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thedrifter
10-01-02, 06:15 AM
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 15:31:27 -0700
Subject: Korea - 50 years ago this week, Sept. 26- Oct. 2

U.N. offers three prisoner repatriation options to Reds

by Jim Caldwell

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 26, 2002) - The United Nations
agreed to a 10-day truce 50 years ago this week in Korea so that the
communists could study repatriation plans for POWs.

Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 1952 -- Eighth Army reports Sept. 26 that the day
before nine Chinese POWs were injured in a fight with guards on Choju Island.
Gen. Mark Clark, allied supreme commander, announces Sept. 27 that a
"sea defense zone" provides security in South Korean waters, to include the
island POW camps. He said it will "eliminate infiltration of enemy agents"
with instructions to prisoners from North Korea.
North Korean Lt. Gen. Nam II, chief of the Reds' truce team,
strongly objects to the "persecution and butchering" of prisoners in a
letter to Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, the U.N. chief delegate, at Panmunjom.
On Sept. 28 Harrison presents to Nam three different U.N. plans for
settling the prisoner repatriation issue, the only issue that the communists
use to forestall a truce.
One plan would have all prisoners delivered to a demilitarized zone.
The International Committee of the Red Cross or a U.N.-Red military team
would question each prisoner to see where he wants to go after his release.
He then would be sent to the side he chooses.
Sending POWs to the neutral zone also automatically settles the last
issue and the armistice can be signed then.
The second plan calls for immediately sending home those prisoners
who want to be repatriated. Those who do not want to return home will be
sent to a neutral zone, be questioned about their desires by a mutually
acceptable nonmilitary group and be allowed to go to "the side of their
choice."
Under the third plan all prisoners will be released in a neutral
zone and allowed to walk in any direction they choose.
Nam tells Harrison the plans do not meet the communist demands to
return all communist POWs, which will be done by force, he says, if
necessary. He does agree to a 10-day recess so the communists can study the
options.
Harrison emphasizes to Nam that the United Nations will not concede
on the principle of not returning prisoners who do not want to go back to
North Korea or China. The three different plans are the "widest selection
of choices the U.N. Command can offer."
The Eighth Army reports Sept. 28 that Greek troops attached to the
3rd Infantry Division in I Corps were forced to give up a hill being
attacked by Chinese when four U.S. Air Force planes mistakenly bomb them.
The Air Force reports that F-84C Thunderbirds capable of in-flight
refueling are on duty in Korea.
The Chinese have 2,500 combat aircraft - 1,100 jet fighters - in
China and Manchuria, Gen. Otto P. Weyland, commander of the Far East Air
Force, reports Sept. 29.
On Oct. 1 the Fifth Air Force denies the alleged bombing of Greek
troops Sept. 28. Also on Oct. 1 Fifth Air Force says that U.N. fighter
pilots shot down 62 MiG-15s against 30 U.N. combat losses - seven jets - in
aerial combat. It's the largest one-month total of enemy jet fighter kills
of the war.
U.S. troops at the Cheju-do POW camp kill 52 POWs and wound 113
during a riot that began when guards were trying to organize work details
Oct. 1.
Maj. Gen. Thomas W. Herren, commander of the U.N. Korean Communications
Zone, says Oct. 2 that the riot was the largest of the war so far. The
6,000 POWs on the island planned to escape and join communist guerrillas in
South Korea. Another reason for the Oct. 1 riot was that it coincided with
a "peace" conference in Peking on the anniversary of the Chinese People's
Republic.
Nam sends another letter to Harrison Oct. 2 that blasts the "bloody
yet cowardly massacre" of the 52 Cheju POWs.

Oct. 1 -- American casualties in Korean through Sept. 26 are
119,379, including 20,915 killed, according to a Pentagon spokesman.
The Defense Department announces the posthumous award of the Medal
of Honor to Army Pvt. Bryant H. Womack, 21, Rutherford, N.C., for giving his
life to aid wounded men under fire on March 12.
(Editor's note: Jim Caldwell is a senior correspondent for the
TRADOC News Service.)