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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 30, 1955

FROM THE JOURNAL OF AMBASSADOR PAVEL YUDIN: MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH MAO ZEDONG ON 30 MAY 1955

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    A conversation held between Soviet Ambassador to China Pavel Yudin and Mao Zedong. The discussion primarily concerned the activity of the peasantry in China joining collective farms, the development of the agricultural sector of the economy, and Chinese food aid to India and Burma.
    "From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Memorandum of Conversation with Mao Zedong on 30 May 1955," May 30, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AVPRF), f. 0100 opis 48, papka 393, delo 9. Obtained by Paul Wingrove and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111373
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["Declassified" stamp]

from the journal

of P. F. YUDIN  

TOP SECRET Copy Nº 1

17 July 10 1955

[Translator's note:

the month was crossed out]

Nº 807

[Faded stamp:

02794-?if?

20.x.[[195]]5]

[MFA Far East

Dept. stamp:

Nº 397/s

21.8.1955]

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Cde. MAO ZEDONG

30 May 1955

[Translator's note: brackets have been placed in the text where they are handwritten on the document]

Today [I visited Cde. Mao Zedong and passed him the CPSU CC letter and the comments about the draft of the first PRC five-year plan. Cde. Mao Zedong expressed gratitude to the CPSU CC and the Soviet government for this. He agreed with the opinion of the CPSU CC about the inadvisability of determining the level and rates of growth of production cooperatives in the five-year plan, noting that the annual determination of the growth plan for agricultural cooperatives and other measures in this area are the most correct. Cde. Mao Zedong said that the CC CCP considers the question of the state of growth of agricultural production cooperatives twice a year: in the first half of the year plans are made and questions about the measures needed to expand and strengthen the cooperatives are decided, and in the second half of the year the results of the implementation of CC CCP decisions are reviewed. He said that at the present time up to 10% of agricultural cooperatives in the PRC are weak. The weak ones are usually those agricultural cooperatives which were created by bureaucratic methods or by order. One of the pressure methods during the organization of the cooperatives was the statement: "Whoever goes the Chiang Kai-shek way does not join the cooperative, but whoever goes the Mao Zedong way joins the cooperative". The question put in such a way forced peasants to join the cooperative since no one wanted to be counted as going the Chiang Kai-shek way. The peasants who joined cooperatives under such pressure worked poorly and the cooperatives were not strengthened, but fell apart. The mandatory method of creating cooperatives and joining cooperatives under pressure was used by malicious elements, as a result of which a slaughter of working stock, pointless cutting of wood, etc. were observed].

Poor peasants, poor people, new middle peasants of average means, and poor old middle peasants eagerly join agricultural cooperatives. The peasants of this category who join weak cooperatives oppose the disbandment of cooperatives, saying that the cooperative is weak this year but will become strong in the next.

Touching on measures to strengthen and expand agricultural cooperatives [in the current year, Cde. Mao Zedong noted that measures would be taken in the northeast and north of China and in the provinces of Shanxi and Anhui, mainly to strengthen existing cooperatives; work would be done in other provinces to create and strengthen new cooperatives. Perhaps up to five percent of the total number of cooperatives that have already been created will be disbanded. Part of the weak cooperatives will be preserved but steps will be taken to improve and strengthen them. Peasants who wish to leave such cooperatives will be afforded such an opportunity].

Cde. [Mao Zedong said that during the first five-year plan it will be necessary to create one or two cooperatives in each of the 220,000 rural districts which ought to serve as an example for the creation of cooperatives in the second five-year plan. It was noted in the process that at the present time there are up to five cooperatives in some rural districts in the northeast. Based on the accumulated experience of agricultural production cooperatives and considering the attitude of the broad masses of peasants toward the cooperative idea it can be assumed that approximately a third of all the peasant farms in China will be cooperatives by the end of the first five-year plan.]

A cadre official will be sent to the village in the current year to strengthen agricultural cooperatives with the expectation that each cadre official will supervise three cooperatives and manage to turn them into strong cooperatives in the economic management sense.

In connection with a conversation about the food situation in the country Cde. Mao Zedong said that at the present time a considerable part of the peasantry had to be supplied with foodstuffs in a centralized manner, in particular those who suffered during last year's floods. Some of these peasants are being supplied centrally for one to three months, and others up to six months. [Foodstuffs are centrally supplied to 80 million of the urban population and 120 million who live in rural areas but which do not produce foodstuffs, for example, rural craftsmen, peasants who plant industrial crops (cotton, etc.), fishermen, forest workers, people who live on houseboats (up to 5 million of them), etc.

Cde. Mao Zedong noted that on average 235 kilograms a year of agricultural foodstuffs are produced per person annually in the PRC. However, in individual provinces the production of foodstuffs per person is considerably higher than the average in the country, which depends on the size of the available land and the density of the population. For example, an average of up to 500 kilograms of foodstuffs is produced per person annually in the northeast and Inner Mongolia. Every measure is being taken to achieve an increase in the yield of production per unit of land. During the first five-year plan the overall growth of the crop yield is supposed to actually reach 4% a year against a planned rate of 3.5%.] Cde. Mao Zedong expressed confidence that this percentage of harvest growth can be achieved in spite of the fact that the country was subjected to floods during the first two years of the five-year plan.

