October 6, 1956
Note from N. Khrushchev to the CPSU CC Presidium regarding conversations with Yugoslav leaders in Belgrade
TO THE CPSU CC PRESIDIUM
I am reporting about the conversations with Com. Tito and other Yugoslav leaders on the last day of my trip to Yugoslavia.
As I have already reported, during my stay in the Brioni Islands, Com. Tito told me of his desire to talk with me. But I understood that he was vacillating and putting off the conversation in every way possible. Having spent several days in the Brioni Islands I felt that I should not remain here any longer, that topics for routine conversations had been exhausted, and that I wanted to make a suggestion to fly to Belgrade on 25 September. But then I found out that the Yugoslavs had invited Indian performers to the city of Pula on the evening of this day and that our attendance at this concert had been planned. I said to Com. Tito, how would he view it if the departure from Brioni was set for 26 September. He agreed.
When we flew into Belgrade on the morning of 26 September Tito said that he wanted to talk with me in the evening. Dinner was set for 7:30 P.M. I thought that Com. Tito intended to talk with me after dinner. But during the day he sent the Presidential chief of protocol to me, who informed me that Com. Tito was inviting me to a conversation at 6:30 P.M. I concluded from this that Tito wanted to limit the time for the conversation, setting it for one hour.
The conversation with Com. Tito, at which Coms. Kardelj, Rankovic, Vukmanovic-Tempo and our ambassador Com. Nikolai Firyubin were present, was held at the appointed time. At the start of the conversation I briefly talked about the report I had just received about the successful fulfillment of the plan for the purchase of bread by the Akmolinskaya Oblast'. Vukmanovic-Tempo noted that the amount of the bread purchase by just this one oblast' would be sufficient to satisfy Yugoslavia's needs in bread. I told the Yugoslav comrades that their request for the delivery of 250,000 tons of wheat would be considered in the CPSU CC Presidium on 27 September, and expressed the belief that this request would be granted. I said in the process that our Vneshtorg [Foreign Trade Organization] is proposing to deliver 150,000 tons to Yugoslavia by the end of the year and 100,000 tons in January 1957. I explained that the deferment of the shipment of the 100,000 tons to January was due to the difficulties with transport, but if the Yugoslav comrades think it necessary to receive the entire 250,000 tons by the end of this year then we would take steps to overcome the transport difficulties. Of course, I said, it would be good to enlist Yugoslav water transport in the shipment of grain from our southern ports.
My information that we would help in the delivery of grain was greeted with great satisfaction by the Yugoslavs. I said that the Yugoslav friends could count on our help. Vukmanovic-Tempo especially expressed his satisfaction about this. I noted jokingly that Com. Vukmanovic-Tempo might also be congratulated with trophies, having his “hunting for wheat” in mind during all this. Vukmanovic-Tempo addressed me with a proposal that we and the Yugoslavs consider the question of concluding a long-term agreement to deliver our bread to Yugoslavia. In the process, he said that it would be desirable to stipulate deliveries of about 1 million tons of bread annually until about 1960 in the agreement. Vukmanovic [sic] said, we intend to carry out radical steps to improve agricultural production by 1960. By this time, we will give the countryside the necessary mechanical equipment and also carry out the corresponding organizational measures to develop and strengthen agricultural cooperatives (as he called it, “extended families [zadruz'ya]”).
According to our calculations, said Vukmanovic, we can achieve a doubling of grain production by 1960. Coms. Tito, Kardelj, and Rankovic confirmed this calculation. At this point Tito said that it would be quite useful to consider the question of changing the structure of Yugoslav agriculture, intending to agree on the coordination of mutual efforts to improve agriculture with the neighboring countries of the people's democracies. This observation by Com. Tito was prompted by my having told him in one of the conversations about the steps that the countries of socialism are taking to coordinate economic development.
Vukmanovic-Tempo again returned to the question of a long-term agreement and expressed a desire that payment for wheat delivered by us would be made in aluminum and copper. This was prompted, he said, because we are not in a position to pay for these deliveries through normal commodity exchange. The most we can pay for through commodity exchange, he declared, was 200-300,000 tons, the remaining 700-800,000 tons we would request be delivered to us against aluminum and copper. I told the Yugoslavs that it was hard right now to give any answer to these proposals since this question needs to be studied to do this.
