No nation has been so consistently misunderstood and so uncandidly studied as Soviet Russia. Never in its history has the Western world so needed comprehensive and reliable information on Soviet endeavors to extend the communist society throughout the world. Yet Russia is still hidden to the West. Her ambitions, her objectives and her strategy are shrouded in a deliberate obscurity which few Western observers succeed in penetrating. Available sources on Russian history are scarcely known in this country because we permit the minor obstacle of language to become an insurpassable difficulty. Our judgments are too often formed from an indiscriminate jumble of fact, fancy, rumor and speculation. We, too, have helped to forge the Iron Curtain.
This volume is the first in a series which will present every bilateral diplomatic instrument to which the Soviet Government has become a party since 1917. It is not a critical selection, but as complete a record of Soviet policy as time and facilities in this country have permitted. In a few cases, texts and summaries of documents we sought could not be found. The subjects of these, however, are such that their unimportance seems assured.
The documents are presented chronologically, each with a number to establish its position and simplify reference. Place and date of signature, and of ratification where pertinent, are indicated at the head of the treaty or agreement. The signatures of the governmental representatives are included in the place where they first appear in the original text.
The texts of some documents were omitted because they followed verbatim or mutatis mutandis others already included in our compilation. Annexes of great detail and relative insignificance have also been deleted. A few alleged secret agreements are included in the appendix. Their authenticity should be judged according to the reliability of their source.
Translation was manifestly our most difficult problem. Official translations or those from reliable sources were used whenever possible, and were compared with the Russian text if one was available. In translations directly from Russian and other foreign languages, we have attempted to combine accuracy with idiomatic English, but we were often forced to be literal in order to be precise. For these translations, of course, we claim no official authority. The Russian texts are frequently in error: we have corrected this where possible by comparison with other versions.
I owe a heavy debt of gratitude and thanks to the many who gave generously of their time and knowledge towards the completion of this work: to the Very Reverend Hunter Guthrie, S.J., President of Georgetown University, who besides showing great interest and giving me constant encouragement, made available the facilities of Georgetown; to the Reverend Gerard F. Yates, S.J., Dean of the Graduate School, for his guidance and constructive criticism; to Dr. Stefan T. Possony, who gave constant advice and constructive criticism as faculty advisor of the project; to Dr. Cyril Toumanoff, whose enthusiasm and thorough understanding of Russian history, politics and language made possible the translation of numerous documents from Russian and other languages; to Professor Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor, who also assisted with translations from many languages; to Professor Tibor Kerekes, for his suggestions about the development of form and presentation; to Dr. Vladimir Gsovski, for valuable bibliographical information; to William F. DeMyer, J.H. Buchsbaum, Mrs. Tibor Kerekes, N.N. Mihailov, Colonel Wlodzimierz Onacewicz, formerly of the Polish Army, Mrs. C.E. Roberts and N.S. deTolly for assisting me with translations; to Gus A. Crenson, for assisting in the proof-reading and indexing, while offering constructive criticism; and to Thomas L. Lalley, who spent endless hours in criticizing style, proof-reading, assisting me with the research and in the formulation of an index.
Georgetown University, December 1949 L. Shapiro . . .