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November 9, 1964

Record of Conversation between Polish leader Wladyslaw Gomułka and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, Moscow

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

The Second meeting of the Polish delegation with the Chinese delegation.





The second meeting between the Polish delegation and the Chinese delegation took place on November 9.  The meeting took place at the invitation of the Chinese side in the edifice of the PRC Embassy in Moscow.  The talks lasted from 21:00 hours until 23:30 hours.  All members from both the Chinese and the Polish party-state delegations, who were in the Soviet Union on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the October Revolution, participated [in the meeting].




Zhou Enlai: I propose for Comrade Gomułka to speak first as we agreed upon during our first meeting.


Gomułka: To tell the truth, I don’t recall such an agreement, but, of course, I can speak first.


I would like to communicate to the Chinese comrades that due to the upcoming session of the parliament as well as the Plenum, which is also to take place, we have to leave Moscow on Wednesday, November 11.  Tomorrow, that is Tuesday, 11.10, we want to conduct talks with the Soviet comrades.


As I already mentioned during our last meeting, the leadership of our party welcomed the initiative of the CCP to have the party-state delegations from socialist countries come to Moscow on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the October Revolution.  We were convinced that, taking the opportunity of such a meeting, we would be able to exchange views on some matters which interest all of us.  We thus assessed positively your initiative and we thought that the arrival of the delegation would serve as not only the manifestation of the unity of the socialist camp on the anniversary of the Revolution, but we would be able to take this opportunity to discuss many matters, to put forth new propositions, and so on.  Our conviction was all the more justified due to that fact that, after the recently carried out changes in the USSR, both the Chinese and the Soviet comrades stopped the polemics which hitherto were conducted publicly.  As far as I know, this happened somewhat spontaneously and ending of the polemics occurred without a previous agreement between the Soviet and Chinese comrades.  The leadership of our party also stopped using polemic [controversial] themes in its pronouncements despite the fact that we never conducted such harsh polemics in our speeches, publications, etc, before the changes in the USSR were carried out.


After the discussion in the leadership of our party, we thought it appropriate to come out publicly at the rally in Warsaw with an appeal directed at the CPSU and the CCP for the two parties to try to come to an understanding since the strengthening of the unity of the international labor movement, as well as the socialist camp, depends foremost on these two parties.


That is why our leadership, while coming to Moscow, counted on the fact that some understanding will be reached on the issue of abandoning the polemics not temporarily, but permanently. We thus think that this is an indispensable condition for creating a better atmosphere within the labor movement; indispensable, so we could calmly exchange views on the matters which are most important to us.  We realize that no party which has a different opinion on this or that issue can be silent in stating its position, but we think that it can do so in a positive manner without conducting direct discussions [on] the position of another party.  Instead, it can explain what its position is on this or that issue without using polemics nominally with another party.  This, in our opinion, is an indispensable condition to the improvement of the atmosphere for achieving further understanding.


I had already told the Chinese comrades during our last meeting that we found out, to our regret, that the Chinese press is again undertaking the critical problems [problematyka] directed at the new Soviet leadership.  We know that the Chinese press is publishing pretty much all the articles, not only those which contain the opinions that are in accordance with the views of the Chinese leadership, but also those which criticize the Chinese position.  We recognize that the Chinese press not only published the voices of the Albanian press, the Japanese and Indonesian party press, but also the opinions of the Czech, Soviet, our and other parties’ press.  Nevertheless, we think that this negative polemics should be stopped.  


I had found out from the information in the press, already after our first meeting, that the extent of the polemics broadened, and that the Chinese press is not only reprinting the controversial articles of other parties, but also that the “Renmin Ribao” [People’s Daily], published its own harsh article which criticized Khrushchev, and which also contained a destructive critique which accused Khrushchev for the betrayal of Marxism-Leninism, and for the betrayal of the interests of the proletariat, and so on.  


I intend to neither assess the activity of Comrade Khrushchev here nor to present our view on the subject of his steps [maneuvers] in the [area] of the international policy, as well as in the internal affairs; I have my own opinion about these issues.  After all, this is not the subject of our current talks.  The changes have occurred and Comrade Khrushchev is no longer the First Secretary of the CC or the Prime Minister, and why [should we] return to these matters?


It seems to me that a similar critique cannot be favorable to creating a good atmosphere since it indirectly strikes a blow at the new leadership of the Party and the Soviet Government.  


