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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 28, 1962


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    A conversation between S.V. Chevornenko and Deng Xiaoping about improving Sino-Soviet relations and questions about Albania and Germany.
    "From the Diary of S. V. Chervonenko, Transcripts of a Conversation with the General Secretary of the CC CCP Deng Xiaoping, March 1, 1962," March 28, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.
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Copy No.  I

FROM THE.DIARY OF                                                              

S.V. CHERVONENKO                                                                    

"28" March, 1962

Outgoing paper No. 250



March 1, 1962

In connection with the Center's instructions on the meeting with Mao Zedong, connected with the chancellery of the CC CCP, whence we were informed on February 28 of this year that Mao Zedong is located outside of Peking and for that reason cannot receive the Soviet ambassador. It was also said that if the Soviet ambassador has instructions to give a document from the CC CPSU to Mao Zedong in person, he can send it through the chancellery of the CC CCP. If the ambassador does not object, then according to Mao Zedong's arrangement, Deng Xiaoping can receive him. In keeping with this understanding, a meeting with Deng Xiaoping took place in the CC CCP on March 1st.

At the beginning of the meeting, Deng Xiaoping and candidate for membership in the Secretariat of the CC CCP Yang Shangkun were cautiously restrained, were noticeable nervous, and were ready, evidently, to receive a document of a different character.

Having familiarized himself with the contents of the letter from the CC CPSU, Deng Xiaoping said that they would give the letter to the comrades from the CC CCP without delay.  He further said: "Our CC, doubtless, will discuss the questions touched on in this letter with all seriousness.  Of course, after such a hasty acquaintance with the letter, it is difficult for me to express my personal opinion.  I consider that the CC CPSU in putting forward this issue, acted on good intentions.  Solidarity between our two parties and countries is hugely significant.  We know that many fraternal parties are manifesting concern about unity; this concern is the manifestation of normal feelings, and our party shows no less concern on this issue than the other fraternal parties.  But it should be recognized that in recent years, relations between our parties (between the CPSU and the CCP) were highly abnormal.  This fact should be recognized.  This recognition is contained in your letter as well. Once we recognize this, we should exert every effort to make use of the available possibilities to resolve the difficulties in our relations. Is there the possibility for this?  I think that such possibilities exist."

At this point, noted for my part that, as is expressed in the letter, the CC CPSU is also assured of this.

Continuing to develop this thought, Deng Xiaoping said: "We have a good basis for resolving difficulties-the principles of Marxism-Leninism, the Moscow declaration of 1957 and the Moscow statement of 1960. If only these principles are used as real sources of guidance, and the Declaration and Statement are observed, then there can be no issues which cannot be resolved between the fraternal parties. In actuality, before the adoption of the Moscow statement, there were quite a lot of disagreements between our parties and countries.  Large discussions took place and there were sharp disputes at the Moscow conference.  As a result, however, a common document was worked out - the Statement. An absolute majority of the Statement's clauses received general agreement.  Together with this, there were also issues about which a full agreement was not reached, but we made concessions.  After the Moscow conference over the course of a half-year (1961), our relations were not bad.  You, comrade ambassador, probably know that we have not published a single article which would have touched on controversial issues. However, half a year after the Moscow conference, these issues arose again.  I, of course, do not want to dwell on the reasons for which these issues arose anew.  Both we and you, if the development of the course of events is closely followed, will see these reasons."

"After this," Deng Xiaoping said, "the Albanian issue arose; this is also mentioned in the letter from the CC CPSU.  If the norms and principles of relations between the fraternal parties had been observed as they were written in the Moscow statement, the Albanian issue would not be so big. In your letter it says that in the Albanian issue the CC CPSU holds to the principles of the Moscow statement.  We do hold a different opinion. Of course, the given issue could be discussed in more detail later. However, we draw your attention to the fact that your letter talks about the necessity of improving relations with Albania. In the end, the larger party should take the initiative on similar issues.  Issues of prestige do not exist for a large part and a large country.  In the past we had disagreements with other parties and we have good experience with resolving them, about which we told comrade Khrushchev.  As we told you earlier, we have experience with relations with Korea. The CPSU has great experience in relations with Poland. For this reason, given a desire to improve relations, of course, a resolution will be found."

Deng Xiaoping further said: "In the letter, Yugoslavia is talked about.  However, in the Moscow statement, the Yugoslavian issue is given a clear characterization.  One can, of course, also continue the discussion of this issue."

"In a word," Deng Xiaoping said, "the firm observance of the Moscow declaration and the Moscow statement, including analysis and conclusions on political and ideological issues, on issues of the relations between the fraternal parties, affords the possibility of resolving all issues.  The Moscow declaration and the Moscow statement, and Marxism Leninism, afford a clear explanation of the majority of the issues touched upon in the letter.  Of course, there is agreement on those issues on which a compromise resolution was attained, but there are few such issues.  These issues can be put to one side.  This idea in particular is contained in your letter.  That is our unchanged position.   On the basis of our common views on the majority of issues, we can strengthen our solidarity.  It is not in vain that we in Moscow unanimously raised our hands and voted on a majority of issues. For this reason I think that the observance of the Moscow declaration and the Moscow statement permit the resolution of the current issues.  We will carefully discuss your letter and will inform you of our opinion."

