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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 04, 1949


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    Cable sent from Mikoyan to Stalin, summarizing a discussion between Mikoyan and Mao. In that conversation, Mikoyan tells Mao that once the USSR opposed foreign mediation between the Guomindang and CCP, England, America and France changed their positions from supporting mediation to refuting mediation. Mikoyan then draws to Stalin's attention that Zhou Enlai noticed permanent representatives of Americans, including "spies, and journalists," among the Chinese Communist Party.
    "Cable, Anastas Mikoyan to Joseph Stalin," February 04, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Provided to the National Security Archive/Svetlana Savranskaya by Sergo Mikoyan. With permission of the National Security Archive. Translated by Sergey Radchenko.
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Top Secret


To comrade STALIN.

About foreign mediation between the Guomindang and the CCP. Questions of secrecy.

In a conversation with Mao Zedong I told him: we know that England, America, and France used to be in favor of mediation between the Guomindang and the CCP. Later, having learned by some means that the USSR and the CCP are against foreign mediation, these powers, unwilling to be shamed, changed their positions and refused mediation.

In this connection, it is necessary to seriously look into the questions of secrecy and take interest whether there are blabbering people in the CCP circle, though whom this information could end up with the Americans.

Mao Zedong resolutely refuted such a possibility for, as he stated, such serious questions and, in particular, exchange with Moscow, is only known to the five members of the CC present, to the interpreter Shi Zhe and to comrade Terebin. These persons are completely reliable and he does not have doubt in them.

As for this particular case, he stated that the Anglo-Americans, even before our position became known, openly wrote that the USSR and the CCP will be against mediation.

I responded that it could only be their supposition, however, Western powers hurried to refuse mediation after they received reliable information about our position.

About Americans in the circle of the CC CCP, about Rittenberg

Mao Zedong repeated that the possibility of information leaking from the CCP circle cannot [sic, should be can] be ruled out. In this connection I would like to draw your attention to the following: in a separate conversation with me Zhou Enlai informed me that during the CCP CC’s stay in Yan’an there were permanent representatives of the Americans there, spies, and journalists. After the move from Yan’an they have one American journalist present and working with them in the central organ of the party; he knows the Chinese language well and is married to a Chinese woman.

We inquired about this fact from comrade Terebin who confirmed, and stated the last name of the American – [Sidney] Rittenberg.

In his [Terebin’s] words, he [Rittenberg] studied the Chinese language in America for three years but he knows the Chinese language so well that it’s unthinkable [neveroyatno] that he could learn it in such a short period of time. It is suspicious why he studied the Chinese language, where [he studied it], and whose money paid for his travels to China.

Comrade Terebin informs that at one point he reported about his arrival along his own [GRU] lines.

Comrade Terebin also informed that several days ago an American correspondent arrived in the area of the CC CCP headquarters. Several days before our arrival he left for the area of Beiping and Manchuria.

We instructed comrade Terebin to carefully check all the data connected to Rittenberg and the aforementioned American, to select the necessary information, and to report to comrade F. Kuznetsov in Moscow, for both of these Americans are of unquestionable interest.