"COMPASS"; COMMUNIST LEAGUE:
April 1996, No.123:
THE SOVIET UNION AND THE
SPANISH CIVIL WAR :
'Non-Intervention? Between ourselves,
it's the same thing as profitable intervention - but profitable only for
the other side'.
Charles -Maurice Talleyrand
In January 1996, the Association
of Communist Workers (Alliance Editor's Note 7th February 2000:
This organisation has since been disbanded into the social-democratic party
led by Arthur Scargill and known as
the "Socialist Labour Party") and the
Association of Indian Communists held
an extremely interesting meeting in the Conway Hall London, devoted to
exposing the slanderous misrepresentation of the Republican forces in the
Spanish Civil War presented in Ken Loach's recent film 'Land and Freedom'.
The main speaker was Bill
Alexander, author of 'British Volunteers for Liberty'.
Bill Alexander himself fought in the British section
of the International Brigade and movingly and eloquently disposed of Loach's
attempt to whitewash the near-Trotskyist 'Party
of Marxist Unification.'
In particular, Bill Alexander paid tribute to Stalin's
policy of military aid to the Republican forces and characterised the policy
of 'non-intervention' pursued by the European imperialist powers
as the principal cause of the Republic's defeat.
This stimulated a member of the audience to point
out that the Soviet government participated in the Non-Intervention Agreement,
and to ask if this indicated some duality in Soviet foreign policy,
perhaps between rival groups in the leadership of Communist Party of the
Soviet Union -- one pursuing a Marxist-Leninist policy and one not.
Ella Rule replied
from the platform that she felt that there was no duality in Soviet policy
on Spain, since the Soviet policy of non-intervention was
not simultanous with, but succeeded by the Soviet policy of military
aid to the Republican government.
While respecting Ella's long-standing defence both
of the Soviet Union and of the Spanish Republic, we do not believe that
her theory on Soviet policy on Spain can be reconciled with known facts.
THE OUTBREAK OF THE CIVIL
In January 1936, a number of ostensibly left-wing
Spanish parties and organisetions, created an electoral
bloc called the 'Popular Front'. This
"A liberal programme set in a bourgeois framework
and deliberately excluded Socialist demands".
At elections in February 1936, the Popular Front gained
an overwhelming majority of deputies
(Pierre Broue & Emile Temime: 'The Revolution
and the Civil War in Spain'; london; 1972; p. 76).
"277, as against 132 from the Right and 32 from the
Despite the moderate nature of the Popular Front's programme,
it was unacceptable to the Spanish aristocracy, and in July 1936
(Pierre Broue & Emile Temime: ibid.; p. 77).
"a revolt against the Spanish Republic broke out in
many military garrisons in Spanish Morocco. From thence the revolt spread
rapidly throughout Spain. . . .The rebel forces .
. . were led by General Franco"
The rebel military junta:
('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 2; p. 2,199,
"had at their disposal the greater part of the armed
forces of the country. . . . They had also . . . the promise of Italian
and German tanks and aeroplanes if necessary. Against these the Government
had only the Republican Assault Guards and a small and badly armed air
THE ATTITUDE OF THE WESTERN IMPERIALIST
(Gerald Brenan: 1The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account
of the Social and Political Background of the Civil War'; Cambridge; 1971;
The attitude of the British imperialist government
was made clear at the very beginning of the civil war. It was to deny,
on 31 July 1936, the legitimate Spanish government its traditional right
under international law to purchase arms to defend itself. This action
was disguised as:
"An arms embargo against both sides."
But since Spain's neighbour, France, also had a Popular
(Robert H. Whealey: 'Foreign Intervention in the Spanish
Civil War', in: Raymond Carr (Ed.): 'The Republic and the Civil War in
Spain"; London; 1971; p. 213).
"the only other Popular Front regime in Europe";
on 20 July 1936 the Spanish government:
('New Encylopedia Britannica', Volume 19; Chicago;
1994; p. 520).
"Asked France . . . for 20 planes. Minister of Air
Pierre Cot and Premier Leon Blum . . . agreed".
However, the sympathies of the British imperialist government,
headed by Stanley Baldwin, lay with the Spanish rebels, and:
(Robert H. Whealey: op. cit.; p 213).
"In 1935, the Spanish government had signed a trade
agreement with France. One of the clauses stipulated that in case of need
the Spanish Government could not purchase arms from any country other than
France. With this agreement in its hand, the Republican government appealed
to the French for the arms and equipment needed to protect the nation from
(Dolores Ibarruri: 'They shall not pass: The Autobiography
of La Pasionaria'; London; 1960; p. 201-02).
"At the beginning of August (1936-- Ed.) M. Leon Blum
was informed (by London -- Ed.) that the guarantee given by Great Britain
to maintain the frontiers of France would not remain valid in the event
of independent French action beyond the Pyrenees.'
In other words, if France were to give military assistance
to the Spanish government, its defensive alliance with Britain would be
declared null and void.
(Andre Geraud ('Pertinax'): Preface to: Eleuthere
N. Dzelepy: 'The Spanish Plot'; London; 1937; p. viii).
"The British warning, as we knew at the time was conveyed
to M. Yvon Delbos,. the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the course
of a visit by Sir George Clerk, British Ambassador to Paris. Sir George
is understood to have said that, if France should find herself in conflict
with Germany as a result of having sold war material to the Spanish
Government,: England would consider herself released from
her obligations under the Locarno Pact and would not come to help".
(Julio Alvarez del Vayo: 'Freedom's Battle'; London;
1937; p. 69-70).
Thus, according to Blum's testimony to the French Chamber
of Deputies in July 1947,
"After visiting London on 22-23 July, Blum was forced
to reverse his decision to aid the Republic".
So, on 25 July 1936,
(Robert H. Whealey: op. cit.; p. 220).
"The Blum government issued a decree forbidding the
export of arms from France to Spain". (Ivan Maisky:
'Spanish Notebooks'; London; 1966; p. 29).
The United States imperialist government applied the 1935
Neutrality Act to the Spanish Civil War, but US corporations exported large
quantities of much-needed oil to the rebels, this being exempted from its
"The refusal of the French Government to hand over
to the Republic the arms that had long ago been ordered
and paid for was a veritable stab in the back for
('International Solidarity with the Spanish Republic:
1936-1939' (hereafter listed as 'International Solidarity'; Moscow; 1976;
"United States neutrality . . . favoured Franco, since
American companies took advantage of the Neutrality Act's failure to classify
oil as a war material and began sending tankers to Lisbon on 18 July".
On the other hand, like Britain and France, the USA:
(David Mitchell: 'The Spanish Civil War'; London;
1982; p. 70).
