Leon Trotsky‎ > ‎1938‎ > ‎

Leon Trotsky 19380904 Letter to the SWP

Leon Trotsky: Letter to the SWP

September 4, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York ²1976, p. 440 f. “Another Stalinist Ploy”]

Dear Friends:

This very moment we received from the United States from an absolutely reliable source the following information which we request that you give the widest possible publicity. Our informant for considerations of security did not venture to approach you directly and preferred to address us. But you could safely declare that you received this information on the spot, in New York.

A few months ago Hernan Laborde, leader of the Mexican Stalinist party, "left for Moscow." At least that is what the entire Mexican press carried. In reality, Laborde remained all the time illegally in the United States. His task, as will be seen from what follows, was to utilize the preparation for the September congresses in Mexico for a decisive blow against Trotsky, Diego Rivera, and their friends. In connection with the work of the Congressional committee, the police apparently stumbled on Laborde's tracks. At any rate, that was the impression of the leaders of the Communist Party, who became terrified of an international scandal and of compromising the New York agency of the GPU. Laborde received an order to leave the United States immediately. There is no reason to believe that he went to the USSR. On the contrary, there are data that he returned clandestinely to Mexico where he kept his incognito in order to support the version of his stay in the USSR.

The Mexican Communist Party is now fully subordinated to the leaders of the Communist Party of the United States and through these latter receives all orders from Moscow. This strange order of things is very easily explainable. Mexico has no Soviet institutions and the agents of the GPU in Mexico, having no diplomatic coverage, are obliged to the strictest secrecy. They therefore avoid any direct contact with the local Communist Party, fearing that it might harbor police agents. In the United States the most important agents of the GPU enjoy diplomatic immunity and can therefore transmit the most secret instructions to those leaders of the Communist Party who enjoy the unquestioned confidence of the GPU. These trusted persons, in turn, transmit the instructions to Mexico.

The latest instructions received by Laborde in the middle of August were to strengthen the campaign of persecutions against Trotsky and his friends, not confining it to political and bureaucratic measures, but passing over to "direct action" (literal expression). In connection with the murders of Trotskyites in France, Switzerland, and especially in Spain, it is not hard to guess what "direct action" means.

The Central Committee of the Mexican Communist Party has already informed New York that they have started to carry out the received instructions. A strictly conspiratorial meeting was convoked with the participation of only certain members of the Central Committee and organizers of "fighting actions," among them two or three foreigners who arrived in Mexico in connection with the preparation of the congress "against war and fascism." At this meeting the reporter (apparently Laborde himself) demanded not only that the political campaign against the Trotskyites be strengthened tenfold but that the necessary atmosphere be created "for the physical liquidation of Trotsky and some of his friends" (literal expression). In regard to the "political" campaign the reporter promised full material assistance on the part of the Minister of Education, Mr. Vazquez Vela, and his nearest assistants. A parallel campaign, in the words of the reporter, is being carried on by the trade union secretary, Lombardo Toledano, who during his recent trip to Europe received all the necessary instructions from the GPU and also the necessary material means (in particular a slanderous film against Trotsky). Among the deputies in the congress there are a great number of foreign agents of the GPU whose main task consists in creating in Mexico a "favorable atmosphere" for carrying out the latest Moscow instructions.

We repeat once more – we absolutely guarantee the trustworthiness of our source. You can safely begin a campaign, with all necessary energy, drawing all our friends into it. It is very important not to lose a moment's time. It is necessary, in particular, to invite the representatives of the Mexican press in New York and transmit to them the facts given above.

Hansen [Trotsky]