National Archives Records - RIP 104

Close this window

Records Relating to
Presidential Libraries Holdings Relating to
Prisoners of War and Missing in Action

Reference Information Paper 104, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC (1998) was compiled by Dale C. Mayer.  It is divided into parts: (I) Introduction, (II) World War II, (III) Korean War and Cold War, (IV) Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and (V) The Pueblo Incident.  Only Parts I, III, and V were copied for this page of the Korean War Educator.


Back to Page Contents

Part I - Introduction - Topics Covered

I.1   The personal papers and Presidential records described in this reference information paper pertain to World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the war in Vietnam, and the Pueblo incident.  Records related to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm at the Bush Presidential library are restricted for reasons of national security and were not available for research at the time of this publication.  Federal records in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration are described in separate reference information papers.

  • Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: The American Soldier Surveys (RIP 78)
  • World War II Records in the Cartographic and Architectural Branch of the National Archives (RIP 79)
  • Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees (RIP 80)
  • Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Military Casualties and Burials (RIP 82)
  • Records Relating to American Prisoners of War and Missing in Action from the Vietnam War (RIP 90)
  • Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: Military Awards and Decorations (RIP 92)
  • Records Relating to American Prisoners of War and Missing-in-Action Personnel from the Korean War and During the Cold War Era (RIP 102)\

I.2   Unless otherwise indicated, entries in this guide refer to American armed services personnel, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, or American civilians.  Information concerning enemy and allied POWs may also be found in the holdings of many of the presidential libraries.  Even though locating such information was not the goal of this reference information paper, its existence has been noted whenever appropriate, that is, wherever it was encountered in the process of account for information on American citizens.

I.3   In preparing this publication, archivists have discovered references to several kinds of records, projects, and activities.  These include correspondence concerning a "godparent" program to adopt British POWs held by Germany during World War II; records concerning the operation of the Red Cross POW Relief program; drawings and maps of prison camps; files concerning Americans captured during Cold War intelligence-gathering activities; diaries recording personal experiences of POWs; war crimes investigations into the treatment of American and allied POWs; and a small file of correspondence with General Eisenhower (Ret.) from the mother of a U.S. airman downed in North Vietnam.

I.4   A noteworthy project that is documented by Presidential libraries records is the refinement of the code of conduct for U.S. military personnel that was a direct result of the experiences of American POWs in World War II and the Korean War.  American POWs were often pressured by their captors to inform on fellow prisoners and to sign false confessions to alleged war crimes.  The fact that these stresses and pressures were frequently mentioned by returning POWs made it clear that the code of conduct defining honorable and acceptable behavior for Americans held by the enemy was in need of refinement.

I.5   The documentary record utilizes its own vocabulary, jargon, and set of acronyms--POW and MIA being but two of the more obvious examples.  Other terms such as "brainwashing" and "non-repatriation," "psychological exploitation," "forced confessions," and "forced repatriation" are found throughout the documentation that has survived.  The last term refers to the handling, at the end of World War II, of Russian soldiers who, after being captured by the Germans, had volunteered to help liberate their homeland from the Soviets.  Forcibly repatriated by the Allies at the end of the war, they were executed by the Russians.  A similar situation occurred a few years later in Korea when some North Korean and Chinese POWs preferred to remain in South Korea rather than return to their native lands.  The question of forced repatriation became an issue in the armistice negotiations leading to the end of hostile action in Korea.  Eventually both sides kept prisoners who refused repatriation.  Records concerning forced repatriation may be found at both the Truman and Eisenhower libraries.

I.6   This guide does not list materials concerning individuals--often civilians--who were abducted by terrorist groups at various times during the Cold War.  Inquiries concerning these individuals should be addressed to the director of the appropriate Presidential library.  However, information concerning American airmen or sailors who were killed or captured while on Cold War reconnaissance missions is described in the sections of this guide dealing with the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Pueblo incident.  Nonmilitary operations such as the capture of the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez in 1975 are not included in this guide.

Review of Restricted Materials

I.7   Access to materials in Presidential libraries is governed by several Federal statutes or a donor's deed of gift.  With the exception of Nixon Presidential Historical Materials, which are covered by the 1974 Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act, all Presidential papers from Hoover's through Carter's are donated historical materials and are governed by a donor's deed of gift.  Donated historical materials are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, but donor-restricted material may be reviewed upon application to library directors.

I.8   In 1978 Congress passed the Presidential Records Act which changed the legal status of official Presidential papers from private to public property.  All Presidential records from January 20, 1981, are governed in accordance with the provisions of this act.  It permits Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests 5 years after the end of a President's final term in office for information not restricted under a presidential restriction category (see paragraph I.9).  Reagan Presidential records have been subject to FOIA requests since January 20, 1994.  Bush Presidential records will be subject to FOIA requests on January 20, 1998.

I.9   Materials in Presidential libraries may be restricted because they contain national security information; cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of a living person' or reveal advice either given in confidence to the President by his advisers or exchanged in confidence between such advisers.  Significant amounts of material containing POW/MIA information from World War II through Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm are still security classified.

I.10  Each descriptive entry in this guide includes information concerning the type of documentation and limitations on access, if any.  "Mandatory review" requests--to review classified restricted materials--should be submitted in writing, citing Executive Order 12958, Section 3.6, or when applicable, the Freedom of Information Act as a basis for the request; and they should be as specific as possible in identifying the information requested.  Requests should be addressed to the director of the library holding the material in question at the address listed in paragraph I.15.  Researchers should contact the appropriate library for more specific information concerning the applicable statutory authorities, application procedures, and the availability of holdings.

