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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 17, 1989


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    Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze notebook, covering May 17 of USSR trip to China to normalize relations. Notes a speech by Gorbachev at China's National People's Congress, before moving to the call to cancel a planned press conference because there are "200 thousand [students] around us...This is a revolution." Some press conference is then held, and Gorbachev's comments are summarized. The notes conclude with Gorbachev's comments on the student protesters.
    "Notepad of Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze, 17 May 1989," May 17, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hoover Institution Archive, Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze Papers: Notepad 15.05.1989. Translated by Sergey Radchenko.
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May 17, 1989.

Speech by M.S. [Gorbachev] at the NPC [National People’s Congress] at a meeting with representatives of the Chinese public.

Social kinship of the two great revolutions of our times. The future before us must correct the lessons [mistakes] of the past.

The rise of the ideological differences to the level of state confrontation.

New silk road [unclear].


Conversation with E.A. [Shevardnadze]


Talks with Deng [Xiaoping]

C[entral] C[ommittee] Secretary Yang Minfu, old interpreter. Tito. All that was between us was blown away by the wind.


Cancel the press-conference. 200 thousand [students] around us.

[Evgenii] Primakov: This is a revolution.

People who lived though the Cultural Revolution say that they don’t remember anything like it.



Conducted by G[ennadii] I. Gerasimov

Shakhnazarov, Iakovlev, Iu. D. Masliukov, Chazov, Troianovskii, Shakhnazarov [sic]

M.S. [Gorbachev]: We became very briefly acquainted with Beijing, its sights (not a word about the demonstrations). The key moment of the visit was the meeting and the talk with Deng Xiaoping. New stage of Sino-Soviet relations. Universal principle. Neither China nor USSR should reappraise their [one word unclear]. Both of our countries consider peace and development to be the most important principles of existence.


There is a list in line with the classic scheme. Statement at the press-conference. Sino-Soviet economic ties. Energy. Metallurgy. Transport. Production of consumer goods.


The people of science and culture who came with us hold the same opinion.


Exchanged opinions on the state of affairs in the [Soviet] Union.


Great China Wall [in English in the original]

Two meetings with the youth of China. As if there were no thirty years [of confrontation].

- Did you see the students? [Question to Gorbachev]

- I received a very warm letter from them. In a TV interview I thanked them and all who, during these days [end of sentence]. I value their position.

[this is followed by several questions from the media and some of Gorbachev’s answers at the press conference]