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January 15, 1963

Record of Conversation between Soviet Ambassador to China Stepan V. Chervonenko and the Mongolian Ambassador to China Dondogiin Tsevegmid

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Embassy of the USSR in the PRC


Top Secret


“15” January 1963 Copy No. 1


Outgoing No. 82


To the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Union


of Soviet Socialist Republics


Comrade Gromyko


Enclosed is the copy of a record of conversation with the MPR ambassador in the PRC, D[ondogiin] Tsevegmid, which we sent to [CPSU CC Secretary] Comrade [Yuri Vladimirovich] Andropov.


Attachment: as mentioned, 19 pages (top secret).


Ambassador of the USSR to the PRC


[Signature] (S. Chervonenko)


Top Secret


1 January 1963


Ambassador Tsevegmid, after his return to Beijing (he accompanied the government delegation of the MPR headed by Yu[mjagiin] Tsedenbal, who left Beijing for the motherland on 27 December 1962 after the signing of the border treaty between the MPR and the PRC), at his [own] initiative, as he said, with Tsedenbal’s instruction, visited the Soviet embassy and confidentially informed [us] about the conversations that took place between Yu. Tsedenbal and Zhou Enlai on 25 and 27 December 1962.


Tsevegmid said the following:


On the day of the arrival of the Mongolian delegation in Beijing—25 December—all conversations and meetings, including the conversation between Tsedenbal and Zhou Enlai, had a formal character and stayed within the framework of discussion of the border treaty. Conversation with Liu Shaoqi on 27 December, before the signing of the treaty, also had a pointedly formal character; none of the big, principal questions were touched upon during that meeting.


After the signing of the treaty and a large demonstration on 27 December the second conversation between Tsedenbal and Zhou Enlai took place. Evidently, the Chinese side carefully prepared for this meeting since the conversation touched upon important principal questions that not only concern relations between the PRC and the MPR, and between the CCP and the MPRP, but also relations with other parties, including the CPSU.


At the beginning of this conversation, Zhou Enlai remarked—continued Tsevegmid—that the signing of the border treaty between the PRC and the MPR had great meaning, not only for our two countries but for other states as well, and would positively influence the international situation in general. After the demarcation of the borderline, the official border would be established. Then, touching on the Sino-Indian dispute, Zhou Enlai stressed that formerly the official border had not been established; therefore the two sides stuck to the historically formed traditional border. Now the issue was to establish an official border between China and India. Zhou Enlai also dwelt briefly on the Sino-Pakistani talks, noting progress on this issue and stressing that the Pakistanis take a correct stand on defining the border. However, the United States was worried about the favorable progress in talks between China and Pakistan. The US did not like this. Zhou Enlai remarked that, given the successful negotiations between China and Pakistan on the border question, the contradictions between India and Pakistan would, understandably, worsen, but that he still hoped that in the end this dispute, too, would be settled. Zhou Enlai—Tsevegmid said—tried to prove that the position of the Chinese side in the Sino-Indian dispute was the correct one and that India allegedly tried by all means to have this question solved with help from the outside, including the Soviet Union. India speculated on this help. It made a public effort to receive help from the US and England, but this would not save Nehru’s position because the truth was on China’s side and the main thing, as Zhou Enlai remarked, was that the people of Asia and Africa supported them—the Chinese.


Tsevegmid remarked that in his opinion this part of the conversation looked like a lecture, which Zhou Enlai tried to read to the Mongolian delegation.


Having finished this statement of his, Zhou Enlai said that allegedly, you, Comrade Tsedenbal and the MPR government, expressed regret in connection with the Sino-Indian border dispute.


Tsedenbal responded affirmatively and declared that we in Mongolia really do regret that the Sino-Indian dispute was not cut short at the very beginning and [instead] grew into a major military clash.


Zhou Enlai said that they, the Chinese, did not like this formulation of the Mongolian comrades about regret in connection with the conflict. Here, Zhou Enlai, having reminded [us] about his meetings with Tsedenbal after 1959, said that when in 1959 Tsedenbal was passing through India and expressed [his views] in connection with the Sino-Indian conflict, he, Tsedenbal, was evidently already not standing on China’s side. Zhou Enlai again repeated that they, the Chinese, did not like this attitude of the Mongolian comrades toward the Sino-Indian dispute.


Tsedenbal pointed out that one must approach the resolution of such questions flexibly and carefully, and that life and facts had shown how important it was to show flexibility in these cases. Further, Tsedenbal stressed that in the future, should socialism and communism win in the entire world, border disputes would be looked upon as a thing of the past [perezhitkov proshlogo]. This is how a communist should approach border disputes and conflicts, in my opinion [Tsedenbal said]. Continuing on this subject—said Tsevegmid—Zhou Enlai again tried to prove that the Chinese were not to blame in the Sino-Indian dispute, that they wanted from the very beginning to solve the border dispute by peaceful means and that China, for its part, did everything in order not to take this dispute to the stage of a military confrontation.


