Skip to content


1 - 10 of 44


February 1927

Statement of the Delegation of the "Etoile Nord Africaine" ("North African Star") by Hadj-Ahmed Messali

The presenter of this address, Ahmed Ben Messali Hadj (1898-1974), is known as the “father” of Algerian nationalism, one of whose foremost biographies is Benjamin Stora’s Messali Hadj, 1898-1974 (2012). Having served in the French army in 1918-1921, Messali Hadj for economic reasons moved to Paris. There, he met his French wife, the leftist Emilie Busquant. In 1925, he was recruited to the French Communist Party’s (PCF) colonial commission. In June 1926, he co-founded, and became Secretary General of, the Etoile Nord Africaine (ENA), which at first demanded political and legal equality for France’s Muslim North Africans. As this text shows, demands shifted by February 1927. That month, ENA functionaries including Messali Hadj travelled to Bruxelles. Together with leftists and delegates from three dozen colonized countries, they participated in the founding conference of the League against Imperialism (LAI), which was initiated by the Moscow-headquartered Comintern and organized by the PCF and the German communist Willi Münzenberg; the experience in Bruxelles of one non-Arab delegation, India, has been analyzed in Michele Louro’s Comrades against Imperialism: Nehru, India, and Interwar Internationalism (2020).

It was in Bruxelles that Messali Hadj held the below address, speaking ex catedra as his notes had disappeared. The LAI was soon paralyzed by discord between communists and activists for whom allying with communists was a means to an anticolonial end; in 1936, it dissolved. Even so, it was the first truly international attempt to combat imperialism, as shown by the edited volume The League against Imperialism: Lives and Afterlives (2020). As for the ENA, it in 1928 cut its ties with the PCF, being too independent-minded and -organized and vexed that the PCF, following the Comintern line, was moving away from ENA’s ideas about self-determination. In 1929, the French government outlawed ENA. In the 1930s Messali Hadj became closer inter alia to Shakib Arslan, translated excerpts of whose work Why Muslims Lagged Behind and Others Progressed is included in this collection. Even so, in 1936 to early 1937 a rebranded ENA shortly joined the leftist French Front Populaire, but then again was closed down. Messali Hadj reacted by establishing the clandestine Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA), which—a shift—demanded absolute Algerian autonomy within the French Republic.

Condemned by the Vichy government to hard labor in 1941, Messali Hadj returned to Algeria in 1945. He continued to play a leading political role, founding in 1946 a PPA successor, the Mouvement pour la triomphe des libertés démocratiques. But from 1954, his star declined. By 1957, the Front de Libération Nationale, the new organization that in November 1954 started the War of Independence, ravaged the Mouvement National Algérien that Messali Hadj had founded that month, too. Politically neutralized, he stayed in France. He was allowed to return to Algeria only after his death, in 1974, for burial in his hometown of Tlemcen.

May 18, 1925

J.V. Stalin, 'The Political Tasks of the University of the Peoples of the Far East: Speech Delivered at a Meeting of Students of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East, May 18, 1925'

After World War I, several communist movements tried to replicate the Bolsheviks’ take-over of Russia in European countries, most importantly and most often in Germany. All failed. As a result, the Soviet leadership and communists worldwide from around 1920 focused more energies on colonized countries, especially in Asia. As most of these seemed to lack the economic and sociopolitical conditions necessary for a communist revolution, the aim was to weaken if not overthrow European imperial rule, serving the interests of both the USSR and the local petit bourgeoisie, peasants, and few industrial workers. The perhaps greatest price was China. Moreover, India was seen to be (exceptionally) ripe for direct communist action.

