper jurisdiction of. ¶

As far as prisoners of war, matters that affect our foreign policy because of this behavior, I think we have a fairly good picture of that. ¶

I think specifically the line of questioning that my colleague from New York has just taken, clearly indicates that this testimony is not within the jurisdiction of this subcommittee.

Mr. Rottmann.  Begging the chairman’s pardon, I think this definitely is because the topic here is “Prisoners of War,” that is granted. ¶

But what Mr. Bingham was trying to ascertain, I believe, was, ¶

Are we instructed as infantrymen, as officers, are we instructed in how to treat and care for prisoners of war?” ¶

You know, be they from North Vietnam, South Vietnam, or wherever, and what he was trying to ascertain and I think the answer was clear, the answer is “no.”

I think that really does, I am no jurisdictional expert, but we are talking about prisoners of war and how they are handled. ¶

Then we have men who can, you know, very specifically discuss that specific problem with you, if you want to, you know, somehow limit the questioning or something. You can do that then.

Mr. Zablocki.  The chairman wants to be very sympathetic and cooperative. ¶

If we are going to pursue this type of questioning, I believe in all fairness, to get a true picture, we should have the representative of the Department of Defense reply to similar questions. [Applause.]

If I am to violate jurisdiction, I want to go all the way! ¶

I don’t think my colleagues on this committee will feel too comfortable about it when we are criticized for it later.

FURTHER DISCUSSION OF FUTURE MEETING

Mr. Fulton.  I have a motion on the floor, Mr. Chairman, to meet at 10 tomorrow.

Mr. Zablocki.  I must advise my colleague from Pennsylvania, and he knows the rules full well the subcommittee chairman can not schedule a meeting without prior clearance. ¶

You were at the organization meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee. ¶

It is the same with every committee of Congress, a subcommittee chairman cannot schedule hearings without the prior approval of the full committee chairman.

Mr. Fulton.  Well, the answer is, let’s get consent and authority for the subcommittee to meet, and do justice to these young men who have expressed such strong concern.

Mr. Rottmann.  Mr. Chairman, I would like to make this point.

Mr. Zablocki.  I told you I will try to clear, to the satisfaction of the chairman, the continuance of this subcommittee in this line of hearing. ¶

If he agrees, the subcommittee chairman is willing.

Mr. Rottmann.  May I make a further point, Mr. Chairman. ¶

The treatment that the North Vietnamese and NLF prisoners received at our hands is a very important contributing factor to the treatment received by American prisoners of war in the north. {p.423}

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but if we have a policy and we believe we do, of deliberate maltreatment and abusement of prisoners of war, we can hardly expect the enemy, whoever he be, to treat our prisoners any differently and I think that this kind of testimony that we have been trying to present, granted that we were not completely prepared, goes directly to that point.

We want all prisoners of war freed, North, South, and all prisoners of war who are engaged in that war brought home, and we will do anything we can to cooperate with you on it.

Mr. Zablocki.  Very good.

Any further questions?

The subcommittee stands adjourned until further notice.

(Whereupon, at 6:40 p.m. the subcommittee adjourned.)

(The following letter was subsequently supplied for inclusion in the record by Mr. Rottmann:)

________________


Vietnam Veterans Against the War,
Corrales, N. Mex., March 14, 1971.

Dear Mr. Sullivan: Enclosed find the corrected copy of the testimony you requested. My personal account of Vietnam experiences (along with similar testimony given by hundreds of Vietnam vets in D.C. the week of April 19th, 1971) is in itself the “further documentation” you request.

The O.C.S. torture instruction took place in April or May of 1966. at Ft. Benning, Ga., while I was a member of the 62nd O.C.S. Company. It was part of the Survival, Escape, and Evasion course, under the jurisdiction of the Commanding General of Ft. Benning.

I hope this information is sufficient.

Hōa binh.

Larry Rottmann.

________________


{Page 424 is blank}

Larry Rottman previously testified at the National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970); testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055, at 10022-10031 (Panel: “The 25th Infantry Division and Public Information Office”) (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition); and subsequently testified at the House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (April 23 1971).  CJHjr

 

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This document: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971 (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Hearings, March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20, 1971, 9+583 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1, CIS: 71 H381-9, OCLC: 15634210, LCCN: 77612471, WorldCat}, witness: Larry Rottmann (volunteer coordinator, VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), April 20 1971 hearing, pages 353-423 {3.2mb.pdf}, at pages 406-423 (this page). CIS: “Description of charged mistreatment of prisoners in South Vietnam by American forces; report of receiving Officers Candidate School instruction on the use of torture.” Complete hearings (omitting appendixes II and III, pages 479-583).