Tsedenbal pointed out in this connection that one should look at the results of the military clash, and one should think with precision [trebovatelnost’yu] and accountability on what the [consequences of this] conflict are in India, where currently the atmosphere of nationalist passions has heated up to the boiling point, and [that] this has considerably complicated not only the position of the communist party of this country [i.e. India], but [also] of all democratic, progressive organizations and people; repression in India was now raging wild, reactionaries and rightist elements had become active, and they openly put pressure on Nehru.


At this point Zhou Enlai hurried to interrupt Tsedenbal and again tried to prove that the Chinese were not to blame for any of this. Then, he started to say that the Chinese managed to agree on the border with almost all countries except for India, and started to praise the results of the negotiations between the PRC and the MPR.


These negotiations, he remarked, have been successfully concluded as a result of mutual understanding and mutual concessions by both sides. Here Zhou Enlai—according to Tsevegmid—stressed that, allegedly, China, taking into consideration Mongolia’s interests, made appropriate concessions. [Zhou Enlai] expressed the hope that in the future, in possible border questions, both fraternal countries will meet each other half-way. For instance we hope that if there is a request from our side to allow the grazing of cattle on the Mongolian territory adjacent to the Chinese border, this will not become a big question. We, on our part, will also be happy to satisfy your requests. When this part of the conversation was about finished—said Tsevegmid—Tsedenbal raised some questions of an interstate nature.


1. He told the Chinese comrades that as of late the workload of the railroad which passes through Mongolia into China and the freight of transit goods had decreased sharply. We would like to request an increase in the volume of freight by the Mongolian railroad if the Chinese comrades consider this possible.


2. Having remarked that the preliminary talks of the trade experts had now been concluded, Tsedenbal pointed out that the Mongolian side is worried that the Chinese side will considerably decrease trade operations with Mongolia in 1963, and this breaks the framework already created for the mutual supply of goods. As a result of this, unexpectedly for the MPR, questions arise that could not be foreseen ahead of time. These questions are connected with the supply of the Mongolian factories with certain types of raw materials which used to come from China.


3. He expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for help in construction work in the MPR, including sending workers from China. Tsedenbal remarked that currently 8,000 Chinese workers are working at different enterprises in the MPR together with Mongolian workers. Unfortunately, more and more frequently these workers refused certain types of work. They did not know the Mongolian language, and for this reason, too, some misunderstandings and troubles arise. Tsedenbal stressed that now, as well as in the near future, the MPR would have a great need for a workforce and that therefore Mongolia welcomed the presence of the Chinese workers at their enterprises. However, those Chinese workers who are presently in the MPR did not know the Mongolian language. Would it not be possible to send to the MPR more workers from Chinese Inner Mongolia, who know the Mongolian language? This would be important as they would be able to work with greater productivity.


Having listened to Tsedenbal, Zhou Enlai said that during the conversation the Mongolian comrades raised three questions and that he would try to answer them. First, he said, I consider it necessary to remark that Mongolia supplied China with considerably fewer goods than what the PRC supplied to the MPR. We, indeed, were forced to decrease the supply of certain goods, especially cotton textiles, because we ourselves have internal difficulties, including those that arose from the drought and bad harvests that unfortunately happened in the last three years. Even if we did not export a gram of raw materials for the cotton textile industry abroad, and used it entirely for the production of textile, still these raw materials would only be enough to produce 3 meters of textiles per person. Generally speaking, Zhou Enlai said, we are now suffering ourselves, and we cannot promise to supply the cotton textile industry of the MPR with raw materials at the level of previous years. As far as rice, tea, silk, and to some extent wool are concerned, in general, we could send you these goods; let the trade representatives discuss these questions among themselves.


Further, Zhou Enlai said that the MPR was asking to have 17 million rubles worth of goods (on the new price scale) supplied from the PRC. The PRC now, apparently, would only be able to supply 6 million rubles worth of goods.


Next year, continued Zhou Enlai, the Chinese side would try to increase the freight of goods via the railroad across Mongolia. As a result of this, the income of the MPR would increase to a certain extent. Then Zhou Enlai said that the Mongolian comrades promised to sell China 100,000 horses. We have certain difficulties that have come up, and we would like to ask your help in solving them. Tsevegmid explained that these difficulties amount to the Chinese asking to supply horses only across two border points. This makes the MPR’s position more difficult, as this is connected with great financial expenditures. We are suggesting to the Chinese that we supply horses across those border points that are economically most beneficial for Mongolia. What the Chinese suggest amounts to collecting horses from all corners of Mongolia at only two border points.


