July 28th, 2016

Voikov

Bertram D. Wolfe. The Case of the Litvinov Diary

Encounter, January 1956
Encounter, January 1956, pp. 39-47.

Bertram D. Wolfe
The Case of the Litvinov Diary
A True Literary Detective Story


Since a consideration of Litvinov’s Notes for a Journal[1] involves the reputation and professional judgment of a historian, two publishers, the vendor of the manuscript, and a defenceless dead man, the writer feels that it is his duty to tell what he knows about the circumstances surrounding the book’s publication.

Some time in 1952 or early 1953, Gregory Bessedovsky, former Soviet diplomat resident in Paris, approached officials of various governments and publishing houses, with the manuscript of a diary of the recently deceased Maxim Litvinov (died I951). At the suggestion of a high official of the British Foreign Office, the English publisher, André Deutsch, enlisted the services of Edward Hallett Carr to investigate the manuscript’s authenticity. After reading the Russian typescript, Professor Carr encouraged Deutsch to go ahead with the book, and undertook to go to Paris for further checking. There he picked up the following trail: Gregory Bessedovsky, who offered the book for sale, said he had it from a Mr. X, a Russian businessman in Paris ("politically colourless"), who had it from Mr. Y, resident in Stockholm, who had it from Alexandra Kollontay, who had it from Litvinov. Mr. X proved of no interest; Mr. Y refused to come to Paris or to meet Professor Carr in Stockholm, but consented to answer questions in writing "given to Bessedovsky". Kollontay was dead, Litvinov was dead. That left Gregory Bessedovsky as the only direct source of information.
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Voikov

Bertram D. Wolfe. On the Horizon: The Litvinov

Bertram D. Wolfe
V-Logo-Commentary
On the Horizon: The Litvinov
The “diaries of Maxim Litvinov” reveal once again how compatible Soviet, or Stalinist, sympathies are with a furtive kind of…
BERTRAM D. WOLFE / AUG. 1, 1956

Sometime in 1952 or early 1953, Gregory Bessedovsky, a former Soviet diplomat resident in Paris, approached officials of various governments and representatives of publishing houses with a manuscript purporting to be the diary of Maxim Litvinov, who had died in 1951. At the suggestion of a high official of the British Foreign Office, a British publisher, André Deutsch, asked the historian Edward Hallett Carr to investigate the manuscript’s authenticity. After reading the Russian typescript, Professor Carr encouraged Deutsch to go ahead with the book, and undertook to go to Paris himself for further checking. There he picked up the following trail: Gregory Bessedovsky, the man offering the manuscript for sale, said he had gotten it from a Mr. X, a Russian businessman in Paris (“politically colorless”), who had gotten it from a Mr. Y resident in Stockholm, who had gotten it from the late Alexandra Kollontay, then Russian ambassadress to Sweden, who had gotten it from Litvinov himself. Mr. X proved of no interest; Mr. Y refused to come to Paris or to meet Professor Carr in Stockholm, but consented to answer written questions “given to Bessedovsky.”
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