REPATRIATION OF AMERICAN POWs FROM THE KOREAN WAR
A Partial Timeline
Before a Peace Treaty between North Korea and the United States can be signed officially ending the Korean War it must be resolved that no American POW/MIAs are still being held against their will and that every effort be made on an ongoing basis to disinter or otherwise account for missing servicemen.
In 1953, the Korean War hostilities ended with a signing of the Armistice between North Korea (DPRK) and the United States. To this day, a peace treaty has never been signed to officially end the war because a final resolution to the exchange of POWs was never achieved during peace negotiations
Before a normalization of relations with the DPRK can occur, the Korean War Peace Treaty must be signed. It is reasonable to expect that President Barack Obama’s administration will negotiate with the Kim Il Jong administration for the normalization of relations between the US and DPRK.
This treaty must not be signed until the POW/MIA issue is resolved.
It is imperative that Congress mandate the Defense Dept. Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) provide to any future peace treaty negotiations a list of all unaccounted for POW/MIAs including the list of 2058 Last Seen Alive. It is very possible that some of these servicemen may be alive in the DPRK today as the South Korean government believes over 400 South Korean servicemen are still alive in the DPRK.
In 1996 U.S. Defense Department analyst, Insung Lee distributed an internal report stating that there are too many live sighting reports from the DPRK to dismiss the idea that American POW/MIAs are still being held against their will.
CPL. ROGER A. DUMAS
Cpl. Roger A. Dumas was captured by Chinese and DPRK forces near the Yalu River on November 4, 1950 and imprisoned in POW Camp #5. During Operation Big Switch, the final release of UN Command POWs, Roger was seen being led away from the repatriation area by Chinese guards and never released. Roger Dumas’ name remains on the Last Seen Alive list.
Evidence shows that not only Roger but hundreds of other American servicemen were also not released to the UN Command. Evidence collected by the Defense Dept POW/Missing Personnel Office reveals many of these POWs were transferred to the Soviet Union Gulag prison system.
On October 15, 2006, Bill Dumas, nephew of Roger A. Dumas met with Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel, Ambassador Charles Ray, and presented the idea that DPMO insure the POW/MIA issue be resolved before a peace treaty is signed to officially end the Korean War.
Ambassador Ray said this was an interesting approach that he would give serious consideration to. Amb. Ray advised that DPMO could provide a recommendation to the President but it would be up to the President to include a POW/MIA initiative to a peace negotiation.
Later that week Bill Dumas presented this POW/MIA resolution idea to the final plenary session of the annual DPMO Korean War Family Update Meeting. The DPMO moderator advised that this initiative be disseminated to all veterans, POW/MIA organizations and family members in order to gain support from members of Congress. He said it would be up to Congress to order the Defense Department to facilitate this initiative.
The issue of prisoner exchange was the final stalemate in the peace negations during the war. In fact, for over half of the three-year war, POW repatriation was the last issue to be resolved.
South Korean President, Sygmund Rhee allowed thousands of DPRK and Chinese POWs that the U.N. Command was holding, to defect and not return to the DPRK or China. The North Korean government considered this tantamount to not returning all of their POWs and in retaliation would not return all of the U.N. Command POWs it was holding.
Without having resolved the POW repatriation issue, a peace treaty could not be signed and instead the hostilities ended by the signing of an Armistice.
Several months after the end of hostilities in Korea, Chinese General Lee Sang Cho wrote a letter to the Neutral Nations Repatriations Commission stating that POWs still being held by the Communists would not be repatriated until the final disposition of the entire prisoner of war issue.
To this day, the issue of POW repatriation has not been resolved, a peace treaty has not been signed and North Korea and the United States are technically still at war.
(NOTE: See the attached Addendum for a partial timeline of the Korean War POW repatriation issue)
THE NUCLEAR ISSUE
During the week prior to the 2006 DPMO Korean War Family Update Meeting, the U.S. public got an extremely rare occasion to hear the voice of DPRK U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon expressing how the recent DPRK nuclear bomb test was a proud moment for his nation.
In 1985, Amb. Pak Gil Yon made a very unusual overture by calling Bob Dumas, (brother of POW Roger Dumas) at his home after reading in the newspaper about Bob’s federal court case to reclassify Roger a POW. Amb. Pak invited Bob to meet with him in New York to discuss how the POW/MIA issue could be negotiated on a presidential one-on-one level.
This was the start of a 10-year relationship between Bob Dumas and Amb. Pak, and other ambassadors at the North Korean Mission to the U.N. Bob had several meetings with Amb. Pak and Amb. Ho Jong. He had over 250 phone conversations with Pak, Ho and other DPRK ambassadors and embassy staff that were all recorded by permission.
Bob Dumas asked Amb. Pak in 1994, “Would your country ever use a nuclear weapon against South Korea, Japan or the U.S.?” Amb. Pak replied, “If we used a nuclear weapon we know our country would be destroyed in 20 minutes and be reduced to water. We’re not that stupid.”
It is clear from these conversations with the DPRK ambassadors that North Korea has always desired direct one-on-one negotiations with the U.S. president, a non-aggression pact, a POW/MIA resolution and ultimately a signed peace treaty to officially end the Korean War.
The saber rattling in the form of nuclear bomb testing is clearly an extreme measure that seeks to force the U.S. into direct negotiations and because there really is no military option for the U.S. in Korea, these direct talks are going to happen and the Korean War peace treaty will be signed. In this process we will finally achieve a resolution to our POW/MIAs who were never repatriated after the Operation Big Switch prisoner exchange.
(NOTE: A partial timeline of the POW repatriation efforts since the Korean War is contained in the POW/MIA Iinitiative Addendum)
Corporal Roger A. Dumas
Korean War Peace Treaty
written by Bill Dumas
(Draft – May 8, 2018)