A major political controversy has built up in the United States over reported conditions at the South Vietnamese island prison on Con Son.
MV Ross Adair talks to interviewer
CU Ross Adair talks
CU Augustus Hawkins speaks
TRANSCRIPTS: (SEQ 2): ADAIR: "Well my feeling is that here is a system which is oriental and the standards of which are quite different than ours. There are things done and tolerated in that part of the world that we would certainly not accept here. I think perhaps this system is representative of such a condition. We are dealing with another sovereign government and we have to respect the rights of that government."
(SEQ 3): HAWKINS: "We saw this prison as the end result of a system of oppression and suppression that had been used against the people of South Vietnam by a government that was corrupt and staying in power because we supported this Government. I think the unfortunate implication is that we are identified with a country that will permit the type of torture that goes on at Con Son."
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Background: A major political controversy has built up in the United States over reported conditions at the South Vietnamese island prison on Con Son. The row broke out when two congressmen alleged that hundreds of men and women were locked like animals in barred concrete cells, were punished by having lime thrown at them, and that many could not stand up through malnutrition and lack of exercise.
The two representatives, William Anderson, a Tennessee democrat and Augustus Hawkins, also a democrat from California were members of a 12-man mission which spent two weeks on an Indo-China inspection tour. Their allegations came after a 70-page report issued by the committee chairman, Mr. G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery, a Mississippi democrat. The report made only brief mention of the prison, which lies 60 miles off the Mekong River Delta in the South China Sea.
A staff aide to the committee Mr. Thomas Harken announced after his return to Washington that he had resigned his position. He alleged that some congressmen and government officials had tried to hide information about what he called "inhuman torture cells" for the political prisoners at Con Son.