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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 17, 1961

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN POLAND, 'POLISH CELEBRATION OF OUR NATIONAL DAY, THE POLISH COMMUNIST PARTY’S ATTITUDE TOWARD CHINA, AND OUR VIEWS'

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

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    The Chinese Embassy in Poland concludes that "Poland consciously wishes to improve Chinese-Polish relations."
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Poland, 'Polish Celebration of Our National Day, the Polish Communist Party’s Attitude toward China, and Our Views'," October 17, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-02311-01, 13-16. Translated by Max Maller. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119518
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Polish Celebration of Our National Day, the Polish Communist Party’s Attitude toward China, and Our Views

To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Liaison Department: (Secret)

The following concerns this year’s celebration in Poland of our National Day, new developments in the Polish United Workers’ Party’s attitudes toward us, and our views:

This year’s celebration in Poland of our National Day was more vigorous than last year’s. In anticipation thereof, the Party journal issued a statewide announcement. On 29 September, with the exception of [Polish head of state Aleksander] Zawadzki, every member of the Polish United Workers' Party’s cabinet in the capital made an appearance at the celebration in Warsaw. Vice Premier [Zenon] Nowak made an announcement. They also made arrangements for our embassy to speak (last year they did not). In the evening, the members of the Polish United Workers' Party visited our embassy, and Zawadzki offered a toast. Between the various regions’ National Day celebrations, there were five provinces that invited our embassy to participate. The atmosphere was warm and friendly. The 121 congratulatory phone calls, letters and telegrams we received from all over Poland are the most we have had in four years. In the National Day period, there have been wide disseminations concerning China in the Polish publications. The Central Committee’s journal ran 12 separate editorials and articles. Twelve provinces reprinted Central Committee-approved templates. Editorials in the Party journal and announcements by Zawadzki essentially follow Moscow’s tone in evaluating the significance of China’s victorious revolution, pointing out that it was the “epoch-making result” of ten months of “promoting the freedom of all nations’ peoples, as well as the work of socialism.” Concerning our domestic development, he listed the number of our successes in numerous areas. Despite not mentioning “Three Red Flags,” his scope was quite broad; for example, that when the Party publication ran our ambassador’s speech, they edited out a remark I made justifying the “Three Red Flags,” but kept such phrases as “Great Leap Forward” and “People’s Commune.” Some National Day celebrations at the local level actively approved of the “Three Red Flags.” At the beginning of September, Polityka even devoted an article to explaining the People’s Communes. Recently, the Polish Sociological Review, in an article discussing China’s economic development, described the methodology of the Great Leap Forward and “Both Legs Walking”. Concerning China’s international relations, they acknowledge that we have made a contribution to the consolidation of a unified socialist camp. They quite pointedly denounced the American imperialists’ geographical isolation of China, as well as America’s obstruction against the reinstatement of China’s legal position in the United Nations, and against our dominion over China’s territory in Taiwan. They express their continued support for China.

This positive turn in Polish opinion toward China has also manifested in other areas. Most significantly, since July coverage on China in the Polish party journals has increased each month (40 stories in July, 54 in August, and all the way up to 64 in September). Friendship and respect were shown to the Chinese special delegation that visited Poland for the international summit. In trade negotiations between Poland and China, with the aid of our diligent efforts and our resolute struggle against the opposite side, Poland has made concessions, pledged its support for China’s difficulties, and overruled the 1962 plan. Their attitude here was essentially friendly. Concerning their support for the unveiling of Beijing’s Exposition, they had originally planned to send Vice Premier [Piotr] Jaroszewicz and Trade Minister Te-lang-pu-qin-si-ji [sic]. Later, they exchanged Jaroszewicz for his superior Politboro member and Chairman of the Sino-Polish friendship society [Stefan] Jędrychowski. This was clearly not to discuss issues, but to demonstrate a friendly stance and an understanding for our national situation. After returning to Poland, Jędrychowski expressed his satisfaction, giving assurance of his belief in the existence of deep friendship between our two states.

