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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 09, 1982

CONVERSATION BETWEEN SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL MIKHAIL S. KAPITSA AND DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER OF MONGOLIA D. YONDON

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Record of conversation between Mikhail S. Kapitsa, the head of the First Far Eastern Department of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, and D. Yondon, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Mongolian People's Republic. They discuss foreign relations with China, Japan and North Korea. They also discuss the current situation in Vietnam, India and Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
    "Conversation between Soviet Foreign Ministry Official Mikhail S. Kapitsa and Deputy Foreign Minister of Mongolia D. Yondon," June 09, 1982, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mongolian Foreign Ministry Archive, fond 2, dans 1, kh/n 467, khuu 36-42. Obtained by Onon Perenlei. Translated for CWIHP by Sergey Radchenko and Onon Perenlei. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116533
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Conversation between the head of the First Far Eastern Department of the Soviet Foreign Ministry Mikhail S. Kapitsa and First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Mongolian People’s Republic D. Yondon, June 9, 1982.

To summarize the basic content of information related by the head of the First Far Eastern Department [of the Soviet Foreign Ministry] M.S. Kapitsa:

Regarding confidence-building measures, we have conveyed through our Ambassadors to the Chinese and the Japanese sides that if they are interested, we are prepared to exchange opinions on the basis of the European experience, but they have refused. By the European experience we mean that, as agreed in Helsinki, observers would be invited by all sides to military exercises, and there would be mutual information on military maneuvers, and similar measures. Other than that we have proposed that there would be mutual information on naval and air force movements.  

The Japanese are above all opposed to us on the “northern territories question”. As the United States is interested in stationing their forces in the Far East, the Japanese are following their position.

Recently I visited China as a guest of the Ambassador. I met with the people from the Foreign Ministry and mainly talked about political questions, and, among these, I brought up and explained again the confidence-building measures. They are saying that while we have forces in Afghanistan and in Mongolia the time is not right for talking about such measures.

To tell you the truth, the proposal about confidence-building measures is a pure political slogan directed at Japan and China. Our current intention is to only use this idea for “political air.” If the border talks are restarted again, we are planning to introduce one point into the documents about confidence-building measures.

In this connection he informed: there is a clear attempt on the part of the Chinese professionals working on the history of Central Asia compiled by UNESCO to justify China’s territorial pretensions and pervert history. We are instructing our professionals to pursue the direction of resolutely opposing this attempt, or else of demanding that history is reflected in true light, and of postponing or putting a complete stop to this work. Our Mongolian comrades working on this history should also do the same thing.

To speak of Sino-Soviet relations, the Chinese do not want to improve relations with the USSR. They are not ready, and there is no such plan. But they will not escalate the situation, they have a policy of limiting themselves to small steps. On the surface they pretend to be working actively but in reality they will not do clear things that would benefit bilateral relations.

We have proposed to revive scientific-technical relations, athletics, sports and student exchange. The Chinese are saying that they are studying this. But we also don’t put great hope in this. If we exchange students, they will not exceed 10-ish in number, and will be under appropriate control.

We firmly control [bar’dag] Chinese citizens who are residents of the USSR. There are about 1700 huaqiao [overseas Chinese] in Moscow. We do not allow them into the Embassy, we give them special permission after determining their intentions. On the basis of the principle of reciprocity, we have also prohibited Chinese diplomats from visiting the Central Asian republics and Kazakhstan.

In 1981 bilateral trade was 141 million rubles, and I think although we agreed on 230 million for 1982, this number will not be achieved. Although the Chinese are proposing to increase trade with other socialist countries, they are not implementing [this proposal]. Last year even their trade with their friends, Yugoslavia and Romania, fell by half, showing the true essence of the “policy of differentiation”.

You can develop trade with China. We are sending a part of the goods in your direction, for export through your territory, so as to try to help increase the freight transit.

When conducting near-border trade, it is correct to impose good control. One should not overvalue this trade. We have also made such a proposal several years ago, but there is no clear result up to now.

I am thinking it may be too early to revive relations in other areas. The Chinese themselves are not doing anything that would show improvement of relations with socialist countries and scare the imperialists.

Although the internal Chinese situation has become more stable, the political struggle continues. Deng’s group has been strengthened but it has not been able to win a complete victory. It is a good thing that the Chinese have started to pay attention to economic matters, this is what we wanted. In the process, technocrats will multiply. They don’t like political chatter.

For now the Chinese development rate is low, at 4-5 points. Problems of transport and energy infrastructure are very serious, and there is a great lack of engineers and technical workers. They are missing the professional workforce to implement the plan until year 2000. By then the situation will not greatly change, and [China] will reach 80% of the 1970s-level output of the US industry.

Now in China a process is underway to destroy the foundations of socialism. In addition to the two old sectors of the economy, there has been the addition of the state monopoly and the capitalist sectors. After the slogan of “let’s get rich” was advanced, everyone escaped into trade. In 10 years’ time capitalists and kulaks will multiply, and they will have no choice but to crush them with tanks. It is truly tragic that they are trying to construct socialism with anti-socialist means on the basis of anti-Soviet views.

