Atrocities Against American Pows In Korean War - Page 1
U.S. SENATE REPORT NO. 848 ON ATROCITIES
American military troops were starved, beaten, and tortured by their Korean and Chinese captors. Every rule set forth in the Geneva Convention was broken when thousands of Americans died at the hands of barbaric Communists in the Korean War. Thus is the conclusion of Senate Report No. 848 on atrocities committed against American troops in Korea in 1950-51. This page of the Korean War Educator reveals the contents of Report No. 848, which was published by the United States Government Printing Office in Washington in 1954.
Text of Senate Report No. 848
KOREAN WAR ATROCITIES
Accordingly, on October 6, 1953, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, appointed a special subcommittee, chaired by Senator Charles E. Potter, to inquire into the nature and extent of Communist war crimes committed in Korea.
The purpose of the investigation was to bring to the attention of the world in general and to the American people in particular, the type of vicious and barbaric enemy we have been fighting in Korea, to expose their horrible acts committed against our troops, and to foster appropriate legislation.
The War Crimes Division in Korea has already opened more than 1,800 cases of crimes committed by the enemy involving many thousands of victims, including American, South Korean, British, Turkish, and Belgian troops, as well as many civilians. The subcommittee limited its inquiry to atrocities committed against American personnel. When it became apparent numerous cases involving American servicemen were under current investigation, exclusive of hundreds of cases completely documented by evidence, the subcommittee decided to further limit its investigation to illustrative types of war atrocities.
A total of 29 witnesses appeared before the subcommittee in public hearings on December 2, 3, and 4, 1953. Of this number, 23 were American servicemen who were either survivors or eyewitnesses of Communist war crimes. The remaining witnesses were former Army field commanders in Korea and officials of the War Crimes Division. Corroborative evidence consisting of affidavits, statements, photographs, and other official records from the files of the United States Army, Judge Advocate General's Division, and from the official records of the War Crimes Division in Korea, was also received.
I. HISTORY AND OPERATION OF WAR CRIMES DIVISION IN KOREA
First reports of war crimes committed by the North Korean armies in Korea against captured United Nations military personnel began to filter into General Headquarters, United Nations Command, early in July of 1950. When the facts were disclosed, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, set up the machinery for the investigation of war crimes committed by Communist aggressors.
Initial responsibility was assigned to the Army Staff Judge Advocate of the Far East Command. On July 27, 1950, field commanders were advised as to the procedures to be followed. In early October 1950, the immediate responsibility for war-crimes investigations was transferred to the Commanding General, Eighth Army; on September 1, 1952, responsibility was transferred to the Commanding General, Korean Communication Zone, where it presently rests.
The purpose in establishing the War Crimes Division was to avoid the difficulties experienced after World War II, when little effort was made to investigate the commission of a war crime until some time after the war had ended. In order to define and clarify the limits of the investigations in Korea, war crimes were defined as those acts committed by enemy nations, or those persons acting for them, which constitute violations of the laws and customs of war, and general application and acceptance, including contravention of treaties and conventions dealing with the conduct of war, as well as outrageous acts against persons or property committed in connection with military operations.
The War Crimes Division in Korea is organized into several branches, the more important sections from an operational standpoint being the Case Analysis Branch, the Investigations Branch, and the Historical Branch, the latter containing statistical and order-of-battle sections. The Investigations Branch utilizes field teams conducting on-the-spot investigations. Thousands of enemy prisoners of war, as well as friendly personnel, have been interviewed, during which interrogations every effort was made to discover contributing and corroborating evidence to establish the facts surrounding the reported war crimes. Investigators collect evidence consisting of affidavits, photographs, statements of participants and perpetrators, and locate bodies of victims, effecting their identification wherever and whenever possible. The Case Analysis Branch, composed of attorneys, reviews, and analyzes the cases, keeping them under continual scrutiny to detect what gaps, if any, exist in the evidentiary chain.
The documented case against the subject involved is then referred to the Command Staff Judge Advocate, Headquarters, Armed Forces, Far East, for possible prosecution.
With the signing of the Korean armistice the War Crimes Division in Korea did not terminate its operations, but it is continuing to develop additional evidence as a result of interrogations of repatriated prisoners under operations Big Switch.
11. TYPES OF WAR ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST AMERICAN PRISONERS
This committee began its investigation last year, and as the committee's work progressed, information, documents, and evidence was submitted from all parts of the world. It was at this time that reports reached the committee of similar atrocities and violations of international law being perpetrated in Korea. This committee noted the striking similarity between crimes committed against the Poles at Katyn and those being inflicted on American and other United Nations troops in Korea. Communist tactics being used in Korea are identical to those followed at Katyn. Thus this committee believes that Congress should undertake an immediate investigation of the Korean war atrocities in order that the evidence can be collected and the truth revealed to the American people and the free peoples of the world.
The Communist forces in Korea flagrantly violated virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention of 1929, as well as article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany.
III. SHOOTINGS AND KILLINGS OF AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR SHORTLY AFTER
A - THE HILL 303 MASSACRE
B - THE SUNCHON TUNNEL MASSACRE
One hundred and thirty-eight American soldiers lost their lives in this atrocity; 68 were murdered at the tunnel, 7 died of malnutrition while in the tunnel, and the remainder died of pneumonia, dysentery, and malnutrition while in the tunnel, and the remainder died of pneumonia, dysentery, and malnutrition on the horror trip from Pyongyang.