861.00/1–2747: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State


203. We have noted in American press and radio comment some perplexity and confusion regarding seeming manifestations of conciliation in Soviet foreign policy since New York meetings of CFM and General Assembly. This perplexity arises from limited knowledge of Communist theory and history, from failure to understand that Soviet policy is motivated and guided by a well-defined, enduring and fundamentally consistent doctrine.

Anniversary of Lenin’s death, January 21, offers convenient point of departure for relating certain basic tenets of Soviet doctrine to current questions. Anniversary was observed throughout last week by nation-wide reaffirmation of loyalty to teachings of Lenin. At memorial meeting held by top party and govenment officials, including Stalin, address was delivered by Aleksandrov,1 one of party’s principal spokesmen. Aleksandrov said in part, “Soviet land … can take pride in its leaders who in field of foreign policy of our state, work according to Lenin”.

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It is worthwhile, then, to review Lenin’s teachings in realm of Soviet foreign relations most of which are applicable to outstanding questions of the day.

Is peaceful co-existence between USSR and capitalist states possible?

Lenin said: “We are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and existence of Soviet Republic side by side with imperialist states for a long time is unthinkable. One or the other must triumph in the end. And before that end supervenes, a series of frightful collisions between Soviet Republic and bourgeois states will be inevitable.” (At Party Congress 1919)

But is not offer of new alliance to Britain evidence of willingness to get along with great imperialist power?

Lenin said: “We are at present between two foes. If we are unable to defeat them both, we must know how to dispose our forces in such a way that they fall out among themselves; because, as is always the case, when thieves fall out, honest men come into their own. But as soon as we are strong enough to defeat capitalism as a whole, we shall immediately take it by scruff of the neck.” (To Moscow Party Nucleii, 1920)

Does a well-defined new trend in Soviet policy mean a change in fundamental strategy?

Lenin said: “In order not to get lost in these twists (changes in policy), in order not to get lost in the periods of retirement, retreat or temporary defeat, or when history or the enemy throws us back … the important and the only theoretically correct thing is not to cast out the old basic program.” (At Party Congress 1918)

In 23 years since Lenin’s death we have yet to see this old basic program cast out. It has been modified and added to but never rejected or forgotten.

Department please repeat to London as Moscow’s 22, Paris as 18, Nanking, Tokyo.

  1. Georgy Fedorovich Alexandrov, prominent Soviet philosopher, chief of the Propaganda and Agitation Administration (Agitprop) of the Central Committee of the All Union Communist Party (of Bolsheviks), editor of its newspaper Culture and Life; member of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union since 1946.