Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) released yesterday the names of 13 men and women who will be allowed to leave the Soviet Union and come to the United States. The State Department verified all but two, declining to confirm every name until their spouses in the United States receive official notification.
The announcement was made just three days before the start of the Geneva summit. Of the group allowed to leave, eight are married to American citizens, one is the 16-year-old son of an American woman and the remaining four are a family in which the father is a U.S. citizen.
National security affairs adviser Robert C. McFarlane, traveling with President Reagan yesterday, said, "As much as we welcome these, we must remain concerned with those whose separations continue." Presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said the White House was "pleased the families can be reunited."
Simon, a leader in the drive to unite families having members in the United States and the Soviet Union, said the Soviet decision is "a public relations move but it is also an indication they want to improve the atmosphere" at the summit. "It's not substantial in the sense of, say, an arms control agreement," he said. "But it does improve the atmosphere."
Although the State Department has been notifying U.S. spouses and other relatives, a number of those who will be allowed to leave the Soviet Union had received no official word as of late yesterday.
In Moscow, Irina McClellan, barred for 11 years from joining her American husband, Woodford McClellan, of Charlottesville, Va., said she was "afraid to believe" privately circulated reports that she and nine others soon will be granted exit visas. "My husband called everyone at home in the United States and everyone was so excited," she told the Associated Press. "Imagine what would happen if they are all deceived?"
"My husband was so excited for the first time in many years," she said. "I wanted so much to see that happy man." At the end of their call, Irina McClellan said, "My husband said, 'You know, I am almost bald and gray-haired.' I said, 'Don't be afraid, I have problems, too.' "
Abe Stolar, whose family took him to Russia in 1931 when he was 19, said when contacted by a reporter: "This is the first I've heard of this . . . I have heard nothing new from the Soviet authorities."
Stolar will be permitted to return to the United States with his wife, Gita, his son, Mikhail, and his daughter-in-law, Julia, according to State Department officials, although Soviet authorities will require Mikhail and Julia to be married in a civil ceremony in addition to their existing church marriage.
In California, Anthony Bartholemew of Glendale, Calif., who married Tatyana Bondareva in 1982, told United Press International "Boy, I haven't been this happy in my whole life, honest to God. I kept praying each time she filed her papers. God, this was the last hope with the summit meeting coming up and there wouldn't be another chance like this."
Others on the Simon list:
Dimitri Argakov of Leningrad, married to Mary Lou Hulseman of Cleveland. Helle Frejus of Estonia, married to Kazmierz Frejus of Pomona, Calif. Michael Iossel of Leningrad, married to Edith Luthi of Holliston, Mass. Marina Lepehina, who is already in Justice, Ill., near Chicago, with her husband, John Kopecki. An aide to Simon said Lepehina previously did not have official Soviet permission to emigrate. Aleksei Lodisev of Kiev, married to Sandy Gubin of Kalamazoo, Mich. Leonid Ablavsky of Leningrad, married to Robin Rubendunst of Somerville, Mass. Michael Stukalin, age 17, of Moscow, who will be reunited with his mother, Margarita, of Rochester, N.Y.
The two not confirmed by the State Department were Argakov and Frejus.