Atrocities Against Americans



[Most appendixes were graphics that are not posted here. The original booklet is in the possession of the Korean War Educator at the home of Lynnita Brown, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953.]

Explanation of Footnotes: All page references in footnotes refer to published record of hearings on Korean War Atrocities conducted by this subcommittee on December 2, 3, and 4, 1953.

Mr. Potter, from the Committee on Government Operations, submitted the following:


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

SENATE Report #848
83d Congress
2nd Session


Pursuant to S. Res. 40
January 11 (legislative day, January 7), 1954

Joseph R. McCarthy, Wisconsin, chairman
Margaret Chase Smith, Maine John R. McClellan, Arkansas
Karl E. Mundt, South Dakota Hubert H. Humphrey, Minnesota
Henry C. Dworshak, Idaho Henry M. Jackson, Washington
Everett McKinley Dirksen, Illinois John F. Kennedy, Massachusetts
John Marshall Butler, Maryland Stuart Symington, Missouri
Charles E. Potter, Michigan Alton Lennon, North Carolina
Francis D. Flanagan, Chief Counsel
Walter L. Reynolds, Chief Clerk

Joseph R. McCarthy, Wisconsin, chairman
Karl E. Mundt, South Dakota
Everett McKinley Dirksen, Illinois
Roy M. Cohn, Chief Counsel
Francis P. Carr, Executive Director

Charles E. Potter, Michigan, Chairman





On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Peoples' Army, without warning, attacked the Free Republic of South Korea. During the ensuing 3 years of warfare, the Communist enemy committed a series of war crimes against American and United Nations personnel which constituted one of the most heinous and barbaric epochs of recorded history. When the American people became aware war atrocities had been committed against American troops, thousands of letters were sent to Members of Congress by parents, wives, and relatives of servicemen, requesting an immediate investigation.

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 [FN1 - Pt. 1, pp.6,10,11]. 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. [FN2 - List of witnesses will be listed at the end of this Report.] 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.


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 [FN3 - Pt. 1, p.9].

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 [FN4 - Ibid].

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 [FN5 - Ibid].

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 [FN6 - Lt. Col. Jack Todd, pt. 2, pp. 78, 79. Col. James M. Hanley, pt. 3, pp. 150, 151].
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.


The evidence before the subcommittee conclusively proves that American prisoners of war who were not deliberately murdered at the time of capture or shortly after capture, were beaten, wounded, starved, and tortured; molested, displayed, and humiliated before the civilian populace and/or forced to march long distances without benefit of adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, or medical care to Communist prison camps, and there to experience further acts of human indignities.

Communist massacres and the wholesale extermination of their victims is a calculated part of Communist psychological warfare. The atrocities perpetrated in Korea against the United Nations troops by Chinese and North Korean Communists are not unique in Communist history, nor can they be explained away on the grounds that inhumanity is often associated with so-called civilized warfare. The House Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation of the Facts, Evidence, and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre in its final report (Union Calendar No. 792, H.R. No. 2505) stated in conclusions, page 11:

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 [FN7 - Art. 6, Charter of International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, is as follows: "(a) Crimes against peace: Namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing: (b) War crimes: Namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment, or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian populations of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages; or devastation not justified by military necessity; (c) Crimes against humanity: Namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated."


The following cases presented by the subcommittee represent but a few of numerous similar atrocities committed by the North Korean and Chinese Communist armies:


On August 14, 1950, a group of 26 American soldiers was surprised and captured by North Koreans whom the Americans had reason to believe were reinforcements. The men were stripped of their combat boots and personal belongings and their hands were tied behind their backs. The second day after capture, several other American prisoners joined their group, bringing the total number to approximately 45. On the third day all of the prisoners were led to a ravine, and without warning, while their hands were tied, were shot in cold blood. Only four survived [FN8 - Pt. 2, pp. 128-132].

Roy Paul Manring, Jr., formerly a corporal with H Company, 155th Cavalry Regiment, and 1 of 4 survivors of the Hill 303 massacre, testified:

MR. MANRING: They just kept us in a ravine in the daytime. Then at night they'd move us across country… On August 17 about the middle of the afternoon they motioned for us to get up again, that they was going to move us out again. That's when it happened. That's when I started hearing shots. I looked around and I saw my buddies was falling, getting murdered with their hands tied behind their back.

SENATOR POTTER: Did they hit you?

MR. MANRING: Yes. The first time they hit me I got hit in the leg and the upper part of the arm. What caused me to fall was a fellow in front of me. When he fell then I fell and as he fell the wire that they had broke loose and left me by myself. My hands were still tied behind my back.

SENATOR POTTER: Did they think that you were dead?

MR. MANRING: Yes, I guess they thought we was dead. As they left, a couple of minutes later I heard a sound like somebody was coming back, so I managed to wiggle my body underneath the fellow that was next to me-was dead-and they come by and they started kicking and you could hear the fellows hollering, grunting, groaning, and praying, and when they kicked me they kicked my leg and I made a grunting sound and that's when I caught it in the gut, got shot in the gut at the time.


