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The Great October Revolution of 1917 created a new type of state—the Soviet socialist state—and thereby initiated Soviet foreign policy, which is fundamentally different from the foreign policy of all exploiter states. Guided by the principles of Soviet foreign policy established by V. I. Lenin, the Communist Party takes into account specific international circumstances and establishes, primarily at its congresses, the basic outlines of foreign policy. The foreign policy of the workers’ state sets as its goal the establishment of favorable, peaceful conditions for socialist and communist construction. As head of the Soviet state, Lenin was the first to apply, in unusually difficult international circumstances, the basic propositions of Soviet foreign policy.
Since the October Revolution, the confrontation between the socialist and capitalist systems has been the main determinant of the international situation. The Soviet people are interested in maintaining peace throughout the world; a peaceful Soviet policy, which is inherent in the socialist system, rules out aggression of any sort, the seizure of foreign territory, or the enslavement of peoples.
The first legislative act of the Soviet state—Lenin’s Decree on Peace, dated Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917—proclaimed the principles of internationalism and the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems to be the basis of the foreign policy of the socialist state. Soviet foreign policy is internationalist, since the interests of the Soviet people coincide with the interests of working people in all countries.
The distinguishing features of Soviet foreign policy include genuine democratism; recognition of the equality of all states, large or small, and of all races and nationalities; recognition of the rights of peoples to form independent states; and determination to struggle resolutely for peace, progress, and the freedom of peoples. Soviet foreign policy is also distinguished by a commitment to honesty and truth and an unequivocal rejection of secret diplomacy.
After the October Revolution, the principle of internationalism meant the solidarity of the Soviet working people with the working people of other countries in the mutual struggle to end the imperialist war, achieve a just, democratic peace, and preserve and strengthen the achievements of the socialist revolution. After World War II and the formation of the world socialist system, the principle of internationalism became the foundation for relations between the countries of the socialist community, as well as for relations with the working people of the capitalist countries and with the peoples of newly independent developing states that were struggling against imperialism and colonial oppression.
The principle of peaceful coexistence of states, which affirmed that the new socialist state and social system were equal in status to the states and social systems of the capitalist world, reflected the Soviet state’s desire to develop mutually beneficial relations with the capitalist countries. It derived from the Leninist theory of socialist revolution (worked out before 1917), which held that the victory of socialism could take place initially in a few countries or even just one country; such a view presupposes a long historical period during which the coexistence of the two different sociopolitical systems is inevitable.
Lenin noted that peaceful coexistence means not only the absence of war but also the possibility of cooperation. The CPSU, refining Leninist doctrine to conform with new historical conditions, included the following proposition in its program in 1961: “Peaceful coexistence is founded on renunciation of war as a means of settling international disputes, which must be settled through negotiation; on equality, mutual understanding, and trust between states, as well as recognition of their respective interests; on noninterference in internal affairs, recognition of the right of every people to resolve independently all questions pertaining to its country, and strict observance of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries; and on the development of economic and cultural cooperation on the basis of full equality and mutual benefit. Peaceful coexistence serves as a basis for peaceful competition between socialism and capitalism on an international scale and constitutes a specific form of class struggle between them” (1976, p. 59).
Cooperation between countries with different social systems does not mean ideological peace; on the contrary, it creates favorable conditions in the international arena for the struggle of the proletariat and all working people against capitalist oppression and for the national liberation movement of the peoples of the developing countries. The contradiction between socialism and capitalism is the primary contradiction of our age. The fierce ideological struggle that has been carried on between the two systems continues today.
The main goal of Soviet foreign policy is not only to prevent world war but to end war for all time. The persistent efforts of the USSR to eliminate centers of aggression and to achieve and extend détente throughout the world are in the interests of all humanity. The USSR pursues a Leninist foreign policy jointly with the fraternal socialist countries, among which a new type of international relations has taken shape and is being further developed.
Civil War and imperialist military intervention. Prerevolutionary Russia maintained diplomatic relations with 31 states. The Soviet government, established as a result of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917, strictly complied with the norms of international relations and did not prevent foreign diplomatic institutions and diplomats from performing their duties. In the first legislative act of the victorious revolution, the Decree on Peace, the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets proposed to the governments and peoples of the belligerent states on Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917, that they begin negotiating an end to the world war. The leaders of the Entente and the USA did not respond to the repeated proposals of the Soviet government. Germany and its allies, however, agreed to enter into the negotiations that led to the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, although the reasons for their agreement had nothing to do with a genuine search for peace. Pointing out the necessity of signing the peace treaty, Lenin stressed, with characteristic perspicacity, that the main task was to make possible the consolidation of the socialist revolution.
In the Decree on Peace, the Declaration of the Rights of the People of Russia (Nov. 2 , 1917), and the appeal “To All Muslim Toilers of Russia and the East” (Nov. 20 [Dec. 3], 1917), the Soviet government rejected the imperialist policy that had been implemented by the tsarist government and the bourgeois Provisional Government and declared its desire to build relations with the colonial and dependent peoples on the principles of equality and mutual respect. The Soviet government then took two steps of historic importance: on Dec. 18 (31), 1917, it recognized the independence of Finland, and on Aug. 29, 1918, in order to aid the liberation struggle of the people of German-occupied Poland, it issued a decree renouncing the treaties and legislation of the former Russian Empire with respect to the partitions of Poland.
The Soviet government offered support to the peoples of Iran and Afghanistan in their struggle for national liberation and to the progressive forces of Turkey in their struggle against the reactionary policies of the imperialist powers toward Turkey. The new, completely equal, and friendly relations with Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey were consolidated by treaties in 1921. An agreement establishing friendly relations with the people’s government of Mongolia was concluded on Nov. 5, 1921.
By its support for national liberation movements, the Soviet government earned the gratitude of the peoples of the East. The Eastern policy of the Soviet state convinced the peoples of the colonial and dependent countries that they had found, in the socialist state, a friend and powerful ally in the struggle against imperialism.
In the first months of its existence, the Soviet government declared foreign trade a monopoly of the state.
In an open display of hostility to the Soviet state, the Entente countries in November 1917 decided not to recognize the Soviet government. In addition, on Dec. 10 (23), 1917, Great Britain and France concluded agreements dividing Soviet Russia into spheres of influence. The economic blockade, designed to starve the Soviet republic out of existence, had in fact already begun.
Abusing their diplomatic immunity, representatives of the USA, Great Britain, and France plotted with counterrevolutionaries and aided them in their struggle against the socialist revolution. In response, the Soviet government was obliged to send a note to the governments of the USA, Great Britain, and France on Apr. 25, 1918, demanding that they “immediately recall their consuls from Vladivostok,” since the consuls had been attempting to unite the forces of counterrevolution and prepare intervention in order that Siberia and the Far East might be taken from Soviet Russia. The diplomats of the imperialist powers engaged in similar activity in such areas as the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia in an effort to incite bourgeois nationalists.
In response to Rumania’s seizure of Bessarabia, the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR announced the breaking of diplomatic relations with bourgeois-landowner Rumania. Between Mar. 5 and Mar. 9, 1918, a treaty was signed under which Rumania pledged to halt the annexation of territory; Bessarabia, however, was not returned.
Foreign embassies were centers of anti-Soviet organizations in the young Soviet republic in 1918. The diplomats of most states helped organize anti-Soviet rebellions. The embassies of the Entente countries, in protest against the ratification of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, moved from Petrograd to Vologda, from which they directed a secret war against Soviet power.
In March 1918, British and French troops occupied Murmansk, where they were joined by troops from the USA. On April 5, Japanese forces landed at Vladivostok, where British and, subsequently, American troops soon arrived. Military intervention had begun. In late May the Entente organized the Czechoslovak Corps Mutiny of 1918; in the same year it instigated counterrevolutionary uprisings in Yaroslavl and several other cities of the Volga Region. After occupying the Ukraine, German troops took the Crimea and reached the Don River. With the aid of local counterrevolutionary nationalist governments, Germany subjugated Transcaucasia. In the summer of 1918, Socialist Revolutionaries, seeking to create an incident, assassinated the German ambassador in Moscow. The German government demanded that a German military contingent be allowed to enter Moscow. The Soviet government categorically rejected the unprecedented and provocative demand.
In 1918 agencies of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (Cheka) uncovered the Lockhart Conspiracy, also known as the conspiracy of the ambassadors. On Sept. 6, 1918, the British foreign minister sent a telegram demanding “immediate satisfaction, and severe punishment” for those who had taken part in Lockhart’s arrest. The French foreign minister composed a note similar in tone. The Soviet government replied that it was committed to complying fully with the norms of international behavior but that it had been “forced to ensure that persons implicated in conspiracies be deprived of the opportunity to continue their activities, which are in violation of international law” (Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, vol. 1, 1957, p. 469).
After the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany, the Soviet government abrogated the rapacious Brest-Litovsk Treaty. The working people of the Ukraine, Byelorussia, and the Baltic region reestablished Soviet power.
On Oct. 24, 1918, the Soviet government requested the president of the USA to advise on conditions for the restoration of peace; on November 3 it suggested to the governments of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the USA (through the neutral government of Sweden) that negotiations to end military operations be started. On Nov. 6, 1918, the sixth All-Russian Extraordinary Congress of Soviets proposed to the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan that peace negotiations begin. The Soviet proposals went unanswered, however.
The Paris Peace Conference in 1919–20 discussed the Russian question in strict secrecy at its first session, on Jan. 18, 1919; the conferees considered plans for military intervention, economic blockades, and the restoration of capitalism. The imperialists decided to protect Western Europe from the “Bolshevik menace” by creating a cordon sanitaire of small states along the Soviet border from which anti-Soviet campaigns could be launched. France attempted to organize a united center of Russian counterrevolution; Great Britain sought to dismember Russia into individual weak states, which it could then subjugate. On Jan. 23, 1919, the Soviet government received a radiogram from the Supreme Council of the Entente calling for a conference in the Princes Islands of all belligerent groups in Russia and of the Entente powers in order to negotiate an end to the Civil War. The cessation of military operations and the declaration of an armistice were put forward as preconditions for the talks. On Feb. 4, 1919, the Soviet government, fully resolved to take no steps that would weaken the republic of soviets, agreed to attend the conference; the governments of the White Guards refused to take part, however, thereby sabotaging the conference.
A representative of the USA visited Moscow from Mar. 8 to Mar. 14, 1919, with the purpose of drafting a peace treaty, but the government of the USA had no serious intentions of dealing with the real situation in Soviet Russia. Lenin stated, “We signed the hardest possible peace terms in a business-like manner and said, ’. . . We shall pay you businessmen a heavy tribute as the price of peace; we consent to a heavy tribute to preserve the lives of our workers and peasants’” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 39, p. 403). The government of the USA, however, refused to meet with the Soviet representative in New York. As a provocation, the police raided the Soviet mission on June 12, 1919. The Soviet government protested against such high-handed tactics in a note to the American authorities on June 20, 1919. On Aug. 10, 1920, the secretary of state of the USA published a note that he had sent to the Italian ambassador in response to an inquiry by the Italian government regarding the USA’s policy toward Soviet Russia; the note stated that the USA had not recognized and had no intention of recognizing Soviet power, toward which it had been and would remain hostile.
With the aid of German troops, the Entente succeeded in overthrowing Soviet power in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, all of which were then saddled with bourgeois puppet regimes in 1919. Revolutionary ferment rapidly spread through the interventionist armies, however. The working class and progressive intelligentsia of the capitalist countries organized a powerful protest movement against the imperialist intervention and for solidarity with Soviet Russia. Pressured by mounting protest and the economic crisis that broke out in 1920, the European bourgeoisie renewed commercial relations with Russia.
At the initiative of Great Britain, Anglo-Soviet negotiations on the exchange of prisoners of war began in Copenhagen on Nov. 25, 1919. The British government instructed its delegation that an agreement be drawn up in the form of a political agreement on peace. The change in Britain’s outlook represented a great victory for the policy of Lenin and the Leninist party. Halfway through the drafting of the treaty, the French and Belgian delegations arrived and prevented it from being signed. In response, the Soviet government declared that it would not exchange prisoners of war with France and Belgium until they gave official assurances that all hostile actions against Soviet Russia would cease. Assurances were given, and on Apr. 20, 1920, the agreements were signed.
