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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 13, 1958

NOTES FROM MEETING BETWEEN IRANIAN MILITARY AND NICOLAE CEAUșESCU, BUCHAREST

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    Record of a meeting between the Tudeh First Secretary, Reza Radmanesh, and Nicolae Ceauşescu, then a member of the Politburo of the Romanian Workers' Party, shortly after the Tudeh's Fifth Plenum in Bulgaria, where the Iranian communists pledged themselves to working with 'all national and democratic forces' in Iran. Document highlights the disarray and fragmentation of the Tudeh at this time.
    "Notes from Meeting between Iranian Military and Nicolae Ceaușescu, Bucharest," March 13, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Central Historical Archives [ANIC], Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, Foreign Relations Section. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Roham Alvandi and Eliza Gheorghe and included in CWIHP Working Paper, "The Shah's Petro-Diplomacy with Ceaușescu." https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119594
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Notes from the meeting between the Iranian comrades and Comrade Nicolae Ceaușescu, Bucharest, March 13, 1958

The Iranian comrades expressed their satisfaction with the fact that they could stay for a few days in Bucharest.

They took part in the Central Committee plenum which was held in Bulgaria.

Comrade N. Ceaușescu:

He greeted them on behalf of the party leadership and [invited] them to feel at home.

The first comrade:

I would like to inform you about the issues discussed at the plenum which just took place [in Bulgaria].

The agenda contained three issues:

1.The Declaration adopted at the reunion of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Moscow and the Peace Manifesto.

2.The analysis of the political situation in Iran.

It must be said that after the fascist coup which took place, several changes in the political situation in Iran occurred. The social causes which shape the domestic and foreign policy of this country were analyzed. Attention was paid to the fundamental points of the party platform related to the political situation [,] The immediate tasks and the tactics of the party in the current circumstances.

The plenum approved the analysis of the political situation and the fundamental points related to the [party] platform.

The task of formulating a platform draft to be discussed with party members until the next plenum was assigned. The plenum approved the main issues related to party tactics.

The third matter on the agenda tackled organizational difficulties.

A report on the activities carried out between the two plenums was presented.

We experienced delays in organizing the plenum because of technical issues.

This plenum was necessary because of the harsh conditions in which our party and our party leadership [carry out] their activity.

Our party is disoriented, following the defeat it suffered. This defeat our party suffered is unprecedented.

Our party is a young party from the point of view of its new structure and of the situation which [it] created. Despite its young age, our party has successfully fought certain battles.

After WWI, [all] communists were repressed. But this repression took the form of a pogrom and the party was not outlawed. In this situation, the Party leadership openly stated its position.

When the party declared itself in favor of the anti-imperialist struggle, it was outlawed on the basis that it undermined the state.

The party created a solid underground network and managed to combine its struggle in the open with the one underground. The party played an important role in the period of the nationalization of oil.

The best forces of the working class, peasantry and intelligentsia sided with the party. Moreover, every 10th person in the officer corps of the armed forces was a communist. It is even harder to explain the defeat. In these circumstances, the mistakes of the party leadership greatly contributed to this defeat.

We failed to take into account the entry on the political scene of the national bourgeoisie and we did not consider the role of this bourgeoisie in the fight against party members.

We thought that power did not reside in the hands of the national bourgeoisie, but of Anglo-American agents.

On the day of the fascist rebellion we had a lot of opportunities [on our hands], but we lacked mutual trust, we feared them, and they feared us.

The analysis [presented at the Plenum] revealed that if the party [emerged] in those days, the situation would be different.

It seemed to them that [if] Musaddiq had come out in front of the people and asked for help, [then] the communists would have appeared as his supporters. Musaddiq was afraid that the communists would seize power.

In those moments of tactical indecisiveness, ultra-reactionary elements managed to take over the key positions and then proceed to crushing the party.

The reactionary [elements] had the possibility to strike because it discovered the underground forces. Afterwards, repression ensued.

Today the party finds itself in a tough situation. We would have recovered more easily if this defeat had been the result of a battle.

The party leadership did not admit to its mistakes in front of party members in due time. This gave birth to discussions among party members and caused the crisis within our party’s leadership – a crisis obviously related to the fundamental mistakes made and to the mistakes and personal responsibility of each of us.

Mutual recriminations were exchanged between leaders.

[Our] activity could not be resumed until the leadership situation had been resolved. The cadres had to act as a sort of referees of the leadership and judge who was right and who wasn’t. The 4th Plenum, to which the best cadres were invited, took place in these circumstances.

I do not know if there are such precedents in any other party, every leader came to the 4th Plenum with his own platform. They spent 20 days and 20 nights talking about these things. The main problem was how to lift the burden of inner contradictions within the leadership from their shoulders.

From the beginning they made it clear that they would take into account the opinions of those who were taking part in the plenum.

This arbitrage [that the cadres performed] helped the new Executive Bureau to resume its activity.

We now informed the Plenum about this work.

We were assigned to establish a party center abroad, which is located in the GDR.

These issues were tackled in the organizational report. This report contained another very important matter, namely the re-establishment of a united workers’ party at home.

