236. Telegram From Secretary of State Shultz’s Delegation to the White House1

SECTO 15021. Subject: Moscow Trip: Visit to Pentecostalist Families in Embassy for the President.

1. Confidential—Entire text.

2. Just before leaving for the airport following our meeting with Andropov, George and Barbara Bush and I had the sad and sobering experience of meeting with the six Pentecostalist family members living in our Moscow Embassy. As you know, we have been giving the Pentecostalists refuge since June 1978 because the Soviets insist they must return to Siberia before their emigration applications will be considered. They wish to leave the Soviet Union directly because their previous applications have brought them only persecution.

3. The six family members seemed touched by our unexpected visit. It gave them the chance to give us the letters they had prepared to send us on the occasion of our stay in Moscow, and they were generous in their praise of U.S. help and our efforts to help them emigrate. During our chat, George and I expressed the hope that the time will soon come when they can leave and be free to practice their religion as they wish, without encouraging unrealistic expectations on their part.

4. We did not publicize the visit beforehand, but it did come on the heels of our talk with Andropov, and I doubt the Soviets will miss the clear signal of your deep commitment to the cause of human rights in the USSR.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country File, USSR (11/10/1982–11/12/1982). Confidential; Niact; Immediate. Sent Immediate for information to the Department of State. Sent from Shultz’s aircraft. Reagan initialed the first page of the telegram.