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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 22, 1972

SECRET TELEGRAM FROM MOSCOW TO WARSAW, NO. 848

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    This document from the Soviets to Polish Comrades issues a warning about Zhou Enlai's anti-Sovietism and his advance in the Chinese government. It also addresses border issues between China and the Soviet Union.
    "Secret Telegram from Moscow to Warsaw, No. 848," January 22, 1972, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Warsaw (AMSZ) z-Depesze, Moskwa 1972. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Malgorzata K. Gnoinska. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110270
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Urgent

To Comrade Trepczynski

(Comrade Nowak sends the dispatch regarding the following):

This is based on the conversation between [Foreign Ministry Director Wladyslaw] Napieraj and Kapitsa, the member of the editorial board in the Foreign Ministry.

Zhou Enlai plays a major role in the PRC at the moment. He is the one who sets the tone in domestic politics, and directly manages foreign affairs. He removed Lin Biao with Mao's help. He is gradually placing his own people in the various regions of the country. The fate of Lin Biao is not exactly clear. The main content of Zhou Enlai's policy is ruthless anti-Sovietism. The forms and methods of its implementation differ from other Chinese extremists, but they are all the more dangerous. The latest period points to the activation of anti-Soviet nature in the policies of the leaders in Beijing. Some allusions, which were also present in the USSR, regarding the assessment of Zhou Enlai, as a realist and pragmatist who could depart from the anti-Soviet course, were incorrect and baseless. They [the Soviets] were thinking of whether they should perhaps focus of attacking Zhou Enlai in the media within the framework of their ideological struggle with Maoism. They concluded, however, that for now they should still refrain from this move. Zhou Enlai's position continues to strengthen. He is becoming a candidate to replace Mao, but currently he is sill within Mao's control and who could remove him if he saw it fit.

There is quiet on the Sino-Soviet border, not including some small and permanent provocations. The Chinese leadership seems to be experiencing “the state of being dizzy with success.” Recently, many of the negative elements have accumulated which are strengthening the already hard line position of the PRC toward the USSR. Nevertheless, they have decided that Ilichev should return to Beijing this month. Kapitsa does not foresee any progress in the talks, but they don't want to break even this very thin thread of contact and dialogue. They will continue to increase bilateral trade. They are wondering about the PRC's future, when and how a return to normal relations could possibly take place. It is difficult, however, to predict how the situation would develop in the future. They do not see any optimistic prospects. They are exerting influence on the DRV and the DPRK. They are very positively assessing the results of last year's visit of Comrade Podgorny in the DRV. They invited Kim Il Sung to Moscow. There is no reply so far...

[…]

[Received by Foreign Minister Olszowski and the highest official with the Foreign Ministry and the CC PUWP International Department].