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October 7, 1950

Ciphered Telegram No. 25348, Roshchin to Filippov [Stalin]

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation



Top Secret.

7 October 1950

 Copies to:  

1 - cde. Stalin

2 - cde. Stalin

3 - cde. Molotov

4 - cde. Malenkov

5. - cde. Beria

6. - cde Mikoyan

7. - cde. Kaganovich

8 .- cde. Bulganin


Received from Beijing on 11: 55 on October 7, 1950.


URGENT [vne ocherednaia]




In response to your no. 4676


On 6 October, at 22:30 of Beijing time I visited MAO ZEDONG and passed to him your reply.


After listening to me, MAO ZEDONG declared that:


1. He is in full agreement with your assessment of the current international situation and the prospects of its possible evolution.


2. He is very glad that your answer speaks about a joint struggle of China and the USSR against the Americans. He emphasized that, if one goes to war, then, unquestionably, one should go to war now. He added that he has just expressed the analogous idea at the session of the Politburo CC CCP.


3. As to the dispatch of Chinese troops to Korea, MAO ZEDONG believes that it makes sense to send not five-six divisions, but at least nine divisions. However, he pointed out the extremely low level of technical equipment of these divisions, as they have only 108 artillery pieces and do not have tanks at all.


MAO ZEDONG also remarked, referring to the materials received from the Korean friends that the US corps (three divisions) include around 1,500 artillery pieces of different caliber, including tanks.


MAO ZEDONG believes that in order to defeat one US corps, Chinese should have four-to-one superiority in human force and three-to-one superiority in technical equipment.


MAO ZEDONG underlined that he can easily resolve the issue of infantry, thanks to available reserves, but as to technological equipment of Chinese troops they totally count on the assistance of the Soviet Union.


He also said that currently they do not have the trained cadres to man artillery unites, tanks and other technical means.

Concerning the issue about the timing of entry of Chinese troops into Korea, MAO ZEDONG noted that they are ready to start moving their divisions in the next few days, but he believes it is not appropriate to make haste with this; it would be better to let Americans a chance to advance deeper to the North, since this would lead to their dispersal and would facilitate for the Chinese to defeat it in parts.


4. MAO ZEDONG paid special attention to the issue of aviation. He pointed out that, according to the data of the Korean friends, Americans have about 1000 aircraft in the Korean theater, while the Chinese still have no aviation. It is necessary to have aviation, in the opinion of MAO ZEDONG, for:


a) the cover of the Chinese ground troops that will be sent to Korea;

b) for combat operations on the front;

c) for the cover of the largest industrial centers: Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing, Mukden (Anshan, Fushun).


MAO ZEDONG believes that the Americans can, first of all, destroy from the air the Chinese industrial base, disorganize economic life and mess up communications. Such a situation, said MAO ZEDONG, might create serious discontent in the country, particularly on the part of national bourgeoisie, and put the people’s government in an extremely difficult position. MAO ZEDONG declared that the Chinese government cannot ensure itself the air cover of the troops and industrial centers, and the equipment from the Soviet Union is essential.


5. MAO ZEDONG drew attention to the fact that in Korea the roads and communications are destroyed and this gravely complicates the task of supplying the army. In this case, he said, the Chinese could rely only on Soviet assistance in providing transportation means.


6. MAO ZEDONG declared that the Chinese government does not possess sufficient funds for purchasing the required armaments for aviation and the ammunition. The entire 1951 budget is two billion two hundred million American dollars, of which only two hundred million could be directed for the armament.


7. Having said all the above, MAO ZEDONG said it is necessary to send immediately ZHOU ENLAI and LIN BIAO to report to you on the developments and all the considerations of the Chinese friends. ZHOU ENLAI and LIN BIAO may depart by plane on 8 October. They could be flown from Beijing until Irkutsk. Our special plane is required in Irkutsk.


MAO ZEDONG expressed a wish, that ZHOU ENLAI and LIN BIAO were accompanied by SHI ZHE and FEDORENKO. Present at the conversation were: ZHOU ENLAI, U SU XIAN and FEDORENKO. The conversation lasted for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  


I am waiting for your instructions,




No. 2318




Ambassador Roshchin passes a message from Mao to Stalin regarding the Chinese deployment of troops to Korea.


Document Information


RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 334, ll. 0126-0128; copy also available in Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Dmitriĭ Antonovich Volkogonov papers, 1887-1995, mm97083838. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Vladislav Zubok.


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