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Thanks to all who cared to reply to my message. Some further comments: 1. In my original message I said that the authors of _The Haunted Wood_ "fortunately" had no access to the files I worked with. I meant to say that I strongly disapprove of the way the SVR had sold its archives to the Random House which sponsored that book. That statement obviously caused some misunderstanding. I am glad it was eventually cleared up and list members got the correction. 2. Mr. Sandilands from Glasgow and Mr. Zimmerman from Las Vegas asked if my research on the Hiss matter included addressing the GRU as a "sister service", and did I examine Soviet military archives. No, I did not examine Soviet military archives. I wrote a letter to the GRU and received the relevant answer. That of course was, and, I believe, still is a classified correspondence. 3. Prof. Kaiser wanted me to clarify why I think that Mr. Hiss was not a spy, and what about the ALES message in VENONA. That was not the question of my thinking. I have found in the SVR archives positive hard evidence that Alger Hiss had not had any relationship with the SVR or its predecessors. My conclusion was in fact endorsed by the leadership of the SVR. As for the ALES thing, I would council against giving too much weight to that cryptonym, since at that time anybody who was somebody in Washington was given a cryptonym by the Soviet intelligence. Thus FDR was CAPTAIN, Secretary of State was MECHANIC, Harry Hopkins also had his moniker, etc., which is not to be taken as an indication that either one was a Soviet spy. Alger Hiss also had his cryptonym, but it was not (repeat: was not) ALES. 4. Some list members wished me to explain my reference to Gen. Volkogonov as "defrocked commissar" which obviously had puzzled them. It refers to the fact that under Soviet rule Gen. Volkogonov was a high level "political worker" in the Soviet army, that is "a commissar", whose job was to supervise and indoctrinate the Soviet military in the leading role of the Communist party, superiority of the Soviet system, all victorious force of Lenin's teaching etc. His high military rank - Three Star General - is an indication that his zeal was appreciated. However, by the end of 1980s, when the going for the Communist orthodoxy got tough, he had made complete about face and became an ardent democrat. For that he was even more detested by the military. In his books, written after he had been "born again", he cursed everything he had been preaching and hammering into other people's heads for forty years. His behavior bordered on indecent. As for Gen. Volkogonov's original claim in the Hiss case and his later retraction, that is another testimony to his dubious integrity as a researcher. In writing Lenin's and Stalin's biographies he made use of the Communist party archives, but they are worlds apart from the intelligence archives. The fact that Gen. Volkogonov was an advisor to Yeltsyn could hardly make him more acceptable to the Russian intelligence services. 5. Prof. E. Mark from the Dept. of the Air Force has expressed his regrets for deterioration of my memory and explained that Prof. Lowenthal had addressed his letter to the SVR and not to the FSB as I claim. Everyone of course has the right to express his concern about mental abilities of the other fellow. For example, present SVR leadership is concerned that I remember too much. I do not pretend to possess full knowledge of all steps Prof. Lowenthal may have taken and every individual Gen. Volkogonov may have approached on the subject. But I worked with a letter Prof. Lowenthal had sent to the FSB which in turn routed it to the SVR. Incidentally, I also have very strong doubts concerning Mr. Mark's allegation that "two western researchers have seen Hiss file in the archive of the GRU". I would be glad to hear the specifics of that daring exploit. It will undoubtedly allow to rest Hiss' case once and for all. In this connection I am grateful to Prof. Kaiser for his question: Will I eat my hat if and when the GRU opens its files and it turns out Alger Hiss have been a spy? The question sounds somewhat rhetorical since I spoke for the SVR and not the GRU. But if that is the case I would drink to that outstanding success of my brothers in arms from the GRU and take a bite of my hat. Julius N. Kobyakov Major General SVR (Retired)