In October of 1950, at Pyongyang, when the fall of that city appeared imminent, the Communists loaded approximately 180 American war prisoners into open railroad cars for transport northward. These men were survivors of the Seoul-Pyongyang death march and were weak from lack of food, water, and medical care. They rode unprotected in the raw climate for 4 or 5 days, arriving at the Sunchon tunnel on October 30, 1950. Late in the afternoon, the prisoners were taken from the railroad cars in alternate groups of approximately 40 to nearby ravines, ostensibly to receive their first food in several days. There they were ruthlessly shot by North Korean soldiers, using Russian burp guns.

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. [FN9 - Pfc. John E. Martin, pt. 1, pp. 37-39. Sgt. Charles Robert Sharpe, pt. 2, pp. 137-138. Cpl. Lloyd O. Krieder, pt. 1, pp. 50-52.] Pfc. John E. Martin, formerly with the 29th Regimental Combat Team, Korea, and one of the survivors of the Sunchon tunnel massacre, testified:

PRIVATE MARTIN: … They had us all get off the train. We were all in the tunnel there. The highest ranking officer, two sergeants, and another corporal had already left earlier. There was some money collected up by the prisoners, supposedly to buy food. They hadn't come back yet. They told us we were going to a small house to eat and the reason we were going in groups was because it was so small.

SENATOR POTTER: How many groups, did they say?

PRIVATE MARTIN: …I would say on the average of 40 men to a group. The first group went out and the guards were gone about 20 minutes to a half hour. When they left we heard a lot of small-arms fire, but I never thought anything about it, and I don't think too many other people did either…. They came back for my group and we started out and we went down the track about 400 yards and I had fallen back to the rear…. My feet were pretty bad and I had to keep falling back. I couldn't keep up with them. We went around the corner into this ditch. They said, "Get down; the planes. Get down; the planes." So when we all ducked down some more of them came up on us over a little rice paddy and they just opened up.

SENATOR POTTER: They fired on you?


SENATOR POTTER: … Were you hit?

PRIVATE MARTIN: No, sir. I was the last man to come around the corner. As I came around I just sat down when they started to fire and I fell forward on the embankment. I was right just about at one of their feet and I suppose he thought I was hit and was firing over my head at other people. Then another fellow fell just about across me, more or less on my back, and when they did come down in the ditch and check they were in a hurry. They didn't get all the way down to me before they went back up.

SENATOR POTTER: What do you mean by check?

PRIVATE MARTIN: They went down and kicked somebody and if they groaned they shot them again or bayoneted and kicked somebody else. ##

Private Martin's testimony was further corroborated by Maj. Gen. Frank A. Allen, Jr., who was assistant division commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, and in command of the troops that discovered the bodies and survivors at Sunchon tunnel: [FN10 - Pt. 1, pp. 50-51]

SENATOR POTTER: What did you or your troops find? You went to the scene where it happened, is that correct?

GENERAL ALLEN: That is correct, sir…. Our first visit to the tunnel brought out these seven cadaverous corpses. They apparently had starved to death. There wasn't a speck of flesh on their carcasses.

SENATOR POTTER: Were they right in the tunnel?

GENERAL ALLEN: They were right in the tunnel. Then I heard a cry from another source, of an American, so we came down the hill, and there we came across the most gruesome sight I have ever witnessed. That was in sort of a sunken road, a pile of American dead. I should estimate that in that pile there were 60 men. In the pile were men who were not dead, who were wounded…. We, incidentally, found a very shallow grave, it must have contained at least 60 bodies, the other side of the road, down maybe 50 yards from that place.


On September 27, 1950, approximately 60 American prisoners who had been confined in Taejon prison were taken into the prison yard in groups of 14, with their hands wired together. These men were forced to sit hunched in hastily dug ditches and then were shot by North Korean troops at point blank range, with American M-1 rifles, using armor-piercing ammunition. Of the 2 seriously wounded survivors, only 1 lived to recount the gruesome details. Unnumbered civilians estimated at between 5,000 and 7,000, as well as soldiers of the Republic of Korea, were also slaughtered at Taejon between September 23 and September 27, 1950 [FN11 - Pt. 1, pp. 15-25].

Sgt. Carey H. Weinel, formerly with the 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Division, Korea, and the sole survivor of the infamous Taejon massacre, testified:

SERGEANT WEINEL: … Toward the last they was in a hurry to leave Taejon, to evacuate Taejon, so they took approximately the last three groups pretty close together. I witnessed the group right in front of me shot…. After they was shot we was taken to the ditch and sat down in the ditch and shot.

SENATOR POTTER: What happened to you when you were shot?

SERGEANT WEINEL: …. I leaned over against the next man, pretending I was done for…. In firing, they hit my hand….

