‘Non-Intervention’? Between ourselves, it’s the same thing as profitable intervention – but profitable only for the other side’.
Charles-Maurice Talleyrand (1754-1838)
In January 1996, the Association of Communist Workers 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 Leaches 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 Leaches 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 front the platform that she felt that there was no duality in Soviet policy on Spain, since the Soviet policy of non-intervention was not simultaneous 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 WAR
In January 1936, a number of ostensibly left-wing Spanish parties and organisations created an electoral bloc called the ‘Popular Front’. This adopted
“… a liberal programme set in a bourgeois framework and deliberately excluded Socialist demands”.
(Pierre Broué & Emile Témime: ‘The Revolution and the Civil War in Spain’; London; 1972; p.76).
At elections in February 1936, the Popular Front gained an overwhelming majority of deputies —
“… 277, as against 132 from the Right and 32 from the Centre”.
(Pierre Broué & Emile Témime: ibid.; p.77).
Despite the moderate nature of the Popular Front’s programme, it was unacceptable to the Spanish aristocracy, and in July 1936
“… 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.”
(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 2; pp.2199, 2290).
The rebel military junta
“… 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 force”.
(Gerald Brenan: ‘The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Civil War’; Cambridge; 1971; p.316).
THE ATTITUDE OF THE WESTERN IMPERIALIST POWERS
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”.
(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).
But since Spain’s neighbour, France, also had a Popular Front government
“… the only other Popular Front regime in Europe” —
(‘New Encyclopaedia Britannica’, Volume 19; Chicago; 1994; p.520).
On 20 July 1936 the Spanish government
“… asked France . . . for 20 planes. Minister of Air Pierre Cot and Premier Léon Blum … agreed”.
(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 aggression”.
(Dolores Ibarruri: ‘They shall not pass: The Autobiography of La Pasionaria’; London; 1960; pp.201-202).
However, the sympathies of the British imperialist government, headed by Stanley Baldwin, lay with the Spanish rebels, and
“… at the beginning of August (1936– Ed.) M. Léon 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 Pyranees”.
(André Géraud (‘Pertinax’): Preface to: Eleuthère 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; pp.69-70).
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.
Thus, according to Blum’s testimony to the French Chamber of Deputies in July 1947,
“… after visiting London on 22-23 July, Blunt was forced to reverse his decision to aid the Republic”.
(Robert H. Whealey: op.cit.; p.220).
So, on 25 July 1936,
“… the Blum government issued a decree forbidding the export of arms from France to Spain”.
(Ivan Naisky: ‘Spanish Notebooks’; London; 1966; p.29).
“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 Spanish democracy”.
(‘International Solidarity with the Spanish Republic: 1936-1939’ (hereafter listed as ‘International Solidarity’; Moscow; 1976; p.362).
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 provisions:
“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”.
(David Mitchell: ‘The Spanish Civil War’; London; 1982; p.70).
On the other hand, like Britain and France, the USA
“… refused to sell arms to the Republic”. (Harry Browne: ‘Spain’s Civil War’; Harlow; 1983; p.38).
But the arms embargo did non affect both sides in the civil war equally, 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 Andaluzia and Estremadura.
(Gerald N. D. Howat (Ed.): ‘Dictionary of World History’. London; 1973; p.1,421).
On the other hand,
“… 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.11).
“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 transhipment of German and Italian supplies across its country”
(David T. Cattell: ‘Soviet Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War’ (hereafter listed as ‘David T. Cattell (1957)’; Berkeley (USA); 1957; p.21).
As Australian-born author and translator Gilbert Murray said in a letter to the ‘Times’ in October 1936:
“The professedly double-edged embargo really cuts only one way. It keeps the Government forces unarmed for the benefit of the well-armed rebels”.
(Gilbert Murray: Letter to the ‘Times’ (22 October 1936): p.12).
SOVIET HUMANITARIAN AID TO THE SPANISH PEOPLE
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 taken
“… 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 population”.
(Edward H. Carr: ‘The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War1; London; 1984; p.16, 24).
By 6 August 1936,
“… there were already 12.1 million roubles 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 roubles.
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.301-303).
Soviet and Comintern relief for Spain
“… consisting of food and clothing for women and children, 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”.
(David T. Cattell: ‘Communism and the Spanish Civil War’ (hereafter listed as ‘David T. Cattell (1955)’; Berkeley (USA): 1955; p.70).
