V. I.   Lenin


To:   A. M. LEZHAVA[1]

Dictated: Dictated by phone
Published: First published in 1965 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 54. Printed from a typewritten copy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, page 448b.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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January 23, 1922

To Comrade Lezhava

About the project for Harriman’s entry, let me tell you the following: unless I am mistaken, the main provision of the Derutra contract was that we and the Germans have an equal number of votes on the board. If Harriman joined up with the Germans, i.e., as part of the German half, that would, of course, be acceptable, but if the Germans plus Harriman have two-thirds of the votes, and we—one-third, that is, of course, unacceptable. In that case, a second society should be set up alongside Derutra, in which we and Harriman would have an equal number of votes. In these circumstances, the combined operations of the two societies would fully ensure our interests and those of Harriman.



[1] Written in connection with a telegraphic inquiry addressed to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade by B. S. Stomonyakov, the R.S.F.S.R. trade representative in Germany. Reporting that HAPAG (Hamburg-America Line) had come to an arrangement with the Harriman concern on transferring to the latter one-half of its interest in the German-Russian Transport Company (Derutra), Stomonyakov asked whether this should be agreed to. A. M. Lezhava, Deputy People’s Commissar for Foreign Trade, in a letter to Lenin on January 14, 1922, expressed the opinion that this was advantageous not only for HAPAG but also for Soviet Russia, because it was “a very major fact, the first business agreement between us and American capital” (Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee).

Derutra, the German-Russian Transport Company, was set up on the basis of a protocol signed in Berlin on May 13, 1921, by   Stomonyakov and Director Theodor Ritter, a member of the board of HAPAG (see Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, Vol.  IV, Moscow, 1960, pp. 114–19).

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