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100 years ago: Trading with the Soviets

12 March 2021

March 11th, 1921.

WE LOOKED in vain yesterday morning in the leading columns of the Morning Post and the Times for editorial comment on the debate in the House of Commons on the proposed trade agreement with Russia. The important passage was in Sir Robert Horne’s reply to the motion to reduce the Vote on account for the Civil Services by £100. He told the House that the President of the Board of Trade is to meet Mr Krassin on Friday, and although he does not think that we shall get very far with trading with the Russian community, he is anxious to conclude a trade agreement which will recognize the Soviet Government as a de facto Government, and thereby relieve their gold sent to this country, in payment for goods, from liability to seizure. Sir Robert Horne also said a good deal that appears to us entirely irrelevant, by way of warning British traders of the likelihood of Russian trade being found unprofitable. Every man at the heart of business affairs knows that trade with Russia is urgently needed, and they are the best judges of the risks involved. Whilst we regret the necessity of recognizing such a Government as that in power in Russia at the present moment, it must be realized that such recognition must inevitably be accorded, since to act otherwise would be contrary to all precedent and amount to a refusal to trade with any nation with whose political theories we were not in sympathy.


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