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Answers to the Questions of the Moscow Correspondent of the “Sunday Times”, Mr. Alexander Werth, in a Letter of September 17, 1946September 24, 1946
Question: Do you think there is a real danger of a “new war,” which is being so irresponsibly talked about in the whole world at the moment? What steps should be taken to prevent this war, if such a danger exists?
Answer: I do not believe in the actual danger of a new war. The clamour about a new war now comes mainly from military-political secret agents and the people behind them in the administration. They need this alarm, if only for the purpose of spreading it in the areas of their opposition.
(a) Certain naive politicians try to get as many concessions as possible out of the opposition and help their own governments by frightening people with the spectre of war;
(b) to hinder the reduction of military budgets in their own countries for a certain time;
(c) to block the demobilization of their troops and thereby guard against a swift rise in unemployment numbers in their countries.
One must differentiate between the present clamour and outcry about a “new war,” and the real danger of a “new war,” which does not exist at the present time.
Question: Do you think that Great Britain and the United States of America are deliberately carrying out a “capitalist encirclement” of the Soviet Union?
Answer: I am not of the opinion that Great Britain and the United States of America could carry out a “capitalist encirclement” of the Soviet Union even if they wanted to, which, in any case, I do not maintain.
Question: To quote Mr. Wallace in his last speech, can England, Western Europe and the United States be sure that Soviet politics in Germany will not be turned into a Russian instrument against Western Europe?
Answer: I believe that the possibility of Germany making profitable moves through the Soviet Union, against Western Europe and the United States can be excluded. I think that it can be excluded also, not only because the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France are bound by their joint and mutual support against German aggression and through the decisions of the Potsdam Conference which bind these three powers to the United States of America, but also because Germany's political exploitation against Western Europe and the United States of America would mean a deviation on the part of the Soviet Union from its fundamental national interests. To put it in a nutshell, the politics of the Soviet Union in relation to the German problem is restricted by itself to the demilitarization and democratization of Germany. I believe that the demilitarization and democratization of Germany to be the most meaningful guarantee for the building of a stable and lasting peace.
Question: What is your opinion about the accusation that the politics of the Communist parties of Western Europe are “directed by Moscow”?
Answer: I regard this accusation as an absurdity that people have borrowed from the bankrupt arsenal of Hitler and Goebbels.
Question: Do you believe in the possibility of a friendly and lasting cooperation between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, despite the existing ideological differences, and in “friendly competition” between the two systems, as Wallace mentioned in his speech?
Answer: I firmly believe in that.
Question: During the stay of the deputation from the Labour Party in the Soviet Union, you have, as I have been informed, expressed certainty regarding the friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. What would help to establish these relations which the majority of the English people obviously desire?
Answer: I am really certain of the possibility of friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. The strengthening of the political, economic and cultural ties between these countries would contribute enormously to the construction of such relations.
Question: Do you believe the earliest possible withdrawal of all American troops from China would be of the greatest significance for future peace?
Answer: Yes, I believe so.
Question: Do you believe that actual monopoly of the United States on the atom bomb to be one of the greatest threats to peace?
Answer: I do not think that the atom bomb is such a power as certain politicians are disposed to state. The atom bomb is intended to frighten people with weak nerves, but it cannot decide the fate of war, and would under no circumstance suffice for this purpose. Certainly, the monopoly on the secrets of the atom bomb poses a threat, but against that there are at least two things:
(a) The monopoly on the possession of the atom bomb cannot last long;
(b) the use of the atom bomb will be forbidden.
Question: Do you believe that with the further progress of Communism in the Soviet Union, the possibilities of friendly cooperation with the outside world as far as the Soviet Union is concerned will not be reduced? Is “Communism in one country” possible?
Answer: I do not doubt that the possibility of peaceful cooperation will not be reduced, far from it, but could even be stronger. “Communism in one country” is absolutely possible, especially in a country like the Soviet Union.
("Pravda," 25 September, 1946)