At the close of his article "No MIA Conspiracy" {op-ed, Aug. 24}, Stephen Rosenfeld wrote "my own sense of things is that the Americans who were taken prisoner in Vietnam have been honorably served by those charged with pursuing their fate. Does that make me part of the conspiracy?"

The answer is that nearly all of the "hundreds and perhaps thousands of officials" Rosenfeld referred to did play a part, usually minor, in ensuring that the full truth on American and Allied POWs held by the Soviets and their surrogates after World War II, Korea and Vietnam would not be revealed to the American public. The matter has been a national security concern since the development of the Soviet nuclear threat to the very existence of the United States. All the officials and officers who have taken part in suppressing the truth of Soviet-surrogate-held American POWs have faced a painful moral choice while doing their lawfully ordered duty.

Based on thousands of declassified official documents and supporting eyewitness accounts obtained during seven years of investigation and research, it is clear that thousands of American POWs have been secretly held by the Soviets and their surrogates since 1945. The numbers of Americans thus illegally withheld appear to have been approximately 20,000 in 1945, 4,000 to 5,000 (or more) after 1953 and perhaps as many as 1,000 after 1973. These Americans, and many thousands more Allied POWs, were withheld for ransom and blackmail, used as forced labor and for espionage purposes. In addition I can document the secret withholding of American POWs of the 1918-1920 intervention in Russia in Lubyanka prison in Moscow and the Solovetsky Islands GPU forced-labor camps until at least the 1929-1930 period.

In answer to Rosenfeld's final question: All major-circulation U.S. publications I have contacted, with the exception of the VFW Magazine, have declined to publish documentable facts of the history of U.S. prisoners of war held by Communist nations. These publications have apparently declined to even investigate the matter seriously. It is therefore difficult to escape the conclusion that the editors of such publications have avoided publishing such historically significant material in the interest of some higher political purpose.

Rosenfeld accused people like me of "turning on our own government." It might be in order to state that my family helped found and protect the revolutionary government of the United States in 1776 that I in my turn served that government in front-line combat and that it was the intention of the Founding Fathers that our government be constantly held accountable to the people. That is the principle for which the tens of thousands of missing American POWs fought, and that is why people such as myself consider that we are merely doing our duty toward our fellow American servicemen by uncovering the truth about their fate. -- John M. G. Brown