Deep roots of whitewashing instincs in Europe. Manchester Guardian (Predecessor of Guardian) June 17, 1924
To the Editor of the Manchester Guardian
Sir, –With reference to Mr. Tcherkesoff’s letter in your issue of the 13th, I am not likely to forget that the “Hands of Russia” Committee was formed to agitate against foreign interference in Russia’s internal affairs, seeing that I assisted in drafting the Committee’s aims. Certainly, “Hands off Russia,” implied “Hands of Georgia.” The Committee from its inception denounced British occupation of the Russian territory, which of course included Georgia. I have never defended Russian military intervention in Georgia, for the simple reason that it does not exist. “Military intervention in the internal affairs of another country” has a very specific meaning which Mr. Tcherkesoff is well aware does not apply to the existing relationship between the Governments of Central Russia and Georgia.
No, I did not investigate the particular charges now formulated by Mr. Tcherkesoff respecting conditions in Georgia because it is the first time I have heard of them, but I did investigate very similar ones, and found that they contained as much truth as the “nationalisation of women” charge, neither more nor less.
Mr. Tcherkesoff infers that I was shepherded around Georgia and therefore did not hear the genuine opinions of the people. To that I can give only one reply—namely, that I went where I liked, when I liked, and spoke to those whom I casually met. However, the same has been said of every visitor to Soviet Russia who has told the truth about conditions there.—Yours, &c.,
W. P. COATES, Secretary National “Hands off Russia” Committee
3, Adam Street, Adelphi, London, W.C.2, June 14