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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 08, 1965


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    A Chinese response to a statement from the Soviet Union, arguing that the Soviets look only to extend their influence over Vietnam, and not to truly help it to defeat the United States. It points out several examples of Soviet aid to Vietnam, which China believes had ulterior motives.
    "Oral Statement by the Head of the Department for the USSR and for the Countries of Eastern Europe of MFA PRC, Yu Zhan, Transmitted to the Embassy on 8 June 1965," June 08, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF, fond 0100, opis 58, delo 1, papka 516, 3-8. Translated from Russian by Lorenz Lüthi.
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On 12 May, the head of the Far Eastern Department of the Soviet MFA Sudarikov made to the PRC ambassador in the USSR Pan Zili a statement with regard to the talks, which had occurred from 13-21 April between the leaders of China and the former Soviet ambassador in the PRC.[1] This statement contains slanders against the CCP CC, the PRC government, and the leaders of China. We categorically reject this statement and give the following reply:

1. We always stood and [still] stand for the united struggle of the PRC, the Soviet Union, and the countries of the socialist camp against the enemy—American imperialism. In February of this year, when Kosygin arrived in Beijing, we again raised the hope that the Soviet Union adopted a position united with Vietnam and China in the struggle against American aggressions, [and] would not seek an exit for the US and bargain with them on the Vietnamese question. Comrade Kosygin stated then that he completely agreed with our opinion. However, two days after Cde. Kosygin had returned to Moscow, the Soviet side, breaking its own words, raised to China and Vietnam the proposal of convening an international conference for [the purpose of] negotiations with the US. Moreover, without having heard the Vietnamese reply or waiting for a Chinese reply, it started with activities in favor of carrying out peaceful negotiations behind the back of the PRC and the DRV. On 22 February your ambassador in France had a talk with the President of France on the question of convening an international conference for the resolution of the Vietnamese question. Your ambassador in France talked about this publicly with journalists, [and] this was transmitted in the communications of TASS and was supported in talks with high officials of France with representatives of the press.[2] These all are facts, which you cannot deny.

From that it is clear that the absence of coordination of actions by the Soviet Union with the actions of China and Vietnam on the Vietnamese question is explained solely by [the fact] that the Soviet side stubbornly insists on its mistaken policy of Soviet-American cooperation for the solution of international problems, and tries to bargain with the US on the Vietnam question. If you do not give up this policy, neither a trilateral conference of China, the USSR, and Vietnam, nor any other conference will occur to coordinate your actions with ours.

2. We repeatedly stated that we greet the allotment of your aid to Vietnam in conformity with its needs and are ready to render you the greatest possible assistance. Our position is consistent and unchanged. However, at the same time you carry out activities in favor of peaceful negotiations you informed us about your plan to send through the territory of the PRC 4,000 combatants for stationing in Vietnam without agreement by the Vietnamese comrades, and to establish a military base for Soviet military forces in the Chinese city of Kunming which could not be used for covering all of Vietnam’s air space at all. Besides, you intentionally told the West about your so-called plan to render aid to Vietnam. Moreover, violating the promises made by yourself to preserve secrecy and referring on the apparent request from the side of Vietnam, you requested from us to agree to the passage through Chinese territory of 45 airplanes for the delivery to Vietnam of an insignificant quantity of out-dated and commonly used armaments. It is completely clear that the aim of these and similar actions of yours is not to render real aid to Vietnam in its struggle against American imperialism, but to put China and Vietnam under your control and acquire for yourself capital for bargaining with the US. This wholly and completely goes against the interest of the struggle of the Vietnamese people resisting against American aggression and rescuing the motherland. The Vietnamese comrades do not agree with your actions. It is completely clear that we reject these actions. You spread, in every way, the rumor that China put up obstacles to the transport of Soviet arms, designed for Vietnam in the form of aid, through Chinese territory. Speaking plainly, this cannot but hurt us greatly, and this only unmasks your true nature—the nature of people who insist on their mistakes and intentionally create new discord between China and the Soviet Union.

3. [...]

4. The Chinese leaders, receiving the former ambassador of the USSR to the PRC, who made a farewell visit to them, organized a dinner in honor of his departure and did not think at all of carrying out with him disputes on questions of discord between the Chinese and the Soviet side. Only after he [the Soviet ambassador] provoked the quarrel, the Chinese leaders were forced to give the necessary answer. As a response, we criticized you for the fact that you break your word, carry out a mistaken foreign policy, and create new difficulties in Sino-Soviet relations. All these questions concern the interests of the people of China and the Soviet Union, the interests of the people of the whole world, and are not the internal affairs of one country—the Soviet Union. We have the complete right to criticize you on these questions, and our criticism is correct. We never intervene in domestic affairs of other countries and do not teach others, which you very much love to do. But you cannot expect that we will keep quiet with regard to your actions, which go against the interests of the socialist countries and the interests of the revolutionary people of various countries.

We sincerely hope that you, with your sincerity, consider our opinion in the interests of overcoming the split, of the consolidation of unity, and of carrying out our joint struggle against imperialism.

[1] “Record of Conversation by the Ambassador of the USSR S.V. Chervonenko with the Premier of the State Council of the PRC Zhou Enlai,” 13 April 1965, AVPRF, fond 0100, opis 58, delo 5, papka 516, 101-127. “Record of Conversation with the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, the Vice Chairman of the CCP CC Liu Shaoqi, acting Premier of the State Council of the PRC, General Secretary of the CCP CC Deng Xiaoping,” 21 April 1965, AVPRF, fond 0100, opis 58, delo 5, papka 516, 133-152.

[2] In a meeting, Soviet ambassador to France, Sergei Vinogradov, was instructed to tell President Charles de Gaulle that the Soviet Union would support the DRV in all its policies. Moscow thereby intended to warn Washington through Paris of a further war escalation. Subsequently, as New York Times articles from the period reveal, the media misrepresented the talks as a Soviet attempt at mediation. No positive evidence that TASS carried such articles could be found. For instructions of Andrei A. Gromyko, minister of foreign affairs of the USSR, to Vinogradov, see: “CPSU CC,” 17 February 1965, AVP RF, fond 079, opis 20, delo 12, papka 46, 12-17. For a summary of the talks, see: “Oral Communication to the Ambassador of the DRV in Moscow (draft),” [February 1965], AVPRF, fond 079, opis 20, delo 12, papka 46, 24-25. For the faulty press reports, see: NYT, 24 February 1965, 1, 3; 25 February 1965, 2; 26 February 1965, 2, 4.