Croatia and US Sign Agreement on Searching for WWII Dead

By 14 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - The Croatian Minister of Veterans' Affairs Tomo Medved and the Director of the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Kelly McKeague signed a memorandum of understanding in Zagreb on Tuesday on investigating, locating and transferring the remains of US military personnel gone missing in Croatia during World War II. The memorandum on WWII formalises and reaffirms the excellent cooperation between the two ministries and defines their mutual relations and methods of cooperation in investigating, locating and transferring the remains of US personnel presumed to have gone missing in Croatia in WWII at the expense of the United States, the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs said in a statement.

"I am confident that this memorandum will be a good basis for the further investigation of 61 sites and for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the search for the missing persons," Medved said, adding that Croatia already had similar agreements in place with Germany, Italy and Slovenia.

McKeague said that this visit was a very important opportunity showing cooperation between the two countries, adding that the cooperation would not have been successful without the effort of the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs and the faith that war casualties would be traced.

Tracing those who made the greatest sacrifice in battle is a value that the United States shares with Croatia. This is a search for answers that we can give to the families of those missing, which is a very humane goal, McKeague said.

The US is looking for 161 pilots who went missing in the territory of Croatia during WWII. Their families are grateful to Croatia for signing the memorandum, which is a good indicator of cooperation, McKeague said.

The two countries began working on this issue in February 2017.

Croatia has already provided assistance in locating remains of the crew of a B-24J aircraft, known as the Tulsamerican, that crashed off the southern island of Vis on its way from a combat mission in December 1944.

For more on the cooperation between Croatia and the United States, click here.