DAVID LLOYD GEORGE
March 27, 1933.
Mr. Lloyd George,
have just arrived from Russia where I found the situation disastrous. The
Five-Year Plan has been a complete disaster in that it has destroyed the
Russian peasantry and brought famine to every part of the country. I
tramped alone for several days through a part of the Ukraine, sleeping in
peasants’ huts. I spoke with a large number of workers, among whom
unemployment is rapidly growing. I discussed the situation with almost
every British, German and American expert. I had interviews with the
Commissar for Finance, Grinko
Vice-Commissar for Light Industry
Vice-Commissar for Education
President of the Atheists (who has given me a special message to you as a
British and the German Ambassadors
situation is so grave, so much worse than in 1921 that I am amazed at your
admiration for Stalin.
going to Russia, I went to Germany where I met Hitler and flew with him in
his aeroplane to attend a giant meeting in Frankfurt, had a long
conversation with Goebbels and other Nazis, with Breitscheid, von
made a special study of the Labour Camps, which impressed me deeply. I
also visited Checho-slovakia and Danzig.
I have much material on which you may want to question me. On Saturday
April 1st, I begin work at Cardiff on the “Western Mail”. Should you
wish me to come to Churt at anytime – perhaps a Saturday afternoon – I
should be delighted to come and report.
the German situation, I am not so alarmed and believe that the English
newspapers have lost their heads.
the meantime I enclose my conversation with Litvinoff.
Jones' hand-written confidential notes sent to Lloyd George (from the
House of Commons Archives) of an interview in Moscow with The Soviet
with M. Litvinoff at Moscow.
“The Disarmament Conference was in reality a duel between France and
Germany. The rest is of second-rate importance. The whole
question hinges on rearmament. The Germans do not want disarmament
and want the right to rearm, and that will be the ultimate result.
There will be no disarmament and Germany will re-arm legitimately or
The policy of the Soviet Union is unchangeable. There are two
i. Not to belong to any group of Nations.
ii. No alliances.
want to be left in peace, to carry out our internal constructive programme.
Any war – even a war in which we were not involved – would stop our
to the advent of Hitler I believed it possible that Europe would remain
peaceful and that the only danger of war lay in the East.
Manchukuo is a Japanese province and Japan wants to go further. This
expansion may lead to a conflict with the United States on one hand and
with the U.S.S.R. on the other hand, if the expansion is towards our
refusal of Japan to sign the pact of non-aggression with us means that war
with the Soviet Union is within the practical plans of Japan. In
this respect we must admire the sincerity of Japan. They don’t
veil their intentions. They say: “We don’t want to tie our
hands. We may attack you.”
how I regarded it a few months ago. But now I am not so sure that
something may not happen in the West, also. I wonder whether Hitler
is in a position to control his forces or even to control himself.
He may bring about conflict with Poland.
fear also that something may happen between Jugoslavia [sic] and Italy.
But that is less likely. Mussolini is not an adventurer.
position in the Far East can only be altered by a change in American
policy. But I am not optimistic about U.S. recognition. Some
people want Roosevelt to have preliminary negotiations which may put off
recognition for a long time. The conditions put before us by the
U.S. Government years ago were not accepted. We are still less
inclined today to accept conditions.
year we improved our conditions with France. The present French
Government would really like to have a rapprochement which I regard as
quite possible. It is, however, ridiculous to talk of a renaissance
of the Franco-Russian Alliance. We can have good relations with
France and also with Germany at the same time.
Hitler has a bargain with France or with England, he will turn against us.
So we must keep well in with France.
have always been opposed to the League of Nations, because we regard it as
being limited to the Big Powers. Naturally we cannot submit to
decisions taken only by the Big Powers. The little nations have
little to say there.
majority of the Governments in the League of Nations have no relations
with us. Therefore we cannot submit to international tribunals.
the Four Powers want to concentrate the power in their hands.
have no relations with the independent movement of the Soviets in China.
I do not know their ideas. Surely it is not a Communist but a
democratic movement which is against the policy of the Chinese Generals,
who only look after their own interests. It is more of a national
movement to unite the whole country. We have no interest in China.
will be the result of a great war, but I do not think it will come
arrest of the 6 engineers
Litvinoff asked me to treat this as particularly confidential.
greater the pressure the less chance there is of my helping, because we
cannot give way to pressure.
Esmond Ovey has been too tactless and too bullying. He is seeking a
quarrel and has as his aim the breaking off of diplomatic relations.
used to be friendly, but ever since he had to pay for goods in foreign
currency he has turned against us. He used to pay in roubles for all
supplies dirt cheap on the black market from Poland and other places.
Indeed the diplomats were the chief source of income for the black market
said that Sir Esmond and the diplomats should pay in foreign currency and
he got very angry.
cannot have his bullying, tactless way. He is a very unfortunate
men will not be shot. There will be a trial. The matter has
been taken out the hands of the O.G.P.U. and will be dealt with by the
give my respects and regards to Mr. Lloyd George. I always enjoyed
being with him and always admired him. I always followed with great
interest his activities when I was in London as an émigré. I
remember writing an article with great enthusiasm about the 1909 Insurance
study his speeches carefully and admire his boldness. What
politicians lack now is boldness. Diplomacy has been vegetating.
There has been no bold step on the part of any statesman.
read Mr Lloyd George’s articles. I do not mind his criticism of
I send him my respects and regards.”
March, 27th 1933 [date of letter sent from Berlin to LLG]