Source: The Communist International No. 5, May 1940
Publisher: Workers Library Publishers, New York, NY
Transcription/HTML: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). 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.
“The main slogan of Soviet foreign policy was and still is the slogan of strengthening peace. The Soviet Union was born with this slogan, it will continue to fight staunchly for this slogan in the future. . . . The struggle for peace in the present conditions directly implies struggle against the advancing preparations for anti-Soviet intervention and its imperialist instigators.” (From the report of V. M. Molotov at the Sixth Congress of Soviets, March, 1931.)
THE foreign policy of any state is a continuation of its home policy. The class in power, the character of the state determine the foreign policy of the state. The foreign policy of large capitalist states is an expansionist policy, aimed at asserting the authority and will of the ruling classes of the given country abroad. Completely to subjugate and exploit small and weak states—that is the foreign policy of a large capitalist state.
The great October Socialist Revolution erased capitalist and landlord Russia from the ledger of history. The new class in power began to build socialist society under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party and drastically put an end to the old foreign policy of tsarist Russia. Events took a turn unparalleled in world history. A great power voluntarily renounced the inequitable treaties which tsarist Russia had concluded with China, Afghanistan and Persia and granted independence to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Esthonia and Finland. A great power, instead of oppressing the small and weak nations within its frontiers, emancipated them politically and economically and set free the creative energy of all the national minorities.
Although the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, new in principle, assumed the traditional diplomatic forms and was conducted, as it still is today, with a meticulous observance of century-old diplomatic conventions, all the world knows that the foreign policy of the Soviet Union has nothing in common with the policy of the great capitalist powers; that it is the specific, independent policy of a state governed by workers and peasants, a policy which always has in view the interests of the working people and these interests only. It is natural that this new foreign policy, the foreign policy of the Soviet state, entirely different in principle from the old foreign policy, could be pursued only by a new type of party, the Bolshevik Party, the party created by Lenin and Stalin.
Our Party repeatedly emphasized that the authors of the Versailles Treaty had created all the conditions for a new imperialist war. This has been pointed out many times in the writings and speeches of Lenin and the speeches of Stalin. This warning was repeated by Comrade Molotov who at the Sixteenth Party Congress in 1930 declared:
“The attempt of the victor countries to saddle the working people of Germany with reparations beyond their power to pay cannot end well.”
In January, 1931, Comrade Molotov commented on the anti-Soviet intrigues of the Finnish “Lapualian Yahoos” on our border, then, in subsequent speeches, declared that the British and French imperialists were preparing war against the U.S.S.R. and that the danger of an imperialist war for repartition of the world was impending inexorably.
With the acute aggravation of European antagonisms in 1939 and the clouds of a second imperialist war looming ominously on the horizon, the Soviet Government and our Party decided to place the foreign policy of the U.S.S.R. under the guidance of a leader of Party and state who in the course of many years’ practical work had proved himself supremely devoted to the cause of Communism, true to the Bolshevik Party, able to carry out a line of policy firmly and consistently, a man who admirably combined Russian revolutionary vision with American efficiency. This man was Comrade V. M. Molotov.
V. M. Molotov belongs to the generation of Bolsheviks which was drawn into the movement by the Revolution of 1905. Although he was only fifteen years old at that time he has every right to date back the beginning of his revolutionary career to the year 1905, the “dress rehearsal” of the victorious October Revolution.
For over thirty years, at every stage in his career, in the stress and strain of illegality under the tsarist regime, in prison and in exile. on the editorial board of the Pravda before the war, underground again during the war; in the period from February to October, 1917; during the October Revolution, in the civil war, during the signing of the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty, as chairman of the Economic Council of the Northern Region, as chairman of the Nizhni Novgorod Executive Committee, as Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine, as Secretary of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.), in the periods of economic restoration and reconstruction, in the work of drafting and applying the Stalin Five-Year Plans, as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs, Comrade Molotov has held fast to the banner of Lenin and Stalin’s Party, his whole being fired with the one purpose—to carry to its conclusion the struggle against the exploiters, against the enemies of the Party and of the working class and ensure the victory of communism, And this fiery purpose guides every step in his life, in his activity as head of the gigantic Soviet state.
