– I’m Back From Moscow Le Devoir (1952) #1

SourceLe Devoir, June 14th, 1952.  “L’Auberge de la grande U.R.S.S.”.  First article in a series by Pierre Elliott Trudeau on his return from the 1952 Moscow Economic Summit.

Foreword:

Red Mole Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Red Mole Pierre Elliott Trudeau

In his March 1968 report appended to an issue of Ron Gostick’s The Canadian Intelligence Service, former RCMP undercover agent Patrick Walsh exposes Pierre Elliott Trudeau a few weeks before Trudeau’s first election as prime minister of Canada.  This report resulted in press coverage and TV interviews for Walsh and Gostick at the time.

Concerning Trudeau’s red activities in the 1950s, Walsh notes in particular:

“… as Mr. Trudeau approaches the age of 30, we find him playing an ever more prominent role in the international revolutionary move­ment.  We note his presence in China in 1950 when the Reds were taking over.  We note, too, his launching of the leftist publi­cation CITE LIBRE  in Montreal in 1951, with the collaboration of Gérard Pelletier, another leftist who was to join the Liberal Party with him in 1965.  CITE LIBRE  became the vehicle for a continuous stream of ‘reform’ writers, including such well known Reds as Prof. Raymond Boyer, the Soviet spy; Stanley B. Ryerson, leading theoretician of the Communist Party and editor of Marxist Review; Pierre Gelinas, Quebec director of Agita­tion and Propaganda of the Communist Party.

“In 1952 we find Mr. Trudeau heading a delegation of ‘businessmen’ — who turned out to be Communists! — to the Moscow Economic Conference.  This outraged even the French-lan­guage daily press to the point that Le Droit  (Ottawa) and L’Action Catholique  (Quebec City) called him a Communist for his pro-Soviet articles upon his return.  And the fol­lowing year, 1953, we find him barred from the United States, presumably for his left­ist activities.”

As far as I know, mine is the first English translation of Trudeau’s articles in Le Devoir  on his return from the Moscow Summit.  Feel free to suggest any corrections.

“Je reviens de Moscou”

“I’m Back from Moscow”

L’auberge de la grande U.R.S.S.

The auberge of the great U.S.S.R.

par Pierre Elliott-Trudeau

by Pierre Elliott-Trudeau

– Petit-Poucet rêveur, j’égrenais dans ma course / Des rimes.  Mon auberge était à la Grande Ourse.  (Rimbaud) *
– Little Tom Thumb dreamer, I husked rhymes / Along my route.  My Auberge was the Great Bear. (Rimbaud) **

Pour beaucoup de gens, l’Union Soviétique c’est l’enfer, et l’on ne saurait y mettre pied sans faire un pacte avec le diable.  Ce préjugement a empêché beaucoup d’économistes et d’hommes d’affaires de se rendre à la Rencontre économique internationale de Moscou.

For many people, the Soviet Union is Hell, and one could never set foot there absent a pact with the devil.  This prejudgement has prevented many economists and businessmen from attending the international Economic Summit in Moscow.

Mais il me répugne doublement, comme avocat et comme économiste, de rejeter les pactes sans examen.  Pourquoi le cacher?  Si on me garantissait les sauf-conduits dont Dante apparemment a beneficié, j’irais volontiers en enfer chercher quelques statistiques relatives [sic] à la peine du dam.

However it is doubly repugnant to me, as a lawyer and as an economist, to reject pacts without examination.  Why hide it?  If I am guaranteed the safe conduct from which Dante apparently benefited, I would willingly go into Hell in search of a few statistics in connection with the penalty of damnation.

En fait, de quel pacte s’agissait-il?  A quoi s’engageait-on pour avoir le droit d’aller à Moscou discuter avec les plus eminents économistes, applaudir Lepechinskaia et Ulanova au Bolshoi, et bouffer le caviar à pleine cuillerée?