Our party and the leadership of our party had never meddled in personal affairs of another party, and it never endorsed such meddling.  We have always regarded the personal affairs to be internal affairs of each party.  Each of the parties, including ours, carries out changes in the organs of the party and government leadership every so often.  If a party, regardless of which one, undertook the criticism, be it condemning or praising the decisions made by us on some matters, we wouldn’t be pleased with that.  Not only the leadership would be unhappy, but I don’t doubt, that the entire party, and even the society [would feel the same], because the conclusions which would be drawn from this would be that other parties, or other countries, are meddling in the internal affairs of our country.  Therefore, this applies all the more towards the situation which arose in the USSR given that Comrade Khrushchev is still the member of the CC and the State Council.


While referring to the [above] matter, I naturally don’t speak on behalf of the CPSU.  I don’t know what attitude the Soviet comrades assumed in the conversation with you, but as much as I understand from the meetings which I had with the Soviet comrades, they negatively assess your position and they are not entirely sure how to treat this kind of practice [of yours].  I am saying this because it is firmly connected with the position taken by us regarding the issue of the polemics as well as because I hope that, as the result of our meetings, the polemics will be abandoned and a better atmosphere will be created in the intra-party relations.


We judged that the Chinese comrades and Comrade Zhou Enlai will put forth, in the conversation with our delegation, some propositions and suggestions.  We have not heard anything along those lines as of now, and, as far as I know, the leaderships of other parties would like to know your view on the subject of the polemics.  


The second matter, which has fully matured to be discussed [here], is the issue of the Editorial Commission which was to assemble on December 15.  We admit that Comrade Zhou Enlai is correct when he says that both the makeup of the commission as well as the date of its convening were not consulted, in a more detailed manner, with the leadership of the CCP.  We know that the makeup and the date were set against the position of the CCP.  We expected therefore that this issue would be the subject of the talks which would be conducted in Moscow.  


We base our position on the Statement from 1960, that similar decisions and more important matters should be consulted between the parties prior [to the conference].  We were therefore convinced that we would be able to conduct precisely these types of conversations during the meeting in Moscow.  We can consider our bilateral talks as bilateral consultations also in this matter, that is, the issue of the Editorial Commission.


I made several general remarks on the subject of the conference of the parties during our first conversation.  We think that, along with the Soviet comrades, we should think about the participation and the date of a possible conference, on the subject of the procedure which we should adopt and the preparatory works which we should undertake which are necessary in order to have the conference.  Specific facts have thus emerged: 26 parties were informed and invited to the conference of the Editorial Commission [to be held] on December 15.   Nobody has declined so far.  The Chinese comrades don’t agree either to the date or to the makeup of the Editorial Commission, and we don’t know at all what their view on the conference is.  We should come to some kind of an understanding on this issue.


I cannot imagine what should be done if such an understanding were not to be reached.  What are the parties, including ours, which are to participate in the conference of the commission, to do?  It is plausible that there are, after all, other solutions regarding this issue.  If the Chinese comrades expressed their consent, we could set a different date.  We could decide on a different makeup of the Editorial Commission which the Chinese comrades would accept.  We could possibly think about sending a letter to the parties which are the members of the Editorial Commission which would call off the announced conference for December 15 as well as [send out] a second letter, after the consultation with the CCP, which would call for another conference.


This is the second, and most burning and pungent issue, which we should consult in the course of the current meetings in order to take a specific position.  In our opinion, there is an indispensable need to make the decision as to the conference, regardless of its date and the manner of convening it; the preparatory works are indispensable to convene such a conference.  All these matters, the entire program of action, and the entire conception could be discussed during the conference of the Editorial Board; it could be convened in two or three sessions, depending on the need.  We don’t have any specific propositions regarding these matters since we think that they should be precisely the subjects of our consultations.


Despite the fact that such work and mutual activity would create a better atmosphere, especially among the parties of socialist countries, there are many burning issues which require discussion, consultation, taking a position and strengthening our front.  One of them, which is the most important at the moment, and which is of great urgency, is the issue of the national-liberation fight in Vietnam.  We had talked about this subject with the Vietnamese delegation under the leadership of Comrade Pham Van Dong.  They turned to us regarding this matter, among other things, because Poland is a member of the Commission [the International Supervisory and Control Commission: the ICC] which supervises the implementation of the [1954] Geneva Accords in Vietnam.  They asked us to contribute, to the extent of our capabilities, to the political solution of the Vietnam problem.  They did not present any concrete propositions, but they thought that there was a need to prepare some kind of a solution at the political level.


(Cde. Rapacki:  Regardless of the fact how long the fights will go on, [favorable] conditions should be created for the political solution of the problem.)


