BANGKOK, Thailand — U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard L. Armitage concluded talks today with top Vietnamese officials on missing American servicemen, then blasted allegations that the U.S. government has covered up reports of Americans still being held prisoner in Indochina.
He told a news conference that such allegations are harming official efforts to resolve the fates of about 1,800 Americans still listed as missing in action in the Vietnam War, which ended in 1973.
Armitage, who met Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach during two days of discussions in Hanoi on MIAs, said that reports by some private Americans of live American prisoners were suspect and that the motives for issuing such reports were questionable.
"Overall, the allegations harm our ability to prosecute this issue to the fullest possible accounting," Armitage said.
No Proof, He Says
Armitage said Vietnamese authorities agreed to investigate the question of American prisoners. But he said that so far the U.S. government has no proof that there is any truth to reports of American prisoners being sighted alive.