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Soviet Authorities Release Yale Professor Accused of Espionage

Nov. 16, 1963 - Soviet authorities announced today the release and expulsion of Frederick C. Barghoorn, a Yale University professor, and a few hours later put him on a plane to London. Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko, announcing the release to the U.S. chargé d’affaires, Walter J. Stoessel, said the action had been taken “in view of the personal concern expressed by President Kennedy” over the professor’s arrest. But Izvestia, in its announcement of the release, reiterated Soviet charges that the professor had been spying. President Kennedy, a personal friend of Professor Barghoorn’s, had made a forceful declaration that he was “not on an intelligence mission of any kind.” The President also warned at a news conference that the arrest might upset the Soviet-U.S. cultural program — extremely popular among the Soviet people. Professor Barghoorn arrived in London looking haggard and nervous. He told embassy officials, “It’s certainly great to be here.” The Soviet Government newspaper said an investigation had “confirmed the fact” that Professor Barghoorn had been “engaged in intelligence activities.” It added that the Soviet authorities would have had “every ground” to put him on trial but had decided to “expel” him instead. Professor Barghoorn’s release appeared to confirm a belief among Western diplomats that the arrest was a result of some kind of miscalculation. This afternoon, Mrs. Elizabeth Barghoorn, the professor’s widowed 80-year-old mother, telephoned the White House to thank President Kennedy for his help in securing her son’s release. The President was away in Florida, so she sent a telegram expressing her appreciation. “The Russians use the world ‘expel,’” she told newsmen. “They must still think he’s a spy. Well, I’ll settle for having him ‘expelled.’ It’s the best news I’ve heard. I think our protests must have done some good. The Russians are anxious. They’ve found out they’ve made an awful mistake.”


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