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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 18, 1949

TELEGRAM FROM THE LEADER OF THE GROUP OF SOVIET SPECIALISTS IN NORTHEAST CHINA TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ABOUT THE RESULTS OF THE CHINESE-KOREAN TALKS ON MILITARY COOPERATION

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    A telegram from the leader of the group of Soviet specialists in Northeast China to the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers about the results of Chinese-Korean talks on military cooperation.
    "Telegram from the leader of the group of Soviet specialists in Northeast China to the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers about the results of the Chinese-Korean talks on military cooperation," May 18, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AP RF. F. 4. Op. 1. D. 331. pp. 59-61. Translated by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114898
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Nº 54611      

18 May 1949 1718

Yesterday, 17 May, Mao Zedong asked me to inform you of the following:

1. Kim Il, the Chief of the Political Directorate of the Korean Army, arrived from North Korea (he participated in the partisan movement in Manchuria together with Kim Il Sung). Cde. Kim Il has the authority to discuss the following issues with the CPC CC:

1. The situation in the Orient.

2. The creation of an information bureau.

3. Aid to North Korea with officer personnel and weapons.

Cde. Mao Zedong said that he thinks that the issue of creating an Eastern Information Bureau [informbyuro] is still premature [ne sozrel]. Of the 12 countries in the Orient the Chinese Communist Party has ties for now with only five: the MNR, Thailand, Indochina, the Philippines, and Korea, and with the others, even with Japan and Indonesia, permanent ties have not been organized. We know little of the situation in these countries. Therefore, he said, it is better to first establish these ties, study the situation, and only then begin creating an Eastern Communist [SIC, Kominformbyuro] Information Bureau. [North Korea] ought to limit itself right now to the establishment of mutual [SIC, vzaimnye] telegraph agencies with the aid of which ideas on specific issues are exchanged as they arise.

2. As regards helping North Korea with officer personnel and weapons, Cde. Mao Zedong said that such aid would be granted. There are one and a half million Koreans in Manchuria, from which two Korean divisions have been formed (of 10,000 men each). One of them has combat experience. It took an active part in battles with the Guomindang troops in Manchuria. We can transfer these divisions to North Korea at any time at their request. But as long as the Korean comrades have no need of them we will supply these divisions with everything and train them. In addition, we have also trained 200 officers who are undergoing additional training right now and in a month they can be sent to Korea.

If a war breaks out between North and South Korea we are also ready to give everything that is in our power, especially for these divisions (food and weapons).

The Korean comrades think that the American troops might be evacuated from South Korea in the near future but they are afraid that Japanese troops will come there to replace the American troops with whose aid the Southerners might mount an attack on North Korea.

We advised them to counterattack these troops but when doing so take into consideration the presence or absence of Japanese troops in the South Korean army without fail. If Japanese units take part then exhibit caution and in the event that the enemy has the superior forces, then it is better give up part of their own territory to be in more advantageous conditions to surround the invading troops and rout them.

We advised them to prepare the Party, the troops, and the people ideologically that such a situation is possible and that this would not mean the defeat of democratic Korea but only a strategic maneuver.

If the Americans leave and the Japanese do not come, we do not advise the Korean comrades to mount an attack on South Korea in this situation but to wait for a more suitable situation because MacArthur might quickly move Japanese units and weapons to Korea during this attack. We cannot give quick substantial support since all our main forces have withdrawn beyond the Yangtze River.

We think that such a step, an attack by North Korea on the South, might be mounted at the beginning of 1950 if the situation at the beginning of 1950 favors this. Then, in the event of an invasion of Korea by Japanese troops, we will be able to quickly move our crack troops and defeat the Japanese forces.

Of course, added Cde. Mao Zedong, we would take all our steps in this direction only after coordinating them with Moscow.

3. With regard to the establishment of trade relations with North Korea  and also the resolution of the issue of the use of the hydroelectric power station on the Yalu River we suggested that Cde. Kim Il to go to Shenyang and come to an agreement [dogovorit'sya, which can also mean "negotiate] on these issues with Cde. Gao Gang.

Cde. Mao Zedong passed the information in the presence of Cdes. Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Dong Biwu, Chen Yun, and Bo Yibo.

Kovalev

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