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Cablegate: A Visit to a Wwii Remains Recovery Site

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS RANGOON 000489

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PREL BM
SUBJECT: A VISIT TO A WWII REMAINS RECOVERY SITE

1. SUMMARY: COM, DASD Jerry Jennings (POW and MIA
Affairs), DATT, and others inspected ongoing WWII remains
recovery operations in Burma's northernmost Kachin State on
March 23. END SUMMARY.

2. After flying from Rangoon to the Kachin capital of
Myitkyina aboard a USAF C-12 out of Bangkok, the USG
delegation paid a courtesy call on the Burmese military's
Northern Region Commander, Major General Maung Maung Swe.
The COM, DASD, and party then flew 30 miles northwest of
Myitkyina on a Lao West Coast leased helicopter to Burma 3,
the crash site of a C-47 lost during WWII.

3. The CILHI recovery operation was being carried out on a
steep slope at an altitude of approximately 7,500 feet.
Most of the airplane wreckage visible on photographs taken
some months earlier had been removed by pilferers prior to
the team's arrival. Still, the photographs provided enough
identifying data to apparently correlate the crash site to a
C-47A lost on August 19, 1944, with a manifested crew of
seven.

4. After inspecting the recovery operation in Kachin State,
the group flew back to Rangoon and met with S-1 General Khin
Nyunt. (NOTE: Khin Nyunt, the regime's third-ranking
official and Chief of Military Intelligence, has been a
staunch supporter of the remains recovery operation. End
Note) During the call, DASD Jennings thanked the GOB for
its good cooperation throughout the recovery operation and
for providing increased security for the American recovery
team due to the war in Iraq. He asked the GOB to help
protect crash sites from pilfering to allow U.S.
anthropologists to better assess them, and to review the
possibility of using GOB helicopters in support of future
remains recovery operations.

5. General Khin Nyunt stated that the level of cooperation
for this project was possible because of the cease-fires the
GOB had reached with former ethnic insurgents that had long
battled the GOB in the area. He also gave assurances that
the GOB would take measures to protect the sites from
pilferage.

6. Comment: The GOB's willingness to assist and its
ability to gain cooperation from various cease-fire groups
in Kachin State increases prospects for the success of
future recovery operations. Several probable crash sites
have already been identified for possible excavation in the
future. Reporting of additional crash sites has already
risen as the U.S. presence in Myitkyina has sparked the
local population's interest in remains recovery operations.
End Comment. MARTINEZ

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