Two American generals, held in the Soviet Union for 20 days after their light aircraft strayed across the Turkish border, returned to Ankara yesterday (Thursday 10 November).
Two American generals, held in the Soviet Union for 20 days after their light aircraft strayed across the Turkish border, returned to Ankara yesterday (Thursday 10 November). They said they had been well-treated.
The two officers, Brig.-Gen. Edward Scherrer, aged 57, and Brig.-Gen. Claude McQuarrie, 45, had been held in the town of Leninakhan since their aircraft crossed the border during bad visibility while the officers were on a tour of military installations in Eastern Turkey.
They were handed over to Turkish authorities yesterday at Kars, on the border with Soviet Armenia, taken by road to Erzincan and then flown to Ankara. On arrival, they said they had spent most of their captivity playing cards and backgammon with the Russians. They declined to say who won.
Also released was a Turkish liaison officer, Colonel Vecat Denli. The American pilot of their aircraft, Major James Russell, stayed behind to fly it back to Turkey as soon as weather conditions permit.
The generals' detention led to increased friction between the United States and the Soviet Union and a U.S. boycott of Soviet diplomatic receptions.
The chief complaint made by the generals on their return was that they had not been able to play golf. General McQuarrie expressed regret at having missed the Ankara golf championship last weekend.