In addition to organisations linked with the Comintern, 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”.
(David T. Cattell (1955): ibid.; p.71).
THE QUESTION OF SOVIET MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO SPAIN
On the question of whether the Comintern and the Soviet government should give material assistance to the war effort of the Spanish Republic, there were from the outset different views in high Soviet circles.
On this question,
“… no word came from the Soviet government or from Comintern…
The only decision taken was to give financial aid to the republicans through the trade unions”.
(Edward H. Carr: op.cit.; pp.15, 16).
and for two months the Comintern was silent on the question of the war:
“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 government
“… proposing that they associate themselves with the French action and strictly observe a policy of non-intervention in Spanish affairs…
On 4 August Britain returned a positive answer to the French proposal…
Then the French government addressed their proposal to other European powers”.
(Ivan Maisky: op cit.; p.29).
As Julio Alvarez del Vayo, who was Spanish Foreign Minister for most 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 wore known to emanate front a British Tory government:
“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 M. 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.
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 Foreign 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.; pp.68, 70).
On 23 August 1936,
“… the Soviet government adhered to the Agreement on ‘Non-Intervention’ in Spanish Affairs”
(Ivan Maisky: op.cit.; p.31).
As historian Edward Carr notes:
“Soviet acceptance, in view of the campaign in the USSR and in communist parties abroad in support of the republican government, at first sight seemed a surprising gesture”.
(Edward H. Carr: op.cit.; p.17).
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:
“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 it we did not do so”.
(Maksim Litvinov: Speech to Plenary Session of League of Nations (28 September 1936), in: Ivan Maisky: op.cit.; p.31).
THE ‘NON-INTERVENTION COMMITTEE’
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”.
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.29).
The Non-Intervention Committee’ functioned on
“… the unanimity principle’, (Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p 36).
the Soviet delegate — and every other — having the right of veto over all decisions.
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 to participate”
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.30).
On 28 August 1936, an order was issued by the Soviet
“… People’s Commissar of Foreign Trade prohibiting the export of war supplies to Spain”.
(Max Beloff: ‘The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia: 1929-1942’, Volume 2: ‘1936-1941’; London; 1949; p.32).
On 9 September 1936, the Non-Intervention Committee had
“… its first meeting, and agreed that it should have a permanent Chairman. This post was offered to the British representative, Lord Plymouth”.
(Ivan Maisky: op.cit.; pp.30-31).
THE TRUE ROLE OF ‘NON-INTERVENTION’
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”.
(Harry Browne: op.cit.; p.37).
Although Germany. Italy and Portugal had signed the ‘Non-Intervention Pact’, they had not the slightest 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-Intervention Agreement’ was to provide a screen behind which the Fascist powers could arm the rebels.
‘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”
(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: op.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 rebels”. (Eleuthère 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 aggressor”.
(Dolores Ibarruri: ‘The Fight goes on’ in: ‘International Solidarity’; op.cit.; p.7).
“Non-intervention… contributed to the victory of fascism in Spain”.
(‘Great Soviet Encyclopaedia’, Volume 31; New York; 1972; p.176).
The true role of ‘Non-Intervention’ was admitted by Maksim Litvinov , who was People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs between 1930 and 1939:
“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”.
(Maksim Litvinov: Speech at Political Committee of League of Nations (29 September 1938), in: William P.& Zelda Coates: ‘A History of Anglo-Soviet Relations’; London: 1943; p.569).
and by the German Ambassador to Britain, Joachim von Ribbentropp, who declared that the ‘Non-Intervention Committee’
“… might have been better called the Intervention Committee”.
(Joachim von Rippentropp, cited in: David Mitchell: op.cit.; p.71).
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:
“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 work…
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; pp.365, 368).
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST ‘NON-INTERVENTION’
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 quarters”
(Walter C. Krivitsky: ‘I was Stalin’s Agent’; London; 1939; p.101).
These circles included sections of the international communist movement, particularly in France. For example, headlines in L’Humanité, (Humanity), organ of the Communist Party of France, in September 1936 read:
END THE BLOCKADE WHICH IS KILLING OUR BROTHERS IN SPAIN”.
(‘L’Humanité’, 5 September 1936; p.1).
“FOR REPUBLICAN SPAIN.
FOR PEACE AND THE SECURITY OF FRANCE”.
(‘L’Humanité’, 7 September 1936; p.4).