Then Tito, turning to Vukmanovic, said that the question of the possibility of obtaining some foreign industrial items and precision technology instruments in which the Soviet Union was interested through Yugoslav foreign trade organizations in third countries ought to be considered. At this point Tito referred to our conversation with him on this issue. Vukmanovic said that it was completely possible, but he ought to know what machines and items we were interested in obtaining. I replied that we would prepare a suitable list and pass it to Vukmanovic through our ambassador in Belgrade. Vukmanovic said that they (the Yugoslavs) could also transfer licenses for Soviet industry that Yugoslavia had obtained in capitalist countries, for example, to produce powerful Zultser ship engines, Ferguson tractors, engines for combines, and other items. Of course, said Vukmanovic, we'll send you everything that you'll be interested in free of charge, but on a strictly confidential basis. I regarded this proposal with approval and said that we would advise our comrades in Moscow and return to this question.
On this the conversation ended, since the remaining comrades were approaching, inviting us to dinner.
Sixteen people on the Yugoslav side were present at the dinner. Besides Com. Tito, there were Coms. Kardelj, Rankovic, Vukmanovic-Tempo, K. Popovic, Stambolic, Vlahovic, Pucar, Vidic, Minic (Chairman of the Belgrade People's Committee), Vilfan (the President's General Secretary), Todorovic, Zekovic (Secretary of the Federal Executive Assembly), and Generals Zezelj, Sumonja, and Rukavina. As was evident from the list of those present at the dinner, the most important members of the FRY CC and government were here.
During the dinner there were the usual conversations and jokes. At the end of the dinner Com. Tito proclaimed a toast to the Soviet people, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to friendship between peoples, to the strengthening of the friendship and cooperation between our peoples and Parties, to “our guest, Com. Khrushchev”, etc.
Although Com. Tito's toast was brief, I decided to call upon the Yugoslavs to talk about issues of principle regarding our mutual relations. Speaking in reply I said that I and my comrades, the CPSU CC Presidium members, were satisfied with the results achieved in the development of friendly relations with Yugoslavia in just over a year, and that we genuinely desire to strengthen and develop these friendly relations between our peoples, striving to achieve complete mutual understanding and accord on ideological questions. But I said that it needs to be said openly that we still have questions that need to be cleared up and on which opinions need to be exchanged in order to remove some remaining differences.
I pointed out that we have differing interpretations about ways to build socialism. Hostile forces, I said, are trying to use the “Yugoslav way” of building socialism to their ends. In a number of countries of the people's democracies, such as Poland, Hungary, and others, reactionary elements are using such arguments in their hostile activity in order not to finally reveal themselves, in particular that they ought to follow the Yugoslav path, to follow Yugoslavia's example, etc. Thus, it turns out that the reactionary elements that are fighting Communist and workers' parties speak out under the flag of advocating the so-called “Yugoslav path.” Enemies want to shake the unity of the socialist countries in this way. If you are actually standing up for the positions of Marxism-Leninism then you should take a more definite position on fundamental ideological questions.
I said further that we cannot overlook such instances when in some countries of the people's democracies, Yugloslav diplomats try to interfere in the affairs of fraternal parties and maintain ties with people who are fighting Communist and workers' parties. The fact that Yugoslav newspapers praise opportunists who were expelled from Communist and workers' parties also evokes surprise. For example, they are defending Imre Nagy in Hungary.
In conclusion, I again spoke in favor of our clearing up some questions and talking, and expressed the hope that the Yugoslav comrades understood me correctly, that I was saying this with good intentions in order to openly exchange opinions to eliminate the remaining abnormalities and differences more quickly.
In my speech, I initially touched on only some of the most important fundamental questions in order to provoke the Yugoslavs into a conversation.
After my speech, responses followed from those present and, especially from Koca Popovic, that we were allegedly making conclusions on the basis of incorrect information.
I said that we approach fact-checking seriously, and if proof is required then we can show it to you at a suitable time.
Com. Tito said that they also wanted to have a conversation with us. He said, we thought of talking with you in the Crimea. We did not raise questions of interest to us here so that you would feel free and relax. But I think that now we can exchange opinions on the issues you raised in your toast. (At this time the waiters again appeared and Tito said for them to be removed).
I said that it would be good to talk about the relations between our Parties. I stressed in the process that on instructions of the CPSU CC Presidium I still needed to make a report about ideological work to the CPSU CC Plenum in December in connection with this, and in this report I am to describe the questions that still remain unclear and unresolved in our relations. I said that we cannot ignore these questions.
