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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 17, 1950

CONVERSATION, V.M. MOLOTOV AND A.Y VYSHINSKY WITH MAO ZEDONG, MOSCOW, 17 JANUARY 1950

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    In this conversation Molotov reads out to Mao the part of Acheson's Jan. 12 statement about the Soviet take-over of Manchuria, Mongolia and Xinjiang. Molotov proposes that the Chinese Foreign Ministry issues a refutation. Mao suggests that Xinhua should do that, but Molotov disagrees, and Mao promises that the Foreign Ministry will issue a statement. Mao, for his part, mentions several US probes to establish relations with Communist China, but notes that his policy is to keep the Americans at arms' length, and, in fact, to force them to leave China altogether. Towards the end Molotov and Mao discuss China's representation at the UN (Molotov asks that China appoint a representative, something that Mao appears reluctant to do), and China's representation at the Allied Control Council for Japan.
    "Conversation, V.M. Molotov and A.Y Vyshinsky with Mao Zedong, Moscow, 17 January 1950," January 17, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, f. 07, op. 23a, d. 234, pap. 18, ll. 1-7. Obtained by Odd Arne Westad and translated by Daniel Rozas. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112671
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FROM THE DIARY OF

V.M. MOLOTOV

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION OF V.M. MOLOTOV AND A.Y. VYSHINSKY WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PEOPLE'S CENTRAL
GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, MAO ZEDONG, 17 JANUARY 1950

After an exchange of greetings and a brief dialogue on general topics, a conversation ofthe following content took place.


1. I told Mao Zedong, that on 12 January [1950] the USA Secretary of State Acheson gave a speech at the National Press Club, which touched on certain international matters, in particular, matters concerning China, USSR and their mutual relations. Acheson's statements concerning these matters are a clear slander against the Soviet Union and were designed to deceive directly public opinion. The United States went bankrupt with its policy in China, and now Acheson is trying to justify himself, without shying away from deceitful means in the process. An example of the extent of Acheson's fabrications can be seen in the following segment of his speech:


"The following is taking place in China: the Soviet Union, armed with these new means, is partitioning northern regions of China from China and incorporating them into the Soviet Union. This process has been completed in Outer Mongolia. It has been almost completed in Manchuria, and I am sure that Soviet agents are sending very favorable reports from Inner Mongolia and Sinkiang [Xinjiang]. This is what is happening. This is a partition of entire regions, vast regions, inhabited by Chinese, a partition of these regions from China, and their incorporation into the Soviet Union.
I want to announce this, and maybe I will sin against my doctrine of repudiating dogmatism. But, in any case, I want to say that the fact that the Soviet Union is taking over four northern regions of China, is the most important and the most significant factor in any great power's relations with Asia.


What does this signify to us? This signifies something very, very important."


I advised Mao Zedong to familiarize himself with Acheson's entire speech and left him a full text of this speech (as reported by TASS).


Mao Zedong said that until now, as is known, these kinds of fabrications were the job of all kinds of scoundrels, represented by American journalists and correspondents. And now this dirty work has been taken up by the Secretary of State of the USA. As they say, the Americans are making progress!


I responded that, with regard to Acheson's speech, we think the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China should respond accordingly. At the same time, I pointed out that according to a TASS announcement from Washington, on 14 uary, the former consul general in Mukden, [Angus] Ward, while responding to questions from the press, stated the very opposite of what Acheson said in his speech on 12 January. In addition, I quoted the appropriate portion of Ward's declaration, which stated that he did not see any signs which would point to the Soviet Union's control over the administration of Manchuria or its attempt to incorporate Manchuria into the USSR, even though the Soviet Union is exercising its treaty rights concerning the joint administration of KChZhD [Chinese Changchun Railroad].


I said that we intend to react to Acheson's aforementioned speech with a declaration from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. However, we would prefer for the Chinese government to be the first to make a statement on this matter, and afterwards, following the publication in our press of the declaration of the People's Government of China and Ward's statement, the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs would make an appropriate statement.


Mao Zedong said that he agrees with this, and there is no place here for any doubts. At the same time, however, he inquired if it would not be better for Xinhua [Chinese News Agency] to make this kind of declaration.


I answered that since the matter concerns a speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USA on an important matter, the declaration should not be made by the telegraph agency, but rather by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.


Mao Zedong said that he shares the same opinion and, after familiarizing himself with Acheson's speech, tomorrow he will prepare the text for the declaration [to be made by] the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, submit it to us for suggestions and corrections, and then telegraph it to Beijing, so that the Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, presently performing the duties of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, can publish this declaration. At the same time Mao Zedong pointed out that in this declaration he will expose Acheson's slanderous fabrications against the Soviet Union.


Mao Zedong asked what, in our opinion, is the actual purpose of Acheson's slanderous declaration and could it, this declaration, be a kind of smokescreen, using which, the American imperialists will attempt to occupy the island of Formosa?


