Search in
ADD SEARCH FILTER CANCEL SEARCH FILTER

Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 11, 1956

INFORMATION ON KHRUSHCHEV AND BULGANIN’S NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1955 TRIP TO INDIA, BURMA, AND AFGHANISTAN, FROM THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE CPSU TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE SED

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
  • Citation

    get citation

    Report on Khrushchev and Bulganin's trip to India, Burma, and Afghanistan, summarizing issues discussed in each country. In India, Nehru tells Khrushchev and Bulganin that India shares USSR attitude on a number of questions on foreign policy, including German re-unification and the question of military blocs. Nehru also criticizes influence of Cominform on Communist Party of India, and calls 1951 ICP visit to Moscow "illegal." In Burma, the delegation primarily touches on trade questions. In Afghanistan, Khrushchev and Bulganin discuss foreign policy issues, along with economic support from the Soviet Union for Afghanistan. Afghanistan commits to remaining neutral, and not joining the Baghdad Pact.
    "Information on Khrushchev and Bulganin’s November-December 1955 trip to India, Burma, and Afghanistan, from the Central Committee of the CPSU to the Central Committee of the SED," January 11, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO DY 30/3634. Obtained by David Wolff and translated by Stephan Kieninger. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119273
  • share document

    http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119273

VIEW DOCUMENT IN

English HTML

Transcript Confidential

3 copies

11 January1956

To the Central Committee of

the Socialist Party of Germany

Information

About the results of comrades Khrushchev’s and Bulganin’s trip to India, Burma, and Afghanistan

During their entire stay in India, Burma, and Afghanistan, comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin were warmly welcomed by officials and by the population of these countries. This is especially true for India, where hundreds of thousands or even millions appeared at the meetings and proclamations. Our comrades gained the very firm conviction that the people expressed its high respect for the Soviet Union, and thereby for the whole socialist camp which struggles persistently for peace and the rights of the oppressed and colonized peoples.

In their conversations with Nehru, comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin declared quite openly our attitude towards the essential international problems: towards disarmament, towards the German question, towards the problems of the Far East, towards the military blocs, including the Baghdad Pact, towards the situation after the Geneva Conference between the four heads of government and after the ensuing conference of the four foreign ministers and also towards some other problems. Nehru, for his part, presented his attitudes towards these questions, although he cut it short and set limits to separate comments. It can be concluded that the administration of India shares our attitude concerning the main question, especially towards the problem of limiting armament and the prohibition of nuclear arms, towards the question of military blocs, towards the assessment of the situation and the prospects after the above-mentioned Geneva Conference.

Nehru gave no definite statement about the German question, but he intimated to us that concerning this question and also on the question of European security in general, he understands us. Within this context, it must be emphasized that Nehru approved our proposal to conclude a joint communique to foster “collective efforts” as a counterweight to the military blocs. This thesis was also expressed in the joint Soviet-Burmese and Soviet-Afghan statements.

In the conversations, Nehru firmly supported the Chinese claims for Taiwan and other Chinese islands near the coast and also gave support to the demand that the People’s Republic of China shall take its legitimate seat in the UN. Nevertheless, it must be stated that the delegates of India (Pillai and others) in the preparations of the joint statement insisted persistently that Far Eastern questions must be solved through peaceful means. It is clear that we cannot approve such a formula corresponding to the American position concerning Taiwan. This question was the subject of an extensive exchange of views between comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin with Nehru at the final agreement of the declaration. As a result of this conversation, the reference to the necessity of solving the Far Eastern problems by peaceful means–among them the Taiwanese question–was deleted. Instead, there is just an agreement about hoping that the foregoing problems could be settled with peaceful means.

As the Burmese, within the preparation of the joint Soviet-Burmese declaration, either proposed the formula of the necessity of solving problems in the Far East, including Taiwan, with peaceful means, we concluded, that both Nehru and U Nu—probably after mutual arrangement–wanted to add a formulation to the text, which is objectively of use to the Americans.

Nehru asked about the meaning of the Cominform and the relationship between the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He explained that he knows about the personal relationships of some leading official of the Communist Party of India with employees of the Central Committee of the CPSU and about the great financial efforts of the Communist Party of India.

