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

No. 2166

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s despatches numbers 349 and 727, of June 1 and November 11, 1937,12 setting forth information on the foreign-trade policy of the Soviet Union, I have the honor to transmit herewith that portion of an article13 relating to Soviet foreign-trade policy carried in the Planned Economy (Planovoe Khozyaistvo), number 12, of 1938, from which it would appear that the basic elements of that policy as heretofore established are still being publicly endorsed by the Soviet authorities.

The article in question, which is entitled “Outline for a Course on ‘Socialist Planning’”, presents the contents of a course of study drawn up by the Molotov Planning Academy and the Krzhizhanovski Planning Institute of Moscow to be offered in the higher schools and faculties of the Soviet Union for the purpose of training qualified workers for the planning and other economic organs of Soviet state institutions.

On the basis of this article it may be stated that the Soviet authorities still profess the theory that the “great October revolution”14 has divided the world’s economy into “two irreconcilable systems—one socialist and the other capitalist”, between which there is a constant “struggle.” This struggle is carried on by the Soviet Union mainly by means of its foreign-trade monopoly, which is one of the principal weapons utilized by the Soviet Union in its endeavor fully to industrialize the country and to liberate itself entirely from the necessity of purchasing any merchandise in capitalist countries. The latter countries form a “capitalist encirclement” and necessitate the strengthening by all possible means of the defence of the Soviet Union, as well as of the vigilance of the entire Soviet nation in its “struggle” with the “agents” of that encirclement.

Judging from the foregoing, there is ample reason for maintaining that the foreign-trade policy of the Soviet Union is still unalterably opposed in theory, as well as in practice, to the foreign commercial policy of the United States as manifested by the Government’s trade-agreement [Page 812] program15 and that any deviation from the Soviet policy which may be detected or surmised from time to time must still be regarded as isolated exceptions to the general policy which are practiced for special reasons or purposes.

Respectfully yours,

Alexander C. Kirk
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not reprinted.
  3. The Bolshevik revolution of October 25/November 7, 1917.
  4. Foreign Trade Agreements Act, approved June 12, 1934 (48 Stat. 943), extended by Joint Resolution of Congress, approved March 1, 1937 (50 Stat. 24).