Gareth Jones

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Tell Them We Are Starving




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'Are you Listening NYT?'  U.N. Speech - Nov 2009


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Gareth Jones 'Famine' Diaries - Chicago 2008


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St' Patrick's Cathedral, New York, 

Commemoration Speech 

by Nigel Colley 

on Saturday 13th November 2004.

st_patricks_new_york.jpg (428542 bytes) nigel_colley2.jpg (340230 bytes) nigel_colley1.jpg (108426 bytes)
[Click on thumbnails above for more detail or CLICK HERE for other photos from Service]

The Truth Matters

These diaries, in my hand, are probably one of the only independent and first-hand verifications of the Holodomor!


The Soviets may have been able to liquidate Gareth Jones, and for sixty years, these diaries and Gareth were completely forgotten, until a strange act of fate.


In 1989, Gareth’s family home in Wales was robbed. My mother Siriol and I, went to help Gareth’s 90-year old sister and discovered on the stairs to Gareth’s old bedroom a small leather suitcase. On opening it we discovered all of Gareth’s important papers and these precious diaries.


Gareth’s mother kept them for posterity; as she too had a special affinity for Ukraine, having spent some three formative years working there in the 1880s.


These diaries show not only his observations of a raging famine in the villages of Ukraine, but also its official cover up.


On these pages we discover a meeting with Stalin’s right-hand man, Commissar Litvinov who told Gareth of the new freedom from censorship for Soviet playwrights… Gareth subtly asked whether the playwrights would be allowed to “describe famine in the villages?”   Litvinov immediately retorted: “Well there is no famine” and that Gareth should take the longer view as the present hunger is only temporary.”  Gareth noted the single word “prevarication” – basically calling him a liar right in front of his face.


[Erratum - Since delivering this speech in 2004; I now accept that this reference to Litvinov was entirely mistaken and referred to an unknown, pro-Bolshevik playwright, whom Gareth interviewed in Moscow in 1933, & before actually interviewing Litvinov on the 23rd March 1933. Gareth's dairy notes of his interview with Litvinov can be seen HERE, or his correepsponding transcripted & confidentual report to Lloyd Geroge (from the House of Commons Archives) can be seen HERE.]


These sentiments are not too dissimilar to Walter Duranty’s infamous saying to describe the ruthless policies of Stalin “You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs”.


Of Duranty, whom Gareth met on the same day as Litvinov, he noted “I don’t trust Duranty he still believes in collectivisation”.


Gareth set off on an unescorted trip to Ukraine. Let me be brief as I quote from his diary:


“In every little station the train stopped, and during one of these halts a man came up to me and whispered in German: “Tell them in England that we are starving, and that we are getting swollen”.


Later whilst Gareth was being informed by a young die-hard communist that there was no famine, simultaneously a “Boy on Train was asking for bread. – I dropped a small piece on the floor and put it into a spittoon. The peasant came and picked it up – then ate it.”


A little later Gareth crossed the border from Russia into the Ukraine, by foot to avoid detection by the border guards. 


Gareth wrote: “I caught up with a bearded peasant who was walking along the railway. His feet were covered with sacking. I gave him a lump of bread and of cheese “and he said: “You could not buy that anywhere for 20 rubles. There just is no food.”


“We walked along and talked: ‘Before the war this was all gold. We had horses and cows and pigs and chickens. Now we are ruined. We are doomed. We were the richest country in the world for grain. We fed the world. Now they have taken all away from us’.


In one of the peasant’s cottages in which I stayed we slept nine in the room.   Fear of death loomed over the cottage, for they had not enough potatoes to last until the next crop. When I shared my white bread and butter and cheese one of the peasant women said, “Now I have eaten such wonderful things, I can die happy.” I set forth again further towards the south and heard the villagers say, “We are waiting for death.” Many also said, “It is terrible here and many are dying, but further south it is much worse.”


Gareth was apprehended by the secret police after a few days and was lucky that he was only escorted to the German Consul in Kharkoff.


 Two weeks later, immediately on leaving Moscow, Gareth announced to the world of a famine currently afflicting the villages of Ukraine. However, the Soviet propaganda machine swung into gear by instigating its long and unforgivable crime of Famine Denial.


At first they tried to silence Gareth by getting Walter Duranty, their stooge at the New York Times to denigrate him as a liar.


But to Gareth Jones, who was steeped in the values of Welsh Non-conformism – the truth mattered – so regardless of any personal consequences, he sent a stinging rebuttal to the New York Times, in which Gareth wrote that:


“He stood by his statement that the Soviet Union was suffering from a severe famine. The censors had turned the journalists into masters of euphemism and understatement and hence they gave “famine” the polite name of “food shortage” and “starving to death” was softened to read as “widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition”.”


Gareth, knowing his enemies then "concluded by congratulating the Soviet Foreign Office on its skill in concealing the true situation in the U.S.S.R...


Shortly afterwards, Gareth was personally black-listed by Litvinov and black-balled by his own news industry


For over a year, Gareth was cast into a journalistic wilderness, until William Randolph Hearst, asked Gareth to publicly repeat his famine observations and within six months Gareth Jones paid the ultimate price… He was finally silenced; mysteriously kidnapped by bandits in China and then murdered on the eve of his 30th birthday. 


Newly released secret documents at the British Public Records Office now point the finger of blame towards Stalin’s henchmen.  The trading company who Gareth traveled with, when he was kidnapped, is now known to been provided by the KGB, making Gareth arguably one of the last victims of the Holodomor.


 One wonders, what if …the New York Times’ correspondent and proud winner of the 1932 Pulitzer had supported Gareth’s first-hand famine observations as documented in these diaries?  


Well, perhaps the West would have boycotted the purchase of Soviet grain much needed by Stalin as a source of hard currency for funding his 5-year Plan of Industrialisation, until he had fed his starving proletariat.  


Or maybe even, Hitler, whom Gareth had met privately in February 1933, might have thought twice about embarking upon his own systematic genocide of the Jews?  


But in any event, sadly for humanity this was not to be… Stalin got away with the murder of Millions and so did Hitler too.


Finally, though the Soviets and the media managed to cover up for decades, the murder of millions of Ukrainians, then perhaps the rediscovery of these diaries was more than just pure chance, maybe even destined – If so, Gareth has bequeathed a legacy to the world, which eventually allows him to have the final words – and those words are “The Truth Matters”… it always did and it still does today, and this should be a warning from history for every future dictator and journalist to heed…  


Click Here for a related article by UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA  


Click here for Dr. Margaret Siriol Colley's Holodomor Conference Speech on Gareth Jones

at the Harriman Institute, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York, on 10th November 2003

Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices.  For all further details email:  Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44)  0796 303  8888