The above demonstrates in various ways that Poland consciously wishes to improve Chinese-Polish relations. The essential reason for this is that last year’s bout of pro-Soviet, anti-Chinese policy failed to win the people over, such that the ends did not justify the means. They had no choice but to turn to a “pro-Soviet, while appeasing China” policy. Specifically, this means the following:

(1) Politically, since the Moscow summit, they have practiced and proven the correctness of the CCP’s perspectives and policies. Those slanders used against our Party in the past have self-destructed, such that certain individuals in the Polish United Workers' Party have had no choice but to reappraise the CCP’s policies. As Zawadzki has recently expressed: “The CCP is a true Leninist party…A principled party…There is no bilateral confusion between our two states, Poland and China…Chinese-Polish relations have no reason to be bad.” The Polish attaché based in China, Zhuan-la-tuo [sic], said, “When I returned to Poland this year, not only did I not hear anyone speak ill of China, on the contrary, I say that the support for our Chinese comrades had increased. Many people say that China is correct on a whole series of issues.”

(2) China’s status as a world power, the international prestige of the CCP and Chairman Mao, and the unbroken victories of our country in peaceful foreign relations, have not only won the support and camaraderie of many other parties. Moreover, they have had a significant influence within the Polish United Workers’ Party. This has made it so that, in responding to specific actions of ours, they have had no choice but to take a cautious attitude in order to break free from last year’s passive position.

(3) Poland has economic difficulties. Trade holds a precarious position in the national economy. In this matter, there is no doubt that Poland predominately relies on the USSR, but they cannot or do not wish to rely on them completely. At the same time, they believe that we can become the greatest patron of their industrial products. They also hope to obtain grains and raw materials from us. They vigorously support the development of trade relations with China. They feel that the anti-Chinese stance has already garnered them unprofitable outcomes. If they do not change their policies, it is possible that they will continue to suffer losses.

(4) The ideology of the Polish leaders is roughly the same as the Soviet Union’s. They essentially follow them in foreign policy. However, they still strive to maintain acertain independence. Thus Polish-Soviet relations have their basically united side, and their contradictory side. Particularly since the internal struggles in the socialist camp have died down, the contradictions between the Poles and the Soviets have gradually resurfaced. The USSR has never trusted Gomułka. They object to his policies toward the United States, agriculture, and intellectuals. This is why they sent [Soviet ambassador to Poland Averky] Aristov to Poland to strengthen their efforts. On the other hand, Gomułka has always harbored a wary eye. This year, he reorganized the Polish-Soviet Friendship Society; he intends to limit the Soviet Union’s influence. On the issue of signing a treaty with the two Germanys, he believes that even if they only manage to sign with the GDR, he would still be able to shatter any illusions among the undecided constituents and, sooner or later, appropriate the open road left behind by East Germany. On the question of West Berlin, because of their fear and nervousness Poland has not maintained its support of the Soviets’ forceful measures. Moreover, due to the tenseness of the situation, Poland’s market has been thrown into ever-increasing chaos, leading to a series panic-purchases, and they have been forced to carry the burden for some of East Germany’s struggles. With regard to all of this, Gomułka is not without objections. Despite the USSR’s soft attitude toward Gomułka, their reconciliation efforts are not strong, and there is significant dissatisfaction and quarreling. Under these conditions, it is no surprise that Poland hopes to improve its relations with China, so as to strengthen its position in the partnership with Russia.

Thus Poland’s positive turn in its attitude toward China is not wholly due to a change in ideology, more so it is due to considerations of their wellbeing. Therefore, it is possible that this change will exhibit complications, and that it will not take place all at once. As long as we continue to support reason and harmony, and work hard, it is possible that we can press for the continuation of Poland’s positive turn.

[Chinese] Embassy in Poland

17 October [1961]