In fact, what pact was it?  To what did one commit oneself to have the right to go to Moscow to converse with the most eminent economists, to applaud Lepechinskaia and Ulanova at the Bolshoi, and to nosh caviar by the chock-spoonful?1

Une Rencontre
internationale

An International
Meeting

À la fin d’octobre dernier, se réunissait à Copenhague un Comité d’initiative internationale groupant des personnalités distinguées et d’opinions fort diverses.  Ce comité decida de convoquer pour le 3 avril 1952 une Rencontre économique internationale dans le but d’étudier:

At the end of last October, at Copenhagen, a Committee met (an international endeavour) comprised of a quite wide variety of distinguished notables.  This Committee decided to convene an international Economic Summit for April 3rd, 1952 with a view to studying:

Les possibilités d’améliorer les conditions de vie des peuples du monde, par la coopération pacifique des divers pays et des divers systèmes, et par le développement des échanges économiques entre tous les pays.

The feasibility of improving the living conditions of the peoples of the world, through peaceful cooperation of the various countries and the various sytems, and through development of economic exchanges amongst all countries.

Au nombre des principes qui devaient présider à l’organisation de la Rencontre, on spécifiait ce qui suit :

Among the principles having to govern the organization of the Summit, the following were specified:

La participation est ouverte à toute personne désireuse de promouvoir une coopération internationale pacifique dans le domaine économique, quelles que soient par ailleurs ses opinions économiques, politiques et sociales.  Les participants de chaque pays devraient constituer…  une représentation des différentes tendances…  La rencontre écartera toute discussion sur les mérites respectifs des différents systèmes économiques et sociaux…  Le nom (des personnes participantes) ne sera associé à aucune décision qu’elles n’auront pas expréssement approuvé.

Participation is open to anyone wishing to promote peaceful international cooperation in the economic sphere, whether it be by virtue of his or her economic, or political and social views.  Participants from each country should represent a variety of different currents …  The meeting will avoid all discussion of the repsective merits of the various economic and social systems …  Names (of participants) will not be linked to any decision which they will not have expressly approved.

L’Union soviétique s’engageant à donner des visas sans discrimination (ce que d’autres gouvernements ne voulaient pas promettre), il fut décidé de tenir la rencontre à Moscou.

The Soviet Union undertaking to issue visas without discrimination (which other governments did not wish to promise), it was decided to hold the Summit in Moscow.

Tel que proposé le pacte me parut acceptable; et je l’acceptai.  Dans quarante-neuf pays, près de cinq cents personnes, représentant les nuances d’opinion politique, l’acceptèrent aussi.  Ils appartenaient pour la plupart au domaine des finances ou des affaires; un petit nombre venait des milieux syndicaux et coopérateurs; et près de quatre-vingts étaient des économistes, dont plusieurs de réputation mondiale.

As proposed, the pact seemed acceptable to me, and I agreed to it.  In forty-nine countries, some five hundred people, representing the shades of political opinion2, also agreed to it. They belonged for the most part to the financial or business fields; a small number came from the trade union and cooperative milieux; and nearly eighty were economists, some of them world-renowned.

Or, tous ces gens n’étaient pas des suppots de Satan; il n’est pas inutile de le souligner.  Car certain gouvernement et certaine presse ont tendu à nous le faire croire, et leur opinion est devenue dogme dans tous les milieux politiques et financiers où s’étend leur hégémonie.  À ce propos, il faut reconnaître que le gouvernement du Canada n’a pris à ma connaissance aucune position officielle faisant ainsi preuve d’une indépendance d’esprit que tous le Canadiens n’ont pas eu la dignité d’imiter.  Je dois dire de plus que je ne me sens pas tout à fait damné aux yeux de mes compatriotes car les Canadiens français, pour antibolshevik qu’ils sont, entretiennent toujours une saine méfiance aà l’endroit de leurs bons voisins over the border:  et je pense qu’au pire on me prendra pour un flâneur qui, après avoir suivi sa bohème autour du monde, a succombé à la tentation d’un nouvel inconnu.

Now, all of these people were not the spawn of Satan; which it is not pointless to emphasize.  Because some governments and some of the press have attempted to have us believe it, and their opinion has become dogma in all political and financial circles under their hegemony.  In this respect, it should be recognized that the government of Canada to my knowledge took no official position,3 thus demonstrating an independence of mind that not all Canadians have dignified by imitating.  I must say moreover that I do not at all feel damned in the eyes of my compatriots because the French Canadians, antibolshevik as they are, always entertain a healthy mistrust of their good neighbors over the border:   and I think that at worst I will be taken for a wanderer who, having chased his Bohemia around the world, has succumbed to the temptation of a new unknown.

