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Historical Dictionary

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PRISONERS OF WAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM.

According to the December 1954 declaration made by Jacques Chevallier, French state secretary for War,  the French returned to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) 67,000 detainees (détenus), including 59,700 internees and 8,000 war prisoners. The French had classified the majority of these enemy Vietnamese prisoners as personnels internés militaires or PIM. This status technically refers to enemy prisoners taken by the Expeditionary Corps and used for various types of corvée labor. The French army used them behind the lines doing manual jobs and even deployed them as workers during the battle of Dien Bien Phu during which the PIM suffered heavy casualties. According to a separate source, the French returned 64,000 PIM. See also EXECUTIONS.