ENTRY FROM THE JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO INDIA BENEDIKTOV, CONVERSATION WITH INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY GENERAL-SECRETARY R.K. NEHRUCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationJournal entry by Benediktov describing a conversation with Indian Foreign Ministry General-Secretary R.K. Nehru regarding border disputes with China. Approaching the Soviet envoy at a social gathering, the Indian official relayed an oral message to Khrushchev from Indian Prime Minister Nehru (whom he described as "exceptionally busy, very tired"), giving his analysis of the underlying motives behind China's actions in the border dispute. The Indian leader assessed that Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai--with whom Nehru had cooperated in championing the rise of the non-aligned movement only a few years earlier--opposed the current militant policy toward India, but that leftist dogmatists-sectarians within the Chinese leadership, such as Liu Shaoqi, supported it. They did so, Nehru reportedly maintained, not because of the border dispute, but to strike a blow against the general phenomenon of neutrality in order to discredit Moscow's line of peaceful coexistence and competition with the West, and avoiding general nuclear war. In fact, Nehru was said to declare, the Chinese threatened to embroil the entire world in war, and had divided the globe into two new camps: not East and West, but "one - for the continuation of the human species, the other (the Chinese sectarians) - against.""Entry from the journal of Soviet ambassador to India Benediktov, conversation with Indian Foreign Ministry General-Secretary R.K. Nehru" November 02, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of Foreign Policy, Russian Federation (AVPRF), f. 90, op. 24, d. 5, p. 44, ll. 120-12. Obtained by J. Hershberg; translation by K. Weathersby. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113003
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At a reception I met R.K. Nehru, who approached me and
began a conversation. He set forth in great detail his views on the
Indian-Chinese border conflict, noting that he had expressed them to the prime
minister. R.K. Nehru said that the prime minister gave him a letter to N.S.
Khrushchev and spoke about his conversation with the Soviet ambassador. In his
words, the prime minister greatly appreciates the concern and anxiety of the
government of the USSR and the general approach of N.S. Khrushchev to the
problem of the Indian-Chinese conflict. "At another time, noted R.K. Nehru, it is
possible that the prime minister himself would have spoken about this problem in
detail, but now he is exceptionally busy, very tired and we must help him.
Therefore I myself will tell you our views."
1. "After my return from China two
years ago I personally did everything possible for the peaceful settlement of
the border dispute. No one else has played a more important role in this matter
than I. To some degree I have weakened my authority by having taken the hardest
line on resolving the conflict by means of negotiations. The foreign policy
leaders of India tried to the best of their abilities to solve this dispute and
preserve friendly relations with the PRC. We did not cease to hope for a
peaceful settlement of the dispute and did not make any military preparations,
completely not supposing that military actions on the border were possible. The
result is our present retreat."
2. "After many years in China, I know very well
and am closely acquainted with all the leaders of China and with all the main
party leaders. I [can] clearly present the views of each of them. I am
convinced, for example, that Zhou Enlai does not approve the policy of the PRC
regarding India, while Liu Shaoqi can approve it."
3. "I am absolutely convinced
that the given events are not simply a border conflict, but something more. This
is part of a general strategy of Chinese leftist dogmatists - sectarians who
obviously now have the upper hand in the leadership of the CCP (Chinese
Communist Party). This is the mainspring of the events. These sectarian elements
in the CCP are trying to prove their thesis that India, as a capitalist country,
will surely join the bloc of western countries, that it cannot conduct a policy
of nonalignment for any length of time. They regard Nehru not as a nationalist
leader but as a reactionary bourgeois. They are trying by their actions to force
India to reject the policy of nonalignment, to draw it into the western bloc, to
strike a blow at the entire policy of neutrality, nonalignment, peaceful
coexistence. India, as the largest of the neutral countries of Asia, is their
first and main target. Thus the issue is not this or that border or territory;
the essence of the events is the attempts of the party sectarians of the CCP to
prove in practice their theoretical position, an attempt to cross over to the
offensive on the ideological front."
4. "I am convinced that their actions are
an extension of the CCP's ideological disputes with the CPSU, and that the
Chinese sectarians are directing the main blow against the Soviet Union and its
foreign policy principles--against peaceful coexistence, the possibility of
avoiding war in our atomic age, the possibility of the victory of communism not
through war but through peaceful economic competition with the West. We value
highly these principles of Soviet policy. I personally don't have anything
against the establishment of communism in the entire world, if communism proves
its superiority by means of economic, social, and cultural achievements, but not
5. "However, the Chinese fanatics, who apparently have gained
strength recently, are conducting (and intend to conduct in the future) a
senseless course for achieving their goals by any means, including military
actions, which is dangerous for all peoples. They, unlike the USSR and even the
USA, do not understand the danger of nuclear war. The world is now divided not
into East and West, but into two camps: one - for the continuation of the human
species, the other (the Chinese sectarians) - against."
6. "We are on the
leading edge of the struggle against the realization in practice by these
fanatics of their theoretical program, which is a threat to the entire world, to
all peoples. Therefore, everyone must assist our struggle. Therefore we must not
in any case retreat before them, not submit to their threats, not agree to
conditions which they dictate on the basis of force and seizure of our
territory. On the contrary, we must without fail defeat them, smash their first
practical attempt to prove their thesis. Only their defeat and the preservation
by India of its policy of nonalignment can teach them a lesson and force them to
reconsider their theoretical convictions."...
[Source: AVPRF, f. 90, op. 24, d.
5, p. 44, ll. 120-124; document obtained by J. Hershberg; translation by K.