The Vietnamese comrades wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t withdraw our representation from the Commission for Supervisory and Control [the ICC].  We stated to them that we had no plans to withdraw from the Commission.  They asked us to study political options regarding the solutions, even if the war were to last for the next three, or more, years.  


In our opinion, the creation of a better atmosphere [to resolve the issue of] Vietnam depends, foremost, on the unity of the workers’ movement, because the American imperialism is exploiting the existing divergences and disputes within the labor movement, and, thanks to it, it can conduct more aggressive maneuvers.  Besides, regardless of the political and military solutions of the Vietnamese problem, the issue of exchanging the views, consultation regarding their positions and actions in order to strengthen the National Liberation Movement in South Vietnam, faces all the parties.


Vietnam is one of the examples of the need to agree upon such [unified] action of the parties, but one could bring up more of such examples.  Naturally, we have no interests in Vietnam of our own, but we think that our participation in the International Commission of Supervision and Control places specific duties on us which result from proletarian internationalism.  We even have some difficulties in the trade relations with the US due to this fact, but I am only bringing this up as a secondary matter.


The third matter, about which I would like to ask you, is the issue of the continuation of bilateral talks between the CPSU and the CCP which began last year in Moscow.  They were supposed to be continued in Beijing.  I am asking about that because this [issue] is along the line of the thought which was contained in my speech in Warsaw at the rally related to the visit of Comrade Tsedenbal when I was talking about the fact that the opening of the road towards strengthening the unity of the entire movement depends, foremost, on the two parties, that is, the CPSU and the CCP.  Strictly speaking, the talks between the two parties, the CPSU and the CCP, are an issue which pertains to the two parties, but they are also in the interest of other parties, and we would be glad to know your opinion on this subject.


Generally speaking, we are aware that the ideological differences within the international labor movement can last for a long period of time.  But, regardless of these differences, there is a possibility, and each party should contribute its strength towards it, to undertake a united front, especially against imperialism, to tighten the ranks and to conduct jointly the fight even if the divergences still persist.


Here are, in a sketch, the main issues which we would like to discuss during today’s meeting and we would desire for Comrade Zhou Enlai to present his attitude towards them.


Zhou Enlai:  I would like to thank Comrade Gomułka for his information on these subjects.  First of all, I would like to say, once more, that we like your formulation in the statement at the rally [in Warsaw] on the occasion of Tsedenbal’s visit, which was the appeal for unity between the CPSU and the CCP, and for [establishing] the contacts between the [two] parties.  We fulfilled this proposition and we sent the delegation to Moscow.


In addition, Comrade Gomułka was saying that socialist countries must act in uniformity in their joint fight again enemies, against imperialism. We see the convergence here with our position.  We will also look for ways of carrying out this task.


The conditions, of which you were talking about, are positive, we agree with them and we also have mutual wishes.


Now, I would like to reply to the specific matters which were brought up by Comrade Gomułka.  Comrade Gomułka warned us, in the previous talks, that he would be talking about things that I wouldn’t like.  But, I liked what he said; there was nothing unpleasant in it.  Since you already broached this topic, I will be talking about the facts in a comprehensive manner, so Comrade Gomułka could make comparisons.  Comparison is a scientific method.  Different facts have to be compared with each other.  Comrade Gomułka reserved the right of not speaking on behalf of the USSR, but, after all, Poland is the member of the socialist camp and it has the right to express its opinions on these matters.  And if so, you should hear the opinions of both sides and compare the positions taken by both sides.


In [January]1957, I personally, along with Comrade Ho Lung, visited your country.  We took an objective position; we heard both sides, both yours as well as that of the CPSU.  At that time, we were guided by the wish of contributing towards the unity between Poland and the USSR. I think that Comrade Gomułka remembers this.  I personally took part in this assignment [praca] on the instructions from our party.


Now, we are faced with [the following] issues: How to stop the public polemics?  This is the first issue that Comrade Gomułka was talking about.  We should first see what the fundamental divergences are, because, as a matter of fact, the fundamental divergences do not exist only between the CPSU and the CCP, but the divergences of a fundamental nature also exist between the brotherly parties.  Therefore, we must, first of all, ask the question: Can this be immediately done?  Of course, it cannot.  And the Soviet comrades think so, too.  They even think that their views can be changed not in the least.  This means that we cannot count on the rapprochement; we cannot discuss [issues with them].


Of course, the efforts are needed which would lead towards a better atmosphere.  We should look for new roads and new ways in order to carry out the requirement [postulat] for unity and solidarity.  This requires time and mutual contacts.  Only this will further the gradual realization of our wishes and postulates.  If, however, only the opinion of one side is being heard, while the other one is being condemned, then this will not contribute towards the solution of the task.


