Glotzer Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Sam Adams

Russian Demands Before Three Power Conference

(November 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 44, 1 November 1943, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The meeting in Moscow of the foreign ministers of the United States, Great Britain and Russia came after a long period of uncertainty. It has been apparent for a considerable period of time that the relations between the three big powers of the Allies were deteriorating. Their differences extended from immediate military questions to political questions of post-war territorial divisions and the reorganization of Europe.

These differences continue to exist. The purpose of the Moscow meeting is to determine if it is possible to arrive at a common program, to resolve these differences by discussion.

If the meeting between the foreign ministers reaches a point of understanding, then, and only then, will Stalin agree to meet with Roosevelt and Churchill. His refusal to do so up to now is characteristic. He does not go in for “exploratory” conferences. This is enforced by the fact that none of the conferees, Hull, Eden or Molotov, is in a position to promise or grant anything. At most they can lay on the table some of their positions and smoke out each other.

Russia holds the center of interest at the conference and it is her demands which guide the course of discussions. In almost all respects she determined beforehand what would and what would not be subject to debate at the meeting. Stalin made it clear that he would not agree to a discussion of Russian borders any more than American could agree to discuss its borders (Texas, California, etc.). This was something which Russia would decide for herself.

While the deliberations in Moscow are still shrouded in mystery and reports continue to conflict, it is certain that Russia still demands the immediate opening of a second front.

This military demand has several political aspects to it: first, Russian objection to any major Allied front in the Balkans, which stems from her position that the Balkans is her sphere of operation and influence. Secondly, she is carrying the brunt of the war and wants relief – on the Western front. No other front is acceptable as a substitute. Even this “purely military” demand is important because the degree of post-war military strength of the individual powers will play an important and perhaps decisive role in the reorganization of Europe.

There are a number of equally important questions which divide the three powers. Russian demands in Eastern Europe are already made clear, and England and America are hardly in a position right now to do anything about them. Russia wants Southern Finland, the Baltic states, Eastern Poland, Bukovina, Bessarabia. She wants an outlet into the Mediterranean and has let hints drop about a base on the Bosphorous. Her demands in Asia are now clearer too. Iran, occupied by Russia and England, is a source of deep differences between the two countries. Stalin has let it be known that he wants an outlet to the Persian Gulf. Nor is that the end of his territorial desires. There are the Northern provinces of China, Sinkiang, and even Manchuria, to be reckoned with.

The United States and Great Britain are greatly disturbed for the simple reason that Russia is fighting the major war with Germany and is winning. They will either have to come to an agreement with Stalin, look on while Stalin takes what he wants, or resolve to war against him. This latter prospect is not an enviable one for either of the three countries after the present long years of fighting are over.

Russia, of course, looks on with great suspicion of the Anglo-American coalition. Stalin wants to dominate Europe, or at least to create sufficient barriers in the central part of the Continent to insure Russia against attack from the West.

America’s post-war needs will drive her on to seek domination of Europe, while England too would like to re-establish a balance of power on the Continent under her “benevolent” supervision and control.

Russia’s “Free German Committee” was at one and the same time a public announcement of her plans and a rejection of British-American aims to dismember the Third Reich and to destroy its industrial power. Thus the question of what .to do with Germany is crucial for the three powers. And here the differences are unmistakable.

The Moscow conference is a struggle for power, in essence no different from those of former years. Just as the conference itself is a form of compromise, so, too, its decisions, which will prepare the forthcoming meeting of the President, the Prime Minister and the Dictator, will be a compromise. The details are impossible to report, since none are given. But the above is at least, a summary of the issues which are now in, the discussion stage.

Top of page

Labor Action 1943 Index | Writers’ Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 8 July 2015