By Stephen White
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Extra resources for Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920–1924
The Russians, he argued, were prepared to place large orders in the country, and many of the contracts were at an 'advanced state'. They were of the 'greatest importance ... from the commercial point of view and because of the menace of unemployment, of the likelihood that during this winter the slump will last for a considerable time'. If Britain did not engage in this trade it would be lost to other countries, and the debts would never be paid. The trading community as a whole, he believed, wanted to resume the trade, although there would be protests from some concessionaries.
Only rank-and-file pressure, he noted, had secured the adoption of the resolution on Russia at the party conference in June 1919; and it had been the non-Coalition Liberals, rather than the Labour members, who had raised the question of Russian policy most frequently in the House of Commons. The indifference and complacency of official Labour, he charged, amounted to 'practical support of the government's policy'. If the Allied adventure failed, as it seemed likely to do, it would 'not be due to the opposition of the British Labour Movement ...
39 The Committee was established at a meeting in London on 18 January 1919. Three hundred and fifty delegates were reported to have been in attendance, representing the major socialist societies and organisations as varied as the West London League for the Blind. A fifteen-man committee was elected, and a resolution was adopted which called for an 'active agitation upon every field of activity to solidify the Labour Movement in Great Britain for the purpose of declaring at a further conference, to be convened for that purpose, a general strike, unless before the date of that conference the unconditional cessation of Allied intervention in Russia ...