To Simone de Beauvoir



To Simone de Beauvoir


Russell asks all members of the IWCT for their support of a declaration regarding the Soviet aggression in Czechoslovakia.


Long, C.


Bertrand Russell


Sep. 26, 1968




Bertrand Russell Archives, Box 10.30, Doc. 175976




McMaster University


Bertrand Russell Archives




26 September, 1968
Mme Simone de Beauvoir
11 bis rue Schoelcher
Paris XIV

Dear Mme. de Beauvoir,

I am writing to you, as I am to all members of the International War Crimes Tribunal, to secure your support for the enclosed declaration which I propose to be issued in the name of our Tribunal. I do so in full consultation and in conjunction with our valued Executive President, Jean-Paul Sartre.

The Tribunal was begun so that we might create a platform, a forum from which the oppressed would hear justice defended. Our tribunal emerged out of the accumulated evidence of the most brutal and cynical exercise of power by a large military State against a small nation.

We saw the inexorable logic of an imperial order seeking to exterminate by any means a poor nation striving to determine its own fate and, thereby, to effect fundamental social change. We saw that the social order of capitalism led, through its need for markets, raw materials and cheap labour, to a policy of genocide. We insisted that justice was not to be found in a false neutrality between such exploitation and the struggle to be free of it.

It was our historic task to unfold not only the theoretical significance of Vietnamese resistance to American aggression, but the criminal acts which caused such great suffering to the people of Vietnam.

But of what were these sufferings a symbol if not the attempt by force to deny a people its right to determine its own social ends? If our Tribunal is to be a forum for the oppressed, and therefore, a medium for a bolder justice, we must condemn the crimes of aggression committed by the leaders of the Soviet Union against the people of Czechoslovakia.

An invasion of a sovereign people for the purpose of denying their right to determine their own social ends is a war crime in complete conformity with the definition established by our Tribunal with respect to Vietnam. This is why I ask you join me and our Executive President in issuing the enclosed declaration in the name of International War Crimes Tribunal. Please treat this as an urgent matter and reply to me at your earliest opportunity, if possible by cable.

With good wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Bertrand Russell