After the White Guards were routed near Petrograd in December 1919, steps were taken to open up negotiations with the Baltic countries. The signing of a peace treaty with Estonia on Feb. 2, 1920, meant that Soviet foreign policy had broken through the political blockade. Despite many obstacles created by the Entente, a peace treaty was signed with Lithuania on July 12, with Latvia on August 11, and with Finland on October 14; the treaty with Finland was violated by the White Finns on Oct. 27, 1921. Characteristically, on Jan. 16, 1920, the Supreme Council of the Entente permitted commercial agreements to be concluded with the “Russian people” (that is, cooperative organizations) but not with the Soviet government.
The imperialists did not cease their hostile activity against the young Soviet state for a single day. In the spring of 1920, Poland, urged on by Anglo-French reactionary circles, attacked Soviet Russia. After the Red Army defeated the White Poles, the Entente resorted to direct diplomatic and military pressure. Negotiations were broken off with the Soviet trade mission of the Central Cooperative Alliance, which had arrived in London, and on Aug. 4, 1920, the British government presented an ultimatum to the Soviet government threatening war.
The working people of Great Britain took a different attitude toward Soviet Russia and its people. As early as 1918 they organized the mass movement Hands off Russia; they warned the British government that if it did not repudiate military adventures against the Soviet state, a general strike would be declared. The heroic struggle of the Soviet people to strengthen the young republic, together with international proletarian solidarity, forced the imperialists to renounce their intervention. As a result, a preliminary peace treaty with Poland was signed in October 1920, and a final treaty—the Treaty of Riga—on Mar. 18, 1921.
In 1920 the working people of Azerbaijan and Armenia reestablished Soviet power on their soil, and in February 1921 the Menshevik government in Georgia fell; the interventionists abandoned the Caucasus. British and American troops were forced to leave the Far East in 1920. The Civil War concluded with the victory of the Soviet people, to which the Leninist Soviet foreign policy made an enormous contribution.
On numerous occasions the Soviet government offered the Entente countries proposals on ending the war, which the imperialists took as evidence of the weakness of Soviet power. Rejecting the peace-loving initiatives of the Soviet government, they increasingly revealed themselves as perpetrators of bloodshed and enemies of the Soviet republic.
Creation of an economic foundation for socialism. Having routed the interventionists and internal counterrevolution, the party of Lenin directed its efforts toward strengthening the republic internally and enhancing its international position. In its resolution entitled The Capitalist Encirclement of the Soviet Republic, the Tenth Congress of the RCP(B), held in March 1921, set the task of normalizing trade relations with the capitalist states. On Mar. 16, 1921, after lengthy negotiations, a trade agreement was signed with Great Britain, which thereby indicated de facto recognition of the Soviet government. The signatories pledged not to engage in hostile acts toward one another.
The Soviet-German agreement that followed on May 6, 1921, contained a subsection stating that “the trade delegation of the RSFSR is recognized as the sole legal representative of Russia in Germany”; that is, the delegation was regarded not only as a commercial body but as a diplomatic representative. This step toward de jure recognition of Soviet Russia was particularly important because various White Guard representatives in Germany were attempting to assume the role of Russian embassies.
The Soviet state subsequently signed trade agreements with Norway (Sept. 2, 1921), Austria (Dec. 7, 1921), Italy (Dec. 26, 1921), and Czechoslovakia (June 5, 1922). By the summer of 1922,11 European states had signed commercial treaties with Soviet Russia. In the autumn of 1921 the Soviet government proposed that an international economic conference convene to review the claims of, and work out peace treaties between, Russia and the state that had taken part in the war against it. Responding to the trend of developing events, the Cannes Conference of 1922, attended by the Entente powers, decided to convoke a conference in Genoa “with the purpose of promoting the economic revitalization of Europe”; the Soviet republic was invited to the conference.
The extension of an invitation to the Soviet state constituted a major success for Soviet foreign policy. The delegation included representatives of all the Soviet republics. The work of the delegation, which was headed by People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs G. V. Chicherin, was directed personally by Lenin. At the Genoa Conference of 1922 the Soviet delegation, seeking to establish a foundation for economic relations with the capitalist states, agreed to recognize Russia’s prewar debts in return for credits, the return of Russian property from abroad, and the full (de jure) recognition of Soviet power. It affirmed the Soviet government’s intention to grant concessions, provided that concessionaires agree to comply fully with Soviet laws and to respect the sovereignty of the Soviet state.
The Western powers turned down the Soviet program and presented demands that, if met, would have meant the economic and political enslavement of Soviet Russia. The line taken by the Western powers made it impossible to reach agreement at the Hague Conference of 1922 as well. During the Genoa Conference, however, Germany and the RSFSR signed the Treaty of Rapallo, thereby establishing a basis for equal, mutually advantageous relations; the signing of the treaty was a major success for Soviet foreign policy. In the same year the treaty was extended to apply to all the Soviet republics, to which the German government granted de jure recognition.
At the Genoa Conference, the Soviet government had proposed a general reduction in arms, a matter of importance to Lenin and the Communist Party. Although the Soviet proposal was rejected, it marked the beginning of the Soviet state’s struggle to achieve disarmament. The Soviet government proposed to Poland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania that a proportional reduction of armed forces be considered. At the Moscow Conference of 1922, however, the bourgeois states refused to reduce their armed forces.
In April 1920, during the struggle for liberation from the Japanese interventionists in the Far East, the Far East Republic was created, a state that was bourgeois-democratic in form but was directed by the Bolsheviks. The attempts of the Japanese imperialists to subjugate the Far East Republic were resisted by a flexible, vigorous Soviet foreign policy. The imperialists were firmly rebuffed at the Washington Conference of 1921–22, the Dairen Conference of 1921–22, and the Ch’angch’un Conference of 1922. The Japanese occupying troops were forced to abandon the Primor’e region in October 1922 and to surrender northern Sakhalin in 1925. The Far East Republic was reunited with the RSFSR. The Leninist plan of driving the interventionists from the Far East had been realized.
An opportunity for further expansion of Soviet Russia’s foreign relations was presented by an invitation to participate in discussions of the straits question at the Lausanne Conference of 1922–23.
Until the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed on Dec. 30, 1922, the RSFSR, Ukrainian SSR, Byelorussian SSR, and Transcaucasian SFSR (as well as the republics belonging to it) conducted foreign relations independently, although the representatives of the RSFSR usually handled relations with other countries for all the soviet republics. On July 6, 1923, the foreign relations of the Union republics came under the jurisdiction of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
In May 1923 the British government, in an attempt to disrupt normal relations between the USSR and the eastern states, presented an ultimatum by Lord Curzon demanding that Soviet representatives be recalled from Iran and Afghanistan. The USSR rejected the ultimatum. In 1924, persuaded that the Soviet state was growing stronger politically and economically and increasing its international influence, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Norway, Sweden, China, Denmark, Mexico, and France granted the USSR de jure recognition and established diplomatic relations; Japan followed suit the following year.
The failure of the Entente countries and international imperialism as a whole to strangle Soviet Russia through armed intervention confirmed the objective necessity for the Leninist policy of peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems. Soviet foreign policy was confronted with the task of consolidating the peace and cultivating with all countries the economic relations indispensable to the exchange of goods, which would help rebuild and develop the national economy under conditions of capitalist encirclement.
By pursuing a Leninist foreign policy—a peace-loving policy that was based on the interests of the working class and that consolidated the achievements of the October Revolution—the USSR was able to sign commercial treaties with the capitalist countries in 1921 and 1922, thereby breaking out of its political and economic isolation and strengthening the position of the young Soviet state.
The vital interests of the capitalist powers, whose economies had been undermined by the world war, demanded the normalization, development, and expansion of trade with Soviet Russia. The Soviet state maintained trade relations with seven countries in 1920, 14 in 1921, 18 in 1922, and 28 in 1923. Foreign trade totaled 24 million rubles in 1920, 181 million rubles in 1921, 276 million rubles in 1922, and 469 million rubles in 1924. The active support of the international proletariat contributed to the successful realization of the peaceful principles of Soviet foreign policy.
Although many capitalist states granted diplomatic recognition to the USSR, they still were not ready to renounce their hostile policies toward it. British imperialism sought to create a united front of capitalist states opposed to the USSR. For a time, Germany was unable to take part directly in such a front, owing to the postwar shift in the balance of power in favor of the Entente countries rather than any lack of hostility toward the Soviet state on the part of German imperialists.
In an effort to lessen Anglo-German-French conflicts, Great Britain engineered the signing of the Treaty of Locarno of 1925, whose guarantees were directed against the USSR and fostered the rebirth of German imperialism. Soviet foreign policy was aimed at weakening this anti-Soviet demarche. After lengthy negotiations, a Soviet-German treaty on neutrality was signed on Apr. 24, 1926. On Sept. 28, 1926, the USSR and Lithuania signed a treaty on nonaggression and neutrality.
The British government was responsible for a number of provocations against the USSR. British officers took part in a raid on the Soviet plenipotentiary mission in Peking, in an effort to push the USSR into war with China. On May 12 the offices of the Soviet trading company Arcos and the Soviet trade delegation were raided; they were subjected to a search that lasted until May 16. On May 17 the Soviet government sent a note pointing out that the break in relations that the British were trying to provoke would hurt Great Britain most of all. The British government nevertheless broke off diplomatic relations with the USSR, assuming that other states would follow its example. The murder on June 7, 1927, of the Soviet plenipotentiary in Poland, P. L. Voikov, was an attempt to further exacerbate the situation and provoke a new Soviet-Polish war. The government of Poland, however, forced to reckon with popular outrage, officially condemned the crime. Great Britain’s efforts to draw Germany and France into an anti-Soviet bloc were likewise fruitless.
At the same time, the USSR worked with the preparatory commission for the League of Nations’ World Disarmament Conference. (The USSR had been invited to take part in the work of the commission even though it was not a member of the League of Nations.) On Nov. 30, 1927, the Soviet delegation came out with a declaration that addressed all questions pertaining to disarmament; on Feb. 15, 1928, it introduced a draft convention on immediate, total, and general disarmament. Again, the Soviet proposal was not accepted. In March 1928 the USSR proposed a draft for partial disarmament, which was also rejected.
In 1928 the government of the USA attempted to isolate the USSR diplomatically by excluding it from the talks that led to the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. Soviet foreign policy foiled the plans of American reactionary forces, however, and the imperialists found it necessary to invite the USSR to become a signatory. Although it knew that the imperialists did not always observe international treaties and agreements signed by them, the USSR nonetheless initiated the Moscow Protocol of 1929, which called for the Kellogg-Briand Pact to become effective immediately; the USSR thereby demonstrated, once again, its devotion to the cause of peace.
The conclusion of treaties on nonaggression and neutrality with Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan between 1925 and 1927 was an important success for Soviet foreign policy. The conclusion on Nov. 1, 1928, of a treaty on friendship and trade with Yemen was evidence of the growing influence of the USSR in the East. Convinced by the major successes of Soviet foreign policy, the British government on Oct. 3, 1929, signed a protocol on the resumption of diplomatic relations with the USSR. At the same time, the aggressive forces of the imperialists, continuing to intrigue against the USSR, decided to test the combat readiness of the Red Army. In 1929 the Chinese warlords, whom they were encouraging, captured the Chinese Eastern Railway and began carrying out armed raids against the USSR. After being routed by the Red Army, the warlords agreed to negotiations, which affirmed the status quo ante with regard to the Chinese Eastern Railway.
The efforts of Soviet foreign policy were directed toward the expansion of international trade relations, which were important to the industrialization of the country and the mechanization of collective agriculture. The USSR’s imports rose by 26 percent between 1929 and 1932. The need to pay for its growing imports in cash obliged the USSR to increase the volume of exports by all the means at its disposal.
