133. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Reagan 1

Dear Mr. President,

With regard to your communication of January 15, 1982,2 I would like to say the following.

The people whom you are petitioning for have really found themselves in a situation not to be envied. After all, this situation was created and has long been maintained in an artificial manner. A way out of it could have been found a long time ago. At the present time, too, it is possible to resolve this question.

The only thing needed is that the US side rather than detain those people within the walls of its Embassy, take measures for them to leave it. Nothing stands in the way of such a step—nobody intended or intends to prosecute that group of pentecostalists.

As to their departure from the USSR, this question can be considered in accordance with the procedure established under our laws and equally applicable to all Soviet citizens, after those persons return to the place of their residence.

However, the group of the sect members that happened to be in the US Embassy is being pushed for some reason or another in a different direction—toward violation of the Soviet laws, setting forth prior conditions and all sorts of demands that can lead only to an impasse. Thus, the entire responsibility for the existing situation rests with the US side, including the responsibility of humanitarian nature.

We are not the ones to be called upon to exercise humaneness. For that matter, the references to humaneness are not convincing, while, in fact, attempts are being made to manipulate the destinies of individuals and not only those of the sect members who are kept in the US Embassy.

What kind of humaneness can one invoke, when the children are forcefully separated from their parents, as is the case with the Soviet citizens Polovchaks? Indeed, when even an American court rules to return Vladimir Polovchak—a minor—to his parents and the US execu[Page 425]tive authorities are raising obstacles thereto, it is not simply inhumane but immoral.

I would like to believe that on the part of the US side necessary measures will be taken to discontinue the abnormal situation existing around the group of Soviet citizens who find themselves in the US Embassy in Moscow.


L. Brezhnev 3
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Head of State File, USSR: General Secretary Brezhnev (8200225, 8200410, 8204854). No classification marking. A typewritten note at the top reads: “Unofficial translation.” Bremer forwarded the letter to Clark under cover of a January 22 memorandum, in which he noted that Bessmertnykh had delivered the letter to Scanlan earlier that day. (Ibid.)
  2. See the attachment to Document 129.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.