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November 1, 1934

Letter from Governer Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation





I have received your letter of 27 July through Commission Chairman Svanidze.


I am deeply grateful for your guidance and aid in ensuring peace in Xinjiang. I am happy because the leaders of the world revolution are not denying me the advice which I consider obligatory for myself and am taking it as instructions and directives.


The instructions you have given me are unquestionably correct and I will carry them out sincerely. Xinjiang at this stage of its development completely matches your assessment, being a country with a feudal society and a backward culture and industry. There can be no talk here of any proletarian base and therefore it is impossible to count on implementing Communism. I completely agree with this instruction.


I also completely agree with your instructions about the incorrectness of the opinion about the advisability for Xinjiang of overthrowing the Nanjing [Nanking] government. Nanjing is still on an anti-imperialist path. Imperialism is the only enemy of the oppressed nationalities and to overthrow it we should be in an alliance with any anti-imperialist force in order to wage a vigorous battle with imperialism. If the Nanjing government never crosses into the camp of imperialism and never becomes the vanguard of imperialism opposing our country, bearing hatred and striving to destroy the anti-imperialist forces, then I will of course completely and sincerely subordinate myself to it.


I admit that your instructions regarding my entry into the Party are undoubtedly correct. I realize that this political situation does not allow this, but I am confident in myself and request that you also believe that I am a devoted and convinced follower of Marxism-Leninism. I am confident that in time the Party will give me the opportunity to become a member of it, for I am striving to obtain an organized political education so I can have a better life.


I am extraordinarily happy and quite thankful for your trust in me. My work here shows that I have completely accepted and am carrying out your instructions, which ensure the correctness of the policy I am implementing. I have really clearly understood all your instructions presented in the telegram and the letter and am working on fulfilling them.


The fifth paragraph of the charter of the anti-imperialist Union speaking of the need for equal rights for women has been corrected by us in accordance with your instruction.


Culturally backward Xinjiang after the defeat of the imperialist agent Ma Zhongying could not have coped with the very difficult task of building a country if not for your support, the granting of a loan to Xinjiang, and the drafting of plans for the final development of the country by specialists, the members of the Commission headed by Svanidze. Therefore I express my deep gratitude to you for the aid without which the Xinjiang economy cannot receive proper development. I have begun implementing all your instructions sincerely, for in work I am of the Marxist-Leninist point of view, being a convinced supporter of Marxist-Leninism, and my sincere desire is for you to always guide me.


In conclusion, I turn to you with a sincere request that you permit me to come to Moscow together with Consul General Apresov, who intends to go to Moscow for treatment in the near future. I would like to accomplish this desire not with the goal of the usual educational visit, but I hope that I could be introduced to you personally and receive the necessary instructions from you personally, and also to familiarize myself with the achievements in the development of the USSR. All this would provide me even greater productivity and capability in my further work.


I express my deep gratitude for your attention to me and your gift. Please also receive a small gift from me as a sign of gratitude and attention.


I hope that Commission chairman Svanidze will tell about our lives, work, and aspirations in more detail.


At the end of my letter I consider it my profound duty to express gratitude to you for sending Svanidze who, being from the East himself, was able to understand us and give us much help. I hope that the plans outlined by him will be put into effect. The arrival of Svanidze's Commission has played a great role in strengthening the Provincial government, for which I and my closest associates express boundless gratitude to you.


I especially consider it necessary to note the role of Apresov who, being your devoted pupil, was an irreplaceable friend, adviser, and comrade for us. We will not forget his services in peacekeeping, unification, and the establishment of complete peace in Xinjiang. I hope to put your instructions into full effect, working with him hand in hand in a friendly manner.


I wish you [good] health.


Devoted to Marxism-Leninism and Stalin and carrying your instructions completely.


Sheng Shicai


1 November 1934




4.XII.71 [SIC]



Responding to Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov's letter of 27 July, Sheng expresses his agreement with their assertions about Xinjiang's unsuitability for Communist rule and the inadvisability of overthrowing the Nanjing government. Accepting that he cannot become a member of the Communist Party at this time, Sheng expresses his gratitude for the Soviet assistance he has received and requests that he and Consul General Apresov be permitted to travel to Moscow.


Document Information


RGASPI f. 558 op. 11 d. 323, l. 26-29. Contributed by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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