Search in
ADD SEARCH FILTER CANCEL SEARCH FILTER

Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 06, 1984

IVáN NéMETH, 'REPORT FOR MEMBERS OF THE POLITICAL COMMITTEE ON THE CHINA CONSULTATION HELD IN TIHANY (INTERKIT)'

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
  • Citation

    get citation

    Summary of annual Interkit meeting to coordinate Soviet bloc analysis of and policy toward China.
    "Iván Németh, 'Report for Members of the Political Committee on the China Consultation held in Tihany (Interkit)'," November 06, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives of Hungary (MNL OL), M-KS 288 f. 32. cs. 110/1983 ő.e. pp. 167-176. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Katalin Varga. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119347
  • share document

    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119347

VIEW DOCUMENT IN

English HTML

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL!

Prepared in 2 copies.

Budapest, 6 November 1984

Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party

Central Committee

International Department

REPORT

for members of the Political Committee

on the China consultation held in Tihany

(Interkit)

I

Representatives of CC International Departments of the Bulgarian, Czechoslovak, Cuban, Laotian, Polish, Hungarian, Mongolian, GDR, Soviet and Vietnamese fraternal parties held their annual consultation on China in Tihany on 30-31 October 1984. Deputy head of department Comrade Géza Kótai as representative of the HSWP CC International Department attended and spoke at the meeting.[1]

Comrade Mihály Korom, member of the HSWP Political Committee met delegation leaders on 31 October, and provided information on the life situation in domestic politics and the state of preparations for the congress.

The consultation was conducted in plenary session, and abandoning earlier practice, no jointly produced analytical material was prepared on this occasion. According to the usual practice, participants adopted a Protocol Note, which was jointly drafted by the international departments of the HSWP and the CPSU CCs. The Protocol Note material following the sequence of thoughts below, summarized China's current situation in terms of domestic politics and ambitions in foreign policy:

- despite the enormous social-economic development achieved recently, China is in a complicated situation, and ongoing changes are contradictory and incomplete in their character. The delegations regard it necessary to follow study closely the course and outcome of economic reform that is being implemented;

- amidst a strained international situation, socialist countries have the intention to involve China, in some sort of a form, in their fight against imperialism. However, this does not imply that we will give up on our fundamental criticism of aspects of the PRC's foreign policy that collide with the interests of the socialist community; our attitude, as an objective factor, will help China to adhere to the socialist road of development;

- at the moment Chinese foreign policy still draws on the contradictions between the two world systems. At the same time countries in the socialist community need to exert efforts in order to utilize conflicts that exist between China and the capitalist states;

- 1984 saw some further positive steps taken forward in the state-to-state relations between China and a number of socialist countries. Country leaders met in the UN, and bilateral meetings were also held. At the same time Beijing's differentiation policy and their "people's diplomacy" are to be rejected. The conditions for the development of party-to-party and military relations with China have not been established yet. The delegations have confirmed their solidarity with the peoples of Indo-China;

- the idea of "new internationalism" supported by the PRC aims to review the principles of the internationalism of the proletariat. The delegations were of the opinion that, in the current situation, influence needed to be exerted on our friends working in the revolutionary-democratic movement in order not to restore develop their relations with the Chinese Communist Party without due deliberation.

- A brief exchange of information and views on the Albanian question also took place at the meeting. The Protocol Note refers to the uniformity of evaluation by fraternal parties in this respect, and calls on all the countries involved to preserve, reinforce, and develop existing forms of cooperation with Albania as much as possible.

The Protocol Note is supplemented with an Appendix that deals with celebrating the 40th anniversary of the victory over fascism. This draft was prepared by the Soviet comrades, and was submitted jointly with us.

The text of the document and its appendix was finalized by the editorial board. Most of the proposals for amendment, approximately twenty, were submitted by the SED delegation. Some of these proposals were meant to serve accuracy and objectivity, while some of them aimed to harden the tone of the document. With a number of modifications, the proposals set forth by the SED were accepted by the editorial board.

The Vietnamese comrades submitted four, but major modifications to the text. They requested the word "direct" to be omitted from the draft that said that conditions for restoring "direct" contacts between parties do not exist currently. The Hungarian delegation was in favor of the original wording, then proposed "official" party relations after some debate. The board agreed to the Vietnamese proposal.

