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The Vital Letters of Russell, Krushchev, Dulles, with an introduction
by Kingslay Martin. London; MacGibbon & Kee, 1958.

* Kingsley Martin は、雑誌 New Statesman のエディター


The summit letters by Kingslay Martin<

The Unique Correspondence here published in book form started with an Open Letter from Bertrand Russell to Eisenhower and Krushchev, which appeared in the New Statesman of 23 November 1957. He chose his time well. In company with a group of leading scientists, led during his lifetime by Einstein, Russell has for years been calling the attention of a heedless public to the appalling dangers of nuclear warfare. Since then a few newspapers, politicians, and public-spirited people have hammered away at the subject. But it was not until the autumn of 1957 that it was widely realized that the anti-war talk of today was not primarily inspired by pacifism or communism, but by nothing more subversive than a popular instinct of self-preservation. The discovery that U.S. planes carrying H-bombs were constantly overhead awakened the public to the possibility (to which The Times called abrupt attention) that we might all suddenly be killed by an accidental coding error such as had occurred more than once during the war. Mr. Kennan's Reith Lectures on the B.B.C. had an immense effect; his most telling emphasis was on the danger of doling out nuclear weapons to Dr. Adenauer's Germany and other NATO powers. J. B. Priestley, in a powerful article in the New Statesman (2 November), urged that Britain should at once abandon the H-bomb. Newspapers and M.P.s (=Member of Parliament?) received innumerable letters from alarmed correspondents anxious to know how to escape destruction.
The weakness of this anti-nuclear protest was that it brought us no nearer to a solution of the problem of American-Soviet rivalry. Unless Russia and America ceased to threaten each other, world danger remained substantially unchanged. U.N. disarmament talks broke down, and talk about a summit conference, where the heads of the great powers might seek a working agreement realistically and without publicity, was still vague. The point of Lord Russell's letter was to persuade Eisenhower and Krushchev to admit that their common interests were greater than their differences. They must both desire the continued existence of the human race; they surely agree in wanting the limitless resources that science makes available to fulfill man's aspirations for happiness rather than to confirm his fears of destruction. Russell argued that in war today there can be no victory, and that the rival ideologies, arising from the Declaration of Independence on the one side and Marxist-Leninism on the other, can still run their course in world competition without leading to world war. Another common American and Russian interest is to prevent the perilous anarchy which must follow if other powers or pair of powers, like East and West Germany, Greece and Turkey, Israel and Egypt, are armed with nuclear weapons. A week before Christmas Mr. Krushchev replied, accepting the whole of Lord Russell's argument in so far as it was a plea for co-existence and a summit conference, but putting all the blame for world tension on the capitalist world.
This letter was as far as I know the first sent by the head of a state to a foreign newspaper. Questioned on television, I expressed the hope that the American President would also reply to Bertrand Russell. A letter duly arrived from the pen of Mr Dulles, who explained that he was writing on behalf of the President.
Mr. Dulles's argument was simple. United States policy, he said, was based on moral law, which forbade any war except in self-defense, while Communism, on its own admission, believed in conquest by violence. He cited as examples of Soviet practice the cases of Finland, Eastern Europe, Korea and Hungary. It would be folly for the West to 'relax to the melody of Krushchev's lullaby'. Co-existence with the Soviet Union was only possible if Communist ideology was changed. Since the Kremlin lacked Christian morality and believed in violence, discussions and agreements with Russia were alike futile. Mr. Dulles, in short, divided the world into two great camps; the hosts of light were defending God's Kingdom against the forces of darkness, with himself, presumably, temporarily cast for the role of the Archangel Michael.
A month later Krushchev returned to the charge in a letter of 9,000 words. He recalled that for centuries war had been made not by Communists, but by Christians. He argued that Communism had grown, not by violence, but by the inevitable historical process of working-class revolt against capitalist dictatorship. The capitalists had made colonial wars, were still doing so, as for example in Algeria, while in Hungary the Soviet Union had merely put down a counter-revolution. Russia had shown itself willing for mutual disarmament and control, but would never be tricked by America into putting herself again at the mercy of the capitalist powers.
The conclusion of this interchange seemed to be that some relaxation of tension was theoretically possible, but that the best that could be hoped from a summit conference was some 'plot scheme' for reducing armaments and for 'disengagement' in Europe and the Middle East - provided always that the over-all military balance was unaltered.
Krushchev's letter once again illustrated the Soviet aptitude for effective dialectic, but as Bertrand Russell pointed out in his reply to both Dulles and Krushchev, debating scores did not bring the 'rival fanatics' any closer together. Each believed himself to be wholly virtuous, freedom-loving and peaceful, while the other was wholly wicked, tyrannous and war-like. What mattered most was that neither 'seems able, even for a moment, to rise above the party dispute and envisage the common peril of mankind. Both, in words, acknowledge that a nuclear war would defeat the purposes of both parties equally, but neither draws the moral that the acerbity of their disagreement must be lessened, since this acerbity greatly increases the likelihood of nuclear war'.