During the economic crisis that gripped the capitalist world from 1929 to 1933, imperialist propaganda accused the USSR of dumping goods on the world market below cost in order to disrupt the economy of the capitalist countries. It attempted to throw the responsibility for unemployment on the USSR and to undermine the USSR’s prestige in the eyes of the working people. In 1930 several countries, notably the USA and France, instituted discriminatory measures against Soviet exports. The governments of a number of countries imposed a boycott on Soviet goods. The USSR conclusively debunked the slander of “Soviet dumping” and exposed to the working people the hostility of the imperialist circles toward the Soviet people.
On Jan. 21, 1931, a European commission that had been formed to study proposals for the creation of a European federation (Pan-Europe) invited the USSR to take part in its work. The Soviet government accepted and on May 18, 1931, introduced a draft protocol on economic nonaggression. Guided by the principles of Leninist foreign policy, the USSR proposed that the principles of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among states with different social systems be affirmed and that discriminatory measures in economic relations be renounced. In November 1931 a specially created committee approved the idea of an economic nonaggression pact, but the ruling circles of the capitalist countries made sure it never went beyond the planning stage.
The USSR was forced to respond to economic aggression with effective countermeasures. On Oct. 20, 1930, the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR decided to cut off or decrease as far as possible orders and purchases from countries that were imposing restrictions on trade with the USSR and to end or reduce the use of ports and transit points in such countries. The campaign to impose an economic boycott on the USSR worked against its organizers: machinery and equipment from the USA were the USSR’s second-leading imports in 1930 and the leading imports in 1931; purchases from the USA declined eightfold between 1930 and 1932, from 207.3 million rubles to 24.8 million rubles. At the same time, the USSR’s share of world imports of these important goods rose from 30 percent in 1931 to 50 percent in 1932. It was clear that the absence of normal relations with the USSR served only the interests of the USA’s competitors. In an important step toward a more realistic policy, the USA established diplomatic relations with the USSR in 1933.
By analyzing the international distribution of class forces and scientifically developing methods and forms for implementing Soviet foreign policy, the Central Committee of the party and the Soviet government were able to resolve complex international problems with confidence. Soviet foreign policy thwarted the repeated attempts of the imperialists to create a unified anti-Soviet bloc that could renew armed intervention in the USSR; it did not permit the country to become politically and economically isolated. Making use of the contradictions of capitalism and relying on the support of the international working-class movement and all peace-loving forces, Soviet foreign policy brought about the necessary conditions in the area of foreign relations for the successful construction of an economic foundation for socialism.
The struggle for collective security against the growing threat of World War II. In response to the economic crisis, which had exacerbated to an extreme degree all contradictions of capitalism, the ruling circles of several imperialist countries increasingly favored the establishment of fascist dictatorships and aggression. In late 1931, Japan seized the northeastern provinces of China, an act that posed a threat to the security of the Soviet Far East and encroached on the interests of the USA and Great Britain. The ruling circles and the governments of these countries, seeking to bring Japan into conflict with the USSR, made no attempt to curb the aggressors.
As the international situation sharply deteriorated, the Soviet Union’s foreign policy consistently was directed toward strengthening peace. In 1931 treaties were signed with Turkey and Afghanistan that expanded the country’s commercial and economic relations. New successes for Soviet foreign policy were achieved in 1932: treaties on nonaggression and neutrality were signed with Finland on January 21, Latvia on February 5, Estonia on May 4, Poland on July 25, and France on November 29. The Japanese government rejected the USSR’s repeated proposals to sign a nonaggression pact.
At the Geneva Disarmament Conference of 1932–35, the Soviet Union proposed that the conference recognize the principle of “general and total disarmament” but was once again rebuffed by the imperialist powers.
After the fascists came to power in 1933, Germany openly prepared for aggression. In 1935 fascist Italy launched a war for the conquest of Ethiopia. In the mid-1930’s Germany, Japan, and Italy formed a bloc that, wrapping itself in the flag of anticommunism, sought to redivide the world; all three signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. The Soviet government declared on numerous occasions that the bloc threatened not only the USSR but the freedom and independence of all peoples.
As a fascist dictatorship was being established in Central Europe and as Japanese aggression unfolded in the Far East, the main task of the Soviet Union’s policy was to rally against the aggressor states all forces opposed to war. The USSR formulated, for the first time in history, a definition of aggression, and on Feb. 6, 1933, it introduced a declaration incorporating the definition at the disarmament conference. The London Conventions, signed in 1933 by 11 neighboring states, were based on the Soviet definition of aggression and constituted a major success for Soviet foreign policy in the difficult circumstances that existed on the eve of the war.
The USSR sought to reduce the threat of war and fascist aggression through a system of collective security. The Soviet government asserted that genuine peace could be ensured only by an agreement binding all parties to one another’s defense. In late 1933 the USSR proposed to the USA that a regional pact be signed by the main Pacific powers in order to ensure peace in the Pacific. The USA did not support the Soviet proposals. In 1934 the USSR and France declared their support for a collective security agreement in Europe to be known as the Eastern Pact. The ruling circles of Great Britain and Germany and the reactionary government of Poland prevented it from being signed, however.
In 1934 the USSR accepted an invitation to join the League of Nations, intending to use the League to oppose the growing threat of war. In new and difficult circumstances, the peace-loving Soviet foreign policy realized substantial achievements. Between 1933 and 1935 alone, diplomatic relations were established with nine states. In 1935 the USSR concluded treaties of mutual aid with France and Czechoslovakia that might have served as a basis for organizing collective resistance to aggression; profascist elements in the French government, however, sabotaged implementation of the treaty.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), Soviet foreign policy sought to end German-Italian intervention in Spain and protect Spanish democracy through the efforts of the member states of the League of Nations. By adopting a policy of nonintervention, which was monitored through the Committee on Nonintervention in Spanish Affairs, the British, French, and American governments contributed to the victory of fascism in Spain.
After the conquest of Austria in March 1938 (the Anschluss), fascist Germany began threatening Czechoslovakia openly. The USSR declared its readiness to help Czechoslovakia with or without the assistance of France even though, under its treaty with Czechoslovakia, it was obliged to render aid only if France did the same. The Czech leadership, however, little concerned about the fate of the country, preferred surrender, a decision that was encouraged in every possible way by the Western powers. By signing the Munich Pact of 1938 and the Franco-German declaration on nonaggression, France signaled its renunciation, to all intents and purposes, of its treaty with the USSR.
On July 29, 1938, the Japanese militarists carried out a major provocation on the USSR’s border, seizing Soviet territory in the Lake Khasan area; they were thrown back, however, by Soviet troops. In 1939, Japanese troops invaded the area of Khalkhin-Gol, a river in the Mongolian People’s Republic, to which the USSR was bound by a treaty of mutual aid. The Red Army came to the assistance of the Mongolian people, which had embarked on a path of socialist construction, and helped it rout the aggressors.
During the Moscow negotiations of 1939, the Soviet government made yet another attempt to conclude a joint military and political alliance with Great Britain and France in order to organize resistance to German aggression; owing to the ruling circles of Great Britain and France, the talks were unsuccessful. Soviet foreign policy sought to thwart the Western powers’ efforts to have the USSR be involved in a war on two fronts, in the west and in the east, without allies. Consequently, the Soviet government accepted a proposal by the German government and concluded a nonaggression pact in 1939. The pact concerned nonaggression, and nothing more. Any aims not consistent with preventing aggressive war by fascist Germany against other states were alien to the Soviet Union. That Germany engaged in treachery and initiated World War II in no way discredits the peace-loving policies of the USSR, which strove in word and deed to prevent war.
The struggle for collective security, which the USSR waged in the interests of all peace-loving peoples, was opposed by Great Britain, France, and the USA. The three states sought to bring the USSR and Germany into conflict; they planned to remain aloof as the two countries warred against each other. The “peacemakers” of Munich, however, miscalculated. With the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, by German troops, the second world war for world hegemony began between the two groups within the imperialist camp. Although Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on Sept. 3, 1939, they did not aid Poland; on the contrary, Great Britain’s ruling circles sought to reach an understanding with Hitler at Poland’s expense and attempted to organize a “new Munich.”
The defeat of Poland created a dangerous situation for the USSR: Poland’s border was near the immediate approaches to Minsk; if Germany were to seize Western Byelorussia, its strategic borders would move closer to the vital centers of the USSR. In addition, the Soviet people could not remain indifferent to the fate of the fraternal population of the Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia, which would fall under the fascist yoke. As German troops moved to the east without encountering organized resistance from Polish troops, the Soviet Army crossed the border on Sept. 17, 1939, and took the population of the Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia under its protection. In accordance with the desires of their people, the regions were reunited with the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR.
As before, Great Britain and France sought to strike a deal with the Hitlerites and turn the tide of aggression against the USSR. They were aided by reactionary circles in the USA, which refused to take concerted efforts against the aggressors, although in international forums, representatives of the circles occasionally held forth on the theme of fascism and its attendant dangers.
In late 1939 the Western powers provoked Finnish reactionary forces into war against the USSR. Great Britain, France, and, secretly, Germany actively helped Finland. The defeat of the Finnish troops and the conclusion of a peace treaty in Moscow on Mar. 12, 1940, foiled the plans of the imperialists.
In 1939, under popular pressure, the bourgeois governments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were forced to sign agreements on mutual aid with the USSR. Efforts by the ruling circles of the three countries to sabotage the pacts that had been concluded with the USSR and to elevate the influence of fascist Germany aroused the indignation of the peoples of the Baltic region. In 1940 the working people of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia established soviet state systems during the course of their revolutionary struggle. In August 1940 the Supreme Soviet of the USSR agreed to requests by the peoples of the Baltic republics that they be reunited with the USSR. Bessarabia was reunited with the USSR in the summer of 1940, as was northern Bucovina, whose Ukrainian population looked toward the Ukrainian SSR as its homeland.
The Soviet Union exerted every effort to prevent the expansion of fascist aggression. As a result of stern Soviet warnings in April 1940, an invasion of Sweden by Germany was averted. The Soviet government took steps to prevent fascist troops from entering Finland and from seizing the Balkan countries. The policies of the great Western powers, however, contributed to the failure to halt fascist aggression. France surrendered in June 1940. German troops were introduced to Rumania, Finland, and Bulgaria with the connivance of their reactionary governments; the fascists then seized Yugoslavia and Greece. Having gained control of the resources of all of continental Western Europe, the German government stepped up preparations for war against the USSR, which the fascists saw as the main obstacle and the main force standing between them and world hegemony. Viewed in the light of these considerations, the signing of a neutrality pact with Japan on Apr. 13, 1941, was a Soviet foreign policy success, one of a series of measures aimed at ensuring the security of the USSR.
By attacking the USSR, fascist Germany intended to destroy the socialist system and Soviet state and to enslave the peoples of the USSR. The outcome of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 would determine the fate not only of the first socialist country but of all mankind. Finland, Rumania, Hungary, and Italy followed Germany’s lead and declared war on the USSR. Japan and Turkey continued to pursue policies hostile to the USSR.
The Soviet Union acted decisively first to establish an anti-Hitler coalition and then to unify and expand it. On June 22, 1941, the prime minister of Great Britain announced that his government would aid the USSR; on June 24 the president of the USA made a similar announcement. An Anglo-Soviet agreement on joint action in the war against Germany was signed on July 12, 1941; an agreement was signed with the Czechoslovak government-in-exile on July 18 and with the Polish government-in-exile on July 30. On Sept. 26, 1941, the Soviet government recognized General de Gaulle as the leader of “all free French, wherever they may be.” These acts formalized the establishment of the anti-Hitler coalition, which, although subject to disagreements and friction, on the whole played an important role in achieving victory over the fascist aggressors.
