Sekr. d. EKki




rc/Trans. Russ. M.L.

17.5.38                                                                                                Confidential






            1.  The central point of the campaign in connection with the trial of the “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” must be the expalantion of the fact that there is a world conspiracy of reaction and fascism directed immediately against the Land of Socialism, but also against the peace and liberty of all peoples.  There exists a conspiracy, inspirated [sic] by the espionage centres of Hitler[‘s] Germany and Japan and carried out with the participation  of the remnants of all anti-Soviet groupings:  The Trotskyites, Rights, Zinovievites, Bourgeois-Nationalists, Mensheviks[i] and S.R.s,[ii] as agents of the fascist war incendiaries.  Therefore, the disclosure and crushing of this conspiracy is a great service rendered to all of peace-seeking humanity.

            2.  On the basis of the military aggression of the fascist powers in Spain and China and especially on the basis of the occupation of Austria by Hitler[‘s] Germany,[iii] it is necessary to show that the same reactionary forces are operating here, which with the help of their Right-Trotskyite agency are organizing an attack against the Soviet Union.  Consequently, he who defends the Trotskyite accomplices of fascism is acting in favour of the fascist murderers of the Spanish, Chinese and Austrian peoples.

            3.  With the occupation of Austria, Hitler begins direct military operations in Central Europe.  All forces of peace must be rallied and exerted to the utmost in order to curb the blood-thirsty onslaught of fascism and save universal peace.  Consequently, he who uses the extermination of the fascist Trotskyite agents in the Soviet Union as a pretext for deepening the split in the working class and for slander against the Soviet Union, weakens the forces of peace and clears the road for the fascist aggression.

            4.  It has been proven that the Mensheviks were connected with the Right-Trotskyite criminals.  The leading circles of the Second International, who on their part [sic] conduct a particularly furious campaign against the trial, have come out in their defence.  An energetic repulse must be offered against this attack and the masses of Social-Democratic workers must be told the truth about the trial and its significance.  This is necessary in the interests of working-class unity in the struggle against war and fascism.

            5.  We must effectively refute the various hypocritical and slanderous arguments of the enemy.  For example, we should point out that the liquidation of the fascist agency is a sign of the strength of the Soviet Union.  If, for example, France took the same action with regard to the Cagoulards,[iv] then the French people would feel themselves much more at ease in the face of reaction at home and Hitler[ite] fascism.  Facts of people [sic] who occupied important posts in the past turning traitors are known both at the present time and in the history of all countries.  But in the Soviet Union such people are punished independent of the position they once occupied, whereas in capitalist countries they often remain free.  With regard to the reasons which prompted the accused to admit their guilt, on this point it is necessary to show that on the one hand the accused were caught red-handed, and on the other hand, the admittance of their guilt was facilitated by their isolation from the masses of people and by the fact that no social forces in the country stood behind them.

            6.  The abundance of facts in connection with the trial makes it easier to conduct a successful struggle against the slanderous campaign of the enemy and to go over to the offensive.  We must analyze and refute the enemy’s arguments, basing ourselves on the concrete conditions of each specific country.  We must especially convince the wide masses of the criminal character of Trotskyism.

            7.  With regard to practical measures in the further carrying out of the campaign, the following is decided upon:

            a) Leading comrades of the individual Parties must deal with the trial in the press and at meetings, basing themselves upon the specific interests of the working masses in their country.

            b) The comrades who were personally present at the trial must, on their return to their respective countries, especially speak at meetings giving information on the trial.

            c) A protest must be registered at all meetings, factories and organizations, against the anti-Soviet slander initiated by the enemy in connection with the trial.  Special attention should be devoted to having Social-Democrat[ic] and trade union workers refute the anti-Soviet slander of their leaders and newspapers and demonstrate this by protest resolutions, telegrams and deputations to various organs.

            d) The full report of the court proceedings is to be published in English, French and German languages and must be circulated not later than March 20, 1938.

            e) An abridged report of the court proceedings in the form of a book in the Spanish, Italian, Czech, Hungarian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Croat languages should be published not later than March 25, 1938.

            Special attention must be devoted to circulating the report of the court proceedings among Social-Democratic and trade union functionaires [sic] and among functionaries of other anti-fascist organizations.

            f) Apart from this, the same material will be published in a special edition of the “Rundschau” with an enlarged circulation in the following languages:  German, English, French, Spanish, Czech, Hungarian and Swedish.

            g) The following pamphlets on the trial will be published here:

            Gottwald, general pamphlet on the trial.

            Ponomarev, material on the trial.

            Arnot & Tim Buck,[v] pamphlet for Anglo-Saxon countries.

            Cognoit, pamphlet for France and Belgium.

            Smerel, pamphlet for Czechoslovakia.

            Dengel,[vi] pamphlet for Germany.

            Lager,[vii] pamphlet for Scandanavian countries.