Using This Guide

I.11  Every effort has been taken to make this reference information paper compatible with publications describing records about POWs in the holdings of the National Archives.  The user should bear in mind that the materials in Presidential libraries differ in important respects from those in the National Archives:

  1. The holdings in Presidential libraries are less voluminous than those in the National Archives and thus are often under better intellectual control at the item level.  (Put another way, the basic descriptive documents concerning the materials are usually more detailed.)  The researcher is reminded, however, that the expression "container list" used in this reference information paper refers to a list of box numbers and the titles of folders within the boxes.  Lists of the contents of folders are quite rare and are noted when they exist.
  2. The holdings in Presidential libraries vary more in basic type, specifically in that they often contain personal papers or manuscripts as opposed to archival materials (records of organizations or parts of organizations.)  They also contain more material consisting of copies of items held by other repositories.
  3. Regarding Presidential library materials, there is a less well-defined basic unit of description than the usual series of Federal records in the National Archives.

These differences make a few caveats necessary:

  1. In the absence of a common unit of records, such as the series, we have adapted the conventions for series titles to records and manuscripts of approximately the same level in the "records hierarchy."  Thus the basic unit of description herein is roughly analogous to the series--but only roughly.
  2. With series descriptions, as in other reference information papers, the titles are in boldface and include the "span dates" of the whole record unit.  They are closely accompanied by the volume figures for the whole record unit (usually followed in parentheses).  The dates and volume of the records which apply to POWs and/or MIAs are, when possible, given in the text of the description in the manner judged to convey the most information possible.
  3. The arrangement of descriptions within repository sections is generally by order of importance.  This leads to putting first the records of the individual for whom the library was established.  Thereafter, the descriptions are grouped into categories by type, generally with the most voluminous first, then in descending order of volume.  Within these sections the most logical arrangement of descriptive material is followed (e.g., alphabetical by person for manuscript collections).
  4. The titles of collections of records, and especially the style in which they are herein presented, may vary somewhat from the finding aids published by the Presidential libraries themselves.  Such variations are the results of attempts to make this reference information paper consistent with other NARA publications about American POWs.  Editorial personnel in NARA's Office of Records Services, Washington, DC (NW), apologize for any errors or confusion about these titles that may result.

I.12  The major sections of this publication are arranged chronologically by period; i.e., World War II or Cold War, and thereunder chronologically by Presidential administration (and thus library).

I.13  Information for each entry generally includes the following elements:

  1. Name of the person or organization responsible for the creation and maintenance of the material.
  2. Types of material comprising an entry (personal papers, files, records, or oral history transcripts).
  3. Quantity of POW-related material available in the records described.
  4. Location of relevant files, including series titles, file names, and box numbers.
  5. Inclusive dates of relevant documents.
  6. Restrictions on use, if any (see paragraphs I.7-I.10).  The absence of comment on restrictions herein means that the material is open for research.  Researchers should remember that, since restrictions can change at any time, information in this publication easily can become outdated.

Other information may include background material about a program, activity, issue, or topic discussed in the files, or biographical or other information about document creators or individuals mentioned in the records.

I.14  Some libraries contain both files and personal papers created by White House staff members.  The designation "files" refers to documents created while serving as a White House staff member.  Some staff members also accumulated personal papers before and/or after their service on the White House staff.

I.15  Additional information may be available from the individual Presidential libraries.  Many of the collections were either unprocessed or only partially processed at the time this reference information paper was prepared for publication.  As additional processing is completed new information concerning individuals and topics covered may become available.  Inquiries should be directed to library directors at the addresses indicated below:

Office of Presidential Libraries
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Tel: 301-713-6050
FAX: 301-713-6045
John F. Kennedy Library
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125-3398
Tel: 617-929-4500
FAX: 617-929-4538
Herbert Hoover Library
P.O. Box 488
West Branch, IA 5238-0488
Tel: 319-643-5301
FAX: 319-643-5825
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
2313 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78705
Tel: 512-916-5137
FAX: 512-478-9104
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
511 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1999
Tel: 914-229-8114
FAX: 914-229-0872
Nixon Presidential Materials Staff
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Tel: 301-713-6950
FAX: 301-713-6916
Harry S. Truman Library
500 West U.S. Highway 24
Independence, MO 64050-1789
Tel: 816-833-1400
FAX: 816-833-4368
Gerald R. Ford Library
1000 Beal Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2114
Tel: 313-741-2218
FAX: 313-741-2341
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
200 SE 4th Street
Abilene, KS 67410-2900
Tel: 913-263-4751
FAX: 913-263-4218
Gerald R. Ford Museum
303 Pearl Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353
Tel: 616-451-9263
FAX: 616-451-9570
Jimmy Carter Library
441 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30307-1406
Tel: 404-331-3942
FAX: 404-730-2215
Ronald Reagan Library
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065-0666
Tel: 805-522-8444
FAX: 805-552-9621
George Bush Library
1000 George Bush Drive
P.O. Box 10410
College Station, TX 77842-0410
Tel: 409-260-9552
FAX: 409-260-9557

Back to Page Contents

Part III - Korean War and Cold War

Harry S. Truman Library

III.1   The President's secretary's files, 1945-53 (136 ft.), consist of personal and confidential materials that President Truman wished to keep under his personal control.  In "subject file: Cabinet-Secretary of Defense-Prisoners of War," 1952, are 16 pages of correspondence, memoranda, and press releases relating to POWs in Korea.

III.2   Korean War file, 1947-52 (8 ft.), consists of copies of State and Defense Department documents relating to the war, made and sent to the White House at the request of President Truman.  it contains numerous references to POWS concerns:

  1. Department of State - Topical File: Papers, 1950-52

    Topic 19 - "Military incidents involving the Soviet Union," 1952 (23 pp.) - State Department communications with the Soviet government concerning American aircraft missing in the area of the Sea of Japan.  Survivors of the crash were thought to have been taken as POWs by the Soviet authorities.

