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On the Horizon:
The Litvinov

- Abstract

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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