            Willard,[viii] pamphlet dealing with the trial from the juridical point of                                view.

            Freidrich, reports from the courtroom.

            Garlin, an American reporter at the trial.

            Koltsov,[ix] on Gorky.[x]

            The manuscripts of these pamphlets must be submitted not later than March 20, 1938.  The pamphlets to be published not later than March 30, 1938.  Besides this, a pamphlet should be prepared dealing with the provocative activites of the Trotskyites in the ranks of the labour movement in capitalist countries.

            h) The Radio Commission must make it its duty to see to the further enlightenment on the trial [sic] over the radio, especially in connection with the enemy’s slanderous campaign.

            i) All Party representatives and referents [analysts] are instructed to cooperate in dealing with the trial in the press of their countries as well as over the radio.

            j) The Information Bulletin (Kellerman) is instructed to supply regular information regarding both the campaign of the enemy and the counter-campaign of our Parties.

            k) The Press Department is instructed to increase the supply of our press with materials on the positive sides of Soviet life (for example, the return of the Papanin expedition).

            8.  We must especially demand that in the explanatory campaign in connection with the trial, the most thorough use be made of fact[ual] material contained in the trial report (by using it in the press, pamphlets, at meetings, etc.).  All our assertions and conclusions must be sustained by facts in order to make our campaign more convincing and give it a more driving force.

            9.  A Commission consisting of Comrades Gottwald, Ponomarev and Freidrich is responsible for conducting this campaign.  The Commission is instructed to submit to the Secretariat by April 1, 1938 a summary report of the campaign in connection with the trial.


RGASPI, f. 495, op. 18, d. 1238, ll. 29-33.  Original in English with handwritten notes, translated by ECCI translator.



[i] Mensheviks – originally the moderate wing of the RSDRP; it became an autonomous group with the RSDRP after the party’s second Party Congress in 1903. After 1912, it was an independent party, although retaining the RSDRP name. It existed legally in Russia until 1922.

[ii] SRs – abbreviation for the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, which was created in 1901 as a left radical party representing the interests of peasants. The party stood for democratic political reforms and for the liquidation of private ownership of land. Among its methods of struggle were the organization of mass movements as well as individual terror.  In August 1917, the left wing broke away and formed an independent party, the Left SRs.  Between late November 1917 and March 1918, several Left SRs held ministerial portfolios in the Soviet government.  They quit to protest the terms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty and conducted an active anti-Bolshevik struggle.  It ceased to exist as a legal party in the USSR after 1923.

[iii] Germany occupied Austria on 11 March 1938.

[iv] Cagoulards (from the French word cagoule – a hood) – members of the French Social Movement for Revolutionary Action, headed by the Secret Committee for Revolutionary Action. It was an extreme right-wing, illegal organization. The members attending the Secret Committee’s sessions reportedly wore hoods in order to conceal their identities.

[v] Tim Buck (1891-1973). Born in Great Britain, he emigrated to Canada in 1921. He joined the CPCan and became a member of its CC. Between 1929 and 1962, he was General Secretary of the CC CPCan. After January 1962, he was Chairman of the Party. In 1935-1943, he was member of the ECCI.

[vi] Philipp Dengel (1888-1948). A member of the CPG from 1919, he was a member of the Political Bureau of its CC. After 1929, he worked in the ECCI apparatus as head of the Scandinavian Lendersecretariat. Between 1937 and 1938, he was head of the CC CPG delegation in the ECCI. In 1938-1941, he was deputy head of the ECCI’s Agitation and Propaganda department. After 1935, he was a member of the ECCI

[vii] Lager Fritiof (1905-1973). A member of the CPSwed from 1925. Between 1929 and 1967, he was the Organizational Secretary for its CC and Political Bureau. Between 20 December 1937 and 1 May 1938, he was the representative of the CPSwed in the ECCI. In 1949, he became the Chairman of the CPSwed; in 1961-1964, he was its Deputy Chairman.

[viii] Marcel Willard (1889-1956). A lawyer, he joined the SFIO in 1919, and the CPFr in 1923. He was a member of the French section of the MOPR, and a member of the International Committee Against War and Fascism. In 1944, he was Secretary General of the French Ministry of Justice.

[ix] Mikhail Efimovich Koltsov (1898-1942). A Soviet writer and journalist, he was the Secretary of the Foreign Commission of the Union of Soviet Writers. On 12 December 1938, he was arrested by the NKVD and later shot. In 1938, the Gosizdat published his pamphlet A Thunderbird: The Life and Death of Maksim Gorky.

[x] Maksim Gorky (real name – Aleksei Peshkov) (1868-1936).  A Russian and Soviet writer, he was the organizer and the Chairman of the first all-Union Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934. The indictment of the Procurator of the USSR and the verdict of the Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR in the case of the “Right-Trotskyist bloc” stated that the accused were responsible for Gorky’s death.