Don't Delay No Gun Ri Investigation, NCC Head Urges Defense Department
June 1, 2000, NEW YORK CITY The National Council of Churches is pressing the U.S. Defense Department to reconsider its decision to delay investigation of events at No Gun-Ri and instead to complete and make public your findings at the earliest possible opportunity.
At the request of its South Korean counterpart, the National Council of Churches in Korea, the NCC since December 1998 has been seeking a full investigation and report from the Pentagon in response to detailed testimony from Korean survivors and eyewitnesses to the July 1950 massacre of innocent civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly, at No Gun-Ri.
We understand the difficulty in reconstructing and analyzing events of nearly a half-century ago, wrote the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary, in a letter, dated May 30, to U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. However, the announcement that there will be a substantial delay in your investigation and report is a matter of deep concern to churches both in the United States and Korea.
We believe the integrity of our democratic system requires no less than a full disclosure, Dr. Edgar wrote. Moreover, our own integrity in our relationships with the National Council of Churches in Korea is, in point, based upon our assurance that such an investigation would be swift and complete.
The long delay in Defense Department reporting, announced at the very time national publications were questioning the veracity of eyewitness accounts, gives the appearance of a wholesale retreat from a search for the truth about No Gun-Ri, he said. Such a retreat would jeopardize not only our relationships with the Korean churches but would signal an arrogance and indifference unworthy of our nation and its professional military.
I urge you to complete and make public your findings regarding the events at No Gun-Ri at earliest opportunity, Dr. Edgar wrote. Only through such a process can the findings of truth provide the foundation for reconciliation between the peoples of the United States and Korea. Such reconciliation is itself foundational to the peace we all seek.
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