    Topic 31 - "Negotiations for an armistice," December 1950-June 1951, (about 600 pp.) - State Department communications concerning armistice negotiations including the issue of forced repatriation of North Korean and Chinese POWs.  These records are open for research with the exception of a few security classified documents.
  2. Department of Defense: Papers, 1950-53 (about 250 pp.) - copies of Defense Department documents relating to the proposed repatriation of North Korean and Chinese Communist POWs.  These records are open for research with the exception of a few security classified documents.

III.3   The Psychological Strategy Board Files, 1951-53 (22 ft.), document the activities of the board composed of the Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Director of Central Intelligence, which reported to the National Security Council.  Relevant files include the following:

  1. PSB 040-POC (1 p.) - a memorandum for the record, October 2, 1952, relating to POW riots in Korea and the North Korean "Hate America" propaganda campaign.
  2. PSB 334-POCC, 1951-52 (37 pp.) - memoranda concerning armistice negotiations and the issue of forced repatriation of North Korean and Chinese POWs.  Open for research with the exception of a few security classified documents.
  3. PSB 383.6 (about 125 pp.) - "Report on Situation with Respect to Repatriation of Prisoners of War, 1951-52," with memoranda.  Open for research with the exception of a few security classified documents.

III.4   The official file, 1945-53 (1,032 ft.), is part of the "White House Central Files, 1945-53," and is arranged numerically and indexed alphabetically by subject and name.  POW-related information is found in the following files:

  1. "Official File 226.  Hungarian Government: American Flyers, 1951" (about 50 pp.) - correspondence, memoranda, and newspaper clippings relating to American flyers who were shot down over Hungary in 1951 and imprisoned in Communist prison camps.
  2. "Official File 325.  War Atrocities: War Criminals - Korea, 1945-49" (23 pp.) - correspondence, reports, and newspaper clippings concerning atrocities committed against American servicemen during the Korean War.
  3. "Official File 471-B.  "Prisoners of War: 1950-53" (about 300 pp.) - correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings, reports, and lists of American POWs held in camps in Korea.

Back to Page Contents

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library

III.5   The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library has produced its own publication, "A Guide to Historical Holdings in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library: Prisoners of War (POWs) and Personnel Missing in Action (MIAs)," compiled in November 1994.  Its entries are repeated in this reference information paper in order to place them in context with material from other Presidential libraries.


III.6   Dwight D. Eisenhower's papers as President of the United States (Ann Whitman File), 1953-61 (135 ft.), are a rich body of high-level Presidential papers covering most aspects of the Eisenhower administration foreign and domestic policies.  These are the President's office files, maintained through his administration by his personal secretary, Ann Whitman.  Although the documentation at this level seldom contains detailed information on POW matters, there are some significant items concerning Korean War POWs and U.S. military personnel involved in Cold War reconnaissance operations.  Portions of this collection are still closed because of security classification.  Arranged by series for which preliminary inventories and shelf lists are available as finding aids.  Pertinent series are as follows:

  1. Administration series (18 ft.) - Files for "Mark Clark" and "Korean Armistice" contain a few items on Korean War POWs (10 pp. total).  File folder "Wilson, Charles E. (Sec. Def) 1953 (8)" (Box 40) includes a February 19, 1953, letter from President Eisenhower to Secretary Wilson regarding rations for POWs held by U.S. and Korean forces, with Eisenhower reflecting on his WWII experiences in feeding German POWs; also Wilson's response and a total of 11 pages regarding rations for POWs in Korea.  "Wilson, Charles E. 1955 (1)" (Box 40) contains a 2-page memorandum to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 13, 1955, about "American military personnel unaccounted for."
  2. DDE Diary series (22 ft.) - "Aug '56 Diary: Staff Memos" (Box 17) contains a memorandum of a conference between DDE and Admiral Radford concerning Cold War activities.  (This file was declassified in part in 1995.)  This series also contains documents concerning the RB-47 incident in July 1960; the U-2 incident in May 1960; and a few items concerning the Korean War.  File folder "August 1957, Memo on Appointments (1)" in Box 26 contains a 1-page memorandum of a meeting between Mrs. Mary Downey, mother of an American held prisoner by the Chinese, and President Eisenhower on August 16, 1957.  The series may contain information concerning other similar Cold War incidents (31 pp. total).
  3. Dulles-Herter series (4 ft.) - Boxes 1 and 2 contain messages and memoranda concerning Korean War POWs.  Box 5 contains memoranda prepared in July 1955 regarding WWII-era POWs still held in the Soviet Union and Americans imprisoned in China (10 pp. total).
  4. International series (20 ft.) - Boxes 32-33 contain a basic file on Korea including material concerning the Korean War and armistice.  Portions are still security classified (about 125 pp. total).
  5. NSC Series (5 ft.)

    Box 4 contains records of numerous National Security Council discussions on Korea and the armistice.  (Many of these are printed in the Department of State's Foreign Relations Series.)  See also the summary of an NSC meeting of July 30, 1953, regarding Cold War activity.  (A portion is still security classified.)

    Box 7 includes an account of an NSC meeting of May 3, 1956, concerning attacks on U.S. aircraft.

    Box 10 contains records on a meeting of July 3, 1958, concerning U.S. aircraft forced down in the USSR.

    Box 12 has material concerning NSC meetings on the U-2 and RB-47 incidents.  Portions of many NSC summaries of discussion are still security classified (25 pp. total).
  6. Press Conferences Series (4 ft.) - Box 1, "Press Conference 4/2/53" contains a 2-page statement on sick and wounded U.S. POWs in Korea.