". . refused to sell arms to the Republic".
But the arms embargo did not affect both sides in the
civil war equally,
(Harry Browne: 'Spain's Civil War'; Harlow; 1983;
since the rebels were in receipt of large supplies
of arms from Germany, Italy and (to a lesser extent) Portugal:
"The Nationalists enjoyed the advantage of ·
· military Supplies from Italy and Germany. These played a crucial
role in the Nationalist victory, especially at the end of July (1936--
Ed.,) when German and Italian aircraft facilitated the ferrying of the
Army of Africa to Spain, thus allowing the Nationalists to sweep through
Andalusia and Estremadura."
On the other hand,
(Gerald M. D. Howat (Ed.): 'Dictionary of World History'.
London; 1973; p. 1,421).
"The fascist government of Italy and the Nazis met
no obstacles in sending arms . . . to the assistance of the rebel generals".
(Luigi Longo: 'An Important Stage in the People's
Struggle against Fascism , in: 'International Solidarity'; op. cit.; p.
"While the legitimate government was being denied the
right to purchase any type of arms, the insurgents
were receiving all they needed from Germany and Italy".
(Dolores Ibarruri: op. cit.; p. 202).
"The strongly pro-rebel government in Lisbon was not
only supplying material, but permitting trans-shipment of German and Italian
supplies across its country".
As Australian-born author and translator Gilbert Murray
said in a letter to the 'Times' in October 1936:
(David T. Gattell: 'Soviet Diplomacy and the Spanish
Civil War' (hereafter listed as 'David T. Cattell (1957)'; Berkeley (USA);
1957; p. 21).
"The professedly double-edged embargo really cuts
only one way. It keeps the Government forces unarmed for the benefit of
the well-armed rebels".
SOVIET HUMANITARIAN AID TO THE
(Gilbert Murray: Letter to the 'Times' (22 October
1936); p. 12).
From the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. both
the Comintern and the Soviet Union organised extensive humanitarian aid
to the Spanish people.
On the outbreak of the civil war, the decision was
"To give financial aid to the republicans through
the trades unions. . All public statements at this
time about shipments from the USSR to Spain emphasised
that they consisted of food and other supplies for the civilian
By 6 August 1936,
(Edward H. Carr: 'The Comintern and the Spanish Civil
War'; London; 1984; p. 16, 24).
"There were already 12.1 million rubles in the open
current account of the All-Union Central Council of
Trade Unions Fund of Aid to Republican Spain, and by the end of October
this sum had risen to 47.6 million rubles.
Soviet and Comintern relief for Spain:
Food and clothing were purchased and sent to Spain
with the money collected by Soviet people.
In December (1938 -- Ed.) . . . the trade unions and
other organisations had raised another 14 million roubles".
('International Solidarity'; op. cit.; p. 301-03).
"Consisting of food and clothing for women and chidren,
started at the very beginning of the Civil War. In every city and town
in the Soviet Union meetings were held during the first weeks of the rebellion
to demonstrate solidarity with the Spanish people".
In addition to organisations linked with the Comintern,
(David T. Cattell: 'Communism and the Spanish Civil
War' (hereafter listed as 'David T. Cattell (1955)'; Berkeley (USA): 1955;
"A new network of organisations solely for the support
of Spain. . . . A typical organisation was the 'International
Committee for Aid to the Spanish People' in Paris
which, between August 1936 and June 1938 collected
over half a million dollars".
THE QUESTION OF SOVIET MILITARY
ASSISTANCE TO SPAIN
(David T. Cattell (1955): ibid.; p. 71).
On the question of whether the Comintern and the Soviet
government should give material assistance to the war effort of the Spanish
Republic1 there were from the outset different views in high Soviet
On this question:
". . no word came from the Soviet government or from
Comintern. . . .
and for two months the Comintern was silent on the question
of the war:
The only decision taken was to give financial aid
to the republicans through the trade unions";
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 15, 16).
"There does not appear to have been a Comintern statement
on the outbreak of the Spanish civil war in July 1936".
(Jane Degras (Ed.): 'The Communist International:
1919-1943: Documents Volume 3; London; 1965; p. 392).
"It was not until September 18 1936 that the Secretariat
of ECCI set out to define the attitude of Comintern to the Spanish War,
now just two months old".
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 20).
On 1 August 1936, France addressed a Note to the British
"proposing that they associate themselves with the
French action and strictly observe a policy of non-intervention in Spanish
affairs. . .
As Julio Alvarez del Vayo, who was Spanish Foreign Minister
for most of of the Civil War period, relates: the British government allowed
it to be thought that the initiative for 'non-intervention' came from the
French Popular Front government in order to make the policy more acceptable
to democratic public opinion than if it were known to emanate from a British
On 4 August Britain returned a positive answer to
the French proposal. . .
Then the French government addresed their proposal
to other European powers
(Ivan Maisky: op cit.; p. 29).
"The simple truth is that Non-Intervention was fathered
in London. The legal experts in the British Foreign Office . . . made such
efforts to attribute its paternity to a person less suspect than they of
hostility to democratic principles. In Monsieur Blum and the French Government
they found the ideal sponsors for their creation. . . . Millions of supporters
of the Popular Front in France . . . would certainly have raged against
the plan had it been frankly labelled for what it was, the work of a British
Tory Government. On the other hand, they were able to justify the plan
in Parliament and in the country, by evoking its supposed
paternity. . . .
On 23 August 1936,
From that day on, the Quai d'Orsay (the French Ministry
of Foreign Affairs)-- Ed.), in all that referred to Spain, became a branch
of the Foregn Office. . . . .
While in July 1936 France ostensibly took the initiative
in proposing Non-Intervention, for the next three years she was to be denied
any initiative whatever".
(Julio Alvarez del Vayo: op. cit.; p. 68, 70).
"The Soviet Government adhered to the Agreement on
'Non-Intervention' in Spanish Affairs".
As historian Edward Carr notes:
(Ivan Maisky: op. cit.; p. 31).
"Soviet acceptance, in view of the campaign in the
USSR and in communist parties abroad in support of the republican government,
seemed at first sight a surprising gesture".
The People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR,
Maksim Litvinov, admitted to a plenary session of the League of Nations
in September 1936 that the Soviet government had adhered to the 'Non-Intervention'
Agreement solely in order to oblige the French imperialists:
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 17).
"The Soviet government has associated itself with
the Declaration on Non-Intervention in Spanish Affairs
only because a friendly power (i.e. France - IM) feared an international
conflict if we did not do so".