As for China’s foreign policy, they are fully executing the role of little accessories of the imperialists. It is not incidental that they broke off relations with socialist countries. Mao [Zedong] and Zhou [Enlai] from the beginning saw the United States as a lever for modernizing China.

There are certain contradictions between China and the US. China is pushing the US against the Soviet Union, and the US is pushing the former. When we meet with the Americans we teach them about the peculiarities of the Chinese mindset, we read whole lectures. We say that the Chinese never befriend anyone for a long time.

Perhaps in 10 or 15 years the Chinese will open their eyes, and they may start to keep the USA and the USSR at an equal distance. At that time, anti-Soviet views will weaken, and the conflicted relationship of the two countries will warm up. Now China has nothing to lose from anti-Soviet views. It is more profitable for it to use these views  for procuring money from the West, and therefore they do not pay attention to issues like Taiwan and broaden relations with the US and the countries of Western Europe.

Relations with Japan are becoming difficult. They are trying to use their high level of economic development for becoming a great political power on the international stage.

The Japanese blare about the “Soviet danger,” intentionally stir the “territorial question,” support the embargo against the USSR, and reduce cultural exchange. They are getting involved on the European continent, in the Polish affairs, and have started to speak with the imperialist language to the effect that “if the USSR does not make mistakes in Asia, Japan is ready to help.” If we gave the Kurile Islands to Japan, this would mean that we would have no exit to the Pacific.

For now bilateral economic relations are still active. We are developing two major projects with the Japanese in the Far East, and are building 8 industries on Japanese credit. We sell 8 million tons of lumber to Japan. There is the question of financing oil and gas exploration with Japanese loans. Industries are being built with the Japanese on the compensation basis. But we are not inviting Japanese professionals. When the BAM [Baikal-Amur Mainline] enters into operation in two years’ time, if we transport Japanese freight to the West , the expense of building the BAM (20 billion rubles) can be recovered in three years’ time.

Although our relations with the DPRK are normal, they are not sincere, and remain at one certain temperature. We are building 15 projects in [North] Korea; there are no military projects. On international questions the Korean comrades support us “under the blanket”. We do not openly support their confederation question. Korean activities within the sphere of the NAM [Non-Aligned Movement] are vile [oliggui]; they say that the two superpowers are responsible for the heightening of tensions in the international situation, and ally themselves with the right wing.

There are cases of [North] Korean diplomats being caught red-handed spying out some of our sites (solid rocket fuel, etc.).

We involve the South Korean representatives in activities along the lines of international organizations. Although the [North] Korean comrades express  their opposition, they are gradually “getting used” to it. Our country will participate in the 1988 Olympic Games in South Korea. We are giving instructions to our people overseas not to evade meetings with their representatives. We are also sending our UN “officials” to South Korea.

For now we have no trade relations with South Korea but one cannot deny trade through third country companies.

One can say that the Vietnamese approach to us is sincere. Their economic situation is difficult. Therefore, the Vietnamese comrades say to us: “We will be fed by you for 15 years, then, after building up [gargaj] all economic regions, we will settle the bill with the USSR.”

At the time when Kampuchea, as before, cannot run itself, the Vietnamese will not quit. The Chinese are using the Pol Pot group and are forcing a “protracted war.” There are about 40,000 Polpotists in Thailand, and Thailand does not know what to do with them, pursuing the policy of inciting them against Kampuchea. Because Thailand’s capitalists have times and again greatly profited from war, they harbor serious ambitions to take government power; the feudalists, scared by this, are becoming China’s puppet.

India is talking about going to war with Pakistan. It wants to make a preemptive strike soon, to break up Pakistan into three-four parts to make it safe. Under these circumstances, they are trying to have contacts [with China] to find out about China’s position, with the aim of “tying its hands.” We are supplying weapons to India.

Although the Indian capitalists understand the importance of cooperation with the USSR, they have been frightened that “Communists have come to Afghanistan” and want to make the US a counterbalance to the Soviet Union. But as the Americans are pursuing a dumb policy, they have turned to France. But France is weak, and it won’t go beyond the sale of the “Mirages”.

The situation in Afghanistan is turning positive. But there are many difficulties. When they organize an army, the [recruits] run away. At least now it is 100-120 thousand strong. Although borders have been brought under control, 70 percent of the territory is out of reach. This is becoming a basmachi war with small groups [of insurgents].

Deviations on the part of the priesthood have been stopped, a part of the intelligentsia have been taken into state service, the cadres [question has] progressed rapidly.

He also said that he did not think that the meeting between the Foreign Ministries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which will take place shortly, will be successful.

The meeting lasted from 10:00 to 12:00 on June 9 [1982], with A.N. Katerinich, M.I. Basmanov and A. Kondratenko taking part from the Soviet side, and D. Gotov, O. Damdindorj and Kh. Bekhbat from the Mongolian side.

ACQUAINTED

FIRST DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER

[Signature]

/D. Yondon/

Notes taken by

[Signature]

/Kh. Bekhbat/

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