Bush urged to thank cooperative Hanoi

November 24, 1992|By Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- Three U.S. senators, back from a 10-day trip to Southeast Asia, formally called on the Bush administration to "reward" Vietnam for its unprecedented collaboration in the U.S. search for servicemen missing during the Vietnam War.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; Sen. Hank Brown, R-Colo.; and Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H., stopped short of calling for full normalization of relations. But they warned yesterday that failure to provide incentives, such as easing a 17-year-old U.S. embargo, might "set back" the current trend of cooperation by Vietnamese authorities.

Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, also faced a barrage of criticism. Veterans groups and families of missing Americans yesterday demanded his resignation as chairman of the Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs. They accused him of shaping committee testimony and downplaying evidence of possible "live sightings" of missing men in order to hasten improved ties with Vietnam.

Thomas Burch, chairman of the National Vietnam Veterans' Coali

tion, said his group is "concerned about any recognition of Hanoi before we pry out of them any living Americans. That's the only leverage we have."

Mr. Kerry brushed off the criticism as premature and uninformed.

But the incident foreshadowed problems with the committee's final report on its yearlong investigation into the fate of missing servicemen in Vietnam.

Mr. Smith, the panel's Republican co-chairman, strongly opposes easing economic sanctions until Hanoi provides a full accounting of the missing.

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