The Security Services and Alien Trotskyists

The following excerpt from the document KV4/57 pages 22-23 relates to the Security Services war-time management of different types of aliens and comes at the end of the file. The only individuals named in it are Pierre Frank and Resi Weltlinger but it is doubtful if this last was ever a Trotskyist and he is not claimed to be one in the document. Pierre Frank was arrested in July 1940, sentenced to six months in prison and immediately re-arrested on release to be interned on the Isle of Man under regulation 18B for much of the rest of the war. These events are described by Harry Ratner in his autobiography, Reluctant Revolutionary, (details of the book on this website in Socialist Platform Publications) but, surprisingly, Molinier, who had left for South America just before the police raid in July, is not mentioned. Since, according to their own documents, the Security Services were fairly paranoid about the left wingers who were savagely sentenced for breaking the Official Secrets Act on civil liberty issues though right wingers, guilty of far more serious militarily sensitive leaks were given a reprimand, it is clear that the “Alien Trotskyists” were considered as very unimportant.

The work of contacting German prisoners of war by using the paper Solidarität, whose first issue was in May 1946, only occurred after this report was written in late 1945 and crucially, after the war. Of course there were very few German prisoners in Britain until after the Normandy landings in June 1944 as those captured in Africa and Italy earlier in the war were generally held in South Africa and Kenya where food was plentiful locally.

Ted Crawford August 2000



The Trotskyists were opposed to the war on the grounds that it was an act of imperialist aggression which served only to hinder world revolution and the establishment of the Fourth International. Despite this attitude, directed against the efficient prosecution of the Allied war effort, Trotskyists presented few serious problems of a security nature as they lacked outstanding leaders, were numerically small and their activities were adequately controlled by the Defence Regulations.

There was reason, however, to anticipate that known Trotskyists would hinder the war effort wherever possible and therefore they were not given employment in key positions or factories engaged on work of national importance.

In some instances, the provocative nature of their publications overstepped the mark and it was then necessary to prevent further repetitions. Pierre FRANK, one of the founders of the French Trotskyist Party, was arrested by the Police in 1940 and subsequently interned for complicity with a group of foreign Trotskyists in London in the production of Internationalist Correspondence, published by the Foreign Delegation of International Communists for the building-up of the Fourth International. The issue dated June 1940 included an Open letter to British workers which urged workers to set up committees in every factory and street and soldiers to set up committees and seize arms and munitions. There was no doubt that the activities of this group were directed against the war effort and that FRANK was a leading member.

In 1944, a German refugee, Resi WELTLINGER, was arrested for the forgery of two National Registration-stamps which had enabled two British Trotskyists to avoid military service.

With the end of the war in sight, alien Trotskyists, in common with British comrades, increased their activities. The Revolutionary Communist Party, aiming at leadership; of the European bloc formed a European Sub-Secretariat, through which foreign members were trained for the tasks awaiting them in their own countries. It was noticeable however that in the light of past experience; aliens were careful to keep secret their Trotskyist membership and admit only to political affiliation with the I.L.P.

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Updated by ETOL: 18.10.2003