Volume 66, No. 1 (March 2022)

President Eisenhower and CIA Prisoners in China

By Nicholas Dujmovic

This article addresses the little known efforts of the Eisenhower administration after the Korean War to obtain the release of a number of Americans held prisoner by the People’s Republic of China. The efforts for a time included consideration of striving to free two CIA officers who had been captured in late 1952, when a covert flight to recover a supposed Chinese asset was ambushed and crashed. The pilot and copilot were killed, but the CIA officers,  John Downey and Richard Fecteau, were captured. Ultimately, other Americans captured before the armistice who were not associated with CIA were freed. Downey and Fecteau would not come home until 1971 and 1972.

Editor’s note: Printed versions of this unclassified article contained an erroneous set of Endnotes. These have been corrected in this digital version.