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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 24, 1965

INFORMATION NO. 098 BY THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO THE SOCIALIST UNITY PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE [EXCERPTS]

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

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    A description of Sino-Soviet and Soviet-Vietnamese relations; specifically how the Soviet Union desires to normalize its relations with China, and an optimism that relations with Vietnam will continue to grow. It is also suggested that the Chinese are not doing enough to support the Communists in Vietnam.
    "Information No. 098 by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee to the Socialist Unity Party Central Committee [Excerpts]," February 24, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, DY 30/3667, 146-156. Translated from German by Lorenz Lüthi. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117711
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The initiative taken by our party to establish contacts with the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has been supported actively by the Vietnamese comrades, who have turned to the CPSU CC with an invitation to send a Soviet delegation to the DRV. By accepting this invitation, the CPSU CC proceeded from the necessity to support the Vietnamese people in their struggle against the increasing American aggression.

[…]

The results of the negotiations by the Soviet delegation with leading personalities of the DRV and the DPRK have been published in joint declarations.[1] The CPSU CC considers it necessary to inform the fraternal parties additionally about the talks with the Vietnamese and Korean leaders as well as with the leaders of the CCP in Beijing.

First. During the stay in Hanoi, an exchange of opinions with the Vietnamese leaders on the situation in Vietnam and possible measures with regard to aid and support of the DRV connected to the danger of an American armed aggression occurred: on relations between the USSR and the DRV as well as between the CPSU and the VWP; on the unity and unanimity of the communist world movement, including also questions about the meeting of the fraternal parties on 1 March of the current year.[2]

In the talks with the Soviet delegation, the Vietnamese leaders raised their concerns in connection with the intensification of the aggressive actions of American imperialism against the DRV, the broadening of the war in South Vietnam, and stressed the great significance of aid and moral-political support by the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries to the successful completion of the struggle of the Vietnamese people for freedom, independence, and reunification of the country.

It was explained to the Vietnamese comrades that the Soviet Union is ready to supply additional aid for the increase of Vietnamese defense readiness by providing some modern means of anti-aircraft defense and of coastal defense.

The Soviet delegation and the Vietnamese leaders had an exchange of opinion on the possibility of a joint statement, in which the violations of the Geneva agreements of 1954 by the Americans would be condemned, by the USSR, China, the DRV, and other socialist countries as well as some Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Cambodia, and Burma. The leaders of the DRV explained that they probably would provide a corresponding draft [statement] soon.

The leaders of the VWP stressed that they see many new elements in how the CPSU CC and the Soviet government approach foreign and domestic questions after the October Plenum, and explained that this brought the VWP closer to the CPSU. The proposals for an improvement of relations between the CPSU and the VWP were accepted by them with understanding. They explained that the measures of the CPSU CC and the Soviet Union with regard to the assault of the American air force on townships in North Vietnam have been acknowledged with satisfaction by the whole Vietnamese people.

In the talks with the Vietnamese leaders, questions on the Communist world movement and on the struggle for a solution of the existing differences in opinion were touched. The leaders of the VWP valued the attempts the CPSU CC had taken after the October Plenum in the interest of the consolidation of the unity of the international communist movement. After the new character of the meeting of the fraternal parties on 1 March 1965 had been explained to them, the Vietnamese comrades explained that they, as before, were of the opinion that the restoration and consolidation of unity of the communist movement depended especially on whether the CPSU and the CCP could find an agreement. They remarked that, on the whole, they had nothing against the meeting on 1 March, but for understandable reasons could not participate.

The talks with the Vietnamese leaders have shown that certain ideological differences in opinion with the leadership of the DRV still continue to exist, and that, obviously, time is required for their resolution. This is also the opinion of the Vietnamese comrades themselves. At the same time they stressed that, following the decision of the October Plenum, they see real avenues for the solution of these differences in opinion.

According to the instructions of the CPSU CC, the Soviet delegation reassured the Vietnamese leaders that the Soviet Union in the future will supply active aid to the Vietnamese people for its struggle against American aggression and [that it will] increase economic cooperation between the USSR and the DRV. An agreement was reached to continue contacts between the two countries and parties. The Vietnamese leaders accepted our invitation to send a governmental delegation to the USSR for a return visit.

