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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 04, 1971

MINUTES OF THE JOINT MEETING OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE AND THE MINISTERS’ COUNCIL

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    These notes discuss foreign policy issues related to China, Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Romania. To quote the document itself, it "was a bilateral discussion of the internal situation of fraternal Parties and countries, and later an exchange of opinion on contemporary foreign policy questions and the problems of the international workers’ movement."
    "Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Central Committee and the Ministers’ Council," August 04, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hungarian National Archives, Budapest (MOL), MOL M-KS-288 f. 4. cs. 113. o. e. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Gwenyth A. Jones and Péter Vámos. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110268
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1. Presentation on contemporary international questions
Speaker: Comrade Zoltán Komócsin

[Pages 7-8]

Comrade ZOLTÁN KOMÓCSIN:
Dear Comrades!
[…]

It is well known that on 2 August, leaders of the seven socialist countries' fraternal Parties met in the Crimea to continue the exchange of ideas. It arose weeks ago, at the initiative of Soviet comrades, that it would be correct to continue the earlier practice and continue unofficial, protocol-free, direct and friendly exchanges of opinion on contemporary problems of shared interest. Given that the leaders of our Parties are very busy, the date of 2 August was agreed after a number of attempts.

The meeting in the Crimea – as it is marked in the checked announcement – was a bilateral discussion of the internal situation of fraternal Parties and countries, and later an exchange of opinion on contemporary foreign policy questions and the problems of the international workers' movement. On the basis of the exchange of opinions, we can state that there is total ideological-political unity on all the questions discussed. Comrade Kádár reported on the position of our Party and government, and drew the conclusion that there is complete agreement between the other six fraternal Parties and our Party, harmony on all the questions discussed. This is for us the most important and exceptionally pleasing thing, that was once again strengthened by a good meeting that took place in a comradely atmosphere. All participants emphasized that it would be correct to also meet in the future as often as possible and exchange opinions on our problems of common interest in an atmosphere of openness, and to agree common policies and strengthen our unity in this way.

We shall not go into details of the opinions expressed at the meeting of the seven fraternal Parties, because we will return to the questions discussed later during the statement on certain problems.

[…]

[Pages 11-18]

Dear Comrades!

At previous meetings we already dealt with the leadership of the Chinese Party and state which has for some time been making efforts to liquidate the international isolation of the People's Republic of China and normalize its interstate relations with both socialist and capitalist countries. We can now take into account the latest instances of increased Chinese foreign policy activity. It should be pointed out right away, however, that a counter-tendency is evolving in Soviet-Chinese relations, which have the greatest significance for the anti-imperialist struggle.

Because of the behavior of the Chinese leadership, outcomes in the normalization of Soviet-Chinese interstate relations have, to date, been minimal. At the meeting of Foreign Ministers in Peking, and because of characteristic Chinese tactics, no form of progress has yet been made, and discussions are at a dead end. The Soviet proposal for the two countries to cooperate in helping the people of Indochina has been repeatedly rejected by the Chinese. Similarly, they rejected the Soviet proposal for Comrades Kosygin and Zhou Enlai to meet again and examine the problems of bilateral relations. On China's part, they continue the ideological and political war against the Soviets.

While Soviet-Chinese relations truly stagnate, the Chinese leadership shows greater readiness to normalize with the other socialist countries. This applies to Hungarian-Chinese relations as well. As is well-known, Comrade József Bíró visited China in April. On this occasion he also visited and held talks with Comrade Zhou Enlai, who reinforced the essence of their foreign policy line. They want to normalize and develop interstate relations. They will continue the ideological struggle and war “even for another hundred years, if necessary”. Like other Chinese leaders, Zhou Enlai uses meetings to express anti-Soviet views. All these factors must be taken into consideration together when talking about the Chinese leadership's foreign policy or normalization of interstate relations.

The Political Committee also informed the members of the Central Committee and Ministerial Council as well as leading Party activists on our position relating to the visit of the Romanian Party and government delegation to China in June, and on Hungarian-Romanian relations. It is necessary to now return to these two themes and complete the existing information, as well as to sum up the most important questions of principle and politics that arise.

