DEWEY: The Commission will be in order. The first thing is that owing to the fact that Mr. Finerty, counsel of the Commission of Inquiry, has just arrived, there will be no meeting to-morrow. We thought of holding one, but there will be no meeting tomorrow, Sunday. The other announcement is that Mr. Herbert Solow will act as interpreter when Mr. Trotsky uses French or German expressions.
GOLDMAN: May I proceed then, Dr. Dewey?
DEWEY: Yes, if you will.
FINERTY: May I suggest before we proceed with the examination that all telegrams and letters to the various parties who were invited to participate in this inquiry, as well as all telegrams and letters of congratulation received by the Commission, be made a part of the record?
LAFOLLETTE: Shall we, Dr. Dewey?
DEWEY: Yes. It is understood for the purposes of a complete record, all telegrams and letters of invitation and replies will be entered in the record,
ZURICH. SCHWEIZ UEBERTRAEGT MANDAT NEW YORK. (SWITZERLAND GIVES MANDATE TO NEW YORK.)
PARIS. COMITÉ FRANÇAIS ENVOIE PLEINS POUVOIRS A COMITÉ AMERICAIN POUR MENER ENQUÊTE INTERNATIONALE ET ENVERRA DELEGUE, NEW YORK, (FRENCH COMMITTEE GIVES FULL POWER TO AMERICAN COMMITTEE TO CONDUCT INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY AND WILL SEND DELEGATE TO NEW YORK.)
2 MATAMOROS, PUE 4 DE APRIL DE 1937
CASA DIEGO RIVERA
SU ATENTO MENSAJE NEW YORK YA GIRARONSE ÓRDENES PUEDEN CRUZAR FRONTERA MÉXICO SEÑORES REFIÊRESE. – ATENTAMENTE
12.32 EL 12 ABRIL
NOTA RETRANSMITIDO A COYOACÁN D.F., FOR NO HABER SIDO ENTREGADO EN LAREDO, TEXAS.
PROFESSOR, JOHN DEWEY,
CARE MRS. GEORGE, AMBERES 65. MEXICO
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR EFFORTS TO SECURE FOR LEON TROTSKY THE RIGHT OF ASYLUM AND IMPARTIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY.
JOSEPH DAVIDSON, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN CHAPTER TEN.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
JOHN DEWEY, AMBERES 65, MEXICO CITY
GREETINGS. THE COMMISSION IS AN HEROIC STEP FORWARD IN STRUGGLE FOR TRUTH AND FREEDOM.
CRARY TRIMBLE, STATE SECRETARY SOCIALIST PARTY OF CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
PROF. JOHN DEWEY, CARE MRS. GEORGE, AMBERES 65, MEXICO CITY
WE THE UNDERSIGNED MEMBERS OF ORGANIZED LABOR SALUTE YOUR UNBIASED EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH THE TRUE FACTS SURROUNDING THE CHARGES MADE AGAINST LEON TROTSKY BY THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT DURING THE LAST MOSCOW TRIAL.
WE FEEL CONFIDENT THAT THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN WORKERS AWAIT WITH INTEREST YOUR FINDINGS. WE CONDEMN THE ORGANIZED CAMPAIGN AIMED TO DERAIL YOU FROM YOUR PURPOSE.
HENRY J. VINCENT, PATROLMAN SAILORS UNION THE PACIFIC, SAN PEDRO
JOE VOLTARO, DISPATCHER SEMP SAN PEDRO;
LMER BRUCE, DELEGATE I.L.A. 38-82, AND PRESIDENT DISTRICT COUNCIL NO. 4, MARITIME FEDERATION PACIFIC COAST.
PROF. JOHN DEWEY.
CARE MRS. GEORGE, AMBERES 65, MEXICO CITY
PROGRESSIVE TRADE UNIONISTS ARE UNANIMOUS IN THEIR APPROVAL OF YOUR COMMISSION’S SPLENDID ACTION IN CARRYING OUT WORKING CLASS JUSTICE BY GIVING LEON TROTSKY A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL HEARING ON THE CHARGES PLACED AGAINST HIM IN THE MOSCOW TRIALS. WE CONSIDER THE TASK OF YOUR COMMISSION VITAL TO THE FUTURE WELFARE OF THE WORLD WORKING CLASS AND PLEDGE ASSISTANCE IN EVERY POSSIBLE MANNER.
M.B. DUNNE, EDITOR NORTHWEST ORGANIZER;
H.A. SCHULTZ, BUSINESS AGENT ELECTRICAL WORKERS UNION LOCAL NO.292;
FARRELL DOBBS, SEC. GENERAL DRIVERS UNION LOCAL 544;
WILLIAM S. BROWN, PRES. LOCAL 544, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.;
JAMES BARTELL, PRESIDENT WAREHOUSE AND INSIDE WORKERS UNION LOCAL 20136;
JOHN JANOSCOB, AGENT FURNITURE WORKERS 1859.
GOLDMAN: When did you leave the town near Oslo, where you first lived in Norway – do you remember, Mr. Trotsky?
TROTSKY: Yes. It was the 28th of August.
GOLDMAN: Of what year?
TROTSKY: Of 1936, after the Moscow trial. I was arrested.
GOLDMAN: You were taken from there by the police, were you?
TROTSKY: Yes. For a week I remained in my old home under the control of the police. Then they transported myself and my wife to a new house, a country house, and we remained there some months under the control of thirteen policemen.
GOLDMAN: What happened to your secretaries?
TROTSKY: My two secretaries, the Czech, Erwin Wolff, and the Frenchman, Van Heijenoort, were deported without any reason.
GOLDMAN: Describe the conditions in which you lived at the time you were interned. By the way, what is the name of the town where you were interned?
TROTSKY: It is not a town, it is a village. Norwegian villages do not exist genuinely. They are farms a certain distance one from another. It was the farm Sundby, and the district is Hurum.
GOLDMAN: Now, describe the conditions under which you lived.
TROTSKY: It was a prison in every respect. We could not leave the house and the courtyard. We could not correspond, and we could not have visitors. It was worse than the Tsarist prison because in the Tsarist prisons we had visits from friends and from my relatives. Here, I had no visits at all. All correspondence passed through the police. They, for example, held back, held up the manuscript of my book, The Revolution Betrayed, for two months.
GOLDMAN: When did you leave Norway?
TROTSKY: The 19th of December 1936.
GOLDMAN: And what were the conditions of your leaving Norway?
TROTSKY: My friends, especially in France, were very disquieted because the Norwegian Government declared that it was not inclined to continue the visa for another six months. The only possibility was an expulsion or arrest by the GPU. They began, my lawyer in France and my friends, they began to ask for a visa in various countries. On the 8th of December we received for the first time an answer that the Mexican Government generously agreed to give us a visa. But in the situation in which I found myself, it was – I was not very confident about this answer. I believe it was a subject of worry on the part of the Norwegian Government and the GPU. I demanded a meeting with my friends who were members of the Party of the Government – Knudsen and others – to consult with them, but the Government refused. I waited – I do not know until today by what means we received the visa from the Mexican Government. Then they put us, my wife and myself, on a cargo boat or tanker, and with that tanker brought us to Mexico, to Tampico.
