Letter from the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. to
The Administration of the League Abroad, the Party Aid Groups,
and to All Party Members Abroad
V. I. Lenin
The final unification of the Party now makes it essential and urgent to develop on a wide scale the activities conduct ed by the Social-Democrats abroad and firmly unite the efforts of all working in this field.
Under the Party Rules (Paragraph 13), all Party work abroad is divided into two major spheres, organised on different lines. On the one hand, propaganda and agitation activities abroad are under the direct charge of the League Abroad and are concentrated in its hands. The Central Committee will take all measures to facilitate the complete centralisation of this work in the hands of the League and to assure it autonomy in the exercise of this function. On the other hand, assistance by the League to the movement in Russia is rendered only through persons and groups specially appointed for the purpose by the Central Committee.
While calling upon all members of the League, all aid groups and all Party members abroad to give the League the utmost support in its work of propaganda and agitation, the Central Committee intends now to focus its efforts on the organisation of these intermediate groups through which assistance to the movement in Russia should be rendered.
The Central Committee considers its tasks in this field to be as follows.
Assistance to the Russian movement from abroad will chiefly take the form of 1) dispatching revolutionary workers to Russia; 2) dispatching to Russia funds collected abroad; 3) gathering abroad such Russian contacts, items of news, and information as need to be communicated speedily to Russia with a view to aiding the comrades active there, preventing discovery and arrest, etc.; 4) dispatching literature to Russia, etc.
While not claiming that this is an exhaustive list of all forms of direct assistance to the Russian movement from abroad, we think, however, that it is sufficient for the time being to outline the chief forms and adapt the organisation we are creating to these. Experience will show how far this organisation will need to be modified in the future.
To begin with the matter of dispatching people for work in Russia. It would, of course, be desirable for most comrades going there to contact directly the Central Committee's chief agency abroad—in Geneva—and secure from it addresses, passwords, funds and the necessary instructions. But many of the people going will naturally not be able to come to Geneva, and the Central Committee therefore intends to appoint its agents in all foreign centres of any importance: London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, and others. Every person intending to leave for work in Russia is invited to apply to the local agent of the Central Committee, who will take all measures to enable him to reach his destination with maximum speed and safety and to co-ordinate his first steps with the Central Committee's general plan of allocation of forces and funds, etc. The Central Committee hopes that the League Abroad will render these Central Committee agents every assistance—for example, by acquainting as many as possible of our people abroad with the functions of these agents and the conditions for contacting them, by helping to arrange for maximum secrecy of these contacts, etc.
Since the dispatch of people to Russia from large foreign centres is a very big job, and since one person may not always be able to acquaint himself adequately with those being dispatched, the Central Committee will, where required, appoint not one agent, but .a group of agents, in accordance with Paragraph 13 of the Party Rules.
Further, as regards the dispatch of funds, the most desirable arrangement is for the collection of funds anywhere abroad to be completely concentrated in the hands of the League and for the Administration of the League to pass them over to the Central Committee. Only in urgent cases may we be obliged, as experience suggests, to have certain sums handed over directly by local sections of the League to local agents of the Central Committee, as when pressure of circumstances requires immediate aid in effecting an escape, in dispatching a person or literature, etc. The Central Committee hopes that the Administration of the League will give appropriate instructions to the sections and will devise the most suitable forms of accounting for sums collected and expended.
Next, it is common knowledge, of course, that persons arriving abroad from Russia very often communicate information which would be of the utmost importance to those working in Russia, as, for example, about the extent of arrests, the need to warn comrades in places remote from the scene of an arrest, the need to utilise contacts in Russia which the comrade escaping or otherwise leaving had no time or opportunity to utilise, etc. Of course, in proportion as all the Party work comes under the direction of the Central Committee, it will become increasingly possible to gather all such contacts and information in Russia itself, which is the only normal and desirable thing. But there is no doubt that for a long time yet there will be cases when comrades escaping from or legally leaving Russia will not manage, for one reason or another, to pass on their contacts in Russia, so that this will have to be done after they arrive abroad.
Lastly, the Central Committee will, of course, endeavour to concentrate the transport of literature as completely as possible in the bands of a special transport group, some of whose members will be abroad all the time. Special Central Committee agents will therefore be appointed to manage the Party literature depots in various foreign centres, to maintain communication with the frontiers, etc. But how ever efficiently the business of transport is organised, there will always, of course, be gaps which will have to be filled by seizing such chances as may present themselves, by (perhaps) dispatching suitcases,. utilising opportunities which may be offered by commercial or shipping arrangements, etc. All communications and items of information bearing on such matters should likewise be addressed to the Central Committee agents, with whom all such matters will be concentrated and who will act in accordance with the Central Committee's general plan and instructions.
In informing the League Administration of its plan of work, the Central Committee expresses its confidence that the League for its part will render every assistance to the Central Committee agents abroad, and in particular will take steps to enable these agents to acquaint themselves widely with the aid groups, youth circles, etc., etc.
Written: Written in the early part of December 1903
Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany VII. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works,Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 126-129.
Translated: Fineberg Abraham
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