It is worth turning attention to how the Romanian Party and government delegation visit to the Far East came about, and how impossible it is to judge the journey to four countries by one standard. After the agreement on their visit to China was made, the Romanian Party and government leadership practically forced invites to the other three countries. We know this from conversations with leading colleagues at the Korean, Vietnamese and Mongolian Foreign Ministries. It is clear from this that the Romanian leadership intended the visit to the other three countries as a political counterbalance to the visit to China, calculated in advance due to the negative reaction from countless fraternal Parties to the Chinese visit.

Bilateral talks scheduled after the Far Eastern trip also pursued definite aims. While the Romanian Party and government delegation did not stop in Moscow on the way to Peking, on the way back, they requested a meeting with the Soviet leadership. The visit of French and Spanish fraternal Parties to Romania was scheduled for the first days of July. Comrade János Kádár's meeting with Comrade Ceausescu was planned for the middle of July. According to our evaluation, it would have been called for to demonstrate to Romanian and international public opinion the Romanian leadership's frequently asserted thesis on the good relations of all socialist countries and every Communist Party, or more precisely, to prove that everyone accepts the Romanian Party and government's policy.

The entire trip by the Romanian Party and government delegation to the Far East raised problems. However, leaders of fraternal countries were indignant primarily because of public speeches and joint public statements during the Chinese visit, and expressed their disagreement. This is not about what the Romanian leadership protests against in mock indignation, that someone wants to obstruct the development of Romania's bilateral relations with China from the outside. It is common knowledge that all socialist countries strive towards this.

The visit to China by the Romanian Party and government delegation is, to us, unacceptable, and we therefore disagree with the following:

• In his speeches and public statements, Comrade Ceausescu praised the so-called “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” in an unprincipled way. On our part, we could never do this.

• During the visit, the Romanian and Chinese leadership praised each others' anti-Soviet policies. The recognized Romanian theses on sovereignty and the role of small nations gained an indisputably anti-Soviet interpretation in the Chinese speeches. The visit led to an anti-Soviet demonstration. This was evaluated by both the friendly and imperialist enemy press alike.

• On his way home, Comrade Ceausescu told the Soviet comrades at Moscow airport that the Chinese do not agree with the anti-imperialist world congress. Because of this, the Vietnamese and Korean comrades cannot take part in the preparation work. And so, said Comrade Ceausescu, the Romanian leadership does not agree with the world congress either. This is a direct rejection of the shared conclusion endorsed at the 1969 conference in Moscow. Comrade Ceausescu stated in front of the Mongolian comrades that the 1969 Moscow international conference did not serve the cause of unity of the international workers' movement.

• The Romanian leaders were unable to achieve the inclusion in the joint statement of the confirmation of the importance of unity of the socialist countries and the international workers' movement, which Comrade Ceausescu mentioned in his speeches. The statement is therefore the approval of the Chinese leaders' ideological-political platform, from a Party and state leadership of a country that is contractually bound to the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.

On the basis the above, and in opposition to the Romanian leadership's position, the visit of the Romanian Party and government delegation to China did not serve the cause of unity, indeed, it caused it serious harm. Our views are clearly opposed on this question, which we must tackle openly. Naturally, it is the sovereign right of the Romanian Party and government leadership to view the Chinese visit as good. Our sovereign right, however, is to independently form our positions on common problems that also affect us, and draw the correct and necessary conclusions of principle and policy for ourselves. This is what the other allied fraternal countries' Parties and state leadership have done too.

A long and bitter dispute arose between the Romanian Party and government delegation and the Mongolian fraternal Party's delegation. To wit, Comrade Ceausescu formulated his right to remove those parts of Comrade Tsedenbal's speech at the congress which dealt with the Soviet Union, the countries of the Warsaw Pact, Comecon and unity without any mention of China. This unprecedented incident led to hours of bitter debate and rendered impossible a friendly mass meeting in the originally agreed manner and time. This lasted a total of twelve minutes, and the speeches planned were not made. The end result was the political fiasco of the Mongolian visit, which however the Romanian leadership is not discussing at home, but generally praising the results of the Far Eastern trip.

