Relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain between the two world wars were marred by a complete lack of mutual trust and understanding. The ill-feeling occasioned by Russia’s withdrawal from the war and the consequent allied intervention was not in itself sufficient to account for the enduring estrangement; and even the difference in social and economic systems was of only marginal importance. Although the so-called Conservative die-hards may have been filled with horror at the Socialist experiments, the more practical men of affairs in control of British foreign policy throughout the inter-war years must have had other, more compelling motives for rejecting the pragmatic course of normal relations with a de facto regime. In essence, the cause of the difficulties lay in the unique attitude of the Soviet leaders to other foreign powers. They were committed to an internationalist philosophy which, if carried to its logical conclusions, was bound to lead them to pursue interventionist policies and to foment revolutions wherever practical. The rule of law, conventions of international practice concerning non-intervention in the affairs of other states, the sanctity of bilateral and multilateral treaties and obligations, all have no secure place in the outlook of an adherent of Marx and Lenin. If lip-service is paid to any of these things, it is, as almost all the architects of British foreign policy have readily perceived, no more than a tactical manoeuvre on the part of the Soviet Union.
KeywordsLabour Party Slave Labour Multilateral Treaty Soviet Leader Interventionist Policy
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- 2.The most extreme exponent of the policy of non-recognition was the United States during the years prior to the advent of F. D. Roosevelt. Secretary of State F. B. Kellogg defined his country’s attitude with complete frankness in February 1928 in these words: ‘No result beneficial to the people of the United States, or, indeed to the people of Russia would be attained by entering into relations with the present regime in Russia so long as the present rulers of Russia have not abandoned those avowed aims and known practices which are inconsistent with international friendship’. Cited in Sir Bernard Pares, ‘Anglo-Russian Relations’, Journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, VIII (1929) 490.Google Scholar
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