Letter to James P. Cannon and Max Shachtman, April 20, 1938

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More on European Problems

Dear Friends:

In my last letter about the French question I forgot to mention what to do personally with M. in case they accept our propositions. You could propose to him that he go to the States for two years with the perspective of being readmitted to the Fourth International after a certain test period.

It could be possible to send him with the same purpose to Belgium, especially in view of the fact that Vereecken seems to be in an unofficial alliance with him. But Brussels is too near Paris and from there M. would surely intervene in the inner life of the French section. I believe that it is necessary to act in this respect openly and firmly without important concessions.

We have received a letter from Held. His legal position in Norway is not very stable, especially with the approach of the "national" government. His plan is to go for some months to France to arrange there the regular appearance of Unser Wort and then try to go to the States directly or via Mexico. Held is a very valuable comrade. His presence in Paris would be very useful to C. [Cannon] in view of his knowledge of different languages, of the European situation, and of his reasonable approach to every question. It seems to me that C. should write to Held and fix a rendezvous with him.

Held belongs to the Johre-Fischer group but at the same time he is collaborating on Der Einzige Weg. He could be very helpful to you in settling the German question.

An international youth conference in connection with the general conference could be organized very well with the participation of Held. For the new IS he is one of the best candidates.

I believe therefore that he should remain in France as long as possible (if he can now enter France). To have him in the States is a luxury, in Europe a necessity. Of course when the soil becomes too hot under his feet he should go to the new world.


Hansen [Trotsky]