Iran is a multinational country and there are two parties within the national movement: the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. We ordered our regional bodies to unite with these two parties.

When the Party of Azerbaijan had only a few hundred members in 1945, approximately 60,000 communists joined it. We supported this movement and we sent our best cadres. This is how this movement was created.  The cadres in Azerbaijan emigrated to the USSR. For a long time, this region was left with no party organization.

When we decided to give rise to this movement, we created an organization which emerged under the name of the Democratic Party. We believe we cannot go on like this.

There must be only one workers’ party in a multinational state. Until now, this problem has not been discussed.

Now the task of re-creating a single party [was brought into discussion]. This proposal is met with resistance from the leadership of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, we talked to them to no avail.

The Plenum assigned us to tackle this problem.

We are satisfied with the results of this Plenum. The Plenum did not take place in a calm [atmosphere] – in the beginning some remnants of the contradictions of the 4th Plenum surfaced and this was a continuation of [the process of] resolving some contradictions. Now, there are conditions to strengthen the unity of the party leadership and of the party itself.

At the Plenum, everybody could assert their opinion openly. 22 comrades spoke in relation to the first issue [on the agenda]. The most important thing is that they debated about how this can be applied in Iran.

The causes which made the Iranian government to draw closer to the USSR and distance itself from the US [are:] It was shown that the Anglo-American contradictions were not correctly assessed, but [on the contrary] that imperialists from the FRG, Italy, Japan [;] the Federal Republic of Germany is Iran’s main foreign trade partner.

Italian oil companies established partnerships with those in Iran and the concessions they obtained harm the USA. 75% of the profits that the Italians are giving are harming the USA.

The international consortium in the South is only giving 50% of its profits. This situation is creating problems for the US. Japanese goods are very important on the Iranian market.

The policies of the USSR are also important. The well-off circles were afraid of the border with the USSR, and now they understand they have nothing to fear. They are confronted with proposals to establish rocket bases on the one hand, and on the other hand they see the situation in Afghanistan, India, etc. Starting from these facts, the issues of party tactics and the current slogans of anti-imperialist struggle were raised. The main slogan is the creation of a united national movement.

This was how the Plenum unfolded and these were the problems that were debated.

We will soon have a bulletin of the Party in Iran which will be sent to brotherly parties.

Comrade N. Ceaușescu:

Thank you for such comprehensive information. We will [thus] be able to become familiar with the work, problems and assignments of the Party in Iran. We are convinced that they will be able to overcome the hardship they are confronted with and that they will successfully fulfill the assignments they were given.

Iranian Comrade:

We talked to comrade Melita about doubling the number of Persian-language broadcasts. If comrade Melita thinks this is feasible, and if the party leadership agrees to this, then the Iranian comrades will take care of the selection of cadres [for this task].

Moreover, it was discussed that in addition to the political literature, we can also send articles which can be published in the press in the People’s Republic of Romania. This would be an expression of the support offered to the Party in Iran.

There are some other technical problems the Iranian comrades are asking our help with, some of them are very specific and they will solve them with the help of the Foreign Relations section [of the Central Committee].

There are comrades who graduated from university and want to go for post-graduate degrees.

These problems are noted, [and the Iranian Comrades] want [us] to ask the Foreign Relations section to solve them.

On behalf of the Central Committee, he expressed his gratitude for the campaign [we] organized to defend the lives of the [Iranian] comrades and he asked us to continue this campaign.

Would it be possible to be informed about the most recent problems in your country such as the issue of industrialization, the cooperativization effort, commerce.

Comrade N. Ceaușescu:

About the industrialization policy of our country.

The measures taken to raise the standard of living of workers.

The new wage system – wages were increased by 15-20%.

The state plan for 1957 was completed by 108%;

The following branches for which we need raw materials are developed: the oil industry, the chemical industry.

Regarding agriculture:

The socialist sector is over 52%, including the State Agricultural Household. There is a trend to [put more emphasis] on adopting the cooperative organizational style. Constanța  is almost completely cooperatized, along with another 15-16 counties. We are stressing the increase of agricultural production.

Abandoning mandatory quotas

The central supply fund is replenished through agreements with contracting peasants.

We had good results in 1957. We introduced incentives for peasants to develop their agricultural production.

The alliance between the working class and the peasantry has strengthened lately.

Mechanization is necessary for the State Agricultural Household. We still encounter difficulties with our meat supplies.

Collectivization took place with the consent of the people. As far as the standard of living is concerned, as I said, the income of the working class and that of the working peasantry have increased n 1957 by 5 billion lei.

Concerning the political activity, the situation has improved thanks to the economic measures adopted.

The main problems with which our party is confronted:

- The improvement of the standard of living of the population;

- The building of houses;

- The improvement of the work carried out by the state apparatus.

A series of measures were adopted.

During the events in Hungary, our party could help the Hungarian comrades. This is how we could provide them with substantial help.

As far as the decisions of the Moscow reunion are concerned, [we] held the Plenum in December and then we worked on those points with the entire party. We established the position of our party in principle, which expanded the horizon of party members.

We have relations with 64 countries and we have the possibility of expanding our foreign relations even further. We have offers from capitalist countries. We use [them] according to the needs of our national economy.