The Romanian Party and government delegation found themselves in a difficult situation when they met the Soviet comrades at Moscow airport. The conversation began with Comrade Ceausescu, on his own initiative, giving a sketchy, superficial account of their travels. He emphasized their great success and characterized it as a mission carried out in the interests of unity and common cause.

Comrades Kosygin and Suslov expressed in very strong terms the Soviet opinion against that of the Romanians. They objected to the speeches on “superpowers” and small countries, pointing out that the use of such categories represent alienation from class perspectives, and rejected the accusations against the Soviet Union. They stated that they regarded the Romanian statements on sovereignty as unintelligible. To the question on who is threatening the independence and autonomy of the Romanian state, Comrade Ceausescu did not respond. Comrades Kosygin and Suslov said that the Romanian-Chinese joint statement did not find support in Soviet public opinion, that [the joint statement] did not contain one good word, neither on the Soviet Union, nor on the socialist community and the international workers' movement. Objecting to the Romanians' endorsement of the “Cultural Revolution”, they introduced the Chinese leadership's Russian-language documents which identified the Soviet system with a fascist dictatorship and called on the Soviet people to decide on Soviet power.

In response to what the Soviet comrades raised, Comrade Ceausescu responded in an exceptionally offended and irritated way, and stuck to saying things like: “We did not travel to China to discuss the efforts of the socialist community on which there exist differences of opinion.” “I did not travel to China to make speeches about the Soviet Union.”

Comrades Kosygin and Suslov then ended the conversation by expressing their opinion honestly and in a comradely way, in the interest of strengthening Soviet-Romanian relations. We must value such a conversation and not get offended, because the better relations are, the more honest the conversation will be.

The first secretaries of the Warsaw Pact countries' fraternal Parties continued unofficial and unpublished talks with one another at the Socialist Unity Party of Germany congress. On this occasion, the first secretaries of the Bulgarian, Polish, Czechoslovak and German Parties expressed their opinion on the Romanian Party and government delegation visit to China that, in theory, concurs with the opinion of the Soviet comrades and our Political Committee. The leaders of the fraternal Parties reinforced this position at the
Crimean meeting on 2 August.

Knowledge of what was said is necessary to understand better why the Romanian Party and government leadership, after the Far Eastern visit, found it necessary to organize a large-scale internal political campaign. Comrade Paul Niculescu Mizil's article was published as part of this campaign, in which he expressed the official Romanian position. Comrade Mizil wished to respond in writing to the criticism from all unnamed fraternal Parties, but used Hungarian public statements by way of reference. We must regard it as positive that with the publication of the article, it has become known to Romanian public opinion that the fraternal, allied countries do not agree with many aspects of the Romanian Party and state leadership policy, and do not endorse the statements made in China.

I would like to make a brief detour here, to speak on Hungarian-Romanian bilateral relations. We learned at the latest meeting of the Central Committee in April of the Political Committee's decision to hold a series of talks aimed at developing Hungarian-Romanian bilateral relations. We have since informed [the Central Committee] on developments in our bilateral relations and more recent decisions. Still, it appears necessary to repeat everything that the Political Committee presently regards as most important concerning Hungarian-Romanian relations.

The Political Committee firmly emphasizes how important it is, despite the difference of opinion, for a split not to occur in Hungarian-Romanian relations. We must ensure that recently established, and existing active development continues in Party, state, social and all regards. We must take further initiatives and attempts to develop bilateral relations and wide-ranging cooperation.

This does not contradict our firm attempts, and I think that is evidently proved on the basis of information at the disposal of the Central Committee and Ministerial Council, that the decision of the Political Committee to postpone the meeting between Comrades Kádár and Ceausescu was correct. The decision was preceded by a lengthy deliberation. We eventually reached the conclusion that the development of bilateral relations did not necessarily justify the meeting and the strained difference of opinion on international problems has made it untenable.

