TIME Magazine, USA
FOREIGN NEWS, Page 22
Crusts on the Floor
Gareth Jones, a serious young man with glasses, arrived in Berlin last
week after a three-week tour of the Ukraine. He had a dreadful tale to tell,
and Berlin correspondents listened politely because serious Mr. Jones was
once a private secretary to David Lloyd George and before making his trip
to the Ukraine he spent many a long hour learning to speak Russian - far
more fluently than most Russian correspondents. Said he:
- "I walked through the country visiting villages and investigating
twelve collective farms. Everywhere I heard the cry: 'There is no bread,
we are dying!' This cry is rising from all of Russia from the Volga
from Siberia from White Russia from Central Asia and from the Ukraine
black dirt country.
"Most officials deny any famine exists, but a few minutes following
one such denial in a train I chanced to throw away a stale piece of my
private supply of bread. Like a shot a peasant dived to the floor grabbed
the crust and devoured it. The same performance was repeated later
with an orange peel. Even transport and G.P.U. officers warned me
against traveling over the countryside at night because of the numbers
of starving, desperate men......A foreign expert who returned from
Kazakstan told me that 1,000,000 of the 5,000,000 of inhabitants there
have died of hunger.
"After Dictator Josef V. Stalin the starving Russians most hate
George Bernard Shaw for his accounts of their plentiful food......There
is insufficient feed and many peasants are too weak to work on the land
and the future prospect seems blacker than the present. The peasants
no longer trust their government and the change in the taxation policy
came too late."
A rebuttal was promptly presented by Walter Duranty, a U.S.
correspondent long in Soviet good graces, but it was a rebuttal of much
- "The number of times foreigners, especially Britons, have shaken
rueful heads as they composed the Soviet Union's epitaph can scarcely
be computed.....This not to mention a more regrettable incident of three
years ago when an American correspondent discovered half the Ukraine
flaming with rebellion and proved it by authentic documents eagerly
proffered by Rumanians. . . .
"Since I talked with Mr. Jones I have made exhaustive inquiries about
this alleged famine situation . . . There is serious food shortage
throughout the country with occasional cases of well-managed state or
collective farms. The big cities and the army are adequately supplied with
food. There is no actual starvation or death from starvation, but there is
wide mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.....In every Russian
village food conditions will improve henceforth, but that will not answer
one really vital question --- What about the coming grain crop? Upon that
depends not the future of the Soviet power which cannot and will not be
smashed, but the future policy of the Kremlin."
There is a photograph with the TIME article titled, Gareth Jones. The
following text is under the photograph: Walter Duranty (rebutting): "The
Soviet power cannot be smashed."