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Leon Trotsky 19380329 Roosevelt's Statement on Trotskyists in Russia

Leon Trotsky: Roosevelt's Statement on Trotskyists in Russia

March 29, 1938

    [Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York ²1976, p. 310]

On March 25, President Roosevelt announced to press representatives that the United States remains, as formerly, a land of refuge for all those subjected to political or religious persecution: for instance, "Catholics in Barcelona; anti-fascists in Italy; Trotskyists in Russia; Jews, Protestants and Catholics in Germany and Austria. . . ."

Every thinking person will understand the significance of the reference in this connection to the "Trotskyists in Russia." No one will suspect the president of the United States of sympathy for so-called "Trotskyism." But it is not a question of this. Neither is it a question merely of the simple right of asylum. For if the Trotskyists were but one percent of what Moscow justice pictures them to be they could not lay claim to the right of asylum. No country would open the gates to people who under cover of false political slogans occupy themselves with espionage, sabotage, poisoning, and crimes of a like nature. In addition, during the last two trials, the Moscow accusers tried especially to prove that "Trotskyists" are in alliance with Japan against the United States. If in spite of all this the president of the U.S. has mentioned "Trotskyists" among those persecuted political currents which can count upon the right of asylum in the U.S., that merely means that Mr. Roosevelt does not believe the Moscow accusations. The political and moral weight of this fact is the more significant in that Mr. Roosevelt expresses in the present instance the firmly crystallized conviction of the overwhelming majority of civilized humanity.