SENATOR POTTER: How were you sitting in the ditch?

SERGEANT WEINEL: … They was aiming at my head. I have a scar on my neck, 1 on my collarbone, and another 1 hit my hand…. They hit me 2 times.

SENATOR POTTER: And you played dead?

SERGEANT WEINEL: Yes, sir. After they thought everybody was dead, they started burying us…. I came close to getting panicky about that time, but somehow or other I figured as long as I had some breath there was hope….
SENATOR POTTER: In other words, you were buried alive?

SERGEANT WEINEL: That is right, sir.

SERGEANT WEINEL: I might add in that whole group that I was with, there was not a man that begged for mercy and there was not a man that cracked under the deal.

MR. O'DONNELL: … Sergeant, how long were you buried alive?

SERGEANT WEINEL: That is hard to say, sir. As I say, I was shot around 5 o'clock in the morning, and I stayed in the ditch until that evening, until what time it was dark. I would say approximately 8 hours, 8 or 7 hours.


In late December 1950, five American airmen in a truck convoy were ambushed by North Korean forces. Their bodies, discovered shortly after by a South Korean patrol, showed that the flesh had been punctured in as many as 20 different areas with heated, sharpened bamboo sticks. The torture was so fiendish that no one perforation was sufficient to cause death by itself [FN12 - Col. John W. Gorn, pt. 2, pp. 162-164. Lt. Col. James T. Rogers, pt. 3, pp. 164-166].

Lt. Col. James T. Rogers, formerly in the Medical Section of the First United States Army Corps in Korea, testified:

COLONEL ROGERS: I made a medical examination of those five men and they suffered multiple superficial and deep spear wounds over the body, the face, the chest, and the abdomen. By the nature of the wounds I am of the opinion that the instrument of torture had been previously heated….

SENATOR POTTER: Had been heated?

COLONEL ROGERS: Yes. That after torturing them with the superficial wounds that then they bayoneted them with the same instruments and these fellows were allowed to bleed to death.


Twelve American soldiers captured near Naedae on October 13, 1950, were imprisoned in a Korean hut and later shot without warning by North Koreans. Although wounded, five managed to survive by feigning death. Ironically, the killings took place in front of a Communist propaganda bulletin board showing posters condemning alleged United Nations war atrocities [FN13 - Pt. 3, pp. 156-161].

Frederick C. Herrmann, formerly a corporal with the service company of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, and 1 of the 5 survivors, testified:

MR. HERRMANN: … We sat down for awhile…. Then this little guy come in, who we had seen the most of, he came in and he rattled something off in Korean to him [North Korean lieutenant] and he went outside…. This one little fellow came back in, this guy that had always stayed in there with us, and I just happened to be looking at him, and I seen him pull back the bolt on his rifle. I don't guess anybody heard me, but I remember saying, "This is it," and I heard the first shot go off and this fellow sitting right across directly from me was hit and he fell forward. When he fell forward… I just spun around and stuck my head under the desk. While I was laying there playing dead, I heard all kinds of shots. Pretty soon I felt somebody kick me…. I got shot in the leg. I still played dead, but I wouldn't move. They just left and I never heard any more from them.


On July 17, 1950, the North Korean Communists surprised and slaughtered approximately 20 seriously wounded American soldiers. These soldiers were being administered aid by the regimental surgeon wearing the Red Cross armband, and an Army chaplain wearing the Christian cross, neither of whom were armed. The chaplain was also slain and the surgeon, although wounded, managed to survive and escape [FN14 - Pt. 2, pp. 110-112; pt. 3, pp. 166-167].

Captain Linton J. Buttrey, the regimental surgeon and sole survivor, testified:

SENATOR POTTER: Was he marked as a chaplain with a white cross?

CAPTAIN BUTTREY: Yes, sir; he was.

SENATOR POTTER: What happened to him?

CAPTAIN BUTTREY: He got killed, sir.

SENATOR POTTER: What was he doing at the time he was killed?

CAPTAIN BUTTREY: He was administering last rites, extreme unction, to the patients.

SENATOR POTTER: He was administering the last rites to the patient, to a patient on a litter?


SENATOR POTTER: And how did they kill him?

CAPTAIN BUTTREY: He was shot in the back, sir.


A patrol of 13 American soldiers was ambushed and captured by a large force of North Koreans near Kaesong on November 6, 1950. The prisoners were stripped of their belongings and taken to a small hut, where they were confined for about 3 hours. They were then ordered to march, purportedly to a nearby prison camp. After traversing a distance of approximately 2 miles, they were shot without warning from behind. One survived by feigning death [FN15 - Pt. 1, pp. 53-56].

William L. Milano, formerly a corporal with the 27th Infantry, 25th Division, and the sole survivor of these murders, testified:

CORPORAL MILANO: … We walked around the hillside and the officer in front said something in Korean and we halted. I was standing about from there to this table here.

