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Lipkin, Mikhail

Moscow Economic Conference of April 1952: An early bid for peaceful coexistence or ideological warfare?

The Cold war history was studied thoroughly during the 1990s. The arms race and
disarmament, international conflicts, ideological gambling, etc. were covered in full by
historiography. Meanwhile very little if any attention was drawn to the soviet economic
policy and diplomacy during 1950-s. Of course, there were some ad hoc studies, but none
of them paid serious attention to the soviet initiatives of creating a new international
economic organization exactly as early as 1951-1952.

The story of the Moscow International Economic Conference of April 1952 is wrongly
forgotten.
Meanwhile, despite the pressure and information boycotte from the West, it managed to get
together 450 representatives from 47 countries of the world, including the well known
capitalist countries. In the West this event was blackmailed as one more chain in soviet
propaganda. In the East an attitude was much more complex.

Besides the plans of opening an iron curtain materials of the Conference demonstrate that
first the idea of peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation was voiced not by
Krustchev but by Stalin. And one of the results of the Conference was a decision to
establish the Committee for the promotion of international trade. Its major aim was to
prepare a secondary International Conference on Trade, to promote the results of the
first one and to transfer a Resolution of the Moscow Conference to the UN General
Assembly calling for the convocation of the Intergovernmental Conference on the promotion
of the world trade. But all of a sudden the USSR has lost its interest. What was the true
reason for such a sudden final and what were the true motives of the Moscow International
Economic Conference of April 1952? The paper attempts to present an answer based on
analysis of new evidences from Russian and Western archives.

Thursday 29 Oct 11.15-12.45 SESSION 1
Panel: Beneath the Barricades: The Search for Cooperation