Communists and some anti-colonial nationalists were also active in and across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, often sharing resources while being networked with the Communist International. Abbreviated as the Comintern (also the Third International), the latter was thekey international communist organization: founded in 1919 in Moscow, headquartered there, and employing through its dissolution in 1943 thousands of professional cadres from around the world, principally from Europe and Asia, as Brigitte Studer’s Reisende der Weltrevolution: Eine Globalgeschichte der Kommunistischen Internationale (2020) shows. Also in the Soviet Union, the year 1920 saw the landmark Congress of the Peoples of the East, in Baku. And in 1921, the Communist University for Laborers of the East (Kommunistichyeskii univyersityet trudyaschikhsya Vostoka, KUTV) opened its doors in Moscow. It became the first full-fledged Soviet training center for Soviet Muslims and for foreign communist cadres, principally from Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, and it impacted Soviet views of the East, as Lana Ravandi-Fadai and Masha Kirasirova have shown in “Red Mecca” (2015) and “The ‘East’ as a Category of Bolshevik Ideology and Comintern Administration” (2017), respectively. The text here is the English translation, published in 1954 in the collection J. V. Stalin: Works: Volume 7, of a Russian text published in 1925 in the principal Soviet newspaper, Pravda, rendering a speech that the 1924-1953 Chairman of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) held to KUTV’s students in 1925.

June 29, 2020

Interview and Discussion with Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Discussion with Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Defense Secretary and Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, about the 1990s and the new relationship that formed after the Cold War.

May 7, 1968

Memo to the CPSU CC: Regarding the Decision of the Communist Party of India (CPI) to Oppose Signing the NPT

This memo informs the Central Committee of the USSR of the Communist Party of India's decision to oppose signing the NPT due to perceived infringements on Indian sovereignty and a mistrust in the concept of security guarantees to India by the US. The recommended course of action is to forward comprehensive information to the CPI about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons along the lines of a March 29 CPSU CC decree of that year in the hopes that the CPI's opinion on the NPT will change.


Memo to the Soviet Ambassador to India: Appeal to the Leadership of the Indian Communist Party on the Question of the NPT

In this memo, the Soviet Ambassador to India is urged to meet with the leadership of the Indian Communist Party (Rao and Dange) and inform them, in light of the 22nd UN General Assembly session discussing the NPT, of the Soviet stance on the Treaty. The ambassador is instructed to emphasize the importance of nuclear non-proliferation for international geopolitical reasons, including preventing West Germany and China from acquiring nuclear weapons, as well as increasing domestic prosperity by using the atom for peaceful means. The ambassador is told to emphasize efforts of the USSR to prepare the draft treaty in collaboration with non-nuclear countries, as well as security guarantees in place for non-nuclear countries so that the Indian government greets the Treaty with understanding.

November 25, 1989

National Intelligence Daily for Saturday, 25 November 1989

The CIA’s National Intelligence Daily for 25 Nov 1989 describes the latest developments in Czechoslovakia, Lebanon, East Germany, Western Europe, the Soviet Union, South Africa, El Salvador, Uruguay, India, and NATO-Warsaw Pact.

May 5, 1980

Annex 7: Interview with Deng Xiaoping, 17 April 1980 (Summary Report)

Deng and Berlinguer talk about the strategy of Indira Gandhi and the policy of the Soviet Union in South Asia.

November 30, 2016

Oral History Interview with Sha Zukang

Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs and Deputy Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

May 23, 1952

Despatch No. 652, American Consulate, Calcutta, India, to the Department of State, Washington, 'Transmitting Memorandum of Conversation between Consular Office and Prince Peter of Greece regarding Tibet'

US Consular Office William Gibson and Prince Peter of Greece discuss developments in Tibet and Indo-Tibetan trade. Princess Irene offers unflattering views on a group of White Russian refugees who exited Xinjiang via Kalimpong and later immigrated to the United States. In a cover note, Evan M. Wilson dismisses Irene's comments but notes that Prince Peter's information was 'quite accurate.'

October 19, 1964

J.S. Mehta, 'China's Bomb and Its Consequences on her Nuclear and Political Strategy'

Analysis of the recent Chinese nuclear weapon test and it's strategic implications for China's diplomatic and military policies.