A. Lozowsky

Open letter to Mr. Benes [1]

(13 March 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 30, 29 March 1923, pp. 233–234.
Also from International Press Correspondence (Weekly), Vol. 3 No. 12, 29 March 1923, pp. 184–185.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2021). 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.

Dear Sir,

You are a member of the League of Nations, and one of the aims of this League is to see that justice is administered in this world, for which purpose, as you will be aware, it boosts quite a large number of citizens into the next world, by protecting every imaginable war adventure. You, as member of this honorable institution, and as Minister for Foreign Affairs in a democratic republic, probably find the following of interest. Your Moscow representative visaed my passport, and it was specially noted on the passport that I was going to Marienbad for a course of treatment. When I appeared at the police headquarters in Prague I was informed by the police officials, in the charming manner peculiar to them, that I had to leave Prague for Marienbad within 24 hours (this term was prolonged to three days). Although deeply moved that the police should be so anxious about my health, I asked the chief of police why I could not remain in Prague for five or six days. He replied gruffly that he had his good reasons, but was not obliged to inform me of these. Thus, although I am obliged for your three days hospitality, I leave Czechoslovakia with the feeling that the Soviet air of my own

country will do my health much more good than the healing waters of Marienbad. when these are mingled with police supervision. And yet I should like to ask you, as minister, whether you can explain to me why your democratic police prefer to see me outside of your frontiers? If I were General Degoutte, and should trample in my soldiers’ boots over the necks of the unarmed population of the Ruhr area, I could live in Prague as long as ever I liked, and as my boots would be those of a worthy representative of the French Exchange, the chief of police would polish them with his own hands. If I were Admiral Stark, and should sell ships which are the property of the Russian state, and appropriate the money for myself, your country would naturally extend its hospitality for a longer time. If I were a White Guard officer, and had attacked the Red Army from behind, under General Wrangel’s command, when it was lighting against the Poland of the landowners, then you would not only permit me to remain in Prague, but would grant me financial aid from the money collected from Czech workers and peasants. If I were Stinnes, and had scooped in milliards out of the misery and poverty of the German people, you would have shut your chief of police up in a lunatic asylum if he had thought of limiting my sojourn in Prague. And finally, if I had been a speculator, and had come to Czecho-Slovakia for the purpose of raising the prices on the necessities of life, or of executing some exchange manoeuvre, your chief of police and the other authorities would have prepared a magnificent reception for me. But I am no French general, I do not indulge in speculation, I have not sold Soviet Russia either wholesale or retail; I am not even a whining S.R., but something much worse – I am a Bolshevik. Hence this limitation of the hospitality of Prague.

And do you know why it was necessary for me to spend a few days in Prague? I wanted to form an idea, it only superficially, of the unemployment, the position and form of organization of the trade unions, the administration, the forms of book-keeping, and of all the difficulties which hinder the development of the labor movement in your country. These were my “criminal ” intentions. This sufficed to expose me to the impudence of your agents, who dogged my footsteps without intermission. And your agents do not appear to have worked in vain, for on the morning of the 13 March one of these amiable creatures stopped me in the street and conducted me to the police headquarters, where a regulation was read to me showing that a decree dating from the year 1871 banishes me for ever from Czecho-Slovakia. Several dozens of spies accompanied me in the most friendly manner to the station, some agents even coming as far as the frontier; your government appeared to fear that it I had extended my stay in Prague even one day beyond the term granted, the country would have been endangered.

You must not imagine, Mr. Benes, that I am in the least offended at this agreeable treatment on the part of your chief of police! No; he is a pillar of democracy, and therefore suffering from anti-Bolshevism, and from love for White Guards and speculators. I merely establish the fact the Czecho-Slovakian democratic republic receives with open arms every dishonorable, treacherous, anti-labor element of the whole world, but limits its hospitality as soon as it is a question of a communist, a functionary of the international trade union movement, serving the working masses of Russia and of all countries. You can adduce for your justification the fact that your republic is no worse than the French or the American – this is true. I have not the courage to try and decide which of these three republics is the worst. But you at least are on the same level as your French patron. Despite all this, I have nevertheless carried away some very pleasant impressions from Czecho-Slovakia – not from you or the chief of police, of course – but from those revolutionary workers who feel themselves organically related to the Russian revolution. I do not abandon the hope of being able to visit Czechoslovakia again before long, and am fully convinced that the workers of your country will show real hospitality to the representative of the Russian workers. The so-called democratic republics are but passing phenomena, are they not, Mr. Benes?

Prague, 13. March, 1923

With Soviet greetings,
A. Lozovsky



1. Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia.

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