Now, I would like to present our position on some points on which Comrade Gomułka condemned us somewhat, and he had grievances towards us.  We think that if one party criticizes another, this is interference in the internal affairs of that given party.  But, one should remember who started it [all].  I called on the CPSU, already three years ago, to abandon the public polemics and the critique of the Albanian party.  This was at the XXII Congress.  But they didn’t go for that.  On the contrary, Comrade Khrushchev slandered [defamed] the Albanian leaders; he said that they sold themselves for 30 silver coins [srebrnikòw].  This was the position which they took.


During the congress of his party, Comrade Gomułka also criticized us, but we have not yet replied to this criticism.  (Gomułka: I did not criticize anyone by name!)  I mean [you criticized] the name of the party.  Until this day we have not yet assumed our position towards this criticism.  Your ambassador in Beijing can attest to this since our party had not engaged in the polemics in the press with you.


Why do we have to criticize Khrushchev so [much]?  Because it was precisely he who started it all.  He began the public polemics and he thought that it [polemics] had to be continued.  He began to attack publicly the leaders of other parties by using, or not using, names, and he slandered the leaders of our party.  Why wouldn’t we have the right to respond to this?  Now, he [Khrushchev] has been ousted.  It is true that this is the internal affair of their party and the government.  He was removed not only from the position of the first secretary and the prime minister, but also of member of the presidium.  The books and brochures about Khrushchev have been recalled [withdrawn], and his portraits taken down.  All this attests to the fact that this is not only the issue of personal changes in the Soviet leadership, but it is a political problem.  A series of brotherly parties, until this day, praise his contributions, which means that they support his views.  Brezhnev and Kosygin did not mention anything about Khrushchev in their pronouncements on 10.17 of this year, while some other brotherly parties praise him to this day.  Does this signify a unity of opinions?  If some brotherly parties praise Khrushchev that means that they think that the ousting of Khrushchev was unfair [krzywdzący] to him.  If other parties are allowed to give such an assessment of Khrushchev, then why does our party, which was criticized by him, not have the right to express its own opinion [or] its own assessment?  If a discussion exists, then why are some parties, which take a positive position, allowed to express their opinions, while those which express a negative opinion are not allowed to do so?  When Stalin was criticized, after 1956, two [dwojakie]types of publications appeared.  We also published our views and we gave an assessment of Stalin’s errors and contributions.  At that time, Khrushchev was condemning Stalin in [his] entirety.  This [criticism] developed to such a level that he “burned his corpse” at the XXII Congress.  Some parties supported such a position, while others were against it.  We do not agree to oppose entirely the contributions of Stalin.  We have the right to express our opinions.  But, when we were talking about Stalin no one accused us of interfering in the internal affairs of another party.  But this was already after his death; perhaps that’s why.  Why, then, after the ousting of Khrushchev, only praises are allowed, while criticism is not?  We don’t think that this is fair and we have to work so both sides are able to express their assessment and their opinions.  That is why, after the ousting of Khrushchev, we published different voices in our press [which were] both positive and negative.  Comrade Gomułka, for example, gave a speech regarding his position as the correct one.  We published this speech.  We also published the speech of Kadar.  These [speeches] attest to the fact that there are different opinions, even contradictory ones.  That’s not all.  We also published, in their entirety, the statements by Brezhnev and Kosygin from 11.6 of this year.  In a word, we published in our press all speeches like those [the Soviet ones] and those of the brotherly parties, because we want to inform our party and the masses.


Comrade Gomułka accused us for using in our article the formulation that Khrushchev betrayed Marxism-Leninism, but that, after all, he is still the member of the CC and the presidium of the State Council.  But, the Soviet press, already after the ousting of Khrushchev on 10.17 of this year, had reprinted the resolutions of the French party, didn’t it?  And this [precise] resolution says that the leaders of the CCP betrayed Marxism-Leninism, and that it went down the path [stoczyła się] of the provocative behavior [awanturnictwa] and nationalism.  In turn, on 10.19 of this year, “Pravda” reprinted the resolution of the CP of Iraq which also attacked the CC of China.  And, if they are talking about the leaders, then they are talking about those present here, because we are the leaders of the CCP.  Even despite this, despite all these publications, we still came to Moscow.


Now Khrushchev is ousted and the situations of both sides, not only one, must be compared.  The serious divergences have not yet been eliminated and it must be taken into consideration that this is the fact.  That is why we have to look for a way in order to get close to each other; otherwise, there will be no results.  Such a solution must be based on fundamental bases, because we will not be able to eliminate the divergences without that.  