During a conversation about the 1954 floods Cde. Mao Zedong said that 50 million people suffered from the floods. Thanks to measures taken by the government there were almost no human victims of the floods. The departure of the population from threatened places proceeded in an organized manner. Party committees, government bodies, agricultural cooperatives and mutual aid brigades, and a group of medical workers left with everyone. The population that suffered from the floods was very pleased with the government. It thanks the Communist Party and the government for [their] rescue during the floods and for the subsequent aid that was given. Statements were made at the time that there had never been such a good government in China which was concerned about the people.

Cde. Mao Zedong said that a large reduction of administrative staff is supposed to be carried out. He said that 50% of the 200,000 people working in Peking in the government and Party apparatus could be reduced. Up to 10% of the elderly white-collar workers obviously will have to be placed on public assistance and the rest of the white-collar workers might be put through appropriate retraining and sent to work in agricultural cooperatives, in particular as bookkeepers, and to schools to do instructional work.

Concluding the conversation about agriculture and the food situation of China Cde Mao Zedong turned to me and said, as you see, our situation is difficult, the people are still living very poorly. But we, the CC CCP, and the entire Party are fully determined to work tirelessly to achieve a radical improvement in the condition of our people in the near future. [We rely on the experience and assistance of the Soviet Union in all our measures to create the foundations of socialism. The Chinese people see this wonderful aid to the PRC from the Soviet Union and this gives the Chinese people strength and the confidence that with the aid of the Soviet Union they will solve all difficulties which stand in their path and achieve victory].

Several questions of an international nature were touched on in the next conversation. When Cde. Mao Zedong began to talk about Chinese aid to such countries as India and Burma, pointing out in particular that the PRC bought 150,000 tons of rice this year from Burma, I said that the Soviet government might be able to buy 150-200,00 tons of rice from Burma. Having heard my statement, Cde. Mao Zedong said that Burma needs such aid very much. He noted at this point that the agreement of the Soviet Union to build a metallurgical works in India made an enormous impression on Burma, Indonesia, and other Asian countries. Cde. Mao Zedong said, during Nehru's visit to Peking he asked me about the nature and conditions of Soviet aid to China. I advised him, said Cde. Mao Zedong, to go to the northeast, in particular to Anshan, and see for himself what aid the Soviet Union is giving us. On return from the trip to the northeast Nehru said that he was astonished by the size of the Soviet aid and the conditions on which this aid was being given.

I was interested in the visit of [Indonesian Prime Minister Ali] Sastroamijojo to the PRC. Cde. Mao Zedong said that conversations were held with Sastroamijojo, and that Sastroamijojo gives the impression of a simpler man than Nehru, an unpresumptuous person. Cde. Mao Zedong noted that at the present time the PRC is giving aid to Indonesia through the purchase of 50,000 tons of rubber from it but that this figure will in all probability increase to 70,000 tons. He expressed the ideas that it would be very good for Indonesia if the USSR, if it were necessary, would buy 50-70,000 tons of rubber from Indonesia, which would give it the opportunity to raise the price for rubber sold to the US. Cde. Mao Zedong noted that this idea is not an official formulation of this question.

In connection with the conversations of the Chinese friends with Sastroamijojo, Cde. [Mao Zedong noted that they (the Chinese friends) devote very much attention to work with the countries of Asia, in particular with India, Burma, and Indonesia, and that this work has had some success. He then said that although we spend a lot of time in conversations with the leaders of the countries of Southeast Asia we ought not complain about it. This work is very necessary, he said.]

At the end of the conversation Cde. Mao Zedong asked about the progress of the talks with Yugoslavia. I informed him about a TASS report, saying that I have no other information. Cde. Mao Zedong greatly approves of the talks being held in Belgrade. He noted in this context that questions of an ideological nature might not be completely resolved during the present conversations but they might be solved in the future. Cde. Mao Zedong regarded the speech of Cde. N. S. Khrushchev at the airport in Belgrade very favorably, saying that Cde. N. S. Khrushchev posed the main tasks of the talks with Yugoslavia well and clearly.

Cde. [Mao Zedong said that [[they]] ought to work on tearing Yugoslavia away from the capitalist camp in order to strengthen the left flank of our front. Neutral Austria and neutral Switzerland will be on this flank. It would be very good if Italy also could be neutralized. He also said that it was worth working on the neutralization of Finland, Sweden, and Norway to strengthen the right flank. At this point he expressed ideas about the difficulty of working to neutralize Norway, saying that it, Norway, holds fourth place in the world in seafaring and has very strong ties with western countries].

At the conclusion of the conversation Cde. Mao Zedong again asked that appreciation be sent to the CPSU CC and the Soviet government for the comments which were sent about the PRC five-year plan and said that the comments would be carefully studied by the CC CCP.

Cdes. Ma Le and T. F Skvortsov were present during the conversation.

USSR AMBASSADOR TO THE PRC

/signature/ P. YUDIN

4 copies sent

1- Cde. N. T. Fedorenko,

2- Cde. [?I. F.?] Kurdyukov,

3- KI,

4- to file

Drafted by T. F. Skvortsov

Typed by Rakhmanina

12.7.55

Nº 983

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