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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 28, 1952

CABLE, ZHOU ENLAI TO CHAIRMAN MAO [ZEDONG] AND THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    Zhou reports on the latest negotiations with the Soviet Union concerning the Changchun Railway, the Lüshun Port, and a rubber agreement. Zhou and Molotov also discussed the possibility of signing peace treaties with Japan.
    "Cable, Zhou Enlai to Chairman Mao [Zedong] and the Central Committee," August 28, 1952, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC), vol. 7 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2018), 91-94. Translated by David Cowhig. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208202
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To Chairman Mao [Zedong] and the Central Committee:[1]

Yesterday evening the two delegation has held their second meeting. The Soviet side offered three documents:

[1] A revised draft of the exchange of letters on Lüshun Port;

[2] A communique on the handover of the Changchun Railway;

[3] A revised draft of the technical cooperation agreement on rubber technology.

We immediately had two questions about the revised draft of the exchange of letters on the Lüshun Port:

[1] The extension runs until the Soviet Union and China conclude peace treaties with Japan and does not mention the date of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Japan as the ending point. That is a significant difference from the earlier draft.

[2] The other point is that the conclusion of peace treaties between the Soviet Union and Japan and between China and Japan are mentioned separately. This implies the possibility of Japan signing a separate peace with either the Soviet Union or with China.

Comrade Molotov then replied that the Sino-Soviet alliance agreement is concerned with the possibility that Japan and countries connected to Japan will once again commit acts of aggression and so there is no need to raise the issue of whether some other country has withdrawn its troops. Wording the exchange of letters in this way will avoid other countries from taking the agreement not as an extension of the existing agreement but rather as a new agreement. As for the issue of separate peace treaties between the Soviet Union and Japan and between China and Japan, ever since the conclusion of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, a joint peace treaty of China and the Soviet Union with Japan has been impossible. Therefore it is appropriate to refer to the separate conclusion of peace treaties.

After the studying the text in detail, we all concluded that the conditions for the extension of the agreement as proposed by the Soviet side would compared with our original draft introduce strategic issues into consideration. This is because the conclusion of a China-Japan peace treaty would depend upon the United States abandoning Taiwan; that is a split developing between the US and Japan so that the peace treaty between Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese will be invalidated. This is not likely in the foreseeable future. If that happens, and results in the withdrawal of US troops from Japan, then the contradictions between the US and Japan would increase. If the Soviets troops withdraw, the contradiction will become even more acute. The original text of the agreement also provided that could come under certain circumstances. Therefore, there is no fundamental difference the original Central Committee concept for the text.

As for China and the Soviet Union signing separate peace treaties with Japan since they cannot now sign a joint peace treaty with Japan, if we phrase it that way, although it does give a hint to Japan, it will also increase the temptation and desire for Japan to conclude a separate peace treaty with the Soviet Union. That would be useful for separating Japan from the US. Therefore, we propose agreeing to the revised draft proposed by the Soviet side.

We request instructions from the Central Committee. As for as the wording of the text, we will wait for approval from the Central Committee before making another proposal.[2]

As for the communique on the handover of the Changchun Railway, we have attached the full text. We agree in principle. As to the exact wording, we will wait for approval from the Central Committee before moving forward. Moreover, during the meeting, we already have said that, after the handover of the Changchun Railway, the original agreement on the tax-free status of Soviet military materiel transported in sealed freight cars on the Changchun Railway remains in effect.

The revised draft on rubber technology cooperation is still being translated. After the translation is complete and we have studied it, we will send you a telegram with a report on it. The most important change in the draft text is that before rubber tapping begins, we must buy 15,000 tons of rubber on behalf of the Soviet Union. After rubber tapping begins, we must sell to the Soviet Union 50% to 70% of rubber production. In this way, the debt can be settled by 1962 according to the world price. After 1962, the value of the rubber will be calculated at 8% below the world price.

As for the China – Mongolia railway issue, the Soviet government has already informed the Mongolian government of our joint opinion. The Mongolian Premier Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal and his Deputy Foreign Minister are today flying to Moscow and are prepared to discuss an agreement with us. Comrade Molotov told me that this railway in Mongolia will be completed in 1955 and will help the Mongolians transport materials. I answered that if it could be completed in 1954, we could assist Mongolia by sending them some equipment.

After our meeting with Comrade Stalin, we will finish our translation of “Summary Report on Major Developments in China during the Past Three Years and General Guidelines for National Construction over the Next Five Years” and send it along. Tomorrow we will finish translating “China’s Economic Situation and the Five Year Task of National Construction” along with eight data tables along with “Summary of China’s National Defense Construction Plan for the Next Five Years.” After they have read it, we will have our third meeting with the Soviet delegation.

Zhou Enlai

August 28

Annexed below are draft translations of two documents:

Annex One: Exchange of Letters between China and the Soviet Union on the Extension of Joint Use of the Chinese Naval Base at Lüshun Port (The letter to the Chinese side and the preface are omitted)

Ever since Japan rejected a global peace treaty and then concluded piecemeal peace treaties with the United States and some other countries, now Japan has not, and appears unwilling to conclude peace treaties with China and the Soviet Union. This has harmed the cause of peace and created the conditions for new aggression on the part of Japan.

Therefore, in order to preserve peace, and on the basis of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance, the Chinese government has proposed and requested an agreement removing the time limit to and to extending the provision in the second article for use by the Soviet military of the Chinese military base at Lüshun Port until the conclusion of a peace treaty between the People’s Republic of China and Japan and of a peace treaty between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Japan.

If the Soviet government agrees to the Chinese proposal above, then this text and your text will become an integral part of the Sino-Soviet Agreement of February 14, 1950, Concerning Lüshun Port and will take effect from the date of our exchange of letters.

Annex Two: Sino-Soviet Communique on the Handover to the Chinese Government of the Changchun Railway

In accordance with the friendly relations between China and the Soviet Union that have already been established, an agreement was signed in Moscow on February 14, 1952 concerning the Changchun Railway. According to this agreement, the Soviet government must turn over to the Chinese government all rights and all properties related to the jointly managed Changchun Railway free of charge to the Chinese government. Moreover, the Chinese government shall have secure title to these properties and the turnover shall be completed no later than the end of 1952.

Currently, the Chinese and Soviet governments are already working on measures to implement this agreement. They have agreed to form a joint Sino-Soviet Commission to carry on this work.

The Sino-Soviet Commission must complete the work of handing over the Changchun Railway to the Chinese government by December 31, 1952.

[1] The editors of Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC) included several footnotes in this document that provided biographical information on the individuals mentioned. These footnotes have not been translated into English. – Charles Kraus.

[2] On August 30, 1952, Mao Zedong replied to Zhou Enlai by telegram: “We agree to the exchange of letters proposed by the Soviet side regarding Lüshun Port. We also agree in principle to the communique proposed by the Soviet side on the handover of the Changchun railway.”