Mais je ne voudrais pas de cette absolution.  S’il y avait faute à entrer sur les terres ou trône le Père des Peuples, j’en suis solidairement coupable avec tous ces autres — conservateurs et socialistes, capitalistes et syndicalistes — qui se sont rendus à Moscou de bonne foi, à leurs frais, peu sollicités par le démon de la connaissance, et animés surtout par leur seul désir «de promouvoir une coopération internationale pacifique».

But I would not want this absolution.  If it was sinful to penetrate that soil where the Father of Peoples is enthroned, I am jointly guilty with all of these others  — conservatives and Socialists, capitalists and trade unionists  — who went to Moscow in good faith, at their own expense4, hardly wooed by the demon of knowledge, and above all motivated solely by their desire “to promote peaceful international cooperation”.

Problème de conscience

A problem of conscience

J’ai eu comme bien d’autres un problème de conscience à résoudre, et qui se posait à peu près comme suit.  Trop tôt après 1945 il devint apparent qu’il n’y avait plus que deux grandes puissances, basées sur deux systèmes fondamentalement incompatibles.  la formation de deux blocs s’ensuivit, et on nomma guerre froide les échanges de bons procédés de désagrégation.  Diverses tactiques plus ou moins honorables, plus ou moins habiles, furent essayées, puis survint l’offensive de la paix.

I, like many others, had a problem of conscience to resolve which presented itself more or less like this.  Too soon after 1945 it became apparent that there were only two superpowers, based on two fundamentally incompatible systems.  The formation of two blocs followed, and the name cold war was given to the exchange of fitting procedures of disaffiliation.  Various more or less honorable, more or less deft tactics were tried, then came the peace offensive.

Des million répondirent à l’appel de Stockholm et signèrent le manifeste antiguerre.  Des millions (et j’en étais) n’y virent que propagande, destinée à saper dans le bloc occidental la confiance des peuples en leurs gouvernements.  L’appel nous paraissait a sens unique; car nous savions que dix millions de voix canadiennes (par exemple) forceraient aisément le gouvernement du Canada a reduire ses préparatifs militaires; alors que cent cinquante millions de signatures soviétiques pourraient bien n’avoir aucun effet quelconque sur les décisions du Politbureau.

Millions responded to the Stockholm Appeal and signed the anti-war manifesto.  Millions (and I was one of them) saw in this mere propaganda, intended to undermine in the Western block the peoples’ confidence in their governments.  The appeal seemed to us one-sided; because we knew that ten million Canadian votes (for example) would easily force the government of Canada to reduce its military preparations; whereas a hundred and fifty million Soviet signatures could have no effect whatsoever on decisions of the Politbureau.5

Surgit alors l’idée de la Conférence économique.  Tactique encore, pouvait-on penser, par laquelle l’U.R.S.S. tentait de déterminer la politique des gouvernements adverses en misant sur la vénalité de leurs milieux d’affaires.  Car il était clair qu’à la Rencontre des agents soviétiques pour le commerce extérieur ne seraient que les instruments dociles d’un État monolithique; alors qu’au contraire les milieux commerciaux de l’Occident — s’ils y trouvaient leur avantage — exerceraient sur leurs gouvernements des pressions pour faire cesser la politique anti-soviétique de discrimination commerciale.

The idea then arose of the Economic Summit.  Another tactic, one might think, by which the U.S.S.R. was trying to determine the policy of adverse governments by betting on the venality of their business sectors.  Because it was clear that at the Summit, Soviet foreign trade agents would be nothing but the docile instruments of a monolithic State, while on the contrary, Western business milieux — if they found it to their advantage — would exert pressure on their governments to cease the anti-Soviet policy of trade discrimination.