In response to Germany’s efforts to draw Iran into the war, the USSR and Great Britain temporarily sent troops into Iran in August 1941; the Soviet-Iranian treaty of 1921 allowed for such a step in the event that a third party attempted to use Iran as a base for military action against the USSR. The Moscow Conference in fall 1941, which was attended by the USSR, Great Britain, and the USA, considered questions of mutual supply and how best to use the material resources of the three countries during the war. The situation at the fronts—above all, the Soviet-German front—continually influenced the state of the anti-Hitler coalition. The historic victory of the Red Army in the battle of Moscow of 1941–42, which wrecked the fascist plan for a blitzkrieg, played a major role in strengthening the coalition. The USA’s entry into the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, also strengthened the anti-Hitler coalition. On Jan. 1, 1942, 26 states, including the USSR, the USA, Great Britain, and China, signed the United Nations Declaration of 1942, in which each signatory pledged to contribute its military and economic resources to smash the fascist bloc and promised not to sign a separate peace or armistice. From the outset of the war, the USSR urged the Allies to expand their military operations into Western Europe. In June 1942 it was declared that the USSR, USA, and Great Britain were in full agreement that a second front should be opened in 1942; the second front, however, was established neither in 1942 nor in 1943. The decisive battles of World War II took place on the Soviet-German front.
The victory of Soviet troops in the battle of Stalingrad (1942–43) and the battle of Kursk (1943) led to a turning point in the war, increased the international prestige of the USSR, and contributed to the disintegration of the fascist bloc. These battles gave a powerful impetus to the upsurge in the liberation movement in the fascist-occupied countries. Italy surrendered in September 1943. It became necessary to consider problems of the postwar world. At the Moscow Conference of October 1943, the foreign ministers of the USSR and Great Britain and the secretary of state of the USA adopted a declaration on general security and declarations on Italy and Austria; in addition, they prepared a declaration on the responsibility of the Hitlerites for atrocities that had been committed. At the Tehran Conference of 1943, the three allied heads of government—J. V. Stalin, F. D. Roosevelt, and W. Churchill—affirmed a common policy in the war and declared their commitment to ensuring a stable peace and arranging for postwar cooperation. The USA and Great Britain promised to open a second front in France by May 1, 1944; the front was opened on June 6, 1944.
Three tasks were inseparable in Soviet foreign policy and Soviet actions on the international arena: the mobilization of all manpower and matériel to bring about the defeat of the enemy, the struggle to achieve a democratic postwar order, and the struggle to establish friendly relations with all countries. A treaty on friendship, mutual aid, and postwar cooperation was signed between the USSR and Czechoslovakia on Dec. 12, 1943. After the Antifascist National-Liberation Council of Yugoslavia decided to form a provisional government, the USSR sent a military mission to that country. Soviet troops entered Rumanian territory in the spring of 1944 and crossed the Polish border in the summer. During the common struggle of the Red Army and the Polish Army, the Krajowa Rada Narodowa established friendly relations with the USSR. The provisional government it formed was immediately recognized by the USSR in January 1945.
The brilliant victories of the Soviet Army led to the complete collapse of the fascist bloc. On Aug. 23, 1944, the working people of Rumania, led by the Communist Party, overthrew the fascist military dictatorship. On August 25 the new government informed the USSR that it was ready to sign an armistice and begin driving the fascist German troops from Rumanian soil. On September 12 the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain signed a peace treaty with the Rumanian government. On August 25 the government of Finland requested an armistice with the USSR, which was signed by the USSR and Great Britain on September 19; the USA was not involved, since it had not declared war on Finland.
In Bulgaria, a popular uprising under the leadership of the Communist Party took place on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, 1944, as a result of which the Fatherland Front government was established. On October 28 the three Allied powers signed an armistice with Bulgaria. On Jan. 20, 1945, a similar agreement was signed with Hungary. The USSR and France signed a treaty of alliance and mutual aid in December 1944.
At the Yalta Conference of 1945, attended by the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain, the Allies drafted plans for ending the war and resolving the main questions pertaining to Germany’s postwar status. The Allies agreed to establish the United Nations, which was to maintain peace and security. Terms were agreed on for the USSR’s entry into the war against Japan, which had aided fascist Germany against the USSR. Although the USSR and Japan had concluded a neutrality treaty in 1941, the Japanese had committed 96 violations of Soviet borders in 1942 alone, and 18 Soviet vessels were seized and sunk between 1941 and 1945; some 1 million soldiers were concentrated on the Soviet border. Japan had, to all intents and purposes, begun military actions against the Soviet Union. Since Japan had effectively abrogated the Soviet-Japanese treaty of 1941 through its actions and policies, the Soviet government denounced the treaty on Apr. 5, 1945.
In April 1945 the USSR signed treaties on friendship, mutual aid, and postwar cooperation with Yugoslavia and Poland. After Austria was liberated from Hitlerite troops in April 1945, the Soviet government gave the Austrian people the opportunity to establish a democratic provisional government.
The USSR played an active role in the preparations for and in the work of the San Francisco Conference of 1945, at which a new international organization, the UN, was established and its charter adopted. The conference was preceded by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, at which the charter was drafted.
On May 8, 1945, the High Command of the Wehrmacht signed the act of unconditional surrender. On June 5 a declaration was signed on the defeat of Hitler’s Reich and the assumption of supreme authority in Germany by the USSR, the USA, France, and Great Britain. An agreement on administering the occupation zones had been concluded on May 1.
The defeat of fascism in Europe and the collapse of Hitler’s Reich did not signal the end of World War II. On July 26, 1945, Great Britain, the USA, and China demanded that Japan surrender unconditionally; the ultimatum was rejected. On August 8 the USSR joined in the Declaration of the Allied Powers and declared that it would be in a state of war with Japan as of August 9. The Soviet Army quickly routed the Japanese troops, liberating the northeastern provinces of China, northern Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands from the Japanese aggressors. The Soviet victories, as well as the successes of the armed forces of the USA, which attacked Japan from the Pacific, forced Japan to surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. New, just borders were drawn that guaranteed the security of the USSR.
The utter defeat of the aggressors in World War II was accomplished primarily by the victory of the Soviet people, who had borne the brunt of the war; the defeat radically altered not only the pattern of international relations but the political and social configuration of the world.
Among the issues resolved at the Potsdam Conference of 1945 and the Moscow conference of December 1945 were questions pertaining to the occupation of Germany and the drafting of peace treaties with the countries that had been part of the fascist bloc. The Potsdam agreements provided for the dismantling of the German monopolies, which had been the backbone of German imperialism and militarism, as well as for demilitarization and denazification. These measures were designed to produce a democratic, peace-loving Germany. The Western powers, however, soon created a divided Germany by establishing the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) from the Western zones in 1949; they sought to turn the FRG into the spearhead of the NATO bloc.
After the Great October Revolution, the most important event in world history was the transformation of socialism into a world system. As a result of the transformation, the USSR was no longer surrounded by a cordon sanitaire of hostile states: most of the neighboring countries were friendly. The Soviet Union expanded its relations with other countries: before the war the USSR had maintained diplomatic relations with 26 states; by the end of the war the number had increased to 52. It had become increasingly clear that no question of world politics could be resolved without the participation of the USSR.
Soviet foreign policy faced new tasks: in addition to developing fraternal friendship with the countries of people’s democracy and strengthening the world system of socialism by all means at its disposal, it sought to offer support to the national liberation movement and to establish friendly cooperation with the new states that had thrown off the colonial yoke. At the same time, the USSR’s foreign policy aimed, as before, at defending peace and exposing the aggressive nature of imperialism, at implementing and strengthening Leninist principles of peaceful coexistence among states, and at developing commercial relations with all countries.
Establishment and improvement of relations among the states of the world socialist system. When the Soviet Army began liberating Europe from fascism, local antifascist forces were already operating, inspired by the successes of the Soviet Army. As nations struggled against the aggressors and the forces of domestic reaction that supported the aggressors, the conditions emerged for the transformation of the resistance movement into popular democratic revolution. The Soviet Army protected the countries of Eastern and Southeastern Europe from the export of counterrevolution and the efforts by reactionary forces to unleash civil war. Consequently, between 1944 and 1948, popular democratic revolutions developed into socialist revolutions in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Rumania, and Hungary. In Bulgaria the revolution was socialist in nature from its inception. In the Far East, too, the USSR fulfilled its international duty. Aid from the USSR made it possible for the Mongolian People’s Republic and the new people’s democracies of Europe to become socialist states and for the national liberation revolutions in North Korea, China, and North Vietnam to develop into socialist revolutions.
In 1949 an independent, sovereign German state was established in East Germany—the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which was the first workers’ and peasants’ state on German soil. The popular anti-imperialist revolution in Cuba grew into a socialist revolution. In 1961 Cuba, too, joined the family of socialist states.
During the difficult years immediately after the war, the USSR disinterestedly provided aid of every kind—raw materials, equipment, and foodstuffs—to the new people’s democracies. The commercial and economic agreements signed beween 1947 and 1950 reflected the USSR’s desire to help the new states rebuild their economies and to liberate the economies from their previous dependence on the imperialist monopolies. Mutually advantageous relations between the USSR and the people’s democracies, and among the people’s democracies themselves, grew and became stronger.
Lenin wrote, “The essence of international relations under capitalism [is] the open robbery of the weaker” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 20, p. 245). The postwar era gave rise to a new type of international relations—socialist relations, founded on the principle of proletarian internationalism. Of enormous importance to the formation of these relations were the bonds linking the Soviet republics, the joint development of the republics, and the cooperation of the USSR and Mongolia.
The development of relations between the Soviet Union and the fraternal socialist countries showed that the countries’ similar social structures and compatible basic interests and goals make it possible, if correct policies are implemented by the ruling Marxist-Leninist parties, to resolve problems in a way that promotes the strengthening of each socialist country and of the entire world socialist system.
The very concept of international relations took on a broader meaning. Before, it had encompassed the official relations between states; now it was extended to include all aspects of the life of nations. Fraternal relations between Communist parties, Marxist-Leninist workers’ parties, and public organizations of the working people acquired particular significance.
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), established in January 1949, played an important role in organizing broad cooperation among the socialist countries. Conferences of the Communist parties and the governments of the COMECON countries have been held since the second half of the 1950’s. The conference of 1962 discussed and approved the document Basic Principles of the International Socialist Division of Labor.
The coordination of long-range and current national economic plans of the COMECON countries was recognized as the principal modus operandi of COMECON. Such an approach finds support in a prediction by Lenin, who noted a tendency “towards the creation of a single world economy, regulated by the proletariat of all nations as an integral whole and according to a common plan. This tendency . . . is bound to be developed and consummated under socialism” (ibid., vol. 41, p. 164).
Among the symbols of the single world economic organism of which Lenin spoke (see ibid., vol. 37, p. 347) are the Druzhba Petroleum Pipeline, the International Bank for Economic Cooperation, the International Investment Bank, and the International Institute for Problems of the World Socialist System. A mutual currency was created for the socialist countries. The transferable ruble. The Central Traffic-control Office was established for the Mir integrated power grids. An organizational restructuring of COMECON led to the establishment of the Executive Committee of the Council, which organizes joint activity in the coordination of plans, in specialization, and in production cooperation.
The countries of the socialist community ascribe particular importance to the task of strengthening their political relations. The USSR’s treaties with other socialist states on friendship, cooperation, and mutual aid play an important role in the formation of these relations. The first such treaty, which took the form of a protocol on mutual aid, was signed on Mar. 12, 1936, with the Mongolian People’s Republic. Similar treaties were concluded at various times between other countries of the socialist community. Taken together, they constitute a solid, effective system of mutual obligations that provide protection against the intrigues of imperialism, guarantee the security of borders, and foster socialist reforms and communist construction.
In response to the growing military threat posed by the aggressive NATO bloc, the socialist countries of Europe signed the defensive Warsaw Pact of 1955. The highest body of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, the Political Consultative Committee, became the center for coordinating the foreign policy work of the socialist states.
International reactionary forces attempted to test the mettle of the community of socialist countries on more than one occasion. In Hungary, the forces of domestic reaction, incited by international imperialist circles, initiated a counterrevolutionary revolt in 1956. True to its international duty, the USSR helped the working people suppress the rebellion and did not allow direct imperialist interference.