GOLDMAN: When did you arrive in Mexico?
TROTSKY: It was, I believe, the ninth of January 1937.
GOLDMAN: What have you been doing in Mexico since your arrival?
TROTSKY: I received a very friendly reception from the Mexican authorities. It was a totally striking thing after the last months in Norway. Until today, I can be only thankful to all the Mexican authorities with whom I had to meet and to do anything. I had no difficulties. I promised upon my arrival in the country not to intervene in any Mexican politics, and, in spite of some slanders in the Mexican press, I am absolutely faithful to my obligation.
GOLDMAN: Of what country are you a citizen, Mr. Trotsky?
TROTSKY: I am deprived of my citizenship in the Soviet Union. I am not a citizen of any country.
GOLDMAN: How long is it since you have been without citizenship of any country?
TROTSKY: Since the 20th of February 1932.
GOLDMAN: Can you furnish the Commission with a copy of the decree?
TROTSKY: It was published in Pravda and Isvestia when – the Soviet papers published it.
GOLDMAN: Have you a copy with you?
TROTSKY: Not at the moment, but it is easy to find the issue. I have only my article in the Bulletin of the Opposition, with quotations from this decree.
GOLDMAN: Will you have your secretaries make a copy of the decree depriving you of citizenship, and hand it to the Commission, please? Is that satisfactory to the Commissioners? A copy will be made and handed to the Commission.
TROTSKY: We can cable to New York and receive it after tomorrow by air mail – a copy of Pravda and Isvestia, I believe, with the decree.
FINERTY: I suggest, Mr. Chairman, it be received subject to confirmation.
DEWEY: It will be received subject to confirmation.
GOLDMAN: What, if anything, did you do when you were informed of the deprivation of your citizenship?
TROTSKY: I wrote an article about it. Fortunately, I am a man armed with a pen. To this article, I gave the form of an appeal to the Executive Committee of the Soviet Union.
GOLDMAN: Have you a copy of the article?
TROTSKY: Yes, the article was published in the Bulletin.
GOLDMAN: In Russian?
TROTSKY: In Russian. It was reproduced in many languages. You can find it in the Militant and other papers
GOLDMAN: The Commission will be furnished with the copy of this article, which was, I believe, in the nature of an open letter to the Central Committee of the Soviet Union.
TROTSKY: Yes, it was an open letter to the Central Executive Committee
FINERTY: May I ask Mr. Trotsky whether it was a request for a hearing, for the reasons of your deprivation of citizenship?
TROTSKY: It was more of a letter of a political nature, in the sense that I predicted certain conclusions to the Soviet Government from the policy held by Stalin. I gave in this letter the advice to remove him from his post as General Secretary of the Communist Party. More concretely. I repeated the advice given by Lenin in his article or testament. He recommended to the Party to remove Stalin. I repeated or referred to his advice.
GOLDMAN: Was that letter quoted by Vyshinsky in the last trial?
TROTSKY: It was quoted in the trial of Zinoviev, Kamenev and others. It was quoted by the defendants Olberg and Holtzman and by the prosecutor Vyshinsky in the first trial. It is mentioned now by Vyshinsky in the last trial of Pyatakov, Radek.
GOLDMAN: We shall furnish the Commission with a copy of that letter. It is all-important because it was quoted by Vyshinsky, partly quoted and distorted.
TROTSKY: It is supposed to be my article on terrorism.
GOLDMAN: Your wife is living here with you, Mr. Trotsky?
GOLDMAN: How many children have you, and where are they?
TROTSKY: We have now two sons.
GOLDMAN: Where are they?
TROTSKY: One is in Paris. It is Leon Sedov, who is accused together with me. The other, I don’t know exactly where he is, but he is in the Soviet Union.
GOLDMAN: What is his name?
GOLDMAN: And is that the son who was arrested because he was supposed to have organized the mass poisoning of workers?
TROTSKY: Yes, he is the “poisoner.”
GOLDMAN: I show you a photograph, and ask you whether this is the photograph of that son?
TROTSKY: Yes, it is my son.
GOLDMAN: I want to introduce this into evidence as a sample of a poisoner” of many, many thousands of workers, of a “mass poisoner.”
FINERTY: I take it the record ought to show that Mr. Goldman is speaking satirically.
GOLDMAN: I think that is correct. I understand that you had two daughters, Mr. Trotsky. Will you kindly tell us what happened to them?
TROTSKY: The younger, Nina, she died in 1928 during my deportation to Siberia. Her husband was also arrested together with me, and deported. I don’t have any news from him. He remained about eight years in prison. She became very sick at that time, and she died in Moscow. The letter she wrote to me I received, I believe, seventy days after her death.
GOLDMAN: What happened to your other daughter?
TROTSKY: She committed suicide.
GOLDMAN: Can you tell us anything about the conditions under which she committed suicide?
TROTSKY: She came to Berlin, Germany, for medical treatment, with the authorization of the Soviet Government. She did not participate in any political action abroad. She was sick. But she was deprived of citizenship together with me by the same Government decree, and this fact deprived her also of the possibility of going back to the Soviet Union. She was separated from her husband and children, and she committed suicide in Berlin.
GOLDMAN: Going back to your son, Sergei – was he interested in politics?
TROTSKY: Never. My daughter Zina was interested, not abroad, but in Russia. All the children, three, were interested in politics, with the exception of Sergei.
GOLDMAN: What was he interested in, then?
TROTSKY: As a boy he was a sportsman and athlete, then he became interested in mathematics and technical subjects. In his twenty-sixth year he became a teacher in a technical school, of mathematics.
GOLDMAN: Did he remain in Russia after you were deported?
TROTSKY: Yes. The reason why he remained in Russia – he was absolutely sure that his political neutrality, if I can so speak – he could never be persecuted by the Government. In the first year, he was a very esteemed young professor in a technical school.
GOLDMAN: Can you tell us, Mr. Trotsky, whether, under the Soviet law, treason or alleged treason in one member of the family, especially the father, is attributed to the children? What is the rule?
TROTSKY: Formally, not.
GOLDMAN: What is the practice?
TROTSKY: All the criminal proceedings, all the trials, and all the confessions are based upon the persecution of the members of the family.
DEWEY: Will that be verified by documentary evidence?
GOLDMAN: This is simply an opinion. It is an opinion of the witness. I will ask him whether there is any documentary evidence ―
TROTSKY: Excuse me, it is not an opinion. It is my personal experience.
GOLDMAN: In what way?
TROTSKY: I paid for the experience with my two children.
