761.00/1–2550: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kirk) to the Secretary of State 1


262. Pospelov’s2 speech on anniversary Lenin’s death3 (Soviet press January 22) given authority by presence Stalin and most of Politburo, was generally similar in tone and content to major Soviet and Cominform4 pronouncements during past several months. Meeting was party rather than state occasion—even Mao Tse Tung was referred to by Pravda merely as head of Chinese Communist party. Theme of speech, as of other press material on Lenin’s anniversary, was triumph of Lenin’s revolutionary ideas, overwhelmingly confirmed by course of world history during first half of 20 century and now moving with accelerated pace toward final victory over capitalism everywhere. Speech and accompanying material thus continued aggressive mood and frankly revolutionary purpose previously noted (A–1266 December 28, A–6 January 45). These traits stand out still more if speech is read in comparison with corresponding Lenin anniversary speeches for past three years.

Re Soviet internal affairs, Pospelov reviewed economic and cultural achievements during quarter-century since Lenin’s death, and repeatedly exclaimed, “If Lenin could see with his own eyes …” age old backwardness of country is gone forever, and USSR has become [Page 1088] model for other land. “There is no force in world which could stop irrepressible movement of Soviet people toward Communism!”

Re external affairs, Pospelov paid no attention to international relations in ordinary sense, but spoke instead from party point of view about progress and prospects of world revolution, devoting space to the gathering “economic crisis” in west, victory of “great Chinese revolution”, and growth of organized “peace front” with special reference to France, Italy and Germany.

Quoting United States News and World Report on rearmament program as an artificial support our economy, he asserted that such measures could retard but not prevent fury “implacably advancing crisis,” that they prepare conditions “for very deepest and most destructive crisis.” This was indicated, he said, by fact that sharp economic decline began in USA in autumn 1948, when armaments expenditures were higher than anytime since war. He also spoke of “profound and hopeless disorder” of capitalist economies of Europe, and sufferings and anger of workers.

Pospelov cited Chinese revolution as proof that “imperialism is no longer in position to suppress a popular revolution with armed force if millions of toilers enlisted in struggle.” Quoted Lenin to effect that liberation of people of east by “revolutionary war” is now perfectly practicable, notwithstanding advance military technology possessed by their European oppressors. (Bolshevik Nov. 1 1950, in editorial on Lenin singled out four eastern countries in particular: “With arms in their hands, peoples of Vietnam, Burma, Indonesia, Malaya, are fighting for their independence.”) Pospelov’s treatment of “peace front” plainly indicated its function as revolutionary organization (A–41, January 166), intended to help win world for socialism as well as peace. Frankly presenting doctrine of “coexistence of two systems” as part of “Stalinist strategy of peace,” he admitted that Communist parties are direct peace movement and claimed that “forces of peace” are increasing in strength, vigilance and “state of mobilization”.7 His ringing conclusion made clearer than ever that “peace in all the world” is intended as a revolutionary battle cry.

Pospelov attacked Tito8 in Lenin day speech last year; this year ignored him completely.

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That world victory is expected rather soon (A–1266 December 28) was implied by statement with which Pospelov began peroration: “We are living in epoch in which has occurred that acceleration of March of world history which Lenin dreamed of and predicted” same thought expressed at close of New Times January 18 editorial on Lenin: “Under guidance of comrade Stalin great cause on [of] Lenin will be brought to victorious end!” This presumably means finishing job in Stalin’s lifetime.

  1. This telegram was relayed to London, Paris, and Frankfort at 2:20 p. m. on January 25.
  2. Pëtr (Peter) Nikolayevich Pospelov was an outstanding theoretician of the Communist Party, the Director of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, and a member of the editorial board of Bolshevik, the theoretical organ of the Central Committee of the party.
  3. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Ulyanov) was the leader of the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 and Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the subsequent Soviet Government until his death on January 21, 1924.
  4. The Communist Information Bureau was founded in September 1947 (sometimes considered to be the successor of the Communist International).
  5. Airgram A–1266, December 28, 1949, not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. In despatch 83, in which the Embassy sent a translation of this speech from Moscow on January 27, Pospelov was reported as saying: “The great Stalinist strategy of peace which proceeds from the precepts of Lenin is winning more and more partisans.… The Stalinist strategy of peace and the security of the peoples reckons on the prolonged co-existence and peaceful competition of two systems and proceeds from the possibility of the peaceful collaboration of the socialist and capitalist system[s].” (861.424/1–2750)
  8. Marshal Josip Broz Tito was President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of National Defense of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia.