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Moscow, August 1931

 Interview by Jack Heinz II with Karl Radek formerly Secretary to the Communist Secretariat.

We finally made an appointment to see Karl Radek, editor of the Izvestia, and quite a famous person in Russia.  He belonged to the Trotsky “Right Deviation”, and lost out in the Party machine when Trotsky fell.  He is a man of amazing appearance, with great horn-rimmed glasses, coarse features, and a set of under-the-chin whiskers like the cartoons for Pat and Mike stories.  He looks as if he had tied a piece of fur around his face from ear to ear.  His English is atrocious, mostly on account of the inflection. 

He spoke of President Hoover: 

“A fine man, a good engineer, but he does not know men!” 

This was a little surprising, but he may have meant that President Hoover is not conscious enough of the public’s opinion and the attitude of his advisers. 

“For the next twenty years we shall be absolutely occupied with our internal development and markets,” he said.  “The masses need so much!  The peasants, also, want to have better clothing and commodities.  Dumping is not done.  Could we receive a higher price for our products we would be very glad. 

“It is nonsense to say that Russia will be independent and self-sufficient.  The more a country develops, the greater its foreign trade relations will grow.  Thus we have every reason for peaceful relations, and for strengthening them.  The needs of the country are growing. I believe relations with foreign countries will be better. 

“There is a greater feeling of power in the country.  It is an argument for a quieter policy.  We are growing stronger in Russia.  Every year more peasants rea­lize that the tractor is better than the horse.  We are stronger. 

He paused with a display of considerable pride after these warmly spoken words, filled his pipe, and lit it. 

“Now!” he exclaimed in his strange imperative manner. 

He spoke of Soviet Russia’s attitude toward various European countries. 

“Does Russia want Poland?” he asked, “If things in Europe stabilize why should we have a common frontier with Germany?  It would be worse to be next to a strong Capitalistic nation (Germany).  If there is a. revolution in Germany, how can Poland stand between revolutionary Germany and revolutionary Russia?  Poland would probably revolt, too.  We can wait and see. 

“Germany!  Every nation must be its own savior.  A feeble revolution in Germany would be a great set-back for us.  We would be obliged to help them.  I do not think that a German revolution is a concrete possibility.  First, because the German worker realizes that Germany’s location between imperialist France and Poland would force him to fight, from the very first day, against intervention.  Second, Germany is dependent upon foreign nations for raw materials and food.  This was not the case with Russia. 

“Before the war, France made Russia a tool against Germany by her loans to Russia.  Now the situation is different.  We can do without loans.  We shall no longer be the tool of the policy of others. 

“As long as two worlds exist there is always a danger.  If Poland or Romania attacked Russia it would have the support of other Capitalistic countries.  The sharpening of the crisis in Poland gives an opportunity to adventurers.  But on the other hand, war with Soviet Russia would be very difficult.” 

Radek’s newspaper articles have been spreading the cry of intervention, but I think he himself does not believe in that theory. 

“With the new Franco-Russian relations, will Russia’s attitude towards the Versailles Treaty be modified?” Jones asked. 

“At a time when the Versailles Treaty is crashing on all sides,” replied Radek, “it would be nonsense to think that Russia would defend it.  The treaty will not be a basis for world relations. 

“America and France have great resources; they will prosper at the expense of England and Germany.  But the Capitalistic world cannot have general prosperity!  The greatest danger for England is not English Communism but American Capitalism! 

“Russia is the country with the worst propaganda.  It is weak in spreading propaganda because foreign newspapers suppress it.  But every Ford car makes propaganda for America.  The Soviet government only makes propaganda when Litvinoff speaks in Geneva I know of no evidence that we spread propaganda in America.” 

This is Radek’s plan to improve American-Russian relations:

  1. End the embargo and anti-Soviet crusade

  2. Mutual recognition is necessary. The political aspect is important. 

  3. America must drop the policy of America for Americans.

“We are a country like America,” he said.  “Without your help, development would go slower.  But there is no power that can check us.

“Intervention would mean the destruction of Germany and Poland.  We do not intend to intervene in other countries. 

History will decide which is the better system.”    


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