SENATOR POTTER: About 6 feet?

CORPORAL MILANO: Yes. And he said something. I heard the bolt go back and as I heard the bolt, I turned around to see what it was, and he fired. He hit me through the right hand and it threw me up against the hill. As it did, blood either squirted on me, or blood squirted on my face. He took another shot and it skidded off my left leg and took a piece of flesh away. The third hit me high and I felt the dirt. They were still firing on the other men. About 5 minutes later all the firing stopped….


An American lieutenant who was captured by North Koreans on September 10, 1950, was tied to a tree and shot 4 times, 3 of the bullets entering his head and neck [FN16 - Pt. 1, pp. 40-44]. 1st Lt. Henry J. McNichols, formerly with Company E, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, testified:

LIEUTENANT MCNICHOLS: … He [a North Korean officer] pulled out some cloth, rice linen… and took it and tore it into small strips and tied my hands behind my back and he told me to sit down and he further tied me to a tree.

SENATOR POTTER: In other words, he tied your hands behind your back first and then tied you to a tree?

LIEUTENANT MCNICHOLS: Yes. About that time this American unit started up the hill…just a straight infantry attack. Immediately all the enemy soldiers ran out with the exception of this lieutenant. As he reached this tree he reached into his pocket, grabbed his pistol, cocked it and I remember it going off once. However, later I found out that I was shot four times that time….

SENATOR POTTER: Where were you hit, Lieutenant?

LIEUTENANT MCNICHOLS: One of them through the mouth, two of them in the neck, one through the shoulder.

On August 30, 1950, four American soldiers were captured and after being forced to carry North Korean ammunition for 1 day, were shot in the back. Two men survived [FN17 - Pt. 2, pp. 104-109]. Barry F. Rhoden, formerly a sergeant with Company C of the 23d Infantry Regiment of the 2d Infantry Division, testified:

SERGEANT RHODEN: … First they took our boots, our fatigue jackets, or mine, and all of our identification, our dog tags. The officer who was in charge of the group, sir-I guess he was making a collection of dog tags as he had a nice roll of them, with chains, sir. He had all of our watches, rings, everything we had. He was like a kid at a Christmas tree. He was getting a big kick out of it. They had taken our boots…. They loaded us down with their ammunition and some of their personal belongings and worked us all day.

SENATOR POTTER: When you say "we did that," to whom do you refer?

SERGEANT RHODEN: The North Koreans, sir…. The officer had me up questioning me…and he would give me a small piece of paper when he finished, I don't know-just a real small piece-and on it was mimeographed the words, "You are about to die the most horrible kind of death." That was the only statement there was on it that I could read. There was some Korean writing on it, sir. And the rest of the North Koreans had gathered around to watch him. After reading the piece of paper, he motioned for me to go back to where my buddies were, and they were standing a short distance away, sir, approximately the distance from me to you, and as I turned around, sir, I was shot in the back. The force of the bullet knocked me down and I lay there pretending that I was dead, and praying while they shot the other fellows. After they shot the other fellows, they stepped over me, bayoneted the other fellows a couple of times and after a while they left. ##

An American corporal, wounded in the shoulder, was captured by a North Korean patrol on July 10, 1950. During the following 5 days, with his hands tied behind his back, he was beaten with rifle butts and forced to march double time with pebbles in his shoes until he dropped from the excruciating pain and exhaustion. His torture was further aggravated when his captors placed a can opener on his open shoulder wound and applied lighted cigarettes to his pebble-torn feet [FN18 - Pt. 2, pp. 97-103].

Charles E. Kinard, formerly a corporal with the 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, testified:

CORPORAL KINARD: … First they put rocks in my shoes and they would chase me around until I would fall. I had lost quite a bit of blood and when I would come to, they would be giving me the cigarettes to my feet and legs and various places.

SENATOR POTTER: To your bare feet?

CORPORAL KINARD: That is right. Then giving me all this, they decided they would try something new, at which time they had taken the C ration can opener which was on a dog tag hanging around my neck. They inserted that into the wound in my left shoulder and give them a half twist, and one of them said, "ptomaine poison"…. After he inserted this into my wound then, I took it out. He slapped me and hit me on my shoulder, on the wound, with the butt of his rifle, and put it back in there. Well, I decided it would be best if I left it in there…. ##

Near Hoensong, three Americans were captured by North Koreans on February 10, 1951. After being marched to Hoensong they were taken out on the road and while running, were shot from behind. Two lived [FN19 - Pt. 3, pp. 167-170].

Arturo J. Jaramillo, formerly with Headquarters Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2d Infantry Division, testified:

MR. JARAMILLO: … We were going ahead running and pretty soon he fired a shot and we started running faster. Then he kept on firing, so he hit a guy in the back. I turned around at the time I seen him get hit.

SENATOR POTTER: Where did he hit you?

