March 30, 2016

The records of the investigation of American immigrants by the Council of People’s Commissars. 1921 - Stoklitsky

A Conversation with Comrade Stoklitsky

25 January, 1921.

About American Re-migrants.

The first groups of workers from America started arriving in the middle of November of last year, each group contained 80 people. They were, without exception, Communists: in their tracks non Communists started to arrive. By the 25th of January a total of 300 Communists and 3,500 workers arrived. This wave started from when the American government started to give Russian immigrants passports to leave for Russia.

By the testimony of the Communists in Russia who have come from America, many more will be coming. Right now there is a waiting list that consists of over 100,000 people.

Two years ago, when the American government did not yet give out passports, it received over 1,000,000 requests for exit to Russia.

This number is officially published in America.

These workers are a very good element as qualified strength (who are accustomed to highly specialized jobs in mass production) if we will be able to use them, but the additional demands and unfamiliarity with Rus- sian reality could be politically dangerous.

The workers bring with them, from America, trunks full of all sorts of goods and some substantial sums of money (from 100 to 1,000 dollars each), which, in our conditions, make them millionaires. This leads to profiteering around them and leads to a proprietary atmosphere.

The revolutionary attitude of the arriving workers quickly diminishes and turns to a counter-revolutionary attitude.

The American workers can only be controlled thanks to the Communist cell among them which consists of the Communists that came with them as well as those that have been infused here.

In most cases those that arrive are strong, energetic people. If they are not established as they should be in Moscow, they could in response spread out among the villages and cause serious danger by becoming the initiators of a counter-revolutionary organization.

It is necessary to regulate and organize a border currency exchange for the dollars of American workers to be changed to Soviet money. Right now in these matters there is complete confusion. For example: Vnesh- torg gives 300 Soviet rubles per dollar, Ganetsky, on the average, gave 4,000 rubles per dollar, now it is 2,000 rubles, speculators here and in other countries buy dollars for anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 Soviet rubles.

For the regulation of the issues regarding the arrival of immigrants from Moscow, as part of the Narkomtrud, the Central United Commission has been cre- ated for the arrival of American immigrants. This com- mission was originally formed as the Central Moscow Commission.

There are branches of the United Commission in Pet- rograd, Yamburg, Senezh and all border crossing points. It is proposed that immigrant houses be organized in Libava and smaller points in Riga and Revel, where there are representatives of this commission who will be able to keep newly arriving workers out of the influ- ence of the White Guard and Latvian organizations. In Latvia there are branches of the United Commission. The building of an immigrant house in Riga and Revel are being held up by a lack of funds, which the United Com- mission at this point is still not able to receive.

Tsentroevak does not wish to consider the specifics of the American workers and does not separate them from other refugees, immigrants and prisoners of war.

Now, when Tsentroevak has seen that the Central United Commission has begun to deal with this it has completely forsaken its work.

Narkomtrud is only interested in this from the per- spective of assigning the workforce. Even in this they are not very careful, not publishing questionnaires and often making terrible mistakes, not using valuable specialists, mis-assigning them, which all leads to a terrible discontent among them.

Seeing that American workers are a valuable strength for our industries, it would follow to make Narkomtrud put more energy into clearing up the process of arrival and assignment of American workers.

Comrade Stoklitsky, Administration of the Activities of Sovnarkom, it is proposed that for all of the mat- ters that were touched on a list of practical propos- als be submitted to the United Commission and passed on to the Administration of the Activities of Sovnarkom and to the Narkomtrud no later than the 29th of Janu- ary, 1921.

N. Gorbunov 25-1-21

[Reserve 5, List 1, Case 146, Sheet 6. The original was written on a typewriter. The signature of Gorbunov was written by hand. At the beginning of the docu- ment, in Gorbunov’s handwriting there were two notes: “In Regard to American Immigrants. I ask C. Beloyartsev to see that C. Stoklitsky will offer a practical proposal by 1.29. N. G.” and “Executor N.G.”]

Vneshtorg—the bank for foreign trade. Ganetsky, Yaroslav (Furstenburg) (1879–1937)—social democrat, a member of the Social Democrat Party of the Polish and Latvian Kingdoms and the RSDRP. In 1917, was a member of the RSPRD’s Foreign Bureau’s Central Committee. After the Revolution did diplo- matic work; from 1921–1922, was a member of the college of the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs (NKID), trade (Narkomtorg) and the Presidium of VSNKh. In 1935, became director of the State Museum of the Revolution of the USSR. Was executed.

Narkomtrud—the People’s Commissariat of Labor, created with the other people’s commissariats in October of 1917. In 1948, it was reorganized into a ministry. Yamburg—a city in the Leningrad oblast, later renamed Kingiselp. Senezh—lake in northwestern Moscow. Revel—a city previously called Talpin. Libava—a city previously called Liepaja located in Latvia. Tsentrozvakh—Central Committee in charge of refugee affairs. Gorbunov, Nikolai (1892–1937)—from November 1917, the personal secretary of V. Lenin, secretary of the SNK. From December 1921, was director of affairs of the SNK and STO. Was executed.