Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Letter from Maxim Litvinoff to John Maclean appointing him as Bolshevik Consul for Scotland, 5 Jan 1918

image from Red Clydeside collection

The position of Bolshevik Consul for Scotland was conferred on John Maclean by the Bolshevik government in recognition of his revolutionary efforts.

This honour meant that Maclean became the first native representative of Soviet Russia in Britain.

The letter, dated 5 January 1918, reads "Dear Comrade Maclean, I am writing to the Russian Consul in Glasgow (I am not sure that there exists such a person) informing him of your appointment and ordering him to hand over to you the Consulate. He may refuse to do so, in which case you will open a new Consulate and make it public through the press. Your position may be difficult somehow, but you will have my full support. It is most important to keep me informed (and through me the Russian Soviets) of the Labour Movement in N.B. I am writing in all haste, as I wish not to miss the occasion. It is not very safe to write very fast. With best wishes, Maxim Litvinoff"

Source: Gallacher Memorial Library, Glasgow Caledonian University Special Collections and Archives