Then Tito spoke and said that a little more than a year had passed since the signing of the Declaration, and that a great deal of work had been done by both sides during that time. But we ourselves, he said, feel that there are aspects that divide us; that something is preventing us from advancing the development of our relations. This does not affect our cooperation in the international arena where, as everyone knows, said Tito, we have recently had a common point of view on the most important main issues of international policy, for example, on the Suez question, on the German question, on support to the Chinese People's Republic, on aid to underdeveloped countries and on other issues. However, on issues of ideology we still have some differences. Tito said, I think that our positions might draw closer together, and I think that they will. However, time and a certain restraint and patience are needed to do this. We don't see that these are fundamental differences; we think that these are details nevertheless. We are going toward socialism, said Tito, guided by our method, you call it a “path,” and we a “method,” but I think it is not an important difference. We are fighting for socialism and will not depart from this path. On some issues, said Tito, we might have gone further than you, for example on the question of management of industry.
I noted in reply that the question of industrial management is not a fundamental issue. At one time we, too, had self-management bodies at enterprises, but then we abandoned them in the interest of socialist construction. We don't condemn your methods of managing the economy and would like to familiarize ourselves with them in order to have a complete idea. This is about a more serious issue, I said, we do not lay claim to special leadership, but by force of historical conditions that occurred in the struggle for socialism we understand our responsibility to the countries of the people's democracies and to fraternal Communist and workers' parties. Comrades from fraternal parties come to us and ask what we think of a particular question; they in particular ask how our relations with you are developing.
It is obvious to everyone, I said, that there are two systems in the world, the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism, although you don't like it when we talk this way.
Tito replied: It is better to call it the socialist world.
I objected, saying that this is a broader concept.
Someone replied (it seems it was Kardelj) that it is better to say socialist countries.
I then said: the substance of the issue is that there is a struggle going on between the forces of socialism and imperialism and who is on what side on this struggle. This is the main thing. The class struggle is going on not only inside the capitalist countries themselves but between systems, the socialist and the capitalist.
K. Popovic replied: But it is impossible to divide into the pure and impure.
I said: You will not deny that socialist and capitalist countries exist. This division exists.
Todorovic tossed out a phrase: This is a very crude comparison.
I said that it might be crude, but it is correct because there are reactionary forces in the world that are fighting the countries of socialism, against us. Where would you order the British imperialists put, I asked. I said that we are correctly stressing that there is a camp of socialism and a camp of capitalism in the world. And we should do everything in order to rally the forces of socialism together and strengthen the socialist system. The truth is, there are such countries as India and some others whose leaders say that they are for socialism, and they want to go toward socialism. It also ought to be noted, I pointed out, that at the present time in a number of countries the word socialism itself is used for purposes of demagoguery. It should be said that the leaders of socialist parties take the desire of the masses for socialism into account and are trying to direct their consciousness along an incorrect path. Turning to Todorovic, I asked, how do you consider Hugh Gaitskell, a pure socialist, since he considers himself a fighter for socialism?
Todorovic replied: I don't consider him a fighter for socialism.
Tito said: I have met with many socialists. There is a group of leaders of the Norwegian Worker's Party with us right now. It needs to be said frankly, Tito noted, that in this delegation reactionaries had been selected, all alike. Tito continued, when I talked with them I felt disgusted. There were not only Norwegian socialist leaders, but many others. But in spite of this, Tito said, I think we need to meet with them all the same because this is necessary in the interests of the struggle for socialism and is necessary to wrest the worker-socialists from under the influence of these leaders whom many still trust.
Kardelj and Vlahovic supported this thinking of Tito's.
Of course, said Tito, the reactionaries are trying to set us against one another with all kinds of measures (he showed this with his fists). Here, for example, Tito then said, the Western press published a report about a letter of your Central Committee about our relations. The reactionaries are trying to use this in their interests. This letter supposedly says that we Yugoslav communists are not Marxist-Leninists. We don't know if there was such a letter and, if there was, how correctly they're conveying it. But we are offended if this was actually written about us this way, Tito said in an agitated voice. If such a letter exists then it would be useful to send it not only to Communist and workers' parties of the countries of the people's democracies, but also to us. We would be courageous enough to familiarize ourselves with it closely, he said, and draw the proper conclusions for ourselves.
After this Kardelj said: The question of who are Marxist-Leninists cannot be resolved superficially. Whoever is a follower of Marxism-Leninism points to the future.
