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Conversation with a Soviet Observer, 24 South Carolina Law Review 66 (1972)

Abstract

When it fell to me to consider the talk I would have the privilege of submitting to you this morning, I reflected of course, on the coincidence between Law Day and May Day, and my thoughts went back to that May Day celebration which I was fortunate enough to attend in Moscow in 1963. After watching the drive past and march past, together with other foreign guests – some of them, like me, on the exchange program with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the other representatives of the Cuban or other governments – we were remitted to an intimate luncheon on the second floor of the Hotel Metropol, for about two hundred persons. And midway through the meal there was an exchange of toasts. The Chinese had pride of place and gave the first toast; then, I believe, the Czechoslovak delegation, and then down – if that’s the direction – down the line. After the “socialist” countries had finished, it was the United States’ turn, and the senior United States scholar present – not I – gave a toast, the gist of which came across only in English, because the little girl from Intourist or from the Academy who did the interpreting diplomatically lost her capacity to interpret very soon after the toaster began. He said, in effect, “As a child of a socialist father” – thus anticipating, perhaps, the Lubell findings reported by Mr. Methvin – “As the child of a socialist father, I used to take part in May Day demonstrations in the early years of this century, in the United States. But in the United States, all the things that we socialists demonstrated for in those days have become reality, and so May Day has become a sort of children’s holiday. And my toast is to express the wish that in the Soviet Union, too, some of the things that we have achieved in the United States may come to be achieved in the Soviet Union and that with you, as with us, May Day will become a children’s holiday.”

Date of Authorship for this Version

1972

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