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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 17, 1946

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS POSED BY A. WERTH, MOSCOW CORRESPONDENT FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

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    In an interview for the Sunday Times, Stalin discusses his thoughts on foreign policy developments around the world.
    "Answers to the Questions Posed by A. Werth, Moscow Correspondent for the Sunday Times ," September 17, 1946, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, I.V. Stalin, Sochineniia, vol. 16, pp. 37-39. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134373
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134373

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Answers to the Questions Posed by A. Werth,

Moscow Correspondent for the Sunday Times

Sept. 17, 1946

Werth: Do you believe in a real threat of a "new war," about which many irresponsible conversations are presently conducted throughout the world? What steps must be taken to prevent the war if such a threat exists?

Stalin: I do not believe in a real threat of a "new war." It is mostly military-political spies and their few adherents among the civil officials who are making noise about a "new war." They need this uproar, if only in order to: a) intimidate naive politicians from among their contractors with the specter of war and thus help their governments extract greater concessions from the contractors and b) paralyze the demobilization of troops and thus prevent the rapid rise of unemployment in their countries. One must differentiate sharply between the sensation concerning a "new war," which is being spread now, and the real danger of a "new war," which doesn't exist at present.

Werth: Do you believe that Great Britain and the United States of America are consciously engaging in "capitalist encirclement" of the Soviet Union? Stalin: I do not believe that the governing circles of Great Britain and the United States of America could accomplish "capitalist encirclement of the Soviet Union" even if they wanted something which, however, I cannot confirm.

Werth: To use the words of Wallace in his last speech, can England, Western Europe, and the United States believe that Soviet policy in Germany will not be turned into an instrument for aspirations directed against Western Europe? Stalin: I consider it unthinkable for the Soviet Un ion to use Germany against Western Europe and the United States of America. I consider it unthinkable not only because the Soviet Union is linked with Great Britain, France, and the United States by a mutual aid agreement against German aggression - the decisions of the Potsdam conference of the three great powers - but al so because a policy of using Germany against the Western Europe and the United States of America would mean a departure by the soviet Union from its fundamental national interests. In short, the policy of the Soviet Un ion concerning the German question is geared towards the demilitarization and democratization of Germany. I think that the demilitarization and democratization of Germany is one of the most important guarantees of establishing a stable and long-lasting peace.

Werth: What is your opinion of accusations that the policy of the communist parties of Western Europe are "dictated by Moscow"?

Stalin: I consider this accusation absurd and copied from the bankrupted arsenal of Hitler and Goebbels.

Werth: Do you believe in the possibility of friendly and long-lasting cooperation between the Soviet Union and the western democracies, in spite of ideological disagreements, and in "friendly competition" between the two systems, about which Wallace spoke?

Stalin: I absolutely believe [in this] .

Werth: While the Labour Party delegation was where, you, from what I understand, expressed confidence in the possibility of friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. What would aid in the establishment of these relations, which the broad masses of the English people fervently desire?

Stalin: I am really confident in the possibility of friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. The establishment of such relations would greatly assist in strengthening political, trade, and cultural ties between these countries.

Werth: Do you consider that a rapid withdrawal of all American troops from China is necessary for peace in the future?

Stalin: Yes, l do consider [this to be true].

Werth: Do you consider that the monopoly possession of the atomic bomb by the United States is one of the chief threats to world peace?

Stalin: I do not consider the atomic bomb to be such a serious power as certain political figures, who are inclined towards it. Atomic bombs are set aside for frightening those who have weak nerves, but [atomic bombs] cannot decide the fates of war, because an atomic bomb is entirely insufficient for this. Of course, the monopoly possession of the secret of the atomic bomb creates a threat, but there are at least two means [to be used] against this: 1 ) the monopoly possess ion of the atomic bomb cannot continue for long, and 2) the utilization of the atomic bomb will be forbidden.

Werth: Do you suppose that, with the further progress [lit. "movement"] of the Soviet Union towards communism, the possibilities for peaceful cooperation with the outside world will diminish, so far as regards the Soviet Union?

Stalin: I am convinced [lit. "do not doubt"] that the possibilities of peaceful cooperation will not diminish, but might even increase.

"Communism in one country" is entirely possible, especially in such a country as the Soviet Union.