Vukmanovic said that they know everything about this CPSU CC letter in Yugoslavia.
Tito interrupted Vukmanovic and said that he was exaggerating somewhat.
Todorovic declared: Vukmanovic is right. This is actually so because there have been publications not only in the press of the Western countries about this letter for several days, but it's being broadcast daily on the Voice of America.
I said right away that if you draw conclusions from the reports of Voice of America then it will be hard for us to hold serious conversations.
Kardelj said that we're talking about this because the members of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia are turning to us with the question, how true are these reports about this letter?
About the letter I didn't say whether it had been sent or not, but I told the Yugoslavs that we exchange information with fraternal parties on the most important questions.
We consider it our duty, I declared, to inform fraternal parties on fundamental issues, and we also inform them about relations between our Parties, that is, between the CPSU and the SKYu. Of course, we informed them about the results of the Soviet-Yugoslav talks that were held during Com. Tito's visit to the USSR. You are not starting to deny, I said, that we have had differences of views about Party issues with you during the talks, in particular in drawing up the Declaration about relations between our Parties. You will obviously also not deny that we now have different views on a number of issues.
Tito and Kardelj stressed that there were some differences but, in their opinion, these were not the main issues.
Vukmanovic noted in response to this that it would have been good if you had also sent us such information.
I said: we favor a mutual exchange of information between the CPSU CC and the SKYu CC, but we have not created the necessary conditions for such confidential relations. If you want to have such relations then conditions need to be created for this. We are trying to do this; everything depends on you.
Tito said that we (that is, the Yugoslavs) are Marxist-Leninists, and that we have no other goal than the building of socialism. I am also confident, said Tito, that the future will confirm this.
In reply, I said that the real Marxist-Leninists of any country should support one another, unite their forces, and not give enemies occasion for a provocation. We think that the decisions of the XX CPSU Congress strengthen not only our Party but also all other revolutionary parties who are fighting for the cause of socialism. In your press the term “de-Stalinization” is very popular, and this is seized upon by reactionaries not only in the West but also by reactionaries in the countries of the people's democracies. You have these reactionary elements and we still have some left. Articles are currently being published in your press in which the idea is being advocated that “democratization” in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and other countries of the people's democracies needs to be more actively pursued. Much is written in the American press about this.
K. Popovic's reply followed here: we are also pursuing democratization at home. This process should be pursued in all countries.
I replied: And what, in your opinion, is John Foster Dulles, who all the time chatters about the need for a “broad democratization” in the countries of Eastern Europe - a bigger democrat than the Polish Communists or Communists of other countries of the people's democracies?
Your press is still trying to present many facts tendentiously. I referred to the article of the Moscow correspondent published in the newspaper Bor'ba [struggle] in which it wrote about the “rehabilitated” writers and mentioned Yesenin, Il'ya Il'f, and Yevgeniy Petrov among them. This article is not objective, it is tendentious. The article about which I speak was entitled “Posle dvadtsatogo s”yezda KPSS [After the Twentieth CPSU Congress].” The question arises, why is the activity of the CPSU described from this angle? The author of the article deliberately selects events that did not actually occur. Everyone knows that Yesenin was a corrupt person, although he was a talented poet, but he expressed decadent sentiments in his works. Yesenin committed suicide back in 1925. But could an objective correspondent really write about some sort of “rehabilitation” of Il'ya Il'f and Yevgeniy Petrov, who were never subjected to any repression and whose works have always been published? I said that this says that your press specializes in a unique sort of information. Why does it do this? Tell me, can one really think that such articles are written from friendly intentions, I asked.
Tito commented: Don't think that we support everything that is printed in our newspapers.
Kardelj said: Our press is independent.
Tito stated that we correct our own press and, turning to Kardelj, said: It will be necessary to pay more attention to this.
Then Kardelj said: The process that is being observed after the XX CPSU Congress in all Communist Parties is proceeding unevenly. Kardelj stated, I can cite you an example that one of the members of the French Communist Party CC, in a conversation with our diplomats, curses you Soviet Communists, and you personally, with unpleasant words for your acting so suddenly with Stalin, in his opinion. Such sentiments exist not just in France. I think, Kardelj continued, that they should not be ignored, and that the substance of the question needs to be explained to Communists. Kardelj further pointed out that we and the workers of the Yugoslav press are viewing the process of democratization in development, and that this is a process which is inherent to all countries, in his opinion. We are building socialism, said Kardelj, but we have other methods based on the distinctive features of our country. It is impossible to condemn us for this, and this should not be a reason for our differences.