“TO THE AID OF THE REPUBLICAN FIGHTERS OF SPAIN”.
(‘L’Humanité’, 14 September 1936; p.4).
“IT IS NECESSARY TO RECONSIDER THE PRINCIPLE OF NON-INTERVENTION”
(‘L’Humanité’, 20 September 1936; p.4).
“THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE OF FRANCE RISES EVER MORE STRONGLY FOR THE LIFTING OF THE BLOCKADE”..
(‘L’Humanité’, 21 September 1936; p.4).
Maurice Thorez, General Secretary of the Communist Party of France, wrote in ‘L’Humanité’:
“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 be lifted”.
(Maurice Thorez, in: ‘L’Humanité’ (9 September 1936), in: David T. Cattell (1957): op.cit.; p.24).
In August 1836, Paul Nizan wrote in the Comintern journal, ‘International Press Correspondence’
“This ‘neutrality’… is definitely to be challenged from the point of view of international justice…
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 at once. . .
The Communists will take the lead in this fight for the support of the
(Paul Nizan: ‘To the Aid of the Spanish Republic!’. in: ‘International Press Correspondence’, Volume 16, No. 37 (15 August 1936); p.990).
In a speech during the first week in September 1936, interrupted by shouts of ‘Aeroplanes for Spain’, French Prime Minister Léon Blum countered the campaign against ‘Non-Intervention’ by the reminder that the policy was supported by the Soviet government:
“Do not let us forget that the international convention of non-intervention in Spain bears the signature of Soviet Russia.” (Léon Blum: Statement, in: David T. Cattell (1957): op.cit.; p.24).
THE DIVISION IN THE CPSU
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.
Lieutenant-Colonel Simon, the French military attaché in Moscow, reported to the French Minister of National Defence Edouard Daladier in August 1936, the existence of two rival factions in the leadership of the CPSU.
“The moderate faction . . . would wish to avoid all intervention.
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 Edouard Daladier (13 August 1936). in: ‘Documents diplomatiques français: 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 Non-Intervention”
(Michael Alpert:: ‘A New International History of the Spanish Civil War’; Basingstoke; 1994; pp.50, 51).
THE CHANGE OF SOVIET POLICY TOWARDS SPAIN
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, Samual 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”.
(Samuel B. Kagan: Statement of 7 October 1936, in: Ivan Maisky: op. cit.; p.47).
On 15 October 1936, Stalin sent a telegram to José Diaz, leader of the Communist Party of Spain, saying:
“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”.
(Josef V. Stalin: Telegram to CC, CPSp (15 October 1936), in: ‘Works’, Volume 14; London; 1978; p.149).
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:
“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”.
(Ivan Maisky; Statement of 23 October 1936, in; Ivan Naisky: op.cit.; p.48-49).
On 27 August 1936, Marcel Rozenberg arrived in Madrid as the first Soviet Ambassador to Spain
“… with an impressive retinue of military, naval and air attachés and experts
(Edward H. Carr; op.cit,; p.22).
SOVIET MILITARY AID TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC
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”,
(Edward H. Carr: op.cit.; p.24).
and that it stated:
“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 of arms”
(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).
During the war:
“… the sending of military aid was never acknowledged…
No official Communist publication ever mentioned the sending of military equipment”.
(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 launchers, 15,113 machine-guns, more than 110,000 aerial bombs, about 3.4 million rounds of ammunition, 500,000 grenades, 862 million cartridges, 1,500 tons of gunpowder, torpedo boats, air defence searchlight installations, motor vehicles, radio stations, torpedoes and fuel”.
(‘International Solidarity’; op.cit.; p.329-30).
and under the new Soviet policy,
“… 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).
THE INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES
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”.
(Bill Alexander: ‘British Volunteers for Liberty: Spain 1936-1939’; London: 1982; p.53).
and the Spanish Republican Government
“… agreed, on 12 October 1936, to the formation of the International Brigades’1.
(Bill Alexander: ibid.: p.53).
On 17 October 1936,
“… the first recruits to the International Brigades arrived in Spain”.
(David Mitchell: op.cit.; p.63).
The International Brigades
“… formed a corps d’elite involved in all fighting of any importance until the end of 1938”.
(Pierre Broué & Emile Témime: 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”.
(Hugh Thomas: ‘The Spanish Civil War’; London; 1977; p.982).