Concerted action by the socialist countries in the international arena is a characteristic feature of their foreign policy activity. The events of 1968 and 1969 in Czechoslovakia showed that the forces of imperialism were still attempting to split countries from the socialist community one at a time. The international solidarity of the fraternal countries ensured that the working people of the Czechoslovak SSR would be able to labor in peace, wrecked the hopes of the imperialists, and further consolidated the western boundaries of the socialist countries.
Leninist foreign policy has made it possible for the USSR and the fraternal countries to establish a close alliance of sovereign socialist states, united in the struggle to build communism and ensure universal peace and international security. The socialist states successfully work together on the main questions of world policy. Their foreign policy takes into account the social processes of modern society and patterns and changes in the international situation resulting from social revolutions and from the rapid scientific and technological progress that has taken place in the postwar years.
In their foreign policy activity, the socialist countries combine resistance to the intrigues of imperialist reaction with a constructive pursuit of peaceful settlement of international problems. They have initiated the drafting and signing of important agreements and pacts that lay a firm foundation for new relations between states. The existence of the socialist community, its enormous resources, its growing unity, and its consistently peace-loving policy are major factors influencing all international development.
In the late 1950’s the leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) provoked a crisis in relations with the USSR and the other socialist countries by pursuing a divisive chauvinist course that is incompatible with the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Although resolutely opposed to the policies of the Chinese leaders, which were hostile to the cause of peace and socialism, the USSR and other socialist countries nevertheless sought and continue to seek normal relations with China. Falling in line with the Maoists, Albania left COMECON and broke off ties with the Warsaw Treaty Organization, although the USSR did everything possible to normalize relations and reestablish friendship with it. The USSR’s China policy and its readiness to reestablish good relations between the two countries were confirmed clearly and forcefully in L. I. Brezhnev’s speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU in October 1976 and were fully approved by the plenum.
The USSR’s struggle to strengthen the independence of the developing countries. In the postwar period, the upsurge of the national liberation movement in the dependent and colonial countries acquired world-historical importance. It initiated the breakup of the colonial system of imperialism. The USSR was the only great power to support the peoples fighting for freedom. It established relations of full equality, without reservations, with the states that had achieved independence; this independence, infringed upon by the former colonialists, was often incomplete. Social advances in the world led to a change in the balance of power between the two social systems in favor of socialism.
In the postwar period the end of imperialist colonial domination was second in historical importance only to the formation of the world socialist system. The power and influence of socialism forced the imperialists to make concessions and in many instances to refrain from the use of force and from intervention in the internal affairs of the young states. On Dec. 14, 1960, the UN General Assembly adopted the historic Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which had been proposed by the Soviet government. The fundamental change in the world balance of power provided developing states with an opportunity to play an active role in international life.
The colonialists did not abandon their efforts to continue exploiting the young countries, which were backward, through the use of new forms and methods. For example, neocolonialism has sought to create a system of the international division of labor in which the economically backward countries would forever remain dependent on the Western powers and their economies would serve the needs of imperialism.
From the birth of the Soviet state, Soviet foreign policy has supported national liberation movements and helped the developing countries fight off imperialist aggression. It has encouraged many developing countries to reject the capitalist path and to choose the noncapitalist path of development—that is, a socialist orientation.
Leninist foreign policy has sought to strengthen the independence and aid the progress of the developing countries. At the insistence of the USSR, a pledge of “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” was included in the UN Charter. By strengthening economic ties with the USSR and the entire socialist community, the developing countries are better able to overcome their subjugation to the Western capitalist powers. In extending political and economic aid to the countries that have liberated themselves from colonialism, the Soviet Union does not pursue profits from or rights to the industrial enterprises and other installations built with its aid.
The USSR helps the developing countries train indigenous personnel. While constructing and operating new plants, Soviet specialists have trained hundreds of thousands of skilled workers and technicians of various nationalities. In Moscow, the P. Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University, which opened its doors in 1960, trains specialists in all areas of science and technology. Students from 84 Asian, African, and Latin American countries are enrolled in Soviet higher educational institutions. All study free of charge and receive stipends from the Soviet state.
The USSR ascribes great importance to developing friendly relations with the peoples of the Arab countries. Relations with these countries have been an important part of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. Soviet foreign policy, which has played a major role in the Arab peoples’ struggle to pursue an independent path of development and to implement socioeconomic reforms, has thwarted the plans of world Zionism and imperialism. The USSR steadfastly supported Egypt, Syria, and Jordan when they were the victims of Israeli aggression in 1967, and it helped the Arab countries strengthen their defensive capabilities.
Soviet foreign policy has sought to end the Israeli-Arab conflict on a just basis and to guarantee a stable peace in the Middle East. There are three key conditions for such a peace: Israeli troops must withdraw from all Arab territories occupied in 1967; the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine—which include the right to a Palestinian state—must be recognized and acted upon; and guarantees must be provided for the independent existence and development of all states in the region.
The USSR is successfully developing political, economic, and cultural relations with many Asian countries, including the large state of India, with which relations are based upon profound mutual respect and trust; the Soviet-Indian treaty of 1971 put relations on an even firmer foundation. Soviet foreign policy played an important role in settling the conflict between India and Pakistan by persuading the two countries to sign the Tashkent Declaration of 1966; it also helped establish relations between India and Pakistan.
A consistent champion of the freedom and social progress of peoples, the Soviet Union supported the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. The USSR aided the people of Angola in their struggle against the forces of imperialism, racism, and reaction, which opposed the creation of a new, independent state.
Because they are equal partners in their relations with the USSR, the developing countries are in a stronger position with regard to the imperialist powers, which consequently must make concessions and ease the terms under which credits are granted. The emergence of a large group of independent states that do not belong to military-political alliances and that adhere for the most part to an anti-imperialist policy constitutes a factor of continuing importance in the resolution of world problems.
Relations with the capitalist states. Relations with the capitalist states constitute a major area of Soviet foreign policy, because it is precisely in such relations that the main conflict of our time—the confrontation of capitalism and socialism—is most fully manifested and the class struggle is most clearly reflected on an international scale. After the end of World War II, the Western powers dramatically altered their foreign policy; they were alarmed at the growing influence and prestige of the USSR, which had played a decisive role in crushing German fascism, and at the scope of the revolutionary movement and national liberation struggle. The ruling circles of the West retreated from international cooperation on the basis of equality and respect for the interests of the Soviet Union and backed off from the joint decisions adopted by the anti-Hitler coalition during the war; they subordinated their policies to the goals of anticommunism and anti-Sovietism.
Assuming that the USA would maintain a monopoly on atomic weapons and was therefore invulnerable, the leaders of the imperialist states concluded that they could now, from a position of strength, impose their will on the rest of the world by using atomic blackmail. Churchill’s speech in Fulton, Mo., in March 1946, delivered in the presence of President Truman and with his full approval, marked a clear shift in policy in the direction of hostility, cold war, and opposition to the USSR and other forces of freedom and democracy. It demonstrated the real goals of the ruling circles of the Western powers and laid a cornerstone for the establishment of a military-political bloc of the imperialist powers in the name of anticommunism and anti-Sovietism. Although World War II had just ended, the peace and security of peoples were again threatened by war.
In international relations, the peace-loving Soviet foreign policy was called upon to defend the principle of respect for sovereignty and noninterference in the internal affairs of states, to protect peace, and to guarantee international security. In drafting peace treaties with the defeated states, the USSR sought to conclude agreements with Germany’s former allies—Italy, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland—that would preserve the countries’ economic independence, prevent interference in internal affairs, and demarcate legitimate boundaries. The drafting and signing of the Treaties of Paris on Feb. 10, 1947, showed that it was possible for the USSR and the capitalist countries to cooperate in the postwar period.
In 1946 the USSR introduced in the UN proposals on peaceful coexistence between the two world social systems, on further cooperation among the powers that had joined together to win the war, on strengthening the UN (above all, ensuring that all its members enjoyed equal rights), on the withdrawal of troops from the soil of nonbelligerent states and the abolition of foreign military bases, on a general reduction in armaments, and on the banning of atomic weapons.
The USSR’s proposals formed the basis for a resolution presented to the UN General Assembly in December 1946: Principles Governing the General Regulation and Reduction of Armaments. The imperialist circles and major Western powers rejected the peace-loving proposals of the USSR, however. In 1947 the USA proclaimed the Truman Doctrine, which asserted the USA’s right to interfere, on behalf of reactionary forces and counterrevolution, in the affairs of all countries. The doctrine served the aims of expansion and aggression. The Marshall Plan, put forward at this time, was a means of using American economic aid to gain a preponderant influence in the states of Western Europe that had been devastated by the war, to halt the upsurge of the revolutionary movement in these countries through American intervention, and to isolate the people’s democracies from the USSR and bring them back within the capitalist fold. The USSR exposed the USA’s efforts, which were supported by Anglo-French imperialist circles, at depriving the European states of their sovereignty and making them dependent on American monopoly capital.
The first anti-Soviet military-political bloc of the Western European states was created in March 1948, when Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg formed the Union of Western Europe, which was under the protection of the USA. The USSR repeatedly offered to begin negotiations toward improving Soviet-American relations but was turned down by the USA. In the area of economics, the majority of the Western powers imposed discriminatory restrictions that led to a curtailment of commercial relations with the USSR and the other socialist countries. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in April 1949; aggressive in nature, it is hostile to the USSR and other peace-loving countries.
The USSR, in strict compliance with the resolutions of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, proceeded with democratization, denazification, and demilitarization in the former territories of the Third Reich that now made up the Soviet zone of occupation. The Western powers, meanwhile, consolidated their zones and, in violation of agreements among the Allies, established the FRG in September 1949; they began quickly remilitarizing the FRG and rebuilt its armed forces. This policy created a serious threat to the security of the peoples of Europe. The USSR did not permit interference in the social development of East Germany, from which the GDR was formed in October 1949, after the FRG was formed. The population of the GDR chose to follow the path of socialist construction.
In the Far East, too, the policy of the Soviet Union was directed at attaining a stable peace. After Japanese militarism was defeated and Japan surrendered, the USSR supported the restoration of full sovereignty and independence to Japan and condemned the efforts of the USA to turn Japan into a military outpost. In 1951 the USA concluded a separate treaty with Japan, the Peace Treaty of San Francisco of 1951.
The imperialist policy of the USA was most clearly manifested in Korea. After Korea’s liberation from Japanese forces, the USSR staunchly defended the freedom and independence of the Korean people, who established the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK). The USSR recognized the republic, provided it with large amounts of economic aid, and in 1948 withdrew its forces from Korea, calling on the USA to do the same. By directly interfering in the domestic affairs of the Korean people, the American ruling circles prevented the formation of a single, independent Korea.
On June 25, 1950, the government of South Korea, obedient to the wishes of the USA, initiated a war against the PDRK. An invasion by the Americans, under the guise of “UN troops,” followed. Relying on aid of all kinds from the USSR and the other socialist countries, the people’s army of the PDRK and Chinese volunteers repelled the aggressors. On Nov. 30, 1950, the president of the USA threatened to use atomic weapons. Soviet foreign policy mobilized all peace-loving forces to thwart this criminal plan. The USSR’s readiness to fulfill its obligations under its treaty of friendship, alliance, and mutual aid (concluded Feb. 14, 1950) averted a military attack by the USA on the PRC.
During this period the USA aided the French colonialists in the Vietnamese People’s War of Resistance of 1945–54 (Indochina War). It was not until the conclusion of Geneva Agreements of 1954, in whose drafting and signing the Soviet Union played a major role, that it became possible to strengthen peace on the Indochinese Peninsula and in Southeast Asia and to consolidate, in international agreements, the victories of the Vietnamese people over the colonialists. In September 1954 the USA established a new aggressive military bloc in Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), thereby heightening international tensions.
Hoping to dilute the effect of Soviet proposals at the Berlin Conference of 1954 that an all-European treaty on collective security be signed and military coalitions be abolished, the Western powers launched an extensive propaganda campaign designed to prove that NATO was a defensive alliance. To show the hypocrisy of this propaganda, on Mar. 31, 1954, the Soviet Union proposed that its admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization be considered; this appeal was rejected.