III.7   Dwight D. Eisenhower's records as President (White House Central Files), 1953-61 (3,241 ft.), contain information related to American and other POWs in Korea:

  1. Official File (about 766,000 pp.) - "OF 3-M Court Martial Cases 'D'" (Box 102) contains 19 pages of correspondence including a White House letter and edited letter drafts concerning Cpl. Edward S. Dickenson and references to his conduct as a POW in Korea.  "OF 3-R-3 Missing Members of Armed Forces" (Box 106) contains approximately 130 pages of correspondence from relatives of personnel missing in action, primarily during the Korean War but also some references to Cold War shoot down incidents.  Some correspondence is from Congressmen and from White House staff in response to letters inquiring about missing individuals.  "OF 154-H Prisoners of War" (Box 822) contains correspondence with Senator Joseph McCarthy, veterans organizations, and relatives of U.S. servicemen missing in action in Korea or believed held by the Chinese.  The files also include information on POW exchanges in Korea, U.S. soldiers refusing repatriation after the Korean armistice, the effects of hardships endured by American military and civilian internees and POWs during World War II, and the assistance they received.  Related records may be found in Box 821, "OF 154-G Korean Emergency" through "OF 154 G-3 Korean Armistice" (about 200 pp.) and Box 879, "OF 196 Korea, Government and Embassy of" in Box 879.  A few items are security classified, and a shelf list is available (about 500 pp. total).
  2. General File (about 1,054,000 pp.) - "GF 11-H-1 Missing Members of the Armed Forces" (Boxes 227-228) contains 10 file folders covering a period from 1952-53 through 1960.  They consist of an estimated 400 pages of correspondence between the White House and relatives of servicemen missing in action (primarily Korea) but also concerning a C-130 plane shot down on the Soviet border in 1958.  "GF 125-U Prisoners of War" and "GF 125-U-1 Thirteen Americans imprisoned by Chinese Communists" (Boxes 93-938) contain correspondence from the public including relatives of servicemen, veterans groups, and others with some responses from the White House staff.  Official documents include public statements on efforts to assure the return of American personnel possibly still in Chinese or North Korean custody.  "GF 180 Eugene R. Guild" and "GF 180 - A Crusade of Kin of America's Forgotten Men [to Washington, DC April 21-22, 1954] (Box 1285) contain correspondence from and regarding this organization concerned with American military personnel missing in action or allegedly in Communist captivity during and following the Korean War.  It includes statements, lists of signatures, and letters from the organization along with White House and other agency responses (estimated 150 pp.).  A few items are closed for privacy as of June 1996.  A shelf list is available (about 1,550 pp. total).
  3. Confidential File (about 100,000 pp.) - "Prisoners of War (13 held by Chinese Communists)" (Box 61) contains a telegram from William Randolph Hearst concerning Americans held by Chinese Communists and a response by the White House.  Brief documents concerning efforts to obtain the release by the Soviets both of non-repatriated American POWs captured in Korea and the crew of a Navy Privateer shot down in the Baltic on April 8, 1950, may be found in "State, Department of July 1955" (Box 70).  Information concerning a similar incident involving a C-130 in 1958 is in "Air Force, Department of" (Box 4).  "War Criminals" (Box 100) contains four folders (about 150 pp.) concerning the establishment of the Clemency and Parole Board for [Japanese] War Criminals, recommendations by the Clemency and Parole Board, and the treatment of Japanese war criminals as an issue in United States-Japanese relations.  See paragraph II.15.3 above.  A shelf list is available (about 160 pp. total).
  4. Alpha File.  "Van Wees, Mrs. Rita (Only)" (Box 3197) contains correspondence and cross reference sheets concerning Mrs. Van Wees' efforts to obtain information about her son who was missing in action during the Korean War.


III.8   The papers of Mark W. Clark, 1918-56 (12 rolls), consist of microfilm copies of papers deposited at The Citadel, Charleston, SC.  Clark was Commander in Chief of United Nations forces in Korea 1949-52.  His papers document aspects of the Korean War armistice negotiations and contain numerous items concerning POW issues.

III.9   The papers of J. Lawton Collins, 1896-1975 (17 ft.), who was U.S. Army Chief of Staff, 1949-53, contain about 75 pages of material related to POWs in the Korean War:

  1. Boxes 17, 19, 22, and 23 contain messages, memoranda, and correspondence.
  2. Box 19 contains a few clippings regarding the Koje Island compound that housed several thousand North Korean and Chinese POWs.
  3. Box 72 contains a printed booklet, "1949 Convention Regarding Prisoners of War."

III.10 The papers of John Foster Dulles, 1951-59 (29 ft.), who was Secretary of State, 1953-59, contain a variety of high-level documents concerning the Korean War armistice and POW issues:

  1. Box 9 of the "Subject Series" contains seven file folders concerning the Korean armistice agreement with references to POW issues.
  2. Box 10 of the "Subject Series" contains about 150 pages in 6 file folders entitled "Wang-Johnson Talks, Prisoners of War 1955," concerning discussions with Chinese representatives about U.S. personnel held by China.
  3. Boxes 1, 2, and 10 of the "Telephone Call Series" contain records of numerous telephone conversations concerning Korean War POW matters.  Also found in this series and in the "JFK Chronological Series" are items regarding Cold War incidents resulting in the loss or disappearance of U.S. airmen.  The Dulles papers are largely open for research but portions are closed pending processing.  Some items may still be security classified.  A shelf list is available.

