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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 12, 1946

EXCERPTS FROM A REPORT BY THE HEAD OF THE SOVIET MISSION IN MONGOLIA I. IVANOV TO MOSCOW

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    Ivanov reports on conditions in the Mongolian People's Republic and the possibility of "reunification of Mongol tribes and territories as one state."
    "Excerpts from a Report by the Head of the Soviet Mission in Mongolia I. Ivanov to Moscow," January 12, 1946, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRFF: fond 0111, opis 28, papka 197, delo 3, listy 51-58. Translated by Sergey Radchenko. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122506
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[…]

Unrealized dreams about Great Mongolia

The ideas of reunification of Mongol tribes and territories as one state under the banner of the Mongolian People’s Republic with Ulaanbaatar as the capital of the unified state are spread widely not only in the circle of the leadership of the republic but also among other segments of the population. The preparation for war with Japan, by the way, included as one of the incentives for war [the notion] of territorial acquisitions as a result of the war.

True, the ideas of the creation of a Great Mongolian state were not voiced openly [and] preparation of accession of new people and territories to the MPR was not being backed by any kinds of organizational activities but in all practical work both in the period of preparation for war, and especially in the course of war itself, very trasparent hints to this effect were being made.

Various motives for the necessity of reunification were being advanced in the leadership circles in the unofficial setting. They can be summed up as follows:

  1. Mongolian tribes are scattered across considerable territory and are disjointed due to historical reasons, maintaining, however, their language, national traits, traditions, and religion. Political disjointedness creates also cultural disjointedness, which as a whole puts a brake on the political and general cultural growth of the Mongolian people.
  1. The Mongolian People’s Republic or Outer Mongolia or Khalkh Mongolia – which are the same thing – represents only the lesser part of the Mongolian territories. Khalkh Mongolia is populated with the most original and the largest Mongolian tribe – the Khakh – which to a greater extent than all the other Mongolian tribes has been able to preserve national traits, suffered from the least influence of other peoples historically, showed the greatest consistency in the struggle for independence and achieved it de facto, and, in view of the aforementioned reasons, has moved far ahead of other tribes in political and cultural life.

The Mongolian People’s Republic must therefore take upon itself the initiative in the common struggle of all Mongolian tribes for the creation of a unified state organism, storing up strength for implementation of this task on the existing basis.

  1. Independence of the Mongolian People’s Republic within the current borders is deficient. The republic has a large territory but it has an exceedingly small population. The country is neither able to defend this territory nor to develop it using its available resources and the existing economic system. The state can only exist with the resolute and serious support and help of one of the two of its powerful neighbors, China and Russia. Fortunately for the Mongolian people, Russia has a people’s regime – Soviet power – which does not have the aim of annexing foreign territories and conquering nations, but has opposite aims – [to facilitate] national determination of neighbors and [the creation of] a close commonwealth in economic, cultural, and in this case political life. Therefore Khalkh Mongolia is completely unworried about the future of the Mongolian tribes and entrusts its political fate to the northern neighbor, the Soviet Union. At the same time, Khalkh Mongolia is full of confidence that, orienting itself towards the Soviet Union and with its help, they will be able to unify the Mongolian state.
  1. Unification of Mongolian tribes into a common Great Mongolian state is necessary for the emergence on the international stage. In this case America (sic, America) will recognize the Mongolian People’s Republic. It will escape complete dependence on the Soviet Union and will be able to use the rich warehouses of first class goods, available on the American market.
  1. Having unified Mongolian tribes and territories all the way to Tsagaan Herem (the Great Chinese Wall), the Mongolian People’s Republic will acquire a large Chinese population, and thereby obtain cheap work force, which it will use in the interests of the Mongolian people for the work at construction, at factories and in the agriculture, while keeping the leading role to the Mongols. The Mongols will obtain cheap bread and agricultural goods, cheap goods from their factories. Roles will be reversed. Whereas before the revolution of ’21 the Chinese dictated their will to the Mongols and exploited them, in the new conditions, relying on state power and military force, the Mongols will use the blessings created by Chinese labor.

The motives listed above, which underpinned ideas about reunification of Mongol tribes and creation of Great Mongolia, had the greatest circulation at the point of the declaration of war against Japan. The political directorate of the Mongolian Army unleashed propaganda and agitation work in the army on the march. The head of the political directorate, C[entral] C[ommittee] secretary [Yumjaagiin] Tsedenbal held a special meeting of political workers, where he talked about the aims and the tasks of war, made a statement that as a result of the victorious march the Mongolian People’s Republic will become a great power, which will have access to the sea, to the Pacific Ocean, that Khalkh Mongolia faces a noble task – the mission of liberation of Mongolian tribes both from the Japanese colonizers and the Chinese aggressors.

