In a secret speech before a closed plenum of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s cult of the personality. In addition, he revealed that Stalin had rounded up thousands of people and sent them into a huge system of political work camps (Gulags). This revelation was met with astonishment by many present for the speech, but helped to break the power that Stalin still held over the country.
March 21, 1956
Reception, Conversation Between Soviet Foreign Minister K.E. Voroshilov and Chinese Deputy Chairman Zhu De, 20 March 1956
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
21 March 1956
Copy No. 3
Comrades K.E. Voroshilov and Zhu De, 20 March 1956
20 March at 12:30 comrade K.E. Voroshilov received the Deputy Chairman of the Chinese People’s Republic, Marshal Zhu De, accompanied by the PRC Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Liu Xiao, and CCP Politburo member Kang Sheng.
Comrade K.E. Voroshilov at the beginning of the conversation was interested in the feelings and mood of Zhu De, noting that he had traveled extensively in the Soviet Union and had seen many things, and probably had much to discuss concerning his trip with his comrades.
Zhu De said that his mood was good. He had remarkable impressions from his trip, in which he had learned quite a bit.
Comrade Voroshilov asked Zhu De to offer his views about his impressions of the 20th Party Congress.
Zhu De said that the congress went very well. By this he meant the presentations, reports and decisions of the congress and all that was connected there with its work [went very well]. This is not only his opinion. The 20th Congress of the CPSU was greeted very positively in the people’s-democratic countries. All of this could be seen during his last trip to Warsaw, where he conversed with representatives from a variety of fraternal communist and worker’s parties. In particular he happened to meet with representatives of the Yugoslav Union of Communists. They also very positively assessed the work and decisions of the 20 Congress of the CPSU. The Chinese Communist Party is now carrying on the study of the documents of the 20th Congress. The Chinese communists can learn much from the example of the 20th Party Congress. Now, after the Congress, we have become much stronger—said Zhu De. In the economic area our country is armed with plans, in the area of foreign policy we proceed in collaboration and unity. This is not temporary, but a constant factor for many years, and while peace with our enemies still exists, our task is now to completely develop our productive forces of every kind.
Comrade K.E. Voroshilov said that the unity of the Soviet and Chinese peoples provides for the peaceful procession of our societies forward. No one can obstruct us.
During Your trip, said comrade Voroshilov, you saw many fine examples of economic and political construction in the Soviet Union, but we still have many insufficiencies, which You also saw. Our friendship with China allows us bravely to move forward. Between us will arise separate, small differences of opinion, but we are completely united in our common goals.
Zhu De emphasized that all these minor questions can easily be addressed, and the 20th Congress of the CPSU showed us how to do this. Our primary weapon is criticism and self-criticism.
The 20th Congress of the CPSU also showed, said Zhu De, that you also have several complicated matters to resolve. You bravely addressed these issues and now it is easier for you to work. We also have the same situation.
At the conclusion of the conversation comrade K.E. Voroshilov wished Zhu De health, success in his work and asked him to give a warm greeting to Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, and other comrades.
Comrades N.M. Pegov and N.T. Fedorenko were present at the conversation. The conversation was recorded by G.I. Fomin.
Sent to comrades Kuznetsov, Fedorenko, Kuldiukov
26 March 1956
Record of a conversation between Soviet Foreign Minister Voroshilov and Chinese Deputy Chairman Zhu De. They discuss Zhu De's travels in the Soviet Union and his impressions of the 20th Party Congress, at which Khrushchev had given his famous "Secret Speech" denoucing Stalin.
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