According to Dimitri Manuilsky at the 18th Congress of the CPSU, Spanish resistance
“… 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”.
(Dimitri 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
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.
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-intervention’ was succeeded by the Soviet policy of military aid to the Republican government — had validity.
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”. (Dolores Ibarruri: op.cit.; p.263).
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,
“The Soviet Union did not make a move to leave the committee’1.
(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).
To be exact, only on 4 March 1939 did the TASS news agency announce the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from the ‘Non-Intervention Committee’:
“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'”
(TASS News Agency: Statement (4 March 1939), in: Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p. 202).
This was a few days after the British and French governments had officially recognised the rebel government:
“On 27 February 1939 Britain and France officially recognised Franco and broke off diplomatic relations with the Republican government (Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.199).
and only a few weeks before the ‘Non-Intervention Committee’ was dissolved:
“On 20 April 1939 the Committee as a whole officially ceased to be”.
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.203).
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 Litvinov:
“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”.
(David T. Cattell (1957): op.cit.; p.50).
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’.
THE EFFECT OF CONTINUED SOVIET PARTICIPATION 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.
Firstly, they were able to sabotage the control plan which was ostensibly designed to make the paper arms embargo internationally effective.
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”.
(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).
As a result,
“… the coming into force of control during the night of 19-20 April 1937 swiftly demonstrated the futility of this policy”. (Pierre Broué & Emile Témime: op.cit.; p.342).
Even Litvinov admitted in an election speech on 27 November 1937:
“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 Spanish mutineers1′.
(Maksim Litvinov: Election Speech of 27 November 1937, in: Jane Degras (Ed.) (1953): ibid.; p.267).
And on 17 September 1937, the British and French governments
“… informed the other 25 ‘Non-Intervention’ Powers . . . that they had decided to discontinue their naval patrols of the Spanish coast”.
(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 3; p.2,744).
Secondly, they were able to halt the influx of volunteers to the International Brigades which played such an important role in the anti-fascist resistance.
On 4 December 1936,
“… the Soviet government came forward with a new, extremely important initiative”.
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.97).
This proposal was
“… that the Governments, parties to the Non-Intervention Agreement, shall undertake to prevent by every means the despatch and transit of volunteers to Spain”, (lvan Maisky: Letter to Non-Intervention Committee (4 December 1936), in: ibid.; 1). 97).
On 10 January 1937, the British Foreign Office declared that
“… 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 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”. (‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 3; p.2,411).
On 16 February 1937, the Non-Intervention Committee decided
“… to prohibit the passage to Spain of any ‘volunteers’ whatsoever as from 21 February 1937”
(Ivan Maisky: op.cit.; ibid.; p.106).
On 18 February 1937 the French government issued a decree
“… to forbid the recruiting of volunteers for Spain and their transport thither”.
(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 3; p.2,463).
and on 20 February 1937 the Soviet government issued a decree stating:
“1. Citizens of the USSR are forbidden entrance into Spain to participate in the military activities underway in Spain’.
2. Recruiting of persons for participation in the military activities in Spain… is forbidden in the territory of the USSR”
(USSR Decree of 20 February 1937, in: Jane Degras (Ed.) (1953): op.cit.; p.234-35).
Thirdly, they were able to bring about the repatriation of volunteer fighters already serving in the International Brigades.
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 ‘volunteers'” (lvan Maisky: op.cit.; p.125).
and was not deterred when the Italian delegate, Dino Grandi, who had
“… 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”.
(Dino Grandi: Statement at Sub-Committee of ‘Non-Intervention Committee’ (23 March 1937). in: Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.125).
On 14 July 1937, a new British plan was laid before the Committee. It included
“… the evacuation of all foreign combatants from Spain”.
(Ivan Maisky: ibid.; p.158).
on 31 July 1937, a TASS communiqué stated:
“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”.
(TASS Communiqué (31 July 1937). in: Jane Degras (Ed.) (1953): op.cit. p.249).
on 5 July 1938, at a plenary meeting of the ‘Non-Intervention Committee’
“… the British plan for the withdrawal of foreign volunteers from Spain was unanimously adopted”.
(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 3; p.3,735).
Although Franco later — on 30 December 1938– rejected the plan, (‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 3; p.3,384).
on 23 September 1938, Prime Minister Juan Negrin
“… announced that his Government had decided on the immediate and complete withdrawal of all non-Spanish combatants fighting on its side”.