By signing the Paris Agreements of 1954, the Western powers heightened tensions in Central Europe. Despite repeated warnings by the Soviet government, on May 5, 1955, the agreements went into effect. As a result, the Soviet Union and the seven European socialist states were forced to take necessary precautions: on May 14, 1955, they signed the defensive Warsaw Pact. This decisive move, dictated by circumstances, has played an enormous role in ensuring European security.
Efforts by the USSR to work out a just solution to the problems of postwar Europe at the Geneva Conference of the Heads of Government of the Four Powers and the Geneva Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Four Powers, both held in 1955, were not supported by the Western states, which adhered to a policy of remilitarizing West Germany.
The signing of the Austrian State Treaty on May 15, 1955, was a success for Soviet foreign policy, since the Western powers had hoped to include Austria in NATO. Under the treaty, Austria declared its perpetual neutrality, which the USSR, the USA, Great Britain, and France pledged to respect.
At the USSR’s initiative, diplomatic relations were established with the FRG in September 1955. On Oct. 19, 1956, the USSR and Japan signed a declaration putting an end to the state of war between them and reestablishing diplomatic and consular relations. Measures were taken to improve relations with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. The peace-loving actions of the Soviet Union, which were based on Leninist principles of foreign policy, helped contain the forces of aggression and further consolidate peace.
The great Western powers pursued a different course. Defending the interests of the imperialist oil monopolies in the Middle East and seeking to suppress the national liberation struggle of the Arab peoples, they provoked the Anglo-French-Israeli aggression against Egypt (Suez crisis) in 1956. A stern warning by the USSR forced them to end their military operations. In early 1957 the USA adopted the Eisenhower Doctrine: the Congress granted to the president the right to send troops to any country in the Middle East, using as a pretext the need to struggle against “international communism.”
The USSR, opposed to the doctrine, proposed on Feb. 11, 1957, that the Western countries indicate their support of principles obliging all countries to resolve disputes peacefully, to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the states of the region and from drawing the states into military blocs, to eliminate foreign bases and withdraw foreign troops from the region, and to provide unconditional aid to help the states of the region develop economically. The Western powers did not accept these principles. When the USA attempted to intervene militarily in Syria, the USSR warned that it would aid the victim of aggression. The measures adopted helped Syria to defend its independence. In 1958, the USSR, with support in the UN, refused to permit the Anglo-American occupation of Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.
Consistently adhering to a policy of peace, in the fall of 1957 the Soviet Union proposed to the Twelfth Session of the UN General Assembly that a declaration on peaceful coexistence among states be adopted. The Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing that relations between UN member states, regardless of their social systems, had to be based on the principles of non-aggression, mutual respect, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and noninterference in internal affairs.
Repeatedly—on Dec. 10 and Dec. 21, 1957, and Jan. 8, 1958—the USSR presented to the member states of NATO, as well as all member states of the UN and the government of Switzerland, proposals aimed at easing international tensions. The Soviet proposals received wide public support in all countries but met with no response from the members of NATO. On July 15, 1958, the USSR offered to sign a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the European countries. The government of the USA was invited to be a party to the treaty. This proposal, too, was rejected by the Western powers, as were several other proposals put forth by the Soviet Union between 1956 and 1959.
The Soviet Union, ascribing great importance to establishing stable relations of cooperation between the two great world powers in order to strengthen peace, offered to sign a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the USA as early as 1956, but this initiative was likewise misunderstood. In 1959 the USSR renewed its efforts. An agreement was reached on convening a meeting in May 1960 to be attended by the leaders of the USSR, USA, Great Britain, and France. The four-power conference, however, was not held, owing to the violation of the USSR’s air space by American reconnaissance planes and President Eisenhower’s announcement that such flights represented the national policy of the American government and would be continued in the future.
The struggle to consolidate peace and security in the Far East and the Pacific basin was, as before, an important aspect of Soviet foreign policy. In 1957 the USSR proposed that a conference be held to discuss the unification of North and South Korea. The Western powers rejected the proposal, as well as a proposal that foreign troops be withdrawn from South Korea. The USA’s use of South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan as military bases for the war in Indochina complicated the situation in the region. In order to guarantee security, the USSR and the PDRK concluded a treaty of friendship, cooperation, and mutual aid in 1961.
Considering Japan’s role to be of major importance, the Soviet government declared in late 1958 that Japan could contribute to peace by declaring itself neutral. For its part, the USSR, on Apr. 20, 1959, expressed readiness to guarantee Japan’s permanent neutrality and agreed to discuss the conclusion of a treaty to that effect. In unison with the USA, the Japanese government took a negative stand, pressing unsubstantiated territorial claims against the USSR. In January 1960, Japan concluded a security treaty with the USA, under which American military bases on Japanese soil were retained.
Two opposing foreign policy courses clashed in Cuba. An attempt by the USA at an armed invasion of Cuba in 1962 ended in failure. The firm position of the Soviet Union, which exercised restraint and soberly assessed the situation that had developed, averted a tragedy for humanity and defused the Caribbean Crisis of 1962 (Cuban Crisis).
The USA’s intervention in the internal affairs of the countries of Indochina after the end of the war in 1954 again exacerbated the situation in Southeast Asia. Through the efforts of the USSR, a conference on Laos was convened, which resulted in the Geneva Agreements of 1962; the agreements were violated by the USA, however, and military operations in Laos were resumed. In 1964 the USA undertook open aggression in Vietnam; in 1970 the war was expanded into Cambodia.
At its Twentieth Session, the UN General Assembly responded to a proposal by the USSR and adopted the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty. In 1967, at the initiative of the Soviet Union, an emergency special session of the General Assembly was convened to discuss the situation in the Middle East. With the USSR playing an active role, the UN Security Council on Nov. 22, 1967, adopted a resolution providing for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the territories occupied in June 1967.
True to its policy of respect for the UN and for the need to work with the world organization in order to strengthen peace, the Soviet Union again posed in the UN important questions on maintaining peace and reducing tensions. Of great significance was the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security, adopted by the General Assembly in 1970 after being proposed by the USSR and other socialist countries.
From its inception, the Soviet state, guided by Leninist concepts, has sought to develop economic relations between the USSR and the capitalist states. On Oct. 30, 1964, the USSR and France signed a trade agreement for 1965–69 that increased their trade turnover more than twofold. On Jan. 5, 1968, the USSR and Great Britain concluded an agreement on settling mutual financial and property claims; in 1969 trade turnover between the two countries totaled 600 million rubles. Commercial relations with Italy were strengthened: on May 4, 1966, a protocol was signed under which the Fiat firm agreed to help build an industrial complex of automotive plants. Despite the objections of reactionary circles in Japan, a foundation was laid for Soviet-Japanese cooperation: trade turnover increased from 3.4 million rubles in 1956, to 652 million rubles in 1970, to 1,683 million rubles in 1974. Through its unwavering struggle to achieve international détente, Soviet foreign policy has brought about a steady growth in the prestige of the USSR and the other socialist countries.
The USSR’s principled and steadfast policies in Europe, particularly with regard to the FRG, resulted in more realistic tendencies gradually coming to dominate West Germany’s policies and its relations with the socialist countries. Soviet-West German relations made important gains. Negotiations begun in December 1969 led to the signing of a treaty between the USSR and the FRG in August 1970. This treaty, as well as subsequent treaties between the FRG and the GDR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, was of major importance in assuring the integrity of postwar boundaries in Europe.
Ever since the emergence of the Soviet state, the struggle for disarmament has been an important part of Leninist foreign policy. The arms race, abetted by the NATO countries, became particularly dangerous once nuclear weapons were involved. Immediately after World War II, the USSR called for a ban on atomic weapons and a general reduction of armaments and armed forces. The Western powers, led by the USA, resolved to maintain enormous armies, to create a network of military bases on foreign territory, and to pursue a nuclear arms race.
When the Soviet Union eliminated the USA’s monopoly on atomic weapons at the turn of the 1950’s and as delivery systems were improved, the USA lost its relative invulnerability. The movement against the arms race assumed a broader scope and became more organized. In 1959 the USSR proposed to the Fourteenth Session of the UN General Assembly a program for general and complete disarmament; in 1960, at the Fifteenth Session, the Soviet government introduced a draft treaty entitled Basic Provisions of a Treaty on General and Complete Disarmament. The countries of the West, citing various far-fetched excuses, refused to support the Soviet proposal. The proposal’s main opponents, as in similar instances, were the NATO countries. Seeking general and complete disarmament, the Soviet state has always demonstrated a readiness to reach an agreement even on partial measures. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Soviet foreign policy led the struggle to ban nuclear testing. Displaying steadfastness and flexibility, the USSR achieved a major success: the signing of the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963, which outlawed nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water.
