The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

No. 2058

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that the 15th anniversary of Lenin’s death has been marked in the Soviet press by [Page 733] numerous articles and editorials describing the life, the theories, the plans and the aspirations of Lenin, and the achievements of the Soviet Union attained under the leadership of Stalin who, as the leading editorial in Komsomolskaya Pravda4 of January 22 states, is “the Lenin of today”.

Prominently displayed are the seven pledges made by Stalin at Lenin’s funeral, namely: (1) to maintain the purity and dignity of Party membership; (2) to preserve the unity of the Party; (3) to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat; (4) to strengthen the bond between the workers and peasants; (5) to strengthen and expand the union of national Soviet republics; (6) to strengthen the Red Army and Navy; and (7) to be true to the principles of the Communist International.5 Furthermore, all articles and editorials speak of the close friendship and collaboration that existed between Lenin and Stalin, of the great work accomplished by Stalin in fulfillment of his pledges, and of the prosperity and happiness of the Soviet people thanks to the gigantic economic and cultural development of the Soviet Union under the firm leadership of the Party of Lenin-Stalin.

Although the articles and editorials in question are principally devoted to accounts of the theories and plans of Lenin and developments thereof under the leadership of Stalin, certain references to the international aspects of the communist movement are made. In its leading editorial of January 21, Pravda states in part as follows: “… During the past 15 years the world communist movement has grown into a tremendous force. … At present, the communists of all nations are aiming their blow at the primary enemy of the toilers—at fascism. The communists are mobilizing all forces capable of fighting in the ranks of the people’s front against fascism. The Party is putting into effect Lenin’s directions regarding the necessity of utilizing the internal contradictions between imperialistic plunderers in the interests of the Soviet people and in the interests of the international proletariat.”

In a full-page dissertation on Lenin’s testament6 and Stalin’s pledges, published in Pravda of January 21, Emelyan Yaroslavski, one of the Party’s leading theoreticians and historians, declares that Trotskyites, fascists and other foes of their brand “are too feeble to undermine or check the growth of the Comintern which is rallying the workers throughout the world and which is fighting for a united front of the toilers against fascism”. Speaking for the Party as a whole, Yaroslavski concludes with the following statement: “We keep in our hearts, and we are carrying out in practice, the pledge that Stalin [Page 734] made (‘We swear, Comrade Lenin, that we will spare not even our lives to strengthen and broaden the union of the toilers of the whole world—the Communist International’). The time is not distant when the crimson banner of Marx-Engels, Lenin-Stalin will flow over the entire world, for the great truth of bolshevism and the tremendous force of Marxian-Leninist ideas are irresistible.”

An article entitled “Lenin and the International Labor Movement” by D. Manuilski (a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern and one of its principal leaders), dealing with Leninism and its contribution to the advancement of the world labor movement, contains the following passages referring to the Comintern: “Under the direct influence of Leninist-Stalinist doctrines the Communist Party of France has grown into a first-rate political force. Also growing into a serious political factor is the Communist Party of the United States, which has become stronger in its fight against fascism and in its efforts to develop the democratic front. It is drawing into its ranks more and more of the best people in the American Labor movement.”

Similar vows of fidelity to the international aspects of communism were expressed in a speech by A. C. Shcherbakov, the Secretary of the Moscow Oblast and City Party Committee, at an anniversary meeting in the Moscow Opera House, attended by Stalin and other leading Bolshevik figures. These and other references to the world revolutionary movement, in that they were published in connection with the celebration of the anniversary of Lenin’s death, have been considered as prompted by a desire to emphasize the position of loyal executor of the policies and principles proclaimed by Lenin which is ascribed to Stalin rather than by an intent to make in this connection a statement of Communist International policy as directed from Moscow.

The press carried at the same time messages from abroad relating to the anniversary of Lenin’s death. In the Pravda of January 21, appears an article by Earl Browder, of which a translation is enclosed,7 outlining the evolution of revolutionary thought and the progress of “mass democratic movement” in the United States, and emphasizing the necessity and inevitability of close collaboration between the United States and the Soviet Union; a collaboration that is based upon the existence of common interests between the people of bourgeois-democratic America and the people of the socialist-democratic Soviet Union. Mr. Browder holds that the liberation of Tom Mooney8 [Page 735] was influenced by the spread of Leninist ideas among the American people and that it testifies to the “growth of a mass democratic movement headed by the working class of the United States”. Referring to the revolutionary traditions of the American people, Mr. Browder lauds President Roosevelt for his courageous stand in defense of democracy against world fascism and for “rejecting the cowardly policy of Britain and France of ‘appeasing’ the fascist aggressors”. The views of Mr. Browder in general reflect the attitude which the controlled press of the Soviet Union has consistently expressed in choosing to emphasize a similarity in views between the United States and Soviet Russia as regards the aims of democracy and world peace and on the dangers of fascist aggression.

Respectfully yours,

A. Kirk
  1. Newspaper of the All Union Leninist Communist Union of Youth (Komsomol).
  2. The Third International founded by the Bolsheviks in Moscow in March 1919.
  3. The testament, or will, dictated by Lenin on December 25, 1922, containing his advice to the Communist Party, and his opinions regarding his likely successors.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Thomas J. Mooney, a labor organizer, was convicted of participation in the bombing at the Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco on July 22, 1916. A death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on November 28, 1918. After prolonged efforts he was unconditionally pardoned by the Governor of California, Culbert L. Olson, on January 7, 1939.