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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 23, 1949

CABLE, KOVALEV TO STALIN, REPORT ON THE 22 MAY 1949 CCP CC POLITBURO DISCUSSION

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    Kovalev reports to Stalin on the politburo meeting. the discussion concerned the economic situation in China, the military situation in China, and a previous conversation between Mao and American ambassador John Leighton Stuart.
    "Cable, Kovalev to Stalin, Report on the 22 May 1949 CCP CC Politburo Discussion," May 23, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, APRF, F. 45, Op. 1, D. 331, ll. 66-69, and RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 331, ll. 0066-0069. Reprinted in Andrei Ledovskii, Raisa Mirovitskaia and Vladimir Miasnikov, Sovetsko-Kitaiskie Otnosheniia, Vol. 5, Book 2, 1946-February 1950 (Moscow: Pamiatniki Istoricheskoi Mysli, 2005), pp. 132-134. Translated by Sergey Radchenko. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113365
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[…]

Filippov [Stalin]

Reporting: on 22 May the Politburo in the presence of Cde. Mao Zedong continued the discussion of the future economic center. My proposals were accepted:

1. For now to limit oneself to looking at the structure of the central apparatus of the economic center, and to look separately at the structures of departments-ministries, proposing to the persons heading the departments, to develop the structure of departments and introduce it to the CC for discussion and approval.

2. The structure of the economic center and the departments may be considered a draft so as to have an opportunity to consult leading workers of the departments and democratic figures and only after this finally to approve it. After looking at the structure Cde. Mao Zedong briefly informed me about two questions:

1. On the course of military actions and

2. On the meeting and conversation of a representative of the CCP with American Ambassador [John Leighton] Stuart, which took place in Nanjing in the beginning of May.

1. About military actions Cde. Mao Zedong said that they are developing successfully, that no serious resistance is posed to the PLA forces. In connection with the successful military actions vice-president Li Zongren and General Bai Chongxi renewed attempts to begin negotiations with us about ending military actions and solving the questions of the spheres of influence by peaceful means. We, Cde. Mao Zedong said, will maintain radio contact with these persons in order to create an illusion on Bai Chongxi) party that it is possible to solve the question by peaceful means and so that he does not move his forces to the South and further, as he intended, to Indochina. In the case if we succeed at this, we will encircle and destroy his forces.

We do not intend to conduct any negotiations about the peaceful solution of the question with them (Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi). If he goes to Indochina we will have an excuse to invade Indochina and to destroy there both him and other reactionary forces. With this Mao Zedong said that two armies of Lin Biao, acting against the forces of Bai Chongxi, successfully crossed the Yangzi River and are quickly moving to the South, that by 15 June another six armies will have crossed the Yangzi. These main forces of Lin Biao will pursue the forces of Bai Chongxi until their complete annihilation.

Further he informed that Shanghai is encircled by the PLA forces, and, on 27 May, a storm of the city will be undertaken. As one can see, Shanghai will not be surrendered without a fight, as it was supposed earlier, 22 divisions of forces are concentrated here, with the total number of 150 thousand soldiers and besides the entire Navy and aviation. Big defenses have been created, a lot of artillery and mine throwers are concentrated [there]. Jiang Jieshi personally commands the defense of Shanghai, [he] is on a ship, consulting with American advisers.

The English upgraded their military fleet by Shanghai with warships from Singapore. Two English warships have already taken part together with the Guomindang fleet in the military actions against the PLA forces. The artillery fire of three Guomindang and two English ships broke through the positions of two companies of the PLA forces, which suffered great losses. In this connection, Cde. Mao Zedong said, we issued an order to shoot without warning in the zone of military actions and along the entire Yangzi River, at any foreign ships, including nonmilitary, which sailed along the Yangzi without our permission.

2. About a meeting and conversation, which took place in Nanjing at the beginning of May between CCP representative Huang Hua with the American Ambassador Stuart.

Com[rade] Mao Zedong said that an exchange of opinions took place on three questions:

On the support by the American government of the Jiang Jieshi regime?he Guomindang-ists;

On the withdrawal of American forces from China;

On the creation of a coalition government.

Stuart, Mao Zedong said, expressed his opinion that they-the Americans-have now stopped supporting the Guomindang regime, and testifying to this is the fact that the American embassy he headed remained in Nanjing; their example was followed by the English, French and other embassies.

About the American forces in China he said that as soon as the regiments of the People's Liberation Army enter the cities (Qingdao, Shanghai), the Americans will evacuate their forces and the Navy.

Stuart asked to take into account the circumstance that there was 200 million dollars worth of American property in Shanghai, and that to protect it the American government maintains warships and some force units of the forces in Shanghai.

Stuart expressed the desire for the future coalition government to represent all the democratic elements of the country as widely as possible.

After the formation of the coalition government, which must be supported by the entire people, said Stuart, this government will be recognized and diplomatic relations will be established with it.

Stuart informed that he intended to go to America in July and that his departure is related to the situation in China.

With regard to the conversation with Stuart, Mao Zedong said that the statements of Stuart contradict the actions of [American General Douglas] MacArthur, who recently landed two companies of American soldiers in Qingdao, and is also strengthening the Navy in Shanghai. Either Stuart is lying or the military (MacArthur) does not care about what the State Department says about anything.

Stuart also lied, said Cde. Mao Zedong, [by saying] that the Americans have allegedly stopped supporting the Guomindang regime. We know of the opposite, that this support continues actively.

As for Stuart's reference to the fact that the American and other embassies remained in Nanjing, this is once again not in our interests. We would be happy if all the embassies of the capitalist countries get out of China.

No. 492 Kovalev, 23.5

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