After fundamental deliberation, the Political Committee decided it would not be correct to continue public debate on Comrade Niculescu Mizil's article, because this would necessarily put a strain on the present situation. It would make our efforts both to develop bilateral relations, and to continue our struggle for the unity of socialist countries, more difficult. This does not mean that later on, if the situation demands, we should not return to the disputed questions of principle without concretely naming the Romanian Comrades. We will continue in future, as we have to date, to take part in ideological discussions of problems of common concern, and will publicly put forward the position of our Party.

The Political Committee requests the Central Committee and the Ministerial Council to discuss and decisively approve events in Hungarian-Romanian relations and plans for the near future on the basis of the distributed draft proposal and the information.

Returning to the foreign policy activation by Chinese leaders, I would also like to refer to the visit of the Yugoslav Foreign Minister to Peking. In itself, we cannot object in principle to Yugoslav-Chinese rapprochement. It is a fact that both sides – but especially the Yugoslavs – emphasized their differences of opinion during the visit. Both sides need to do this from both an internal policy point of view, and because of their international allies. We cannot, however, endorse the central role played by both parties' characteristic nationalism and anti-Sovietism in the rapprochement between the Yugoslav and Chinese leaderships, who not so long ago were sharply ideologically opposed to each other.

Neither Romanian-Chinese nor Yugoslav-Chinese relations can be judged solely on the basis of bilateral relations.


We can already observe the formation of an anti-Soviet Balkan front to Chinese efforts, which spreads from Albania across Yugoslavia to Romania. It would not be correct to exaggerate this and draw far-reaching conclusions from it, but at the same time we must not neglect such directed efforts.

[Page 21]

The Chinese leaders' foreign policy actions, and the impact of expected consequences, demand the increase of our international work and strengthening unity on all fronts, in relations between socialist countries, in efforts to put the Indochinese and Middle Eastern problems in order, in every question of international policy.

[Page 45]

Comrade János Kádár:

[…]

Regarding the Chinese matter. I would take great care that the Chinese do not play with our unity. Because Comrades, it's true that they can tell us such beautiful things, separately to Hungarians, to Romanians, to anyone, that we can only grow dizzy. Here and there we've had these little exchanges, Zhou Enlai also said, and greeted us, saying “there is no such great opposition between us” etc., and on the other hand they hope that they can still improve relations with Romania, Belgrade, etc., and then with Hungary and then Czechoslovakia, “these are great peoples, building socialism,” they have no particular problem with this. But I will say Comrades, that if the Chinese reach their goals and can isolate the Soviet Union to some extent – only from among socialist countries – then we can listen to how they speak to us. We must look at how they act. We cannot idealize polite gestures with such aims, or anything similar, because this is about policy. Supposing they split us. Alright, it is possible that the Chinese have some benign aims, that they want some “true” socialism – I understand even less of the Chinese position as ten years ago.

But if there is a loosening and dissolution, there's another lion in the background, which is America. Could it not exploit a split in the Warsaw Pact? Would America exploit it? It would. So we must look at these interconnections, in every situation and with every decisive step.

I would like to finish on China by saying that we should have contact, trade if possible, there can be diplomatic actions in Hungarian-Chinese relations, because we cannot reject what is sensible, we can't reject Nixon's visit purely because then the Americans come into contact with the Chinese. But there is one thing we cannot do, which is to make peace with the Maoist system of thought, because if Mao Zedong Thought gains ground, then Marxist-Leninist ideology and policy lose their force and effectiveness, and then there won't be any socialist construction anywhere, and the socialist idea will not progress further or take new ground. We therefore cannot be a vessel for Mao Zedong Thought, and we must fight against it ceaselessly, ever more actively, and more operationally. We have scientific journals, daily papers, where we can issue once a week a question of principle, or an article on a political theme, because we must fight against the Maoist system of thought, because it is not a Marxist system of thought. It is possible that it is an amended form of Marxism, I don't know and don't believe it, but at least what we know of it, it is not Marxism.

[Page 115]

HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST WORKERS' PARTY
CENTRAL COMMITTEE

Strictly confidential
File no. H/647

RESOLUTION

on the joint meeting of the Central Committee and the Ministerial Council on 4 August 1971

I.