I said that we have differences not only about forms and methods, but about fundamental issues. I cited the example of China. Much there is [done] differently, different than in other countries of socialism. They have many new forms in which Chinese Communists show themselves to be consistent Marxist-Leninists.
I said that many facts can be cited as confirmation of this. It is sufficient to refer to the last congress of the Chinese Communist Party. In spite of the various methods and forms, I said, we have the most fraternal and excellent relations with the Chinese Communist Party. This is because we are united on fundamental questions of Marxism-Leninism.
Then Com. Tito spoke again. He said that they had formed the opinion that our relations had worsened somewhat after my (Tito's) return from the USSR. Some chill had appeared. And we're doing [things] correctly, explaining right now what worries both of us. I think that we will continue the conversation about this in the Crimea. The appearance of an article in Pravda about the conviction of several former Cominform people offended us very much, said Tito. The article laid out the facts without an explanation. This article could create an erroneous public opinion. We aren't trying everyone in succession, as was described; those guilty are scoundrels and deserve punishment.
I said that the appearance of the notice in Pravda was not accidental. Of course, we assumed that this notice would cause an unpleasant reaction among you. But we could not be silent, Com. Tito, that after your visit to our country and after we had agreed about Party issues you continued to put people on trial who at one time considered the measures with respect to Yugoslavia to be correct.
Tito said that we distinguish those who actually had convictions of the correctness of their political views toward our differences from those acted from careerist motives and fled the country. Tito declared that we must show Yugoslav public opinion that those acting on these motives will not escape judgment.
Kardelj added: Our court is independent.
Tito continued: We cannot interfere in the decision of a court. We can only examine each specific case in the government through the amnesty procedure.
I said that many Yugoslav Communists come to us with the question: Tell me frankly, will we be subjected to persecution and repression upon return to our homeland? Among these people are a group of military men, honest Communists. And we understand their alarm. How do you think we should answer them?
Tito said: Let them return. We look closely at those who will be tried, if someone deserves it.
I said this is your internal affair, but we considered it necessary to publish a report in Pravda about these trials, which were printed in your newspapers.
I further said that after normalization of our relations, we pulled literature from sale that had been published during the period of conflict between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, not to mention that favorable materials about Yugoslavia now appear in the Soviet press. We are puzzled, I said, why political literature is distributed in Belgrade and other cities of Yugoslavia in which there is much abuse of the Soviet Union and the CPSU.
Tito declared that he supposedly did not know about this and, turning to Kardelj, asked: Is this really so?
Kardelj said that this literature is from previous years. We cannot remove these books from the libraries. This is history. Many books are collections of documents, decisions, and speeches. We cannot remove them from libraries.
I said in reply that this is not about libraries but about the sale of literature in bookshops.
Kardelj said that this is not in new editions. If they appear for sale then these are old editions. Kardelj pointed out that we did not publish one book after the Belgrade Declaration that speaks about the Soviet Union in an unfriendly tone. We cannot establish any censorship to purge libraries.
Tito interrupted Kardelj and said: We need to check because we don't know everything. We will check.
Tito continued, now I am editing a new edition of my speeches. I have removed everything in it which spoke ill of the Soviet Union and the CPSU, but I have left in what was said about Stalin. It would be incorrect to remove this.
After this I said that in the interests of the cause of socialism, we should strengthen our Communist and workers' parties and not permit the appearance of any disinformation and in no event support those who try to advocate hostile positions against the leadership of these parties. In conversations with our officials, our friends from some fraternal parties report instances of incorrect behavior by Yugoslav diplomatic representatives. In the interest of developing good relations between our countries we would like to direct the attention of the leaders of Yugoslavia to instances of incorrect behavior by several of your diplomats in countries of the people's democracies such as Bulgaria, Hungary, and Albania. Bulgarian comrades, I said, have told us that one of your diplomats maintains ties with former military men who had been expelled from the Party and influences them to fight against the Bulgarian Communist Party CC. These people are invited to receptions at your embassy in Sofia. Moreover, Yugoslav diplomats give them attention and sympathy.
Here Popovic said in an irritated voice: This is incorrect information; there was no such thing.