THE 'NON-INTERVENTION COMMITTEE'
(Maxsim Litvinov: Speech to Plenary Session of League
of Nations (28 September 1936), in: Ivan Maisky: op.
cit.; p. 31).
On 26 August 1936 the French government put forward
a new proposal:
"The creation in London of a permanent Committee of
representatives of all the participating countries, the main aim of the
Committee being supervision of the exact observance of the Agreement by
the powers which had signed it".
The 'Non-Intervention Committee' functioned on:
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 29).
"· . . the unanimity principle',
the Soviet delegate -- and every other -- having the right
of veto over all decisions.
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p 36).
All the European powers adhered to the 'Non-Intervention
Committee --officially called the 'Committee for Non-Intervention in the
Internal Affairs of Spain' - except for:
"Spain, as the country around which the 'quarantine
of non-intervention' was to be established, and Switzerland, which refused
On 28 August 1936, an order was issued by the Soviet
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 30).
"People's Commissar of Foreign Trade prohibiting
the export of war supplies to Spain";
On 9 September 1936, the Non-Intervention Committee had:
(Max Beloff: 'The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia:
1929-1942', Volume 2:
'1936-1941'; London; 1949; p. 32).
"Its first meeting, and agreed that it should have
a permanent Chairman. This post was offered to the
Brutish representative, Lord Plymouth".
THE TRUE ROLE OF 'NON-INTERVENTION'
(Ivan Maisky: op. cit.; p. 30-31).
The Non-Intervention Agreement:
"Deprived states of the legal right to give aid to
the legitimate government of Spain".
(David T. Cattell (1957): op. cit.; p. 15).
"the Spanish government the traditional right of buying
arms to defend itself against domestic treason".
Although Germany, Italy an Portugal had signed
the 'Non-Intervention Pact', they had not the sligghtest intention of adhering
to its provisions, but continued to supply arms in large quantities
to the Spanish rebels. Thus the real role of the Non-Intervetntion
Agreement' was to provide a screen behind which the Fascist powers could
arm the rebels:
(Harry Browne: op. cit.; p. 37).
"Non-Intervention' was a farce which assisted the
Fascist powers in their war against the Spanish Republic:
"While the legitimate government was being denied
the right to purchase any type of arms, the insurgents were receiving all
they needed from Germany and Italy".
The true role of 'Non-Intervention' was admitted
by Maksim Litvinov , who was People's
Conmissar for Foreign Affairs between 1930 and 1939:
(Dolores Ibarruri: op. cit.; p. 202).
"When the war ended, the Non-Intervention Pact . .
had leaked copiously -- and overwhelmingly in Franco's direction";
(David Mitchell: 01). cit.; p. 72).
"Throughout September 1936, while the flow of arms
and equipment to the Nationalists from Italy and Germany steadily increased,
the ban on shipments from . . . the USSR to Republican Spain remained effective".
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 23).
"The policy of non-intervention ended by developing
into a veritable blockade and an effective intervention in favour of the
(Eleuthere N. Dzelepy: op cit.; p. 77).
"Non-Intervention became one of the greatest farces
of our time".
(Julio Alvarez del Vayo: op. cit.; p. 50).
"The so-called policy of non-intervention . . . in
effect meant aiding and abetting the aggresssor".
(Dolores Ibarruri: 'The Fight goes on' in: 'International
Solidarity'; op. cit.; p. 7).
"Non-intervention . . . coutributed to the victory
of fascism in Spain".
('Great Soviet Encyclopedia', Volume 31; New York;
1972; p. 176).
"If the Non-Intervention Committee had anything to
boast of, it was that it had genuinely interfered with the supplies for
the legitimate Republican army and with the provision of food for the civil
population in the territory occupied by the latter".
and by the German Ambassador to Britain, Joachim
von Ribbentropp, who declared that the 'Non-Intervention Committee'
(Maksim Litvinov: Speech at Political Coimittee of
League of Nations 29 September 1938), in: William P. & Zelda Coates:
'A History of Anglo-Soviet Relations'; London; 1943; p. 569).
"· · · might have been better
called the Intervention Committee".
Stalin, in his report to the 18th Congress of the CPSU
in March 1939, put the matter even more strongly -- implying that 'Non-Intervention'
was immoral and treacherous:
(Joachim von Rippentropp, cited in: David Mitchell:
op. cit.; p. 71).
"Actually speaking, the policy of non-intervention
means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to war and, consequently,
transforming the war into a world war. The policy of non-intervention reveals
an eagerness, a desire, not to hinder the aggressors in their nefarious
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST 'NON-INTERVENTION'
Far be it from me to moralise on the policy of non-intervention,
to talk of treason, treachery and so on. It would be naive to preach morals
to people who recognise no human morality". (Josef
V. Stalin: Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the 18th Congress
of the CPSU (b) (March 1939), in: 'Works', Volume 14; London; 1978 p. 365,
As the true character of 'Non-Intervention' became
increasingly clear, outspoken opposition to it arose in democratic and
anti-fascist circles. This opposition was reflected in circles normally
supportive of Soviet policy:
"The strict neutrality adopted by Moscow in the Spanish
struggle was giving rise to embarrassing questions even in the friendliest
These circles included sections of the international
communist movement, particularly in France. For example, headlines
in 'L'Humanite' (Humanity), organ of the Communist Party of France, in
September 1936 read:
(Walter G. Krivitsky: 'I was Stalin's Agent'; London;
1939; p. 101).
Maurice Thorez, General
Secretary of the Communist Party of France, wrote in 'L'Humanite':
END THE BLOCKADE WHICH IS KILLING OUR BROTHERS IN
SPAIN". ('L'Humanite', 5 September 1936; p. 1).
"FOR REPUBLICAN SPAIN.
FOR PEACE AND THE SECURITY OF FRANCE".
('L'Humanite', 7 September 1936; p. 4).
"TO THE AID OF THE REPUBLICAN FIGHTERS OF SPAIN".
('L'Humanite', 14 September 1936; p. 4).
"IT IS NECESSARY TO RECONSIDER THE PRINCIPLE OF NON-INTERVENTION"
('L'Humanite', 20 September 1936; p. 4).
"THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE OF FRANCE RISES EVER MORE
STRONGLY FOR THE LIFTING OF THE BLOCKADE".
('L'Humanite', 21 September 1936; p. 4).
"For the honour of the working class, for the honour
of the Popular Front, for the honour of France, the blockade that is killing
our Spanish brethren and that is killing peace must
In August 1836, Paul Nizan wrote in the Comintern
journal, 'International Press Correspondence':
(Maurice Thorez, in: 'L'Humanite' (9 September 1936),
in: David T. Cattell (1957): op. cit.; p. 24).
