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Leon Trotsky 19390101 Letter to leading SWP members

Leon Trotsky: Letter to leading SWP members

January 1, 1939

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p 818 f., title “A GPU Stool Pigeon in Paris”]

Extremely confidential, extremely important, and extremely urgent, – I have received extremely important information from a source that is unidentified but claims to be in contact with senior GPU agents, to the effect that a long-standing collaborator of the Biulleten Oppozitsii is allegedly a stool pigeon: Mark. This stool pigeon was working until 1938 and perhaps is still working in Nikolaevsky’s institute. He is the one who allegedly stole the archives in this institute [in 1936]. His age: 32 to 35. Nationality: Jewish, from the Russian part of Poland. Writes well in Russian. Wears glasses. Has a wife and a very small child. This stool pigeon has no revolutionary past. That is why the confidence placed in him is astonishing. Moreover, nearly four years ago he was a member in Paris of the Society for the Repatriation of Russian Emigres. He was a stool pigeon even in this organization. This stool pigeon meets regularly with representatives of the Soviet embassy in Paris. The informant is sure that it would be very easy by shadowing this stool pigeon to confirm his relations with the embassy. That is the communication. As for its source, two versions are equally possible: (1) it’s a timid friend; (2) it’s the GPU, wanting to spread demoralization in our ranks. Both hypotheses should be examined and checked out. It is absolutely necessary to organize the shadowing in a discreet and effective manner. It seems to me that Nikolaevsky has to be brought into it. A commission of three should be created: Rosmer, Gerard, Nikolaevsky, plus two or three young people separately and in absolute secrecy, for the task of shadowing. If the information is confirmed, the opportunity must be arranged to denounce him to the French police as the robber of the archives under conditions that won’t permit his escape. Communicate this information to Rosmer immediately. The best way would be through Cannon if he has not already left [for Europe] or Shachtman if he should be leaving. Find a way [to get it there] yourselves. Acknowledge receipt immediately.

Greetings Van [Leon Trotsky].