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February 3, 1949

Cable, Filippov [Stalin] to Anastas Mikoyan

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Top Secret



(On fear of large cities and disconnectedness from workers. On the request for weapons and ammunition)

I.V. STALIN to A.I. MIKOYAN 3 February 1949 (No. 0862)




Convey to Mao Zedong the content of this telegram.


First. We are very pleased that the Chinese comrades control the majority of the peasantry and the students but we are very saddened that they do not have a majority in the working class. We explain this by the fact that the Chinese Communists have not had experience in large industrial centers.


One should by all means and as soon as possible liquidate this shortcoming. Big cities must be turned into bases for Communism. One should not only be unafraid to occupy big cities, but one should, by contrast, try to occupy them as quickly as possible to turn them into one’s fortresses. The basis of China’s independence is industrialization, but one cannot industrialize China without possession of big cities and other industrial centers.


In accordance with a well-known guideline of Marxism-Leninism, communists cannot take over their country and lead it without having a majority among the working class. One should create groups of worker Communists and Communist sympathizers at factories and industries, and at railroads. One should open the membership of the Communist Party to tried workers and members of the working intelligentsia. One should help workers to improve their material conditions without strikes or by means of strikes. One should publish a law on labor and workers’ insurance for illness, disability, and the old age. At the head of professional unions one should have proven Communists, who will not desert Communists in case of difficulties, but will firmly uphold Communist positions. Professional unions must be in the Communists’ hands.


All of these measures will help you take control of the working class.


We can help you in the development of laws on labor.


Second. One should by all means take control of the worker-peasant youth and the women’s liberation movement. One could create something like a “Union of young patriots” for the youth and a “Democratic union of women” for the women’s movement. This matter cannot be put off.


Third. When Russian Communists came to power, they knew how to run large cities and the country to an even lesser extent that the Chinese Communists at the present time. However, in the course of 2-3 years the Russian Communists were able to raise their cadres, their intelligentsia, young officers of the army, and, in such a way, to master the running of the country.


The power of the Russian Communists is in the fact that nine-tenths of all Soviet industrial, financial, agricultural, railroad, administrative-management cadres are either former workers and working intelligentsia, or sons and daughters of workers, peasants, and working intelligentsia. We think that you will find this experience of ours useful in the task of raising your Chinese cadres. One should send more workers, peasants, their children, and young officers to schools or special courses to study various professions for managing industry, agriculture, transport, economy of large cities, finances, and so on. If you do not have such schools, they should be created as soon as possible. We will help you.


Of course, at first the Russian specialists will help you fix the economy of the country. But the Russian specialists can only be a drop in an ocean. You need thousands and thousands of your own Chinese cadres. Without such cadres one cannot run the country. You will win the war with great success but you will certainly lose China, if you don’t have your own, Chinese, cadres. If need be, we can accept in our schools a certain number of your people to teach them different professions.


Fourth. Currently we don’t have antiaircraft and anti-tank weapons of foreign make. If the Chinese Communists desire, we can send them antiaircraft guns, anti-tank cannons and anti-tank rifles of Russian make. As for the organization of military industry, we can help you as much as we can. We can send you TNT.


3 February 1949.



Cable from Stalin to Mikoyan, sent with the intent to be passed on to Mao Zedong. Stalin expresses pleasure with the Chinese control of China's peasantry and students, but expresses disappointment that the CCP does not control the majority of the working class. Stalin advises that China turn its big cities into bases for communism, and then gives more specific advice for gaining a majority among the working class. Stalin then responds to Mao's request for weapons, explaining that the USSR doesn't have anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons of foreign make, but can send Russian-made weapons.


Document Information


Provided to the National Security Archive/Svetlana Savranskaya by Sergo Mikoyan (translation published with permission of the National Security Archive). Also available in RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 344, ll. 0057-0061. Translated by Sergey Radchenko.


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