See also:

The first Phoenix hearings: Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970: Hearings on Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970, and Appendix, 7+750 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17, CIS: 71 S381-2, OCLC: 119418, LCCN: 76610214, DL, WorldCat}.

The second Phoenix hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings, U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, Hearings, July 15 {a.m., p.m.}, 16, 19, 21, and August 2 1971, 4+362 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.G 74/7:V 67/4, CIS: 72 H401-3, OCLC: 235387, LCCN: 71616178, DL, WorldCat}. Ensuing report: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}.

The third Phoenix hearings: Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence (U.S. Congress 93-1, Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearings, July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, 25, 1973, 3+186 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3, CIS: 73 S201-27, OCLC: 800312, LCCN: 73603022, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: William E. Colby, Robert F. Drinan, Samuel A. Adams, Paul Sakwa, David S. Harrington, Kenneth B. Osborn.

Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 71 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991, DL, WorldCat}.

National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes, Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 4238-4271 (U.S. Congress 92-1, March 1 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.4, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., Mike McCusker, Daniel K. Amigone, Greg Motoka, Kenneth Barton Osborn, Norman Kiger, Gail Graham, Steve Noetzel, Edward Murphy, Daniel Alfiero, Louis Paul Font, Robert Master, Peter Norman Martinsen, T. Griffiths Ellison, Ed Melton, Chuck Hamilton, Lee Meyrowitz, Gordon S. Livingston, Greg Turgeon, Richard Altenberger, Bob Connelly, Robert Lifton, Chaim Shatan, Donald Engel, Gary Thamer, Steven Hassett, Kenneth Campbell, Sam Rankin, Phillip Wingenbach, Tod Ensign, Larry Rottmann, Robert Osman.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc., Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.8, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}; 117 Congressional Record E 2825-2936 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6-? 1971, Daily Edition (green bound)) {SuDoc: X/A.92/1:117/???-???, ISSN: 0363-7239, LCCN: 80646573, OCLC: 02437919, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.

Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia (U.S. Congress 92-1, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, April 20, 21, 22, 28, May 3, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26, 27, 1971, 7+726+12 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:AS 4/13, CIS: 71 S381-18, OCLC: 198272, LCCN: 79614140, DL, WorldCat}, witness: John Kerry (VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), Thursday April 22 1971, 11:05am-1:00pm, pages 179-210 {3.1mb.pdf}.

House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Congressmen Jonathon Bingham and Paul Findley, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 13104-13118 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 3 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.10, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Larry Rottmann, Forest Lindley, Les Johnson, Arthur Egendorf, Kip A. Kypriandes, Phillip Lowley, Vinny Giardina, Michael Paul McCusker, William W. Lemmer, Alex Prim, Robert McLaughlin, Jack Smith, David B. Maize.

Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Senator George McGovern, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, Senate, Room G-103 New Senate Office Building), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 15392-15405 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 17 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Scott Camil, Vinny Giardina, Melville L. Stephens, Basil Paquet, Joe Nielsen, Dale Granata, Everett Carson, Forrest Lindley Jr., Samuel Miller, David A. Lamenzo, Jon Bjornson, Ken Provan.

Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam {copy} (U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, presiding, April 26, 27, 28, 29, 1971, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building), transcript, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia (New York, Vintage Books, 1972, 13+355 pages) {LCCN: 79039897, ISBN: 0394717678, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Five West Point graduates (Fred Laughlin, Gordon Livingston {Iraq, copy}, Robert B. Johnson, Greg Hayward, Ron Bartek, Michael O'Mera), five former military intelligence special agents and PoW interrogators {to come: omitted from the linked source}, ten former Americal Division members (Gary Battles, Charles David Locke, Terry Mullen, Steve Padoris, Daniel S. Notley, John Beitzel, Guadalupe G. Villarreal, Daniel Barnes, Thomas Cole, William Toffling), overview of air war, pacification, and forced urbanization (John Sack, Kenneth Campbell, Randy Floyd, Elliot L Meyrowitz).

Bertrand Russell Tribunal, “International War Crimes Tribunal” (Stockholm Sweden, May 2-10 1967; Roskilde Denmark, November 20 – December 1 1967).

Tiger Force: “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Tiger Force, an elite fighting unit in Vietnam, left a trail of atrocities in that country that have been concealed from the public for three decades.” (The Blade, Toledo Ohio, October 22 2003, February 15, March 28, April 6, May 2, May 12 2004).

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

CJHjr

Posted Sept. 26 2004. Updated Feb. 4 2008.

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