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Editor Happy Daniloff Released, But Concerned About Equating Cases With AM-US-Daniloff Bjt

September 12, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nicholas Daniloff’s editor voiced relief at the correspondent’s release to U.S. authorities in Moscow on Friday but expressed concern that Daniloff’s case not be considered equal to that of a Soviet accused of spying who was similarly released.

″We are not seeking freedom at any price,″ U.S. News & World Report Editor David Gergen said at a news conference.

″We want his freedom. He deserves his freedom. But we are not seeking, he is not seeking, any deal that places a Soviet spy on the same plane as an innocent American.″

Gergen spoke twice by telephone with Daniloff in Moscow on Friday, joined in one conversation by U.S. News chairman Mortimer Zuckerman.

Gergen, a former White House director of communications for President Reagan, said Daniloff ″feels terrific″ but does not regard his release to the U.S. ambassador in Moscow as a full release. He said Daniloff told him he hoped the move would reduce tensions between the two countries and permit greater flexibility leading to full release.

He quoted Daniloff as saying, ″I fervently hope that there will be no trial. A trial could have an extraordinarily depressing effect on U.S.-Soviet relations.″

As Moscow released Daniloff to the custody of the U.S. Embassy, the United States released Gennadiy Zakharov, a Soviet employee of the United Nations in New York, to his country’s ambassador.

Gergen said Daniloff, accused of espionage and held in a KGB prison for 13 days, remains unable to leave the country and is under travel restrictions.

″Our relief that he has been able to change hotels, in effect, is tempered by the fact he’s still held hostage″ and remains subject to ″Soviet extortion,″ Gergen said.

He credited Reagan’s personal appeal to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the personal attention of Secretary of State George Shultz with speeding the process.

But Gergen said it would be a dangerous precedent for Daniloff to be swapped for Zakharov. ″We’re very concerned that the next step of this breaks that equivalence. We think it’s very desirable,″ he said.

He said the magazine wants both a quick release for Daniloff and ″a principled solution to this affair.″

″Now by that I mean that these two men are not treated in the same way. There is no swap. We do not create a precedent of creating an equality between a spy and an innocent American. That is not acceptable,″ Gergan said.

Daniloff was expected to have a report on his detention, which U.S. News will publish in its upcoming issue, said Paul Vizza, a spokesman for the magazine.

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