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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 10, 1964

NOTE NO. 131/64 ON A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE SOVIET EMBASSY COUNSELOR, COMRADE PRIVALOV, AND COMRADE BIBOW ON 11 NOVEMBER 1964 IN THE GDR EMBASSY FROM 10:30 A.M. - 12:45 P.M. [EXCERPTS]

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

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    Conversation at the East German Embassy between Embassy Counselor Privalov and Comrade Bibow, centering on the Vietnamese delegation to Moscow in November 1964. They discuss how Soviet policy remains unchanged since the 22nd Congress, and how the Chinese try to oppose the successors of Krushchev.
    "Note No. 131/64 on a Conversation between the Soviet Embassy Counselor, Comrade Privalov, and Comrade Bibow on 11 November 1964 in the GDR Embassy from 10:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. [Excerpts] ," December 10, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, DY 30/IV A 2/20/442, 1-5. Translated from German by Lorenz Lüthi. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117709
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The conversation occurred on request of the Soviet embassy. […]

Comrade Privalov at the beginning talked about the attitude of the DRV toward the SU [Soviet Union] following the October plenum.[1] He asserted that the improvements that have occurred, and were especially obvious during the days around 7 November, apparently have only temporary character. The changes were evident in the speeches and articles, which the Vietnamese side, on the occasion of the 47th anniversary, held and published, respectively. They became very clear through the withdrawal of the article in Hoc tap on the October Revolution, which happened on Le Duan’s immediate directive. Some days later Le Duan apologized to the Soviet ambassador in the course of a conversation and called the article a mistake, after Comrade Shcherbakov had raised the issue.

The trip of the Vietnamese delegation headed by Pham Van Dong to Moscow[2] expressed the fact that the Vietnamese comrades study attentively the policy of the Soviet Union after the October Plenum and wanted to obtain clarity on the policy changes in the Soviet Union with their own eyes. The delegation was able to convince itself in Moscow that the CPSU still works on the implementation of the decisions of the 22nd CPSU Congress. Pham Van Dong made only some general remarks at the airport after his return from Moscow, when he said that he was content with the trip. He avoided any concrete comment. Even at the dinner, to which he had been invited by the Soviet ambassador, the counselor Privalov, and their wives, it was impossible to direct the conversation towards concrete questions. The conversation remained within the framework of general, protocollary politeness. An invitation, which the Soviet ambassador made for the whole delegation, was accepted by Pham Van Dong only with hesitation, since he apparently wants to avoid any conversation on the trip to Moscow. The delegation must have understood—Privalov continued—that there were no changes in Soviet policy and that the attitude of the Soviet Union remains unchanged with regard to the decisions of the 22nd CPSU Congress in all essential questions. Precisely that is why the changes in the Vietnamese attitude towards the Soviet Union must be judged temporary. In a Red Flag[3] article, the Chinese have already expressed their disappointment over the unchanged Soviet policy, of which Zhou Enlai convinced himself in Moscow. As before, they [the Chinese] act in all questions against the line of the CPSU and use Khrushchev’s resignation as a tool to oppose his successors. Apparently this article is the beginning of a struggle against the CPSU CC following the short interruption after the October Plenum. It is also possible and probable that the DRV might return to the Chinese line. Comrade Privalov does not exclude the possibility that the withdrawn Hoc Tap article will be republished (maybe in reworked form). A short version has been published in the Chinese newspaper published here. It thus is necessary to follow the Vietnamese press attentively in this respect.

[…]

Comrade Privalov then asked if we knew about the meeting in Beijing in the context of the 15th anniversary of the PR China. When Comrade Bibow negated the question, Comrade Privalov explained: After 1 October a meeting of representatives of approximately ten countries (China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, and others) occurred, on which the attitude of the communist parties of these countries were discussed in view of the meeting of the editorial board on 15 December. It was decided to create an anti-imperialist bloc. A confirmation exists with regard to [the creation of] this anti-imperialist bloc. A short while ago, the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] of the DRV held a meeting on the implementation of the foreign policy tasks of the DRV in the first half of the year. The meeting was chaired by [DRV Foreign Minister] Xuan Thuy. He claimed that the main task of foreign policy in the current situation was the struggle against imperialism and modern revisionism, and formulated the aim to contribute to the creation of an anti-imperialist bloc, which was also directed against modern revisionism. Xuan Thuy’s statements in that regard have been made accessible to the Soviet embassy. If they were still in the embassy, he was willing to make them available to Comrade Bibow.[…]

[1] Refers to the 14 October 1964 CPSU Central Committee plenum which formally dismissed Khrushchev from all of his positions.

[2] Pham Van Dong visited Moscow during celebrations of the October Revolution taking place around 7 November 1964.

[3] Theoretical organ of the CCP.