Vukmanovic excitedly declared: These Bulgarian generals were wrongly expelled from the Party. Vukmanovic said, we know that they were expelled for advocating the development of friendly relations between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
I said in response that Com. Vukmanovic's reply confirms the reality of what I had just been saying. These people were expelled from the Party for trying to overthrow the leadership and speaking against the CC of the Bulgarian Communist Party. I think that you would act the same way with those who would speak against your CC. But those who declare now that they are supposedly being persecuted for trying to establish friendship with Yugoslavia, this is a ruse that your diplomats have fallen for. The decision on the question about establishing friendly relations between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia is not the business of individual people. The decision on this issue depends on the Parties of your countries. The CC of the Bulgarian Party wants to establish a friendship with Yugoslavia. You ought to establish contacts with the BKP CC and not allow your representatives to have ties with oppositionists. What right do diplomats of any country have to interfere in the internal affairs of a country and Party?
The same occurred, I said, in Albania where officials of your mission invited people to a reception who had been expelled from the Party and subjected to justified repression for activity directed against the state.
Kardelj said that this event occurred and we have already drawn the appropriate conclusions.
Popovic interrupted Kardelj and said: one cannot create an incorrect opinion about our diplomatic personnel from these events.
Tito said sharply to Popovic: Don't get excited, this actually happened.
I further pointed to the fact that when Yugoslav diplomats in Tirana tried to influence the course of the Tirana City Party conference through surrogates who had a grudge against the leadership of the Albanian Labor Party, they tried to direct it onto the path of factional strife.
No reply to me followed from the Yugoslavs in response to this.
Vukmanovic stated: I fought in Albania and I know many Albanian Communists. They have mainly good people in leadership work who came to power after the war and do not have sufficient hardening [zakalka].
Tito interrupted Vukmanovic and stated: I cannot say what Vukmanovic said about Enver Hoxha, but we need to work with him.
I said in response that the Albanian Labor Party CC had taken a correct position and that we consider Enver Hoxha an honest political leader, a Leninist Communist. We have supported him and will support him.
The Yugoslavs didn't like this assessment of the Albanian Labor Party CC and its leaders. They began to talk among themselves and make ironic comments to one another, for example, “the Albanians are real Marxist-Leninists, but we aren't, we aren't Leninists.” The Yugoslavs displayed arrogance toward the Albanians.
Tito said: Why have they (that is, the Albanians) not yet taken back the accusation against us that after the war we supposedly tried to manifest aggressive actions against Albania?
Kardelj said: They themselves have asked us about Albania joining the Yugoslav Federation, but we haven't done this.
Tito stated: I think that we have acted correctly because we would have gained about 1.5 million people who needed to be fed. The Albanians have not taken back the accusation of aggressive intentions against us, and this serves as an important reason that is impeding our rapprochement. But I am convinced that we will overcome the difficulties in the path of our friendship with the Albanians. I told this to the Albanian minister in Yugoslavia. But efforts are needed from both sides to establish good relations.
Kardelj said: The main reason why we still have not been able to agree with the Albanians is that there are few real revolutionaries in CC of the Albanian Party who have undergone battle hardening.
Tito, gesturing to all those present, said: Everyone sitting here has years of struggle in the underground, time in prison or in a camp, or combat in partisan brigades behind them. One cannot fail to consider this. The Albanian comrades need to learn a great deal in order to have a correct idea about the tasks of socialist construction. But, said Tito, I am of the opinion that we will find a common language with the Albanians.
Then I spoke again and said that some Yugoslav officials and the press take an unfriendly position with regard to the Hungarian leadership. We know that the Yugoslav Mission in Budapest openly maintains ties with people who are opposed to the CC of the Hungarian Workers' Party. This is interference in the internal affairs of Hungary. The fact is, your newspapers have written tendentiously about the rehabilitation of Imre Nagy, expressed sympathy toward him and have demanded his complete rehabilitation.
All this, I said, cannot fail to create difficulties in establishing friendly relations between Yugoslavia and Hungary and between Yugoslavia and the countries of the people's democracies, and cannot fail to hamper the establishment of full mutual understanding between our Parties.
Tito said that one article was actually published in which the issue of Imre Nagy was described incorrectly. We set the editor straight and punished the author of the article. There will be no more such articles.
If we are to talk about Imre Nagy, I said, then we think that the Hungarians were correct to have removed him from his posts. This is an opportunist, although personally I think possibly they ought not have expelled him from the Party. The imperialists and their press are trying to spread stories that we are interfering in the internal affairs of the countries of the people's democracies. But this does not concern us, for people understand that this is slander. But it surprises us that you have the expression “satellite countries.”
