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Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich (1876–1951), Soviet diplomat and foreign minister
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Letter from J. H. Whitfield to James Smith

110 Banbury Road, Oxford.—If he thought The Guardian would print his (anonymous) article [see 1/121] he would fear detection, but he is glad that it has at least had an underground circulation, though in view of the European situation it is merely an academic comment. The Times neglected to report Litvinof’s criticisms of Chamberlain but has nevertheless attacked ‘the indecency of German haste’, and ‘official Britain’ seems at last to have realised that Chamberlain is not to be trusted. His reading of Petrarch for this term’s set of lectures has led him to think of writing ‘a vindication of the Renascence’ in the form of articles for Scrutiny. Draws attention to Petrarch’s great merit as a humanist and the general lack of understanding of his position. Will send Smith the first lecture as soon as he has delivered it. Suggests that Smith should reprint his contributions to Scrutiny as a book. Cites evidence that Petrarch never read Homer and gives some advice about [Tasso’s] Aminta.

Draft letter from R. C. Trevelyan to [Jean Marchand]

On headed notepaper of the National Liberal Club, Victoria Street, S.W.1. - On returning to London, he talked to Ruth Fry, Roger's sister, who is the president of the 'Mission des Amis' [Friends War Victims Relief Committee]. She said that communication with Russia was very difficult at the moment, but that if Marchand wants to arrange to get his niece [actually Olga Lewitska, daughter of Sonia Lewitska -see 22/56] out of Ukraine, it would be best to write to [Maxim] Litvinoff at the Hotel Cosmopolite, Copenhagen, asking for his help and advice as the one responsible for admitting foreigners to Russia and getting them out. Ruth Fry doubted that Litvinoff would consent to helping with such a case, but it might perhaps still be worth trying, and strongly suspected that it would not be possible to get the girl out. Might be possible to send letters to Kiev through Litvinoff.

Trevelyan will write to [Francis] Birrell to go and see Marchand as soon as he arrives in Paris; Roger Fry will also give his advice when he arrives. If it is better to send a letter as soon as possible, advises him to write to Litvinoff and send that letter to Trevelyan, who will ask Ruth Fry to send it as she is in communication with Litvinoff; this may make him pay more attention to the matter. Necessary to decide before writing whether they want to try and get Marchand's niece out of the Ukraine, or simply to send letters. Wishes he could give more definitive advice, but will do his best to help if he sends a letter. Marchand knows how much Trevelyan is sorry for the pain Madame Marchand [Sonia Lewitska] is experiencing at the moment, and how much he would like to help if he could.

Letter from Sonia Lewitska to R. C. Trevelyan, with postscript from Jean Marchand

Thanks Trevelyan for his letter and what he has done to help her: it is a 'great moral path' for her, and she hopes that with the help of a heart 'as great and generous' as Trevelyan's, she will be able to 'remedy this misfortune'. She encloses her letter to [Maxim] Litwinof and also that to her little one [her daughter Olga]. Adds in a postscript that she is also enclosing her letter to 'the sister of Monsieur Fray' [Roger Fry's sister Ruth, general secretary of the Friends War Victims Relief Committee]: asks him to read it, and if he does not think it too foolish to give it to her; also to let her know the response as soon as possible. If there is no hope of sending a Quaker to search for her daughter, she will go herself immediately to Warsaw (she is applying for her passport) and perhaps there will be a way of getting to Kiev from there. Marchand despairs and does not want her to leave because she is so weak; she is made worse due to her 'torment' [of worry for her daughter]. She went to the Ukraninian mission [embassy?] again yesterday, and spoke there to a colonel who came from Kiev a month ago, who says that Kiev has become a 'totally dead city', and that everyone who can has left; the peasants no longer bring their produce as when they do the Bolsheviks requisition it and take it to Moscow; they take everything from 'unfortunate Ukraine', which is becoming increasingly poor. There are no trams or streetlights working; worse, there is no piped water, and those like her family who live a distance from the river are suffering terribly. People cannot get new clothes, or shoes; they go bare-footed with boards tied to their feet; lack of water means that there is much dirt and fever. The colonel said the 'atmosphere is so sad and overwhelming', and that he himself was maddened almost to suicide, but preferred to 'do even the lowest work here and eat only dry bread than to return there'. He travelled for a week in goods wagons, standing all the way, 'packed in like cattle' with ill, dirty, drunk and coarse people. She does not know if she can live knowing that her daughter is so much suffering there.

Marchand writes to Trevelyan on the back of Sonia Lewitska's letter: thanks him for everything he has done for Sonia: is very saddened by all that [Sonia has learned] . Had news this January from Mademoiselle [Angela] Lavelli. Asks how Trevelyan's family is. Has not seen [Francis] Birrell again.