Answers to the Questions of the Moscow Correspondent
of the “Sunday Times”, Mr. Alexander Werth, in a Letter of September
September 24, 1946
Question: Do you think there is a real danger of a “new war,”
which is being so irresponsibly talked about in the whole world at the
moment? What steps should be taken to prevent this war, if such a
Answer: I do not believe in the actual danger of a new war. The
clamour about a new war now comes mainly from military-political secret
agents and the people behind them in the administration. They need this
alarm, if only for the purpose of spreading it in the areas of their
(a) Certain naive politicians try to get as many concessions as
possible out of the opposition and help their own governments by
frightening people with the spectre of war;
(b) to hinder the reduction of military budgets in their own countries for a certain time;
(c) to block the demobilization of their troops and thereby guard
against a swift rise in unemployment numbers in their countries.
One must differentiate between the present clamour and outcry about a
“new war,” and the real danger of a “new war,” which does not exist at
the present time.
Question: Do you think that Great Britain and the United
States of America are deliberately carrying out a “capitalist
encirclement” of the Soviet Union?
Answer: I am not of the opinion that Great Britain and the
United States of America could carry out a “capitalist encirclement” of
the Soviet Union even if they wanted to, which, in any case, I do not
Question: To quote Mr. Wallace in his last speech, can
England, Western Europe and the United States be sure that Soviet
politics in Germany will not be turned into a Russian instrument
against Western Europe?
Answer: I believe that the possibility of Germany making
profitable moves through the Soviet Union, against Western Europe and
the United States can be excluded. I think that it can be excluded
also, not only because the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France are
bound by their joint and mutual support against German aggression and
through the decisions of the Potsdam Conference which bind these three
powers to the United States of America, but also because Germany's
political exploitation against Western Europe and the United States of
America would mean a deviation on the part of the Soviet Union from its
fundamental national interests. To put it in a nutshell, the politics
of the Soviet Union in relation to the German problem is restricted by
itself to the demilitarization and democratization of Germany. I
believe that the demilitarization and democratization of Germany to be
the most meaningful guarantee for the building of a stable and lasting
Question: What is your opinion about the accusation that the
politics of the Communist parties of Western Europe are “directed by
Answer: I regard this accusation as an absurdity that people have borrowed from the bankrupt arsenal of Hitler and Goebbels.
Question: Do you believe in the possibility of a friendly and
lasting cooperation between the Soviet Union and the Western
democracies, despite the existing ideological differences, and in
“friendly competition” between the two systems, as Wallace mentioned in
Answer: I firmly believe in that.
Question: During the stay of the deputation from the Labour
Party in the Soviet Union, you have, as I have been informed, expressed
certainty regarding the friendly relations between the Soviet Union and
Great Britain. What would help to establish these relations which the
majority of the English people obviously desire?
Answer: I am really certain of the possibility of friendly
relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. The strengthening
of the political, economic and cultural ties between these countries
would contribute enormously to the construction of such relations.
Question: Do you believe the earliest possible withdrawal of
all American troops from China would be of the greatest significance
for future peace?
Answer: Yes, I believe so.
Question: Do you believe that actual monopoly of the United States on the atom bomb to be one of the greatest threats to peace?
Answer: I do not think that the atom bomb is such a power as
certain politicians are disposed to state. The atom bomb is intended to
frighten people with weak nerves, but it cannot decide the fate of war,
and would under no circumstance suffice for this purpose. Certainly,
the monopoly on the secrets of the atom bomb poses a threat, but
against that there are at least two things:
(a) The monopoly on the possession of the atom bomb cannot last long;
(b) the use of the atom bomb will be forbidden.
Question: Do you believe that with the further progress of Communism in the Soviet Union, the possibilities
of friendly cooperation with the outside world as far as the Soviet
Union is concerned will not be reduced? Is “Communism in one country”
Answer: I do not doubt that the possibility of peaceful
cooperation will not be reduced, far from it, but could even be
stronger. “Communism in one country” is absolutely possible, especially
in a country like the Soviet Union.
("Pravda," 25 September, 1946)
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