V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written prior to March 30, 1917
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 622b-623a.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2005). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Please let me know in greatest possible detail, first, whether the British Government will allow passage to Russia to me and a number of members of our Party, the R.S.D.L.P. (Central Committee), on the following conditions: (a) The Swiss socialist Fritz Platten receives permission from the British Government to conduct any number of   persons through England irrespective of their political allegiances and their views on war and peace; (b) Platten alone answers both for the composition of the conducted groups and for maintaining proper order, and receives a railway coach for travelling through England, which he, Platten, is to keep locked. No one can enter this coach without the consent of Platten. This coach shall have exterritorial rights; (c) From a port in England Platten conveys the group by the steamer of any neutral country, with the right to notify all countries of the sailing time of this special ship; (d) Railway fares shall be paid by Platten according to the tariff and the number of seats occupied; (e) The British Government undertakes not to place obstacles to the chartering and sailing of a special steamer with Russian political emigrants and not to detain the steamer in England, enabling the passage to be made in the quickest possible way.

Secondly, in the event of agreement, what guarantees can England give that these conditions will be observed, and whether she has any objection to these conditions being published.

If telegraphic inquiries have to be made in London we agree to bear the expenses of a telegram and a prepaid reply.



[1] In Lenin’s manuscript in the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism the addressee is not given. Probably this letter was intended for Jakub Hanecki or Inessa Armand. Lenin asked Armand on March 18, 1917, to find out whether he would be allowed legal passage from Switzerland to Russia via England (see ^^Document 555^^ in this volume). On March 19, however, Lenin learned that she refused to go to England. Therefore, he had no reason for sending this document to Armand. In fact, in his subsequent letters to her Lenin makes no further mention of his request.

The date in Lenin’s MS. is missing. Judging by its contents, this letter was probably written after the afore-mentioned letters to Armand. It formulates the conditions for the passage of a group of political emigrants through the mediation of the Swiss Social-Democrat Fritz Platten. These conditions, in a somewhat modified form, were set forth in the document “Basis of Negotiations for the Return of Political Emigrants to Russia” through Germany, signed by Platten April 4, 1917 (see Lenin Miscellany II, pp. 382–83).

Jakub Hanecki, in his reminiscences, mentions that “after the first reports of the February revolution” he suggested to Lenin that he travel to Russia through England. This document, there fore, is more likely to have been addressed to Hanecki, a member of the R.S.D.L.P., who took an active part in organising the return of Russian political emigrants from Switzerland to Russia. This volume contains a number of letters and telegrams to Hanecki on this question.

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