MR. JARAMILLO: He hit me through the shoulder. It came out right here [indicating]. He left me there and he went after the sergeant in front. He was running. Then he shot him twice. We stayed there. It was nothing real hard. That sergeant crawled back to where I was, asked me if I was hit bad, and I told him I was shot in the shoulder. He says, "We better stay here until night time and then we'll try to get back."


Evidence before the subcommittee showed that American war prisoners who were not killed at the time of capture, or shortly thereafter, were forced to participate in what was uniformly described by survivors as death marches. The treatment of prisoners on marches was the same in all instances, clearly establishing that such was a predetermined plan formulated on a high Communist command level [FN20 - Pt. 1, pp. 17, 18, 28-36, 46-50, 62-71; pt. 2, pp. 86-88, 114-118, 134-137, 140-143; pt. 3, pp. 171-180, 182-188, 202-209, 213-215, 218-220].

It was determined that the usual procedure was to march the prisoners from the point of capture to a temporary collecting point. The stay at these points varied from 2 weeks to 5 months, then another march would be undertaken to a more permanent prisoner of war camp.

Shortly after capture the Communists confiscated the heavy outer garments and the combat boots of the Americans, forcing them to march barefoot. The suffering was intense as the weather was extremely cold, and many prisoners froze their feet. The average food ration consisted of one rice ball a day and little or no water. Many died from malnutrition, dysentery, beri-beri and pneumonia. Beatings, lack of food, and inadequate medical attention to the wounded resulted in numerous deaths. The prisoners were forced to parade through towns and villages for display before the civilian populace [FN21 - Ibid].

Prisoners who were unable to continue the marches because of exhaustion were killed by the Communist guards. Many suffered an appalling loss of weight, and it was not unusual for one man to lose as much as 45 pounds [FN22 - Pt. 1, p. 52:

Mr. O'DONNELL: How much weight did you lose all told Corporal?

CORPORAL KREIDER: I lost approximately 45 pounds… Pt. 2, p. 138;

MR. O'DONNELL: How much did you weigh when you were captured, and how much did you weigh in the Sunchon tunnel affair?

SERGEANT SHARPE: I weighed 165 pounds upon capture, and when they found me I weighed 76 pounds."]

More than a thousand Americans died on these death marches, the exact figure being impossible to establish until all repatriated American personnel are interviewed [FN23 - Appendix II].

One of the most infamous of these Communist marches was the Seoul-Pyongyang death march, involving 376 American servicemen. These men, who had been assembled at Seoul, commenced their march to Pyongyang on September 26, 1950. After marching a distance of approximately 250 miles, for a period of 3 weeks, suffering the inhuman indignities as set forth above, only 296 survivors arrived at Pyongyang [FN24 - Pt. 3, p. 176]. Testimony was received that of 1,000 prisoners on the death march from Kuna-ri to Prisoner-of-War Camp No. 5 at Pyoktong, 300 Americans died as a result of the aforementioned treatment [FN25 - Pt. 3, pp. 186-188]. Of the 706 prisoners who left Bean Camp and marched to Prisoner-of-War Camp No. 1 at Changsong, approximately 100 are living today [FN26 - Pt. 2, p. 120]. Evidence was received on other death marches, such as from Pyongyang to Prisoner-of-War Camp No 3, and from the Chosen Reservoir to Kanggye, and thence to Prisoner-of-War Camp No. 1 at Changsong, which further demonstrates the uniform method of diabolic treatment afforded the prisoners [FN27 - Pt. 2, pp. 86-88, 203-209].


Evidence before this subcommittee indicated that the inhuman treatment given American prisoners in Communist prisoners-of-war camps was a sequel to the brutalities and indignities suffered by the prisoners on death marches. The prisoners at these camps were survivors of marches and were necessarily in poor physical condition.

The deliberate plan of savage and barbaric handling of these men was a continuation of the policy which existed on all the marches, and violated virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention of 1929. They were denied adequate nourishment, water, clothing, and shelter. Not only were they denied medical care but they were subjected to experimental monkey-gland operations. Housing conditions were horrible, resulting in widespread disease [FN28 - Pt. 2, 87-97, 118-128, 143-146; pt. 3, pp. 185-202, 208-212, 215, 216].

The prisoners were not permitted to practice their religion and on numerous occasions were beaten, humiliated, and punished. Political questioning and forced Communist indoctrination was constant, and the men were subjected to physical abuse and other punishment when they refused to be receptive to the Communist propaganda. The American newspapers available for reading purposes were the Daily Worker published in New York and the People's Daily World published in San Francisco, copies of which were in the prisoner-of-war camps within 2 months after the date of publication. The Communists utilized prisoners on numerous occasions for propaganda purposes and took posed pictures purporting to show the comfortable life being led by the prisoners, an obvious distortion of truth and fact [FN29 - Pt. 2, pp. 87-97, 118-128, 143-146; pt. 2, pp., 185-202, 208-212, 215-216].