The representative of the CPV suggested that the document should include a passage that stated that our countries would coordinate "with them" (with countries in Indo-China) in terms of fending off pressure exerted by Beijing. This proposal was supported by none of the delegations. The representative of Bulgaria suggested that we should accept the modification without the wording "with them". The Hungarian delegation was in favor of preserving the original wording of the draft document. The editorial board eventually accepted a Soviet-Bulgarian wording that was based on what Bulgaria proposed.  

The representative of Vietnam suggested that the adjective "enormous" describing the achievements in Chinese domestic development be replaced by "some". The proposal was rejected.

The Vietnamese comrades proposed that the step forward in the relations between China and a number of socialist countries should not be described as "positive" in the document. The proposal was rejected.

The majority of representatives, including the Vietnamese representative, proposed that the section on Albania should be modified in the Protocol Note, and the part stating that the differentiated treatment of our countries by the Albanian leaders was to be prevented should be omitted.

The Hungarian delegation, being one of the submitters, first of all commented on the modifications proposed. With the exception of the Vietnamese proposal regarding party-to-party relations, we succeeded in asserting our position.

II

Comrade Horn delivered an introductory presentation at the plenary session. which along with the Soviet, Hungarian (enclosed), the Vietnamese, the GDR and the Polish contributions attracted distinguished attention. As a compromise, the essential elements of these contributions are included in the Protocol Note.

In his presentation, Comrade Gyula Horn gave a brief analysis of the international situation, pointing out the reasons for the escalating tensions, and highlighting that the objective interdependence of the two world systems still existed. He welcomed the fact of recent Soviet-American meetings, the efforts Cuba exerted in diplomacy and politics to settle the crisis in Central America, and the military-political steps taken by Indo-Chinese countries to resolve the crisis.

He stressed that our country, with its own humble means, strived to counterbalance retrograde efforts in the European region. In the spirit of this, we are making efforts in order to develop our state-to-state relations with China the PRC too. which is a socialist country, but its activities in foreign affairs exert harmful influence on the progress of international class struggle. In our assessment, there are some changes in the domestic and foreign policies of China, which can be the basis for a dialogue. In our view it is necessary that the socialist policy line be reinforced in China, for which end We will continue the development of state-to-state relations, and we will naturally object to all Chinese endeavors to differentiate any possible Chinese endeavor aimed at turning the Soviet Union against the rest of the socialist countries.

Comrade O.B. Rakhmanin, head of the Soviet delegation, gave the following evaluation:

- While reactionary circles strain the international situation to the utmost, China refuses to support the socialist community's fight for peace.

- Without denying the socialist character of the PRC as a state, it has to be pointed out that the activities of the Chinese leadership are not guided by the principles of socialist internationalism. Beijing denies the existence of the two world systems, and favors relations with the USA, and the development of relations in military cooperation has also begun.

- The Chinese leadership applies a differentiated approach towards individual socialist countries, which must be rejected. The same method is adopted by the West, which urges the "selective development" of relations with some of the socialist countries, and by overpraising their autonomy, it endeavors to turn them against the Soviet Union. The West has developed a thesis about some sort of special role some socialist countries may play as mediators in working out a compromise between the great powers.

- The round of consultations between Soviet and Chinese deputy foreign ministers in October 1984 was unsuccessful as the Chinese side practically turned down every single Soviet initiative, and threatened with a possible deadlock in the talks unless the three obstacles China identified were removed. The PRC still maintains its territorial claims against the Soviet Union.

- The political situation in the PRC has basically been normalized recently, the population's financial condition has improved, and the economy is looking up. At the same time it needs to be pointed out that economic boost was achieved by diverting economic life from socialist principles, by a certain extent of social and political diversion, which widely opened the way to various forms of small business ownership and capitalist economic methods. These processes are harmful to the interests of Chinese socialism. The Marxist-Leninist terminology of the economic reform program passed by the CCP CC plenary meeting in October 1984 only serves to disguise the rightist, revisionist character of this document. This document made an attempt at laying broad foundations for "market socialism", limiting the directive function of the socialist state, widening the authority of enterprises, increasing the regulating role of the market, and reducing the role of centralized planning.

- The principle of "one country, two systems" formulated by Deng Xiaoping is, after all, nothing else than bringing the old theory of convergence back to life.

The Vietnamese, Mongolian, Cuban, Laotian and Czechoslovak contributors closely followed the strand of thoughts in the Soviet evaluation. However, all of them made brief, half-a-sentence comments to disclose that they saw opportunities for the development of relations or to state their willingness in this respect. A stock taking of concrete contacts revealed that the level and amount of contacts in the case of Cuba and Czechoslovakia did not fall behind contacts Hungary and China had, and were even more advanced in some respects (e.g. Czechoslovakia has restored "friendly relations"). Putting forth "a few ideas", the Vietnamese representative suggested that the fight against imperialism be combined with the fight against Chinese hegemonism and expansionism.

