Britain has asked the Soviet Union to remove 90 officials, including embassy staff, which the Foreign Office says have been engaging in intelligence activity.
Britain has asked the Soviet Union to remove 90 officials, including embassy staff, which the Foreign Office says have been engaging in intelligence activity. Another 15 who have re-entry visas will not be allowed to return to Britain.
The unprecedented move, fully publicised by the British Government, is contain to have diplomatic consequences. It follows the reported defection of an unnamed agent of the KGB, the Soviet secret service, who has apparently furnished details of the activities of the officials, representing a fifth of the 580 Soviet officials based in Britain.
SYNOPSIS: The British Government has asked the Soviet Union to remove 90 embassy staff and other officials who it claims have used their officials status in Britain as a cover for spying. Another 15 who were temporarily outside Britain have and their re-entry visas cancelled. The move cots the corps. of 550 Soviet representatives in Britain by almost of fifty and is certain to have diplomatic repercussions. The Soviet Embassy itself houses 83 diplomats.
But the British accusations don't stop at the embassy. Some of the alleged spies are among the officials who work at the Intourist and Aeroflot officers and similar trading offices scattered ground London. The revelations of intelligence activity behind these doors follow the reported defect to Britain of a senior against of the KGB Soviet intelligence service earlier this month. The defector, clearly regarded by Britain as a major catch. has not been identified. He apparently disclosed plans to infiltrate further agents into Britain.
A major location in the drama is the Soviet Trade Mission, which stands in wooded ground it north London. More than 300 officials are employed there, and the British Government Regards it as a nerve-centre for intelligence activity.
It is pointed out the while Soviet diplomats cannot travel more than 35 miles from London without special permits, trade officials have greater freedom to travel. The accusation is that some officials have used that freedom to make contacts and try to acquire secret information, especially in the field of advanced technology. Britain is now braced for the expulsion of some of the 78 officials at the embassy in Moscow.