"This 'neutrality' . . is definitely to be challenged
from the point of view of international justice. . .
In a speech during the first week in September 1936, interrupted
by shouts of 'Aeroplanes for Spain!, French Prime Minister Leon Blum countered
the campaign against 'Non-Intervention' by the reminder that the policy
was supported by the Soviet government:
While the government in Madrid is being actually affected
by real sanctions, the rebels and the rebel government . . . have every
sort of supply they can wish for at their disposal.
The actual blockade of Republican Spain must be raised
The Communists will take the lead in this fight for
the support of the Spanish people".
(Paul Nizan: 'To the Aid of the Spanish Republic!',
in: 'International Press Correspondence', Volume 16,
No. 37 (15 August 1936); p. 990).
"Do not let us forget that the international convention
of nonintervention in Spain bears the signature of Soviet Russia".
The campaign against 'Non-Intervention' was reflected
within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. From early in the civil
war, a rift was observable in the higher circles of the CPSU between
those who stood for the furnishing of arms to the Spanish Republic
-- that is, the Marxist-Leninists and genuine anti-fascists -- on the one
hand, and those who stood for collaboration with the Western imperialist
powers in the policy of 'Non-Intervention' on the other hand.
(Leon Blum: Statement, in: David T. Cattell (1957):
op. cit,; p. 24).
THE DIVISION IN THE CPSU
Lieutenant-Colonel Simon, the French military attache
in Moscow, reported to the French Minister of National Defence Eduard Daladier
in August 1936, the existence of two rival factions in the leadership of
"The moderate faction . . . would wish to avoid all
intervention. . .
THE CHANGE OF SOVIET POLICY TOWARDS
The extremist faction, on the other hand, considers
that the USSR should not remain neutral but should support the legal government."
(Lt.Col. Simon: Letter to Eduard Daladier (13 August
'Documents diplomatiques francais: 1932-1939', 2nd
Series (1936-1939), Volume 3; Paris; 1966; p. 208).
"Influential circles in the Russian Party, like most
Leftists in Western countries, pressed for support for the Spanish republic.
But this pressure was, for the time being, subject
to the restraint of diplomatic expediency."
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 15).
"In foreign affairs, fundamentalist Bolsheviks tended
to dislike Maksim Litvinov's conciliatory approach to the West. . .
The Soviet press was hostile to the whole idea of
(Michael Alpert: 'A New International History of the
Spanish Civil War'; Basingstoke; 1994; p. 50, 51).
As a result of the democratic pressure instanced above,
the Marxist-Leninists in the leadership of the CPSU were able to
bring about a fundamental change in Soviet policy towards the supply
of arms to the Spanish Republic.
On 7 October 1936, Samuel Kagan, Counsellor at the
Soviet Embassy in London (who was Acting Soviet
Representative on the Non-Intervention Committee)
presented Lord Plymouth with a list of violations of the Non-Intervention
Agreement and concluded with an ultimatum:
"That unless violations of the Agreement on Non-Intervention
cease forthwith, it (the Soviet government -- Ed.) will consider itself
as freed from the obligations arising from the Agreement".
On 15 October 1936, Stalin sent a telegram
to Jose Diaz, leader of the Communist Party
of Spain, saying:
(Samuel B. Kagan: Statement of 7 October 1936, in:
Ivan Maisky: p. cit.; p. 47).
"The workers of the Soviet Union are merely carrying
out their duty in giving help within their power to the revolutionary masses
of. Spain. They are aware that the liberation of Spain from the yoke of
fascist reactionaries is not a private affair of the Spanish people but
the common cause of the whole of advanced and progressive mankind".
On 23 October 1936, Soviet Ambassador to Britain Ivan
Maisky, who had now taken over as Soviet representative on the 'Non-Intervention
Committee', sent a further statement to Lord Plymouth, saying:
(Josef V. Stalin: Telegram to CC, CPSp (15 October
1936), in: 'Works'; Volume 14; London; 1978; p. 149).
"The Agreement has turned out to be an empty, torn
scrap of paper. It has ceased in practice to exist. Not wishing to remain
in the position of persons unwittingly assisting an unjust cause) the Government
of the Soviet Union . . . cannot consider itself bound by the Agreement
for Non-Intervention to any greater extent than any of the remaining participants
of the Agreement".
On 27 August 1936, Marcel Rozenberg arrived in Madrid
as the first Soviet Ambassador to Spain
(Ivan Maisky: Statement of 23 October 1936, in: Ivan
Maisky: op. cit.; p. 48-49).
"With an impressive retinue of military, naval and
air attaches and experts".
SOVIET MILITARY AID TO THE SPANISH
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 22).
The defector Walter Krivitsky, who was at the time
Chief of Soviet Military Intelligence in Europe, states that:
"The first communication from Moscow about Spain reached
him on September 2",
and that it stated:
(Edward H. Carr: op. cit.; p. 24).
"Extend your operations immediately to cover Spanish
Civil War. Mobilise all available agents and facilities for prompt creation
of a system to purchase and transport arms to Spain".
(Walter H. Krivitsky: op. cit.; p. 100).
"An apparatus based upon Arms Purchase Commissions
in European capitals and supervised by the NKVD (the People's Commissariat
for Internal Affairs -- Ed.) . . . was set up to organise the purchase
During the war,
(Harry Browne: op. cit.; p. 38).
"The first appearance of Soviet tanks and planes in
the defence of Madrid late in October (1936 - Ed.) and early in November
made a tremendous impression."
(David Mitchell: op. cit.; p. 63).
"The sending of military aid was never acknowledged.
. . . No official Communist publication ever mentioned the sending of military
(David T. Cattell (1955): op. cit.; p. 72).
"The Soviet Union sent to the Spanish Government 806
military aircraft, mainly fighters, 362 tanks, 120 armoured
cars, 1,555 artillery pieces, about 500,000 rifles, 340 grenade launchers1
15,113 machine-guns, more than 110,000 aerial bombs, about 3.4 million
rounds of ammunition, 500,000 grenades, 862 million cartridges, 11500 tons
of gunpowder, torpedo boats, air defence searchlight installations, motor
vehicles, radio stations, torpedoes and fuel".
and under the new Soviet policy,
('International Solidarity'; op. cit.; p. 329-30).
"A little more than 2,000 Soviet volunteers fought
and worked in Spain on the side of the Republic throughout the whole war,
including 772 airmen, 351 tank men, 222 army advisers and instructors,
77 naval specialists, 100 artillery specialists, 52 other specialists,
130 aircraft factory workers and engineers, 156 radio operators and other
signals men, and 204 interpreters".