Secondly, Zhou Enlai touched on some issues of construction in the MPR and put the question in such a way that, allegedly, Mongolia, in implementing its plan, naturally ran into some difficulties. Perhaps, he said, the Mongolian comrades, in light of the fact that they would not have certain types of raw materials, would consider it appropriate to re-examine certain questions. For example, the MPR had difficulties with the cotton textile factory, and with other enterprises as well. To implement the plan was a good wish, but one had to base oneself on the possibility of getting raw materials and other materials for enterprises. Therefore, Zhou Enlai advised, some enterprises should perhaps be frozen for a certain time.


Tsevegmid commented that in connection with the fairly well-formed attitude of the PRC toward Mongolia, the latter really did have serious difficulties in implementing the five-year plan since in accordance with this plan the Chinese were supposed to build 25 economic objectives. In order to carry out this construction work in Mongolia, besides the 8,000 Chinese workers who work together with the Mongolian workers, there are also 5,000 Chinese there independently, from the Chinese construction companies.


Third, Zhou Enlai touched on the question of the Chinese workers. He remarked that sending workers from China to the MPR was a new thing in the relationship between socialist countries and that was a good thing. However, the Chinese government has certain difficulties. Zhou Enlai stressed the historical community of China and Mongolia, touched on the friendship between the two countries, the development of which allowed them to send Chinese workers to the MPR beginning in 1950. These workers worked in Mongolia for a long time. In 1960, after the end of the period of their stay in the MPR, the government of the PRC not only lengthened this period for many workers but sent new Chinese workers to Mongolia. When sending our workers to the MPR, said Zhou Enlai, we were worried and thought a lot about this. In particular, we thought a lot about the fact that the Chinese workers did not know the Mongolian language and did not know the customs of your people, and this could lead to the emergence of various questions. One should say, however, that in the first five years of their work in the MPR, despite some misunderstandings that arose, we easily solved them. But recently certain new aspects emerged and cases of workers refusing to work became more and more frequent.


Here Tsedenbal, making use of these words of Zhou Enlai, said, you see, you are yourself saying that the Chinese workers refuse to work and that they know neither the Mongolian language nor the customs of our country and that this sometimes to some extent leads to certain misunderstandings, including misunderstanding of each other.


Zhou Enlai declared in response that in China a situation existed whereby Chinese workers, if the conditions of work did not correspond to their demands, were allowed to refuse to work, that is, they were allowed to conduct a kind of strike.


In this connection, Tsedenbal pointed out that Mongolia has its own laws. We cannot agree that some workers can break and ignore the established order. Such a situation could, in the end, negatively influence the Mongolian workers.


Zhou Enlai, having heard this, said that our countries were not ideologically united in everything, and this influenced both inter-state and inter-party relations. Above all, there were major disagreements on principal questions between our fraternal parties. Now we would not like to dwell on the question of what precise aspects we would agree on. At the time of the 22nd [CPSU] Congress [October 1961], I, Zhou Enlai, made a statement there and tried to the best of my ability to restore unity between parties in order not to show our disagreements before the enemy. However, this effort was unsuccessful, and disagreements subsequently deepened even more. Further, Zhou Enlai remarked that in the Chinese media they published equally both Albanian and Soviet materials on the questions of disagreements. These materials were also published in [North] Korea, in [North] Vietnam and in some other countries. The MPRP, in his view, took an opposite stand, that is: Mongolia published materials with criticism directed against Albania, and did not publish Albanian articles. Zhou Enlai expressed the anxiety of the Chinese side with the fact that the disagreements thus were becoming more and more open and engulfing an ever greater range of parties. He pointed out that the CCP came under open criticism at the congress of the Italian Communist Party [PCI]. The materials of the Czechoslovak Communist Party [CPCz] congress were published in Mongolia, he continued, but the statement of the CCP representative was not published. The CPSU and Khrushchev criticized the CCP, not directly, but indirectly. Khrushchev’s speech was naturally published in China, and we also published our reply.