Second. […]

Third. During the trip to the DRV and the DPRK, the Soviet Union had two stopovers in Beijing, which it used to continue contacts with the leaders of the PRC and the CCP. Our delegation had been instructed by the CPSU CC to exchange opinions with the Chinese comrades on the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations and on the resolution of the differences between the CPSU and the CCP. It was planned, in case the situation was suitable, to deal with concrete questions of our bilateral relations, the coordination of cooperation in the international arena, as well as individual problems of the communist movement: the termination of open polemics, factionalism, measures with regard to the preparation of the international meeting of fraternal parties.

During the stay of the delegation in Beijing it was possible to speak with the Chinese comrades on a series of important questions. Among others, an exchange of opinion on the coordination of aid efforts for the Vietnamese people occurred. On the way to Hanoi, our delegation informed the Chinese leaders about the aims of its visit to the DRV and on the return trip from there on the events of the trip and on the measures taken by the Soviet Union with regard to the increase of aid to the Vietnamese people in its struggle against American aggression. A common point of view arose in this question. Cde. Zhou Enlai declared that in this question “the positions of the CCP and the CPSU are very close, respectively are congruent.” But the Chinese side did not support the proposal of a joint posture by the USSR, the PRC, and the DRV with a statement unmasking the violation of the Geneva agreements by the United States of America, and justified its refusal with the differences in opinion in the question of the realization of the consultative meeting by representatives of the fraternal parties on 1 March.

The Chinese leaders spoke positively about the trip of the delegation of the Soviet Union to the DRV and about our aid to Vietnam. But they did not inform us on their steps and measures to aid concretely the Vietnamese people. Comrade Mao Zedong remarked: “The people of South Vietnam are fighting well even without us. Consequently they will drive away the Americans by themselves.” On the occasion of the American bombing of North Vietnam, Cde. Mao said: “These are the stupidities of the Americans. Their bombardments caused only a small number of victims,” there is “nothing terrible that a number of people was killed.” The Soviet delegation did not agree with this position and expressed the opinion that China indeed could provide Vietnam with essential aid. Both sides agreed that the most recent provocations of the US in Indochina are a serious threat to peace and that the Soviet Union and China should exchange information on the question of aid to Vietnam. In the course of the talks, the Chinese leaders stressed firmly that they intend to carry out an unfriendly struggle against the ideological positions of the Marxist-Leninist parties. They confirmed that they, in their policies, still proceed from the position that tensions in the world are increasing and that world war is inevitable. “If we manage to secure peace for 10 to 15 years,” Cde. Mao Zedong explained, “this would be favorable. We are against a world war, but we are not the general staff of the imperialists.” He stressed that “it is necessary to create a revolutionary, military situation.”[3]

[1] Kosygin’s delegation was in Beijing on 5-6 February, in Hanoi on 6-10 February, in Beijing on 10-11 February, and in Pyeongyang on 11-14 February.

[2] The meeting of the so-called Editorial Board of 26 communist parties, which like in 1960 was supposed to prepare a meeting of all communist parties of the world, was called by Khrushchev in the summer for 15 December 1964, to discuss the ideological problems within the international communist movement. For years, the CCP had opposed its convention since Beijing feared it would be used to censure the PRC. After Khrushchev’s fall from power in October of 1964, the new Soviet leadership decided to postpone it to 1 March 1965. It was attended only by a third of the Editorial Board members.

[3] A Polish translation of the Mao-Kosygin meeting on 11 February 1965 is in Archiwum Akt Nowych [Archive of Modern Records; AAN], Warsaw, Poland, KC PZPR, XI A/10, 514-533, and was published in an English translation at the CWIHP/GWCW conference “New Central and Eastern European Evidence on the Cold War in Asia” (Budapest, 30 October - 2 November 2003). A copy of the document is available in the National Security Archive’s RADD/READD Collection.