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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 12, 1955

FROM THE JOURNAL OF AMBASSADOR PAVEL YUDIN: RECORD OF CONVERSATION WITH MAO ZEDONG ON 8 MARCH 1955

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    A conversation between Soviet Ambassador to China Pavel Yudin and Mao Zedong. Topics of discussion included the writing of an article for Pravda regarding Lenin's influence of the Chinese Revolution, the Gao Gang Affair, and the recent break between Josip Tito's Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.
    "From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Record of Conversation with Mao Zedong on 8 March 1955," March 12, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AVPRF), f. 0100 op. 48 papka 393, d. 9, ll. 46-49. Obtained by Paul Wingrove. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111370
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From the Journal of P. F. Yudin, 12 March 1955, Top Secret

Note of Conversation with Comrade Mao Zedong on 8 March 1955

Today I visited Comrade Mao Zedong, and, after questions and answers of a protocol character, informed him about the order of the proceedings for the celebration of the 85th anniversary of Lenin's birth on 22 April 1955. Having noted that all members of the Presidium of the CPSU CC will write articles in connection with that date, I said that the CC is appealing to Comrade Mao and other leaders of the communist parties of the various countries to write articles to appear in Pravda.

Comrade Mao very willingly agreed to write an article, saying that its title would probably be “Lenin and the Chinese Revolution,” and perhaps run to about six or seven thousand characters. He commented that he would write it by the middle of April. He could not write it sooner because he would be occupied with the All China Conference of the CCP which would be going on throughout the second half of March.

Referring to this conference, Comrade Mao told me that about 300 delegates would be sent from the provincial, regional and city party organizations. Its significance, as Mao put it, would be that it would equate to a congress of the party, discussing such important questions as the five year plan and the Gao Gang-Rao Shushi affair. A party congress had not been convened since 1945. According to the Party Statutes, a congress should be convened every three years. In truth the Party Statutes permit congresses to be held at longer or shorter intervals, in the light of circumstance. It was impossible to hold a congress in 1948 because at that time the bitter struggle with the Guomindang was still under way. Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, urgent and important matters had allowed no opportunity for a congress to be convened: the task of national reconstruction, the war in Korea, drawing up and amending the five year plan, and so on. The next (8th) Congress of the CCP would be called in 1956. A decision on the Gao Gang-Rao Shushi question taken at the conference this year would reduce argument at the congress in 1956. Here, Mao offered the suggestion that Gao Gang could have been in conspiracy with Beria, whose representative traveled to Manchuria and met with Gao, with the latter saying nothing about this to the CCP CC. Comrade Mao also said that Gao Gang might have been connected with the English through Beria and that he was seriously studying this question.

Having noted that 12 March marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Sun Yatsen I said that the editor of Pravda, Comrade Shepilov was interested in knowing how this day would be marked in the PRC. Comrade Mao said that it was intended to mark this day widely; meetings would be held in all towns and articles carried by the newspapers. Comrade Mao said that if I felt it necessary to have more detailed information on this question, I should turn to the head of agitprop at the CC, Comrade Lu Dingyi.

Comrade Mao, recalling that I had some time ago shown an interest in the question of ideological struggle in the PRC, said that I should talk to Comrade Liu Dingyi on that matter. I replied that such a talk had already taken place. He said that he would give us three documents produced by the CC (decision of the CC on the struggle against idealism and on propagandizing Marxism, instruction of the CC on united front work, instruction of the CC on urgent measures relating to food provision), which he asked me to forward to the CPSU CC.

Comrade Mao informed us that the Politburo had discussed the letter of the CPSU CC concerning the measures taken by the government of the USSR and of the people's democracies in connection with the Paris agreement. He said that the proposed measures were timely, correct and necessary. He also spoke about the position that the PRC would adopt if another war were to break out. In the next few days the CCP CC would give a written reply to the CPSU’s letter and to the draft of the treaty.

Cde. Mao further talked about the CPSU’s letter on the Yugoslav question. He said that the CPSU had made a correct analysis of Yugoslav affairs and that he was fully in agreement with this analysis. [Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz] Tito and others, he said, are behaving like Trotskyists, always shouting that they are for Lenin but against Stalin. Marxists cannot acknowledge Marx, Engels and Lenin and not recognize Stalin. In Kardelj’s lectures there was nothing Marxist. This was a purely Trotskyist attitude to Marxism.

Mao also said that he had been forming the firm opinion that Yugoslavia under the leadership of Tito was a bourgeois country, and that we had to relate to it basically as we would to a bourgeois state. It was impossible to trust Tito and Kardelj. They had linked themselves firmly to the imperialist states. There was no way I could agree with the Yugoslavs when they broke with the Cominform. Even if the Cominform were wholly mistaken on the Yugoslav question, all the same, Marxists should not behave like that. If Marxists behave like that towards international communist organizations, then our slogan “workers of the world, unite” will have to be discarded.

Here Mao raised the question of the relationship of Lenin to the Second International and to Kautsky. Lenin only broke finally with the 2nd International, said Com. Mao, after the Social Democrats had voted in favor of the war in their parliaments. Although Kautsky made many mistakes and Lenin criticized him, he did not break with him for a long time as leader of the 2nd International.

Cde. Mao said that the CCP CC had written a letter of information to its party organizations on the Yugoslav question. We were talking guardedly, he said, about possible rapprochement with the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. In our letter we have written that the future development of events would determine how far the Yugoslavs were willing to go in rapprochement with the CPSU, the CCP and the people's democracies.

On the question of dropping the charge against [US journalist] Anna Louise Strong, Cde. Mao said that the initiative taken by the CPSU CC on this matter was very good.

During the conversation the question was raised about the visit to China of Comrades Korneichuk and Vanda Vasilevskaya and their forthcoming visit to New Delhi and the session of the Council for Peace. Cde. Mao, hearing the name Korneichuk, recalled his play The Front and said that when put on for the first time in China, in Yan’an, it had made a great impression and was of great help to the Chinese comrades. He said that in the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] there were still some loudmouths amongst the old officer corps and so the order had been given to organize the staging of this play throughout China, wherever it was possible to do so. Cde. Mao said he would be willing to watch the film together with Korneichuk and Vasilevskaya after their return from India.

Shi Zhe and T. F. Skvortsov also attended the discussion.

Soviet Ambassador in the PRC, P.F. Yudin

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