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Leon Trotsky 19380305 The "Million Dollars"

Leon Trotsky: The "Million Dollars"

March 5, 1938

    [Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York 1970, p. 216-218]

Defendant Rosengolts, ex-people's commissar of foreign trade, states that particularly through the agency of his commissariat, "during the last years Trotsky received nearly a million dollars for his activities directed toward overthrowing the Soviet state." According to Moscow dispatches, Rosengolts further described the machinations carried on in the Commissariat of Foreign Trade for the purpose of concealing embezzlements from the state.

I make complete allowance for the possibility that such machinations were and are being carried on now in the Commissariat of Foreign Trade, as well as in other commissariats. In all likelihood, Rosengolts was primarily removed precisely because of the revelation of some kind of serious misuse of funds – I hope without his personal complicity. The lack of control over the regime is the nourishment on which thieves and thievery thrive. I had occasion to write about this dozens of times in the course of the past few years in various publications, especially in the Russian Biulleten Oppozitsii, edited by Leon Sedov in Paris. In all likelihood Rosengolts spoke the truth in this part of his testimony. Upon an entirely different plane stands the second part of his testimony concerning the transmitting to me of a "million dollars."

In order to bring a note of clarity from the very beginning of this whole affair, / state categorically: the only sum which I have received from the Soviet treasury since my banishment from Russia was $2,500 given to me by a GPU agent in Constantinople for the livelihood of myself and my family. This sum of course was given with complete legality and the agent secured a receipt from me. I have received no other sums from the Soviet treasury during the years of my present exile (1929-38) either legally or illegally, directly or indirectly, in dollars, sterling, marks, or in any other national currency.

Testifying further, Rosengolts stated the matter more precisely when he said that during each of the last three years, "Trotsky received more or less regularly nearly $110,000 a year." This addition of $10,000 to $100,000 is specified here of course in the interests of accurate bookkeeping. Precision is advisable also in falsehoods. I state categorically: I have received neither $100,000 nor $10,000; not even a single dollar from Soviet sources during the past three years, or during the six preceding.

It is not evident from the Moscow dispatches whether Mr. Rosengolts described how he transmitted such enormous sums to me: Through a bank? Through what kind of bank exactly? Who deposited the money in the bank and when? In whose name was the current account started? An immediate verification on this score is possible and imperative.

I have been in Mexico for more than a year. This means that the last $110,000 should already have reached me during my stay in Mexico. I repeat my questions: Through which bank? When? In whose name?

Or perhaps the money was handed to me by messenger in the form of a bank draft or in bags of gold. Who delivered these sums? When and where did this person reach me? Did he receive any kind of receipt from me? Where are these receipts?

One of the dispatches states that part of the sum was transmitted through some kind of "German firm." Thus the GPU evidently wishes to evade an investigation: Soviet justice cannot hope for help from fascist justice. For myself, I trust fascist justice as little as Stalin's. It is clear, however, that reference to a "German firm" represents merely a crude and miserable ruse. Rosengolts could not abandon this "secret" money to arbitrary disposition by the "firm." He could not have avoided making sure of a personal tie between this firm and me. His anxieties over the safe transmission of the money could have been satisfied only if the firm really handed over to me the amounts involved. Consequently, it must be known to Rosengolts exactly how this financial operation was accomplished, and he is obliged to relate everything he knows about it ... if he knows anything.

From the latest dispatches it appears that Rosengolts has testified that $630,000 of the million were remitted to my son Sedov. All the questions asked above retain their full force in this instance, too: Who? When? Through what bank?

In reality the world press has already refuted these lies before they were published. Upon the death of Sedov, all foreign correspondents in Paris commented, not without astonishment, upon the more than modest circumstances in which my son lived. I have at hand all the letters of Sedov written during the years of our exile. From these letters it is clear what great efforts he exerted to collect the amount necessary for the regular appearance of each issue of the Russian Biulleten, once a month or once in two months. Moreover, the question was not one of hundreds of thousands of dollars, but of about 2,000 francs, that is, at most $100. Sedov lived and died a proletarian.

Investigation of all the foregoing facts, as well as investigation of all my expenditures, starting with the fourteen months of my residence in Mexico, should represent no difficulties. It is true that no diplomatic relations exist between the USSR and Mexico. But through the League of Nations or through a third power, Soviet justice could easily find a means of approaching Mexican justice. There can be no doubt that the authorities of this magnanimous country will not refuse to cooperate with the investigation. But the question is not limited to Mexico. After my residence in Turkey, I lived in France and Norway. With both of these countries the USSR has not only normal but friendly relations. The people who surrounded me, the political organizations with which I am connected, are known by the entire world. Their income and expenditures can easily be checked. A million dollars in my modest budget could not remain unnoticed. So large a sum must leave some material trace. My alleged accomplices, the former "conspirators," the present defendants, and most of all Rosengolts, must know: (a) how I received the money; (b) how I spent it. Let them give some concrete facts which can be submitted to objective investigation in all the countries where I lived and worked. Verifications of this sort will inevitably reveal that upon the orders of the GPU, Rosengolts heaped slander not only upon me but also upon himself.

I challenge Mr. Troyanovsky, Soviet ambassador in Washington, and through him the Soviet government: before Rosengolts is executed or reported executed, institute an immediate investigation of the mythical million dollars. I pledge to present all my letters, documents, and financial accounts as I presented them to the New York Commission of Inquiry, headed by Dr. John Dewey.

I have no doubt that my challenge will not be accepted. The defendants will be executed or their execution announced. But some months later, perhaps a new trial will take place where new breast-beating "conspirators" will demonstrate the guilt of Rosengolts as Rosengolts has "bared" the guilt of the executed Marshal Tukhachevsky. Thus runs the course of the degrading and monstrous mechanics of Stalin's justice!