No reader of this correspondence can have been surprised that the path to the Summit has been beset with apparently unscalable obstacles and unbridgeable crevasses. Distrust is absolute. In one disturbing passage Krushchev referred to the war of 1939 having been 'unleashed' by imperialists who had enriched themselves by it and who were 'not disturbed' by the prospects of another world war. This would seem a perfect example of a doctrinaire obsession' overcoming a realist appreciation of self-interest. Krushchev was trained during the days of American and British intervention in the Soviet revolutionary war nearly 40 years ago; he has since witnessed plenty of colonial wars and an American intervention in the civil war in China, which, like intervention in Soviet Russia, only served to aid the birth of a Communist state. Automatically he argues that monopoly capitalism is again plotting war against the Communist bloc; and that the result of war would be the end of capitalism. In one passage he agrees with Russell that nuclear war might destroy 'almost every living thing on earth', but he still assumes that Communism would survive it. 'How many attempts there have been to destroy Communism by force of arms'.
Krushchev's faith in the historically inevitable victory of world Communism no doubt forces him into this contradiction. Opinions will differ about how much menace his belief in Communist victory in war contains for the West. My own guess would be that he means what Molotov meant when he said that 'all roads lead to Communism'. If there is no war, the Marxist argument runs, Communism will win comparatively painlessly, through the inner contradictions of capitalism; if there is a war, material progress will be set back by centuries, but the Communist heartland of power will in some part survive even though many millions of people are killed by H-bombs. Therefore Krushchev believes that the world will inevitably become Communist, and, in this at least with no lie in his heart, he adds that Russia wants peace. Krushchev is said not to be rigid in his Marxism. In that case it is strange that he has not asked himself whether we are not living in a period, such as Marxism postulates, when technological change profoundly affects ideological superstructures. Does he not understand that American capitalism, aware that America is now vulnerable to Soviet nuclear weapons, is terrified of war, just as Chamberlain's Britain was terrified before 1939? To bring his Marxism up to date, Krushchev should have said that American capitalism is now in the dilemma that the economy of the U. S. is geared to armaments, though in these days great armaments no longer solve the problem of unemployment, while they greatly increase the danger of the general destruction in which they know that they and all the sources of their wealth will be involved.
Mr Dulles's illusions are no less obvious. He lives in perpetual fear of a Soviet Pearl Harbour(=Harbor). An immense fleet of American bombers must be perpetually in the air, both as a warning to an aggressive Russia and an insurance against their sudden destruction before they can leave the ground. This past parallel is as unrealistic and as devastating in its results as the Soviet assumption that the America of today is still the America of 1919. Russia wants to inherit the world dominated by Communists, not a graveyard. On this point Mr Kennan, a profound observer of Soviet affairs, was peculiarly convincing. When Europe lay at the mercy of the Soviet army after the war, it was not, Mr Kennan urged, fear of the A-bomb which kept Communism from the English Channel, but the failure of the French and Italian Communist parties, then supported by the mass of the workers, to win power in their respective nations. Marshall Aid proved the effective deterrent to Communism. I have yet to meet one expert or serious student of the Soviet Union who believes that Russia is today preparing a surprise attack on the West, though everyone agrees that the Kremlin is ready for a devastating retaliation in case of an attack from the West, and that it will lose no opportunity of intervening politically, economically, by propaganda, and, when it is safe, by military aid, in cases where nationalist or communist elements have a chance of forestalling or defeating American activities in neighbouring areas.
