Courtesy Reuters

Reconsiderations

GENOA REVISITED: RUSSIA AND COEXISTENCE

HALF a century ago, on April 10, 1922, Luigi Facta, Prime Minister of Italy, solemnly opened the International Economic Conference at Genoa. Lloyd George, the prime mover of the Conference, was among the first speakers. He called it "the greatest gathering of European nations which has ever assembled," aimed at seeking in common "the best methods of restoring the shattered prosperity of this continent."

Though this rather remote event has by now been forgotten by many, the evocation of it is justified. For a study of Soviet attitudes at that. Conference throws light on the origins and evolution of the notion of the peaceful coexistence between countries having different economic and social systems, a major concept of Soviet foreign policy which no serious student of international affairs can nowadays afford to ignore. Therefore, to look at Genoa afresh from this particular angle may perhaps add to the understanding of Soviet foreign policy and economic diplomacy, including their more recent manifestations.[i] The author was also anxious to assess the relevance of this first multilateral encounter between Soviet Russia and the Western world to current efforts, a half-century after Genoa, aimed at promoting coöperation across the dividing line. To undertake the task in these pages is not unfitting: the first issue of Foreign Affairs, published only a few months after the Conference, carried a then anonymous article by "K" entitled "Russian After Genoa and The Hague," written in masterly fashion by the review's first Editor, Professor Archibald Gary Coolidge. I am grateful for having the privilege, on the eve of the golden jubilee of Foreign Affairs, to revert to this early theme, even if from a different standpoint and at a more comfortable historic distance.[ii]

The Genoa Conference was convened as a result of a set of resolutions passed by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers meeting at Cannes in January 1922. The principal among these was Mr. Lloyd George's Resolution. In the form in which the

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