861.00 Party, All Union Communist/211: Telegram

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

101. The Soviet press yesterday which did not appear until evening carried the text of an exhaustive report of Manuilski to the Congress of the work of the Comintern.

Manuilski began his speech with a review of the developments in the capitalist world during the past 5 years and of the existing international situation which followed closely the views expressed by Stalin (see my telegram 99, March 11, 4 p.m.) but was marked by an exceptionally violent attack on the “reactionary British bourgeois” and the present policies of Great Britain.

Manuilski stated that the imperialistic claims of the Fascist powers have aroused the alarm and resistance of certain capitalist states particularly the “most powerful capitalist state in the world” the United States, which is defending its interests in South America against German, Italian and Japanese penetration there and is defending its position in the Philippines, China and the Pacific Ocean against Japan and that “in so doing the United States is stimulating the resistance to the Fascist aggressive plans in other parts of the world including Europe”.

Manuilski emphasized the efforts of the Communist Parties for the creation of a united proletarian and People’s Front against Fascism and reaction and in this connection stated “in the United States the anti-Fascist movement has swept from its path Fascist demagogues of the type of Father Coughlin; from the reactionary American Federation of Labor has become detached the Left Wing the so-called Committee for Industrial Organization which is heading the shift of the larger part of the American workers’ movement over to the position of the class struggle; the working class taking advantage of an improvement in the economic conditions, is carrying on a series of large strikes which have terminated in the majority of instances in the favor of the workers. One million textile workers and 400,000 miners are striking as well as the workers of other branches of industry. Half a million students have declared a demonstration strike against approaching war; the democratic movement is growing and has secured a tremendous victory in the Presidential election. On the Wave of this movement is growing the Communist Party of the United States.” He maintained that the peoples of the “so-called democratic countries”, England, France, and the United States, favored the application of measures of economic pressure against the Fascist [Page 743] countries and urged the working class of these countries to use “material pressure” in the form of strikes, demonstrations, et cetera, to force their “bourgeois Government” to adopt such a policy.

In discussing the present tactics of the Communist Party Manuilski stated that the proper Communist attitude toward war had been laid down in the short history of the Communist Party and that in conformity with these views the Communists would support a war of any people for their national independence and against the imperialist brigands, any war which would help the speedy defeat of world reaction and Fascism and any war which would hasten the victory of the world proletariat whose interests are entirely and completely in accord with the interests of the Soviet Union, the fatherland of all workers. In a later portion of his report Manuilski warned that any war against the Soviet Union would result in the downfall of capitalism through revolution.

Manuilski stated that the membership of Communist Parties forming part of the Communist International now equaled 1,200,000 as against 860,000 five years ago and that the Communist Leagues of Youth had grown from 110,000 to 740,000 but that the influence of the Communist Parties affected from 15 to 20 times the number of actual members. He added that the growth of the Communist Parties had been more rapid in countries where the social democratic parties were weak “such as for example in the United States and in many countries of Latin America”. In speaking specifically of the American Communist Party Manuilski stated an “important advance has been achieved by the Communist Party of the United States; by assisting in every way the formation of the class movement of the proletariat and rupture with the bourgeois parties it has grown from 20,000 to 90,000 members; by its work it has assisted in the strengthening of the industrial unions which embrace about 4,000,000 members and devotes tireless patient work among the 3,000,000 workers adhering to the reactionary American Federation of Labor for the establishment of trade union unity on the basis of the class struggle. The Party has won great authority among the negro working masses and also among the best representatives of the American intelligentsia. By its participation in the wide democratic movement and its criticism of the halfway policy thereof the Communist Party of the United States has pushed that movement on to the path of a more consistent anti-Fascist struggle. One of the existing deficiencies of the Party has been that it is still weakly linked with the agricultural masses and with the farmers movement.”

Manuilski’s description of the work of the Comintern contained the usual denunciations of Trotskyists as agents of Fascism and of the reactionary Socialist and trade union leaders, and in general followed [Page 744] that of the line adopted at the Seventh Comintern Congress in 193524 with special reference to the need of unity in the struggle against reactionary circles in the anti-Fascist countries and the importance of the defense of the Soviet Union. He concluded with a tribute to Stalin as the defender of the interests of the toilers of the whole world.

  1. For the VII Congress of the Communist International held in Moscow, July–August 1935, and the United States protest against its activities, see pp. 218 ff.