The wife of the only American doctor known to be a prisoner of South Vietnam's national Liberation Front, 27-year-old Mrs Valerie Kushner, has just returned from Cambodia, where she pleaded with N.
GV SOUND DOWN Mrs Kushner talking to press
SV Mrs Kushner SOF BEGINS: "Could you tell us now ....................... SOF ENDS ......... he would not accept the drugs".
SV Mrs Kushner SOF BEGINS: "Ma'am since you know ........................ SOF ENDS: ......... released from the same camp".
QUESTION: "Could you tell us now what took you to Phnom Penh and what happened when you were there?"
MRS KUSHNER: "What took me to Phnom Penh is the fact that my husband has been a prisoner-of-war of the N.L.F. for two years now. He is a doctor, and the only doctor to be taken prisoner during the Vietnam conflict. I went to Phnom Penh with a small amount of medical supplies, which were very badly needed by him in an attempt to get them into the prison camp where he is being held. I know he needs these medical supplies because the last three prisoners who were released by the N.L.F. came from the same camp, and said that he was working with insufficient drugs, with very primitive surgical instruments - razor blades and that sort of thing. I got to see the Second Secretary at the legation there. The head of the Legation, the Ambassador, was in Germany and will be there for two or three months. And I think I saw the second secretary because he does speak some English, so that we were able to communicate. He was very cordial at the meeting. I want to say this, I'm amazed, and know that I got a much better reception than any of the wives who went to Paris got. However, he would not accept the drugs. He accepted two pairs of glasses for my husband. He accepted a letter from me, and two other letters from American wives. He accepted a medical book, but he would not accept the drugs".
QUESTION: "Ma'am since you know he is a prisoner-of-war, what complaints do you have with the Communists for holding your husband?"
MRS KUSHNER: "Only that they hold him incommunicado, and do not abide by the full humanitarian conditions of the Geneva convention".
QUESTION: "How do you know?"
MRS KUSHNER: "How do I know? From prisoners who have been released - that there is insufficient food, insufficient medical care, no lists are published of names of prisoners. You see I'm very fortunate. Of the 500 prisoners-of-war held by the N.L.F. in South Vietnam, about 75 are confirmed captured. The rest are listed as missing in action. And my husband's confirmation came only because prisoners were released from the same camp".
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Background: The wife of the only American doctor known to be a prisoner of South Vietnam's national Liberation Front, 27-year-old Mrs Valerie Kushner, has just returned from Cambodia, where she pleaded with N.L.F. representatives for her husband's release.
Mrs Kushner told a Hong Kong news conference yesterday (Saturday) that she received a more "cordial" reception than the wives of U.S. prisoners-of-war, who earlier this year made similar pleas with N.L.F. representatives at the Paris peace talks. But she objected to the fact that her husband was being held incommunicado.
Mrs Kushner comes from Virginia. She and her husband have two children, a girl who will be six on Christmas Day and a son of 19 months who has never been seen by his father.
Major Floyd Kushner was taken prisoner in Vietnam exactly two years ago. He is known to be working as a doctor among his fellow prisoners. While in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, his wife attempted to send medical supplies to him: