Draft Decision for the CC, RCP(b) on the Tasks of the Soviet Delegation at Genoa

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Only for circulation among members of the Politbureau

Draft decision for the CC

1. The CC recognises as correct the appraisal of the situation and the tasks (of our delegation at Genoa) as given in the theses of Comrade Litvinov.

2. The CC fully empowers Vice Chairman Chicherin to act as chairman of the delegation.

3. In the event of Comrade Chicherin’s illness or departure his powers shall be vested in turn in one of the two trios: a) Litvinov, Krasin, Rakovsky; b) Litvinov, Joffe, Vorovsky.

4. Our delegation should try to evade the question of acceptance of the Cannes terms. Failing this, and in the event of our being presented with a direct ultimatum, we should try to work Krasin’s formula: “All countries recognise their state debts and undertake to compensate damage and losses caused by the acts of their governments."

If this does not work either, we should make for a break, declaring definitely that we are prepared to recognise private debts, but that, not wishing to play hide-and-seek, we point out that we consider them covered, together with the whole sum of our obligations, by our counter-claims. We accept no chief umpire between us and all the bourgeois countries, since the dispute is between two systems of property.

If we have to break, we should make it perfectly clear that the main and sole reason for the break is the greed of a handful of private capitalists, Urquhart, etc., whom the governments serve.

As a maximum concession these capitalists can be offered: a preferential right to concessions (i.e., if we grant X a concession on their former property wholly or in part on such-and-such terms, we undertake to give it to its former owner on the same terms).

5. In view of the possibility of the bourgeois trying to prevent us from developing our programme, we should make every effort in the very first speech to set forth, if not develop, this programme, or at least outline it (and immediately publish it in greater detail).

6. In our programme we should, without concealing our communist views, confine ourselves to a brief and passing mention .of them (for instance, in a subordinate clause), and to a forthright statement to the effect that we do not consider this the right place to preach our views, since we have come for trade agreements and for an attempt to reach an agreement with the pacifist section of the other (bourgeois) camp.

By the pacifist section of that camp (or some other well-chosen polite expression) we should make it clear that we mean the petty-bourgeois, pacifist and semi-pacifist democrats of the II and II 1/2 International type, and the Keynes type, etc.

One of our main, if not principal, political tasks at Genoa is to single out this wing of the bourgeois camp from the rest of the camp, try to flatter that wing, make it known that we consider possible and desirable not only a trade, but a political agreement with them (as one of the few chances of capitalism’s peaceful evolution towards the new order, which we, Communists, do not greatly believe in, but which we agree and consider our duty to help try out, as representatives of one power in face of a hostile majority of other powers).

Everything possible and even impossible should be done to strengthen the pacifist wing of the bourgeoisie and increase if only slightly its chances of success at the elections. This first and foremost. Secondly, to disunite the bourgeois countries that will be united against us at Genoa—such is our dual political task at Genoa, and not at all the development of communist views.

7. Every attempt should be made to develop at length and publicise as widely as possible (in print, if not in speeches) the plan for the rehabilitation of the national economy in Russia and in Europe—in the spirit of the State Planning Commission’s researches and on the basis of these researches.

8. If the bourgeois camp in Genoa presents an ultimatum to us not to touch on questions of pacifism, but to speak only on narrow trade subjects, we should express our regret, but comply with this ultimatum, saying that we had two aims at this conference—a pacifist aim and a trade aim. This will leave only one.

9. The CC leaves it to the delegation to elaborate the pacifist programme, confining itself to the general directive that they should try to develop it as broadly as possible in order to split the pacifist camp of the international bourgeoisie away from the gross-bourgeois, aggressive bourgeois, reactionary-bourgeois camp.

10. On the question of trade and concessions (including the question of loans), the forests of the North, etc., should be put forward as the principal guarantee. We agree to no derogation of the rights of our state. No agreements are to be signed without the special consent, by telegraph, of the Central Committee.[1]


  1. ↑ Lenin’s motion was adopted by the Politbureau on February 28, 1922, with the following amendments moved by Stalin: “1. The question regarding recognition of the Soviet government should be raised not at the beginning but at the close of the conference (after attempts had been made to reach an economic agreement), and no ultimatum should be made of it; 2. Centrosoyuz, the agricultural co-operatives, etc., should not be put forward at the conference in the capacity of subjects (contracting parties) (as Krasin suggests), and only a single subject—the Russian state should be taken into consideration” (Central Party Archives, Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the CC, CPSU).