The second issue, which Comrade Gomułka brought up, is that of the Editorial Commission, which was to convene on December 15.  Comrade Gomułka admitted that the convening of the conference was not discussed with the CCP.  It is clear that we do not take any responsibility for this.  And not only that.  It was not the proposition on the part of the CC CPSU, but their decision.  Only after having made the resolution did they call on others to come to the conference.  Such maneuvers surely cause a threefold situation.  Namely, some believe that such a conference is groundless and could be equated with sealing the split.   They don’t want to participate in such a conference.  Seven parties assume this position: Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Albanian, Romanian, Japanese and Indonesian.  And these are the parties which would constitute [the makeup of] the Editorial Commission.  


There are, however, other parties which found themselves in a difficult situation while faced with this issue.  You said that the PUWP also felt some difficulties since convening of the conference which would cause the split was not what you would like to happen. The Italian party assumes the same position.  We also think that it isn’t good when division occurs in the bosom of one party.  How, then, to proceed?  One of the examples of this is the Indonesian Party.  That is why we believe that we shouldn’t bring up the issue of the Editorial Commission.  We already told the leadership of the CPSU not to even mention the convening of the Editorial Commission in December.  We should look for new ways, in a new atmosphere, and to [look for] a solution.


Comrade Gomułka asked a question regarding this issue.  We think that we should conduct the talks, and step by step, look for a rapprochement.  In this way, we are heading towards the convening of the conference of all the communist parties – the conference of unity.  Since the divergences already exist, and the leadership of the CPSU thinks that it can change its views not in the least, so then when we convene the conference under these circumstances, how will we be able to work out a joint document?  If we know from the start that we will not be able to work on a joint document, so why [should we] convene the conference?  If we convene the conference in this situation, then, will it not bring about the split?  Wouldn’t it be better to comply with the Declaration from 1957 and the Statement from 1960? We have much in common [in those documents] and we could base our [views] on that Declaration and the Statement.


Comrade Gomułka was asking: how would the issue of bilateral talks between the CPSU and the CCP look like?  We have not yet discussed this, but at the moment there are already mutual contacts between our parties, and this is already a positive step.


The third issue refers to what Comrade Gomułka said, that is, that we will have to coordinate our steps and take a uniform position in face of the enemies and imperialism in order to solve important problems.  This is a positive thought and we need to work in this area.  


We want to say that Poland has done a lot by participating in commissions in Indochina and Korea and that it deserves recognition [approbation] for that.  I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Minister Rapacki.  Your work is fruitful.  Thank you! Your work is the testament of [a truly?] international attitude.


You asked about our meeting with the Soviet comrades.  We met twice already; we will send you a broader communiqué later.  During today’s talks, Brezhnev spoke at the meeting on behalf of all the comrades from the leadership of the CPSU and he brought up three points:  first, he said that the public polemics should be abandoned which corresponds with what Comrade Gomułka was saying; second, [he] said that we should look for ways to convene the conference of the brotherly parties; and in the third point he asked whether the Chinese comrades had any other ways [of resolving the divergences?].


He brought up only these three points.  I stated at the meeting, while replying to the second point, that the issue of seeking ways to convene the conference of the brotherly parties should not be connected with convening of the Editorial Commission in December of this year.  This is our position.  We will provide the Soviet comrades our answer regarding these three points after a careful study.  Since Comrade Gomułka is already leaving the day after tomorrow, we will not be able to contact you directly one more time.  This does not matter [since] we will indirectly contact each other further.


As to the issue of restoring negotiations between the CPSU and the CCP, we will inform you through our ambassadors in Moscow.  This information can also be relayed through our ambassador in Warsaw who will inform the Foreign Division of the CC of your party.


The Polish comrades are interested in this matter, because it is related to the interests of the entire communist movement.  


Gomułka: Let me thank Comrade Zhou Enlai, on behalf of the Polish delegation, for providing us with these explanations, although [they were] not exhaustive, [but] which give us a general sense of your position.  I would like to return briefly to some matters.


It seems to me that it would be unfair to return to the past and to begin to look for who started the polemics and who should be blamed regarding this matter.  If this is the point, then the card of our party is clean; we did not start the polemics, and we were perhaps least involved in it. (Comrade Zhou Enlai affirms that the PUWP did not begin the polemics.)  We tried, in our publications, articles in the press, and pronouncements, and so on, to avoid meddling in the internal matters of other parties, and especially not to use names, to attack specific persons, etc.  We belong to those parties which said perhaps the least on the subject of Stalin.  If, therefore, someone does not say very much about something, this also means taking a position.


