Three-Way Prisoner Exchange Completed Between East Germany, Mozambique, and the United States
A three-way prisoner exchange among the U.S., East Germany and Mozambique was completed.
Miron Marcus, an Israeli citizen held since September 1976, was released on the Mozambique-Swaziland border. The U.S. released Robert G. Thompson, a former Air Force intelligence clerk convicted of passing secrets to the Soviets. East Germany released Alan Van Norman of Windom, Minn., who had been arrested in East Germany while trying to smuggle a German doctor, his wife and son to the West.
The central figure in the swap was the prisoner from Lewisburg: Robert Thompson, 43, a onetime U.S. Air Force clerk who had served 13 years of a 30-year sentence after confessing, in 1965, that he had passed hundreds of photos of secret documents to the Soviets while he was based in West Berlin. After the exchange, Thompson hurried off into East Berlin, leaving behind several lingering puzzles about his true identity. Although U.S. investigators remained persuaded that he was a Detroit-born American, Thompson maintained that he was actually born in Leipzig (now in East Germany) of a Russian father and a German mother. If given another opportunity to spy for the Soviets, he said, he would "do it again." In any case, Moscow was so eager to obtain Thompson that it arranged for other Communist regimes to give up two prisoners: