Oleg Gordievsky served as the KGB rezident and bureau chief in London from 1982 to 1985. He escaped from Moscow in the summer of 1985 after his status as an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service was revealed. In Britain, he begged his handlers and Prime Minister to extract his family from the Soviet Union.
10 DOWNING STREET, THE PRIME MINISTER,
7th September, 1985
Dear. Mr. Gordievsky,
I was very touched by your message and by your understanding about how difficult the decision about your family was for us. It was entirely natural to do everything possible to enable your family life to continue. But we had to face up to the reality of the kind of people with whom we are dealing and the fact that their values are very different from ours.
Our anxiety for your family remains and we shall not forget them. Having children of my own, I know the kind of thoughts and feelings which are going through your mind each and every day. But just as your concern is about them, so their concern will be for your safety and well-being.
Please do not say that life has no meaning. There is always hope. And we shall do all we can to help you through these difficult days.
Perhaps when the immediate situation has passed we may meet and talk. I am very conscious of your personal courage and your stand for freedom and democracy. I should very much like to have the benefit personally of your unique experience and your thoughts on the way we can help those who have never known the things which we in the West take for granted.
You will be very much in my thoughts and I send you my best wishes.
National Archives, PREM 191647.