While talking today about abandoning the polemics, we don’t think, at all, that this should be stopped only by one side.  This applies to all parties.  As far as the French and the Iraqi resolutions, which were published in “Pravda,” I think, that they were the result of not [being able to] stop the already galloping circle of the polemics.  We assess negatively similar facts.  We also informed the French comrades about our position on this matter.  


Comrade Zhou Enlai said that some parties were condemning, and others were praising, Comrade Khrushchev after the recent changes.  One should assume that he [Zhou Enlai] included us in those parties which praised him.  I would not like to engage in the polemics on this topic, but if one were to compare our “praises” with the criticism contained in the “Renmin Ribao” [People’s Daily], then there is a huge difference, isn’t it?  We used an indirect sentence, that is, that even though Comrade Khrushchev made contributions, then it was right for the CC CPSU to receive his resignation.  Meanwhile, the Chinese comrades called Comrade Khrushchev a “traitor” in the article mentioned previously.  We would never allow, despite the total severity [harshness] and the inadmissibility of such polemics, to call a leader of another party a traitor of Marxism-Leninism [and] traitor of their own nation.  We understand that the Chinese comrades have many reasons to criticize Comrade Khrushchev, but according to our party consciousness, we will never accept that Khrushchev was a “traitor”!  We are broaching this matter only within the context of improving the atmosphere, since these types of words do not further it [the atmosphere].  


Some of the positive voices about Comrade Khrushchev, after his resignation, were onetime voices and I suppose that, of course I cannot vouch for other parties, they will not return to this topic again.  If the abovementioned article in the “Renmin Ribao” was also a onetime, critical enunciation on this subject, then we can understand it as such and recognize that it will not cause greater damages.  If, however, a policy of the old-type criticism were to be continued, then this will not create a better atmosphere.  


Comrade Zhou Enlai was talking about the criticism of the CCP [carried out] by our party to which the CCP did not respond.  At the congress of our party, we brought up the issues which pertained to the entire socialist camp and its unity.  We therefore couldn’t omit some matters.  We presented them at the Congress within a positive context just like we understood and assessed these matters.  While bringing up this topic, Comrade Zhou Enlai must know our statement from the Congress very well.  The sections in the statement deviated in its content and conclusions from those analogical assessments given by other parties.  We never said, either by using names or in general, as was done by other parties, that the leaders of the CCP betrayed Marxism-Leninism, etc.  We never created any division between the leadership of the CCP and the entire party and the nation.  We never used any epithets and offensive definitions which could be found in the publications of other parties.  We recognized, and we recognize, the right of the People’s Republic of China to maintain the position in the world which it deserves.  Right after signing of the [July 1963] Moscow Treaty about the partial ban on nuclear experiments, at the rally on the occasion of Ulbricht’s visit in Poland, we assumed a definitive position on this matter recognizing that the PRC was a sovereign nation and that it had the right not to sign this treaty.  We also have a different opinion from other parties when it comes to other rights [of the PRC].  We have never assessed or criticized the internal policy of the CCP since we represent our position of not interfering in the internal affairs of other parties.  


We will not feel offended if the Chinese comrades provide us with a response to our pronouncements in the Congress statement as long as they respond [using] the same language as we did.  I also conducted discussions with the CCP on other occasions, for example, during the visit of our party-state delegation in the USSR and during the rally in Moscow with the participation of Comrade Khrushchev.  The Chinese comrades have the full right to also respond to the issues which I brought up at the time.  We would have appreciate if these responses appeared before the recent changes in the USSR, but we will not feel offended if they appear now.  We also understand that there was an indirect allegation made, which was directed at our party, for the “contemporary revisionism,” although the name of our party was not mentioned.  We think, however, that these are matters of small significance.


I would like to explain one more matter.  Comrade Zhou Enlai stated that the issue of the conference should be discussed first through bilateral and multilateral consultations, but one cannot talk at all about the Editorial Commission of December 15.  What’s exactly going on here?  Is it the terminology, or the commission itself?  Or, one should perhaps understand that if this meeting were to be called something other than the Editorial Commission, but if the parties met at the multilateral and consultative conference, would then the Chinese comrades express their agreement to participate in this meeting?


I would also like to take this opportunity to straighten some inaccuracy when it comes to our position on the issue of the conference.  By no means is this true that our position was imposed by Comrade Khrushchev.  It is no longer topical to be going back to the beginnings of the issue, and I am saying this only in order to dispel false impression that someone else allegedly imposed his position on us.  