Un risque légitime

A legitimate risk

L’objection étant de taille; mais à la différence de l’Appel de Stockholm, elle ne pouvait pas etre établie à priori.  Car on offrait ici un quid pro quo:  il s’afissait de voir quel il était.  La Rencontre se proposait d’augmenter les échanges commerciaux entre les nations, ce qui présupposait que chacune put y trouver son avantage.  Peu importe que les affaires fussent negociées entre individus privés et agences d’Etat, pourvu qu’elles fussent sérieuses et à l’avantage des deux parties.  Les affaires sont les affaires, et les démocraties capitalistes auraient mauvaise grâce de nier à leurs financiers d’explorer les avantages d’une offre commerciale.

The objection being proportionate; but unlike the Stockholm Appeal, it could not be established a priori.  Because there was an offer here of quid pro quo:   it was a matter of seeing what it was.  The Summit proposed to increase commercial trade among the nations, which presupposed that each one could derive an avantage.  It hardly matters that business was negotiated between private individuals and State agencies, provided that it was serious and to the benefit of both parties.  Business is Business, and it would be in poor grace if the capitalist democracies prohibited their financiers from exploring the advantages of a trade proposal.

On objecte alors que si l’U.R.S.S. était de bonne foi elle aurait pu s’adresser à la Commission économique de l’Europe, ou directement aux gouvernements occidentaux.  Mais il faut avouer que depuis cinq ans les discussions entre gouvernements n’ont guère entrainé le monde sur le chemin de la paix.

One then objects that if the U.S.S.R. was in good faith it ought to have addressed itself to the European Economic Commission, or directly to western governments.  But it must be admitted that for the past five years discussions between governments have hardly embarked the world on the road to peace.

Et puis, que risquions-nous?  Si la Rencontre était du truquage, nous pourrions tranquillement poursuivre la politique d’embargos.  Mais si, tout à coup, c’était sérieux, si, par peur ou par nécessité, ou par raison, les hommes du Politbureau voulaient vraiment développer le commerce multilatéral, devrions-nous refuser d’entendre leurs propositions?  Si notre blocus économique commencait véritablement à gêner les Soviétiques, si, en conséquence, ils se voyaient forcés à soulever un peu le rideau, devions-nous encore parler de reddition sans conditions et proclamer que plus rien n’importe sauf le blocus?  Était-ce la réaction ou la paix que nous voulions?  Et celle-ci avait-elle si peu de prix que nous devions rejeter sans examen le plus infime chance de la réaliser?

And so, what did we risk?  If the Summit was a trick, we could have quietly pursued the policy of embargoes.  But if all of a sudden it was serious, if, out of fear, or out of necessity, or out of logic, the men of the Politburo really wanted to develop multilateral trade, should we have refused to hear their proposals?  If our economic blockade had really begun to compromise the Soviets, if, in consequence, they felt forced to lift the curtain a bit, had we then to speak of unconditional surrender and proclaim that nothing matters any more except the blockade?  Was it the reaction or the peace that we wanted?  And was it at such a low price that we had to reject without examination the most negligible chance to bring it about?

Le citoyen moyen
n’est pas un imbécile

The average citizen
is not an imbecile

D’ailleurs, quelques centaines d’Occidentaux y auraient toujours gagné d’être allés jeter un coup d’oeil par derrière le rideau.  Si nous croyons encore à la démocratie, il faut avoir confiance que le citoyen moyen n’est pas un imbécile; qu’il ne sera pas complètement dupé du spectacle organisé pour son bénéfice; que c’est même son devoir de se former une opinion personnelle sur un pays quand même plus important que l’Andorre et le Liechtenstein, et qu’il n’est pas plus sot en affaires que les Soviétiques.  Nous pouvions même espérer que ces contacts entre hommes qui jusqu’alors se regardaient comme chiens de faience serviraient à amorcer pour l’avenir des rencontres sur une base plus humaine.  Le commerce reste la plus ancienne forme de collaboration internationale, et celle qui a forgé les liens d’interdependance les plus solides; aussi, la circulation des biens entre égaux vaut souvent mieux qu’ambassades et consulats.