The head of the literature department of the Mongolian University in Ulaanbaatar Rinchin, known for his pan-Mongolian views, showed great activism in finding historical and folklore materials of the times of Chinggis Khan and the Chingizids.

Disregarding in this report all other points of view concerning the question of the creation of a unified Mongolian state, many of which have no serious basis and are even simply stupid, I consider it necessary to report the thoughts of [Khorloogiin] Choibalsan.

Before 1945 Choibalsan always and under all conditions determinedly avoided making comments on this subject. Only at the end of 1944 during the award of Soviet orders to a group of Mongolian comrades in the Mission Choibalsan, in a small circle, warned his closest aides and CC secretaries against unnecessary and untimely blabbering about the accession of the Mongolian People’s Republic to the Soviet Union. He said at the time that raising the question about the accession of the MPR to the USSR is pointless blabber. Raising such question is untimely and even harmful. Choibalsan did not at the time develop these thoughts of his. All the time and especially in 1945 – from the start of the year – Choibalsan showed increased interest in the situation of the Mongolian tribes beyond the borders of the MPR.

He followed especially carefully the activities of the puppet government, created by the Japanese in Inner Mongolia, and of De Wang, the head of this government.

Not personally acquainted with De Wang, he remotely measured himself, his strengths, against De Wang’s, against his influence and authority among the Mongolian tribes ruled by De Wang.

The march of the Mongolian army across the territory of Inner Mongolia created an opportunity to study the situation personally. Choibalsan personally went to Inner Mongolia three times: 1) to the border region, 2) to Dolon Nuur / Rehe and 3) to Zhambei [translit], and three times he returned home with mixed feelings.

Through personal contact with various segments of Mongols from Inner Mongolia, it was firmly established:

  1. De Wang and his clique do not enjoy true authority among the Mongolian people. De Wang is a puppet in the skilled Japanese hands in the full sense of this word. He is weak-willed and unintelligent. Mongolian circles have no anger against De Wang for the reason that neither he nor his retinue did anything at all, serving merely as a curtain behind which the Japanese were hiding. People who know De Wang well even spoke of him as a soft, good person, though they could not quote facts of his special kindness.
  2. The Mongolian population of Inner Mongolia turned out to be smaller than expected. Barely 300-400 thousand people live within the territory of so called “Mengjiang” (the Mongolian country). The vast majority of the population is Chinese, and the Chinese fully populate such a formerly Mongolian city as Kalgan [Zhangjiakou], the capital of “Mengjiang”.
  3. Considerable territories and especially in the province of Rehe and towards the sea have long, very long ago, been lost by the Mongols, and have been colonized and populated by Chinese farmers. Therefore, the dreams of Great Mongolia, which would even have a sea border, fell apart on their own.

As it turned out, Choibalsan was somewhat disappointed by the results of his observations in Inner Mongolia.

Nevertheless, the question of the Mongolian state was not taken off the agenda in the hidden crypt of his soul. These ideas are not dead even now, and they have a certain meaning and aims.

Fairly soberly appraising the situation Choibalsan believes that only as a part of the Soviet Union, as its inalienable part, can Mongolia and the Mongolian people feel themselves to be fully protected from threats against the territory of Mongolia, against the independence and freedom of the Mongolian people, on the part of the imperialist predators. Requests for Mongolia to accede the Soviet Union at the present moment within its existing border of Outer Mongolia are impossible for a set of reasons.

In Choibalsan’s thinking, accession of the MPR to the Soviet Union will lead to even greater political isolation and cultural separateness of Khalkh Mongolia from other Mongolian tribes, which have the majority of the Mongolian people and territories, and will create difficulties in the work conducted there. However he, Choibalsan, devoted his life and activities [to the cause of] gathering the entire Mongolian people and opening before it wide prospects of national development.

On the other hand, Khalkh Mongolia has an insignificant population of just 700-800 thousand people. This is too little for being an equal republic among other equal republic of the Soviet Union, while the autonomy currently enjoyed by the Buriad-Mongolian ASSR [Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic] is far from being sufficient for the Mongolian people and will be difficult to explain to the nomadic Mongols.

Choibalsan wants to lead the Mongolian people to Soviet power and to accession to the USSR as an equal people among other Soviet peoples. Choibalsan will now do his best to unify Mongol tribes and territories around the MPR. The first-order task in this is the reunification with the united Xing’an province and Inner Mongolia, which, together with the MPR, will have a population of 3,000,000 – this will be a country with a complete economic organism. The country will have its own bread, agricultural products, cattle, a relatively well developed small industry and huge national resources, which have not yet been touched by the human hand.

With Soviet power, which gives huge possibilities to people’s initiative, Mongolia will blossom and will quickly follow the road of cultural development, catching up with other Soviet Central Asian republic.

Choibalsan thinks this way, sincerely and honestly.

[…]