188. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski

Ambassador Dobrynin indicated that the Soviet authorities have considered the question of mitigating Filatov’s sentence. “Capital punishment will be replaced by long-term imprisonment.”

[Page 544]

With the above item satisfying the issues raised by me on November 17, 1978 (see memcon),2 the Ambassador indicated that the Soviet Union would be prepared by May 1 to expel from the Soviet Union Vins, Moroz, Kuznetsov, Dymshitz, and Ginzburg; together with those members of their immediate families who may want to accompany them (though perhaps some family members may have to follow later, if arrangements for their departure cannot be immediately concluded).

In return, the U.S. will expel from the U.S. within the same time frame Chernyayev and Enger.

The Ambassador proposed Helsinki, Warsaw or Prague as the venues for the exchange.

I indicated satisfaction with this outcome and asked whether the exchange procedure could not be simplified, with the parties concerned departing directly from Moscow and New York, respectively, for New York and Moscow, respectively.

After some further discussion he then agreed to explore the possibility of this being done in the above fashion either by this Wednesday or by this Friday, both being days on which there are direct Aeroflot connections between Moscow and New York.

In addition, I raised the question of a public announcement, pointing out that the item will leak and excessive expectations would be built up—and thus it is in our mutual interest that there be an early announcement. Dobrynin promised to check with Moscow and let me know whether Moscow has any difficulties with an announcement being made by this Wednesday, even if the release were to be culminated on Friday.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Geographic File, Box 19, U.S.S.R.—Prisoner Exchanges: (8/78–5/79). Secret. The meeting took place at the White House.
  2. See Document 159.
  3. Dobrynin agreed to the terms in an April 25 message. (Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Geographic File, Box 19, U.S.S.R.—Prisoner Exchanges: (8/78–5/79))