Karl Radek


The Lausanne Conference

(10 November 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 97, 10 November 1922, p. 755.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2021). 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 Allies are undoubtedly making great progress in geography. On the 23rd of September when they addressed their note to Turkey they were not yet aware that Russia is a Black Sea power.

In the note which they recently handed in to the Russian Government in the name of the governments of France, England and Italy they reveal a knowledge of the fact that Russia borders on the Black Sea.

We congratulate comrade Tchitcherin on the success of his pedagogic activity.

The invitation of the Soviet Government to the Near Eastern conference is without doubt a victory for Soviet Russia, who in her calm but energetic manner succeeded in calling the attention of the Allies to the fact that she is still in the world. But the invitation also proves the uncertainty and indecision of the Entente whose diplomats are not yet capable of thinking out the situation to its completion.

At first the Allies ignored Soviet Russia generally, for which England laid the blame upon France, and France passed on the blame to England. Then the idea arose of holding the conference in two parts and only inviting Soviet Russia to that part which would deal with the question of the Straits. But since the question of the Straits cannot be separated from the general complex of the Near Eastern question, the Allies apparently accepted the idea of a single conference and invited Soviet Russia to the same; but the Russian delegates are only to take part in those negotiations which concern the question of the traits ...

But with regard to the Straits it is not merely a question as to whether the coasts are fortified or not and in whose hands they are to remain. The Dardanelles question depends firstly upon whether Turkey will have the right to maintain troops in Thrace and whether the number of these troops is to be limited or not. Finally the solution depends upon whether Turkey will have the right to maintain a fleet of aeroplanes and submarines as a means of defending her sovereignty. These questions can in no way be separated from each other; hence the invitation to Soviet Russia to take part in the negotiations over the question of the Straits can be understood in no other way than as an invitation to take part in the negotiations over all relating questions. Soviet Russia is at least as greatly interested in all question as is, for instance, Japan.

The invitation gives occasion for misunderstandings on the following point: The Allies invited us to Lausanne “to take part in the adjudication of the Dardanelles question.” What does that mean? Will a discussion club be opened in Lausanne to deal with the Near Eastern question, or will the Near Eastern affairs be concluded there. If they are decided there and not merely discussed, then the delegation from Soviet Russia appears at Lausanne to take part in decisions and not merely in discussion.

The Allies reveal ordinary capacity for learning geography. We trust that during the time which separates us from the conference, they will make just as much progress in logic which will compel them to perceive that Soviet Russia wishes to take part in the conference not merely for the love of debate, but because she is interested in the decisions.

As the Allies did not fail to see that the question of the Straits touches such interests as renders necessary special discussions with powers not involved in the war, and especially with the powers bordering on the Black Sea, so the good sense of which the English pride themselves so much, must probably tell them that one does not merely like to discuss and debate over one’s interests, but also wishes to have an influence upon the decision of the question connected with them.

We trust that this good sense will gain the upper hand not only in England but in France, who although late in the day, nevertheless has recognized that nothing can be arranged without Soviet Russia.

Last updated on 4 January 2021