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The Soviet campaign continued after January 1956 and hit a new record in March 1956 when almost an entire shipload - 780 men, women and children of Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Lithuanians sailed aboard the Argentine vessel "Entre Rios" to Odessa (65) and were whisked away on arrival (66).

exposure and extinction


It is not easy to say when the redefection campaign ended. Robert Morris, counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Internal Security, told a public hearing of the same Committee that information had reached the subcommittee at the 'staff level' that the activities had been called off in early June 1957 (67). A small number of returns ccurred in the US at the end of the same month (68). On the other hand though, 30 Russians and Ukrainians, mostly married couples who had come to the UK after having been prisoners of the Germans, returned to the USSR in July 1958 (69).

What we are sure of is that the Soviet bloc redefection campaign did not go undetected in the United States. In fact, several initiatives contributed not only to its exposure, but also to its extinction.

"During 1955, representatives of the International Rescue Committee
(IRC) posted along the Iron Curtain had noticed signs of increasing
nervousness and exceptional fear among Soviet bloc refugees. It be-
came clear that the Soviet Union and its satellites had launched an
extravagantly financed, carefully planned and centrally directed
campaign to bring about redefections.

The IRC organized an emergency commission under the chairmanship of
General William J. Donovan, war-time head of the OSS. General
Donovan organized and directed the IRC sponsored commission which
visited France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany in February and
March 1956. It examined reports on the redefection campaigns in
Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Turkey and South America and closely
watched developments in the US.


The Commission made its report public at the end of March 1956.
The Commission's exposure of the methods used by the Communists was in
itself a major influence in reinforcing the resolve of the refugees.
Awareness that the Soviet approaches were not based on any personal
interest in the individual but were part of a mass campaign helped
the refugees to understand the political character of the redefection
maneuver. They were better able to resist appeals to nostalgia accom-
panied by threats to relatives left behind, bribes and kidnappings (70)."

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Internal Security in the framework of its hearings on 'the scope of Soviet activity in the United States' was another powerful and successful prosecutor of the Soviet redefection campaign and especially of the role played in that campaign by the members of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. Several Soviet diplomats were asked to leave or were barred from returning to their UN posts. The Subcommittees's findings were summarized in its 'Internal Security Annual Report" for 1956 and 1957 (71). The Subcommittee issued recommendations for the improvement of several aspects of the internal security of the US.

And last but not least, the Information Department of Radio Free Europe (New York) published a report titled "Recent Aspects of the Redefection Campaign" (Special Report #131) of January 16, 1956 which examines the exile targets, methods and the propaganda appeals employed in the redefection campaigns in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania since June 1, 1955.

The TUAPSE Sailors: Diplomatic Kidnapping on US Soil (72).


The Soviet tanker 'TUAPSE', carrying jet fuel to Red China on June 23, 1954, was intercepted and brought into port by the Chinese Navy. At the time, the TUAPSE had a crew of 49 men, who were taken to Formosa.

The 49 seamen were given the choice of returning to the Soviet Union or staying on Formosa (73). Of the 49, twenty nine, through diplomatic efforts of the French government, went back to the Soviet Union. The other 20 remained.

In October 1955, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State, nine of the 20 seamen from Formosa came to the United States. Three of the nine seamen obtained jobs in the Washington area, the six others lived and worked in the New York city area. They encountered the problems and economic difficulties to which most people, immigrants and citizens alike, are subjected. They way of life was modest, but their words and deeds reflected the desire not only to become American citizens but to integrate themselves completely into the American society. A few were even considering marriage. In other words, the seamen did not seem to have problems in appreciating life in the


Trouble started when efforts were applied by Soviet agents to contact the seamen (74). Some of them were accosted in the New York subway and asked to return. Apparently some threats accompanied these encounters. They were also regularly bombarded with letters from home but refused to be impressed with these communications because they all seemed spurious. The sailors said also that their families were not literate enough to write such persuasive and wellcomposed letters (75).


In February 1956, Soviet ambassador Zaroubin asked, through the State Department, to talk to the sailors with the view to persuading them to return home. At this time, the sailors wrote letters in reply. One of the sailors' letters is quite representative of all the others and reads as follows:

"[...] All of us, particularly speaking for myself, are now living
in America. Here I have found asylum and pleasant human relationships.
At the present time I am attending classes studying the English lan-
guage. I am getting accostumed to life in America and I like it here.
The only thing disturbing me is the fate of my dear ones whom I left
behind in the Soviet Union. Since I am not in a position to help them,
I pray to God for their protection. I want to live and work in peace.
I understand perfectly that there is no road back to the past. I
believe that any discussion regarding the subject will lead to no good
whatever [...] (76)."

But this did not end the matter in the eyes of the Soviet authorities. Several of the New York based sailors got visits at home or at work from Soviet representatives bearing letters from relatives and were urging them to return or to report to the home of Arkady Sobolev, the Chief Delegate of the Soviet Union to the United Nations (77).

During the four days preceding the forced departure of 5 of the six New York based sailors for the Soviet Union they were subjected to a combination of persuasion and threats at the headquarters of the Soviet UN delegation on Park Avenue. Exactly how the five were lured to the headquarters

is not entirely clear. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Internal Security points out that on April 5, 1956 at least 2 and probably 4 teams of Soviet strong-arm men, who had obtained entrance to this country under diplomatic status, descended upon Russian refugee seamen in New York City, Paterson and Clifton, New Jersey with the clear purpose of terrifying the seamen into returning to the Soviet Union (78).


When 5 of the six seamen finally cracked and agreed to return to the Soviet Union, they were whisked off on the afternoon of April 7, 1956, accompanied by a large number of Soviet officials ( 15 to 20 people) to Idlewild Airport (NY), where they were interviewed perfunctorily at the Immigration office about their willingness to return to the Soviet Union. Friends of the 5 young men said they had no intention of returning to the Soviet Union up to the time Soviet agents started to close in on them. Two of them had told friends only a few days before they disappeared that it would be suicide for them to go back. One of them, as mentioned earlier, was planning to be married the Sunday after he vanished (79).

The whole operation of rounding up these five sailors and spiriting them out of the US was conducted with military precision and was obviously carefully organized. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Internal Security, which held a two week long hearing on this case, called it "the boldest activity entered upon by Soviet officials here in this country (80)."

On April 27, 1956 Moscow released a statement purportedly signed by the five seamen who returned to the Soviet Union. It contended that the sailors had been threatened and beaten on Formosa; that they had been planning, throughout their stay on that island, ways and means of escaping to some country where there was a Soviet diplomatic representation; that they had learned from a newspaper report of the Soviet representative's address in New York and that, while in the United States, they were surrounded by agents and people hostile to the Soviet Union. Some of these arguments have been repeated by Oleg Bitov and Vitaly Yurchenko when explaining their 'stay' in the West (Bitov returned in Sept. 1984, Yurchenko early November 1985 ). Both said that they had been forced ( by drugs) to stay in the West and that they constantly were looking to escape to Soviet diplomatic representations.

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