Officers were segregated from the enlisted men and could therefore not exercise any internal control, and were subjected to the same harsh treatment. Prisoners-of-war camps were not properly marked, resulting in bombing by United Nations aircraft. Letters of prisoners were not mailed by their captors, and Red Cross aid was in no way permitted. American prisoners died by the thousands at the rate of 15 to 20 per day. One witness testified that during a 7- to 8-month period 1,500 prisoners died of beriberi, dysentery, pellagra, and other diseases as a result of malnutrition at camp No. 5 at Pyoktong. [FN30 - Lt. Col. Robert Abbott, pt. 3, p. 189: COLONEL ABBOTT: … At Camp No. 5 it is estimated that in a period of 7 or 8 months approximately 1,500 prisoners died in that camp."] Another witness testified that during a 3-month period at camp No. 1 at Changsong 500 Americans died. [FN31 - Sergeant Treffery, pt. 2, p. 90:

MR. O'DONNELL: Of the total number that were there (camp 1), approximately how many American PW's died?


MR. O'DONNELL: That would be between what periods of time?

SERGEANT TREFFERY: May 195, sir, until August 1951."] The Chinese and North Korean Communists maintained no record of American dead [FN32 - Pt. 3, p. 188]. The exact number of known American dead has not as yet been determined, as interrogations of 'Little Switch' and 'Big Switch' returnees are still being conducted, but it is known that the figure will be in the thousands.

Treatment improved somewhat when the peace talks at Panmunjom commenced, as the Chinese Communists adopted their so-called "lenient policy." Prior to the adoption of this policy prisoners had lost as much as 100 pounds in weight. Subsequently, conditions improved slightly, although not to the extent necessary to meet the terms of the Geneva Convention {FN33 - Pt. A3, pp. 189, 192, 193].

Testimony disclosed that the Communists also failed to abide by their agreement which resulted in "Little Switch" and which required that all sick and wounded prisoners be repatriated. Witness after witness testified that many sick and wounded had not been returned under the terms of the agreement [FN34 - Pt. 2, pp. 124, 146; pt. 3, pp. 198-199, 211].

Lt. Col. Robert Abbott, formerly with the United States 8th Infantry Division and a prisoner of war for 33 months, related the following incident concerning treatment afforded prisoners who objected to Communist indoctrination:

COLONEL ABBOTT: They died of malnutrition and lack of medical attention; yes, sir. It was in this camp that we also experienced our first real sadistic treatment of individuals, and I cite one case, the story of a prisoner who when exposed to one of these political indoctrination speeches came back to his quarters and sat down and talking to another prisoner made the statement that the speech that he had just listened to wasn't worth the paper that it was written on.

It so happened that there was a Chinese interpreter standing outside who came in, had heard the statement, took the prisoner out of the room, took him to headquarters where he was taken out and tied up in front of the headquarters where we could all see him. He was required to stand there for a prolonged period of time running into many hours-I'd hesitate to say exactly how long, but a good period of time-until such time as he completely collapsed from exhaustion, couldn't stand any longer.

At this time the Chinese guard came and dragged him away and kicked him as they took him away, hitting him with the butts of their rifles and so on, and actually visibly mistreated him before the bulk of the prisoners in the compound. He was taken to an air-raid shelter where he was confined for a period of probably 3 or 4 days. During this time he received very little food or water and was kept tied up during the entire period.

He returned to the compound sometime later and in a very weak and sick condition and he never fully recovered from that and I would say he died within a period of 3 weeks after he was brought back to us. ##

Lieutenant Colonel Abbott testified as follows concerning monkey-gland operations:

… "In this hospital men were dying again daily. It was the same hospital that I portrayed earlier, with some improvements. Men were sleeping on the floor, and they were covered with maggots, they were suffering from dysentery, pellagra, beri-beri, and so on, and in this hospital the Chinese had introduced an operation that they claimed was a cure-all for all diseases and they referred to it as a tissue operation in which they made an incision under the arm and injected into this incision a chicken liver. It was then re-sewed and allowed to heal.

Under these conditions any open cut does not heal readily. They fester and become infected, and the majority of the men that underwent those operations had some pretty nasty looking cuts under their arms and they were suffering a great deal from the incisions that had been made."

SENATOR POTTER: Were men forced to submit to that type of an operation?

COLONEL ABBOTT: They attempted to force everyone to undergo that operation in the hospital. They seemed to feel that it was something new. They said this was something that Russian medical science had just recently developed and that it was a cure-all and would enable men to rebuild their bodies and regain their health, and the average person was at the point at that time where he was willing to accept anything if there was a chance of improving his lot and he would regain his health and be able to get out of there, and they were desperate and many men accepted that…"###

Evidence that inhumane treatment of prisoners was prevalent at other Communist prison camps was substantiated by the testimony of Cpl. Willie L. Daniels, formerly with the 508th Field Artillery Battalion, 2d infantry Division, who was captured by the Chinese Communists on February 11, 1951, and sent to camp No. 1 at Changsong:

CORPORAL DANIELS: … In camp 1, during that time, you would get up in the morning and maybe you'd see two men setting up like they were talking you know, facing each other, but you go push on them and they'd fall over, both of them dead, just like that. You go down to the latrine, see men setting down there like they were washing their feet, They're also dead. Just dying like flies up there.

