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While visiting in Leipzig, American physicist James Bower is recruited by CIA agent Adam and instructed to assist in the defection of Russian scientist Goshenko. Learning of the plan, Peter Heinzman, an East German scientist and Communist agent, confronts Bower, sequesters him in a hotel room, and interrogates him. Although Bower refuses to cooperate, he learns from the Communist that Goshenko is already dead. Prior to his death, however, the Russian had disposed of an important microfilm. Eluding Heinzman, Bower obtains the film from Dr. Saltzer, a contact who dies shortly thereafter. Frustrated, Heinzman invites the American to defect to the East, but Bower refuses. Heinzman is then ordered to cross the border and, gaining Bower's confidence, convert him to the Communist cause. During the bogus escape the German is struck and killed by a truck driven by agents of the CIA.