Prague Expels U.S. Envoy in Apparent Retaliation

From Times Wire Services

An American diplomat has been ordered to leave Czechoslovakia for what Communist authorities said was his participation in public demonstrations, the State Department said Friday.

In rejecting the charges against Robert Norman, a political officer who monitored human rights in Czechoslovakia, the department said his ouster was a “clear-cut case” of retaliation for the expulsion last week of a Czechoslovak diplomat here.

“Despite Mr. Norman’s expulsion, we will continue to monitor carefully the human rights situation in Czechoslovakia,” the department said in a statement.


The Czechoslovak diplomat, Jan Fejgl, a first secretary at the Czechoslovak Embassy here, had been caught in an act of espionage, the statement said.

Norman, who was due to leave Prague for another assignment in about a month, was accused of acting in a manner inconsistent with Czechoslovak law.

The State Department disagreed. “Mr. Norman acted at all times in accordance with internationally accepted diplomatic practice,” the statement said.

It added that a replacement for the ousted official would be sent to Prague shortly.

The FBI said Fejgl, 36, was detained May 27 after he was seen receiving Defense Department documents from a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Norman, a Czech language speaker, is reported to have close contacts with prominent dissidents in Prague.