The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State
523. Emb 450 February 18.1 One of the most hopeful signs we have recently seen is article in February 17 Pravda on schism in working class movement. But before commenting further, we would say something by way of background.
Notwithstanding failures and disappointments during past 30 years, Kremlin still places great reliance upon mobilization of world proletariat to advance Soviet expansion. While Kremlin no longer entertains illusions that it can engineer world revolution at one stroke, it has good reason to believe that if through its propaganda and international agents it succeeds in winning support of even bare majority of workers of world and then harnessing them to its program, it will have gone long way towards subjecting rest of world to its will. Aggressive Soviet sponsorship of WFTU and attempts to manipulate it in furtherance of Soviet political aims is evidence of Soviet intentions in this direction.
Soviet attempts to mobilize world proletariat encounter two general forms of active opposition. One is repressive; for example, policy of Chinese and Greek Governments. Other is competitive; for example, activities of British Labor Government and AFL. Repression is effective where government is firmly established and workers weak and unorganized, as in Turkey. But in most other countries outside Soviet orbit, repressions often boomerang, sometimes disastrously.[Page 536]
Competition for proletarian support by strong, independent and nationalist labor organizations is fundamentally more effective because it offers an affirmative alternative to Communism and thus exerts an attractive influence on proletariat nullifying possibility that proletariat gravitate en masse toward reliance upon and subjection [to] USSR. Finally competition does not—as repression does—feed sense of persecution, the psychological state most suspectible to Soviet exploitation.
It is with foregoing in mind that we say Pravda article on schism in working class is hopeful sign. Soviet anxiety revealed in that article is indication that British Labor Party and Government are competing effectively for proletarian support not only in Britain but also in Europe. Possibility that large segments of western and central European workers look to British rather than to USSR for guidance and support threatens major set-back to Kremlin plans.
AFL has played somewhat similar role in Germany, Latin America and Japan and has as consequence drawn bitter attacks in Soviet press. If AFL activities along these lines are increased and skillfully pursued, they, too, will constitute major impediment to Kremlin efforts to capture workers of the world.
Department repeat to Tokyo, Nanking, London as Moscow’s 59, Paris 45, Berlin 50.
- Not printed.↩