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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 19, 1965

NOTE BY THE EAST GERMAN ENVOY TO MOSCOW, ROSSMEISL, ON TALKS WITH UNNAMED SOVIET VIETNAM SPECIALISTS

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    Unnamed Soviet specialists claim that the USSR's aid to Vietnam is worth 1 million rubles per day. They also argue that because of the amount of aid, the Chinese propaganda claiming a lack of Soviet aid is losing ground among the population in North Vietnam, although the rumor still persists in the South.
    "Note by the East German Envoy to Moscow, Rossmeisl, on Talks with Unnamed Soviet Vietnam Specialists," August 19, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PAAA-MfAA, Minister Kiesewetter, Microfiche A 17445, 1-3. Translated from German by Lorenz Lüthi. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117719
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The aid the Soviet Union renders to the DRV is worth 1 million rubles a day. Apart from modern missiles and anti-aircraft guns, MiG fighters are provided as the most modern weapons. The training of the Vietnamese pilots takes place in the Soviet Union, on the one hand, because the DRV does not have the necessary conditions (in reality, there is only one airport suitable for military operations), [and] on the other hand, [because] the pilots need special food during training, and this cannot be guaranteed in Vietnam. Regarding the delivery of aid by trucks, transport goes well even when thoroughfares are destroyed.

The aid, which the Soviet Union renders, is increasingly acknowledged and understood by the population of the DRV. The Chinese propaganda that the Soviet Union does not render aid increasingly loses ground. This [however] is not the case in South Vietnam. The fighters of the National Liberation Front still have the view that only the PR China renders aid. Despite the opposition of the Chinese and of the pro-Chinese circles (especially Truong Chinh has been mentioned), the thought of negotiations, if necessary conditions are given, wins increasing ground with the leading, sensible comrades.

Given the Chinese policy that promises much in words and does little in reality, Le Duan, Pham Van Dong, and other leading comrades are more and more convinced of the view that the Chinese are ready to fight to the last Vietnamese but otherwise are content to be left alone by the Americans.

Not only the Vietnamese, but also the Korean comrades, have drawn [these] conclusions from the attitude of the Chinese. The Vietnamese comrades at the moment not only express opinions that do not concur with Chinese [opinions] but there are also signs of criticism of the Chinese attitude in Vietnam. One can hear Le Duan, even if not directly, make such critical remarks aimed at the Chinese.