('International Solidarity': op. cit.; p. 328).
In September 1936,
"The Secretariat of the Executive Committee of the
Communist International took a decision to
organise the recruitment of men with military experience".
and the Spanish Republican Government:
(Bill Alexander: 'British Volunteers for Liberty:
Spain 1936-1939'; London; 1982; p. 53).
"Agreed, on 12 October 1936, to the formation
of the International Brigades";
On 17 October 1936:
(Bill Alexander: ibid.; p. 53).
" . . the first recruits to the International Brigades
arrived in Spain".
The International Brigades:
(David Mitchell: op. cit.; p. 63).
"Formed a corps d'elite involved in all fighting
of any importance until the end of 1938". (Pierre
Broue & Emile Temime: op. cit.; p. 375).
The total number of foreigners:
"Who fought for the Spanish Republic was probably
about 40,000, about 35,000 being in the International Brigades".
According to Dmitri Manuilsky at the 18th Congress of
the CPSU, Spanish resistance:
(Hugh Thomas: 'The Spanish Civil War'; London; 1977;
"Was made possible by the international support
given to the Spanish people by the working people and above all the political
support given them by the nations of the Soviet Union and by the father
of all working people -- Comrade Stalin".
To sum up, in September 1936 the Soviet government
reversed its previous policy and began to supply much needed military assistance
to the Spanish Republic.
(Dmitri Manuilsky: Report on the Delegation of the
CPSU (b) in the ECCI to the 18th Congress of the CPSU (b) (March 1939),
in: 'The Land of Socialism Today and Tomorrow'; Moscow; 1939; p. 71).
THE SOVIET UNION AND SPAIN
AFTER SEPTEMBER 1936
It might, therefore. seem at first glance as though
the thesis presented at the January 1996 meeting by Ella Rule (p. 1) --
that there was no duality in Soviet foreign policy at the time of the Spanish
civil war, since the Soviet policy of 'non-interention' was succeeded
by the Soviet policy of military aid to the Republican government --
Indeed, some well-known revisionists, like Dolores
Ibarruri, assert precisely this:
"When the Soviet Union saw that in practice the
Non-Intervention Committee . . was a cover for activities of the fascist
and 'democratic powers in favour of the insurgents,
the Soviet Union declared on October 7 1937 (clearly an error for 1936--
Ed.) that it would withdraw its participation in the Non-Intervention Committee'."
But in fact, even after it had begun to supply
military equipment to the Republican government, the Soviet Union did not
withdraw from the 'Non-Intervention Committee'. On the contrary,
Z(Dolores Ibarruri: op. cit.; p. 263).
"The Soviet Union did not make a move to leave the
To be exact, only on 4 March 1939 did the TASS news agency
announce the Soviet Union's withdrawal from the 'Non-Intervention Committee:
(David T. Cattell (1957): op. cit.; p. 50).
"The USSR participated in the Agreement on 'Non-Intervention'
and in the Committee for the same almost until they ceased to exist
(Ivan Maisky: op. cit.; p. 32).
"The Council of People's Commissars of the USSR decided
on 1 March of this year to recall its representatives
from the Committee for 'Non-Intervention";
This was a few days after the British and French
governments had officially recognised the rebel government:
(TASS News Agency: Statement (4 March 1939), in: Ivan
Maisky: ibid.; p. 202).
"On 27 February 1939 Britain and France officially
recognised Franco and broke off diplomatic relations with the Republican
and only a few weeks before the 'Non-Intervention Committee'
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 199).
"On 20 April 1939 the Committee as a whole officially
ceased to be".
A leading role in the decision to remain in the Non-Intervention
Committee, and to 'work closely' on it with the British and French imperialists,
was played by the Soviet People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maksim
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 203).
"The Soviet Union's new policy generally took the
form of working closely with France and England on the committee. It is
believed that Litvinov was able to persuade the . . . rasher elements among
the Soviet leaders and remain".
In other words, in the situation existing in the Soviet
Union in 1936-39, the Marxist-Leninist forces were able to reverse Soviet
policy on the supply of arms to the Spanish Republic, but not strong
enough to carry this reversal through to its logical conclusion by repudiating
the whole concept of 'non-intervention'.
(David T. Cattell (1957): op. cit.; p. 50).
THE EFFECT OF CONTINUED SOVIET
PARTIClPATION IN 'NON-INTERVENTION'
The effect of the continued participation of the Soviet
Union in the 'Non-Intervention Committee' was
to continue to lend Soviet prestige to the false view that it was capable
of playing a progressive role.
Over the next months, the 'Non-Intervention' Committee'
was able to carry through policies which would, without doubt, have been
vociferously rejected by progressive opinion had it not been for the
screen of Soviet support around them.
they were able to sabotage the control plan which
was ostensibly_designed to make the paper arms embargo internationally
From the very outset of the civil war, the Soviet
Union refused to take part in the international
naval patrols around Spain, preferring to 'entrust' this to the imperialist
powers -- Britain and France. As Litvinov said in a speech
on 14 September 1937:
"I recall that at the very beginning of the Spanish
conflict the Soviet Government proposed that naval control be entrusted
to England and France alone, and that it consequently voluntarily renounced
the right to send its naval vessels into the
Mediterranean to take part in the control".
As a result,
(Maksim Litvinov: Speech of 14 September 1937, in:
Jane Degras (Ed.): 'Soviet
Documents on Foreign Policy', Volume 3 (hereafter listed as 'Jane Degras
(Ed.) (1953)'); London; 1953; p. 254).
"The coming into force of control during the night
of 19-20 April 1937 swiftly demonstrated the futility of this policy".
Even Litvinov admitted in an election speech on 27 November
(Pierre Broue & Emile Temime: op. cit.; p. 342).
"Control is established on the frontiers and coasts
of Spain, but the control immediately springs a leak and whole divisions
and army corps, with proportionate military equipment, penetrate to the
And on 17 September 1937, the British and French governments:
(Maksiin Litvinov: Election Speech of 27 November
1937, in: Jane Degras (Ed.) (1953): ibid.; p. 267).
"Had informed the other 25 'Non-Intervention' Powers
. . . that they had decided to discontinue their naval patrols of the Spanish
they were able to halt the influx of volunteers to the International
Brigades which played such an important role in the anti-fascist resistance.
Contemporary Archives', Volume 3; p.2,744).
On 4 December 1936,
"The Soviet government came forward with a new, extremely
This proposal was:
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 97).
