Various letters of support


From: Gerd Callesen
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 13:01:14 +0100
Subject: cpusa
Organization: NET-Dialog (

Dear Mark Rosenzweig,

Our institution - The Labour Movement Library and Archive, Copenhagen -
also has microfilms of the files of Danish CPs archive in Moscow. We
got these over ten  years ago but only with the approbation of the
Danish CP which was (and probably is) the owner of the archive. The
Danish archives were deposited in Moscow sometime during the 1920s and
later for security reasons. These reasons proved to be valid in 1941
when the Danish CP was banned and the files and archives still in
Copenhagen were taken over first by the Danish police and later by the
Nazis. The files go back to the period before the CP was founded, some
of its predecessors material were also placed in this archive.
There is no doubt that the archives in Moscow are the property of the
various national organisations and that these organisations (the
Communist Parties in the various countries) had to consent if they were
to be used by scholars. Only in the 1980s a proces began where
microfilms were made of these files, but the CPs were still the owner
of the archives. I remember that the French Communist Party negotiated
with the Moscow archives if the archives should remain in Moscow or be
transferred to Paris. I can  not remember the outcome but it is
probably useful for you to know, so you would have to contact the
French CP or its scholarly institution.
This shows clearly that everyone interested could know of these
archives, they were only secret in the sense that not everybody hat
access to them, and that access only could be granted with the consent
of the owners.
I do not know the Russian legal system, but I doubt that the Russian
authorities can confiscate foreign property without advising the owners
that they have done so.
I regret that I can not tell you more, but I hope for the benefit of
the scholarly community that you solve the problem with the Library of
Congress, and that the microfilms only can be used with the consent of
the owner, that is the CPUSA.
Gerd Callesen

P.S. If it is of use to you I can send you this letter on paper.


Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 10:57:41 -0500
From: "Paul Schultz"
Subject: Re: I need your support (Pt. 1)

     I quote:

     "Archivists should be aware of problems of ownership and should not
accept gifts without being certain that the donors have the right to make
the transfer of ownership."

      Article IV. Relations with Donors and Restrictions
      Society of American Archivists Code of Ethics

     Efforts by the Library of Congress to collect the papers of an
existing organization-- the CPUSA-- without the full cooperation of the
organization or its succeeding assigns or heirs is a clear violation of
the ethical standards of the archivists code of conduct. The full code can
be read at

     Agreement with the principles of the organization one is collecting is
irrelevant. The issue is the ethics of accquistion, an issue that
distinguishes archivists from treasure hunters.

Paul Schultz

Rare Books and Special Collections
Thomas Cooper Library
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29201


Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 15:11:36 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
From: Richard Kirkwood
Subject: Re: Archives as "Cold War booty"
To: Mark Rosenzweig 
Cc: Dr David Turner

Dear Mark,
I received your circular and, of course, I offer my support.
You might be interested to hear some anectdotal evidence
from friends/colleagues who have had occasion to research
in Moscow archives, including the Comintern. They have
encountered individuals and teams who seem to be using this
material primarily not to do research on politics or
activity but to build lists of names, many dead of course,
but some possibly still alive and/or still active.
Some people are trying to follow this up and identify
anyone engaged in this sort of thing in Britain so old
radicals can be warned. Might be worth a wider look
(British & German are the nationalities mentioned to me but
there may well be others).
Richard Kirkwood
Senior Lecturer in Social Science
University of North London


Date: Fri, 09 Mar 01 06:04:07
From: Richard Croucher
Subject: CPUSA papers
To: Mark Rosensweig

Dear Mark,
I'm writing to you to express my concern at the fate of the CPUSA papers.
I am an historian of the Communist Party of Great Britain (my books
Engineers at War (London, 1982) and We Refuse to Starve in Silence.  A
History of the NUWM (1987) both deal with the activities of the CPGB.  I am
now Lecturer in Cranfield University's Centre for Strategic Trade Union
Management in the UK.

The fate of these papers and the disturbing reports about the Library of
Congress is a matter of great concern to me.  CPUSA papers are relevant to
the history of the CPGB for obvious reasons.  It appears to me that the
Librarian should at the very least involve the CPUSA in the acquisition
process if only for the simple professional reason of checking their
accuracy.  It is well known that Russian agencies have forged documents for
sale in the west on numerous occasions.

With best wishes.

(Dr)Richard Croucher


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