To give an example, he referred to the 1951 visit of four Indian communists, among them comrade [A.K. (Ajoy)] Ghosh, to Moscow, and he mentioned that this trip was of an illegal character. During the conversation he explained: “Why did they have to travel illegally? The communists could either have travelled to the Soviet Union legally asking for a visa. We would have given them the visa for the trip to the Soviet Union.”

Further, Nehru explained: “We recognize that the Communist Party of India spends more money than it has. It deals with big investments. So we pose the question: “What is the source that the communists take the money from for their big efforts?”

Nehru mentioned the source of his information and stated that it was persons who were informed by the leaders of the Communist Party of India who had returned from Moscow.

Nehru also mentioned the newspaper Für dauerhaften Frieden, für Volksdemokratie! [For Enduring Freedom, for People’s Democracy!] and explained that the essays published in this newspaper were viewed as instructions by the communists in other countries for their activities.

Though not talking frankly about it, the background of Nehru’s question about the Cominform extended to a proposal to liquidate both the organization and the newspaper “Für dauerhaften Frieden, für Volksdemokratie!”

Our comrades rebuffed Nehru’s arguments in an appropriate way. As a reaction to Nehru’s statement about the ties of the Indian communists with the Central Committee of the CPSU and their ties with the newspaper, our comrades told Nehru that the CPSU doesn’t hide its sympathies towards communists from other countries and told him that this is absolutely no news. Concerning the activities of the Cominform, we stressed the idea that communist parties and workers parties have a sincere right to found their own organizations; for example, the socialist parties founding the so-called “Socialist International” or the capitalists also founding their international organizations.

Nehru listened to our comrades’ arguments, stating that he can understand our position but nevertheless stressing that we get to know his opinion regarding those questions.

As Nehru’s questions about the Cominform were obviously arranged in advance with the officials of the Western countries, and as the Western countries also often pose those questions, we thought it would be quite useful to express in public our point of view concerning this question. This happened within the press conference given by comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin on 14 December in New Dehli, and particularly comprehensively within comrade Khrushchev’s speech at the last meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

During their stay in India, comrades Bulganin and Khrushchev expounded the Soviet government’s attitude towards the Goa question and the Kashmir question, supporting the position of India in both questions. This generated a very favorable impression—particularly in comparison to the position of the US, recently stated in the Dulles-Cunha declaration, which supported Portugal’s claims towards Goa.[i]

Not all of our comrades’ public declarations were favorably received by Nehru and by Indian officials in general. We know that the speeches affecting the future of communism and capitalism and other social questions, and also speeches including the condemnation of the colonial policies by Western countries—especially England—were not always in the favor of those officials. But those speeches were always welcomed with applause by wide sections of the public as well as in India and Burma.

One must say that during the stay of comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin in India there were no attempts by the officials to express dissatisfaction in any way because of the delivered speeches. There were no such attempts by Nehru either. Nehru’s prestige and his authority as a statesman were considerably strengthened by the stay of comrades Bulganin and Khrushchev in India due to our favorable statements towards India’s foreign policy and towards Nehru as a statesman.

During the talks with Nehru and other Indian officials, some agreement was achieved concerning the coordination of economic questions. Those agreements were also mentioned in the joint communiqué. At this point it must be stressed that we agreed to the Indian request of delivering one million tons of sheet iron, and we agreed also to some other requests. We took into account that the US and England persistently try to disturb the development of India’s relations with the Soviet Union, with the People’s Republic of China and with other countries of the socialist camp, and that they also use economic leverage for this purpose (pressure on India by stopping the sale of oil products; the promise to give economic aid if India makes sacrifices [by] not strengthening its cooperation with countries from the socialist camp).

During the stay of comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin in Burma, there was an exchange of opinions with U Nu and other Burmese leaders both on international problems and on Soviet-Burmese relations (particularly trade relations). The Burmese leaders expressed their opinions relating to the essential issues (disarmament, including the ban of the atomic weapon, attitudes towards the military blocs, assessment of the Geneva Conferences), which correspond with our positions or come close to them, which then found its expression in the joint declaration on 6 December 1955. Anticipating the possibility that U Nu would talk about the inner situation of Burma in relation with the activities of the communists, we initially stated that we don’t intend to influence the internal situation in Burma and that the regulation of internal questions is up to the Burmese. Neither U Nu nor the other officials afterwards mentioned the question of the internal situation in Burma.

