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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 05, 1945

RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN CHINA APOLLON PETROV AND ZHOU ENLAI AND WANG RUOFEI

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    They discuss the results of negotiations with the Chinese Nationalist Party and Chiang Kai-shek's political and military position.
    "Record of Conversation between Soviet Ambassador in China Apollon Petrov and Zhou Enlai and Wang Ruofei," October 05, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF: fond 0100, opis 40, delo 7, papka 248, listy 120-123. Translated by Sergey Radchenko. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122808
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Record of conversation between Soviet Ambassador in China Apollon Petrov and Zhou Enlai and Wang Ruofei, October 5, 1945.

On October [5?] of this year I was visited by cde. Zhou Enlai and Wang Ruofei with whom the following conversation took place.

Having summed up the results of the ongoing negotiations between the GMD and the CCP Zhou Enlai on [my?] request recounted the content of the protocol, which is being prepared for signature by representatives of the GMD and the CCP. This protocol record reflects the most important questions, which came under discussion by the two sides during the current negotiations, inscribing both the paragraphs on which an understanding has been reached between the parties, and the disputed paragraphs. Zhou Enlai promised to send us the full text of the protocol for [our information?].

Responding to my question about the results that, from his point of view, the current talks can attain, Zhou Enlai pointed out that at the present time the CCP representatives are striving to solve three tasks: 1) signing of the protocol; 2) publication of the communique and 3) Chiang Kai-shek's [Jiang Jieshi] agreement to Mao Zedong's [return?] to Yan'an.

The solution to these three tasks, Zhou Enlai said is, naturally, in the interest of both sides. The GMD, in light of the situation prevailing in China, is interested in making the communique public: a joint statement by the GMD and the CCP about reaching [mutual?] understanding and agreement could become a fairly strong [one or two words unclear] considering the latest events in [Yunnan?]. On the other hand, the publication of the communique would be a certain trump card in the hands of the GMD [in the obtaining?] of American loans and aid.

[One word unclear] signing of the protocol and the publication of a joint statement [one line missing] responsibility for the implementation of a series of measures but the CCP never reneged on its words and promises. As far as the GMD is concerned, the protocol and the communique will become for the GMD a factor of great political responsibility not only before China's public opinion but before the entire United Nations.

Touching on the appraisal of the current political moment, Zhou Enlai declared that Chiang Kai-shek's behavior is to a large degree determined by two factors: first, the presence of the Red Army on Chinese territory and, second, the failure of the work of the Council of [Foreign] Ministers in London. Taking into consideration these two international phenomena, Zhou Enlai noted, Chiang Kai-shek will in the future very probably increase hidden anti-Communist activities. With this, of course, even greater increase in his pro-American orientation is inevitable. However, this does not mean that the GMD can openly proclaim a punitive crusade against the Communist or the beginning of the [civil?] war. It would be incorrect to expect such hapless behavior on the part of Chiang Kai-shek. There are too many possibilities for practical unleashing of the civil war, without carrying out any formal [one word missing]. One cannot rule out, for example, that Chiang Kai-shek can give an order to the Communist forces to vacate some area or an important strategic road. And the slightest disobedience on our part will be seen as non-compliance with the military orders of the Supreme Command. The consequences of Chiang Kai-shek's [one word missing] are absolutely clear: the Guomindang [Kuomintang] forces can begin [one word missing] operations, which, in essence, will begin the civil war.

Nevertheless, Zhou Enlai stressed, further military and political [one word missing] will be conditioned [one word missing] of strong and weak [several words missing] it is not a secret for anyone that the main weak point of the [Guomindang?] is the shortage of military forces.

It is enough to say, Zhou Enlai continued, that at the time when [one line missing], the natural question is where to get them. If one supposes that it will be possible to gather the required armies, then the second difficulty arises – the transport problem. The study of the real capabilities of the Chongqing government in this respect shows that, in the best-case scenario, to transport [troops?] to the aforementioned areas by air and sea transport will require at least one month, i.e. the sort of timing, which will also allow us to do quite a lot. The second weak point of the Guomindang government is the unstable political situation in several regions. One cannot discount the far from stable situation in Xinjiang, Mongolia, Manchuria, and Yunnan. One should remember that Long Yun has seven divisions [one word missing], which are located outside the province of Yunnan. In addition, one of these divisions is commanded by his own son. Naturally, it is difficult to [predict?] now how these forces will behave. But considering the murky situation in Kunming, it would hardly be correct to make only comforting conclusions. Speaking about the weak points of the GMD, we must also take into consideration the very fact of the existence of a strong Communist army, in military clashes with which the Guomindang forces had repeatedly witnessed its [battle?] worthiness.

Then Zhou Enlai stressed the possibility of such an international factor as the relationship between the USSR and the USA. Having characterized Chiang Kai-shek as a “[one word missing] of Soviet-American relations,” Zhou Enlai noted that [one or two word missing] [orthodox?] Guomindangists, the existence of friendly relations between the USSR and the USA is impossible and impermissible.

[One or two words missing] anti-Soviet policy, Zhou Enlai said, Chiang Kai-shek is [not alone?]. Current American ruling circles are giving direct [help?] to the Chongqing government, which has long followed a pro-American course. Appraising the operations of the American forces in China, [one line missing] operations by Guomindang forces.

Using the opportunity, Zhou Enlai and Wang Ruofei raised several [one word missing]. They were interested in the position of the Soviet Union in connection with the landing of the American forces in the areas of Tianjin and Beiping. I noted that in appraising this question, we must base ourselves on the fact that the presence of American forces in China is nothing new or unexpected. To the [raised?] question as to what the attitude of the USSR will be should the American forces land in Kalgan [Zhangjiakou], Changchun, and in deep regions of Manchuria, I replied that now it is difficult to foresee all the details of such a situation.

In conclusion, Zhou Enlai asked me: in connection with possible hooligan behavior of the GMD special services, what practical help can [one word missing] get from us, the Soviet Embassy, in the task of providing for the security of Mao Zedong while he remains in Chongqing.

[I] declared that when raising such a question, Zhou Enlai must [take into account?] the difficulty of the situation of a foreign ambassador in China.

Cde. Miklashevskii, [Nikolai] Roshchin and [Nikolai] Fedorenko were present at the conversation.

Ambassador of the USSR in China A[pollon] Petrov