DECLARATION MADE BY JOFFE FOR THE RUSSIAN DELEGATION AT THE FIRST PLENARY SESSION OF THE BREST-LITOVSK PEACE CONFERENCE
22 December 1917
Mirnye Peregovory, p. 6
The Russian delegation takes its stand on the clearly expressed desire of the people of revolutionary Russia to achieve the speediest possible conclusion of a general, democratic peace. The delegation considers that the only principles of such a peace, which would be equally acceptable to all, are those enunciated in the decree on peace unanimously passed at the All-Russian Congress of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, and confirmed at the All-Russian Peasants' Congress....
Taking its stand upon these principles the Russian delegation proposes the following six points as the basis for peace negotiations:
1. Not to allow any forcible annexation of territory seized during the war. Troops occupying these territories to be withdrawn in the shortest possible time.
2. To restore in full the political independence of those nations deprived of their independence during the present war.
3. National groups not enjoying political independence before the war to be guaranteed an opportunity to decide freely by means of a referendum whether to adhere to any given State or to be an independent State. This referendum to be so organized as to guarantee complete freedom of voting for the entire population of the given territory, not excluding emigrants and refugees.
4. In regard to territories inhabited by several nationalities, the right of minorities to be protected by special laws, guaranteeing them cultural national independence, and, as far as is practicable, administrative autonomy.
5. None of the belligerent countries to be bound to pay other countries so-called 'war costs'; indemnities already paid to be returned. Private individuals who have incurred losses owing to the war to be compensated from a special fund, raised by proportional levies on all the belligerent countries.
6. Colonial questions to be decided on the lines laid down in points 1,2,3, and 4.
As a supplement to these points the Russian delegation proposes that the contracting parties should condemn the attempts of strong nations to restrict the freedom of weaker nations by such indirect methods as economic boycotts, economic subjection of one country to another by means of compulsory commercial agreements, separate customs agreements, restricting the freedom to trade with third countries, naval blockade without direct military purpose, etc. These are the fundamental principles, acceptable to all, without the recognition of which the delegation of the Russian Republic cannot conceive of the possibility of concluding a general peace.
Documents on Soviet Foreign Policy
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