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

212493. Subject: (C) Secretary’s Conversation With Avital Shcharanskiy.

1. (Confidential-entire text)

2. Secretary called Mrs. Shcharanskiy on August 12 on returning to the United States but could not reach her. He called again early morning August 13 and told her that he had received her message delivered to him through Marshall Shulman2 and that we were raising the issue of her husband’s health with the Soviets. Secretary told her we would let her know as soon as we received a response. She expressed appreciation for our help in this matter.

3. During afternoon of August 13 Marshall raised the subject with the Soviet Charge, Vasev, expressing privately the Secretary’s concern and that of the White House and asking whether something could be done, in the first instance to ameliorate Shcharanskiy’s health conditions and then to seek his early release. Vasev said the problem grows more difficult when it is agitated, and expressed the opinion that if a solution comes it will come only after a period of quiet.

4. We regard it as important that we not discuss this approach publicly.

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of Soviet Union Affairs, Dissidents and Political Prisoner Subject Files 1974–1988, Lot 91D273, Box 8, Shcharanskiy, 1979. Confidential; Immediate; Nodis. Sent for information to Tel Aviv. Drafted by Robert W. Farrand (EUR/SOV); cleared by McCall, Barry, David Korn (NEA/IAI), Arnold Raphel (S), and Bremer; approved by Shulman.
  2. See Document 211.