GOLDMAN: Can you produce any further evidence outside of your own experience?
TROTSKY: I know that the wife of Pyatakov was arrested eight months before him, and you can find in his last declaration that he lost everything, “my family and everything” By personal experience and by the persecution of the Opposition, I know. Pankratov, a former militant member of the Party during the Civil War, was deported. Then he came into prison in Siberia, and his wife was arrested only because she refused to separate from her husband. The authorities declared: It is a proof that you are connected with him ideologically, because physically you are separated from him, and the fact that you will not separate from him legally is a proof of your ideological connection with him.
GOLDMAN: One last question, and I am through. I would like to get an idea from you as to the rôle of some of your accusers in the October Revolution, especially Troyanovsky and Vyshinsky. Just for the purpose of information – do you know anything about their rôles?
TROTSKY: Yes, they played a certain rôle in the October Revolution, in the sense that they were on the other side of the barricades, as a great majority of the ruling stratum of the Soviet Union.
GOLDMAN: Where was Troyanovsky, for instance, Mr. Trotsky?
TROTSKY: Troyanovsky was a member of the Central Committee of the Menshevik Party, a very militant one against us.
GOLDMAN: When did he join the Bolshevik Party?
TROTSKY: He attacked me in the Constituent Assembly, he attacked my speech. He wrote, before the October Revolution, he wrote a very sharp pamphlet against Lenin. During the first year of the Civil War he was an enemy. He became a friend only after our victory, a frequent thing after the Revolution.
GOLDMAN: How about Vyshinsky?
TROTSKY: Vyshinsky was not so prominent a figure as Troyanovsky, and there are not very many things I can say about him. The Mensheviks, in the paper they published in Paris, named him “our renegade.” He is a former Menshevik, but not a militant Menshevik. He adhered to the Mensheviks during the revolutionary period, when it became impossible to remain aside. Maisky was a minister of the White Government in Siberia under Kolchak. He is ambassador in London. With few exceptions, all the bureaucracy is of such a kind.
GOLDMAN: Do you want to say anything further?
TROTSKY: I wish to say it is a certain irony when they say I betrayed ―
GOLDMAN: This closes the questioning on the biographical section. I turn the witness over to the Commission first, since Mr. Finerty was not present this morning. Is that satisfactory, Mr. Finerty?
FINERTY: That is satisfactory, if it is satisfactory to the Chairman of the Commission. I would prefer to defer any questions until I get the record. I would like to have Mr. Goldman file with the Commission the statutes of the Lenin Government making the penalty of treason applicable ―
GOLDMAN: You mean Stalin.
FINERTY: Stalin, making the penalty of treason applicable to all members of the family.
DEWEY: It was the thought I had in mind, whether or not there is a statute to that effect.
FINERTY: I am informed it is a statutory decree.
GOLDMAN: We shall make an investigation and, if this is so, we shall attempt to get a copy of such statute.
TROTSKY: Permit me a remark on this question. I propose as a witness Victor Serge, the famous French writer, and a member of a famous Russian revolutionary family, one of its members having participated in the assassination of Alexander the Second. He came a year ago from Russia. He passed five or six years in the prisons of Stalin, and he is a man absolutely uncorrupted. This is the best witness the Commission could have, and his own experience is very tragic. His wife became insane. She was arrested, and the sister of his wife is now in deportation in Siberia.
DEWEY: I think we will make a record of the name. I think that will be enough, thank you.
TROTSKY: There is Ciliga, a Yugoslav, who also passed five years in prison. Due to the fact that he is an Italian citizen, because he is from a province inhabited by Serbians belonging to Italy, he was released, and he can be a very good witness.
GOLDMAN: Let the record show, then, that Mr. Trotsky suggests that the Commission, not this particular sub-commission, but that the sub-commission in Paris summon Victor Serge and Dr. Ciliga to testify on the conditions in the Russian prisons and the situation of the families of the victims.
DEWEY: These names will be enough. I believe, for the record.
DEWEY: I want to ask a minor question. By what route did you proceed from Halifax to Russia?
TROTSKY: Through the Scandanavias, with a Norwegian ship to Christiania (now it is Oslo), through Sweden, Finland, and then to Petrograd.
DEWEY: You had no contact with the Germans on the way?
TROTSKY: No. It was the case with Lenin. Lenin came from Switzerland through Germany. With Lenin and Zinoviev, among others, was Radek. I came from the United States, and I did not need to go through Germany. But the accusations after my arrest – not the accusation in the indictment – were also that I came through Germany. But it was only the lack of geographical knowledge by the examining magistrate.
DEWEY: I understand from your remarks this morning that the whole question of the relationships of the factions, of the Opposition, will be taken up later. Is that correct?
GOLDMAN: That depends on what year you refer to. The question, for instance, of the relationship of the Opposition to the Party will be taken up under the section of the relationship of Trotsky to Radek and to Zinoviev and Kamenev. But in general, questions that you might want to ask with reference to the political struggle of the Left Opposition and the Party, you can ask now.
DEWEY: I don’t want to anticipate points that will naturally come up later, so as to avoid going over much of the same matters twice.
GOLDMAN: If I could know the general nature of your questions, I could inform you better.
DEWEY: In your remarks this morning you spoke of the political principles and objectives in which the Opposition – you asked Mr. Trotsky other points about the political and theoretical differences and their objectives and methods.
GOLDMAN: I will not go into the detailed theory such as “socialism in one country” as against international revolution.
DEWEY: I am somewhat embarrassed, but the Commission does want to know something about the methods and tactics pursued by the Opposition, say up to 1927.
GOLDMAN: Yes, I shall go into that later, in the section on the attitude of the Opposition to the defense of the Soviet Union. That will include the question of the attitude of the Opposition to the Party in the Soviet Union.
FINERTY: I want to suggest, Mr. Chairman, in view of the statement made by Vyshinsky in his closing of the case, it might be of interest to get a statement of his actual relations with Lenin.
DEWEY: That will come up. Mr. Stolberg will ask some questions on that.
LAFOLLETTE: As I remember, this morning Mr. Trotsky corrected Mr. Goldman on the date of his beginning his revolutionary experience. He said 1902 was the date when he wrote on terror. Did I understand that correctly?
LAFOLLETTE: I think it is pertinent what he wrote on terror at that time – that is, Mr. Trotsky.
