The International Situation and the Red Army

II. Genoa and the Hague

Order No.271

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic to the Red Army and the Red Navy, April 13, 1922, No.271, Moscow

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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To be read to all companies, squadrons, batteries, task-forces and ship’s crews

On April 10 an international conference opened at Genoa at which representatives of Workers’ and Peasants’ Russia are negotiating with representatives of bourgeois states about the establishment of peaceful, businesslike and, in particular, normal trading relations. At the first session of the conference the leader of the Soviet delegation, Comrade Chicherin, proposed to all the states all-round disarmament. Barthou, the representative of the French capitalist republic, at once spoke against the Soviet proposal, declaring that if it were discussed the French delegation would leave the conference. The representative of Great Britain, Lloyd George, proposed that the question of disarmament be not discussed. For the time being, this question was removed from the agenda. Furthermore, the bourgeois telegraph agencies tried to remain silent about the very fact of Comrade Chicherin’s proposal.

What does the Soviet delegation’s proposal mean? It means that we sincerely want peace and are ready to disarm, on condition that those who up to now have attacked us shall disarm at the same time. What is the meaning of the refusal by capitalist France to discuss our proposal? This refusal means that the capitalist countries and, in the first place, victorious France, want to keep in their hands a mighty weapon for crushing and oppressing the weak and unarmed.

Soldiers of the Red Army! Seamen of the Red Navy! We wish complete success to the peace initiatives of our representatives. We hope that the peoples of Europe will compel their warlike bourgeois rulers to listen attentively to the demand for peace between the peoples. But so long as the bourgeois governments answer our proposal for all-round disarmament with a categorical refusal, each one of us must stand firmly at his battle station.

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Last updated on: 30.12.2006