In THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Shakespeare wrote: “Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long.”
But how long can it be hidden? A year? Ten years? Joseph Stalin’s murders have been rather well hidden for 35 years. It has taken that long for the mammoth extent of his murders to be described on the front pages of our newspapers. This is what Alexander Solzhenitsyn has accomplished with the publication of his explosive new book called THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, an autobiography which describes the secret hell of Soviet tyranny.
Solzhenitsyn tells that Stalin shot at least a half-million political prisoners during 1937 and 1938, and that some estimates place the figure at 1.7 million persons. This is in addition to the 12 million who were imprisoned in slave labor camp, subject to the most hideous torture which he describes in gruesome detail.
But look how the truth about Stalin’s savagery was hidden so long from the American public. President Franklin Roosevelt referred to him genially as “Uncle Joe.”
Our Ambassador to the Soviet Union during those very years, Joseph E. Davies, wrote a propaganda book called MISSION TO MOSCOW in which he described Stalin as “decent and clean-living kindly and gentle. A child would like to sit in his lap and a dog would sidle up to him, [Stalin’s government] proclaims and asserts constitutional protection for civil and religious liberty. … It is bad Christianity, bad sportsmanship, bad sense to challenge the integrity of the Soviet government.”
Then, there was President Harry Truman who, on June 11, 1948, described Stalin in these words: ” I like old Joe; he’s a decent fellow.”
The nagging question that Solzhenitsyn’s new book brings to mind is, are our leaders today victims of the same self-deception that Roosevelt and Davies and Truman were? The Communist system still rules with an iron hand, the slave labor camps are still there, and religious liberty and emigration rights are still denied.
Yet, President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger have sent American wheat, computers and factories to the same Brezhnev who armed the Arabs with invasion weapons. Now we hear that the U.S. Export-Import Bank is considering making a #49.5 million credit loan to the Soviet Union to help finance exploration for natural gas. The exploration is expected to lead to an estimated $10 billion U.S.-Soviet project to develop Siberian gas. That would be ten times the cost to the American taxpayers of the great grain robbery of last year.
Truth will eventually come to light. But how long will it take? And how much help will our leaders give the Soviets while the truth about Brezhnev is hidden from the American people as the truth about Stalin was?