III.11 The papers of James C. Hagerty, 1953-61 (47 ft.), who was Press Secretary to President Eisenhower, 1953-61, contain about 25 pages of relevant material.  Included is a transcript of a May 5, 1959, press conference on non-repatriated Korean War POWs, in the "State Department" file (Box 10).  The file folder "Geneva Conference--Wednesday, July 20, 1955" (Box 12) includes a 1-page memorandum, "Livingston Merchant to Secretary Dulles" concerning President Eisenhower's conversation with Marshal Zhukov about prisoners and civilians still held in the USSR and American prisoners in China.  Additional material may be found in the "Korea File, 1952-53" (Box 6) and folders of press conference materials in Boxes 59-61.  Portions of the records are closed pending processing, and some items may be security classified.

III.12 In the papers of Christian A. Herter, 1957-61 (7 ft.), there are about 40 pages of POW-related material.  Herter was an Under Secretary in the State Department, 1957-59, and Secretary of State, 1959-61.  Included are references to Cold War aircraft incidents scattered throughout the "Chronological File" in folders for December 1957 (Box 3), September 1958 (Box 5), and April 1959 (Box 7).  Similar materials may be found in "CAH telephone calls 7/1/58-9/30/58" (Box 11), along with items on the U-2 and RB-47 incidents.  Information on Americans imprisoned in China may be found in the "Chron Files for July 1958" (Box 5) and March 1959 (Box 6).  Some items may be security classified.

III.13 The records of C.D. Jackson, 1953-54 (4 ft.), Special Assistant to the President for International Affairs, contain a significant quantity (about 250 pp.) of documentation of Korean War POW issues, particularly in regard to American, North Korean, and Chinese POWs who refused repatriation after the Korean armistice.  The files also contain considerable information concerning the alleged "brainwashing" of American POWs.  Relevant folders include the following:

  1. "OCB Paper to Exploit BW" (Box 1).
  2. "Korea" (Box 4) - records (about 25 pp.) on Korean armistice and POW-related issues.
  3. "Lodge, Henry C." (Box 4) - material (about 75 pp.) concerning a human rights project aimed at publicizing before the United Nations the reports of North Korean and Chinese mistreatment of POWs.
  4. "P" (Box 5) - correspondence (5 pp.) concerning Korean War POWs.
  5. "Prisoner Exchange" (Box 5) - documentation (about 40 pp.) regarding efforts to exploit the release of 22,000 North Korean and Chinese prisoners who refused repatriation.  Some items are still security classified, and at least one document is closed under the donor's deed of gift.

III.14 The papers of Carl W. McCardle, 1953-57 (11 ft.), Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, contain the file "Korean Truce Negotiations" (Box 1) with about 50 pages of relevant memoranda, draft statements, and press releases, including the text of an agreement on POW repatriation.  Recorded in two memoranda are conversations between McCardle, Andrew Berding, and Alex Johnson concerning the possible publication of the list of American POWs and MIAs.

III.15 The papers of Lauris Norstad, 1930-87 (50 ft.), Acting Vice Chief of Staff for Operations for the U.S. Air Force, 1950, contain information (about 50 pp.) derived from North Korean POWs.  Also, "Radio Pyongyang" broadcasts of statements by U.S. POWs captured by North Korean forces (about 40 pp.) may be found in "Far East Command - Spot Intelligence Reports (Box 20).  The papers for the Korean War period are open.

III.16 The papers of Fred A. Seaton, 1900-72 (120 ft.), Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, 1953-55, contain a few documents (5 pp.) discussing American POWs in Korea who refused repatriation.  They are in the FAS Eyes Only series "Classified - Miscellaneous" (Box 1).


III.17 The records of the President's Commission on Veterans' Pensions [Bradley Commission]. 1954-58 (75 ft.), contain the 82-page "Prisoner of War Report" (Box 82) filed by the Advisory Committee on Prisoners of War in August 1955.  It focuses on the Korean War experiences of American POWs and recommends a code of conduct to govern POW behavior in future wars.  This Commission, chaired by Gen. Omar Bradley, was established in 1955 to study financial, educational, vocational, rehabilitation, and employment benefits granted to veterans.

III.18 The records of the President's Committee on International Information Activities (Jackson Committee), 1952-55 (6 ft.), were created by a group established in January 1953 to study the U.S. Government's international information and psychological warfare activities.  The Committee conducted its work from January to June 1953 when the Korean War was still in progress.  Among these records are a series of documents in Boxes 11-12 (about 300 pp.) that focus on the United States military and psychological warfare.  Many of these reports contain comments and other references concerning American POWs in Korea, indoctrination methods used against them, and means of resisting these tactics.  Comments on POWs held by the United States are also included.  Some of these documents were still classified in October 1994.

III.19 The papers of the White House Office, National Security Council Staff, 1948-61 (130 ft.), are one of the library's most important sources of documentation on Korean War POWs.  Some series with pertinent information are listed below.

  1. Operations Coordinating Board Central Files (about 1,000 pp.)

    OCB 383.6 "Prisoners of War - Korean War" (Boxes 117-118, about 250 pp.) is a basic file on POWs and contains memoranda of meetings of the OCB Working Group on POWs, memoranda for the records, reports, and statements.  These materials focus on American POWs and MIAs, non-repatriated personnel, non-repatriated North Korean and Chinese POWs, and U.S. Government psychological strategy in dealing with various POW issues such as brainwashing, germ warfare, and atrocities.  Some of this material relates to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge's project at the United Nations concerning psychological exploitation.  Most documents in these files have been declassified with minor excisions, but a few key memoranda were still classified in October 1994.

    OCB 095 R (Box 87).

    OCB 701.5 "Brainwashing and Psychological Examination" (Box 124, 19 pp.)

