V. I.   Lenin

A Note to V. M. Molotov and a Draft Decision for the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on Noulens’ Note

Written: Written September 4, 1921
Published: First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 340b-341a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). 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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Comrade Molotov,

Noulens is insolent to a degree. On the back of this sheet I propose a draft decision. If there is no agreement on this among us I demand that the whole Politbureau be convened tomorrow; I shall come down then. There can be no question of yielding here.



I propose this text of a Politbureau decision:

Chicherin shall be instructed to draw up in reply to Noulens a sharply worded note of refusal in the form of a proclamation against the bourgeoisie and imperialism with   special emphasis on the counter-revolutionary role of Noulens himself, with special mention of the cynically insolent nature of the proposal, before any agreement is reached, to send a commission of spies under the name of a commission of experts, specially ridiculing the idea of sending the commission question forms regarding winter crops by 4.IX., which we have already done ourselves on time, and specially ridiculing the 7 points and declaring that we shall either have dealings with governments a la Germany, or with persons—not those of the Noulens type, of course—on the basis of previous and clearly defined agreements. Special stress is to be laid on the fact that we cannot for a moment believe in the desire to help on the part of Messrs. Noulens in view of such an approach to the matter as theirs.[1]


[1] Under the pretence of rendering relief to the famine-stricken areas in Russia the imperialists organised an “International Com-mission” headed by Noulens, the former French Ambassador to Russia and one of the chief organisers of counter-revolutionary plots and military intervention against Soviet Russia. The com-mission was made up of former French, , nglish, and Belgian diplo-mats and big foreign owners of enterprises that had been nation-alised in Russia. On September 4, 1921, the Noulens Commission sent a telegram to. the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs demanding that thirty experts be admitted into Soviet Russia for on-the-spot investigations under a special programme pro-viding for the collection of information of an intelligence nature.

On September 6 the Politbureau approved, with slight amendments, the text of a Note to Noulens drafted in accordance with Lenin’s proposals. The answering Note of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, published in Izvestia on September 8, stated that “Mr. Noulens’ Commission, in lieu of relief for the famine- stricken areas, planned to collect information on the internal position of Soviet Russia ... and this was to be done under the guidance of people who had already engaged in such a study with the undisguised aim of engineering revolts and facilitating the advance of foreign armies on the territory of theU.S.S.R.” (U.S.S.R. Foreign Policy Documents, Vol. IV, Moscow, 1960). The Soviet Government emphatically refused to permit entry of the Noulens Commission into the Soviet Republic.

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