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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 29, 1964


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    The Chinese Embassy in Moscow reports on Soviet policy toward Vietnam after Khrushchev's removal.
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in the Soviet Union, 'Attitude of the New Soviet Revisionist Leadership to the Situation in Vietnam''," December 29, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-03654-02, 1-4. Translated by David Cowhig.
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[Stamp] Soviet and East Europe Department

Soviet Union #28

January 6, 1965

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Telegram

Priority: Telegram From Moscow station Foreign Ministry (65) No. Zi-5

Attitude of the New Soviet Revisionist Leadership to the Situation in Vietnam

To the Foreign Ministry:

The attitude of the new leadership of the Soviet revisionists has changed in some respects since Khrushchev's time:

On Vietnam:

Khrushchev never expressed support for the struggle of the Vietnamese people against the United States. He was always making excuses for the US invasion of Vietnam and scheming to create disasters for Vietnam and China. His attitude was shown very clearly in his attitude to the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident”.

The new leadership, however, has put greater effort into faking sincerity about its phony opposition to imperialism and its phony support and taken some phony positions. For example, it has repeatedly stated that the “Soviet Union will not stand idly by while a fraternal socialist country is in danger and is willing to provide necessary support”. It has increased the amount of reporting in the Soviet press about the struggle of the Vietnamese people and dispatched food and medicine to the disaster-struck people of Vietnam.

The new leadership invited a delegation from the National Liberation Front of southern Vietnam to participate in activities commemorating the fourth anniversary of the founding of the NLF. Delegation members have been permitted to write articles for the Soviet press and to be interviewed on Soviet television. The delegation was taken to mass meetings held in many Soviet cities to support the struggle of the Vietnamese people. The mass meetings passed resolutions demanding that the United States government halt its war of aggression in Vietnam etc. These activities were filled with flowery words and clever propaganda phrases about the “consistent support for the struggle of the people of South Vietnam”. Moreover, individual members of the delegation from the National Liberation Front of southern Vietnam were singled out for individual praise, in an effort to deceive them and so win their appreciation. For example, when delegation members spoke on Soviet television, the Soviet side would purposely lavish praise on them, saying that that delegation members had “dedicated his life to the people” or that that delegation members has “educated an entire generation of young people” etc. This was intended to create the false impression that the Soviet Union has always actively support the struggle of the people of South Vietnam against the United States.

On Laos:

Khrushchev not only did not support Prince Souphanouvong, he openly courted and fawned over Prince Souvanna Phouma and the Laotian rightists. Failing utterly to distinguish right from wrong, he said “some countries are interfering in the internal affairs of Laos and violating the Geneva Accords” and even went to far as to state that he did not expect to be one of the two chairman of the Geneva Conference and prepared to withdraw from Laotian affairs.

The new leadership, however, has expressed its “concern” about developments in Laos and in a December 23 letter to Prince Souvanna Phouma that the position of the Soviet Union on the Laos issue has “always been the same” – proposing trilateral talks and convening and international conference to resolve the Laos question, criticizing the United States for interfering in Laotian internal affairs, violating the Geneva Accords. The new leadership also expressed its dissatisfaction that Prince Souvanna Phouma neutralist faction has been delaying talks and aligning itself with the United States. The letter stated that “the departure of the neutralist faction broke off the Paris Talks” and that “currently the members of the Vientiane government are not interested in restoring the cooperation of the three political forces” and hopes that Prince Souvanna Phouma “will take the necessary steps, and cease military attacks against Prince Souphanouvong”. This time the letter did not bring up the matter of not wishing to assume one of the two chairmanships.

Although the new leadership of the Soviet Revisionism has made some changes, when ever a specific issue arises, they reveal their true colors. For example, their passive response to the Hanoi Conference; their not daring to criticize the Johnson government; their unwillingness as a government to meet with the delegation from the National Liberation Front; and their procrastination and finally failing to respond to the request of the National Liberation Front to set up a representative office in Moscow; and by not daring to publicize the glorious achievements of the Vietnamese people's ten-year-long armed struggle. The new leadership, however, wants to use sly tricks to restore the eroded position and voice of the Soviet Revisionists in Indochina.

The main factors driving the changes the new leadership has made are:

1. The bankruptcy of Khrushchev's policy of giving the United States a freehand in Indochina in order to harm China. On one hand, the United States does not want to fall into that trap. It does not dare risk a direct confrontation with us. Moreover, this policy made the position of the Soviet Revisionists more isolated and made our position stronger. In order to compete with us in Southeast Asia, they had to take a more active role in Indochinese affairs.

2. The people of South Vietnam are stronger than ever. Their victory is in sight. They are receiving support from people all over the world. In order to deceive people that they actually support national liberation struggles, they had to speak more often with their empty words in opposition to imperialism.

3. In ingratiate themselves with the Vietnamese Communist Party, get closer to them and ferment dissension, to vainly attempt to Sino-Vietnamese relations, and to weaken the struggle against revisionism.

[Chinese] Embassy Moscow

December 29, 1964


Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Peng Zhen, Chen Yi, He Long, Lu Dingyi, Kang Sheng, Nie Rongzhen, Luo Ruiqing, Yang Shangkun, Central General Office Confidential Department, Foreign Affairs Office, Central Propaganda Office; Central Liaison Department, Central Investigation Department, Ministry of National Defense, Military Intelligence Office, Wu Lengxi, Zhu Muzhi

Liu, Zhang, Luo, [illegible], Meng, Qiao, Han, Liu, Gong, Dong, The General Office, Research Department, Division of Soviet and European Affairs, Second Asian Division, Press, Ambassador, Confidential Office, Archive 68 copies printed

Received on January 1 at 01:00; Printed on January 1 at 19:51