The contribution of the SED representative this time combined the balanced evaluations familiar from earlier meetings with the rhetoric of the Soviet speech, with the appreciation of the personal contribution of the leader of the Soviet delegation as well as with repeatedly stating that SED CC entirely and complete endorsed the principled policy the CPSU CC and the Soviet government followed regarding the Chinese question. Following this, he stated that the GDR wished to broaden the political dialogue they embarked on with China as well as expressed approval of the development of relations based on agreements with the PRC as seen last year. He confirmed that official contacts between the SED and the CCP did not exist, but they did have "certain work level contacts". In the GDR's analysis of Chinese domestic affairs, the stress was placed on the incomplete character of processes, and at the same time emphasis was put on the significance of changes in [China's] domestic situation. His contribution included a remarkable part that explained Chinese efforts to weaken the positions of both great powers in order for China to become another centre of power. In the view of the GDR, the Chinese position regarding the German question lacked class aspects as China stated that the German nation was one nation, and re-unification was to be solved by the two German states at one point in the future, in peaceful cooperation with neighboring countries.

Noteworthy was the balanced contribution of the Polish representative. According to this analysis of the situation in domestic politics, profound structural reform is taking place in the country [China]. As a result of party reorganization the proportion of experts in the leadership is increasing, and the practice of special economic zones definitely deserves to be followed with attention. In foreign politics China plays its own independent game in line with the evaluation that suggests that the world is shifting from Soviet-American bipolarity towards multi-polarity (China, Japan, Europe). Consequently, China has abandoned the idea of establishing alliance with the USA, and decided on "a footing of equality of judgment, but not on keeping equal distance". China still expresses great interest in the development of the Polish situation. In a discussion held during the session of the UN in the fall of 1984, the Chinese foreign minister assured the Polish counterpart that China endorsed the position of Poland regarding western borders. The dialogue between Poland and China will continue. The Polish representative directed attention to the fact that, for the first time in 18 years, China participated in the conference for railway organizations of socialist countries held in Warsaw. This implied a question: was not the fact that the same Chinese delegations frequently visited a number of socialist countries actually an indication on Chinese part that their policy of differentiation failed?

III

In order to summarize the work done at the meeting, the following needs to be underlined:

- The concrete information value of Interkit consultations has been diminishing, which is indicated by the fact that this year none of the delegations handed over relevant background material. The contributions delivered by some of the delegations were practically made up of rhetoric elements only, and declarations are frequently contradictory to real steps taken.

- In our view, Soviet opinions about China and about Soviet policy towards China are occasionally contradictory at the current stage. As a member of the Soviet delegation commented in an informal discussion, "we simply don't know what to do about them". Soviet policy towards China is more sophisticated in reality than suggested by the [Soviet] contribution detailed in the introductory section. It is indicative that while Comrade Rakhmanin outlined a hopeless situation that emerged after the last round of talks by Soviet and Chinese deputy foreign ministers, the statement issued by the two sides highlighted their interest to develop relations.

- We think that at the moment developments in Chinese domestic politics and some phenomena in foreign politics are evidently judged differently by the SED, PUWP and HSWP representatives on the one hand, and the representatives of other party delegations, at least in terms of taking positions in public. Concurrent responses by members of the Soviet delegation to differences ("nuances") in evaluation being "natural phenomena" that do not interfere with our cooperation seem to indicate that these differences in opinion are accepted. are not objected to publicly. It is not impossible that the Soviet side will return to this question with time.

The Soviet delegation requested participants to agree to hold the next, 15th Interkit consultation in Moscow in the fall of 1985.

The Protocol Note, its Appendix and the text of the Hungarian contribution is enclosed with this report.

We propose that the Protocol Note and the Hungarian contribution be sent to CC department heads and the foreign minister.

The International Department and the Agitation and Propaganda Department should take care that the materials of the meeting are adequately utilized by responsible party and state organs as well as by the mass media.

In accordance with common practice, the International Department is to inform officials of fraternal parties that participated in the meeting that our party leadership agrees with the outcomes of the consultation, and our relevant organs will utilize them in their work.

Budapest, 6 November 1984

Report prepared by

Iván Németh

Approved by

Géza Kótai

[1] Words in italics indicate handwritten additions to the text.