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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 03, 1942

LETTER FROM CDE. V. M. MOLOTOV TO GOVERNOR SHICAI SHENG

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Molotov rejects all the accusations leveled against Cdes. Bakulin, Rakov, and other senior Soviet officials in Governor Sheng's earlier letter as completely unfounded and criticizes his repression of senior figures in the Xinjiang government. Molotov also expresses his belief that "secret agents of an imperialist power hostile to China" have made Sheng their tool.
    "Letter from Cde. V. M. Molotov to Governor Shicai Sheng," July 03, 1942, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 323, l. 54-57. Obtained by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121904
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Moscow, 3 July 1942

[handwritten words: approved 1 July    

(corrections by Cde. Stalin in the text)

V. Molotov]

1 July

to the Bian-fon [sic] Governor and zHUXI [CHAIRMAN] of

Xinjiang

MR. SHENG shicai

Mr. Governor [Sheng Shicai],

Your letter of 10 May of this year has been received and I. V. Stalin and I have been familiarized with it. Marshals K. Ye. Voroshilov and S. K. Timoshenko are at the front at the present time and the materials received from you have been sent to them for familiarization.

Unheard of and completely unsubstantiated accusations against Mr. Bakulin, the USSR Consul General in Urumqi, Chief Military Adviser General Ratov, and also other Soviet officials in Xinjiang named in the letter are raised in the materials sent and in the letter. All these accusations are based on some provocative rumors, and it is clear to the Soviet Government that you, Mr. Governor, have fallen prisoner to these rumors. If the rumors are to be believed, for example, according to the rumors circulating in Xinjiang and in Moscow you, Mr. Governor, are being named as the one guilty of the death of Sheng Shiqi. At the same time they assert that you organized the murder of Sheng Shiqi, considering the latter your competitor in the rule of Xinjiang. However, the Soviet Government is not so easily influenced by rumors, as has evidently happened to you, Mr. Governor. As regards the investigation itself and its actual leaders, Li Puling [sic] and Li Yingqi [sic], they do not inspire any trust in us. As is also known from another investigation in which slanderous accusations are also being raised against a Soviet citizen, the Vice Consul in Shara-Sume [Altai], the complete groundlessness

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[handwritten words: insertion on page 2]

Great doubt has also arisen among use of the correctness of such actions of yours as the unceasing repression, the removal from [their] posts and the arrests of important figures of Xinjiang, which has taken on an extremely broad and dangerous character. There is the threat that a large part of the civilian and military personnel in Xinjiang will be liquidated by such actions.

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of the accusations has been proven which, by the way, has caused a refusal to sign the findings of the investigation on the part of the two prominent Chinese figures you invited.

The Soviet Government categorically rejects as completely unfounded and clearly slanderous all the accusations made against Messrs. Bakulin, Ratov, and other senior Soviet officials, who are tested and reliable people whom the Soviet Government trusted and [still] trusts, and who have worked honorably for the good of Xinjiang and Soviet-Chinese friendship for a long time.

As regards your suggestion about sending Soviet investigators to Urumqi to take part in the investigation I should declare to you, Mr. Governor, that the Soviet Government considers the investigation an internal matter of Xinjiang itself and therefore sees no need for sending Soviet investigators to Urumqi. What is more, the Soviet Government finds no basis for calling the above Soviet officials to account on the basis of clearly slanderous materials.

It seems to us that secret agents of an imperialist power hostile of China have wormed their way into the midst [handwritten word inserted: insertion; SIC, no text was inserted at this point] of the figures surrounding you in Xinjiang who want to spoil relations between China and the USSR [handwritten words inserted: to undermine the situation in Xinjiang], and to turn you into their tool.

If you will recall, you previously made serious mistakes in your activity which were harmful to China and to the advantage of the enemies of China, evidently inspired by some secret agents of enemies of China. As you know, the Soviet Government helped you correct these dangerous mistakes.

For example, back in 1934 you turned to the Soviet Government with a suggestion about the "fastest possible accomplishment of Communism in Xinjiang and spreading it to Gansu and Shaanxi", and in the process you pointed out that you saw the overthrow of the Central Government of China headed by Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] as the only way to save China and Xinjiang. The Soviet Government, considering your position mistaken and harmful, told you then that in no event could it approve a policy of the fastest possible accomplishment of Communism in such a backward country [SIC] as Xinjiang not having industry and a working class and on a low cultural level. Then the Soviet Government, recognizing your attitude toward the Central Government of China as absolutely incorrect, insisted that you ought to hold to a policy of complete loyalty to the Central Government and a united front with it in the fight against imperialism.

Then, in December 1936, during the uprising of Zhang Xueliang in Xi’an, at a moment when Mr. Jiang Jieshi had been arrested there, you took a position of complete and unconditional support of Zhang Xueliang and his actions and had the intention of openly declaring all possible support to him [insertion: Zhang Xueliang] on the part of Xinjiang. The Soviet Government, which immediately and publicly expressed its negative attitude toward the provocative actions of Zhang Xueliang, thinking that the mutinous acts of Zhang Xueliang against the Chinese Government and the arrest of Jiang Jieshi, the leader of the Chinese people, might only be to the benefit of the Japanese aggression and harm common Chinese interests, recommended that you, Mr. Governor, respond to Zhang Xueliang, who had appealed to you for help, that you did not approve his act and could not associate yourself with it. Only after the persistent advice of the Soviet Government did you abandon the intention to support Zhang Xueliang and his rebellion against the Central Chinese Government.

Finally, in January 1941 you came to us with a suggestion to cut ourselves off from China, create a Soviet republic in Xinjiang, and include it in the USSR, explaining this by the presence of "a good opportunity, when the British imperialists and Jiang Jieshi cannot interfere in the affairs of Xinjiang", and also by the fact that "a Soviet Xinjiang might push all of China onto the path of Sovietization". For the same considerations as in previous years the Soviet Government could not fail to regard [handwritten words inserted: as you know to regard], and [had] a sharply negative attitude toward [handwritten word inserted: your] this suggestion.

The Soviet Government thinks that you, Mr. Governor, will draw the necessary conclusions from all this for yourself and will find the correct solution to the problem which might prevent a worsening of our relations.

I wish you [good] health.

at the instructions of the Soviet Government,

People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs

(V. Molotov)

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