Soviet officials have refused to supply American doctors with "simple information" - which the Russians acknowledge they have - to assist a State Department study of a puzzling blood irregularity among U.S. embassy employes and their families, the doctors said today.
The American doctors - two from the State Department and a third from a cancer unit at the Massachussetts General Hospital - came to Moscow after the Soviet Ministry of Health indicated that it was ready to discuss a request made last fall for data on the blood of ordinary Muscovites. The physicians want to compare the findings with tests made on Americans here.
The doctors said that in two meetings this week their bid was turned down on the grounds that there is "no problem" with Americans in Moscow and that the data routinely gathered by the Soviets for their own use had not been "properly analyzed." The attitude of the Russians, one of the Americans remarked, "bordered on the insulting and was certainly condescending."
The Soviet refusal to turn over the raw data was coupled with "simple-minded lectures" on hematology, the study of blood, according to Dr. Thomas P. Stossel of Massachusetts General Hospital. The three Americans were given a textbook on hematology and some reprints of scientific articles that they said were irrelevant.
The Russians, said Dr. William Watson, medical director of the State Department, "couldn't really bring themselves to divulge the simple information. They suggested other avenues" such as that Americans here should go to the Soviet-run diplomatic polyclinic "when they feel sick."
After the disclosure a year ago that Soviet microwaves were being beamed at the embassy and had been for years, tests were made on embassy officials and their families as part of a program to assess the possible consequences of that radiation.
About a third of those examined showed white blood counts significantly higher than average - although the doctors stressed at the time and again today that there is no indication that the persons involved are sick. The condition appears to disappear as soon as the Americans leave Moscow.
Because many of those with the higher white cell count were known not to have been exposed to the microwaves, the radiation has been tentatively ruled out as the cause.
The blood irregularity, said Dr. Stossel, chief of the medical oncological unit at Massachussetts General, "is a manifestation of an unknown influence."
The Soviets at the meetings represented the Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusions as well as the Ministry of Health. They did not mention the microwaves, nor did the Americans, but Stossel said that "politics was hanging in the air."
From the outset, Moscow has denounced as an "invention" the allegations that it focused powerful microwave beams on the embassy in what was thought to be an effort to block U.S. surveillance equipment. In a commentary last week, Tass, the official news agency, said these "macro-inventions over microwaves" are used by "circles opposing good Soviet-American relations.
Because of the Soviet attitude, the Americans were surprised and pleased when they received what appeared to be an encouraging response to their request for help last October.
Dr. Herbert Pollock, a consultant on the microwave study, also met with the Soviet doctors.