Furthermore, several hundred Westerners would still have benefited from having gone to have a look behind the curtain. If we still believe in democracy, we must have confidence that the average citizen is not an imbecile, that he will not be completely fooled by the spectacle organized for his benefit; that it is even his duty to form a personal opinion on a country still larger than Andorra and Lichtenstein, and that he is no stupider in business than the Soviets.   We might even hope that these contacts among men who hitherto had stared at one another like earthenware dogs would serve to launch future meetings on a more human basis.   Trade remains the oldest form of international collaboration, and that which has forged the most solid bonds of interdependence; as well, the circulation of goods among equals is often worth more than embassies and consulates.

Mais pour profiter de cette chance au maximum, il eut été utile que des citoyens de première valeur vinssent à la Rencontre.  Tandis que — par la puissance du mot d’ordre américain — plusieurs délégations, telle la canadienne, n’étaient vraiment pas de première valeur.

But to glean the maximum benefit from this opportunity, it would have been useful had leading citizens come to the Summit.  Whereas — thanks to the power of the American war-cry — a number of delegations, such as the Canadian, were not really first-rate.

Faut-il y voir une nouvelle preuve d’une politique timorée et suiveuse?  Les Canadiens ont-ils failli encore une fois à exploiter les avantages d’une situation?  Ou ont ils fait preuve de réalisme en refusant de servir la propagande sovietique?  J’espère que les articles suivants fourniront les éléments d’une réponse.

Must this be seen as new evidence of a timid and conformist policy?  Have the Canadians once again failed to exploit the benefits of a situation?  Or have they been realistic in refusing to serve Soviet propaganda?  I hope that this series of articles will provide the elements of a reply.

LUNDI:  Premières rencontres.

MONDAY:  First encounters.

______
 

Translator’s Notes

1 Trudeau says the Moscow attendees noshed “caviar by the chock-spoonful”.  An interesting counterpoint to this 1952 assessment of conditions in the USSR is the 1956 short item in Vrai  (November 1955), “A Canadian Spy in Russia,” where René Lévesque affirms that the standard meal of the standard Russian under the Soviet regime is a big bowl of cabbage soup.  Said Lévesque, rather optimistically:

“Unhappy, miserable people?  No more than elsewhere.  The Russians seeming to eat rather well.  The equivalent of our “pea soup” might be this soup with boiled cabbages or beets which is served to you in very large bowls.”

 
2 Apparently, the “shades” most represented were pink to red.  According to Allan Stang in American Opinion (April 1971):

“Also in 1951, the Communist World Peace Council, and the Communist World Federation of Trade Unions, then run by V. V. Kuznetsov of Soviet Intelligence, began planning an international economic conference to be held the next year in Moscow. […]  The conference was held in April, 1952.  Of the 471 delegates, 132 were from officially Communist countries.  Observers at the time estimated that 300 of the remaining 339 were known or suspected Party members — which left 39 or so for window dressing.”

 
3 Trudeau says the Canadian government took no “official” position on the Moscow economic summit.  According to American Opinion (April 1971) Allan Stang (American Opinion, April 1971):

“Indeed, so obvious was the nature of the forthcoming conference that in December, 1951, then-Canadian Justice Minister Stuart Garson warned all Cabinet Ministers that it was a Communist operation, and advised that government employees should not attend.”

As we can tell from his paean to the Summit in Le Devoir, Trudeau, who was then an employee of Canada’s Privy Council Office in Ottawa under prime minister Louis Saint-Laurent, ignored that directive.
 
4 Trudeau says attendees at the Economic Summit came at their own expense; however, Trudeau’s own expenses had been covered by the Communist Party of Canada.  Allan Stang:

“The report of that conference, printed in Moscow, is now very hard to get.  All copies in Canadian libraries have disappeared.  You see a part of that report reproduced on Page 3.  As you see, one of the delegates was Pierre-Elliott Trudeau.  Indeed, the fact that Trudeau’s name appears first means he headed the Communist delegation.”

“Marcus Leslie Hancock, one of the six delegates from Canada, says the Canadian delegation was organized by the Canadian Communist Party, which also paid the delegates’ bills.  Hancock, then a Communist, says that everyone else he knew in the delegation was also a Party member.