SENATOR POTTER: Dying because of….

CORPORAL DANIELS: Malnutrition, beriberi, and dysentery.

SENATOR POTTER: Did they have any medical treatment there?

CORPORAL DANIELS: No, sir; not at that time; no, sir. ##

Prisoners in hospitals were permitted to die without any attempt to give them relief. Sgt. Wendell Treffery, a former aid man with the 7th Infantry Division, and a prisoner of the Communists at camp No. 1, told of the condition of two of his fellow prisoners in the hospital:

SERGEANT TREFERRY: … After arriving up there I started inquiring around where he was. The stalls up there looked like horseracing stalls, like you see at the track, little boxes. I opened the door and there he laid, him and another man. They ere both naked, too weak to even turn over and the blowflies was blowing them, and getting them in the mouth and in the eyes. I said his name and I says, "Can't you put something on you to keep those blowflies off you?" He says, "I'm sorry. I can't do it. I'm too weak. I can't even lift my arms." So I go the Chinese doctor and said, "Can't you do something for these men?" I said, "They're going to die in a few days." He said, "Later, later," always later. Then I heard they died.

While I was there the maggots was coming out of his eyes, out of his ears, nose, and everything else. The blowflies were blowing him; not only his case but several cases like that up there. About 92 percent of them that went up to that so-called hospital never come out." ###

Sergeant Treffery experienced treatment from his Communist captors equally as horrible. His toes which were rotting, having been frozen when his combat boots were confiscated, were amputated with a pair of garden shears by a Chinese nurse without benefit of anesthesia. Later, in order to avoid being sent to the hospital where many of the seriously wounded were sent to die, he broke off his remaining two toes with his fingernails.


The evidence presented to the subcommittee clearly determined that the general Communist policy, governing the treatment of American prisoners of war, emanated from a command level. This was evident in the mass slayings on numerous occasions, particularly during times of United Nations offensives. In virtually every instance, the killing of American prisoners was either ordered or performed by a North Korean or Chinese Communist officer.

The confiscation of clothing and footwear, the inadequate medical attention, and lack of food and water, the beatings and torture of American prisoners were constant during all forced marches and in all prisoner-of-war camps up until the peace talks at Panmunjom. This deliberate Communist policy to weaken prisoners was closely connected with their program of incessant political probing and forced Communist indoctrination. As the peace talks progressed the treatment of war prisoners would improve or revert dependent upon the Communist gains in these negotiations.

Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, Chief of Staff, United States Army, and former Commander of the United Nations Forces in Korea told the subcommittee that the Communist brutalities in Korea was a …"studied and calculated course of criminal misconduct…carried out with such callous disregard of human life and suffering as to indicate a design on the part of the Communist leadership to exterminate prisoners of war in one way or another."….

Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, staff judge advocate of the Korean communications zone, testified:

"I believe that there was a very deliberate definite pattern established which indicated that these instances are not the result of isolated, voluntary acts of individuals but an overall plan to deliberately exterminate and to perpetrate these atrocities upon our troops….."

Lt. Col. Jack Todd, head of the War Crimes Division in Korea, termed the Communist policy as one of "…deliberate destruction of the human will, of human dignity, and worth. In short," Todd said, "the animalizing of helpless humanity through starvation, torture, and neglect is one of the most scathing indictments of Communist-inspired brutality…."

Col. James M. Hanley, former Chief of the War Crimes Division in Korea, told the subcommittee that the pattern of Communist atrocities must have stemmed from a high Communist source, "Either orders were issued or they all think exactly alike."

Lt. Col. Robert Abbott, formerly with the United States 8th Infantry Division, and a prisoner of war of the Communists from November 26, 1950 , to September 5, 1953, testified that the Communist policy of starvation was preconceived and, "is something they have given a great deal of thought to and they have applied it effectively in their own countries against their own type, and they use it continuously against their political prisoners and have found it very effective and they thought that they could do the same with us."


The testimony revealed that more than 1, 800 cases involving many thousands of victims of Communist war atrocities have been opened by the War Crimes Division in Korea. Lt. Col. Jack R. Todd, Chief of the War Crimes Division, testified the most accurate estimate of American troops who died as a result of war crimes was 5,639 as of November 1953. He stated this figure was conservative and might increase after the "Big Switch" investigations are completed [FN35 - Pt. 2, p. 82].

This figure is appalling in view of the evidence that the grand total of all Americans repatriated as a result of "Little Switch" and "Big Switch" was only 3,508. This indicates that approximately two-thirds of all American prisoners of war died due to war crimes.

