Missing, Presumed Dead:

The Search for America's POWs


July 27, 1953


Korean War Armistice is signed.


Exchange of POWs, the final unresolved issue of the peace talks, is not resolved and consequently, a peace treaty cannot be signed.  (NOTE: To this day, a peace treaty has not been signed between the North Korea and the United States.)


January 26, 1954 


Letter from North Korean General Lee Sang Cho to Chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission.


Gen. Cho's letter states:  "The prisoners of war not for direct repatriation are held by our side pending the final dispositon of the entire prisoner of war question."


May 16, 1954


Letter from Col. Weber to General Hewett of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission - analysis of Gen. Cho letter:  "It is significant that such letter was occasioned by and was concerned with the 347 non-repatriated prisoners of war."   Additionally, "(General Cho's statement) was intended as a reply to our demand for an accounting for more than three thousand of our prisoners which we had just leveled at the enemy."




U. S. Ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., continues to address the General Assembly demanding the release of POWs still being held by N. Korea and China, and a full accounting of over 3000 UN Command POWs that were not repatriated after the war.  


June 24, 1957 


H. Res. 292 is submitted to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs demanding the U.S. government,   "make the return of, or a satisfactory accounting for, the four hundred and fifty American prisoners of war, a primary objective of the foreign policy of the United States."


1954 - 1957


U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee conducts closed door sessions on Korean War POWs.   Sen. John F. Kennedy states that repatriation of Korean War POWs is our country's top priority.




U.S. Senate Select Committee on Veteran Affairs


Senate Armed Services Committees hears witnesses testify that American POWs have been left behind in North Korea, many having been transferred to the Soviet Union.  An eyewitness testifies he saw over 50 American POWs in 1979 near Pyong-yang.


Resolution:  Senate Select Committee disbanded before investigation was complete.  Committee does not act on evidence of live American POWs in North Korea.




U.S. Dept. of Defense Background Paper, "Accountability of Missing Americans From the Korean War: Live Sighting Reports" written by Pentagon analyst, Insung Lee.


"There are too many live sighting reports, specifically observations of several Caucasians in a collective farm by Romanians and the North Korean defectors' eyewitness of Americans in DPRK to dismiss that there are no American POWs in North Korea."





U.S. House of Representative, Subcommittee on Veteran Affairs


Witnesses testify on recent live sightings of American POWs in the DPRK including U.S. Dept. of Defense investigator, Insung Lee, whose internal memo recommends that numerous live sighting reports of American POWs in North Korea must be investigated.


June 7, 1999


Senate of Pennsylvania


"WHEREAS, United States Intelligence reports include information on sightings of Americans in North Korea and on the existence of American POW/MIAs from the United States of America's involvement in the Korean War..."


"RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States and to the presiding officers of each house of Congress.




North Korean defector, Lt. Col. Kim Yong arrives in the U.S. and states he saw several American POWs in a North Korean concentration camp in 1996.


December 2009  


South Korea’s Unification Ministry creates task force to map out a plan to bring home South Korean POWs still being held in North Korea.  Since 1990, 59 South Korean POWs have fled North Korea and returned to the South. And based on their accounts, around 560 more are still believed to be held. Yet North Korea is refusing to even acknowledge the existence of South Korean POWs there.


Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible for a Caucasian POW to escape unnoticed in North Korea.





Corporal Roger A. Dumas

Korean War Peace Treaty

POW/MIA Initiative






A Partial Timeline