August 14, 1969
From the Journal of S.I. Divil'kovsky, 'Record of a Conversation with Tran Hmu Dyk [sic], VWP CC member and Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister, 1 August 1969'
This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
Secret Copy Nº 2
14 August 1969
Outgoing Nº 458
FROM THE JOURNAL
OF S. I. DIVIL’KOVSKY
[CPSU CC stamp: 27694, 19 AUGUST 1969, Vietnam]
RECORD OF A CONVERSATION
with Tran Hmu Dyk [sic; translator's note: unable to confirm proper spelling of individual's name], VWP CC member and
Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister
1 August 1969
I talked with Tran Hmu Dyk at a lunch held by the Vietnamese on the occasion of the departure for home of Cde. V. V. Lysenko, GIU GKEhS [Main Engineering Directorate of the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations] representative in the DRV. The conversation was held in the form of an exchange of greetings, toasts, and statements in the presence of numerous guests. Pham Kia Diam [sic; translator's note: unable to confirm proper spelling of individual's name], Chief of the Directorate for Foreign Specialist Matters under the Office of the Prime Minister; Nguyen Xoan Dieu [sic; translator's note: unable to confirm proper spelling of individual's name], Deputy Chief of the Directorate of Foreign Relations of the DRV Ministry of National Defense [MNO]; Nguyen Duc [sic; translator's note: unable to confirm proper spelling of individual's name], Chief of the Department for the Receipt of Foreign Aid of the DRV MNO Main Directorate of the Rear; Ta Khmu Kan [sic; translator's note: unable to confirm proper spelling of individual's name], official of the Department of the USSR and the European Socialist Countries of the DRV MFA; and others were present from the Vietnamese side. From our side were: Cdes. V. V. Lysenko; I. K. Ishchenko, Deputy Counsellor for Economic Questions of the Soviet Embassy in the DRV; V. I. Samodin, newly-arrived representative of the GIU GKEhS in the DRV; and officials of the staff of the representative of the GIU GKEhS in the DRV. Cdes. Ishchenko and Lysenko took part in the conversation from our side. Only Tran Hmu Dyk spoke from the Vietnamese side.
Tran Hmu Dyk spoke about the invincibility of Marxist-Leninist ideology, about the greatness of V. I. Lenin, about the historical importance of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union to the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Japan, and that otherwise there would be no victory of the 1945 August Revolution in Vietnam and the successes of the national liberation movement in Asia. He spoke highly of the aid given by the Soviet Union to the Vietnamese people in its fight against American imperialism, and expressed gratitude for this aid. He declared that the Vietnamese people know about this aid, value it highly, and feel gratitude and friendly sentiments toward the Soviet Union. Our friendship with the Soviet Union, with the CPSU, declared Tran Hmu Dyk, will continue to develop and strengthen, and no power will be able to undermine it, neither from the imperialist camp nor “others from among those who oppose this friendship”. Not only the gratitude which the Vietnamese people feel for the Soviet people and the CPSU for the aid given lies at the basis of this friendship, but also the common nature of the ideology, declared Dyk.
For my part, in reply I expressed gratitude for the high appreciation of our aid to Vietnam on the whole and the work of the Soviet people in the DRV. Referring to the statements of the leaders of the CPSU and Soviet government, and also to the decisions of the international Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties in Moscow in June of this year, I gave assurances of the readiness of the CPSU together with other Communist Parties who took part in the Conference to continue to give comprehensive support to the heroic Vietnamese people and its fight for final victory over the American aggressors. I proposed a toast to the unbreakable friendship and combat solidarity between the Soviet and Vietnamese peoples.
In the conversation Tran Hmu Dyk touched on the question of differences in the international Communist movement and the position of the VWP. His statements were enveloped in considerably complex, veiled form, full of hints and allusions, but their meaning was sufficiently clear all the same. They came down to the fact that on a number of questions of differences the VWP shares the point of view of the CPSU and does not agree with the CPC, but cannot openly state its opinion right now on these questions inasmuch as it might cause damage to the struggle to fulfill the main task for the VWP, the solution of the Vietnamese problem. In Dyk’s words, all the efforts of the Vietnamese comrades right now are directed at finding a way to achieve a final victory over the Americans in Vietnam. Their main concern is to ensure the maximum favorable conditions to achieve this victory. For the sake of this they have to display great caution with respect to everything that might worsen the conditions of their struggle. This is the complexity of the position of the VWP.