The conclusion of the Test-Ban Treaty showed that the peace-loving forces, headed by the USSR, could pressure the imperialist powers into signing international treaties that limit possibilities for aggression and that serve to reduce international tensions. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 forbids the use of outer space and celestial bodies for military purposes. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968 was another important success for the USSR’s foreign policy in the struggle to end the arms race. At the initiative of the Soviet government, in 1969 and 1970 the UN Committee on Disarmament drafted the Seabed Treaty,
|Table 1. Diplomatic relations between the USSR and foreign countries (from 1918 to April 1981)|
|Country||Established and renewed||Broken off|
|1With the RSFSR|
|2With the USSR|
|4Wlth the People’s Republic of China|
|5Agreement on the exchange of missions|
|7With the government-in-exile in London|
|eWith People’s Poland|
|Afghanistan ...............||Feb. 28,19211|
July 23, 19232
|Albania ...............||July 4–Sept. 4, 1924|
Nov. 10, 1945
|Apr. 7, 1939|
|Algeria ...............||Mar. 19–23, 1962|
|Angola ...............||Nov. 12, 1975|
|Argentina ...............||June 5, 1946|
|Australia ...............||Oct. 10, 1942|
Mar. 16, 1959
|Apr. 23, 1954|
|Austria ...............||Feb. 25–29, 1924|
Oct. 20–24, 1945
|Bangladesh ...............||Jan. 25, 1972|
|Belgium ...............||July 12, 1935|
Aug. 7, 1941
|July 15, 1940|
|Benin ...............||June 4, 1962|
|Bolivia ...............||Apr. 18, 1945|
|Botswana ...............||Mar. 6, 1970|
|Brazil ...............||Apr. 2, 1945|
Nov. 23, 1961
|Oct. 20, 1947|
|Bulgaria ...............||July 11–23, 1934|
Aug. 14–16, 1945
|Sept. 5, 1944|
|Burma ...............||Feb. 18, 1948|
|Burundi ...............||Oct. 1, 1962|
|Cambodia (Kampuchea) ...............||Apr. 23–May 13, 1956|
|Cameroon ...............||Feb. 18–22, 1964|
|Canada ...............||June 12, 1942|
|Cape Verde Islands ...............||Sept. 25, 1975|
|Central African Republic ...............||Dec. 7, 1960||Jan. 23, 198010|
|Chad ...............||Nov. 24, 1964|
|Chile ...............||Nov. 24, 1944|
Nov. 24, 1964
|Oct. 27, 1947|
Sept. 22, 1973
|China ...............||May 31, 1924|
Dec. 12, 1932
Oct. 1–2, 19494
|July 17, 1929|
Oct. 2, 1949
|Colombia ...............||June 25, 1935|
Jan. 19, 1968
|May 3, 1948|
|Comoros ...............||Jan. 6, 1976|
|Congo ...............||Mar. 16, 1964|
|Costa Rica ...............||May 8, 1944|
|Cuba ...............||Oct 5–14 1942|
Jan. 10, 1959
Apr. 13–23, 19605
|Apr. 3, 1952|
|Cyprus ...............||Aug. 16–18, 1960|
|Czechoslovakia ...............||June 9, 1934|
July 18, 1941
|Mar. 16, 1939|
|Denmark ...............||June 18, 1924|
May 10–1 6, 1945
|June 22, 1941|
|Djibouti ...............||Apr. 3, 1978|
|Dominican Republic ...............||Mar. 7–8, 1945|
|Ecuador ...............||June 12–1 6, 1945|
|Egypt ...............||July 6–26, 1943|
|Equatorial Guinea ...............||Dec. 12, 1968|
|Ethiopia ...............||Apr. 21, 1943|
|Fiji ...............||Jan. 30, 1974|
|Finland ...............||Dec. 31, 19201|
July 23, 19232
Mar. 12, 1940
Aug. 6, 1945
|Nov. 29, 1939|
June 22, 1941
|France ...............||Oct. 28, 1924|
Oct. 23, 1944
|June 30, 1941|
|Gabon ...............||Oct. 15, 1973|
|Gambia ...............||July 17, 1965|
|German Democratic Republic ...............||Oct. 16, 1949|
|Germany ...............||Mar. 3, 19181|
Apr. 16, 19221
July 23, 19232
|Nov. 5, 1918|
June 22, 19416
|Germany, Federal Republic of ...............||Sept. 13–24, 1955|
|Ghana ...............||Sept. 3–Oct. 2, 1957|
|Great Britain ...............||Feb. 2–8, 1924|
Oct. 3, 1929
|May 26, 1927|
|Greece ...............||Mar. 8, 1924|
July 30, 1941
|June 3, 1941|
|Grenada ...............||Sept. 7, 1979|
|Guatemala ...............||Apr. 19, 1945|
|Guinea ...............||Oct. 3–4, 1958|
|Guinea-Bissau ...............||Sept. 30–Oct. 6, 1973|
|Guyana ...............||Dec. 17 1970|
|Hungary ...............||Feb. 4, 1934|
Sept. 25, 1945
|June 23, 1941|
|Iceland ...............||June 22–24, 1926|
|India ...............||Apr. 2–7, 1947|
|Indonesia ...............||Jan. 26–Feb. 3, 1950|
|Iran ...............||Feb. 26, 19211|
July 23, 19232
|Iraq ...............||May 16, 1941|
July 18–1 9, 1958
|Jan. 3–8, 1955|
|Ireland ...............||Sept. 29, 1973|
|Israel ...............||May 15–18, 1948|
July 6–15, 1953
|Feb. 11, 1953|
June 9, 1967
|Italy ...............||Feb. 7–11, 1924|
Oct. 25, 1944
|June 22, 1941|
|Ivory Coast ...............||Jan 23 1967||May 30, 1969|
|Jamaica ...............||Mar. 12, 1975|
|Japan ...............||Feb. 25, 1925|
Oct. 19, 1956
|Aug. 9, 1945|
|Jordan ...............||Aug. 20, 1963|
|Kenya ...............||Dec. 14, 1963|
|Korea, People’s Democratic Republic of ...............||Oct. 8–12, 1948|
|Kuwait ...............||Mar. 11, 1963|
|Laos ...............||Oct. 7, 1960|
|Lebanon ...............||July 31–Aug. 3, 1944|
|Lesotho ...............||Feb. 1, 1980|
|Liberia ...............||Jan. 11, 1956|
|Libya ...............||Aug. 31–Sept. 4, 1955|
|Luxembourg ...............||Aug. 26, 1935|
Oct. 13, 1942
|July 15, 1940|
|Madagascar ...............||Sept. 29, 1972|
|Malaysia ...............||Apr. 3, 1967|
|Maldives ...............||Sept. 21, 1966|
|Mali ...............||Oct. 8–1 4, 1960|
|Malta ...............||Sept. 20–Oct. 31, 1964|
|Mauritania ...............||July 12, 1964|
|Mauritius ...............||Mar. 17, 1968|
|Mexico ...............||Aug. 4, 1924|
Nov. 10–12, 1942
|Jan. 26, 1930|
|Mongolia ...............||Nov. 5, 19211|
July 23, 19232
|Morocco ...............||Aug. 29–Sept. 4, 1958|
|Mozambique ...............||June 25, 1975|
|Nepal ...............||June 5–July 9, 1956|
|Netherlands ...............||July 10, 1942|
|New Zealand ...............||Apr. 13, 1944|
|Nicaragua ...............||Dec. 10–12, 1944|
|Niger ...............||Feb. 17, 1972|
|Nigeria ...............||Oct. 1, 1960–Jan. 12, 1961|
|Norway ...............||Feb 15–Mar. 10, 1924|
Aug. 5, 1941
|July 15, 1940|
|Pakistan ...............||Apr 27–May 1, 1948|
|Papua-New Guinea ...............||May 19, 1976|
|Peru ...............||Feb. 1, 1969|
|Philippines ...............||June 2, 1976|
|Poland ...............||Apr. 27, 19211|
July 23, 19232
July 30, 19417
Jan. 2–5, 19458
|Sept. 17, 1939|
Apr. 25, 19436
|Portugal ...............||June 9, 1974|
|Rumania ...............||June 9, 1934|
Aug. 6, 1945
|June 22, 1941|
|Rwanda ...............||Oct. 17, 1963|
|Sāo Tomé and Príncipe ...............||Aug. 9, 1975|
|Saudi Arabia ...............||Feb. 16–19, 1926|
|Senegal ...............||June 14, 1962|
|Seychelles ...............||June 30, 1976|
|Sierra Leone ...............||Apr. 26, 1961 –|
Jan. 18, 1962
|Singapore ...............||June 1, 1968|
|Somalia ...............||July 1–Sept. 11, 1960|
|Spain ...............||July 28, 1933|
Feb. 9, 1977
|Sri Lanka ...............||Dec. 3–6, 1956|
|Sudan ...............||Jan. 3–7, 1956|
|Surinam ...............||Nov. 25, 1975|
|Sweden ...............||Mar. 15–18, 1924|
|Switzerland ...............||Mar. 18, 1946|
|Syria ...............||July 21–29, 1944|
|Tanzania ...............||Dec. 10–11, 19619|
|Thailand ...............||Mar. 12, 1941|
|Togo ...............||May 1, 1960|
|Tonga ...............||Oct. 14, 1975|
|Trinidad and Tobago ...............||June 6, 1974|
|Tunisia ...............||June 11–July 11, 1956|
|Turkey ...............||June 2–Nov. 29, 19201|
July 23, 19232
|Uganda ...............||Oct. 11–12, 1962|
|United Arab Emirates ...............||Dec. 8–23, 1971|
|United States of America ...............||Nov. 16, 1933|
|Upper Volta ...............||Feb. 18, 1967|
|Uruguay ...............||Aug. 21–22, 1926|
Jan. 27, 1943
|Dec. 27, 1935|
|Venezuela ...............||Mar. 14, 1945|
Apr. 16, 1970
|June 13, 1952|
|Vietnam ...............||Jan. 30, 1950|
|Western Samoa ...............||July 2, 1976|
|Yemen Arab Republic ...............||Oct. 31, 1955|
|Yemen People’s Democratic Republic of ...............||Dec. 1–3, 1967|
|Yugoslavia ...............||June 24, 1940|
|Zaïre ...............||June 29–July 7, 1960|
July 6, 1961
Nov. 30, 1967
|Sept. 14–18, 1960|
Nov. 21–23, 1963
|Zambia ...............||Oct. 29–30, 1964|
|Zimbabwe ...............||Feb. 18, 1981|
which prohibits the placement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on the seabed or ocean floor or in their subsoil. The USSR presented a draft version of the Convention on Bacteriological Weapons in September 1969; the final treaty, which was approved by the UN General Assembly in December 1971, constitutes a genuine step toward disarmament. The Soviet Union has initiated the convening of a world disarmament conference.
Guided by Leninist principles of foreign policy, the CPSU, at its Twenty-fourth Congress in 1971, drafted a realistic plan of action for the foreign policy of the Soviet Union in the modern world, which has justly been named the Peace Program.
The CPSU believes that Soviet foreign policy should be directed at ensuring the peaceful conditions necessary to build a communist society in the USSR and develop the world socialist system and at saving humanity from wars that would bring destruction on the world. As an alternative to the imperialist policies of aggression, the Soviet state pursues a policy of active defense of peace and strengthened international security. Given current circumstances, the main tasks of the USSR’s foreign policy and the practical activity of the CPSU with regard to foreign affairs are to oppose firmly all acts of aggression and international tyranny, to strive for the elimination of hotbeds of war, to place obstacles in the path of wars of aggression, and to avert such wars. The renunciation of force and of the threat of force in resolving disputes must become a law of international life. All disputes between states must be resolved by peaceful means alone.
The Soviet Union consistently advocates the basing of international relations on a recognition that the territorial changes that took place in Europe as a result of World War II are final and on an acceptance of a fundamental shift toward détente and peace in Europe; the Soviet Union also works to ensure that states do everything possible to attain lasting security in Europe.
A member of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, the Soviet Union has nevertheless reaffirmed on numerous occasions the readiness of all member countries to take part in a simultaneous dismantling of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the North Atlantic Alliance, or, as a first step, in the abolition of their military organizations.
Ever since their appearance, the Soviet Union has attached great importance to the struggle to ban nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. A prohibition against the use of nuclear weapons must be accompanied by a general prohibition on the use of force in relations between states. An important task of Soviet foreign policy has been the struggle to end all tests of nuclear weapons, including underground tests; a goal of Soviet foreign policy is the creation of nuclear-free zones in various regions of the world.
The USSR has consistently advocated complete nuclear disarmament of all states possessing nuclear weapons and has insisted that nuclear energy be used for peaceful purposes only. It has called for an end to the race to produce armaments of all kinds, the dismantling of foreign military bases, and the reduction of armed forces and armaments, particularly in regions where military confrontation is especially dangerous, notably Central Europe.
The Soviet Union supports the expansion of mutually advantageous cooperative relations of all kinds with like-minded states; it is ready to work with other interested states in such areas as environmental protection, the exploitation of energy and other natural resources, the development of transportation and communications, the prevention and elimination of the most dangerous and widespread diseases, the study and exploration of space and the world ocean, the defense of human rights, and the definition and implementation, in international relations, of progressive standards of international law.
The Soviet state and the CPSU are in fact carrying out this grand program of struggle for the peace and security of all peoples. Multilateral and bilateral meetings between leaders of fraternal parties and governments are assuming greater international importance; they make it possible to increase mutual understanding between the socialist countries, to share experience, and to improve interstate and interparty relations. Cooperation among the socialist countries takes place on an enormous scale in all areas.
In July 1971 the Twenty-fifth Session of COMECON adopted a long-term program for the subsequent 15–20 years: the Comprehensive Program for the Further Extension and Promotion of Cooperation and Development of Socialist Economic Integration Among the Members of COMECON. International economic associations and organizations, such as Interelectro, Intertextil’-mash, and Interatomenergo, work to perform many of the program’s tasks.
The USSR continues to devote much of its attention to improving the situation in Europe; in this regard, it assumes that the successes already achieved must be seen as the foundation for creating a lasting, guaranteed peace on the continent, a peace that is based on the joint efforts of all states, large and small. At the suggestion of the USSR, interested parties conducted complex negotiations on West Berlin. The conclusion of the Quadripartite Agreement on West Berlin on Sept. 3, 1971, eliminated a dangerous source of provocations in Central Europe and substantially alleviated the situation.
The development of Franco-Soviet relations, to which the Soviet Union has always attached great importance, has contributed considerably to improving the situation in Europe. In 1971, summit meetings led to the signing of several documents, notably the Principles of Cooperation Between the USSR and France.
Major advances in Soviet-American relations have taken place, primarily as a result of a series of negotiations between the leaders of the USSR and the USA. Between 1971 and 1975 important documents were signed that heralded a move away from distrust and toward détente, normalization, and, in several areas of international life, cooperation. The development of Soviet-American relations in the five years resulted primarily in a diminishing of the danger of nuclear war.
The Leninist foreign policy of the Soviet Union, which is implemented in a consistent manner, strengthened the international positions of socialism and all progressive forces and played a major role in changing the world situation in favor of the peace and security of peoples.
