Mr. Lockhart to Sir G. Clerk.
November 10, 1918.
Dear Sir George,
THE following points may interest Mr. Balfour :―
1. The Bolsheviks have established a rule of force and oppression unequalled in the history of any autocracy.
2. Themselves the fiercest upholders of the right of free speech, they have sup-pressed, since coming into power, every newspaper which does not approve their policy. In this respect the Socialist press has suffered most of all. Even the papers of the Internationalist Mensheviks like "Martov" have been suppressed and closed down, and the unfortunate editors thrown into prison or forced to flee for their lives.
3. The right of holding public meetings has been abolished. The vote has been taken away from everyone except the workmen in the factories and the poorer servants, and even amongst the workmen those who dare to vote against the Bolsheviks are marked down by the Bolshevik secret police as counter-revolutionaries, and are fortunate if their worst fate is to be thrown into prison, of which in Russia to - day it may truly be said, "many go in but few come out."
4. The worst crimes of the Bolsheviks have been against their Socialist opponents. Of the countless executions which the Bolsheviks have carried out a large percentage has fallen on the heads of Socialists who had waged a life-long struggle against the old régime, but who are now denounced as counter-revolutionaries merely because they disapprove of the manner in which the Bolsheviks have discredited socialism.
5. The Bolsheviks have abolished even the most primitive forms of justice. Thousands of men and women have been shot without even the mockery of a trial, and thousands more are left to rot in the prisons under conditions to find a parallel to which one must turn to the darkest annals of Indian or Chinese history.
6. The Bolsheviks have restored the barbarous methods of torture. The exami-nation of prisoners frequently takes place with a revolver at the unfortunate prisoner's head.
7. The Bolsheviks have established the odious practice of taking hostages. Still worse, they have struck at their political opponents through their women folk. When recently a long list of hostages was published in Petrograd, the Bolsheviks seized the wives of those men whom they could not find and threw them into prison until their husbands should give themselves up.
8. The Bolsheviks who destroyed the Russian army, and who have always been the avowed opponents of militarism, have forcibly mobilised officers who do not share their political views, but whose technical knowledge is indispensable, and by the threat of immediate execution have forced them to fight against their fellow-countrymen in a civil war of unparalleled horror.
9. The avowed ambition of Lenin is to create civil warfare throughout Europe. Every speech of Lenin's is a denunciation of constitutional methods, and a glorification of the doctrine of physical force. With that object in view he is destroying syste- matically both by executions and by deliberate starvation every form of opposition to Bolshevism. This system of "terror" is aimed chiefly at the Liberals and non-Bolshevik Socialists, whom Lenin regards as his most dangerous opponents.
10. In order to maintain their popularity with the working men and with their hired mercenaries, the Bolsheviks are paying their supporters enormous wages by means of an unchecked paper issue, until to-day money in Russia has naturally lost all value. Even according to their own figures the Bolsheviks' expenditure exceeds the revenue by thousands of millions of roubles per annum.
These are facts for which the Bolsheviks may seek to find an excuse, but which they cannot deny.
R. H. B. LOCKHART.