AP NEWS
Related topics

Kremlin Expulsion Order Says Americans Must Leave by Month’s End

October 20, 1986

MOSCOW (AP) _ Five American diplomats ordered expelled for what the Soviet Foreign Ministry called ″impermissible activities″ must leave by the end of the month, a U.S. Embassy official said today.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the deadline was contained in the official Soviet document ordering the Americans to leave. The Soviet news agency Tass said the diplomats had been ordered out after the Foreign Ministry determined they had engaged in ″impermissible activities.″ The term impermissible activities is a diplomatic catch phrase for spying.

In Washington, Secretary of State George P. Shultz responded to Sunday’s expulsion orders by saying, ″We will protest and we will take some action.″

At the White House, presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said today, ″We reject the Soviet contentions and view this as an unjustified action based on unfounded allegations. We are examining the situation and will take appropriate action.″

He would not discuss what options were under consideration, but said no decisions had been made.

The five are Jack Roberts of the U.S. consulate in Leningrad and four diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow: William Norville, a first secretary, Charles Ehrenfried, a third secretary; and attaches Gary Lonnquist and David Harris.

The Tass announcement did not mention the U.S. expulsions of the 25 Soviet diplomats from the United Nations earlier this month. But Georgy Arbatov, a senior Kremlin specialist on the United States and a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, indicated the Soviets were retaliating.

″If the Americans say they think there are too many spies in our United Nations mission, we can say that, in our opinion, there are too many spies in the American Embassy in Moscow,″ he said, speaking in a satellite interview from Moscow on the CBS-TV program ″Face the Nation.″

It was believed to be the largest group of American diplomats expelled at one time in at least the past 20 years, based on records kept by Western news agencies in Moscow.

″The Americans will (see that) Mr. Gorbachev is a very forthcoming man if he has good partners. But if you behave in such a way he becomes very tough,″ Arbatov said, referring to Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

″It can cool down to zero in both countries if you go on this way of retaliation after retaliation,″ Arbatov said.

Shultz, appearing on the NBC-TV program ″Meet the Press,″ said it is up to President Reagan to determine what action to take.

″The president will consult, and he will decide,″ Shultz said.

In March, the United States ordered Moscow to reduce its U.N. Mission staff by 105 people over a two-year period. The State Department alleged many of the diplomats were engaged in espionage.

In September, two days before Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze arrived in the United States for talks with Reagan and Shultz, Washington issued a specific list of 25 Soviets it accused of using their U.N. status as a cover for spying.

It ordered them to leave, but the deadlines were extended several times.

The last of the expelled Soviets left New York on Tuesday.

Shevardnadze, who denied that the Soviets diplomats were spies, said after his talks with Shultz in New York that Moscow had prepared ″major and very sensitive″ retaliatory measures, but was postponing them until after the Oct. 11-12 summit between Reagan and Gorbachev.

Shevardnadze, referring to retaliatory expulsions, also said he and Shultz had ″agreed we should not engagein competition in this area.″

The Soviet Union and U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar have said the U.S. expulsions violated the United States’ legal agreement for being host country to the U.N. headquarters in New York.

The last U.S. diplomat expelled by the Soviet Union was Eric Sites, a defense attache accused of espionage in May after being detained while meeting a Soviet citizen.

Expulsions of one or two diplomats are somewhat routine, especially in retaliation for U.S. expulsions of Soviet envoys.

The ouster of five U.S. diplomats at once recalled the expulsion battle in September 1985 with Britain. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expelled 25 Soviet diplomats, journalists and trade representatives from London after a defector charged they were spies.

Moscow expelled 25 Britons. Mrs. Thatcher expelled six more Soviets, and Moscow retaliated again, expelling six Britons.

In August, the FBI arrested a Soviet physicist employed by the U.N. Secretariat, Gennadiy Zakharov. Zakharov, accused of espionage, had no diplomatic immunity and was to face trial in New York.

The Soviets in apparent retaliation arrested U.S. journalist Nicholas Daniloff, threatening to try him for spying. The two men were released in September after the Shultz-Shevardnadze talks.

AP RADIO
Update hourly