"that the Governments, parties to the Non-Intervention
Agreement, shall undertake to prevent by every means the
despatch and transit of volunteers to Spain";
On 10 January 1937, the British Foreign Office declared
(Ivan Maisky: Letter to Non-Intervention Committee
(4 December 1936), in:
ibid.; p. 97).
"The provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870
. . are applicable in the case of the present conflict in Spain",
('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 3; p. 2,411).
"It is . . . an offence for an offence for any British
subject to accept or agree to accept any commission or engagement in the
military, naval or air service of either party in the present conflict."
On 16 February 1937, the Non-Intervention Committee decided:
('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 3; p. 2,411).
"To prohibit the passage to Spain of any 'volunteers'
whatsoever as from 21 February 1937".
On 18 February 1937 the French government issued a decree:
(Ivan Maisky: op. cit.; ibid.; p. 106).
"To forbid the recruiting of volunteers for Spain
and their transport thither".
and on 20 February 1937 the Soviet government issued a
('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 3; p. 2,463).
"1. Citizens of the USSR are forbidden entrance into
Spain to participate in the military activities under way in Spain;
they were able to bring about the repatriation of volunteer fighters
already serving in the International Brigades:
2. Recruiting of persons for participation in the
military activities in Spain . . . is forbidden in the territory of the
(USSR Decree of 20 February 1937, in: Jane Degras
(Ed.) (1953): op. cit.; p. 234-35).
At a meeting of the Sub-Committee of the Non-Intervention
Committee on 23 March 1937, Maisky declared:
"There is nothing more pressing and important for
us at the present time than the evacuation from Spain of the so-called
and was not deterred when the Italian delegate, Dino Grandi,
(Ivan Maisky: op cit.; p. 125).
"only just agreed to . . . the evacuation of foreign
combatants from the Pyrenean peninsula", (Ivan
Maisky: ibid.; p. 125-26).
"Not one single Italian volunteer will leave Spain
until Franco is victorious".
On 14 July 1937, a new British plan was laid before the
Committee. It included:
(Dino Grandi: Statement at Sub-Committee of 'Non-Intervention
Committee' (23 March 1937), in: Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 125).
"The evacuation of all foreign combatants from Spain
On 31 July 1937, a TASS communique stated:
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 158).
"The Soviet Government considers that all foreigners
. . . taking part in one way in military operations should be withdrawn
from Spain. The Soviet Government is ready to co-operate in accomplishing
this by all the means at its disposal".
On 5 July 1938, at a plenary meeting of the 'Non-Intervention
(TASS Communique (31 July 1937). in: Jane Degras (Ed.)
(1953): op. cit. p. 249).
"the British plan for the withdrawal of foreign volunteers
from Spain was unanimously adopted".
Although Franco later -- on 30 December 1938-- rejected
the plan, ('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 3; p. 3,384).
('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 3; p. 3,735).
On 23 September 1938, Prime Minister Juan Negrin:
The Soviet policies of military assistance to the Spanish
republic and of co-operation in the work of the 'Non-Intervention Committee
are contradictory and yet after September 1936 they were carried on simultaneously.
It is, therefore, clear that there was a duality
in Soviet foreign policy towards Spain in this period.
This duality is explicable by the fact that, in addition
to Marxist-Leninists like Stalin in the leadership of the CPSU - Marxist-Leninists
who favoured military assistance to Spain -- there were also revisionists,
people who had departed from Marxist-Leninist principles, and who favoured
cooperation with the appeasement policy of the West European powers at
the expense of the Spanish Republic. The policy actually pursued by the
Soviet government towards the Spanish Republic in this period was a
compromise between these two opposed policies.
The most prominent Soviet politician in the second,
revisionist, category was the People's
Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maksim Litvinov.
Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov was appointed Minister to
Britain in January 1918:
THE ROLE OF MAKSIM LITVINOV
"This appointment was officially made by Trotsky",
who was then People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
(John Carswell: 'The Exile: A Life of Ivy Litvinov';
London; 1983; p. 86).
After being Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs
in 1920-30. In July 1930 he succeeded Georgi Chicherin as People's Commissar
for Foreign Affairs, a post which he held until 1939.
Litvinov remoulded the Commissariat in his charge, filling
it with his nominees:
"The People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, as
the Soviet Foreign Office was called, was an organisation largely created
by Litvinov. He recruited its staff and designed its system.
The People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, and many
of the principal posts abroad, were already (1930-- Ed.) filled with his
friends and nominees'".
Litvinov, married to an English wife, was steeped in West
(John Carswell: ibid.; p. 109, 126).
"Maksim had been soaked in the ways of the West".
and this was reflected politically in Litvinov's support
for cooperation with Western imperialism. He became:
(John Carswell: ibid.; p. 103).
"Maksim was the only surviving Old Bolshevik who had
thoroughly assimilated Western European culture".
(Edgar Snow: 'Journey to the Beginning'; London; 1959;
"The best-known Soviet spokesman for . . . cooperation
with the West".
In the period leading up to 1939, Litvinoy was particularly
associated with Soviet attempts to form a 'collective security' alliance
with the more satisfied (and so less aggressive) imperialist powers, such
as Britain and France, against the less satisfied (and so more aggressive)
imperialist powers, Germany, Italy and Japan:
(Alexander Dallin: 'Allied Leadership in the Second
World War: Stalin', in: 'Survey', Volume 21, Nos. 1/2 (Winter/Spring 1975);
"The Soviet Government . . . is prepared, as hitherto,
to participate in collective action, the scope
of which should have as its aim the stopping of the further development
of aggression and the elimination of the increased danger of a new world
He genuinely believed:
(Maksim Litvinov: Press Statement (17 March 1938).
in: William P. & Zelda Coates:op. cit.;
"that Soviet power and influence could best be promoted
by collaboration with the West". (Vojtech Mastny:
'The Cassandra of the Foreign Commissariat: Maksim Litvinov
and the Cold War', in: 'Foreign Affairs', Volume 54, No. 2, (January 1976);
Already, on 17 January 1938, Politburo member Andrei Zhdanov
criticised the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs for its liberal
attitude towards certain imperialist powers:
"Almost every foreign power has a consul in Leningrad;
and I must say that some of these consuls clearly go beyond their powers
and duties and behave in an illegal fashion, engaging in activities prejudicial
to the people and country to which they are accredited.
and Vyacheslav Molotov, then USSR Prime Minister, added
in a speech to the USSR Supreme Soviet a few days later, on 19 January
Why does the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
tolerate a state of affairs in which the number of consuls representing
foreign powers in the USSR is not equal to but greater than the number
of consuls representing the USSR in foreign countries? . . .
. . .
