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Leon Trotsky 19391207 The Dies Committee

Leon Trotsky: The Dies Committee

December 7, 1939

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 12, 1939-1940, New York ²1973, p. 130 f.]

In the Mexican press yesterday, dispatches from the United States reported that I might appear as a witness before the Dies Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States and make depositions concerning the activities of the Mexican and Latin American Communists, particularly in connection with the oil question. These dispatches are so worded as to imply that for several years I have turned documents over the agents of this committee, that I was visited in Mexico by the committee's representatives, and so on. These implications represent a pure invention from beginning to end.

On October 12, I received the following telegram from the committee:

"Leon Trotsky, Mexico City,

"Dies Committee of the United States House of Representatives invites you to appear as witness before it in the city of Austin, Texas. City designated with view to your personal convenience… The Committee desires to have a complete record of the history of Stalinism and invites you to answer questions which can be submitted to you in advance if you so desire. Your name has been mentioned frequently by such witnesses as Browder and Foster. This Committee will accord you opportunity to answer their charges…

"J. B. Matthews, Chief Investigator, Special Committee on Un-American Activities."

Independently of the political tendency of the chairman of this committee, I could not find it permissible to avoid appearing as a witness in a public investigation. My answer was:

"I accept your invitation as a political duty…"

It was a matter thus of my testimony about the "history of Stalinism" but in no case about the inner life of the Latin American countries. I have never had and I don't have a single document concerning the activities of the Latin American Communists or the oil question, and I could in no way present anything on this before the committee. None of its representatives have visited me in Mexico. I have never had and I don't have any connection with the unmasking of the real or pretended plans of the Latin American Communists.

If I should actually have to appear as a witness before the Dies Committee of the House of Representatives it would be upon the questions specified in the above-quoted telegram bearing the signature of Mr. Matthews. All the rest represents, as I have said, the product of a fabrication.