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Leon Trotsky 19390106 Letter to H. R. Knickerbocker

Leon Trotsky: Letter to H. R. Knickerbocker

January 6, 1939

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p. 819 f., “The Hearst Press Changes Its Mind”]

Dear Mr. Knickerbocker:

I should be very glad to meet you, one of the most remarkable journalists of our time, not only to answer all the questions you wish to ask me, but also to gain from you your impressions of world affairs; but … it is a question of the Hearst agency which you represent. The attitude of Mr. Hearst and his press during my ten years of exile has been very hostile toward me which is natural because we occupy opposite political poles. But his press has lacked elementary loyalty I publicly refused to give any statements to the Hearst press. Mr. Hearst for his part bought my statements from others and published them as if they were articles written directly for the Hearst press. Many of my unscrupulous adversaries in the opposite camp have affirmed over this period of years that I am in a bloc with Mr. Hearst who is in a bloc with Hitler.

You explained to my friend, Joe Hansen, as he has informed me, that the management of the Hearst agency and press has changed. It has become more loyal. Good. I am ready to open a new “era” in my relations with the Hearst press. That is, to treat it on the same basis as all other capitalist newspapers. But at the threshold of the new “era” I must have a small proof of loyalty. I will give my first statements to the reorganized Hearst press under two conditions: (1) the new management should telegraph confirmation that my statement, which naturally will be far from the position of the Hearst press, will be published integrally without any alterations; (2) I ask that for all my previous statements which have been printed illegally by the Hearst press, the new management pay, we will say, $1,000 toward the aid of German revolutionary exiles persecuted by Hitler (American Fund for Political Prisoners and Refugees, Room 1609, 100 Fifth Avenue, New York City, N.Y.). This modest payment would have a symbolic character and I hope would successfully inaugurate a new chapter in our mutual relations.

With best regards,

Leon Trotsky