    OCB 350.05 "Daily Intelligence Abstracts" (Boxes 110-112) span the period from November 1953 to June 1957 and contain scattered references to the Korean armistice and to U.S. military and civilian personnel still held by China.  Many of these items were still classified in October 1994.  Also of interest are folders on China (Boxes 26-28), Korea (Boxes 49-50), and the Korean armistice.

    OCB 387.4 (Box 121, about 300 pp.)

    OCB Secretariat.  The file on "Lodge's Human Rights Project" (Box 4, 2 folders), contains many items still classified as of October 1994.  The OCB Minutes for 1953 (Box 11) contain information on the Korean armistice.
  2. Psychological Strategy Board Central Files

    PSB 383.6 "Prisoners of War" (Box 26, 325 pp.) covers mistreatment of American POWs, brainwashing, and related issues including non-repatriation of POWs in American hands.  Also contains statements by American POWs who refused repatriation.

    PSB 702.5 "Brainwashing During the Korean War" (Box 29, about 75 pp.) includes some information on the treatment of returned U.S. POWs at Valley Forge General Hospital.

    PSB 334 "UN" (Boxes 23-24, 16 folders) regards propaganda on POWs and related issues at the United Nations and "Korea" (Box 13).

    PSB 387.4 "Korean Armistice" (Box 27, 7 folders).

    PSB 095 "P" (Box 18, 5 pp.).

    PSB 350.05 "Intelligence Abstracts" (Box 25, about 40 pp.).

    Pertinent information may be also found elsewhere in the PSB central files series.  Significant portions were still security classified in October 1994.
  3. Executive Secretary's Subject File.  "Intelligence 1953-57" (Box 11) contains material concerning the Korean armistice.
  4. NSC Registry contains files from the PSB's Master Book (Boxes 14-16), PSB Papers on Korea including the Korean armistice, and minutes of PSB meetings, 1951-53 (Boxes 16-17).  Also Box 5 contains file folders "Intelligence Advisory Committee 5-19 (5) & (7)" that include an 8-page report of Ad Hoc Prisoners Information Support Committee, April 1957 (security classified as of June 1996), and a January 24, 1956, 4-page memorandum regarding U.S. citizens held in Sino-Soviet bloc countries, including totals (also security classified as of June 1996).
  5. Printed matter contains Yuri Rastvorov's "How Red Titans Fought For Supreme Power," from Life Magazine, November 29, 1954; "Red Fraud and Intrigue in Far East," Life Magazine, December 6, 1954; and "Goodbye to Red Terror," Life Magazine, December 13, 1954.  Rastvorov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet intelligence services who defected to the West in 1954.  He wrote of Russian involvement in the Korean War and espionage in Japan and described how he defected from his Soviet espionage position in Japan to the United States.  (Note: Reports of American POWs captured during the Korean War and transferred to the USSR have been attributed to Yuri Rastvorov in at least one memorandum dated January 31, 1955 in the Eisenhower Library's holdings.)

III.20 The records of the White House Office, Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, 1952-61 (49 ft.), contain National Security Council policy papers, briefing notes, correspondence, memoranda, reports, and studies concerning Korean War POWs and Cold War reconnaissance operations.  Significant portions were still security classified as of October 1994.  Some examples of specific records are listed here:

  1. NSC Series

    Briefing Notes - "USSR, 1954-60" (Box 18, 8 pp.) - memoranda and a list of aircraft incidents involving the USSR.

    Policy Papers - NSC policy papers relating to Korea plus supporting documentation may be found in NSC 118/2, NSC 147, NSC 154, NSC 157, and NSC 170/1, all of which pertain to Korea during the war and armistice period.  Many of these are printed in the Department of State's Foreign Relations Series.  Portions of some of these papers were still security classified in October 1994.

    Status of Projects - "NSC 142 (5)" (Box 3, 45 pp.) contains a January 21, 1953, report by the Psychological Strategy Board concerning the Psychological Program.  Considerable policy information regarding repatriated American Korean War POWs and Communist indoctrination may be found in a July 30, 1953, report of the PSB in "NSC 161, Vol. II (3)" (57 pp., Box 4).  Also found in this sub series are reports on foreign intelligence that cover reconnaissance activities.  Significant portions of this sub series were still security classified in October 1994.
  2. Special Assistant's Series - the file "Code of Conduct Program (Defense 1-6)" (about 300 pp., Box 2) contains Department of Defense reports, memoranda, and pamphlets on the Code of Conduct Program.
  3. FBI Series - file folder "S" (Box 3, 14 pp.) contains memoranda reporting on repatriated American POWs in Korea and allegations of involvement with Communist propaganda (filed under Schwur, Frederick and Stell, Robert).  Portions were still security classified as of May 1996.

III.21 The records of the White House Office, Office of the Staff Secretary, 1952-61, contain about 200 pages of relevant material.  The alphabetical sub series of the subject series is a rich source of documentation on Cold war reconnaissance operations, including incidents involving attacks on U.S. aircraft and losses of planes and crewmen.  Memoranda on U-2 and other aircraft reconnaissance activities may be found in "Intelligence Matters" (Boxes 14-15).  Attacks on U.S. Navy planes are described in "Navy, Department of" (Box 20).  CIA activities are mentioned in "CIA Vol I (1)" (Box 7) and in "Miscellaneous" (Box 5).  Portions of these records were still security classified in October 1994.


III.22 The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library oral history collection includes transcripts containing material on POWs in Korea:

  1. Ellis O. Briggs (OH 172), Ambassador to Korea, 1952-55 (139 pp.) - Interview #2 contains comments on the Korean armistice negotiations.
  2. Mark Wayne Clark (OH 131), Commander in Chief, United Nations forces in Korea, 1949-52 (92 pp.).
  3. Walter Robertson (OH 121), Assistant Secretary of State for the Far East, 1953-59 (194 pp.) - contains Robertson's remarks about the Korean armistice.

