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Francis R. Spasowski; Polish Envoy, Defector

Francis Romauld Spasowski, 75, who as Poland’s ambassador to the United States became one of the highest-ranking officials to defect from a Communist country. Spasowski broke with the Warsaw government after imposition of martial law in late 1981 and announced his defection in an internationally broadcast address. The United States granted political asylum to the career diplomat, who had come to Washington, D.C., as Poland’s ambassador first in 1955 and again in 1978. Poland’s military regime sentenced Spasowski to death in absentia, stripped him of his citizenship and confiscated family property. The death sentence was later revoked and his Polish citizenship was restored in 1993, but in the intervening years he had become a U.S. citizen. Spasowski had also served as Polish ambassador to India. On Wednesday in Washington, D.C., of cancer.


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