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US says one of its envoys was beaten in Leningrad

A US diplomat was beaten by Soviet youths in Leningrad on April 17 after meeting with people ''the Soviets might consider in contact with dissidents,'' a US official said Wednesday.

The State Department official suggested official Soviet involvement in the beating, saying, ''We are talking about a society where very little happens by accident.'' The US official made the comments to reporters on condition he not be named.

State Department spokesman John Hughes confirmed the incident involving US consul Roland Harms at a regular briefing, but gave few details. Mr. Hughes said a formal US protest was filed with Soviet authorities the next day but, following usual procedure, no public announcement had been made. Mr. Hughes said Mr. Harms had not been hospitalized and the State Department planned to keep him in Leningrad.

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