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Senate Votes to Order Soviet Embassy Move

October 08, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted today to require the Soviet Union to move its new hilltop embassy in Washington to a site less conducive to spying despite what a conservative Republicans called the current U.S.-Soviet "love-in."

The measure by Sen. Steven D. Symms (R-Ida.) was an amendment to the $3.63-billion State Department authorization bill and was passed by voice vote.

The Senate passed the same measure in a defense authorization bill last week, but that legislation is under threat of a presidential veto.

"This is an amendment that needs to be drilled home again and again," said Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).

Hill Versus Swamp

Helms said the Soviet Embassy, newly completed on Mt. Alto, is on the highest hill in Washington and is loaded with electronic surveillance equipment, while the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is in "a swamp" and is riddled with Soviet bugging devices.

Symms said the State Department has refused to renegotiate embassy agreements with the Soviets even though it now has the power to do so. "That is the case now with the current love-in that's going on between the United States and the Soviet Union," Symms said.

He was apparently referring to Reagan Administration efforts to reach an arms agreement and hold a summit conference with the Soviets.

The measure would require the Administration to void current embassy agreements, negotiate new agreements and require the Soviets to move their embassy to another designated site in Washington.

"The State Department already has the authority to do this, but they won't," a Symms aide said. "Senator Symms believes it's because they're soft on the Soviets."

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