TROTSKY: Our country has the greatest experience in the matter of terror. I believe only the Irish people would have a certain competition with us. We had two great parties, the “Narodnaya Volya,” “Will of the People” Party, and the Social Revolutionaries, which based their tactics upon individual terror. All Marxists in Russia began in the historic fight against individual terror. It was not a mystical or religious principle with the Marxists. It was a question of organizing the soul against the monster, of organizing the masses and educating them. Because the terrorist fight was a very glorious page in our revolutionary history, with great sacrifices of the best youth of our people, the Marxists made a terrible fight, ideological fight, against the ideology of terrorism, in order to turn the best elements of the youth to the workers. In this fight between Marxism and terrorism it is the action of the masses versus individual terror, the school which differentiated the strategy of individual terror and the organized movement. It penetrated our action, our psychology and our literature for decades. When I came in 1902 to London to the home of Lenin and met Lenin, there was a movement in Russia beginning, a mass movement of the students and workers, with the first sacrifices resulting from conflict in the streets. Now, the first reaction of the youth was revenge, the assassination of Ministers, and we told them: “Not that is our revenge, not the assassination of Ministers, but the assassination of Tsarism, the order of tyranny.”
This was the sense of our fight. During my first exile, from 1902 to 1905, I held dozens and dozens of lectures, wrote dozens of articles against individual terrorism in favor of mass action. During my second exile, which was after 1907 – after the defeat of the first revolution of 1905, and when the wave of terrorism became very important because the reaction was terrible; after the defeat of the revolution the desire of revenge became imperative with the youth – my second exile was filled with lectures and written articles against individual terrorism. I will present all these articles. I have them here in one of my books, published by the State publishing house of the Soviet Union before my exile.
GOLDMAN: There is a separate section that will deal particularly with terrorism – just for the information of the Commission.
STOLBERG: Mr. Trotsky, I would like to have you tell us as briefly as possible your essential differences from both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. In the Social Democratic Party split in 1903 between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks you were between the two groups, trying to bring about some plan of collaboration between them. Will you tell us, in other words, as briefly as you can, your personal, your own history with reference to the two wings of the Party and your own organizational work from then until you joined the Bolshevik Party?
TROTSKY: It is totally correct that from 1904 until 1917 I remained aside from both factions. I hoped that the unification could give us possible – push the majority of Mensheviks on the revolutionary road. Lenin was absolutely against the unification with the Mensheviks. Lenin was totally right against me in this important historical question. I recognized my error during the war, when the opportunism became chauvinism, became imperialism.
After my return to Petrograd there were no more differences between me and Lenin. Permit me to quote a remark of Lenin concerning our differences. When I came to Petrograd, I found among the Bolsheviks conciliatory tendencies toward the Mensheviks, for a unification with the Mensheviks. Stalin was one of the prominent protagonists of unification in March 1917. It is in the official minutes of the Party. Lenin fought against this tendency. He said – I will find the quotation; I will find it in a minute. The quotation literally said: “As for a coalition, I cannot even speak about that seriously. Trotsky long ago said that a union is impossible. Trotsky understood this, and from that time on there has been no better Bolshevik.” I think I referred to this in the first session as Exhibit No.1. I published all the minutes of the Committee abroad.
GOLDMAN: Where are these minutes that you refer to? Where did you publish them?
TROTSKY: I published them in different languages. They are published here in facsimile. The minutes of the Petrograd Party Committee were published in 1926, but this session of the Committee was not in the least mentioned but destroyed by order from Moscow, by a telegraphic order to eliminate the minutes of this session.
GOLDMAN: What is the book you are holding?
TROTSKY: The Russian edition of The Stalin School of Falsification.
GOLDMAN: That is written by you?
TROTSKY: It is written by Stalin; they are documents. It is written by me, but the contents are documents.
GOLDMAN: Have you the page where these minutes you refer to are contained?
TROTSKY: It was also published in English and all the foreign languages.
STOLBERG: Now, in these ideological differences between yourself and Lenin, certain practical issues constantly rose in the terms of these differences, from 1903 to 1917. Now, during the war, wherein did you differ with Lenin with reference to the Zimmerwald and Kienthal Conferences?
TROTSKY: The differences in Zimmerwald did not extend to the most important ideological questions. The differences in Zimmerwald were absolutely of a secondary nature. They could have a psychological importance in the moment of the fight, but no historical perspective. They appeared as pure incidents. The fact is that the Comintern published my articles during the war. What I wrote during the war, the Comintern published after the Revolution.
STOLBERG: What were your differences with him after you came into power with reference to the defense of Petrograd, the Polish war, and Brest-Litovsk?
TROTSKY: You know, I worked with Lenin hand in hand from 1917 to the moment of his illness and then his death. The questions of difference were varied and very complicated, because we were the first Workers’ Government, and we had different questions which from time to time divided us – separated us. I recognized the authority of Lenin every time, but I was sufficiently independent to explain my opinion openly – openly, even when not good for me. I believe my relations with Lenin during the Soviet period were the best. He himself testified to that in his last letter, in his testament. He wrote me a letter and I published it in my autobiography, on the art – if it can be named art – in the last period, the art of distortion of the nature of the living relationship between Lenin and myself.
GOLDMAN: Pardon me, I want to ask a question. You referred to Lenin’s testament. Has that been published anywhere?
TROTSKY: It was published the first time, I remember, by Max Eastman. In Russia, it is published only in the stenographic report of the Central Committee devoted only to the functionaries of the Party. Stalin read it at our insistence. He read it in August 1927 at a session of the Central Committee – Plenum, as we call it. It is in the stenographic report published
GOLDMAN: Has Stalin ever denied the existence of such a testament?
TROTSKY: Many times.
GOLDMAN: Has he ever said anything in public which would indicate that there was such a testament in existence?
TROTSKY: I doubt if he did.
GOLDMAN: Referring to the minutes of that session ―
TROTSKY: The first of November 1917, of the Petrograd Committee – the Party Committee.
GOLDMAN: That is, wherein Lenin declared: “Since Trotsky understood that there could be no union between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, there has been no better Bolshevik,” these minutes are contained in the book by Trotsky called The Stalin School of Falsification. I am referring to the Russian edition, beginning with page 116. Then there is a photostatic copy of the minutes between page 116 and page 117, inclusive.
TROTSKY: Excuse me, it is a facsimile of the destroyed proofs. It was ordered destroyed in type. But workers friendly to me made a proof of that and sent that to me.
GOLDMAN: And this is a photostatic copy of that proof. This book, if I am correct, will appear in English very soon and will contain an English translation.
STOLBERG: May I ask just one more question? It is of a more historical and philosophical interest. Your theory of the permanent revolution, as I understand it from your writings, was very similar to Lenin’s own. I also gather from your writings that there were some differences of a very, as far as I can see, minor nature. What, in your opinion, were the differences?
TROTSKY: I believe in this question I was right against Lenin. I had elaborated from the end of 1904 the theoretical conception and conviction that the Russian Revolution could not be victorious except through the dictatorship of the proletariat.
STOLBERG: Only through?
TROTSKY: Only through. It could not be victorious as a simple bourgeois revolution. The perspective of a proletarian dictatorship for a backward Tsarist Russia appeared as a very fantastic perspective. The Mensheviks and also the Bolsheviks named “Trotskyism” the perspective of a dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia.