Back to Page Contents

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library

III.23  The White House central subject file, 1961-63 (440 ft.), under file number ND 019 "Prisoners of War" (Box 639), contains a 2-page article, "Eichmann and the Arabs," in the Columbia University Forum (Summer 1962) that makes connections between the Nuremberg trials, Arab refugees, and the testing of nuclear weapons.

Back to Page Contents

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library

III.24  The Senate papers of Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1949-61 (693 ft.), contain constituent correspondence (1951-52) concerning the treatment and exchange of American POWs and legislation concerning American POWs in World War II.  See the files "Korean Atrocities" (Box 232, 35 pp.) and "Prisoners of War" (Box 236, 62 pp.).

III.25  The White House central files [WHCF]: subject file, 1963-69 (1,368 ft.), contains information on Americans held as POWs during and after the Korean War.

  1. EX ND 9 "Military Personnel" (7 pp.) - LBJ reply (8/23/65) to Richard Russell (Box 7) concerning the use of public funds on Americans who refused repatriation at the end of the Korean War.
  2. EX & GEN ND 19 "Korean War" (36 pp.) - repatriation of American POWs form Korea, drawing parallels between Korea and Vietnam (Box 418).

III.26 The White House central files [WHCF]: confidential file, 1963-69 (72 ft.), is arranged in the same subject categories as the WHCF subject file (paragraph III.25) but contains security classified or otherwise sensitive information.  The confidential file (CF) "name file" serves as a name index to the CF "subject file."  This collection also includes agency reports and oversize attachments.  The CF is entirely processed, but portions are still classified.  File category ND 19-3 contains about 70 pages of documents and cross-references.  Over half deal with various foreign nationals, while most of the remaining material deals with Americans detained by foreign governments under circumstances other than military action.  A few pages relate to Americans in Southeast Asia.  About 50 pages of ND 19-3 are closed.

Back to Page Contents

Gerald R. Ford Library

III.27  The presidential handwriting file, 1974-77 (41 ft.), consists of documents initialed, annotated, or drafted by President Ford.  Included in it are memoranda and correspondence (13 pp.) regarding the status of U.S. Navy flyers downed over the Baltic Sea in 1950.  There is a container list accompanying the records, and they are indexed in the PRESNET database.

Back to Page Contents

Ronald Reagan Library

III.28  The White House Office of Records Management subject file, 1981-89 (2,449 ft.), contains the following correspondence and memoranda concerning American POWs in the Korean War:

  1. MA Medals - Awards (about 10 pp.) - concerning the giving of the POW medal to ex-POWs.  Closed pending processing.
  2. ME Messages (about 350 pp.) - concerning Presidential messages to be read at POW/MIA events, to family members of POW/MIAs, and to former POWs.  Closed pending processing.
  3. PAO002 Memorials-Monuments (43 pp.) - concerning memorials to POWs/MIAs of former wars and the flying of the POW/MIA flag over the Vietnam memorial.  Portions are closed according to Presidential Records Act restrictions.

III.29  The "White House Staff Member and Office Files, 1981-89" contain about 600 pages of records related to Korean War POWs.  The files in the collection are arranged alphabetically by surname and keyword in the titles of offices.  The POW material is in the following files:

  1. Dewhirst, Mary [Associate Director and Executive Assistant to the Director, Office of Public Liaison], 1982-89 (16 ft.) - a press release, June 24, 1988, honoring former POWs.  Closed pending processing.
  2. Green, Max [Associate director, Defense and Foreign Policy and the Jewish Community, Office of Public Liaison], 1984-88 (18 ft.) - correspondence, memoranda, talking points, draft speeches, and schedules (about 50 pp.); and a newspaper clipping concerning the POW medal award ceremony, June 23, 1988.  Closed pending processing.

Back to Page Contents

Part V - The Pueblo Incident

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library

V.1   The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library has produced its own publication, "A Guide to Historical Holdings in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library: Prisoners of War (POWs) and Personnel Missing in Action (MIAs)," compiled in November 1994.  Its entries are repeated in this reference information paper in order to place them in context with material from other Presidential libraries.

V.2   The post-Presidential papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-69 (935 ft.), contains one file folder pertaining to the Pueblo incident.  In the "Augusta-Walter Reed series," file folder "Goodpaster 1968" (Box 1), is a 3-page memorandum of a telephone conversation between General Goodpaster and DDE about North Korea's seizure of the Pueblo (still security classified as of February 1997) plus a 5-page memorandum of a briefing by Goodpaster for DDE on Vietnam, the Tet Offensive, the USSR and the Pueblo incident.  One paragraph of that memorandum concerns Pueblo.


Lyndon Baines Johnson Library

V.3   The White House central files [WHCF]: subject file, 1963-69 (1,368 ft.), contains both documents and cross-references to other file categories.  The finding aid, which contains descriptions of most categories in addition to the folder title list, and a file manual are available for researcher use in the library's reading room.  The following file categories contain references to the Pueblo incident:

EX & GEN JL 3/CO (Box 37, about 250 pp.)
EX & GEN ND 19/CO 151 (Boxes 205-213, about 6,350 pp.)