U Nu paid great attention to the question of selling Burmese rice to us. We in principle agreed to buy the complete amount of rice dedicated for export on the condition that the rice consignment covers the value of the goods bought in the USSR. There was agreement that one should continue the negotiations between experts about concrete questions of economic relations, e.g. the guarantee of technical aid for Burma.

Comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin in the name and on behalf of the government of the Soviet Union offered as a gift for the people of Burma to build and equip a technological institute in Rangoon. U Nu accepted the gift with gratitude, and he offered as a gift to the Soviet people an equivalent amount of rice to cover our costs to build the institute. In essence this is an exchange of equally valuable gifts.

During the stay of comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin in Afghanistan, an exchange of opinions took place with Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud and other leaders about international issues, in particular about the question of Soviet-Afghan relations.

The Afghani leaders, concerning the essential international issues, took up positions similar to those of India and Burma.

The following fact needs to be stressed: For the first time within a joint Soviet-Afghan communiqué, the Afghans declared the will to pursue a policy of neutrality. This fact without doubt has a positive meaning, as Afghanistan accepts the commitment not to join military alliances like the Baghdad Pact.

Concerning the issues of the Far East, one must stress the fact that the Afghans initially didn’t want to mention the People’s Republic of China, and they proposed to confine themselves to a general reference about the necessity of regulating the unsolved problems of Asia and the Far East. Not until the final agreement on the wording of the joint declaration did they accept our proposal to mention the People’s Republic of China and its rights explicitly.

The Afghans persistently stressed the difficult situation of Afghanistan in relation to the questions of rebels and to the strained relations developing between India and Pakistan. They pointed out that their position becomes even more difficult because, after Iran joined the Baghdad Pact, relations between Iran and Afghanistan worsened and that the frontier with Iran is now viewed by the Afghans as an “enemy” border. We spoke about supporting Afghanistan on the question of rebels.

The Afghan statesmen posed the question of whether it would be possible to deliver Soviet weapons to equip six or seven Afghan divisions, one tank brigade and one aircraft brigade. We gave them our agreement in principle. As the Afghans were not able to present exact orders towards us (which weapons and which amount), we agreed that the concrete negotiations should not start until we receive the order.

We agreed in principle regarding some questions about Soviet-Afghan trade, which was mentioned in the joint communiqué about economic questions.

Essentially after the visit of comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin in Afghanistan, one can conclude that the leading Afghan statesmen are aware of the meaning of maintaining good relations between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. This fact was given expression through the prolongation by 10 years of the signed 1931 treaty of neutrality and mutual non-aggression, now in effect until 1966.

Drawing conclusions regarding the trip of comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin to India, Burma, and Afghanistan, one can definitively state that it had a greatly positive meaning. This positive meaning consists of

1) The immediate result, the agreement about a range of questions of political and economic relations between the USSR and those countries, and either speeches or joint declarations containing the general views of the governments of the USSR and the relevant countries concerning the most important international issues.

2) The support [given] by the Soviet Union—representing the socialist countries—and its leading statesmen to the countries in Asia and Africa in their struggle to gain and to consolidate their independence. These factors have a great, positive influence towards the policies of the Asian and African countries, strengthening their aspirations to become independent politically and economically from the Western powers, particularly from the US and England; and these factors consolidate the position of those groups in the countries of Asia and Africa, which want to express the national interests of those states and resist attempts to integrate their countries in various aggressive military alliances. Essentially, the results of the trip of comrades Khrushchev and Bulganin to India, Burma, and Afghanistan contributed to the broadening and joining together of the peace-loving countries, which is in accord with our joint task: the struggle for a further reduction of international tensions and for consolidating peace.

Central Committee of the CPSU

[i] In December 1955, India reacted strongly to reference in a communique issued by Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Cunha and US Secretary John Foster Dulles that made reference to “Portuguese provinces in the Far East.” Nehru was concerned that this might include a hidden reference to Goa’s status, but was reassured by the American ambassador summoned to explain that the US had always and continued to be against colonialism.

ORIGINAL SCAN PDF

It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. No worries, just click here to download the PDF file.

Click here to view the PDF file in a new window.

PDFs cannot be printed inline in the page. To print a PDF, you must first download the file and open it in a PDF viewer.