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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 26, 1949


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    Request for assistance from the Soviet Union with air transport for troops and supplies into Xinjiang.
    "Cable with Message from Mao Zedong to Stalin," September 26, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 332, ll. 54-56. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg.
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[handwritten: to Cde. Stalin]


CABLE Nº 58458                                                    TOP SECRET

Copy Nº 1 to Cde. Stalin             
Copy Nº 2
to Cde. Stalin
Copy Nº 3
to Cde. Molotov
Copy Nº 4
to Cde. Malenkov
Copy Nº 5
to the 8th Department

from BEIPING received at 07:45   27 September 1949  Copy Nº 2



I am sending you a telegram of Cde. MAO ZEDONG about the Lanzhou-Xi’an air route.


We agree to create air routes of a Soviet-Chinese civil aviation company, which have already been arranged, from CHITA to MUKDEN and through ULAN BATOR-KALGAN to BEIPING.

But besides these air croutes today the most important and necessary one for us is a route from URUMCHI-LANZHOU to XI’AN which we hope you will help us create.

Our 500,000 troops intend to enter the province of XINJIANG via LANZHOU or GANGZHOU [SIC] in the first days or the middle of November. But the railroads in this region are poor, the conditions difficult, there are few people, and there is no food – therefore we acutely need and hope that you will help us with 30-50 transport aircraft to ship food, clothing, key personnel, and some of the troops. It is necessary for all the preparation work of the air route in this sector to be completed during October for this purpose, and Cde. PENG DEHUAI, our Commanding General of the First PLA Front, could already use this route in November.

If we don’t transport the troops in November of this year then the later it is the colder the weather gets, and then the transport of our troops will have to be postponed to March or April of next year.

This would be detrimental to the solution of the Xinjiang problem. But great difficulty is being encountered in the transportation of the troops during November, and therefore we again address a request to you to help us with 30-50 transport aircraft with flight crews, fuel, and the necessary equipment to organize this air route. As soon as the transportation of the troops is finished this route will immediately be turned into a civil air route.

We request you give your orders about the possibility of performing this important measure for us.

I inform you that military operations in the provinces of GANSU, NINGXIA, and QINGHAI have already been successfully concluded. The enemy troops were either defeated or surrendered. The population of all the nationalities of these three provinces warmly support the PLA troops without exception.

At the present time the remnants of the enemy troops are only 3,000 men located in border regions between the provinces of XINJIANG and GANSU in the localities of LANZHOU, YUMEN, ANXI, and DINGXUAN. But they have already begun talks with us about their surrender.

Our troops have already reached the outskirts of LANZHOU, which is west of GANGZHOU [SIC].

                     MAO ZEDONG. 26 September 1949”

At the same time I report the required resources to bring it into operable condition: the three main airports of TAIYUAN, XI’AN, and LANZHOU and the three intermediate radio navigation points YINCHUAN, TIANSHUI, and PINGLIANG need to be equipped to organize a BEIPING-LANZHOU air route.

According to the information of the Chinese side there are two airfields in TAIYUAN and XI’AN and thee airfields in LANZHOU. In each of these points there is one airfield suitable for landing transport aircraft at the present time; the remaining airfields require repair.

In YINCHUAN there are three airfields with a concrete runway but were put out of commission by the Kuomintang troops and require repair.

In TIANJING there is an unpaved airfield with an airstrip 1000 x 50 meters and in PINGLIANG the [airfield] is unpaved with an 800 x 50 meters [airstrip] whose condition is unknown.

We are sending Cdes. MIRONOV and IVANOV from Cde. AVSEYEVICH’s group to the site for a detailed inspection of the main airfields and of the intermediate [points] if possible. [The following] are required to equip the route: six non-directional radio beacons, three direction finders, three RAF radio communications sets, six RST [radio] stations, five refueling trucks, four gasoline trucks, five trucks, three buses, six automobiles, of which two are Pobedas and four are GAZ-67’s, and three compressors.

Regarding the radio equipment a self-contained power supply is needed in all points: the air route can be equipped during the month after this equipment and the specialists arrive in BEIPING. This route requires three chiefs of commandant’s offices, three chiefs of communications, six radio technicians, and 12 radio operators to be sent first.

Nº 82 KOVALEV, 26 September

Deciphered by Vishnevsky at 1100 27 September
Typed by Doronchenkova at 1120 27 September
Nº 6110 five copies

Verified by: Shift chief Mokr[in[ 1200

[Stamp at the end of the first page:
Subject to return to the
VKP(b) CC Special Section 1558

Incoming Nº 3202/shs 27 September 1949]


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