(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 3; p.3,252).
THE DUALITY IN SOVIET POLICY TOWARDS SPAIN
The Soviet policies of military assistance to the Spanish republic and of co-operation in the work of the ‘Non-Intervention Coinmittee 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 co-operation 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.
THE ROLE OF MAKSIM LITVINOV
Maksim Maksimovicb Litvinov was appointed Minister to Britain in January 1918:
“This appointment was officially made by Trotsky”,
(John Carswell. ‘The Exile: A Life of Ivy Litvinov’ London; 1983: p.86)
who was then People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
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 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”.
(John Carswell: ibid.; p.109, 126).
Litvinov, married to an English wife, was steeped in West European culture:
“… Maksim had been soaked in the ways of the West”.
(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; p.312).
and this was reflected politically in Litvinov’s support for cooperation with Western imperialism. He became
“… the best-known Soviet spokesman for . . . cooperation with the West”.
(Alexander Dallin: ‘Allied Leadership in the Second World War: Stalin’ in: ‘Survey’, Volume 21, Nos. 1/2 (Winter/Spring 1975); p.15).
In the period leading up to 1939, Litvinov was particularly associated with Soyiet 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:
“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 slaughter”.
(Maksim Litvinov: Press Statement (17 March 1938). in: William P.& Zelda Coates: op. cit.; p 585).
He genuinely believed
“… that Soviet power and influence could best be promoted by collaboration with the West”.
(Voitech Mastny: ‘The Cassandra of the Foreign Comissariat: Maksirn Litvinov and the Cold War’, in: ‘Foreign Affairs’, Volume 54, No. 2 (January 1976); p.376).
Already, on 17 January 1938, Politburo member Andrei Zhdanov criticised the People’s Cornmissariat 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.
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).
and Vyacheslav Molotov, then USSR Prime Minister, added in a speech to the USSR Supreme Soviet a few days later, on 19 January 1938:
“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”.
(Vyacheslav Molotov: Speech at USSR Supreme Soviet (19 January 1938), in: Jane Degras (Ed.) (1953): op.cit.; pp.271, 272).
As Litvinov’s wife Ivy commented later:
“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…
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 Non-Aggression Pact
Even in 1937 British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax was already telling Hitler how much the British government admired his suppression of Communism in Germany:
“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…
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 he regarded as a bulwark of the West against Bolshevism”.
(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; pp.19-20).
and was proposing to Berlin the formation of a four-power alliance to include Britain, France, Germany and Italy:
“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.
The Fuehrer replied that … Lord Halifax had proposed an agreement of the four Western Powers as the ultimate aim of Anglo-German Cooperation”.
(‘Archives’; ibid.; p.29-30, 31).
In other words, the British government was already proposing that
“… Britain, and France as well, should join the ‘Berlin-Rome Axis'”
(Soviet Information Bureau: ‘Falsifiers of History (Historical Information); London; 1948; p.21).
In these circumstances,
“… the Soviet Union faced the alternative:
either to accept, for purposes of self-defence, Germany’s proposal to conclude a non-aggression 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 Germany”.
(Soviet Information Bureau: ‘Falsifiers of History (Historical Information); London; 1948; p.44).
Litvinov, however, was, and remained, opposed to the Soviet government’s rapprochement with Germany.
“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”.
(Louis Fischer: ‘The Great Challenge’; New York; 1971; p.54).
In May 1939, Litvinov was replaced as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs by Vyacheslav Molotov. The change reflected the preparation for
“… a momentous change of foreign policy”,
(John Carswell: op.cit.; p.145).
for in August 1939 the Soviet government signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany.
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) imperialist powers:
“There were short-sighted people in our country too who, tending to over-simplify anti-fascist propaganda, forgot this provocative work of our enemies”.
(Vyacheslav Molotoy: Statement in Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the Ratification of the Soviet-German Pact of Non-Aggression (August 31 1939); London; 1939; p.8).
In a biographical article on Litvinov, henry Roberts points out that Molotov’s comment
“… may be interpreted as a slap at Litvinov”.
(Henry L. Roberts: ‘Maksim Litvinov’ in: Gordon A. Craig & Felix Gilbert (Eds.): ‘The Diplomats: 1919-1939’; Princeton (USA); 1953; p.375).
The revisionist diplomat Andrei Gromyko, who was USSR Foreign Minister in a later period. writes in his memoirs about an incident in 1942:
“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. Litvinoy disagreed. This had been the prime reason for his removal from the post of Foreign Commissar 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.