 
5 And yet, while Trudeau was detaining the prime minister’s office in Canada, and despite the conclusions of the “Royal Commission on Security” that “the main current security threats to Canada are posed by international communism and the communist powers”, Trudeau himself reduced Canada’s military preparedness.  One cartoonist (Donato, Toronto Sun ) portrayed this reduction as Pierre Elliott Trudeau standing proudly under the dangling cork of a pop-gun.  Source:  Lubor Zink, writing in Viva Chairman Pierre, 1977, Griffin Press Limited, Toronto, pp. 25 and 94.  (Available at AntiCommunist Archive.com)  Which will tell you that Trudeau knew what he was doing; he deliberately subjected Canada to Soviet armed supremacy, while himself gearing up with the Parti Québécois (set up in 1967-68 on orders of a “secret committee” of “Liberals” of which he was a part, at Power Corporation) to dismantle Canada for Communism.  See my exclusive English translation of the PQ’s 1972 manifesto for a Communist state of Quebec, free download in the sidebar (blue lightning).
 
* This is a very, very nice French play on words using a couplet out of Arthur Rimbaud’s Ma bohème.  By association, it transforms the “U.R.S.S.” of Trudeau’s title, “L’auberge de la grande U.R.S.S.” into a homonym for “bear” in French, and the Great Bear is a well known symbol of Russia.  Great Bear is also a name of the northern Big Dipper; while Russia is northerly.

Unlike NAFTA (ALENA in French), U.S.S.R. (U.R.S.S. in French) is not pronounced as an acronym.  However, U.R.S.S.  on its own, as used here by Trudeau, can indeed be pronounced as an acronym, resulting in “OURSE” (French for “Bear”).  So this is a lovely pun on the Soviet Union as a northerly constellation, the Great Bear; and by pulling in Rimbaud, Trudeau transforms the Great Bear of the Soviet Union into his own “auberge” during the Moscow Economic Summit.
 

** It has been years since I have thought about reading a poem, let alone writing or translating one.  But Trudeau’s little coup d’état  up there with the Rimbaud couplet made me look up the whole poem, and I’ve attempted an English translation:

Ma bohème

Arthur Rimbaud

 

Je m’en allais, les poings dans mes poches crevées ;
Mon paletot soudain devenait idéal ;
J’allais sous le ciel, Muse, et j’étais ton féal ;
Oh ! là là ! Que d’amours splendides j’ai rêvées !

Mon unique culotte avait un large trou.
Petit-Poucet rêveur, j’égrenais dans ma course
Des rimes.  Mon auberge était à la Grande-Ourse.
Mes étoiles au ciel avaient un doux frou-frou

Et je les écoutais, assis au bord des routes,
Ces bons soirs de septembre où je sentais des gouttes
De rosée à mon front, comme un vin de vigueur ;

Où, rimant au milieu des ombres fantastiques,
Comme des lyres, je tirais les élastiques
De mes souliers blessés, un pied près de mon cœur !

My Wanderlust

Arthur Rimbaud
Translation by Kathleen Moore (16-09-2016)
 
Off I went, fists in my sagging pockets;
My overcoat suddenly become ideal;
Off I went, beneath the sky, Muse, loyal to you;
Ooh, la! la!  I dreamed only of splendid loves!

My only pants had a large hole.
Little Tom Thumb dreamer, I husked rhymes
Along my route.  My Inn was the Big Dipper.
My stars in the sky softly rustled

And I listened to them, sitting on the wayside,
Those good September nights when I felt the dew
Drops on my brow, like a strong wine;

Where, rhyming in the midst of fabulous shadows,
I pulled the elastics of my wounded shoes like harps,
one foot next to my heart!

 

PERMISSION:
Nota bene:  This French transcript and the exclusive English translation are by Kathleen Moore for the legal research purposes of Habeas Corpus Canada, The Official Legal Challenge to North American Union.  Document date: 16 September 2016, based on a rough draft on 14 September 2016.  Permission is given to use this document, with credit to its origin.  If you find this document useful or interesting, please support The Official Legal Challenge To North American Union:  PayPal: habeas.corpus.canada@live.com
 
P.S.  “Wanderlust”, my translation of Rimbaud’s “Ma bohème” is my copyright.

 

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