CIA instructions issued to U-2 pilots (1960)




The following instructions were issued by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to U-2 pilots engaged to fly missions over hostile territory. These instructions were given to Francis Gary Powers prior to his May 1960 mission over the Soviet Union, in which his plane was shot down and Powers was captured. These instructions were produced and discussed at a 1962 board of inquiry into Powers’ conduct during the 1960 incident:

Conduct and Procedures in the event of capture

“If evasion is not feasible, and capture appears imminent, pilots should surrender without resistance and adopt a cooperative attitude towards their captors.

At all times while in the custody of their captors, pilots will conduct themselves with dignity and maintain a respectful attitude towards their superiors.

Pilots will be instructed that they are perfectly free to tell the full truth about their mission, with the exception of certain specifications of the aircraft.

They will be advised to represent themselves as civilians, to admit previous Air Force affiliation, to admit current CIA employment, and to make no attempt to deny the nature of their mission.

They will be instructed [redacted]…

Such briefing should safeguard pilots from extreme treatment by permitting them the greatest possible latitude in responding to interrogations.”

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