I said that, after going bankrupt with their policy in China, the Americans are trying, with the help of slander and deception, to create misunderstandings in the relations between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. I also said it is impossible to disagree that they are using the dissemination of slander as a kind of a smokescreen, in order to carry out their plans of occupation. In addition, I noted that, in our opinion, the declaration of the People's Government of China regarding Acheson's speech could point out that the fabrications of the USA Secretary of State are an insult to China, that the Chinese people did not lead a struggle, so that someone else could rule or establish control over one or another part of China, and that the Chinese people reject Acheson's declaration.


Mao Zedong said that he agrees with this and will immediately start drafting the declaration. At the same time he asked for the text of Acheson's speech and Ward's declaration to the press to be transferred to Beijing for the Xinhua agency. I promised to do so this very evening and immediately made arrangements with comrade Vyshinsky.


Afterwards Mao Zedong said that during the past few days the Americans have mobilized the activities of their [diplomatic, intelligence and information] networks and are testing the ground for negotiations with the People's Government of China. Thus, a few days ago, the head of the American telegraph agency in Paris addressed Mao Zedong with a question on how he would react to the famous American expert on far-eastern affairs [State Department official Philip C.] Jessup's trip to Beijing for negotiations. Almost simultaneously, information was received from Shanghai stating that steps are being taken by the American consulate in Shanghai, through representatives of the Chinese national bourgeoisie, to obtain agreement from the People's Government of China to send their representative to Hong Kong for negotiations with Jessup. However, we are paying no attention to this American ground testing, said Mao Zedong.


Furthermore, Mao Zedong said that, as he already informed comrade Vyshinsky earlier, the People's Government of China is taking certain measures toward forcing the American consular representatives out of China. We need to win time, emphasized Mao Zedong, to put the country in order, which is why we are trying to postpone the hour of recognition by the USA. The later the Americans receive legal rights in China, the better it is for the People's Republic of China. On 14 January of this year, the local government in Beijing informed the former American consul of their intention to appropriate for their own use the barracks formerly used by foreign armies, rights for which were acquired by foreigners through inequitable treaties. Occupation of the aforementioned buildings essentially means that the American consul will be deprived of the house he is inhabiting and will force him to leave Beijing. In response, the American consul in Beijing started threatening the Chinese government that USA, as a sign of protest, will be forced to recall all of their consular representatives from Beijing, Tientsin, Shanghai, and Nanking. This way, said Mao Zedong in a half-joking manner, the Americans are threatening us with exactly that which we are trying to accomplish.


I noted that this policy of the Central People's Government of China is designed, first and foremost, to reinforce the country's internal situation, which is sufficiently clear and understandable to us.


2. Furthermore, I said that the declaration by the People's Republic of China, which states that maintaining the Guomindang representative in the Security Council is unlawful and that Jiang Tingfu must be removed from it, as well as simultaneous actions by the Soviet representative in the Security Council, caused a commotion and, to a certain extent, confused our enemies' camp. However, in order to bring the struggle begun in the UN to a conclusion, we would consider it expedient for the People's Republic of China to appoint its own representative to the Security Council. And it would be preferable for this appointment to take place as soon as possible.


Mao Zedong responded that he had a conversation with comrade Vyshinsky concerning this matter and completely agrees with such a proposal. However, for us, emphasized Mao Zedong, this matter presents a technical problem - selection of the candidate. The only suitable candidate is the present deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs comrade Zhang Hanfu, even though he is somewhat weak for the purpose. I would like to coordinate the question of appointing Zhang Hanfu with comrade Zhou Enlai upon his arrival in Moscow.


I said that if that is the only problem, he can talk to Zhou Enlai over the phone (VCh [a high frequency link] ), while he is en route.


Mao Zedong willingly agreed to communicate with Zhou Enlai over VCh and to coordinate this question immediately.


3. After this I said that according to our information the head of the Guomindang delegation in the Union Council for Japan, General Zhu Shi-Min, wants to break with the Guomindang and switch to the side of the People's Republic of China. However, we have no confidence that this information is sufficiently reliable and, in addition, we do not know Zhu Shi-Min well and it is difficult for us to arrive at any definite conclusion about him. For this reason we would like to discuss the matter with Mao Zedong and find out whether we should wait until Zhu Shi-Min announces his switch or, without waiting for it, demand the removal of the Guomindang representative from the Union Council for Japan.


Mao Zedong said that from his point of view it would be more expedient to act through the Secretary of the Guomindang delegation in the Union Council for Japan Chen Tin-Cho, who not long ago sent a letter through General Derevyanko concerning the work he is performing with regard to the switch of the aforementioned delegation in Tokyo to the side of the People's Republic of China. We, noted Mao Zedong, need to exert influence on Zhu Shi-Min and convince him to switch to our side. This would allow us to reach a smoother solution to the question of our representative's appointment to the Union Council for Japan.


Mao Zedong said that he will prepare a response to Chen Tin-Cho's letter and will send it to us for delivery to the addressee in Tokyo.


I said that this proposal is acceptable and we will be able to deliver comrade Mao Zedong's answer to Chen Tin-Cho through General Derevyanko.

The conversation lasted 1 hour 20 minutes.


Persons present during the conversation: comrade N.T. Fedorenko and Shi Zhe (Karsky).

V. MOLOTOV [signature]

18.1.50

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