STOLBERG: If I understand you correctly, Trotskyism from 1904 to 1917 meant the possibility of skipping bourgeois democracy in Russia.
TROTSKY: Trotskyism meant the perspective of proletarian dictatorship in Russia.
STOLBERG: So, in your opinion, both views cannot be discussed in terms of a clash in personality at all. Each of you took something from the other, and that became merged in the revolution.
TROTSKY: I think the part of Lenin was immeasurably greater than mine.
STOLBERG: Because it was strategic?
TROTSKY: It is too great a matter to go into now. He was the teacher. I was the pupil. If you permit me, I shall introduce the testimony of Joffe, the former diplomat. It is in My Life, page 535 in the English edition. In his testament, in his letter before his suicide, he wrote that Lenin said to him that Trotsky “proved to be right” in this question of the revolutionary perspective.
DEWEY: We will now take a brief recess.
DEWEY: Since some may have come in since I made the announcement earlier, I will state again that contrary to the previous statement given to the press, there will be no hearing tomorrow. The next Commission hearing will be Monday morning at ten o’clock. I wish also to make, for the purpose of the record, another statement. Since some question has been raised as to why the hearings are held in the limited locality of Coyoacan, the Commission wishes to state that it is because we did not think it fitting to put the Mexican Government to the additional effort of precaution which would have been necessary if the hearings were held elsewhere, especially as definite threats of violence have been made by certain elements. The Commission’s are public hearings in every sense of the word, as evidenced by the unrestricted presence of the press. Moreover, during the hearings this place serves for the purpose of the Commission and not as Mr. Trotsky’s home. I will ask Mr. Beals to repeat this statement in Spanish.
DEWEY: Mr. Stolberg will proceed with his questions.
STOLBERG: I have three specific questions, Mr. Trotsky, which I would like to have you answer specifically. The first question is:
Wherein did you and Lenin differ in reference to the problem of the defense of Petrograd?
TROTSKY: It was a strategical question. Lenin, as myself, was not a military man. Rut we tried to resolve military questions by our good Marxist education, by our living experience, and by common sense, if you permit me. Lenin’s opinion was, at a certain moment, that we could not help Petrograd, and that we must abandon Petrograd and concentrate the defense on Moscow or on a line between Moscow and Petrograd. I had a different appreciation – that we could save Petrograd, that it was very important because Petrograd was for us the source of the best proletarian people, the most educated; and also from a military point of view, it was necessary, in my opinion, to protect and save Petrograd. We had heated discussions on this, and the Central Committee sustained my opinion. Lenin said: “Good, try to do it and I will help you.” I went to Petrograd and we succeeded in saving Petrograd.
STOLBERG: The next question is: Wherein and to what degree, if any, did you and he differ in reference to the Polish war?
TROTSKY: In this question the rôles were the contrary. Lenin was aggressive and I was skeptical about the attack on Warsaw. I opposed it in the Central Committee, but Lenin had won the majority.
The experience confirmed my opinion in that question.
STOLBERG: And then will you discuss ―
TROTSKY: Permit me to say that they were not considered as questions of principle. The next day we forgot the difference totally.
It was a practical question.
STOLBERG: The third question I pose is a more political one and would enter into your differences on Brest-Litovsk. Will you explain your differences in reference to Brest-Litovsk?
TROTSKY: The differences concerning Brest-Litovsk are extremely exaggerated now by the Comintern. Every new year brings a new exaggeration. They were absolutely of a transitory and conjunctural character – the differences. I found it necessary to say to world public opinion and to the world toiling masses that we wished to fight against Prussianism, but that we could not do it. I tried to demonstrate by action the falsehood of the accusation that we had a secret agreement with German militarism. Lenin said in answer that it was of certain importance to show and to educate the masses by action, but if we perished in this demonstration – the group that was to take its message to them – how could they get their lesson? It was a question by what line we could continue the fight against German militarism in order not to perish ourselves. In the determination of this line, I had some practical and empirical differences with Lenin – no more.
BEALS: Mr. Trotsky, I would like to ask some very elementary questions. I believe, before these hearings were held, that you made the statement to the press that your archives would be open to an impartial investigation by the Commission. Is that true?
TROTSKY: Absolutely true.
BEALS: May I ask whether all of your archives are here in Mexico?
TROTSKY: I must answer this question with reservations, if the Chairman permits me. My archives were two times the object of night attacks, in Norway by the Nazis on the fifth of August 1936 and in Paris by the agents of the GPU on the seventh of November 1936. The seventh of November is the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The agents of the GPU succeeded a bit more than the Norwegian Nazis. They stole a part of my archives, but I have copies. I know very well that through their agents, correspondents, friends, and so on, they ask me directly and indirectly, where are my archives? The GPU is professionally interested in this matter. That is why I declared that my archives are completely at the disposal of the Commission; that I am ready to communicate immediately to the Chairman of the Commission or to the Commission as a whole in a secret session where they are, where the originals are and where the copies are. I am ready to present to the Commission legal copies as well as originals, and I beg the Chairman not to compel me or make me say where all my archives are.
BEALS: A further question that I wish to ask along that line is this: In bringing in your evidence, what was the basis of your selection of material which you thought would be of interest to this Commission?
TROTSKY: What was the basis of the selection?
BEALS: Yes, in coming to Mexico, what was the basis of the selection of the evidence which you brought with you which you thought would be most valuable to this Commission?
TROTSKY: I have all the necessary documents, but most of them are in copies, not in originals. The originals are at the disposal of the Commission, but not in my home. The selection is adapted to the indictment and to the political basis of the indictment. By my documents, I can prove, first, that the concrete premises of proofs and evidence are false, are frame-ups; and secondly, that politically they are impossible. There is a certain gradation of my proofs from the political to the philosophical.
BEALS: The final question I would like to ask along this line needs a certain preliminary. I believe that in the courts of the United States a defendant is considered innocent until found guilty.
At least, that is the theory. Whereas, the courts of Russia proceed a little differently. A defendant is considered guilty until he proves himself innocent. For the purpose of this line of questioning, I am considering you guilty, and therefore I would like to ask you what assurance the Commission would have in examining your archives that you have not destroyed that which was unfavorable to yourself.
TROTSKY: That is an absolutely natural question. But my aim is not to convince the Commission by the documents which I have allegedly destroyed, but by the documents which remain in my archives. I will prove to the Commission that the man who wrote from year to year those thousands of letters, those hundreds of articles, and those dozens of books and had those friends and those enemies, that this man could not commit the crimes of the indictment. It is the most genuine evidence I have.
BEALS: Answering the question I have ―
TROTSKY: If you will permit me a supplement. It is impossible to introduce allegedly destroyed documents. They could not find place in these archives. If you suppose, if you have the hypothesis of criminal documents to the German Minister Hess, to Hitler or the military of the Mikado, then you must find in my archives a place for them. Such a duplicity of character is impossible. But all the accused are people without psychology. They are robots of the GPU.
