At a press conference given in Texas on Thursday (29 March), United States Air Force Colonel James Hughes claimed that he was ill-treated and 'degraded' by his ???
CUs & MVs Hughes talking & showing shots of his capture in North Vietnam (10 shots)
COLONEL HUGHES: "I had resisted within my physical and mental abilities, but I had been broken, and though I did not even give my name, rank and serial number or any other words, I was taken before a press conference which I knew would not serve the cause of our involvement in Southeast Asia. I had to walk with my head bowed so that I could not see anything. I had, as you see in the picture, two guards -- one at each shoulder, both brandishing a chromium-plated bayonet. I had walked in, again still with head bowed, into a complex area in which there were lights. I heard Vietnamese being spoken from what could have been a platform. Following this, I heard this familiar voice from behind me state: "raise up". So I stood upright, with an angered look on my face, looking into these bright lights.
"I have seen the picture since my release a few days ago, and in one of the news media publications, and the caption beneath the picture was 'degradation'. And that is a quotation: 'degradation'. It is apparent then that for a military officer to be displayed in public barefooted, with half a flying-suit, and in a bowed position -- in other words, in a position relegated subordinate to his environment -- is apparently accepted by society, then, as being a degrading situation, and I felt that it certainly was."
HUGHES TALKING & SHOWING FILM OF HIS HANOI CAPTIVITY.
Initials ESP/1944 ESP/1959
NOTE TO EDITORS: During his conference, Colonel Hughes described his experiences over film of himself in Hanoi. The film is included in this production, and Hughes' statements are transcribed below. Please note that two alternative introductions are provided overleaf -- one on-camera summary for studio use, and one brief introduction to be read over the sound.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: At a press conference given in Texas on Thursday (29 March), United States Air Force Colonel James Hughes claimed that he was ill-treated and 'degraded' by his ??? while imprisoned in North Vietnam, from where he has been recently released.
Using film and magazine pictures showing him, head bandaged and bowed, at a Hanoi press conference in 1967, Hughes talked of his treatment and agreed with the magazine-picture captions describing his position as 'degrading'.
The Texas conference was one of many given around the United States on Thursday, in which ex-prisoners accused their North Vietnamese captors of psychological and physical torture involving the use of 'continual harassment', bread and water diets, solitary confinement, beatings and forced confessions.
Such allegations had previously been suppressed by the U.S. government until the majority of captured servicemen had been freed. One man, Army Captain Robert White, is still being held in Vietnam by Viet Cong forces, and is expected to be released on Sunday or Monday (1 - 2 April).
In Saigon on Saturday (31 March), a North Vietnamese member of the Joint Military Commission refuted the allegations of ill-treatment, saying that the Americans were using them to cover up their own 'atrocities' in South Vietnam during the war.
SYNOPSIS: Coinciding with the safe release on Thursday of the last major batch of United States servicemen from captivity in North Vietnam, ex-prisoners for the first time told Americans about their experiences in prison. In press conferences throughout the United States, the released men spoke of being starved, beaten and treated like criminals by their captors. One such man was Air Force Colonel James Hughes, who used North Vietnamese film to support his allegations of ill-treatment by the North Vietnamese.
Air Force Colonel James Hughes, recently released from a North Vietnamese prison camp, told a United States press conference on Thursday of his experiences at the hands of his captors.