Statement by State Department spokesman Charles Redman issued last night:
On Nov. 4, 1985, Vitaly Sergeyevich Yurchenko, appeared at a press conference at the Soviet Embassy in Washington where he made a series of allegations which are completely false and without any foundation. Accordingly the United States government wishes to set the record straight.
On Aug. 1, 1985, Mr. Yurchenko, a senior officer of the Soviet KGB, defected of his own volition to the American Embassy in Rome, Italy. He requested asylum in the U.S. and signed a statement to that effect and asylum was granted.
Since his arrival in the United States on Aug. 2, Mr. Yurchenko has willingly cooperated with both the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI in providing information about Soviet intelligence activities throughout the world and the organization of the KGB. At no time was Mr. Yurchenko held or coerced by improper, illegal or unethical means. It is Mr. Yurchenko's right to return to the Soviet Union once the United States government is, in fact, assured that this action is genuinely of his own choosing. The information he provided over the last three months continues to be processed and assessed by the intelligence community.
At 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, the Soviet charge, Mr. Oleg Sokolov, informed the acting secretary of state John Whitehead that Mr. Yurchenko was in the Soviet Embassy. He repeated Yurchenko's story of "abduction," protested his alleged mistreatment and said Mr. Yurchenko was requesting permission to return to the U.S.S.R. Mr. Whitehead refuted the various Soviet charges, including the charge that Yurchenko had been drugged and brought to this country against his will.
Mr. Whitehead told the Soviets that before we allow Yurchenko to leave this country, we will insist on a meeting with him in an environment free of Soviet coercion to satisfy ourselves about his real intentions.