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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 04, 1939

TRANSLATION OF A LETTER FROM GOVERNOR SHICAI SHENG TO CDES. STALIN, MOLOTOV, AND VOROSHILOV

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Governor Sheng Shicai expresses gratitude to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov for the opportunity to visit Moscow. After reporting critical remarks made by Fang Lin against the Soviet Union and the Communist Party, Sheng Shicai requests that the All-Union Communist Party dispatch a politically experienced person to Urumqi to discuss Party training and asks that the Comintern order the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang to liquidate the Party organization.
    "Translation of a Letter from Governor Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov," January 04, 1939, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI f. 82 op. 2 d. 1238, l. 176-182. Obtained by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121890
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TRANSLATION OF A 4 JANUARY 1939 LETTER OF GOVERNOR SHENG SHICAI TO CDES. STALIN, MOLOTOV, AND VOROSHILOV

"Deeply respected Mr. STALIN, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars MOLOTOV, and Marshal VOROSHILOV!

Although a quite long four-month period has passed since I left Moscow, recalling my stay in Moscow, it seems that it was not long ago at all.

When my wife and I were in Moscow, you gave us a good reception and devoted much of your valuable time to us. My wife and I were not only grateful to you for this, but were also left with an unforgettable deep impression.

Having returned from Moscow to Xinjiang I feel myself spiritually elated and am exerting considerable effort in work, which is explained by:

1) I was able to join the ranks of the glorious Communist Party, become a member of the Bolshevik Party, and fight for the victory of the teachings of MARX-ENGELS-LENIN-STALIN.

2) I have been a follower of Marxism for a number of years, a most especial follower of Leninism and Stalinism. Being a follower of Communism, after the April Revolution in Xinjiang in 1933 I advocated the six-principle policy of Xinjiang: anti-imperialism, friendship with the USSR, equal rights for nationalities, honesty and selflessness, peace, and development. I set this policy as the standard [rukovodyashchee nachalo] in the management of Xinjiang. This six-principled policy is a skillful, vital application of Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism in the conditions of the feudal society of economically and culturally backward Xinjiang.

While in Moscow and having also received the opportunity to join the ranks of the All-Union Communist Party I accomplished many of my desires, and therefore I am spiritually quite happy.

Returning to Xinjiang I develop some moral dissatisfaction with respect to Fang Lin (Deng Fa), a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party, and the officials of the Chinese Communist Party who had been sent to work in Xinjiang, which is explained by the following:

1) Fang Lin was disingenuous, and this was displayed in the following:

a) before my departure from Xinjiang for Moscow, with a sincere expression, Fang Lin told me in the first conversation:

"In Moscow during a meeting with senior Soviet leaders you ought:

1) to speak simply and clearly;

2) to explain the reasons for your request for acceptance as a member of the Communist Party;

3) it is necessary to note that all the officials of the Chinese Communist Party are working quite diligently in Xinjiang;

4) it is necessary to speak calmly and coolly;

5) it is necessary to sum up the results of the conversation on each issue".

I was quite grateful to him, thinking such a statement by Fang Lin to be sincere.

During the second conversation Fang Lin said to me:

"1. In Moscow during a meeting with senior Soviet government leaders you can criticize the officials of the Soviet Consulate in every possible way if there is anything bad with them.

2. You can criticize the military adviser and instructors if there is anything bad with them.

3. You can criticize the officials of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang and me (Fang Lin p.p. [SIC]) if there is anything bad on our side".

I was very shocked by such statements by Fang Lin and replied to him:

"Why do you have such a contradiction between the content of the 1st and 2nd conversations? Why is there such insincerity? I am going to Moscow to see Mr. STALIN, Mr. MOLOTOV, and Mr. VOROSHILOV, to thank the USSR for the five years of aid which it has given Xinjiang, and to familiarize myself with development in the USSR. I am not at all going to Moscow to criticize officials of the Consulate, advisers, instructors, [or] the Chinese Communist Party. I am dissatisfied with your contradictory statements".

I was always sincere toward the Chinese Communist Party. I sent the Chinese Communist Party 50,000 short fur coats, 500,000 Mexican [meks.] dollars [SIC], six anti-aircraft machineguns, and 10 light machineguns. However, one of the senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party is exhibiting such disingenuousness toward me. This was a great blow to my morale.

2. Even before Moscow agreed to the trip to the USSR I wrote Mr. STALIN one letter. Seeing such words in this letter such words as Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism Fang Lin said:

"It is not necessary to write Stalinism. STALIN has no such idea, STALIN still has not become an 'ism'".

Fang Lin forbid me from saying Stalinism. This was very strange for me.

3. The leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong, wrote a book about dialectical materialism. Fang Lin once told me: "The work of Mao Zedong about dialectical materialism is 80% correct and 20% wrong".

This was also very strange for me, that Fang Lin, criticizing a work of the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, spoke about its incorrectness.