It was strange listening to someone who appeared not to have noticed Munich and its consequences”.
(Andrel Gromyko: ‘Memoirs’. London; 1989; p.312),
In 1948, however, the Soviet Information Bureau was still commenting politely on Litvinov’s removal:
“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”.
(‘Falsifiers of History’; op.cit.; p.16-17).
Litvinov’s Further Demotion
In February 1941, Litvinov was further demoted: the step was taken
“… of depriving Maksim of the one public position he retained — membership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party”.
(John Carswell: op.cit.; p.148).
This action was taken,
“.. 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, Lityinov called after him ‘Does this mean that you consider me an enemy of the people?’. 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).
and John Carswell, the biographer of Ivy Litvinov, writes that
“… this humiliation… was an important stage in Maksim’s disillusionment with the ‘reality’ which the Revolution claimed to have created”.
(John Carswell: op.cit.; p.149).
Litvinov to Washington
However, in December 1941, some months after the German attack on the Soviet Union,
“… Stalin sent for for Litvinov, shook hands with him in a friendly manner and appointed him to Washington”. (Ilya Ehrenburg: ‘Men, Years — Life’, Volume 6: ‘Post-War Years: 1945-1954’, London; 1966; p.279).
And Litvinov’s biograoher Voitech Mastny remarks that in the new situation of Anglo-American-Soviet co-operation, Litvinov was
“… the right person to be chosen to reassure the West”.
(Voitech Mastny: op.cit.; p.368).
Litvinov Voices Dissent from Soviet Foreign Policy
Litvinov’s biographer Vojtech Mastny notes:
“Towards the end of his long and distinguished career in the Soviet diplomatic service, Maksim Litvinov 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”.
(Voitech Mastny: op.cit.; p.366).
In May 1943, having been recalled to Moscow, he is on record complaining to US Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles
“… that he was unable to communicate with Stalin, whose isolation then bred a distorted view of the West”.
(Voitech Mastny: ibid.; p.368).
However, according to the Soviet revisionist journalist Ilya Ehrenburg, Litvinov
“… was reticent in his opinion of him (Stalin — Ed.) . . . and only once, when speaking about foreign policy, said with a sigh: ‘He doesn’t know the West'”.
(Jlya Ehrenburg: op.cit.; p.278).
At the same time as Litvinov was recalled from the USA,
“… the other official protagonist of pro-Western reputation, Ambassador to London Ivan M. Maisky”,
(Vojtech Mastny: ibid.; p.368).
was recalled to Moscow.
“… 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”.
(Ilya Ehrenburg: op.cit.; p,. 279).
In the first months of 1945,
“… 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”.
(John Carswell: op.cit.; p.158-59).
In June 1945 he is on record as complaining to American journalist Edgar Snow:
“We (Litvinov and Maisky — Ed.) are on the shelf…
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).
In June 1946 Lityinov gave an interview in Moscow to the correspondent of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Richard Hottelot. According to Hottelot,
“.. Litvinov’s attitude was one of resignation mixed with disgust and relief that he was not identified with his government’s foreign policy”
(Richard C. Hottelot: Interview with Maksim Litvinov (June 1946), in: ‘Washington Post’ (22 January 1952); p.11B).
According to Hottelot, Litvinov declared:
“The Kremlin cannot be trusted and cannot be appeased”.
(Maksim Litvinov: Interview with Richard Hottelot (June 1946), ‘Washington Post’ (21 January 1952); p.1).
so that any attempt by the Western powers to meet Soviet demands
“… would lead to the West being faced, after a more or less short time, with the next series of demands”.
(Maksim Litvinov: Interview with Richard Hottelot (June 1946), in:
‘Washington Post’ (21 January 1952); p.1).
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’:
“This strange interlude awakened the impression that . . . it was meant as Litvinov’s political testament to the Western world”.
(Richard C. Hottelot: Interview with Makaim Litvinov (June 1946), ‘Washington Post’, 21 January 1952; p.4).
We 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
In August 1946,
“… ‘Pravda’ printed a brief notice in small type on its back page to the effect that Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov had been relieved of his post as Deputy Foreign Minister.
There was nothing more. He went into oblivion”.
(‘Washington Post’, 24 January 1952; p.13).
