For years after I discovered the
existence of this document at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in 1989, the
U.S. government fought my efforts to get it declassified. At the time, the
Pentagon was saying there was no evidence American POWs had been taken to the
Soviet Union. At one point, the Bush 41 White House itself directed it should
stay secret, though by then it was over thirty-years-old. After it was finally
released, the source -- KGB defector Yuri Rastvorov -- was brought forward by
the CIA and reportedly denied he provided this information. At least two
American officials who knew him, including a senior CIA officer and a POW
expert present in the White House staff meeting described by this document,
confirmed Rastvorov had indeed reported on the Americans under Soviet control;
it was consistent with other reports at the time, many also kept secret for
decades after. [Click on the document for more about its background.]
Rastvorov died in 2004; we're trying
to get his original debriefing information from the CIA, but are not hopeful.
Moscow some years ago shut down U.S.
efforts to investigate reports of Americans in the Gulag.