The joint meeting of the Central Committee and the Ministerial Council heard and noted the information on contemporary international questions, and approved the most recent decisions brought on international questions by the Political Committee and government organs.

1. The joint meeting declares that recent foreign policy steps taken separately and independently by American imperialists and the Chinese leaders, and their jointly planned actions regarding Nixon's visit to China, both require attention and vigilance.

The executive bodies of the Central Committee in their international activities, and government bodies in their diplomatic work alike must make increased efforts in the interest of strengthening the unity and cooperation of the Warsaw Pact, Comecon, and countries of the socialist world system. Every effort aimed at dissolution must be rejected.

We wish to improve and develop interstate relations with the People's Republic of China, adhering to our Marxist-Leninist principles, and with the Soviet Union and the other allied socialist countries, strengthening our existing political unity.

The joint meeting views it necessary to increase our activities in ideologically and politically unmasking the Chinese leaders' anti-Marxist views. Journals and daily papers should publish ideological articles more frequently which express the Marxist-Leninist position of our Party and condemn those concrete declarations of principle and policy which stand in opposition to our views, to Marxism-Leninism.

Regarding relations with the United States of America, other developed capitalist countries, and the capitalist countries in general, enforcement of the principle of peaceful co-existence continues unchanged, we must strive to normalize and develop relations and further take care that manoeuvres aimed at loosening and dissolving the unity of socialist countries do not gain ground.

2. The joint meeting declared that the invitation to the president of the United States to visit the People's Republic of China has caused further complications in Indochina. The meeting regards it prescient to express in a public announcement our unchanged solidarity with the peoples fighting in Indochina against American imperialism, and our position that only these people, the Vietnamese Workers' Party and the government of the Vietnamese Democratic Republic, the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, the Interim Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam, the Laos Patriotic Front and the National Unity Front of Cambodia, are qualified to decide their own questions of vital interest. Whether in the Paris meeting of four or elsewhere, the Vietnamese question can be agreed only by those parties directly affected by its solution.

3. The joint meeting reinforced the Political Committee's evaluation of and resolutions on the prominent situation of Hungarian-Romanian relations and declared that:

Romanian political statements made during the visit of the Romanian Party and government delegation to Peking in June 1971 stand in opposition to the principles adopted at the international meeting of communist and workers' Parties in Moscow in 1969, and the policy followed by Warsaw Pact countries. The main elements in the statements were harmful to unity. The Chinese leaders used the visit of the Romanian delegation for anti-Soviet attacks, and praised the anti-Soviet aspects of the separate Romanian line. The Romanian Party and state leaders agreed with the main anti-Marxist political direction of the Chinese Party, against which our Party together with the majority of the international communist movement has waged an ideological and political struggle for over ten years.

From an ideological-political point of view, the development of Romanian-Chinese bilateral relations is an internal matter for both countries. However, our Party and public opinion view the Romanian Party and government delegation's Far Eastern trip negatively. Together with our closest allies and based on identical points of principle, we condemn the Romanian and Chinese leaders' behavior.

The Central Committee and the Ministerial Council agree with the decision of the Political Committee to postpone, given this situation, the high-level Party meeting, and the planned meeting of Comrade János Kádár with Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu on 7-8 July did not take place.

At the same time, the joint meeting reinforces the Political Committee's position that decisions to develop Hungarian-Romanian relations were correct, and therefore regards as necessary further efforts to develop bilateral Hungarian-Romanian relations in line with earlier resolutions in Party, state, economic, cultural, social and other spheres. We must continue to urge this effort in harmony, so that the two countries' Foreign Ministries begin discussions on the timing and other relevant questions of signing the Agreement on Friendship and Mutual Assistance. We must maintain our proposal to the Romanian side for talks at the level of Political Committee members for comradely discussion of existing differences of opinion on international questions.

Strengthening and further developing Hungarian-Romanian cooperation are desired by and useful to our Party and country and serve well our struggle for unity of the socialist world system and international communist movement.