V.4   The "Office Files of White House Aides" consist of working files not sent, as was generally the practice, by the aides to the White House Central Files.  References to the Pueblo incident may be found in the files of the following aides:

  1. Christian, George [Administrative Assistant, Special Assistant, White House Press Secretary], 1966-68 (5 ft.) - the file "Pueblo" (Box 4, about 140 pp.) is available for research.  The "Pueblo Miscellaneous File" (Box 12, about 90 pp.) is partially closed.
  2. McPherson, Harry C. [Special Assistant and Legal Counsel], 1965-69 (25 ft.) - "Korea" (Box 10, about 40 pp.).  Portions are closed according to security classifications.
  3. Panzer, Fred [Staff Assistant], 1963-68 (250 ft.) - "Pueblo" (Box 406, about 100 pp.)

V.5   The "National Security File, 1963-69" (426 ft.) in the Presidential Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson contains material on the Pueblo incident in the following subtitles:

  1. Country file, Korea (4 ft.) - Boxes 258-265 pertain to the Pueblo incident.  Portions are unavailable due to processing and/or security classification.
  2. Intelligence file (6 ft.) - "Pueblo, 1/68" in Box 11.  Unprocessed.
  3. Files of Walter W. Rostow [National Security Adviser], 1966-68 (7 ft.) - about 100 pages of material in "The President's File for Korea/Vietnam (Briefings)," "Material re: Vietnam and Pueblo, 1-2/68," "Pueblo and Vietnam," and "Vance Report-Korea," all in Box 10.  Portions are closed due to security classification.
  4. Files of Bromley K. Smith [Executive Secretary, NSC], 1968 (4 in.) - 19 pages of material concerning "Meeting of Pueblo Group 1/24/68" and "Meeting on Korean Crisis 1/24/68," both in Box 1.  Portions are closed due to security classification.
  5. National Security Council histories (21 ft.) - in "Pueblo Crisis, 1968," about 3,200 pages consisting of documentary compilations prepared by NSC staff members.  The majority (about 2,400 pp.) is closed due to security classification.
  6. National Security Council meetings file, 1968 (8 in.) - 19 pages of material concerning a meeting (January 24, 1968) concerning the Pueblo incident in Volume 4 at Tab 62: "Cyprus."  Portions are closed due to security classification.

V.6   The "Special Files, 1927-73" in the Presidential Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, contain Pueblo references in the following sub files:

  1. Cabinet papers (9 ft.) - about 150 pages of material concerning a discussion of the Pueblo incident at the meeting of January 31, 1968 (Box 12).  Portions are closed due to security classification.
  2. Cartoon collection (3 ft.) - about 100 items in "Foreign Issues - U.N., Europe, Pueblo Incident, Latin America, Philippines" (Box 7).
  3. Diaries and appointment logs of Lyndon B. Johnson (61 ft.) - about 150 pages in diary backup folders for 1/23/68, 1/25/68, and 2/3/68 (Boxes 88-89).
  4. Meeting notes files (1 ft.) - 63 pages of material for meetings concerning the Pueblo incident with the State Department (January 24, 1968) and congressional leaders (January 31, 1968).  Portions are closed according to security classifications.
  5. Statements of Lyndon B. Johnson (124 ft.) - includes "President's Message to Officers and Men of the Pueblo, 12/24/68," (Box 295, 1 p.).

V.7   The "Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson: Post-Presidential Papers," contain some references to the Pueblo affair.  In subject files, 1969-73 (155 ft.), are about 10 pages of material in "International Affairs: Korea - Pueblo Incident" (Box 28).  Unprocessed.

V.8   In "Personal Papers," material on the Pueblo incident is found in the following groups:

  1. The papers of Clark Clifford, 1968-69 (11 ft.) - about 200 pages of relevant material in "North Korea - USS Pueblo Incident," (Box 17) and "Pueblo - 3/1/68-1/20/69," (Box 23).  Portions are closed due to security classifications.
  2. Tom Johnson's notes of meetings, 1969-72 (4 ft.) - about 175 pages in various folders in Boxes 2-4.  Portions are closed due to security classification.

V.9   The LBJ Library oral history collection contains references to the Pueblo incident in the oral contributions of the following persons:

  1. E. Ross Adair (30 pp.)
  2. Samuel Adams (68 pp.)
  3. George Ball (48 pp.)
  4. George Christian (39 pp.)
  5. Arthur Goldberg (36 pp.)
  6. Nicholas deB. Katzenbach (24 pp.)
  7. Charles Roberts (115 pp.)
  8. Dean Rusk (69 pp.)
  9. U.S. Grant Sharp (about 400 pp.)
  10. Willard J. Smith (38 pp.)
  11. Robert Taft, Jr. (15 pp.)
  12. Paul Warnke (90 pp.)

The oral history of John E. Stavast, which contains some POW-related material, is closed pending processing.  Contact the library for further information concerning availability.


Nixon Presidential Materials Staff

V. 10   See paragraphs I.07-I.10 and IV.15 above for general and other information on Nixon administration materials.  The White House central subject files, 1969-74 (706 ft.), contain information concerning the Pueblo incident in the category, "Federal Government Organizations FG 6-6 National Security Council" (2 ft.).  The papers consist of about 250 pages of memoranda, telegrams, reports and correspondence containing scattered references to the Pueblo incident.  They are closed pending processing and review of security classified materials.


Gerald R. Ford Library

V.11   The congressional papers of Gerald R. Ford, 1948-73 (921 ft.), contain six pages of references to the Pueblo incident.  Included are a press release (February 5, 1968), a Lincoln's Day Dinner speech given in Goldsboro, NC (February 3, 1968), and a transcript of Representative Ford's weekly radio report for February 9-11, 1968.  Additional scattered references possibly may be found in correspondence from constituents commenting on the incident.  These items are filed chronologically.


Close this window

2002-2016 Korean War Educator. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of material is prohibited.

- Contact Webmaster with questions or comments related to web site layout.
- Contact Lynnita for Korean War questions or similar informational issues.
- Website address:

Hit Counter