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May 29, 1971 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-05-29

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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, May 29, 1971

Page Six THE MICHIGAN DAILY Saturday, May 29, 1971

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CALL PRISONERS 'PAWNS'
POW families hit U. S., N. Viets

WASHINGTON ) - A group
of families of American service-
men missing or captured in the
Indochina war charged yesterday
they are being used by bota sides
as pawns in the conflict and
called for an immediate end to
the war.
Mrs. Harold Kushner, wife of
an Army doctor captive in Viet-
nam, said the Nixon administra-
tion is "using the prisoner issue
to buy time for the South Vietna-
mese government."
"There has been no solution to
the prisoner problem within the
framework of Vietnamization,*
said a statement issued by the
group at a news conference.
"The pledge of president Nixon
to maintain a residual force of
troops within South Vietnam
gives no real hope for the re-
lease of our men," the statement
said. "In fact, it creates a situa-
tion in which the prisoners have
become political hostages."
But the group also accused the
Communist governments involv-
ed in the war of trading on the
prisoner issue.

"We've been fair game for
everyone," said Rushner of Dan-
ville, Va., "not just the President,
not just the right, not just the
left. All kinds of people have been
trying to justify their causes in
the name of the POW families."
Another member said the
group was particularly 'pposed
to Nixon's announced plan of
keeping a residual force in Viet-
nam and pegging it to the priso-
ner issue.
"To us this meant an intermin-
able war," she said. "It meant
the prisoners would be held as
long as we have forces in Viet-
nam. It meant the men may
never be seen again."
The group is asking that the
United States reach agreement
with the Communists that the
prisoners will be released when
a withdrawal date is set and that
after such an agreement is
reached, U.S. forces be with-
drawn completely within 150
days.
The group said it was not ready
to endorse any of the proposed-
legislation calling for a fixed

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withdrawal date because the
Communists so far have agreed
to discuss prisoner release only
if a date is set.
However, the group said it
would push for a legislated saith-
drawal date once the Commun-
nists confirm officielly that
prisoner release would follow.
S. V iets sa y
U .S. merel y
marks ime
SAIGON (MP) - South Vietna-
mese leaders have speculated
this week, both privately and in
print, that the United States goal
in Vietnam is now only to mini-
mize American casualties until
U.S. prisoners of war are re-
leased.
The speculation came as South
Vietnamese officials prepared for
the release next wee of 580
North Vietnamese prisoners,
amid their expressions of doubt
that North Vietnam nas any in-
tention of reciprocating.
The implication of this South
Vietnamese thinking is that if
American prisoners were releas-
ed the United States would ter-
minate its involvement here as
quickly as possible - perhaps
simply declaring Vietnamization
a success and getting ut,
An editorial in the Vietnamese
language newspaper Dan Tien
said negoiations at the Paris
peace talksthave been stalled
only because of the POW prob-
lem, and that American nego-
tiators were concerned with little
else.
"What actions will the United
States take at the Paris confer-
ence table after it has reached
agreement with the other side
concerning the fate of its pris-
oners?" said the editorial. The
future of the Vietnam war will
not be influenced by the fighting
'and endurance capabilities of
North and South Vietnam, but
will actually be decided by the
requirement for the protection of
the lives of U.S. soldiers."
Despite his interest in mini-
mizing U.S. casualties and get-
ting American troops out of Viet-
nam, Nixon has publicly tied the
withdrawal of all American
forces to the release of U.S. pri-
soners by the North - seeming-
ly putting himself on the spot if
Hanoi should respond.
The North Vietnamese have [e-
peatedly stated that they will not
agree to discuss the release of
prisoners until the U.S. sets a
date for the withdrawal of its
troops.
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