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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 02, 1950


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    Mao Zedong informs the Central Committee of "an important breakthrough" in his talks with Stalin, and asks that Zhou Enlai immediately come to Moscow to conclude a new Sino-Soviet treaty.
    "Cable, Mao Zedong to the Central Committee of the CCP," January 02, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi, ed., Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao (Mao Zedong’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China), vol. 1 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1987), 211-212; translation from Shuguang Zhang and Jian Chen, eds., Chinese Communist Foreign Policy and the Cold War in Asia: New Documentary Evidence, 1944-1950 (Chicago: Imprint Publications, 1996), 131-132.
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To the Central Committee [of the Chinese Communist Party]:

(1) Our work here has achieved an important breakthrough in the past two days. Comrade Stalin has finally agreed to invite Comrade Zhou Enlai to Moscow and sign a new Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance and other agreements on credit, trade, and civil aviation. Yesterday, on 1 January, a decision was made to publish my interview with the Tass correspondent, and it is in the newspapers today (2 January), which you might have already received. At 8:00 p.m. today, Comrade Molotov and Comrade Mikoyan came to my quarters to have a talk, asking about my opinions on the Sino-Soviet treaty and other matters. I immediately gave them a detailed description of three options:

(a) To sign a new Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance. By taking this action, we will gain enormous advantages. Sino-Soviet relations will be solidified on the basis of the new treaty; in China, workers, peasants, intellectuals, and the left wing of the national bourgeoisie will be greatly inspired, while the right wing of the national bourgeoisie will be isolated; and internationally, we may acquire more political capital to deal with the imperialist countries and to examine all the treaties signed between China and each of the imperialist countries in the past.

(b) To publish through the news agencies of the two countries a brief communique stating that the authorities of the two countries have exchanged opinions on the old Sino-Soviet treaty and other issues, and have achieved a consensus, without mentioning any of the details. In fact, by doing so we mean to put off the solution of the problem to the future, until a few years later. Accordingly, China's foreign minister Zhou Enlai does not need to come here.

(c) To sign a statement, not a treaty, that will summarize the key points in the two countries' relations. If this is the option, Zhou Enlai will not have to come either. After I have analyzed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of these three options, Comrade Molotov said promptly that option (a) was good and that Zhou should come. I then asked: "Do you mean that the old treaty will be replaced by a new one?" Comrade Molotov replied: "Yes." After that we calculated how long it would take for Zhou to come here and to sign the treaty. I said that my telegram would reach Beijing on 3 January, and that [Zhou] Enlai would need five days for preparations and could depart from Beijing on 9 January. It would take him eleven days by train [to travel to Moscow], so he could arrive in Moscow on 19 January. The negotiation and the signing of the treaty would need about ten days, from 20 January to the end of the month. Zhou and I would return home in early February. Meanwhile we also discussed the plans for my sightseeing outside [my quarters and Moscow], and we decided that I would visit Lenin's tomb, travel to Leningrad, Gorky, and other places, and make tours of such places as an ordnance factory, the subway (Molotov and Mikoyan recommended these two items) and a collective farm. We also discussed the problem of my meeting with various Soviet leaders (so far I have not left my quarters to pay an individual visit to any of them).

(2) Please finish all the preparations [for Zhou's departure] in five days after you receive this telegram. I hope that [Zhou] Enlai, together with the minister of trade2 and other necessary aides, and with the necessary documents and materials, will depart from Beijing for Moscow by train (not by air) on 9 January. Comrade Dong Biwu will assume the post of acting premier of the Government Administration Council. The news should not be publicized until Zhou has arrived in Moscow.

(3) Are the above-stated arrangements feasible? Will five days be enough for you to finish the preparations? Does [Zhou] need one or two more days for preparation? Is it necessary for Comrade Li Fuchun or other comrades to come to offer assistance? Please consider them and report to me in a return telegram.

Mao Zedong

11:00 p.m., 2 January [1950]


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