At this point Tito and several others responded that this was not so, that the Yugoslav press does not write this now.
I said that your diplomats especially use the expression “satellites.” Many of us evidently do not imagine how we have friendly, correct relations with countries of the people's democracies and fraternal Parties. We have told our friends in the countries of the people's democracies in the event that they ask us for advice, and we give them some advice, then it must be with the stipulation that they look again and decide the issue that was raised for themselves, with consideration for their conditions and the situation. The case of Imre Nagy alone says that we do not interfere in the internal affairs of these Parties. The Hungarian comrades did not ask our opinion when they expelled him from the Party. Imre Nagy has now become one of the centers around which the reactionary elements are grouping. It is understandable that we cannot support Imre Nagy because in supporting him we would also be supporting those who are fighting the CC of the Hungarian Workers' Party. We tell you frankly that the position that your officials and your press are taking with respect to Hungary is playing into enemy hands.
In reply to my statement that many events that are spoken of and done in Yugoslavia are being used by enemies, and this is not to the benefit of the countries of socialism, Tito said that it can no longer be said that we are being praised right now. This was in the past.
Kardelj said: Now they more often curse us.
Vukmanovic-Tempo added: Now they are beating on us from two sides. It ought to be noted that in recent conversations with me Tito repeatedly returned to this topic. Tito said, “here you said, referring to Bebel, that if the enemy praises [you], [you] must think about what stupidity you have committed.” This does not refer to us, he said. Now enemies no longer praise us Yugoslavs but most often curse us. It is felt that Tito and other Yugoslav leaders are concerned about our comments on this issue. Tito takes such comments badly, taking them personally, and tries in every way to dispel our doubts about the sincerity of the friendly relations toward us.
Tito said: Ideological issues are important issues in the day-to-day activity of the Party. You're preparing a CC Plenum on these issues. This is very good. We, too, said Tito, are planning to hold a CC plenum. We won't manage to hold it before December, rather next year, but we're already thinking right now about many questions in order to correctly interpret and decide them at the plenum.
I said that during the last period after our joint Declaration we have done more than we thought, and this is the result of our common efforts. Tito replied that this was correct, and that we should act further.
Todorovic replied: I think that a year will pass, and we will have even better results and will say again that we have achieved more than we had supposed.
I said that this can only benefit our peoples and the countries of socialism.
Kardelj said that the Yugoslavs are not understood correctly on many issues.
To this I replied: Think why this happens. In your perception it seems that only you are right, and everyone else is not right. The Russians have a saying about this: When you tell a soldier why he is disrupting the formation and is out of step, the soldier replies that he's not out of step, all the others are. If you want to be in step with the other countries of the people's democracies, I said, you have to change.
K. Popovic replied: This is correct, but one must think, who is the company and who is the soldier.
I told him: You think about this.
Tito, addressing Popovic, said: Don't get excited.
Then Tito noted that it is useful that we have openly exchanged opinions. This is useful for both of us. I think that such talks and open conversations will help dispel misunderstanding. We need to try to bring our positions closer on those issues where we do not yet agree. Tito said, I think that we have the same position on the main and important issues, but I think that we will agree on those issues on which we still do not have a common point of view. But, he repeated, [we] need not be hasty, or get excited, but quietly try to remove misunderstandings. We want us to have good contact and good relations between the Parties. I think that we will not quarrel. I recall, said Tito, that when we had lunch on your cruiser en route to Sochi the commander of this ship said in his toast that we had made peace, but that if we quarreled again, then we would make peace again, and after this quarrel our friendship would be stronger still. I think that we do not need a new quarrel for friendship to strengthen.
I said that this was said incorrectly and expressed confidence that our friendship would strengthen.
Before the end of the dinner Rankovic, who had said almost nothing during the entire talks but had followed their progress attentively, said: Not only we but the Bulgarians, too, need to think about the problems of improving the relations of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. It offends us, said Rankovic, that at a meeting of Party activists in Sofia, Zhivkov said in his speech that the elimination of the conflict and rapprochement with Yugoslavia is only a tactical maneuver and nothing more. In the process, Zhivkov reportedly said, in Rankovic's words, that it is useful for the Yugoslavs to borrow the experience of the Bulgarians and learn consistency from them in pursuing a Marxist-Leninist policy.