Then, comrades, . . . what are we to think of a situation
in which the government of a country (France -- Ed.) with which we, the
USSR, are in fairly close relations . . ., allows organisations to exist
on its territory which plan and carry out terrorism against the USSR?"'
(Andrei Zhdanov: Speech on the Work of the People's
Commissariat for Foreign Affairs (17 January 1938), in: Jane Degras (Ed.)
(1953): op. cit.; p. 269, 270).
"Comrade Zhdanov's remarks about foreign consulates
. . . have been carefully noted by the Council of People's Commissars,
which will in the near future take all the necessary steps. .
Now to our relations with France. Here again we must recognise
that Comrade Zhdanov's remarks were well founded. . . . Refuge is found
on French territory for every kind of adventurist and criminal organisation,
nests of vipers, of terrorists and diversionists. . . . How does this accord
with the Soviet-French pact of friendship? The People's Commissariat for
Foreign Affairs should certainly look into this".
As Litvinov 's wife Ivy commented later:
(Vyacheslav Molotov: Speech at USSR Supreme Soviet
(19 January 1938), in: Jane Degras (Ed.) (1953): op. cit.; p. 271, 272).
"At the January (1938-- Ed.) session of the Supreme
Soviet, Zhdanov, made disparaging remarks about the administrative work
of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. Litvinov
's name was not mentioned, but criticism is never lightly made in the Soviet
Union. . .
Even in 1937 British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax was
already telling Hitler how much the British government admired his suppression
of Communism in Germany:
Maksim was aware that he was out of favour".
(Ivy Litvinov: 'To Russia with Love', in: 'Observer
Review' (25 July 1976); p. 17).
Litvinov and the Soviet-German
"The great service the Fuehrer had rendered in the
rebuilding of Germany were fully and completely recognised, and if British
public opinion was sometimes taking a critical attitude toward certain
German problems, the reason might be in part that people in England were
not fully informed of the motives and circumstances which underlie certain
German measures. . . . .
and was proposing to Berlin the formation of
a four-power alliance to include Britain, France, Germany and Italy:
The British Government were fully aware that, by destroying
Communism in his country, he had barred the road to Western Europe, and
that Germany therefore could rightly be regarded as a bulwark of the West
(Lord Halifax: Record of a Conversation with Hitler
(19 November 1937). in: 'Documents and Materials relating to the Eve of
the Second World War: From the Archives of
the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs', Volume 1;
(hereafter listed as 'Archives');
Moscow; 1948; p. 19-20).
"After the ground had been prepared by an Anglo-German
understanding, the four Great West-European powers must jointly lay the
foundations for lasting peace in Europe. . . . .
In other words, the British government was already proposing
The Fuehrer replied that . . Lord Halifax had
proposed an agreement of the four Western Powers as the ultimate aim of
('Archives'; ibid.; p. 29-30, 31).
"Britain, and France as well, should join the 'Berlin-Rome
In these circumstances,
(Soviet Information Bureau: 'Falsifiers of History
(Historical Information); London; 1948; p.
"The Soviet Union faced the alternative:
Litvinov, however, was, and
remained, oppposed to the Soviet government's rapprochement
either to accept, for purposes of self-defence,
Germany's proposal to conclude a non-aggresssion pact and thereby ensure
to the Soviet Union a prolongation of peace for a certain period of time
which might be used by the Soviet State to prepare better its forces for
resistance to a possible attack on the part of the aggressor;
or to reject Germany's proposal for a non-aggression
pact and thereby permit the war provocateurs from the camp of the Western
Powers immediately to involve the Soviet Union in armed conflict with Germany
at a time when the situation was utterly unfavourable to the Soviet Union
and when it was completely isolated.
In this situation, the Soviet Government found itself
compelled to make its choice and conclude the Non-Aggression Pact with
(Soviet Information Bureau: 'Falsifiers of History
(Historical Information); London; 1948; p.
"Litvinov . . . disapproved . . . of Stalin's planned
rapprochement with Germany".
(Voltech Mastny: op. cit.; p. 367).
"Never, by word or hint, approved of Stalin's
pact policy with Hitler".
In May 1939, Litvinov was replaced as People's Commissar
for Foreign Affairs by Vyacheslav Molotov. The change reflected the preparation
(Louis Fischer: 'The Great Challenge'; New York; 1971;
"A momentous change of foreign policy",
For in August 1939 the Soviet government signed the Non-Aggresssion
Pact with Germany.
(John Carswell: op. cit.; p. 145).
It was at this time that Molotov made a more direct
public criticism of 'short-sighted' people in the Soviet Union who 'over-simplified
anti-fascist propaganda' and forgot about the danger from other (non-fascist)
"There were short-sighted people in our country too
who, tending to over-simplify anti-fascist propaganda, forgot this provocative
work of our enemies".
In a biographical article on Litvinov, Henry
Roberts points out that Molotov's comment:
(Vyacheslav Molotov: Statement in Supreme Soviet of
the USSR on the Ratification of the Soviet-German Pact of Non-Aggresssion
(August 31 1939); London; 1939; p. 8).
"May be interpreted as a slap at Litvinov".
The revisionist diplomat Andrei Gromyko, who was USSR
Foreign Minister in a later period, writes in his memoirs about an incident
(Henry L. Roberts: 'Maksim Litvinov', in:
Gordon A. Craig & Felix Gilbert (Eds.): 'The Diplomats: 1919-1939';
Princeton (USA); 1953; p. 375).
"During Molotov's visit to Washington in June 1942,
I was struck by a conversation between him and Litvinov while the three
of us were driving to the Appalachian mountains. We were talking about
the French and the British, and Molotov sharply criticised their pre-war
policy, which was aimed at pushing Hitler into war against the USSR. In
other words, he voiced the official Party line. Litvinov disagreed. This
had been the prime reason for his removal from the post of Foreign Commisssar
in 1939, yet here he was, still stubbornly defending Britain's and France's
refusal to join the Soviet Union and give Hitler a firm rebuff before he
could make his fateful attack upon the USSR. Despite having been
relieved of his post for such views, Litvinov continued
to defend them in front of Molotov, and consequently in front of Stalin.
In 1948, however, the Soviet Information Bureau was still
commenting politely on Litvinov's removal:
It was strange listening to someone who appeared not
to have noticed Munich and its consequences."
(Andrei Gromyko: 'Memoirs'. London; 1989; p. 312).
"In the complex situation when the Fascist aggressors
were preparing the Second World War, . . . it was necessary to have in
such a responsible post as that of People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs
a political leader with greater experience and greater popularity in the
country than Maksim Litvinov".
