[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
This exert below is taken from Dr. Margaret Siriol Colley's forthcoming Biography of Gareth Jones.
"Gareth announced he had been appointed the Diplomatic correspondent of Y Cymro and on October 13th 1932 wrote to his parents:
“This has been an exceedingly interesting week.
Yesterday I lunched with Kingsley Martin, the editor of the New Statesman, with Dr Thomas Jones [ex-Parliamentary Private Secretary to Prime Minister, David Lloyd George], Walter Eliot, the Minister of Agriculture and others. I was able to be of great help to Kingsley Martin by translating after lunch, some passages from Russian newspapers. He went to Russia with Low of the Evening Standard.1 He spent a month in Russia this year.
On Friday, I had exceptionally interesting talks on Russia which bears out what I have said. The first was with Prof. Jules Menken (London School of Economics) a very well known economist. He was appalled with the prospects: what he had seen was the complete failure of Marxism. He dreaded this winter, when he thought millions would die of hunger. He had never seen such bungling and such breakdowns. What struck him was the unfairness and the inequality. He had seen hungry people one moment and the next moment he had lunched with Soviet Commissars in the Kremlin with the best caviar, fish, game and the most luxurious wines. I have got heaps of facts from the Press which confirm there is a severe crisis. The harvest is a failure: there is shelter lacking for 1,000,000 head of cattle; potato plans have broken down; in July only 40% of the grain collecting plan was carried out. The peasants are refusing to give up the grain. There, Soviet Press at least, is honest about the situation.
On the 15th and 17th of October two articles of Gareth’s were published in the Western Mail entitled “Will There be Soup? Russia Dreads the Coming Winter” and “Russia Famished Under the Five-Year Plan”. On the first day he wrote his article on Russia, the Western Mail had the huge headlines “Growing Menace of Communism”. Gareth felt the newspaper was making use of his Russian articles as Tory Propaganda and wrote to the editor a letter of complaint. The articles prompted controversial letters to the editor from the public and Gareth wrote to his parents:
“Do you know I am getting a great tremendous amount of fun out of the letters. It gives me a real kick to be able to set tongues wagging and people buzzing. I haven’t had so much enjoyment since the snow-ball fights in school. The Trade Unionist letter was jolly good. It is just like a football match. By the way I am certain Monday’s letter was written by a professional journalist in a Conservative Propaganda Office.
I should much rather be associated with Disarmament, Free trade and League of Nations than with the Western Mail’s readers’ views. Moreover it has aroused interest in Communism. I am writing two articles on the Communist International which is timely on account of the controversy.
Everybody’s views are doubted. Have Lloyd George’s views always been accepted? Or anybody’s for that matter? And it is rightly so.”"
© 2003. Margaret Siriol Colley. All rights reserved.
1 Low’s Russian Sketch Book with Text by Kingsley Martin, Victor Gollancz Ltd. Publication Date Friday 25th November 1932.
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