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Leon Trotsky 19390214 Letter to Charles Curtiss

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Charles Curtiss

February 14, 1939

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 11, 1938-1938, New York ²1974, p. 281 f.]

Dear Comrade Curtiss,

I must ask for your intervention in a matter which may seem to be of a personal character, but which has a general political importance.

You know, as do all the other comrades, of the generosity with which Diego Rivera and his family helped us during our installation and ultimate sojourn in Mexico. I accepted this help, especially the housing, because it came from a person whom I considered not only as a devoted militant of the Fourth International, but also as a personal friend. Now, as you know, the situation has undergone a radical change. I did everything I could to settle the crisis provoked by Diego Rivera's attempts to perform political miracles beside the Fourth International and against it. I did not succeed. The intervention of the Pan-American Bureau also seems to be without results. Diego Rivera even refused to correct absolutely false affirmations against me which he ^de behind my back. It is not necessary to go into detail again here, but it is morally and politically impossible for me to accept the hospitality of a person who conducts himself not as a friend but as a venomous adversary.

We are now looking for another house. Unfortunately, the experiences of the past two years have showed us that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a house which is more or less convenient from the point of view of security. In any case, we are compelled to live in this house until we find another. Through Comrade Van I proposed to pay a monthly rental to Diego Rivera, • but he refused categorically. He refused a common collaboration. He refused to correct his false and hostile assertions. Yet he wishes to impose his "generosity" upon me, using the special conditions which hinder me from moving freely from one house to another. I refuse to qualify this attitude.

I am enclosing two hundred pesos (a modest monthly rental) and I ask you to visit Diego Rivera and to explain to him again that he puts himself in a more and more false position; and that under the given conditions he cannot refuse to accept the payment. If in spite of all this he refuses, please transmit this payment to the treasury of Clave, noting it as the rent which Diego Rivera has not accepted. In this case, I shall consider Rivera's attitude as moral pressure to force me to move from the house immediately, regardless of whether we have or have not found another.

Comradely yours,

Leon Trotsky

P. S. — The allegation that the house belongs to Frida Rivera and not to Diego Rivera has neither sense nor value. Diego Rivera disposed of the house freely, made new acquisitions, reconstructions, and so on. The allegation is only a subterfuge in order to complicate a very simple question.

L. T.