Another hangover from the past slows American steps towards the Summit. It is generally believed in the United States that at Yalta Roosevelt failed to prevent Russia reaping illicit fruits of victory because he was ill and unfit to stand up to Stalin. How much more do they fear discussion today between the ebullient and self-confident Krushchev and the sick, well-meaning but inconsequential Eisenhower?
This seems to leave the world with nothing to rely upon except the 'great deterrent'. No one knows how long fear of mutual destruction will prevent war unless there is agreement between the giant powers for joint control of nuclear energy. Previous arms races have always ended in war. If this one endures rather longer than most - which is far from certain - it can only be because while the H-bomb is confined to America, Russia and Britain, the men in charge are capable of realizing its suicidal character. Only entirely irresponsible or mad men in the Pentagon or Kremlin would now deliberately start a war. But there is not much comfort in this. Reckless and mad people do sometimes, as this generation has reason to know, win power in great countries. Again it is the avowed intention of Mr. Dulles to distribute nuclear weapons to smaller allied powers; he seems to believe that any NATO or Baghdad Pact country must be on the side of the angels. Yet five minutes' frank conversation with their politicians would tell him that most of these powers think exclusively in terms of arming against their neighbours, certainly not against the Soviet Union. It is local quarrels that engage their attention. Pakistan talks of war with India, not with Russia. It is Israel, not the Soviet Union, that Arab powers seek to destroy. Finally, we must ask Mr. Dulles whether he hopes that if America's junior allies are armed with nuclear weapons, the U.S.S.R. will not distribute similar weapons to her potential allies? No one can suppose that peace will last long if nuclear weapons are widely spread.
Nor are these the only dangers of early war. Whatever may be said about the care with which the American alerting system is devised, none of us will cease to fear that war can begin accidentally while American bombers are started on their mission of death by any electronic writing on a radar screen. Lastly, and perhaps most serious, is the constant threat that what is now known as a small war may break out (perhaps in the Middle East, where Soviet-American rivalry is most tense) and gradually turn into a world war in which first conventional and then increasingly unconventional arms will be used.
If America were as rigid as Mr Dulles and the Kremlin as reckless as Mr Krushchev is in speech, there would be little hope. But this is not so. Mr Dulles remains Secretary of State, but it is hard to meet an American who does not wish him replaced. He has now been repeatedly attacked both in the country and in Congress by prominent men who are belatedly aware of the extreme danger of his Calvinistic philosophy. Senator Humphrey's onslaught represents more than the revolt of one man's common sense. Mr. Dulles has been called 'the one fixed spot in a changing world'. But America itself is changing and even Mr. Dulles is not eternal. Russia, too, is changing. Mr. Krushchev is well aware - more than ever since the recent congress in Belgrade - that the satellite world is not wholly obedient. We know little of the tensions inside the Communist bloc, but we must remember that unlike America, Russia and Eastern Europe - indeed, the whole Communist world - has only just recovered from a devastation and a foreign occupation whose extent and power is still unimaginable in the West. If war is feared in Europe it is certainly not less so in the Soviet Union and its satellites.
Pressure upon the governments to seek agreement, if only to disagree, instead of to arm and threaten, is exerted in both camps. All the propaganda and pressure of Communist Party opinion (which alone counts in Communist countries) is directed against war. In the West, public opinion for the control of nuclear aims, and indeed for their abolition, comes not only from 'the stage army of the good', but more important, from the experts of military and nuclear science whose opinions, usually privately expressed, cannot be disregarded by governments. Given a breathing space, the forces that make for common sense and self-preservation can yet be victorious.

Kingslay Martin (=Editor of the New Statesman)
London. April 1958.