WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration, angered by the expulsion of five American diplomats from the Soviet Union, today lodged a formal protest with the Kremlin and will retaliate soon, probably by expelling more Soviets from the United States, officials said today.
An official who spoke on the condition he not be identified said the expected expulsion of Soviet diplomats could come later today or Tuesday.
Another official said, "We are not going to dillydally."
As it was revealed today that the U.S. diplomats have until Nov. 1 to leave, the U.S. deputy chief of mission in Moscow, Richard Combs, formally protested the Soviet action, and State Department spokesmen Charles Redman said it is "totally without justification and can't help but have a detrimental effect on relations."
Redman did not link the expulsion order of the five Americans with continuing post-Reykjavik summit contacts between U.S. and Soviet arms control negotiators. The Soviet action, announced Sunday, is the largest single mass expulsion of Americans from the Soviet Union. (Story on Page 9.)