First published in 1929 in the book: Protokoly TsK R.S.D.R.P. Avgust 1917-fevral 1918 (Minutes of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. August 1917– February 1918).
Printed from the manuscript minutes.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 478.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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We cannot postpone discussion of the question, because if the Germans do not accept our offers of peace, we carry on a revolutionary war.
There is one point for achieving united tactics. If the offensive becomes a fact, then we sign peace. It is possible that the Germans have done a deal with the French, and this is a question not of Poland but of overthrowing the Soviet Government.
Indefinite tactics now are out of place. We have to act. If the Germans carry on a war by agreement with the French, then we carry on a revolutionary war. We have to demonstrate this clearly to the people. That is why we need either an armistice or a peace. We may muddle people’s understanding. We shall be unable to hold the masses. There is no reply to the radio message. Everyone will have to fight. It will be a different grouping. To drag on means to obscure the understanding of the masses. They are losing their land. We shall have concluded peace with the people, not with imperialism.
We must send out information all over Russia to prepare.
 In view of the German offensive against the Soviet Republic, the Central Committee met twice on February 18, 1918. At the morning sitting, after an exchange of opinion one question was put to the vote at Lenin’s insistence. He called for an immediate proposal to the Germans to resume the peace negotiations. A majority of seven to six voted it down. The Central Committee was to have met at 2.00 p.m. the following day, but when news came that the Germans had taken Dvinsk (Daugavpils) the Central Committee met the same night, and Lenin reiterated his proposal with the utmost vigour. The Central Committee decided to inform the German Government on behalf of the Council of People’s Commissars that the Soviet Government was prepared to conclude peace. The initial draft of the radiogram was written by Lenin on the spot and sent to Berlin the same night on behalf of the Council of People’s Commissars (see present edition, Vol. 26, p. 525).
Lenin’s statements are taken from the secretarial record of the C.C. minutes. His statements in a different version are given in Vol. 26 of the present edition, pp. 520–21.