The most characteristic feature of V. M. Molotov as a statesman and as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs is his profound Party spirit. What is this Party spirit? It consists above all in supreme devotion to the cause of Communism and the Party of Lenin and Stalin, a conscientious, serious, honest attitude to one’s responsibilities. It consists in being ever mindful of the interests of the people, feeling keenly for the interests of the Soviet state and the cause of socialism, having the most careful consideration for human beings as the builders of our socialist society, fighting against bureaucracy and passivity, fighting against the slightest departure from Marxism-Leninism, fighting for the purity of Bolshevik principles, against oppositions and groupings of every kind whatever colors they parade under.
The Party spirit as applied to statesmanship means subordinating private interests to the general interests of the people and the state as a whole; being able to distinguish major problems from their minor aspects, to focus one’s attention and concentrate all one’s energy and will power where they are needed at a given moment to strike at the heart of the problems confronting the state.
Lenin has said that the art of politics consists in being able at each given moment to grasp the key link whereby to disentangle the whole chain.
To single out the main thing, the essential thing, from a multiplicity of facts and events, to direct attention to the thing that matters most is a faculty which Lenin had and Stalin has to perfection. This faculty of separating the primary from the secondary, grasping the main idea, directing attention to the main point, leaving out unessentials V. M. Molotov acquired from Lenin, under whose leadership he worked for many years, a faculty he has acquired from Comrade Stalin under whose leadership he works from day to day.
Party spirit in statesmanship means ability to organize work, to marshal forces and put them in the right place according to their knowledge and capabilities, ability to overcome inertia and routine, to break down all obstacles, to penetrate into a mass of details without getting lost in them, ability to approach every small question from the point of view of the general state interest.
Lenin bequeathed us a great Party; he enriched Marxist theory, he gave us unsurpassed models of proletarian strategy, policy and tactics, he taught us how to fight for the cause of Communism, he taught us how to win.
In an address to constituents on the eve of the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. Comrade Stalin specified the ideal that every Bolshevik should aim for:
“The electors, the people, must demand of their deputies that they remain equal to their tasks, that in their work they should not descend to the level of political philistines, that they should remain at their posts as public men of the type of Lenin, that they stand out as clear and definite public men as Lenin, that they be just as fearless in battle and as merciless towards the enemies of the people as was Lenin, that they be free from all panic, of all semblance of panic, when things become complicated and when some danger appears on the horizon, that they be just as free of any semblance of panic as Lenin was free, that they be just as sagacious and deliberate in deciding difficult questions which require an all-round orientation and all-round consideration of all pros and cons, as was Lenin, that they be just as truthful. and honest as was Lenin, that they love their people as Lenin loved them.”
Supreme devotion to the cause, self-sacrifice, singleness of purpose, love for one’s people, ready at any moment to give all one’s energy, all one’s life, all one’s blood drop by drop for the cause of the people, the cause of Communism—these are the traits of the true Bolshevik, who, as Comrade Stalin says, is a man of a special mold.
V. M. Molotov is a Bolshevik of the Lenin-Stalin stamp, a Bolshevik who has learned personally from Lenin and Stalin how to fight for the triumph of communism and who is teaching this wonderful Bolshevik art to others. Of the fifty years of his life he has devoted over two-thirds to the working class, the class with which he has traversed a long road of adversity and joy.
In his position of high authority as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars Comrade Molotov has repeatedly warned covetors of Soviet territory to do their imperialist poaching on other preserves.
In his speech on the twenty-first anniversary of the October Revolution, Comrade Molotov said:
“Only a strong Soviet state, strong in the correctness of its foreign policy and in its readiness to meet any test from without is capable of pursuing a consistent and undeviating policy of peace, an unshakable policy of defense of its frontiers and the interests of socialism.
“And if anybody wants practical proof of the strength and might of these forces—well, let him try it!”
The events at Lake Khasan and the subsequent hostilities on the River Khalkhin-Gol proved that the Soviet state is able to combine a policy of peace and fulfilment of obligations with twofold and threefold retaliations against over-adventurous aggressors.
In the same speech Comrade Molotov emphasized that special vigilance was required from Soviet people in view of complications in the international situation and secret schemes of our enemies to afflict the U.S.S.R. with the calamities of war.
“We must remember that as long as the capitalist encirclement exists the struggle of capitalism against the first Soviet state in the world will not diminish in intensity, will not subside, but, on the contrary, will gain in intensity and acuteness and will resort to ever more drastic and extreme methods. We must therefore work with even greater persistence to strengthen the defensive power of our state, to develop the ability, the art, so to speak, of combating the class enemy, the hostile capitalist encirclement and to eliminate all and every defect in our state apparatus that may hinder the accomplishment of this task.