We deemed it necessary for the representatives of the parties to convene on December 15.  However, the further course of action, which was proposed by us and the one which was subsequently adopted by the Soviet comrades before the changes in the leadership of the CPSU [took place], did not correspond with the content of the CPSU letter regarding the conference.  It is not true that the commission was to work out a joint document on December 15 and that the conference had to take place in the middle of 1965.  


As a matter of fact, the Soviet comrades adopted our propositions both as to the course of the work of the commission and as to the preparations of the conference.  Neither the CPSU nor Comrade Khrushchev imposed anything on us.  We were saying openly about what was, in our opinion, wrong as to the position of Comrade Khrushchev regarding the conference.  Comrade Khrushchev, as well as other members of the leadership, knew about this, too.  If the Chinese comrades were to look more deeply into these matters, then perhaps their criticism of Comrade Khrushchev would be different.


We would like to, once more, express our wish for the Chinese comrades to come to an understanding with the Soviet comrades as quickly as possible on the matters of the polemics and the preparation for the conference.  Both sides state that they are basing [their policy] on the documents from 1957 and 1960, but even despite these statements, deep divergences occurred, didn’t they?  It would then be advised to establish a possibly uniform interpretation of these documents, because if a uniform interpretation existed, then, in reality, the need for convening such a conference would not be so burning.  I don’t know what the statement of the Soviet comrades was referring to, in the meeting with you [today], when they said that they would not change their position in the least.  I don’t suppose that we would discuss this topic.  If, however, a uniform interpretation of the Declaration from 1957 and the Statement from 1960 is achieved, then it may turn out that both sides, while not yielding their positions, may [in reality] achieve an understanding.


[Let me say] a few words on the subject of the bilateral state relations between Poland and the People’s Republic of China.


We desire for our trade and state relations to develop successfully and we can state with pleasure that there was a certain progress in this area during the recent period.  We would like for this progress to strengthen, especially if it could lead to the signing of the long-term trade agreement.  I don’t intend to discuss these matters here, [but] I am only mentioning them since, regardless of the overall situation, we would like for our state relations to be as best as possible.


Zhou Enlai: First of all, I would like to say that we are in favor of the development of [our] state relations; after all, we are brotherly nations, aren’t we? The example from last year attests to that we can develop our state relations and that they should be developed.  This can be done either through diplomacy or through international trade.  


Comrade Gomułka brought up many issues again.  I would like to express my opinion only on two issues.  Comrade Gomułka said that the unity of the communist camp depended foremost on the CCP.  But previously he said that [it depended] on the CCP and the CPSU.  Did I understand it correctly?  (The Polish delegation explained that a misunderstanding occurred since there was no change in the position of the PUWP).  This means that the efforts must be made on both sides.  Second issue – in what way [should we] abandon the public polemics? Currently, big divergences exist; the parties criticize each other and even the positive explanations also differ from each other and each one is different.  I talked about allegations and that it why I stated that this problem should be approached from a general point of view.  I will talk with the Soviet comrades tomorrow regarding this matter.  We don’t see the possibility of abandoning the public polemics.  We will think about this with the Soviet comrades.  I will give one example:  Almost all contentious points in the polemics between the CPSU and us are mentioned in the introductory article in “Pravda” from November 1 [1964].  We stick to our views, but if we wanted to discuss this article, then, the polemics would have to develop once again.  The issue regarding international organizations is also similar.  If they publish one document – this causes the polemics.


Now, I will respond to the third matter which was brought up by Comrade Gomułka.  He asked whether a multilateral meeting and [multilateral] talks could replace the Editorial Commission (Gomułka explains that this meeting would not have to be called [a meeting of] the Editorial Commission, but a meeting in the agreed-upon makeup [of communist parties].


Multilateral talks should not be associated with the Editorial Commission which is to be convened on December 15, because we are not responsible for it.  The Editorial Commission is to work out a joint document, whereas the purpose of multilateral talks is the exchange of views.  


When it comes to the views of the PUWP and its participation in the Editorial Commission – we understand your position.  Since the Polish party informed us about its position, and we trust you, we [only] now understood and we see that your position differed to some degree from the position taken by Khrushchev.


Gomułka: The Soviet comrades agreed with our position at the time when Khrushchev was still in office.


Rapacki:  This was not reflected in the published documents.


Zhou Enlai: In this case, we should give our analysis and our assessment.  We will give our assessment of the situation after having acquainted ourselves with the documents.  