Ilya Ehrenburg notes that
“… 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 ‘Molotov’s’ errors”.
(John Carswell: op.cit.: p.161).
“… his years of retirement were overshadowed by the possibility of denunciation and trial”.
John Carswel~: ibid.; p.161).
The Death of Litvinov
At Litvinov’s funeral in January 1952,
“… the highest ranking mourners were Deputy Prime Ministers”
(‘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, sums up
“… 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”.
(Julio Alvarez del Vayo: op.cit.; p.252).
AND REVISIONIST ELEMENTS IN INFLUENTIAL POSITIONS IN THE CPSU WERE ACCOMPLICES IN THIS REACTIONARY FARCE.
Alexander, Bill: ‘British Volunteers for Liberty: Spain 1936-1939’; London; 1982.
Alpert, Michael: ‘A New International History of the Spanish Civil War’; Basingstoke; 1994.
Alvarez del Vayo, Julio: ‘Freedom’s Battle’; London; 1937.
Beloff, Max: ‘The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia: 1929-1941’, Volume 2; ‘1936-1941’; London; 1945.
Brenan, Gerald: ‘The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War’; Cambridge; 1971.
Broue, Pierre & Temime, Emile:’The Revolution and the Civil War in Spain’; London; 1972.
Browne, Harry: ‘Spain’s Civil War’; Harlow; 1983.
Carr, Edward H.: ‘The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War’; London; 1984. Carswell, John: ‘The Exile: A Life of Ivy Litvinov’; London’;
Cattell, David T.:’Communism and the Spanish Civil War’; Berkeley (USA); 1955.
Cattell, David T.:’Soviet Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War’; Berkeley (USA); 1957.
Coates, William P. & Zelda: ‘A History of Anglo-Soviet Relations’; London; 1943.
Dallin, Alexander : ‘Allied Leadership in the Second World War: Stalin’, in: ‘Survey’, Volume 21, Nos. 1/2 (Winter/Spring 1975).
Degras, Jane (Ed.): ‘Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy’, Volume 3; London; 1953.
Degras, Jane (Ed.): ‘The Communist International: 1919-1943; Documents’, Volume 3; London; 1965.
Dzelepy, Eleuthere N.:’The Spanish Plot’; London; 1937.
Ehrenburg, Ilya: ‘Men, Years — Life’, Volume 6: ‘Post4~r Years: 1945-1954’; London; 1966.
Fischer, Louis: ‘The Great Challenge’; New York; 1971. Gromyko, Andrei: ‘Memoirs’; London; 1989.
Howat, Gerald M. D. (Ed.): ‘Dictionary of World History’; London; 1973. London; 1960.
Ibarruri, Dolores: ‘They shall not pass: The Autobiography of La Pasionaria’;
Krivitsky, Walter C.: ‘I was Stalin’s Agent’; London; 1939.
Maisky, Ivan: ‘Spanish Notebooks’; London; 1966.
Mastny, Vojtech: ‘The Cassandra of the Foreign Commssariat: Maksim Litvinov and the Cold War’, in: ‘Foreign Affairs’, Volume 54, No. 2 (January 1976). Mitchell, David: ‘The Spanish Civil War’; London; 1982.
Molotov, Vyacheslav M.:Statement in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the Ratification of the Soviet-German Pact of Non-Aggression of August 21, 1939; London; 1939.
Roberts, Henry L.:’Maksim Litvinov’, in: Gordon A. Craig & Felix Gilbert: ‘The Diplomats: 1919-1939’; Princeton (USA); 1953.
Snow, Edgar: ‘Journey to the Beginning’; London; 1959.
Thomas, Hugh: ‘The Spanish Civil War’; London; 1977.
Whealey, Robert H.: ‘Foreign Intervention in the Spanish Civil War’, in:
Raymond Carr (Ed.): ‘The Republic and the Civil War in Spain’; London; 1971.
– From ‘Documents and Materials relating to the Eve of the Second World War: From the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs’, Volume 1; Moscow; 1948.
– ‘Documents Diplomatiques Francais: 1932-1939; 2nd Series (1936-1939), Volume 3; Paris; 1966.
-‘Falsifiers of History (Historical Information)’; London; 1948.
-‘International Press Correspondence’.
–‘International Solidarity with the Spanish Republic: 1936-1939’; Moscow; 1976, — ‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives.
— ‘New Encylopaedia Britannica’.
— ‘Observer Review’.