J. V. Stalin

Answer to the Open Letter of
Henry Wallace

17 May, 1948

Source : Works, Vol. 16
Publisher : Red Star Press Ltd., London, 1986
Transcription/HTML Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2009
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2009). 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.

I believe that among the political documents of recent times, that have the strengthening of peace, the furthering of international cooperation and the securing of democracy as their aims, the open letter of Henry Wallace, the presidential candidate of the Third Party in the U.S.A., is the most important.

The open letter of Wallace cannot be regarded as a mere exposition of the wish to improve the international situation, as an exposition of the wish for a peaceful settlement of the differences of opinion between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A., and the wish to find a way towards such a settlement. The declaration of the government of the U.S.A. of 4 May, and the answer of the Soviet government of 9 May are, therefore, insufficient, because they do not go so far as to declare that the settlement of the Soviet-American differences of opinion is desirable.

The great importance of the open letter lies in the fact that it is not limited just to that, to giving a declaration, but rather exceeds that, - a more important step, an advance, -and proposes a concrete programme for the peaceful settlement of the differences of opinion between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A.

One cannot say that the open letter of Wallace invariably deals with all the differences. One also cannot say that none of the formulas and opinions in the open letter need to be improved. But that is not the important thing at the moment. The important thing is that Wallace, in his letter, makes an open and honest attempt to work out a peaceful programme for a peaceful settlement and gives concrete proposals on all the points of difference between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A.

These proposals are generally known :

General limitation of armaments and the forbidding of atomic weapons. Conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany and Japan and the withdrawal of the troops from these countries.

Withdrawal of the troops from China and Korea.

Consideration for the right of nations to self-determination and non-interference in their internal affairs.

Forbidding the building of military bases in the countries that belong to the United Nations.

Development of international trade in every area, with the elimination of all discrimination.

Help and rebuilding within the framework of the United Nations for countries that suffered from the war.

Defence of democracy and the securing of civil rights in all countries, etc.

One can be for or against these proposals; but no statesman that has anything to do with the matter of peace and cooperation of nations can ignore this programme, which reflects the hopes and longing of the peoples for the strengthening of peace, and which, without doubt, will find the support of millions of the common people.

I do not know whether the government of the U.S.A. acknowledges the programme of Wallace as a basis for understanding between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. As far as the government of the U.S.S.R. is concerned, we believe that the programme of Wallace could be a good and fruitful foundation for such understanding and for the development of international cooperation, because the government of the U.S.S.R. is of the opinion that despite the differences in their economic systems and ideologies, these systems can live side by side and that peaceful settlement of the differences between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. is not only possible, but also absolutely necessary in the interests of general peace.

("Pravda," 18 May, 1948)