To this, Kardelj noted: Not we, but they (that is, the Bulgarians) ought to learn from us.
I said that you have some chauvinism; it's useful for everyone to learn from one another.
Rankovic continued: Zhivkov's words, which I repeat here, were spoken not so long ago.
I said that, in my opinion, this is a misunderstanding based on incorrect information, because in a conversation with me Com. Zhivkov spoke sincerely about the desire of the Bulgarian leadership to establish close friendly relations with you. In the conversation with me, Com. Zhivkov categorically denied the statements ascribed to him that Com. Rankovic stated here, which were supposedly made about Yugoslavia.
In reply Rankovic noted: I can tell you, Com. Khrushchev, that during the visit of our parliamentary delegation to Bulgaria, at one of the receptions in honor of the delegation, one of your (that is, Soviet) diplomats in Sofia told our comrades that this speech of Zhivkov's was incorrect. Rankovic continued, I also want to say that after your arrival here last year and after those talks which we held with you, we (that is, the Yugoslavs) gave orders to halt any intelligence work at all against the countries of the people's democracies. I give you my word, Com. Khrushchev, that we are not conducting intelligence work in these countries, but we have confirmation that the Bulgarians and Albanians are continuing active intelligence work directed against Yugoslavia.
I said that one must regard such information very critically and consider the circumstance and from whom it was received. It was best, I said, to ask Com. Zhivkov to reply to those questions on which you have doubts. I think it would be better and fairer to tell the truth, although it's not very pleasant, and tell it to one's face rather than to harbor resentment and stay silent. In my opinion, you absolutely need to talk with Com. Zhivkov, especially as there is an opportunity to do this. As everyone knows, he is in Yugoslavia right now heading a Bulgarian parliamentary delegation.
Tito said: We will talk with Com. Zhivkov about the issue of our relations without fail, and I am confident that we will come to an agreement. As regards the Hungarians, we have firmly agreed with them to meet at the level of representative delegations of both our Parties. I can also report that we have just signed a protocol with the Hungarians about the further development of economic cooperation.
At the conclusion of the conversation, Com. Tito raised his glass and declared: I and my comrades thank you, Com. Khrushchev, for coming to us, and that we together have had the opportunity to talk openly about many issues. We especially appreciate that we have met with you again. We Yugoslavs personally know your role and the participation of your comrades in the elimination of the conflict that existed between us. I am personally very glad that you, Com. Khrushchev, spoke to us frankly about those doubts that you had. I want to say that we very much appreciate this openness. We Communists can only act this way. Com. Khrushchev, Tito then said, believe us, your Party and your country have no more loyal and reliable friend than Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Communists. I say this not just on behalf of myself personally but on behalf of my comrades. (Those present confirmed their agreement with this with remarks and nods of approval).
I raise my glass, said Tito, to our fraternal friendship, to the friendship of our peoples, to the friendship of our Parties, to the CPSU Central Committee, to the CPSU CC Presidium, to your friends, to your health, Com. Khrushchev, and to new successes.
Then I also made a toast in which I said: I am very glad for this meeting. I could not fail to be open with you because the issues about which we talked concern us. For we should not be silent about all the differences we still have. Our friendship will only grow stronger from our telling one another the truth. I raise my glass to the friendship between the Soviet and Yugoslav peoples, to the achievement of full mutual understanding between the CPSU and SKYu, to the health of the members of the SKYu CC, and to the health of Com. Tito.
These mutual toasts were greeted with approval by those present.
Afterwards, turning to me, Rankovic said in an agitated voice: We hope all the same that at the CPSU CC Plenum you will say that the Yugoslav Communists are Marxist-Leninists.
When we left the table, Kardelj said: We need to meet more often.
Hearing this, Tito said: This is very essential.
I said that we would always be glad to meet and talk with you. Come to us in the Soviet Union more often. Let comrades from your republics come, too, get acquainted with our country, and establish contacts with the officials of our republics.
The information about the talks with Com. Tito and the other Yugoslav leaders during their visit to the Crimea will be sent separately.
6 October 1956
Khrushchev reports on his conversations with Tito and other Yugoslav leaders during his visit to Yugolsavia. The first conversation addressed the bread shortage in Yugoslavia, a trade agreement between the two countries and the structure of Yugoslav agriculture. The second conversation addressed Soviet-Yugoslav relations and the issues of building socialism, the international press, Marxist-Leninist policy, and Yugoslav relations with other European socialist countries.
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