In February 1941, Litvinov was further demoted: the step
('Falsifiers of History'; op. cit.; p. 16-17).
Litvinov's Further Demotion
"of depriving Maksim of the one public position he
retained -membership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party".
This action was taken,
(John Carswell: op. cit.; p. 148).
"According to the official announcement, because of
non-fulfilment of his obligations"'. (Vojtech
Mastny: op. cit.; p. 367).
According to Ivy Litvinov,
"As Stalin was leaving the meeting, Litvinov called
and John Carswell, the biographer of Ivy Litvinov, writes
'Does this mean that you consider me an enemy of the
The boss removed the pipe
from his mouth to say . . .
'We don't consider you to be an enemy of the people".
(Ivy Litvinov: op. cit.; p. 17).
"This humiliation . . . was an important stage in
Maksim's disillusionment with the 'reality' which the Revolution claimed
to have created".
However, in December 1941, some months after the German
attack on the Soviet Union,
(John Carswell: op. cit.; p. 149).
"Stalin sent for Litvinov, shook hands with him in
a friendly manner and appointed him to Washington";
And Litvinov's biographer Vojtech Mastny remarks that
in the new situation of Anglo-American-Soviet cooperation, Litvinov was:
(Ilya Ehrenburg: "Men, Years -- Life" Volume 6: 'Post-War
Years: 1945-1954'', London; 1966; p. 279).
"the right person to be chosen to reassure the West."
Litvinov's biographer Vojtech Mastny notes:
(Vojtech Mastny: op. cit.; p. 368).
Litvinov Voices Dissent from
Soviet Foreign Policy
"Towards the end of his long and distinguished career
in the Soviet diplomatic service, Maksim Lityinoy tantalised his foreign
interlocutors with increasingly candid expressions of dissent from his
employers official line, There are several such incidents on record from
May 1943 to February 1947".
In May 1943, having been recalled to Moscow, he is on
record as complaining to US Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles:
(Vojtech Mastny: op. cit.; p. 366).
"that he was unable to communicate with Stalin, whose
isolation then bred a distorted view of the West".
However, according to the Soviet revisionist journalist
Ilya Ehrenburg, Litvinov:
(Vojtech Mastny: ibid.; p. 368).
"was reticent in his opinion of him (Stalin -- Ed.)
. . . and only once, when speaking about foreign policy, said with a sigh:
At the same time as Litvinov was recalled from the USA,
'He doesn't know the West'".
(Ilya Ehrenburg: op. cit.; p. 278).
"the other official protagonist of pro-Western reputation,
Ambassador to London Ivan M. Maisky",
was recalled to Moscow.
(Vojtech Mastny: ibid.; p. 368).
"still held the post of Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs (the title of 'People's Commissar' was changed to that of 'Minister'
in January 1946-- Ed.) but was given work of little importance."
In the first months of 1945,
(Ilya Ehrenburg: op. cit.; p,. 279).
"Maksim made no secret of his view that the Yalta
agreement, Stalin's greatest diplomatic victory, was a disaster for the
future of international relations."
In June 1945 he is on record as complaining to American
journalist Edgar Snow:
(John Carswell: op. cit.; p. 158-59).
"We (Litvinov and Maisky -- Ed.) are on the shelf.
In June 1946 Litvinov gave an interview in Moscow to the
correspondent of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Richard Hottelot. According
The Commissariat (for Foreign Affairs -- Ed.) is run
by only three men and none of them knows or understands America and Britain.
Why did you Americans wait till right now to begin
opposing us in the
Balkans and Eastern Europe? You should have done this
three years ago. Now it's too late".
(Edgar Snow: op. cit.; p. 314, 357).
"Litvinov's attitude was one of resignation mixed
with disgust and relief that he was not identified with his government's
According to Hottelot, Litvinov declared:
(Richard C. Hottelot: Interview with Maksim Litvinov
(June 1946), in: 'Washington Post' (22 January
1952); p. 11B).
"The Kremlin cannot be trusted and cannot be appeased".
so that any attempt by the Western powers to meet Soviet
(Maksim Litvinov: Interview with Richard Hottelot
(June 1946), in:
'Washington Post' (21 January 1952); p. 1).
"Would lead to the West being faced, after a more
or less short time, with the next series of demands".
Because of its content, the interview remained unpublished
until after Litvinov's death in December 1951. Hottelot explains Litvinov's
frankness by his wish to present his 'political testament to the West':
(Maksim Litvinov: Interview with Richard Hottelot
(June 1946), in: 'Washington Post' (21 January
1952); p. 1).
"This strange interlude awakened the impression that
. . . it was meant as Litvinov's political testament to the Western world".
In August 1946,
(Richard C. Hottelot: Interview with Maksim Litvinov
(June 1946), in:
'Washington Post', 21 January 1952; p. 4).
"He knew his career had just come to an end. .
This was probably Litvinov's last chance to be heard".
(Richard C. Hottelot: Interview with Maksim Litvinov
(June 1946), in:
'Washington Post' (24 January 1952); p. 13).
Litvinov's Final Demotion
"'Pravda' printed a brief motice in small type on
its back page to the effect that Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov had been relieved
of his post as Deputy Foreign Minister. .
Ilya Ehrenburg notes that:
There was nothing more. He went into oblivion";
('Washington Post', 24 January 1952; p. 13).
"Litvinov was not arrested, but Stalin removed him
from all functions, . . He was pensioned off, not at his own request".
(Ilya Ehrenburg: op. cit.; p. 278, 279).
"Followed the development of Soviet foreign policy
with increasing disapproval. Much of his time was taken up in elaborating
a long memorandum to Stalin which analysed and commented on what he called
(John Carswell: op. cit.; p., 161).
"his years of retirement were overshadowed by the
possibility of denunciation and trial". (John
Carswell: ibid.; p. 161).
At Litvinov's funeral in January 1952,
". . the highest ranking mourners were Deputy Prime
('Washington Post', 25 January 1952; p. 21).
". . no one from the Politburo".
(Henry L. Roberts: op. cit.; p. 375).
Julio Alvarez del Vayo, who was Spanish Minister for
Foreign Affairs of the Republican government during most of the civil war,
"the whole saga of non-intervention";
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 203).
"It was the finest example of the art of handing victims
over to the aggressor States, while preserving the perfect manners of a
gentleman and at the same time giving the impression that peace is the
one objective and consideration."
AND REVISIONIST ELEMENTS IN INFLUENTIAL
POSITIONS IN THE CPSU WERE ACCOMPLICES IN THIS REACTIONARY FARCE.
(Julio Alvarez del Vayo: op. cit.; p. 252).