“If we understand and give effect to what Comrade Stalin said about our attitude to the capitalist encirclement, we shall strengthen our position in the fight against the ass enemy in all his guises, and shall be working for the complete victory of socialism.”
The present situation created by the second imperialist war demands special vigilance from the Soviet state, it demands a farsighted and firm maintenance of the interests and independent policy of the Soviet state. The plans of the British and French imperialists to make the U.S.S.R. a supplier of cannon fodder, to set the U.S.S.R. and Germany at strife, have ended in a fiasco. Instead of going to war with Germany the Soviet Government concluded a non-aggression pact with Germany followed by a treaty of amity. Instead of going to war for imperialist Poland the Soviet people delivered their Ukrainian and Byelo-Russian kindred on Polish territory from the power of the Polish barons and capitalists. Instead of the Baltic countries becoming a vantage-ground for war against the U.S.S.R., mutual assistance pacts were concluded with Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania. All the plans of the British and French imperialists were upset and frustrated. And when the leaders of Finland, instigated by the British and French, made feverish preparations for war against the U.S.S.R. and provocatively commenced hostilities, the Soviet Government took steps to protect the Soviet border and safeguard Leningrad.
Comrade Molotov takes a direct and leading part in all events of vital importance in the sphere of foreign relations, both as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs. To him has fallen the immense task of putting into operation the line of policy which the Party and the Government have laid down for the security of the Soviet state and, thanks to his firmness and pertinacity, he has accomplished it with brilliant success.
“The art of politics in the sphere of foreign relations,” said Comrade Molotov at a meeting of the Supreme Soviet on August 31, 1939, “does not consist in increasing the number of enemies for one’s country. On the contrary, the art of politics in this sphere is to reduce the number of these enemies and to make the enemies of yesterday good neighbors, maintaining peaceable relations one with the other.”
When the braves of the Second International, who are bolstering up the imperialist war with an “ideological basis” for the deception of the masses, vociferously demanded that the Soviet Union take up arms to defend the money-bags of the City in London and the Bourse, Comrade Molotov made the following biting retort in his speech on the ratification of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact:
“These people positively demand that the U.S.S.R. get herself involved in war against Germany on the side of Great Britain. Have not these rabid warmongers taken leave of their senses? Is it really difficult for these gentlemen to understand the purpose of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, on the strength of which the U.S.S.R. is not obliged to involve itself in war either on the side of Great Britain against Germany or on the side of Germany against Great Britain? Is it really difficult to understand that the U.S.S.R. is pursuing and will continue to pursue its own independent policy, based on the interests of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and only on those interests?”
Even now this elementary truth has not been understood by the gentlemen who call themselves Socialists and democrats and on these flimsy grounds demand that the peoples of the U.S.S.R. should shed their blood for alien interests. No, gentlemen, pull your own chestnuts out of the fire, there is no cannon-fodder for you in the U.S.S.R. and never will be—that is the answer of the Soviet people voiced by their leaders.
What is the foreign policy of our Party and the Soviet Government? It has been defined with the utmost clarity in the following four points formulated by Comrade Stalin at the Eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union:
“1. To continue the policy of peace and of strengthening business relations with all countries;
“2. To be cautious and not allow our country to be drawn into conflicts by warmongers who are accustomed to have others pull the chestnuts out of the fire for them;
“3. To strengthen the might of our Red Army and Red Navy to the utmost;
“4. To strengthen the international bonds of friendship with the working people of all countries, who are interested in peace and friendship among nations.” (Joseph Stalin, From Socialism to Communism in the Soviet Union, pp. 17-18, International Publishers, New York.)
As Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, as a Bolshevik, a true son of his Party, Comrade Molotov is working to put this program of action in foreign policy into practice.
The new type of state created by our Party has, in its turn, created new statesmen, men who think only of their people’s welfare, whose one concern is to extirpate outright the survivals of the old order, to create conditions for the development and consummation of a new culture and a new, Soviet, socialist type of man.
A statesman of this type, the Lenin-Stalin type, is V. M. Molotov—the true comrade-in-arms of Lenin and Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Government—whose fiftieth birthday we are celebrating today.
We wish Comrade Molotov many more years to work with the same firmness and Bolshevik zest as heretofore for the welfare of the peoples of the U.S.S.R., for the welfare of all laboring mankind.