Security: Details of the intense surveillance carried out on the personnel and activities of the new embassy of the Soviet Union in Dublin in 1974 have emerged in a military intelligence file for that year which has just been released.
While numerous pages in the file have been withheld, on the grounds that they contain "information of a personal nature" or "personal data", enough remains to show that the authorities were deeply suspicious of the new diplomatic mission, which was kept under both military and Garda observation. No doubt Irish diplomats in Moscow were kept under similar surveillance.
A hand-written note, formerly marked "Secret" but now declassified, about the new Soviet ambassador, Mr Anatoli Stepanovich Kaplin, reports that there were "several indications that in the early part of his career he had an intelligence function". The anonymous author continues that Ambassador Kaplin "will be aware of RIS [ Russian Intelligence Service] interest in Ireland and may be expected to be sympathetic to any demands the RIS may make".
The file also contains a copy of a form which, under the terms of a confidential agreement between the Irish and Soviet governments, embassy personnel were required to complete in triplicate and submit to the Department of Foreign Affairs each time they proposed making a journey "to places within the State situated outside a radius of forty kilometres (underlined) from the General Post Office, Dublin 1". Details requested included itinerary, motor registration number etc.
A letter from Col Pearse Quinlan, director of intelligence at the Department of Defence, to Chief Supt Laurence Wren, of An Garda Síochána, requests the make and colour of Ambassador Kaplin's car. In a further letter to Chief Supt Wren, dated October 17th 1974, Col Quinlan informs him that an embassy official, Arnold S. Buyevich, "described as the Press and Cultural Officer", would be travelling to Galway for four days. "We would be glad to know if he comes to your notice in a security context during his visit to Galway," the letter concludes.
The Soviet Embassy file is number "C/1927" and reference is made to the file of the leader of the Irish Communist Party, Mr Michael O'Riordan, which is a much earlier "C/73". "C" is thought to stand for "Communist".
A note on Ambassador Kaplin says that he invited "a lot of Establishment figures" to a reception celebrating the October Revolution of 1917 and that "they all seemed to have attended". The note continues: "Kaplin is known to be very inquisite (sic) about the Irish Army and its attitudes. He will make every effort to meet and talk to Senior Officers - and their wives, too, if possible - and he is almost certain to try and get a conversation going on the Army."