DEWEY: I think the last two sentences had better be stricken from the record.
BEALS: I still have several questions. In connection with the charges made against you at the time you were concentrated, or in the concentration camp, in Canada, that you were a German agent, you present as evidence of refutation of that the edition of Pravda, No.34, in which Lenin declared that a person of your long revolutionary standing would be incapable of being an agent of the German Government. Does that constitute in itself proof, that is to say – was Lenin himself charged with being a German agent, and was he not of the same party as yourself?
TROTSKY: That is also absolutely a natural question. My proof is not an absolute proof for people who suspect Lenin of having been an agent of Germany. But my accusers, my prosecutors, are sure Lenin was not an agent of Germany. But Vyshinsky was, for some years, absolutely sure Lenin was a German agent. Now he has repeated this accusation while officially he has rejected it. My proof is that Lenin affirmed that I could not have been a German agent in 1917, before the October Revolution, before the Civil War, before the creation of the Communist International. Now, I think it is an argument in my favor against Prosecutor Vyshinsky and his superior, Stalin. It is only one of my arguments.
BEALS: My second question in connection with this matter – and I shall not press this very much because I imagine this will be further taken up later on – is, of course, the Brest-Litovsk matter. Is it not a further charge, so far as many people in the outside world were concerned, that you were also acting in favor of Germany when you ceded Russian territory to the Germans as part of the preliminary measure to gain power, a preliminary agreement by which you were enabled to gain power? I mention this because in the present trials which we are considering, I believe that one of the charges against you is that you have entered into secret relations with Germany and Japan for the cession of Soviet territory in return for support in returning to power. This is an involved question, but the crux of the question is: To what extent was your signing of the Brest-Litovsk treaty an indication that you were a German agent?
TROTSKY: When, during our conversations at Brest-Litovsk ―
DEWEY: As relates to the cession of territory?
TROTSKY: Yes. We had power in a certain territory. It was a question, if we could save the workers’ power by a territorial concession, by paying a certain price. Lenin was of the opinion that we must make this concession, pay this price, in order to save the more narrow basis of the proletarian power. I was absolutely of the same opinion in principle. There were concrete differences. But now it is a totally different situation. The first thing: How can I give territorial concessions of territory which I do not have to the Japanese or to the fascists? We must also verify if it is reasonable for them – an agreement of such a kind – for the Mikado and for Hitler. The second question: Lenin did not betray his program and ideas by territorial concessions. Now the Prosecutor insinuates our aim and objective is to make territorial concessions in order to replace socialism by capitalism in the Soviet Union. The first concession during Brest-Litovsk was in order to save socialism from the attack of capitalism. It was an empirical proposition imposed by the situation. We must make the concession in order to save socialism. Now it would be a concession in order to betray socialism in favor of capitalism – the contrary.
BEALS: That I cannot distinguish very clearly. I would just like to follow it up.
LAFOLLETTE: The same thing?
BEALS: Yes. In other words, the signing of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, the question of the triumph of socialism, was considered more important than the question of the territorial integrity of Russia. Now, of course, at the present time you are opposed to the Stalin Government in Moscow. You feel that your own concept of socialism is more valid than that which today rules in Soviet Russia. Would not then your attitude be the same, that regardless whether they say that you are trying to bring back capitalism, would not your attitude be the same, that you would sacrifice Soviet territory if it enhances the return of your group to power to implant the socialism which you believe more correct?
TROTSKY: I believe that the only way possible to materialize the ideas of socialism is to win the masses and educate the masses, win them to the vanguard and to create a new régime by their will, their conscience, their devotion to their ideals. That is the only possibility. I have no others. The other means, which contradicts this education of the masses, is doomed beforehand. If I enter into relations with fascists and the Mikado, I am not a socialist, not a revolutionary, but a miserable adventurist. And if this accusation is proved to be true and correct, then I lose all. What can I have, except the power of my ideals for socialism? I compromise my aim, my ideal, myself. It is so contrary to all my Marxist education, to all my past forty years’ work in the masses and through the masses – if I can conceive of the possibility of such an indictment. When I read this book [The Verbatim Report of the Moscow Trial – A.M.G.] for the hundredth and first time, I have the impression of reading Dostoyevsky.
LAFOLLETTE: I would like to ask a factual question bearing on Brest-Litovsk. Did the Soviet Government, at any time before the signing of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, make any attempt to get the support of the Allied Governments against Germany in order that they might not have to sign the treaty?
LAFOLLETTE: Tell us about it.
TROTSKY: I conducted the conversations myself with the French General Lavergne and others and General Niessel, a French officer, in order to have their aid against Germany. But I must say openly, the difference between German militarism and French militarism was not for us a question of principle. It was only a question of a certain equilibrium of certain antagonistic forces in order to save the Soviet power. I tried to do it. They refused – the French Government refused to do so. Clemenceau proclaimed a holy war against the Bolsheviks, and then we had to conclude the peace of Brest-Litovsk.
DEWEY: Dr. Ruehle will ask a question in German which Mr. Solow will read in English. We will ask Mr. Trotsky to reply in German, and Mr. Solow will translate the reply.
RUEHLE (through interpreter): Were there in the Central Committee, or in the Communist International, differences over the question of the differentiation of bureaucracy and administration in the proletarian dictatorship? Was the danger of Bonapartism foreseen, and what position did you take on these questions?
TROTSKY (answers in German and translates into English his own answer): These questions played the greatest rôle in the discussions in the Central Committee, and in personal discussions between Lenin and myself. Lenin had the finest sensitivity on this question, and he was the teacher of the future Left Opposition. He affirmed many times that the greatest danger for us was that we, as a backward country, isolated – that we could see our state, the proletarian state, degenerate into a bureaucratic, Bonapartist state. He proposed certain organizational measures, as, for example, his Control Commission of genuine workers from the shops, in order to control the bureaucrats and show the bureaucrats that they are only transitory workers of the state. I want to say that the Control Commission itself degenerated and became a worse instrument in the proletarian dictatorship – Lenin understood, however, that it was impossible to preserve the Soviet dictatorship only by organizational measures. It depended upon the world situation, the historic factors in the world arena. If the German proletariat, the most developed in Europe, if it had accomplished a victorious revolution – and we hope that it will do so yet – the combination of the Soviet state with the proletarian German state would have given us the possibility to avoid the degeneration of the Soviet state in Russia. Our isolation was the most important factor in our degeneration.
RUEHLE (through interpreter): What position did you personally take in the Central Committee of the Communist International on the question of the practical liquidation of the Soviets and their replacement by the bureaucratic administration and sovereignty which betrayed the slogans of the Revolution?
DEWEY: Excuse me, one moment. Ask him what date that covers.
RUEHLE (through interpreter): In the period in which Trotsky was in the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
DEWEY: The only reason for asking that question was whether it would not go into the factional struggle.
