[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
The denigration of Gareth Jones by Walter Duranty in The New York Times, Friday March 31st 1933.
RUSSIANS HUNGRY, BUT NOT STARVING
Deaths From Diseases Due to Malnutrition High, Yet the Soviet is Entrenched
LARGER CITIES HAVE FOOD
Ukraine, North Caucasus and Lower Volga Regions Suffer From Shortages.
KREMLIN'S 'DOOM' DENIED
Russian and Foreign Observers In Country See No Ground for Predications of Disaster
By WALTER DURANTY
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES
MOSCOW, March 30---In the middle of the diplomatic duel between Great Britain and the Soviet Union over the accused British engineers there appears from a British source a big scare story in the American press about famine in the Soviet Union, with "thousands already dead and millions menaced by death and starvation."
Its author is Gareth Jones, who is a former secretary to David Lloyd George and who recently spent three weeks in the Soviet Union and reached the conclusion that the country was "on the verge of a terrific smash," as he told the writer.
Mr. Jones is a man of a keen and active mind, and he has taken the trouble to learn Russian, which he speaks with considerable fluency, but the writer thought Mr. Jones's judgment was somewhat hasty and asked him on what it was based. It appeared that he had made a forty-mile walk through villages in the neighborhood of Kharkov and had found conditions sad.
I suggested that that was a rather inadequate cross-section of a big country but nothing could shake his conviction of impending doom.
Predictions of Doom Frequent.
The number of times foreigners, especially Britons, have shaken rueful heads as they composed the Soviet Union's epitaph can scarcely be computed, and in point of fact it has done incalculable harm since the day when William C. Bullitt's able and honest account of the situation was shelved and negatived during the Versailles Peace Conference by reports that Admiral Kolchak, White Russian leader, had taken Kazan - which he never did - and that the Soviet power was "one the verge of an abyss."
Admiral Kolchak faded. Then General Denikin took Orel and the Soviet Government was on the verge of an abyss again, and General Yudenich "took" Petrograd. But where are Generals Denikin and Yudenich now?
A couple of years ago another British "eyewitness" reported a mutiny in the Moscow garrison and "rows of corpses neatly piled in Theatre Square," and only this week a British news agency revealed a revolt of the Soviet Fifty-fifth Regiment at Duria, on the Manchurian border. All bunk, of course.
This is not to mention a more regrettable incident of three years ago when an American correspondent discovered half of Ukraine flaming with rebellion and "proved" it by authentic documents eagerly proffered by Rumanians, which documents on examination appeared to relate to events of eight or ten years earlier.
Saw No One Dying
But to return to Mr. Jones. He told me there was virtually no bread in the villages he had visited and that the adults were haggard, guant and discouraged, but that he had seen no dead or dying animals or human beings.
I believed him because I knew it to be correct not only of some parts of the Ukraine but of sections of the North Caucasus and lower Volga regions and, for that matter, Kazakstan, where the attempt to change the stock-raising nomads of the type and the period of Abraham and Isaac into 1933 collective grain farmers has produced the most deplorable results.
It is all too true that the novelty and mismanagement of collective farming, plus the quite efficient conspiracy of Feodor M. Konar and his associates in agricultural commissariats, have made a mess of Soviet food production. [Konar was executed for sabotage.]
But---to put it brutally---you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the Bolshevist leaders are just as indifferent to the casualties that may be involved in their drive toward socializaton as any General during the World War who ordered a costly attack in order to show his superiors that he and his division possessed the proper soldierly spirit. In fact, the Bolsheviki are more indifferent because they are animated by fanatical conviction.
Since I talked to Mr. Jones I have made exhaustive inquiries about this alleged famine situation. I have inquired in Soviet commissariats and in foreign embassies with their network of consuls, and I have tabulated information from Britons working as specialists and from my personal connections, Russian and foreign.
Disease Mortality Is High
All of this seems to me to be more trustworthy information than I could get by a brief trip through any one area. The Soviet Union is too big to permit a hasty study, and it is the foreign correspondent's job to present a whole picture, not a part of it. And here are the facts:
There is a serious shortage food shortage throughout the country, with occasional cases of well-managed State or collective farms. The big cities and the army are adequately supplied with food. There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.
In short, conditions are definitely bad in certain sections- the Ukraine, North Caucasus and Lower Volga. The rest of the country is on short rations but nothing worse. These conditions are bad, but there is no famine.
The critical months in this country are February and March, after which a supply of eggs, milk and vegetables comes to supplement the shortage of bread - if, as now, there is a shortage of bread. In every Russian village food conditions will improve henceforth, but that will not answer one really vital question---What about the coming grain crop?
Upon that depends not the future of the Soviet power, which cannot and will not be smashed, but the future policy of the Kremlin. If through climatic conditions, as in 1921, the crop fails, then, indeed, Russia will be menaced by famine. If not, the present difficulties will be speedily forgotten.
RELATED PUBLISHED ARTICLES
CLICK HERE to read Gareth Jones' published stinging reply to the Editor of the New York Times published on the 13th May 1933
CLICK HERE to read an almost forgotten, but equally-damning follow-up famine-denial article (6th April 1933) in the New York Times by Walter Duranty entitled; 'Soviet Industry Shows Big Gains'. In it, Duranty writes that by virtue of increased industrial output; 'is the most effective proof that the food shortage as a whole is less grave than was believed'. This second famine-denial article shows that Duranty’s intentions were to be continually deceptive & furthermore, his actions were clearly deliberate & premeditated in his original 'Russians Hungry, But Not Starving', published just a week previously.
CLICK HERE to read a Published Letter (6th April 1933) to the Editor of the New York Times by reader Katherine Schutcock refuting Duranty's infamous 31 March 1933 'Russians Hungry, But No Famine' article,
© The New York Times. 1933. N.B. The executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller, told The Washington Post on October 23 2003, that the newspaper would have no objection if the Pulitzer Prize Board wanted to revoke Mr. Duranty's award. Mr. Keller called Mr. Duranty's work "pretty dreadful. ... It was a parroting of propaganda." Therefore, if he referred to Duranty's 1931 articles as (Stalinist) propaganda, it will be taken as read that no royalties are due on this un-authorised reproduction of this libellous article against my great uncle. As such they are also perceived, as having no truthful value whatsoever, are only reproduced for academic and educational purposes, not intended to defraud The New York Times of any morally legitimate royalty revenue and are published without financial gain. In any event, the copyright for the above may well only reside, 75 years after its publication with the heirs of Walter Duranty, and with whom we have no personal animosity whatsoever. Nevertheless, any contention of copyright violation may by taken up under the jurisdiction of English Law. My service address for any legal correspondence is: Nigel Linsan Colley, 1, Crown Street, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, NG24 4UY. Any prosecution will, you can be assured, be defended in the public domain.
[With many thanks to E. Morgan Williams for supplying us with a copy of this article]
Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-11 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices. For all further details email: Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44) 07796 303 8888