A Moscow criminal investigator has interrogated two United States reporters about a written appeal by a group of Soviet Jews wishing to emigrate, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko writes.
Western diplomats viewed the move as part of an official bid to discourage contact between Soviet citizens and Western reporters, as well as a possible prelude to prosecution of the would-be emigres involved.
Walter Wisniewski of United Press International and Robert Gillette of the Los Angeles Times reported to a Moscow prosecutor's office Thursday in reply to a summons.
They were questioned separately for a total of some six hours. The questions reportedly focused on published stories about an appeal last February by a group of Soviet Jewish scientists. Their appeal was addressed to the President of Israel.
''I told them [the investigators] it was hard for me to believe they needed Western correspondents' help in obtaining a conviction in a political case,'' Mr. Gillette said. Both US reporters said the questioning was polite in tone and that they had refused to divulge any information about their sources for the published stories in question.