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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 05, 1958

REPORT, PENG DEHUAI TO MAO ZEDONG AND THE CCP CENTRAL COMMITTEE (EXCERPT)

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

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    Chinese Minister of Defense, Peng Dehuai, reports that the Soviet Union requests Chinese-Soviet cooperation in establishing long-wave radio stations in China. Soviet experts are permitted to visit China to perform technical work.
    "Report, Peng Dehuai to Mao Zedong and the CCP Central Committee (Excerpt)," June 05, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mao Zedong waijiao wenxuan (Selected Works of Mao Zedong on Diplomacy) (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1994), 634. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117031
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With regard to Soviet Union’s request for establishing long-wave radio stations in our country, the Soviet side insists on the original idea that the construction should be jointly invested by the two sides.  They also propose to dispatch experts to China in early June to conduct such activities as selecting the proper location, making investigations and preparing for the design work, and drafting an agreement.  It seems that the Soviet side will not quickly accept the opinion of our side.  In order not to hinder the investigation and design work, [we] may permit the Soviet experts to come to China to conduct some technical work, leaving the question concerning investment and operation to be solved as the next step.[1]

[1] Peng Dehuai, China’s minister of defense, submitted this report in the context of the emerging dispute between Beijing and Moscow over the issue of establishing a special long-wave radio station in China. On 18 April 1958, Radion Malinovsky, the Soviet Union’s defense minister, wrote a letter to Peng Dehuai:

“In order to command the Soviet Union’s submarines in the Pacific area, the Soviet high command urgently hopes that between 1958 and 1962 China and the Soviet Union will jointly construct a high-power long-wave radio transmission center and a long-wave radio receiving station specially designed for long distance communication. In terms of the fund that is needed for the construction of the two stations, the Soviet Union will cover the larger portion (70%), and China will cover the smaller portion (30%).”

The leaders in Beijing immediately considered this a matter related to China’s sovereignty and integrity. Therefore, they wanted to pay all the expenses and to have exclusive ownership over the stations. (Source: Han Nianlong et al., Dangdai Zhongguo waijiao [Contemporary Chinese Diplomacy] (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1989), 112-113.)