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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 02, 1984

IVáN NéMETH, 'MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTENTION OF COMRADE MáTYáS SZűRöS'

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    Discussion with M. L. Titarenko, a Soviet delegate at an Interkit meeting, on Sino-Soviet relations.
    "Iván Németh, 'Memorandum for the Attention of Comrade Mátyás Szűrös'," November 02, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives of Hungary (MNL OL) M-KS 288 f. 32. cs. 1983/110 ő.e., pp. 158-159. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Katalin Varga. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119346
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Strictly confidential!

Prepared in 2 copies.

Budapest, 2 November 1984

International Department

Central Committee

Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party

MEMORANDUM

for Comrade Mátyás Szűrös

On the occasion of the Interkit meeting held on 30-31 October I had the opportunity to have an informal discussion with M. L. Titarenko, a member of the Soviet delegation, advisor to the International Department of the CPSU CC, who stated on the following:

1/ The meeting took place in good circumstances, and yielded success. The evaluations of various delegations might differ to a slight extent, but these "nuances" do not pose obstacles in cooperation.

2/ China means an extremely serious problem for the Soviet Union, "we simply do not know what to do about them". Soviet-Sino relations are undergoing a crisis, whatever seems as progress is only make-believe. China maintains its territorial claims against the Soviet Union, and extends support to other countries in such endeavors (Japan) even if, in the current case, it [China] actually only requests the Soviet side to acknowledge the so-called unequal character of the border agreements signed in the last century. This is something unacceptable for the Soviet Union! "Demographical absurdity" has evolved along the Soviet-Chinese border as China is over-populated, while Siberia is a sparsely populated territory. This situation may easily lead to war although the Soviets do not consider this to be inevitable.

Soviet experts, in their analyses of the conditions of Chinese society, formulate the opinion that the country today is still unable to develop in a balanced way due to objective reasons. The Chinese expectations to prevent population growth over 1.2 billion by the turn of the millennium is viewed unfounded. They [Soviets] expect the size of the population to reach appr. 1.6 billion, which will upset all kinds of concepts for the development of the economy.

The Soviet side could accept the current Chinese concept for economic reform, if it were a transitional, tactical instrument similar to NEP aimed at resolving concrete difficulties. However, it is considered to be unacceptable as an economic strategy because it implies abandoning the principles of scientific socialism, retrogression and revisionism. In addition, the reform meets with powerful internal opposition.

Vietnam is currently assisting the Soviet Union in its strategic objectives. After the death of Indira Ghandi the country's role will increase in significance. At the same time, Vietnam itself is seeking opportunities for reconciliation with China, which is clearly seen by the Soviet side.

At the moment China has "grandiose illusions" about economic cooperation with the West. Time will come for the Soviet Union to embark on serious talks with China when these illusions are gone.

Iván Németh