When a lecturer of the anti-Japanese University, Lin Biao, a senior Chinese Communist Party official, went to Moscow to be treated he visited me in the Governor's office with Fang Lin and had the following conversation with me:

Lin Biao said:

"At the instruction of the CC of the Chinese Communist Party I am sending to Governor Sheng that at the 6th Plenum of the CC of the Chinese Communist Party Cdes. Mao Zedong, Wang Ming, Kang Sheng, Zhu De, and Zhou Enlai decided to secretly accept Governor Sheng Shicai as a Chinese Communist Party member. They request you, Cde. Sheng Shicai, formalize entry into the group of the Chinese Communist Party in Urumqi and begin to life a Party life (that is, to begin Party work)".

I replied as follows to such a statement by Lin Biao and Fang Lin:

"Do the Comintern and Soviet Government know about this?"

Lin Biao said, "The Comintern and the USSR do not know about this".

Then I said, "In the past the Comintern and the USSR did not agree that I join the Chinese Communist Party right away. Will you report this decision to the Comintern and the Soviet Government when you go to Moscow?"

Lin Biao replied, "I have received an order of the CC of the Chinese Communist Party to not report to the Comintern and the Soviet Government about this decision for the time being".

Then I said, "This is not good at all if one does not report this decision to the Comintern and the Soviet Government, since for the past five years I have never concealed anything from the USSR and STALIN. At the same time, there should not be any secrets from STALIN, MOLOTOV, and VOROSHILOV from my side".

Fang Lin said, "In my opinion, you can solve this issue this way. If the CC of the Chinese Communist Party reports about this to the Comintern, then the Governor will be informed ahead of time so that the Governor can report about this to the Soviet Government. However, as long as the Chinese Communist Party does not inform the Comintern, let the Governor not report [this] to the Soviet Government".

Lin Biao said, "Let the Governor not feel that there are any difficulties here. If the Comintern or the Soviet Government find out about this decision then the CC of the Chinese Communist Party will bear full responsibility. Inasmuch as the CC of the Chinese Communist Party is not allowing the Governor to speak about this to others, then the CC of the Chinese Communist Party bears all the responsibility".

That was the substance of the first conversation of Lin Biao with me.

Sometime later I invited Lin Biao and Fang Lin for a conversation. The following is the main substance of the conversation:

I said, "This ought not be kept a secret from the Comintern and Soviet Government since the CC of the Chinese Communist Party should not have secrets from the Comintern, and I should not have secrets from the Soviet Government. This can be harm from this for the CC of the Chinese Communist Party in the future since this can be reflected in the relations between the CC of the Chinese Communist Party and the Comintern and the USSR. This is my sincere statement to the CC of the Chinese Communist Party.

In the conditions of Xinjiang it is somewhat awkward if I join the Urumqi group of the Chinese Communist Party and do the work of the Chinese Communist Party. There is the danger that Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] and the imperialists will find out about this and this would be reflected in China's war of resistance.

I say this not because I am not accepting the order of the Chinese Communist Party, but because I have not yet officially formalized [my] joining the Chinese Communist Party".

The above conversation has the significance that I told Lin Biao and Fang Lin seriously that the decision about my acceptance into the ranks of the Chinese Communist Party ought not be kept secret from the Comintern and the USSR. Then, inasmuch as I had joined the ranks of the All-Union Communist Party, I can not still secretly join the ranks of the Chinese Communist Party. I still have not told anyone about my joining the ranks of the All-Union Communist Party.

Next I have three requests of the three of you:

1. I request the All-Union Communist Party quickly sent a senior politically-experienced person to Urumqi for discussions about my Party education and Party training. In addition, I want to discuss all the political issues of Xinjiang and other important issues with him.

2. Please grant my request that the Comintern order the officials of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang to liquidate the Party organization and abolish the secret meetings of the cells. My objections to the Chinese Communist Party having a Party organization in Xinjiang and having secret meetings of cells is explained not by my opposing the Chinese Communist Party [or] opposing Communism, but that the imperialists [or] Jiang Jieshi might find out about the meetings of the cells of the Chinese Communist Party, and that the culturally backward nationalities of Xinjiang will find out about the arrival in Xinjiang of Chinese Communists and this will provide an opportunity for imperialist agents to spread rumors and provocations.

Inasmuch as an organization of the Chinese Communist Party exists in Xinjiang, then the members of the Chinese Communist Party will take the orders of the Party into consideration more, but not the orders of the Xinjiang Government.

3. The existence of an organization of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang not only complicates the political situation in Xinjiang, and not only diminishes the guiding force of the Xinjiang Government but also results in a lack of unity in the political authority of Xinjiang.

4. If the existence of an organization of the Communist Party of China is permitted in Xinjiang then the organization of the All-Union Communist Party has a preference for this. Is this the impermissibility of the existence in Xinjiang of a Party organization of the Chinese Communist Party? This is explained by the fact that the leader of Xinjiang, Sheng Shicai, is a member of the All-Union Communist Party,

I wrote this letter to you in haste. If there are mistakes in it, then please excuse me, give me instructions, correct, and criticize me.

The letter was written at 2 a. m. 4 January 1939 in Urumqi in the Governor's office.

With respect, I wish STALIN, MOLOTOV, and VOROSHILOV all the best.

SHENG SHICAI [seal]

Translated from Chinese

[signature]  (S. Andreyev)

2 March 1939

The letter was handwritten by Governor

Sheng Shicai

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