TROTSKY: It is not dissociated from the factional struggle.
GOLDMAN: During Lenin’s time?
TROTSKY: During Lenin’s time? Yes, I can only repeat what I said.
I believe we did what we could to avoid the degeneration. During the Civil War the militarization of the Soviets and the Party was almost inevitable. But even during the Civil War I myself tried in the army – even in the army on the field – to give a full possibility to the Communists to discuss all the military measures. I discussed these measures even with the soldiers and, as I explained in my autobiography, even with the deserters. After the Civil War was finished, we hoped that the possibility for democracy would be greater. But two factors, two different but connected factors, hindered the development of Soviet democracy. The first general factor was the backwardness and misery of the country. From that basis emanated the bureaucracy, and the bureaucracy did not wish to be abolished, to be annihilated. The bureaucracy became an independent factor. Then the fight became to a certain degree a struggle of classes. That was the beginning of the Opposition. For a certain time the question was an internal question in the Central Committee. We discussed by what means we should begin the fight on the degeneration and the bureaucratization of the state. Then it became not a question of discussions in the Central Committee, but a question of the fight, the struggle between the Opposition and the bureaucracy. That was the second stage ―
DEWEY: That comes in later, I think.
GOLDMAN: Yes, that will come in later.
RUEHLE (through interpreter): Were you of the opinion that the specific methods of the Russian Revolution must be schematically and compulsorily carried by the Comintern into the rest of the world, and there become the ruling form of the class struggle?
TROTSKY: No. It was not the opinion of Lenin and myself. You can find in Lenin’s speeches in the Congresses of the CI many severe and forceful characterizations of the idea that we Russians could impose our methods and our form of organization on other nations. In his last speech, in the Fourth Congress of the Communist International. Lenin devoted a certain part to this question. It was also my opinion that it is absolutely impossible to command the workers’ movement from Moscow by telegraphic orders to sixty nations. This impossibility became more and more evident and the method of command was supplemented by the method of corruption and of bribery. One of the important differences – it was one of the important questions – of the fight since 1924 between Stalin and myself was where we protested against the bribery of the leaders of the workers’ movement in the foreign countries.
RUEHLE (through interpreter): What is your attitude towards the tendency to convert the Communist parties in the rest of the world, outside of Russia, into mere auxiliaries of Soviet foreign policy, or the manner in which they destroyed all democracy in these parties?
DEWEY: Will you tell Dr. Ruehle, I think for the present we had better confine the questioning more to matters of fact. Possibly at the end there will be an opportunity for these questions on his opinions.
LAFOLLETTE: I would like to ask Mr. Trotsky whether there was in the reports of the Moscow trials any quotation by the prosecution from the testament of Lenin concerning any of the differences, for example? Are there any quotations actually from the testament of Lenin?
TROTSKY: I don’t remember.
GOLDMAN: There is a reference to the testament of Lenin.
LAFOLLETTE: Who makes that?
GOLDMAN: Vyshinsky. But what that testament is, is not told by him.
LAFOLLETTE: But they did refer to it?
GOLDMAN: In this connection – I would like permission from the Chairman to ask one question, or rather two questions of Mr. Trotsky. You told us, when I asked you about the testament of Lenin, that Stalin never admitted the existence of such a testament. Would you like to change your answer on this question?
TROTSKY: I answered you, as far as I remember, he never mentioned it openly in public discussions. But in the afternoon, during the intermission. I found a quotation which is totally correct, of his speech in the International Press Correspondence of November 17, 1927. Stalin says:
It is said that in the “testament” in question Lenin suggested to the Party Congress that it should deliberate on the question of replacing Stalin and appointing another comrade in his place as General Secretary of the Party. This is perfectly true.
Yes, comrades, I am rude towards those who are rudely and disloyally destroying and disintegrating the Party. I have never made a secret of it, and shall not do so now.
Now, it is clear that Stalin confirmed that proposition of Lenin to dismiss him.
GOLDMAN: Who publishes the International Press Correspondence?
TROTSKY: The Comintern.
GOLDMAN: Now, with the permission of the Chairman, I wish to inform the Commission that the Open Letter to the Central Committee of the Soviet Union which Mr. Trotsky wrote at the time of his deprivation of his citizenship is found in the Militant, published in New York, dated April 2, 1932. The Commission can examine this Open Letter at its leisure.
DEWEY: I would like to return to the matter of the relations with Lenin, because on pages 466 to 468 of the English translation of the January trial the prosecuting attorney, Mr. Vyshinsky, says that the accusations which they regard as proved and which are now brought against you: “... merely crown the struggle Trotskyism has been waging against the working class and the Party, against Lenin and Leninism, for decades.” I don’t wish to ask you about that, but I do wish to ask you about some special points that he raises in support of this speech, that the recent conduct they charged you with is merely a crowning of the struggle against Lenin and Leninism that you have been carrying on for decades. He goes on to say,
... in 1904 Trotsky came out with a most despicable pamphlet entitled Our Political Tasks. This pamphlet was packed full of filthy insinuations against our great teacher, the leader of the international proletariat, Lenin, against the great Leninist teaching regarding the paths of the Bolshevik victory, the victory of the toilers, the victory of Socialism. In this pamphlet Trotsky squirts venomous saliva at the great ideas of Marxism-Leninism.
What was the content of your pamphlet of 1904, Our Political Tasks?
TROTSKY: The first thing I must say is, the Prosecutor never read the pamphlet and never saw it, because he says it is a little pamphlet.
It is a book. It is illegal – was illegally introduced in Russia – and that was the reason why it was in very small characters, small print. But it is even in small print in the legal printing. It os 150 pages or so. In the American general form of books, it would be three hundred pages. It is not a little pamphlet, as he represented it.
DEWEY: In the English translation, it says nothing about being a little book. It says “despicable.”
TROTSKY: I will find it immediately. In the different translations there are corrections. We will see.
DEWEY: The size of the pamphlet is not at issue. We want to know what basis there is in the pamphlet of 1904 for his charges that you were attacking Lenin at that time.
FINERTY: Mr. Chairman, may I suggest that if a copy of this pamphlet is available, we should have it here? It is the sole documentary evidence Vyshinsky refers to.
TROTSKY: In the French record, it says: “A little abominable pamphlet.” [Trotsky here refers to the French edition of the Verbatim Report of the Moscow Trials – Ed.] It is a theoretical and political pamphlet, and it is not objectionable, I believe it has many errors in it.
GOLDMAN: How old were you when you wrote that?
TROTSKY: Twenty-three years. I can find in this book chapters which are not so bad. There are chapters which are wrong. You know, as a young man I characterized Lenin in a certain spirit, a spirit absolutely not found in the real relations between him and myself. But I corrected, by my subsequent attitude – I corrected the error. But it is not objectionable and nothing abominable.