Tran Hmu Dyk also pursued the thought that victory over the Americans in Vietnam will promote an improvement of the situation in the international Communist movement. He strived to let it be known that this victory, would in particular free the hands of the Vietnamese and allow them to take a more principled position on the question of differences between the CPSU and the majority of the other Communist Parties, on the one hand, and the CPC, on the other. He frankly declared that after the victory over the Americans much of what is mistaken in the behavior of the Vietnamese “in the opinion of the Soviet comrades” will disappear. Right now, declared Tran Hmu Dyk, “is not the time to discuss the differences, it is necessary to concentrate on what it is necessary to do to achieve victory over the Americans in Vietnam”.
Dyk asked the question, do we agree with the point of view he had expressed[?] Without answering directly I said that, as the Vietnamese comrades know, for a long time the CPSU has proposed to the CPC leadership just such an approach to the question of settling differences which would not interfere with the common actions to help fighting Vietnam. However, the Chinese leadership has rejected all the proposals of the CPSU in this direction, making coordinated actions in support of Vietnam impossible. The Vietnamese comrades know the consequences of this well. Tran Hmu Dyk declared in response that the aforementioned position of the CPSU was properly evaluated by the Vietnamese, but the Chinese “have lost out” thanks to the position they have taken.
In the course of the conversation Tran Hmu Dyk expressed a number of ambiguous or clearly incorrect positions. Dwelling in detail on the historical merits of the CPSU and Soviet people in the past, strenuously stressing the need to study the past experience of the CPSU, he said nothing either about the successes of the Soviet people in building the material and technical basis of Communism at the present time, or about the role of the USSR in the international arena (except the question of the aid to Vietnam). As a result a clear contrast resulted [between] CPSU policy in the present [with] its activity in the past. Dyk also stated a position that “the road of revolution is wide, but one can travel it through different paths, and the question is how to determine the correct path”. Such a statement by Dyk that “history will reward each with his due and pronounce a final verdict with respect to the correctness or mistakenness of the actions of each” (that is, of the VWP and the other Communist Parties) also sounded ambiguous. At the time Dyk referred to the fact that V. I. Lenin supposed taught that history should be regarded as the supreme judge on all questions.
In reply, I said that there is a reliable compass to choose the correct policy on a revolutionary path – Marxism-Leninism, proletarian internationalism. I stressed that in all its activity the CPSU has been unwaveringly guided and is guided by this teaching, both in the past as well as in the present. As regards the court of history, Leninism demands that Communists not wait for the verdict of future generations, but to make decisions on the basis of a Marxist-Leninist analysis itself with regard to what meets the interests of the struggle for socialism, and to what contradicts them, and to act accordingly.
Agreeing in principle with this, Tran Hmu Dyk again began to speak of the need for the VWP to display caution and to subordinate all its actions to the interests of achieving victory over the Americans. Such is the general policy of the VWP, he declared, when it comes to specific questions, we are ready to discuss them with the CPSU and the other fraternal Parties, and to hear their critical comments against us in order to find the correct solutions together.
In general form Tran Hmu Dyk also touched on the question of the Soviet Union’s further aid to Vietnam. He declared that, when continuing the war against US aggression, the Vietnamese are already thinking of the problems of postwar development and the gradual beginning of the repair and development of the economy of the DRV, but this work will henceforth take on a broader and broader scale. In the future the Vietnamese want to create a modern developed industry at home and intend to orient themselves toward the best practices of the Soviet Union. They are counting on the Soviet Union giving them the necessary assistance in this. Cde. I. K. Ishchenko replied and noted the complexity of the simultaneous solution of the tasks of continuing a war and peaceful development, and stressed the importance of determining the prospective further course of events in Vietnam for the adoption of correct decisions in the area of economics.
In connection with Tran Hmu Dyk’s statement that the Vietnamese people well know of the aid of the Soviet Union to Vietnam Cde. V. V. Lysenko noted that the Vietnamese side has not always objectively informed its population about the scale and importance of the Soviet military aid to the DRV. [I] added for my part that this question is taking on especially great importance in connection with the fact that in its propaganda the Chinese leadership is striving in every possible way to minimize the importance of Soviet military aid to Vietnam and to distort the goals which the Soviet Union pursues in giving this aid. Admitting that the Vietnamese side has made “some mistakes” on this question Tran Hmu Dyk at the same time tried to justify the lack of objectivity of the Vietnamese authorities when informing the population about the scale and role of Soviet military aid by references to the need to maintain secrecy. As regards those who intentionally distort the truth on this question (that is, the Chinese) then, in Dyk’s words, they “are beating themselves down” and “they are losing out”.
Counsellor of the
in the DRV
One copy printed
1 – OYuVA
2 – the CPSU CC Department
3 – to file
13 August 1969
MP Nº 955
S. I. Divil'kovsky, the Counsellor of the Soviet Embassy in the DRV, records a conversation with Tran Hum Dyk. The parties discussed the ongoing Vietnam war, strained relations between the DRV and China, and the Soviet Union's gifts of aid to the DRV.
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