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World Association of International Studies

Post RH and Soviet Union; Gus Hall at Stanford
Created by John Eipper on 03/18/14 9:54 AM

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RH and Soviet Union; Gus Hall at Stanford (David Pike, -France, 03/18/14 9:54 am)

Briefly, in reply to David Fleischer's questions of March 18:

--Gus Hall apparently visited Stanford more than once. It was in 1963 that I met him. He had wit. He told me that some funds should be made available for the many poor Stanford coeds who were going around in their bare feet.

--RH resigned of course as Director of the Institute, but not as Professor of Romanic Languages. At that point he had many offers to go elsewhere, but he preferred to remain at Stanford, even though his courses were no longer the same.

--In October 1964, I was in Toulouse, so I missed everything, but I was afraid for a moment that the closing of the Institute could have a serious effect on the morale of RH. That thought was stupid! In October 1965, RH came to Toulouse and we spent a day or two together. He told me to my delight that, far from letting Stanford get him down, he had "gone across the street" and opened a new institute (CIIS), and this one outside of Stanford's power to control. "You can't build anything inside Stanford," he would say, and to anyone!

--Which shows that the Stanford of that time is today unrecognizable.

--A word of pity, though, for President Wallace Sterling. His office block (right below RH's, that I was using day and night) was torched in 1968 in the middle of the night, and his important collection on the Austro-Hungarian Empire was destroyed. I didn't see the attack; I had left the office just before. I had the chance the next day to speak to Sterling, and I was deeply impressed by his equanimity. "We're seeing what we can put together," said the president, amid the debris.

--One final comment, and then I should stop. RH said the same thing to me about the Soviet Academy of Sciences. "They'll never invite me again. They don't want to hear what I have to tell them."

JE comments: Yesterday in my final day in the RH archives, I came across a file containing Prof. H's itinerary for his visit to the Soviet Union in June and July 1971.  (He visited Moscow, Leningrad/St Petersburg, Tashkent and Tbilisi.)  The file contained many cordial letters of thanks, but the most interesting was an anonymous missive, typed in broken English, that was harshly critical of a letter RH had published in the New York Times on his visit.  Among other topics, the nameless critic lambasted RH's claim that Stalin had conquered the Baltic nations:  "The so-called Baltic republics are and have always been Russian."  When we consider the present events in Crimea, it's a plus ça change moment.

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