Furthermore, the above American fatalities figure does not represent the total number of American victims of atrocities because many victims survived and were either repatriated or in some other manner found their way back to the United Nations lines. The conservative estimate of probable American victims as of June 1953, was 6,113, which figure is expected to increase when the "Big Switch" investigations are completed [FN36 - Pt. 2, pp. 82-83}.

Evidence further showed that the total number of reported civilian victims reaches the number 35,459 persons, with a probable verifiable estimate of 17,354; and that the total number of reported victims among United Nations forces (including United States troops) was 20,785 with a probable verifiable estimate of 11,622 [FN37 - Pt. 1, p. 10].


Upon hearing the testimony of all witnesses and studying the documentary evidence submitted, the subcommittee advises:

  1. The North Korean and Chinese Communist armies were guilty of the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against American personnel during the conflict in Korea from June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953:
    1. Murder;
    2. Attempted murder;
    3. Malicious and aggravated assaults;
    4. Various acts of torture, i.e., perforating flesh of prisoners with heated bamboo spears, burning prisoners with lighted cigarettes and inserting a can opener into a prisoner's open wound'
    5. Starvation;
    6. Deliberate policy of fostering starvation;
    7. Experimental medical operations;
    8. Coerced Communist indoctrination;
    9. Bayonetting.
  2. The Communist government in China is equally responsible and guilty as the Communist government in Korea for war atrocities committed against Americans.
  3. Virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of war prisoners was purposely violated or ignored by the North Korean and Chinese forces.
  4. More than 5,000 American prisoners of war died because of communist war atrocities and more than a thousand who survived were victims of war crimes.
  5. Several thousand American soldiers who have not been repatriated were victims of war crimes, died in action, or are presently confined behind the Iron Curtain.
  6. Communist forces violated the "Little Switch" agreement by failing to repatriate the sick and wounded prisoners in accordance with the Panmunjom truce.
  7. The Communists in Korea, by false propaganda, have attempted to inaccurately portray the treatment accorded by them to American prisoners of war.


It is recommended that a resolution be offered in the Senate of the United States proposing that the Senate express its grave concern over these Communist atrocities and recommend to the United States delegation to the United Nations the establishment of an impartial investigating commission of the United Nations. The purpose of said commission would be to inquire into and report the facts of all war crimes committed by the North Korean and Chinese Communist forces in or near Korea since June 24, 1950, and the means of subjecting the criminals responsible to just and lawful punishment.



  • Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, Chief of Staff, United States Army, Washington, D.C.
  • Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, Fort Mason, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Sgt. Carey H. Weinel, Route 3, Hickman Mills, Mo.
  • Lt. Col. Jack R. Todd, Chief War Crimes Division, Office of the Zone Staff, Judge Advocate, Headquarters, Korean Communications Zone, Korea
  • Pfc. John E. Martin, 590 East Lewiston, Ferndale, Mich.
  • Lt. Henry J. McNichols, Jr., Company I, Infantry School Detachment, Fort Benning, Ga.
  • Cpl. Lloyd D. Kreider, West Willow, Pa.
  • William L. Milano, 7056 Reedland Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Maj. Gen. Frank A. Allen, Jr., United States Army, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
  • Lt. James B. Smith, United States Army, Fort Benning, Ga.
  • Sgt. Wendell Treffery, Murphy Army Hospital, Waltham, Mass.
  • Charles Edward Kinard, 211 North Duval, Quincy, Fla.
  • Sgt. Barry F. Rhoden, MacClenny, Fla.
  • Sgt. John L. Watters, Jr., 33 Galveston Street SW, Washington, D.C.
  • Capt. Linton J. Buttrey, Headquarters, M.R.T.C., Camp Pickett, Va.
  • Sgt. George J. Matta, 15 Grover Avenue, Brockton, Mass.
  • Roy Paul Manring, Jr., New Albany, Ind.
  • Charles Robert Sharpe, Pledge Street, Burlington, NC
  • Cpol. James M. Hanley, United States Army, Camp Atterbury, Ind.
  • Frederick C. Herrmann, 35 East Chandler Street, Evansville, Ind.
  • Lt. Col. John W. Gorn, Office of Chief of Legislative Liaison, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.
  • Lt. Col. James T. Rogers, 610 Calhoun Avenue, Greenwood, S.C.
  • Arturo J. Jaramillo, 1027 South Joplin Street, Pueblo, Colo.
  • Capt. Alexander G. Makarounis, 438 Fletcher Street, Lowell, Mass.
  • Lt. Col. Robert Abbott, 6 Alden Place, Rochester, NY
  • Sgt. Orville R. Mullins, 4419 DeCorcey Avenue, Covington, Ky.
  • Maj. Frank M. Finn, War Crimes Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
  • Maj. William Davis Locke, United States Air Force, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.

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