119. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

136975. Subject: Technical Penetration: Protest. Ref: Moscow 12011.2

1. The Charge should seek an immediate appointment at an appropriate level in MFA and deliver the following note. Charge is authorized if necessary to correct the facts if they do not accurately state the case locally.

2. Begin text. The Embassy of the United States of America informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that the Embassy has uncovered a secret listening post and electronic spying devices within its chancery building and an underground tunnel extending a considerable distance through the Embassy’s property connecting this installation with a neighboring Soviet apartment building. Following discovery of this installation, the electronic cables operating the post were found to be energized. Moreover, Soviet personnel have been observed to enter and occupy the tunnel from the end connecting to the Soviet apartment building. Thus there can be absolutely no doubt that this listening post has been actively operated by the Soviet side.

The Embassy is instructed to protest this crude intrusion into its chancery. It is totally unacceptable and runs counter to efforts to improve relations between our two countries.

The Embassy demands in the strongest possible terms that the Ministry take immediate measures to put an end to such intrusions into the Embassy’s diplomatic premises. Responsibility for the consequences of this action rest fully with the Soviet side.

The United States reserves the right to return to this matter and to take actions it deems necessary when it has completed its investigation. End text.

3. The Charge may state orally that this event has aroused a strong negative reaction in Washington where Soviet espionage activities [Page 383] against the United States have already become a cause of increasing concern. Charge should, in delivering the note, also present photographs of the eavesdropping equipment and related installation.

4. Charge should state orally that the Ministry’s note of May 283 is so patently false and so absurd as to be insulting, and that he is instructed not to reply but to orally reject it out of hand. Charge may make points and show documents as suggested in reftel, but should avoid letting point of demarche appear to be reply to Soviet note. Point should be our protest of their intrusion into and spying on our property.

5. Ambassador Toon concurs.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 112, 5/26–31/78. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Sent for information Immediate to the White House. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Sherrod McCall (EUR/SOV); cleared by Shulman, Lee R.L. Marks (L), Luers, Bartholomew, and Richard Castrodale (S/S–O); approved by Christopher. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P890106–1014)
  2. Telegram 12011 from Moscow, May 29, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P890106–1026.
  3. Not found.