For our part, expressed confidence that the presence of some as-yet unresolved issues between our parties, however significant they might be, does not serve as a barrier to unity between the CPSU and the CCP, and that if the will for close unity were manifested, we could return to a situation that always pleased our people,-a situation of true trust and friendship.

After this, Deng Xiaoping asked whether I would go to the Plenum of the CC CPSU.  Answered that it was possible that I would not go to the given Plenum, since I do not feel very well after my illness.  Told Deng Xiaoping why the CC CPSU currently lends such significance to the issues of the further development of agriculture in the USSR. Emphasized that after the 22nd Congress, zonal conferences took place throughout the entire Union, in which almost all of the members of the Presidium of the CC CPSU took part.  Our Gosplan, I said further, our agricultural organizations are seeking additional means to strengthen the material-technical basis of agriculture.  The CPSU and the whole Soviet people are applying all efforts to the realization of the task set by the 22nd Congress, - to catch up with the USA in the production of the most important sorts of agricultural production.  However, our existing capacities must still be realized.  In these conditions, the role of the party in the leadership of the country's economy increases even further; the role of subjective factors increases.

Deng Xiaoping listened with interests and said that task set by the CPSU of catching up to the USA seems to him to be realistic.

To my question of when the session of the VSNP would open, he answered that it would take place no earlier than the 15th of March.  The issue was, he explained, that many deputies, including non-party ones, had traveled to the localities [na mesta] in different regions of the country "to study the circumstances."  It was recognized as expedient that they study the state affairs in the localities as best as possible.  In Deng Xiaoping's words, it was not intended that the national economic plan be adopted at the session.  As he expressed it, only some internal problems would be discussed.  Deng Xiaoping also said (answering our question), that Mao Zedong at present is in the south, noting moreover that travel to the south is a long-standing habit of Mao Zedong's.  It is possible, Deng Xiaoping stated, that Mao Zedong would return to Peking and would take part in the session of the VSNP.

Answering the question of the prospective planning of the national economy in the PRC, Deng Xiaoping said that there were different points of view on this issue: whether to compose a plan for five or for 10 years.  In this connection, briefly told Deng Xiaoping about the attention which was devoted to the planning of the national economy in the USSR, about the tasks set by the 22nd Congress of the party for the next 10 or 20 years. In addition, noted that as before, lend great significance to a semi-yearly plan, which is a constituent part of the general outlook [for the future].

Further, Deng Xiaoping said that of the issues of the PRC's economic development were now in a stage of preparatory work [stadii razrabotki].  You know, he said, that great changes have taken place inside our country. In connection with the changed circumstances, a series of new issues which demand detailed study has arisen. Our Gosplan presented three alternatives for the plan, but in each of the alternatives there are unresolved issues. These three alternatives differ from one another both in the time to which they apply, as well as in their very indices [po samim pokazateliam].

For us, said Deng Xiaoping, it is completely clear that the key issue now is agriculture.  (In your country, issues of agriculture also occupy an important place, he noted).  In past years in the PRC, the city population has grown excessively.  For this reason, agriculture, in its present level of development, does not meet the demands of supply such an increased city population.  In the course of 1961 alone, the population of the cities alone was reduced by 13 million persons, who returned to the countryside, on the whole to the same places where they had previously lived. A large portion of this number is directed into people's communes, since large capital inputs are needed for the development of state farms [goskhozy].  In this year, the re-settlement of another 10 million people from the cities to rural areas is planned. Resettlement to the countryside lessens the problem of supplying the city population.  In past years, the development of industry in China took place at high tempos. At the same time, a situation developed where almost in every enterprise the number of workers significantly exceeds the quantity needed for the full use of existing productive capacity.  At some enterprises there are as many workers as would be needed only 10 years hence.  As a result, an irrational use of labour power is taking place. At the An'shan' industrial complex, Deng Xiaoping put forward as an example, the quantity of workers, with the full use of all existing capacity, could be cut by 50 thousand people.  In part, this situation is explained by the fact that the preparation of more cadres for new enterprises was intended.

At the end of the conversation I asked Deng Xiaoping that he or someone else on his behalf tell us about the situation in the country at a convenient time for them, emphasizing that such a conversation would assist us in more fully and precisely understanding the processes taking place at the present time in China. Deng Xiaoping did not give a definite answer to this request, although he promised that the question that had been posed would be studied.

The meeting, which continued all in all for about an hour and a half, took place in an even, calm tone. After the Chinese comrades had acquainted themselves with the contents of the CC CPSU's letter, the reserve in their behavior disappeared; they began to conduct themselves more freely and cordially. In parting with us, Deng Xiaoping said: "Your letter calls for solidarity - and that is good."

Aside from the said persons, the employees of the CC CCP apparatus, Yan Minfu and Zhao Zhinuang, were also present during the conversation.  For our side, the counselor-emissary of the embassy, N.N. Mesiatsev, and the first secretary of the embassy, G.A. Ganshin, were present.

Ambassador of the USSR to the PRC




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