Gomułka: I would like to explain briefly how I imagine [see] the issue of the polemics.  The point here is not to have both sides not to express their opinions and not to defend their positions due to which the divergences surfaced.  But this could be done in a positive manner, without discussing and without engaging in the polemics directly with the position of the other side.  The article in “Pravda” from November 1, which was mentioned by us, discussed matters of dispute, but it did not do so in the form of the discussion with the position of the CCP.  The CCP can, and it has the full right to do so, present its position on a positive way without discussing it with the CPSU.


Zhou Enlai: Is this possible?


Gomułka: Not a la longue! [Not for a long time!], but for a certain period of time such positive form of presenting the issues can be adopted before some kind of a rapprochement is reached.


Zhou Enlai: The positive formulations of various parties will differ from each other.  If we do not criticize what is erroneous, how will we be able to explain what a positive position is?  We are Marxist-Leninists. We must explain our position to the masses and to the peoples [nations] of the world.


Gomułka: If we continue the previous polemics and discussion, even by using a different language without insults, which in general are inadmissible, then we will never create a better atmosphere.  The arrival of the party-state delegations in Moscow created hope in our international movement, within the ranks of the communist parties and in our public opinion, that some kind of a rapprochement or the improvement of the situation within the movement would come about.  However, if the polemics is continued, then a conviction will develop that our meetings in Moscow ended in fiasco and that the delegations came, talked and achieved nothing.  Everyone will be disappointed and the overall impression will be negative since nothing will have changed.  That is why we think that the issue of the polemics is the most urgent and, after all, the easiest step to be taken.  Comrade Zhou Enlai said that we had to proceed step by step, didn’t he?


I would also like to explain what I mean by positive and negative manner of presenting views.  If each party presents its views, without engaging in polemics with another position [party] – it is doing it in a positive manner.  If, however, it expresses opinions and assessments about the position of other parties, naming them and engaging directly in polemics directly with the arguments of another party – this is a negative form.


Zhou Enlai:  We all, our parties, must undertake concrete steps.  After all, the power is in our hands and our task [job] is not only to write textbooks as if nothing else interested us.  The friction in views is unavoidable, because when, for example, international conferences of various organizations take place, then there will always be friction of contradictory views.  


Gomułka: Please let me, Comrade Zhou Enlai, refer to the previous position of yours.  You stated that in the past the CCP was against public polemics and that it demanded that all contentious matters be settled by way of inter-party consultations.  Later, a situation developed in which the public polemics became heated.  You are placing responsibility on Comrade Khrushchev [for that].  Let us omit for now what its causes were.  Comrade Khrushchev is no longer the first secretary of the party and the prime minister.  A new situation arose; that’s the fact.  We agree as to that.  Couldn’t you then, in this new situation, stop the polemics and return to your previous position?


Zhou Enlai: We want to believe that the situation has changed, because only under the new situation can we move forward.


We want to become familiar with the reasons for ousting Khrushchev.  We think it was due to political reasons, but the leadership of the CPSU did not explain it to us as of yet.  But, at the same time, the Soviet comrades stated to us that, as far as the matter ideological split with the CCP, the entire collective leadership of the CPSU fully shares the views of Khrushchev, that is, it was unanimous with Khrushchev even in “the nuances and shades.”  Therefore, it is not clear to us what this issue looks like.  Unless, Comrade Gomułka, who may be familiar with this matter, could inform us, but we are not putting matters in such a way and we are not asking him [Gomułka], because this is an internal affair of the CPSU.


The purpose of our trip to Moscow is to acquaint ourselves with the situation; to become familiar, through contacts, with the [Soviet?] views; and to find ways.  We are therefore resigned to go slowly forward and not to hurry, but at the same time not to lose hope either.  We are not entirely convinced, but we know, however, that only with the changed situation can we move forward.  Our motto is to combine efforts with patience.  We must not hurry.  You are right when you say that the communists in the entire world desire unity and solidarity.  We also want that and we came here with such a hope.  Besides, it was we who came up with the initiative of this meeting.  I would like to say once more that I very much appreciate your statement.


Kliszko: We all want improvement, but somehow things are not working out.


Gomułka: It turns out that when, in politics, two [people] say the same thing this does not mean [that they are] the same! (Overall cheerfulness.) Thank you for the meeting.


Zhou Enlai: (Also thanks for the meeting and asks everyone for supper.)





Drafted by:


S. Trepczyński

W. Wojtyga



An interpreter from the Chinese side who knew the Polish language.





Zhou Enlai and Gomulka discuss the Sino-Soviet split following Khrushchev's removal as well as Poland's involvement in maintaining peace in Vietnam.

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Sygnatura XI A15, KC PZPR, AAN, Warsaw. Obtained by Douglas Selvage and translated by Malgorzata Gnoinska.


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Leon Levy Foundation