Relying on the multifaceted aid and support rendered by the Soviet Union and other fraternal countries, the heroic Vietnamese people victoriously turned back imperialist aggression and opened the path of peaceful socialist construction in all Vietnam. The USSR took part in the Paris Peace Conference on Vietnam in 1973, which played a role in eliminating a hotbed of war in Southeast Asia that had long poisoned the entire international situation.
The vastly increasing scale of the USSR’s foreign policy activity and the positive results it has achieved testify to the correctness and farsightedness of the USSR’s foreign policy. The growth of the Soviet Union’s international prestige in the postwar period is reflected in the establishment of diplomatic relations with 80 states between 1946 and 1976. As of March 1981 the Soviet Union maintained diplomatic relations with 132 states (see Table 1). More than 160 Soviet embassies and consulates represent the national interests of the USSR abroad. The USSR belongs to more than 500 international organizations.
Visits to foreign countries by leading Soviet party and state figures and by parliamentary and public delegations have become an important part of the USSR’s international activity. In fulfilling its duty in the interests of the Soviet people, Soviet foreign policy has skillfully made use of the increasing opportunities to reach agreements on those problems of international policy that come up in the course of events or that stem from the need to strengthen peace and avert war.
After years of effort by the socialist countries, led by the Soviet Union and supported by realistically minded Western leaders and progressive European public opinion, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was signed in Helsinki on Aug. 1, 1975. In his speech to the conference, L. I. Brezhnev, head of the Soviet delegation, noted:
The relations between the participating states now rest on a solid foundation of basic principles that must determine the standards of behavior of the states when dealing with one another. These are the principles of peaceful coexistence, for which V. I. Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state, struggled with such consistency and conviction and for which the Soviet people struggle today as well. . . . This is a victory for reason. All have won: the countries of the East and the West, the people of the socialist and capitalist countries in alliances and the people of neutral states, large states and small states. This is a step forward for everyone to whom peace and security on our planet are precious (Leninskim kursom, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 336–37, 340).
The Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and the Council of Ministers of the USSR stressed that “this meeting, unprecedented in history, of the leaders of 33 European states, the USA, and Canada has become an event of enormous international significance;” the conference marked “the beginning of a new stage in the easing of tensions” (Pravda, Aug. 7, 1975, p. 1).
The Report of the Central Committee of the CPSU, which was delivered by General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Brezhnev to the party’s Twenty-fifth Congress in 1976, the speeches of the delegates, and the resolutions of the congress praised the successes of the party and the Soviet state in translating the goals and principles of Leninist Soviet foreign policy into reality, as well as in the struggle to achieve the goals set forth in the Peace Program and adopted by the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU.
The Twenty-sixth Congress of the CPSU formulated a program for further struggle for peace, international cooperation, and the freedom and independence of peoples. A direct successor of the foreign policy program adopted by the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU, the new program was a creative expansion of the former. The program gave priority to the solution of such urgent tasks as the consolidation of the unity of the fraternal socialist states, the development of all-around cooperation among them, and the vigorous increase of their joint contribution to the strengthening of peace. Equal importance was attached to the struggle for bringing an end to the growing arms race, which threatens the world, and for moving toward disarmament; efforts were to be made to complete the drafting of a new agreement between the USSR and the USA on the limitation and reduction of strategic weapons and to conclude international agreements on imposing a general and complete ban against the testing of nuclear weapons, on prohibiting and destroying chemical weapons, and on prohibiting the development of new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction, as well as environmental modification techniques for military and other hostile purposes. Efforts were to be renewed to augment negotiations on the reduction of armed forces and weapons in Central Europe, to bring about a shift away from the current pattern of constant increases in military expenditures and toward a systematic reduction of such expenditures, and to convene, as soon as possible, a world disarmament conference. The program stressed the necessity of eliminating remaining military trouble spots and, above all, of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The program outlined steps toward extending détente and translating it into specific forms of mutually advantageous cooperation between states and toward ensuring security in Asia. The need to eliminate completely all vestiges of the system of colonial oppression, any infringement on the equality and independence of peoples, and centers of colonialism and racism was regarded as a key international task. Another task of major importance was to strive to abolish discrimination and artificial barriers of all types in international trade, to eliminate all manifestations of inequality, coercion, and exploitation in international economic relations.
Between 1977 and 1982 the fraternal socialist states achieved spectacular results in consolidating their unity, in furthering their comprehensive cooperation in the building of a new society, and in augmenting, on the basis of this cooperation, their joint contribution to the strengthening of peace.
The ten COMECON members—the Warsaw Treaty countries, Mongolia, Cuba, and, since 1978, Vietnam—have been consistently expanding and developing their cooperation within the framework of the council. Yugoslavia takes part in the work of a number of COMECON agencies, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, Laos, Angola, Ethiopia, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, and Afghanistan hold observer’s status. In the tenth five-year plan period the COMECON countries delivered 90 billion rubles’ worth of goods to the USSR, and the USSR’s deliveries to the COMECON countries totaled 98 billion rubles. In 1975, COMECON approved the First Coordinated Plan for Multilateral Integration Actions in the Period 1976–80, which provided for the joint construction of 28 large-scale economic projects.
The imperialists and their accomplices did not give up their attempts to use a whole range of crafty means to undermine the socialist world. In areas where this undermining activity is supplemented by errors and miscalculations in domestic policy, there develops a soil for the activation of hostile elements. Such was the case in Poland, where the enemies of socialism, with the support of external forces, have been trying since August 1980 to divert the development of events into a counterrevolutionary channel, thereby threatening the foundations of the socialist state. The crisis in Poland was made use of by the imperialists to blacken the socialist system and the ideals and principles of socialism; in addition, the crisis was made the occasion for new attempts against the international communist movement. In the circumstances fraught with danger to the revolutionary achievements of the Polish people, the CPSU and other fraternal parties have been doing everything possible to liquidate the intrigues of the counterrevolutionary forces in Poland.
The position of the USSR was clearly expressed by L. I. Brezhnev at the Twenty-sixth Congress of the CPSU: “We will not abandon fraternal, socialist Poland in its hour of need. We will stand by it” (Materialy XXVI s”ezda KPSS, 1981, pp. 9–10).
Upon the request of the government of Afghanistan, which had traditionally maintained friendly relations with the Soviet Union, and in complete accord with the Soviet-Afghan Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance of 1978 and the UN Charter, the USSR in December 1979 gave internationalist aid in defense of the achievements won in the April 1978 people’s democratic revolution over armed external intervention. “To do otherwise,” said L. I. Brezhnev, “would be to allow Afghanistan to be torn apart by imperialism, to allow aggressive forces to repeat here what they managed to do, for example, in Chile, where the freedom of the people was drowned in blood. To do otherwise would have meant passively watching the creation on our southern border of a source of serious danger to the security of the Soviet state” (Leninskim kursom, vol. 8, 1981, pp. 246–47). On May 14, 1980, the government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan set forth a program of political settlement that provided for bilateral talks with Pakistan and Iran, the guaranteed cessation of undermining activity against Afghanistan, and the withdrawal of the Soviet military contingent after the elimination of the causes that forced the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan to request the introduction of the contingent. In an announcement made by the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan on Aug. 24, 1981, this realistic program was augmented with new constructive proposals. However, ravaging raids continued, and countries that might have taken part in the settlement declined to participate in negotiations with the Afghan government under various pretexts.
Through the foreign policy activity of the Soviet Union, characterized by its depth and scope, as well as through the activity of countries in the socialist community, a number of positive shifts occurred in the 1970’s in relations with countries of various social systems, a result favorably affecting the general world situation. Extremely important problems in Europe, which had remained unsettled after World War II, were solved by peaceful means. For example, the problem of the recognition of the inviolability of borders was resolved as a result of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, held in Helsinki; here relations between continental European states were turned toward a basis of cooperation and equal rights.
On the initiative of the USSR and other socialist states, many UN resolutions were worked out and adopted. A number of bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements designed to avert world nuclear war and wars between states were signed. After the adoption of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1968, approximately 20 treaties and agreements of importance to the peace and security of peoples were adopted. These include a treaty prohibiting the placement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on the seabed (1971), a convention banning the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxic weapons and providing for the destruction of existing stockpiles (1972), and a convention on the banning of military or other use of substances harmful to the environment (1977). The following Soviet-American agreements were concluded: the treaty on limiting antimissile defense systems (1972) and its protocol (1974), an agreement on certain measures limiting strategic offensive arms (1972), an agreement on averting nuclear war (1973), and an agreement on limiting the underground testing of nuclear weapons (1974).
The improvement in Soviet-American relations already achieved is being undermined by American actions. By 1981 the US government had actually annulled many important documents that had been signed in the 1970’s after a series of negotiations between the leaders of the USSR and the USA. Because of Washington, the treaty on limiting strategic offensive weapons has not yet been ratified, and the USA has unilaterally broken off negotiations with the USSR on several other matters. In trying to exert pressure on the USSR, the Carter administration destroyed positive gains in Soviet-American relations that had been achieved with great effort over the preceding years.
Not yielding to provocations, the Soviet Union has continued to steer a peace-loving course in world affairs. The USSR is true to the Leninist policy of peaceful coexistence, mutually beneficial cooperation with capitalist countries, and stern rebuffs to the aggressive machinations of imperialism. As before, Soviet foreign policy is directed toward the development of mutually beneficial commercial ties with the USA and toward the goal of building Soviet-American relations on a foundation of equality and equal security. “We have not sought and do not seek military superiority over another country. Such is not our policy. But we shall not allow such superiority to be achieved over us. Attempts of this nature, as well as negotiations with us from a position of strength, are absolutely futile” declared L. I. Brezhnev (Materialy XXVI s”ezda KPSS, 1981, p. 22).
The fundamental and consistent character of Soviet foreign policy was reaffirmed at the Twenty-sixth Congress of the CPSU (February-March 1981). In the report of the Central Committee of the CPSU to the party congress, L. I. Brezhnev set forth the new peace initiatives of the USSR. The Soviet Union has proposed to supplement the measures taken according to the resolution of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe designed to strengthen trust in the area of military affairs (prior notification of military exercises of ground forces and invitation to such exercises extended to observers from other countries) with a measure for prior notification of naval and air exercises and major troop movements and the widening of the geographic area to which such measures apply. “We are prepared to extend such measures throughout the European part of the USSR—on the condition that a corresponding extension of the area to which such measures of trust apply is made by Western countries . . . and to conduct specific negotiations with all interested countries on measures of trust in the Far East” (ibid., pp. 28–29).
The USSR has offered to conclude an international agreement to promote peace in the Persian Gulf and in its vicinity, but several Western politicians have linked the resolution of this question to the question of the presence of Soviet forces in Afghanistan. “We have no objection,” answered L. I. Brezhnev, “to having questions on Afghanistan discussed in concert with questions on the security of the Persian Gulf. Naturally, in so doing only international aspects of the Afghan question can be discussed, not internal Afghan affairs” (ibid., p. 29).
The report also noted that the limiting and reduction of strategic arms is a paramount problem. “For our part, we are prepared without delay to continue the corresponding talks with the USA, preserving all the positive gains achieved in this area to date. Of course, the negotiations can be conducted only on a foundation of equality and equal security. We shall not enter into an agreement that would give the USA a one-sided advantage. In this there can be no illusions” (ibid.). Soviet foreign policy devotes much attention to the task of removing the threat of war on the European continent.
At the Seventeenth Congress of Trade Unions of the USSR (March 1982), L. I. Brezhnev set forth several new proposals. In particular, the USSR has resolved unilaterally to enact a moratorium on the deployment of medium-range nuclear weapons in the European part of the USSR. This resolution will remain in effect either until agreement is reached with the USA on curtailing such weapons destined for Europe or until such time as the USA, in disregard of the security of other peoples, goes ahead with practical preparations for the deployment of Pershing 2 missiles and cruise missiles in Europe.
Beginning with the first foreign-policy act of Soviet power, the Decree on Peace, the Soviet state has maintained over the years the continuity of the main principles of Leninist foreign policy, which is aimed at ensuring peace throughout the world.
A. A. GROMYKO
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