FOREIGN NEWS ---
Crusts on the
Jones, a serious young man with glasses, arrived in Berlin last week after a
three-week tour of the Ukraine. He had a dreadful tale to tell, and Berlin
correspondents listened politely because serious Mr. Jones was once a private
secretary to David Lloyd George and before making his trip to the Ukraine he
spent many a long hour learning to speak Russian - far more fluently than most
Russian correspondents. Said he:
walked through the country visiting villages and investigating twelve collective
farms. Everywhere I heard the cry: ‘There is no bread, we are
dying!’ This cry is rising from all of Russia from the Volga district, from
Siberia from White Russia from Central Asia and from the Ukraine black dirt
officials deny any famine exists, but a few minutes following one such denial in
a train I chanced to throw away a stale piece of my private supply of bread.
Like a shot a peasant dived to the floor grabbed the crust and devoured it.
The same performance was repeated later with an orange peel. Even
transport and G.P.U. officers warned me against travelling over the countryside
at night because of the numbers of starving, desperate men . . . A foreign
expert who returned from Kazakstan told me that 1,000,000 of the 5,000,000 of
inhabitants there have died of hunger.
“After Dictator Josef V. Stalin the
starving Russians most hate George Bernard Shaw for his accounts of their
plentiful food . . . There is insufficient feed and many peasants are too weak
to work on the land and the future prospect seems blacker than the present. The
peasants no longer trust their government and the change in the taxation policy
came too late."
rebuttal was promptly presented by Walter Duranty, a U.S. correspondent long in
Soviet good graces, but it was a rebuttal of much mildness.
number of times foreigners, especially Britons have shaken rueful heads as they
composed the Soviet Union’s epitaph can scarcely be computed This not to
mention a more regrettable incident of three years ago when an American
correspondent discovered half the Ukraine flaming with rebellion and proved it
by authentic documents eagerly proffered by Rumanians. . .
I talked with Mr. Jones I have made exhaustive inquiries about this alleged
famine situation . . . There is serious food shortage throughout the country
with occasional cases of well-managed state or collective farms. The big
cities and the army are adequately supplied with food. There is no actual
starvation or death from starvation, but there is wide is mortality from
diseases due to malnutrition . . . In every Russian village food conditions will
improve henceforth, but that will not answer one really vital question - What
about the coming grain crop upon that depends not the future of the Soviet
power which cannot and will not be smashed, but the future policy of the