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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 22, 1956

DIARY OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR P.F. YUDIN, MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH LIU SHAOQI OF 30 OCTOBER 1956

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Liu Shaoqi discusses the potential withdrawal of Soviet advisors from China. Although the Chinese government was considering sending back some specialist, they did not want the abrupt removal of all specialists as happened in Yugoslavia. Liu Shaoqi also brings up the 1956 uprisings in Hungary and Poland, saying that such events were a “useful lesson for the entire communist movement.”
    "Diary of Soviet Ambassador P.F. Yudin, Memorandum of Conversation with Liu Shaoqi of 30 October 1956," November 22, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF f. 0100, op. 49, 1956, p. 410, d. 9, l. 202-03. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Austin Jersild. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116814
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TOP SECRET.  COPY No. 1

22 November 1956

From the diary of

P.F. Yudin

No. 865

Memorandum of conversation

with comrade Liu Shaoqi of 30 October 1956

Today I had a discussion with Liu Shaoqi, the full contents of which that same day were made known to the Presidium of the CCP CC.

In connection with the declaration of the Soviet government of 30 October 1956, Liu Shaoqi expressed a series of desires regarding, in particular, the question of the existence of an institute of advisers in the countries of people’s democracy.  He indicated that numerous difficulties arise in the work of these advisers, in connection with the fact that they “weakly know the peculiarities of the situation in a given country.  Political recommendations, given to several advisers, lead often to negative phenomena.”  Liu Shaoqi, basing [his conclusions] on the experiences of the advisers, noted that, as experience shows, local cadres make mistakes and have failings in various sectors of their work, and dump the blame for these mistakes on the advisers.  Having considered this, noted Liu Shaoqi, China recalled all of its advisers from Vietnam, with the exception of the technical specialists.

Talking about the Soviet specialists, he noted their enormous aid to the countries of people’s democracy in the construction of socialism.  However, he declared, to the extent that they have basically fulfilled their task in the preparation of national cadres, at the present time the question arises before the concerned countries of whether or not the advisors should return to the USSR (but not the technical specialists).  Liu Shaoqi suggested that the question must be explored and decided in collaboration with the interested countries, refraining from the sudden withdrawal of all the specialists, as was done in Yugoslavia.

It’s true, noted, Liu Shaoqi, that several countries will continue to insist on the presence of the advisers, as “in time they have become accustomed to them.”  However, in his opinion, the Soviet Union must be persistent in its attention to this question.

In one of the following conversations I asked Liu Shaoqi to communicate his views about the withdrawal from China of all the Soviet specialists working in the central organs of the PRC.  Regarding this I referred to previous discussions with Zhou Enlai.  Liu Shaoqi declined to answer, and said that this question requires careful and comprehensive study on the part of the CCP CC.

In the course of the discussion on the Hungarian question, Liu Shaoqi said that events in Poland and Hungary should serve as a “useful lesson for the entire communist movement.”  For us communists, declared Liu Shaoqi, it is necessary to summarize this experience theoretically, “just as Marx in his time summarized and analyzed the reasons for the defeat of the Paris Commune, and Lenin—the reasons for the defeat of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia.”

Embassy second secretary O.B. Rakhmanin was present at the discussion.

USSR AMBASSADOR IN CHINA

P. Yudin

To Cde. D.T. Shepilov

To Cde. N.T. Fedorenko

To Cde. I.F. Kurdiukov

Filed by Rakhmanin

21 November 1956

No. 1452