DEWEY: Is this book available?
TROTSKY: Yes, I believe I have it in my library. We will find it.
DEWEY: It can be entered into the record?
DEWEY: Solely in Russian?
TROTSKY: I believe only in Russian, if the Comintern did not publish it in a foreign language.
DEWEY: You say you corrected it in your subsequent writings and behavior. About what time would you put the time of your subsequent correction?
TROTSKY: It depends on the question. The book speaks on various questions; on general perspectives of the Russian Revolution, and I have a comparison between the Jacobins and the Russian Social Democrats; the political slogans of the period of 1904; and the organizational efforts of the Party; the illegal literature of the Party, and so on, and so on. It is very difficult to say when I corrected every error.
DEWEY: The next accusation which he makes on your next attack on Lenin is in connection with the August Bloc which you organized in 1911 and 1912. Then he quotes – he quotes Stalin. That is enough. What have you to say about this August Bloc that he says was directed against Lenin’s ideas?
TROTSKY: Yes, the August Bloc was an emanation of my conciliatory tendency. I tried to bring together the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. That was the idea of the August Bloc. Lenin refused to participate. I developed a certain agitation somewhat broad within Russia itself. It was a period of the darkest reaction. We had very few connections with Russia. Some months later the situation changed, but in the moment of the August Bloc there were bad working relations with Russia. They were almost totally interrupted. All the work was done by émigrés. I tried to bring them together – the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks – but Lenin refused. He was absolutely right in this question, as subsequent developments showed. I remained at the conference with the Mensheviks. Immediately, I began to fight against the Mensheviks at the conference, and the Bloc was destroyed. Nothing came from this attempt.
DEWEY: Lenin is quoted in this connection. He wrote that this Bloc was built up on lack of principle, on hypocrisy, on empty phrases.
TROTSKY: Yes, I believe the style is absolutely Lenin’s. He was right. The Bloc was a sterile attempt, and Lenin did not play with the thing. He gave serious blows to his adversaries.
DEWEY: Mr. Vyshinsky ―
TROTSKY: But this is not criminal evidence.
DEWEY: He also states that this Bloc was made up of lackeys of imperialism, of Mensheviks, of those who have been expelled from the ranks of the Bolshevik Party, and refuse of the working-class parties. Of course, you have said they were Mensheviks. Were there lackeys of capital in it?
TROTSKY: Well, it is a designation for reformists. Lenin designated all reformists as lackeys of capitalism, and he named in such a manner the Mensheviks who participated in the conference. It is a question of a political appreciation and not of criminal thought.
DEWEY: Were there those in it who were expelled from the Bolshevik Party?
DEWEY: Were there members in this Bloc who did not split from the Bolshevik Party?
TROTSKY: The Bolshevik organization at this time was in a state of split. For example, Lunacharsky, who was Minister of Education under the Soviet régime, Petrovsky, the eminent professor of history who died two years ago – they were not with Lenin. They participated in the August conference, but then they merged again with Lenin, and myself, also.
GOLDMAN: This is the pamphlet which Vyshinsky refers to, called Our Political Tasks. (Attorney Goldman exhibits said pamphlet to the Commission.)
DEWEY: This is the pamphlet of 1904.
LAFOLLETTE: How many pages are in it?
GOLDMAN: 107 pages in extremely small type. Do you have any of them in your archives, or can I introduce this?
TROTSKY: You can introduce it, naturally.
GOLDMAN: I will mark this Exhibit No.4.
DEWEY: That is all the questions I have on that particular matter.
GOLDMAN: One more question. Has this ever been translated into English?
TROTSKY: I am not sure. It seems to me the Comintern translated it into foreign languages.
GOLDMAN: A certain book I know contains some essays in English. I want to show the pamphlet to the Commissioners. Let them see the type and print.
DEWEY: Are there any other questions on this phase of the matter?
LAFOLLETTE: I have one question I want to ask. It may not be pertinent now. I think it is just as well to get it into the record because it concerns a thing I have heard a great many people say. I think it is a criticism that is very frequently made, a criticism or an appraisal of the situation which we are examining here. I have heard many say: “This does not concern me. If Trotsky were in power, the thing that is going on in Russia would have happened. Trotsky would have done the same thing.” Would you like to answer that question now, or perhaps later when you come to discuss what you have stood for in the last ten years?
FINERTY: I think that will be covered in the legal cross examination. It involves legal cross examination.
STOLBERG: Why is it N. Trotsky? [Commissioner Stolberg here refers to the signature under the title of the pamphlet, Our Political Tasks – A.M.G.]
TROTSKY: It was during the time when it was my pseudonym. The name Trotsky became my real name later. Then I had to connect it with my first name.
STOLBERG: I just had no identification for the first name, for “N.”
GOLDMAN: Let the record show that the question refers to the name of the author in the pamphlet introduced as Exhibit No.4.
TROTSKY: If you permit me, I can say that the “N” was devoted to my wife. Her name is Natalia.
BEALS: How was the work published – by the group with whom you were connected?
TROTSKY: It was by the Party. The Party had a common printing establishment. The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks had a common printing establishment. That was in January 1904. The split came in April 1905, but in December 1905 a new merger occurred between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, and a unified party existed until 1912. The new split, the official split, came in 1912. It is very difficult to understand what the Comintern tells us about the question – that is, its chronology. The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were at a certain time two factions of the same party, not two totally antagonistic parties. But at the time I was a conciliator between them – conciliatory in organizational questions. But in the revolutionary perspective, I explained, I had my point of view, which is named “the permanent revolution.”
FINERTY: I understood you to say that there have been two raids on your archives, that attempts were made by the Nazis and by the GPU?
FINERTY: Were materials abstracted, were things taken out of your archives?
TROTSKY: The Nazis stole only one letter, and some papers of no importance. There was a trial in Norway. I appeared as a witness at the trial. I had to explain all my political activities, as here, during two hours, behind closed doors. The Government would not permit me to explain, to give a full explanation in the presence of the press, and so forth.
FINERTY: A secret trial?
TROTSKY: Secret, but only during my testimony.
FINERTY: May I ask this – I don’t want to go into this in detail:
Were documents taken from you by the GPU?
FINERTY: Have you copies of these documents?
FINERTY: So your archives are intact?
TROTSKY: Well, this was my correspondence with my son from 1934, 1935, and even 1936. They stole it from a scientific institute. My son has the copies of his letters to me, and I have the copies of all my letters to him. And now my wife is busy copying my copies and sending them to my son, and he does the same. In such a manner, we have both a full collection of our letters.
FINERTY: All your archives are at the disposal of the Commission for examination?
DEWEY: Before we adjourn, the Commission will be glad to receive in executive session or in camera the information that Mr. Trotsky has to give about the location of those portions of his archives that are not here. We will then adjourn until Monday at ten o’clock a.m.
Last updated on: 1.4.2007