CHAPTER 665

FORMERLY HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION

NO. 35

MEMORIALIZING THE GOVERNMENT OF NORTH VIETNAM AND ITS ALLIES TO TREAT HUMANELY AND RELEASE AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA.

WHEREAS, more than one hundred thousand six hundred members of the United States Armed Forces are prisoners of war or missing in action in Southeast Asia; and

WHEREAS, North Vietnam and its allies in Southeast Asia have refused to identify all prisoners they hold, to allow impartial inspection of prisoner facilities, to permit free exchange of mail between prisoners and their families, to release seriously sick and wounded prisoners, and to negotiate for the release of all United States citizens they hold captive; and have committed other violations of the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to Treatment of Prisoners of War, which North Vietnam ratified in 1957; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the United Nations and the International Conference of the Red Cross have adopted resolutions calling on all parties to armed conflicts to comply with the terms and provisions of the Geneva Convention so as to insure humane treatment for prisoners of war; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the United States to observe the requirements of the Geneva Convention in treatment of prisoners; and

WHEREAS, the Congress, the •executive branch, and the American people have repeatedly appealed to North Vietnam and its allies in Southeast Asia to comply with the provisions of the Geneva Convention; and

WHEREAS, every opportunity should be pursued which will focus attention on the plight of these United States servicemen and the anguish suffered by their families and friends, and bring to bear against North Vietnam and its allies the force of world opinion on behalf of humane policies.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the 126th General Assembly, the Senate concurring therein, that the General Assembly of the State of Delaware strongly protests the treatment of the United States servicemen held prisoner by North Vietnam and its allies in Southeast Asia and calls on them to comply with the requirements of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

The General Assembly approves and endorses efforts by the people and Government of the United States, the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and other leaders and peoples of the world to obtain humane treatment for prisoners of war and immediate repatriation of the sick and wounded; and urges that negotiations for the release of all prisoners in the Indochina conflict be given the highest priority by the governments and peoples involved, and calls upon the signators to the Geneva Convention who have relations with the parties involved in the conflict in Indochina to act as protecting powers to see to the welfare and safety of the prisoners of war and missing in action.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that it is the sense of the General Assembly that allied authorities should:

(1) Arrange the immediate, unconditional release of as many North Vietnamese prisoners of war held in South Vietnam as are willing to return to their homeland, up to a number equaling the number of Americans listed as missing in action or imprisoned in Southeast Asia.

(2) Effect the release of all such prisoners simultaneously from the same location on the demilitarized zone at the conclusion of a ceremony during which officials of allied governments would issue a supply of rations to each prisoner released and make an appropriate public appeal to North Vietnamese, National Liberation Front, and Pathet Lao Leaders for similar humane treatment of prisoners they held. Prisoners would then be permitted to proceed on foot toward North Vietnam.

(3) Plan and carry out all procedures under the close

supervision of the International Red Cross and take special precautions to prohibit forced repatriation.

Approved May 24, 1972.