In this connection, Zhou Enlai again declared that those Chinese materials, which contained replies to the statements at congresses of different parties, were not published in Mongolia. Of course, Zhou Enlai said, it was the Mongolian party’s business what attitude to take on this. We would not impose our opinion, even less so make another party act in a way we, for example, considered correct. Further, he expressed himself to the effect that the internal policy of the CCP was the business of the Chinese, and nobody should interfere in the internal affairs of the PRC. However, our disagreements over key questions, because of someone, became known to the enemy. The dispute did not need to be deepened. In our opinion, one could not go further down this road. As if summarizing, Zhou Enlai again emphasized that the CCP and the MPRP had different points of view on a series of important problems; they followed two different directions. Having changed the topic of the conversation to the relations between the PRC and the MPR, Zhou Enlai stressed that in general these relations were still good. Touching upon the issue of sending workers from China to the MPR, he declared that they could send other workers to Mongolia, but the question was that this was connected with different approaches to important questions as a result of which we encounter difficulties of an ideological nature. It is difficult for us, Zhou Enlai continued, to conduct political work with our workers in Mongolia. In China, we conducted political work of a certain direction among the workers. If we were to conduct mechanically this work with the Chinese workers in the MPR, then a whole range of questions could come up. As they were in touch with the Mongolian population, they are familiar with the Mongolian press, and this caused certain difficulties. 8,000 Chinese workers were in the midst of the Mongolian population. Zhou Enlai stressed that a man was not an inanimate commodity [mertvy tovar], but a living, politically thinking individual. We brought our people up in such a way that if they did not like something, then they could give up work. Therefore, we allow such order [of things]. Now, let’s look at the situation of the Chinese workers in Mongolia. What you publish in Mongolia disposed the Chinese workers critically towards the PRC. This caused difficulties. What are we to do with these workers? Leave them in the MPR? But I already said these are people and not commodities.


Tsedenbal asked what, in the end, should be done about those workers who refuse to work.


Zhou Enlai replied that we should think about this together in order not to allow complications to arise in the relations between two neighboring states, the MPR and the PRC, because of this question. If the situation remained as it was, conditions would remain for the occurrence of troubles, misunderstandings, and unfavorable events.


Tsevegmid remarked that the conversation between Tsedenbal and Zhou Enlai took on a more and more hostile form, and at times he even thought that the custom would be set aside and they would come to blows [skhvatyatsya za grudki].


Having listened to Zhou Enlai, continued Tsevegmid, Tsedenbal declared the following. Above all, he said, Comrade Zhou Enlai gave us Mongolians a series of recommendations regarding our further construction. I would like to say that our difficulties arise at those sites that China is building, and also with those for which China, in accordance with previously reached agreements, had to supply appropriate goods, especially raw materials. This is what our construction difficulties are connected with. Then, Tsedenbal remarked that the Chinese workers helped Mongolia a lot in her construction, especially up to 1961. The Chinese workers lived and worked together with the Mongolian workers; however, difficulties about which Zhou Enlai spoke did not arise here. Beginning from 1960, and especially from 1961, “difficult questions” began to arise. We cannot transfer to the MPR the practice established in the PRC. In accordance with this practice, as Comrade Zhou Enlai said, workers in China can give up their work and even bring factories to a standstill, conducting, to use Comrade Zhou Enlai’s expression, strikes. If you allow this, other countries do not. But the main thing is why the Chinese workers refuse to work in the MPR. This is the result of, as Comrade Zhou Enlai said, different ideological bases of our parties. You said this correctly, Comrade Zhou Enlai. You speak about the relations between parties and about the attitude of parties towards the Albanian question. I would like to tell you, emphasized Tsedenbal, that the Mongolian party has a principled, correct stance with regard to the policy of the Albanian leadership. The leadership of the A[lbanian] P[arty of] L[abor] by its actions really did begin to break the unity between fraternal parties, initiate a split in the international communist and workers’ movement and depart in its line and its statements from the principles of internationalism, from the principles of the cohesion of parties. We believe that the MPRP’s position is the correct one. Our party will continue to maintain this correct objective position, will conduct a resolute struggle against those who want to split the communist movement. The Mongolian party, Tsedenbal said emphatically, fully agreed with the line of the CPSU and supported its struggle for the unity of the international communist movement.


You, Comrade Zhou Enlai, are saying that it was impermissible to air publicly the differences between parties. But, as you know, the CPSU took drastic measures and took a big initiative with regard to the APL, calling on it to take the stand of unity. You, Comrade Zhou Enlai, and all Chinese comrades undoubtedly know full well about this. You cannot help but know that in 1960 the Soviet leaders tried several times to talk with [APL CC First Secretary Enver] Hoxha and [APL CC Chairman Mehmet] Shehu. Comrade Khrushchev personally took a series of steps to stop the Albanian leaders. But they, as you know, not only refused to heed these sincere wishes of the Soviet leaders, but, on the contrary, rudely, in a hooligan manner, rejected all proposals of the Soviet comrades. After this, the Soviet leaders naturally no longer thought it necessary to place the main emphasis on a meeting of a closed nature. I would like to tell you, Comrade Zhou Enlai, that the actions of the Albanian leadership are directed not only against the CPSU, but also against the entire international communist movement; they not only slander the CPSU, but also the entire international communist and workers’ movement. This means that the Albanian leaders through their splittist actions themselves departed from the international communist movement.


You, Comrade Zhou Enlai, Tsedenbal continued, reprimand us for not printing the Albanian materials. This is actually true. But I would like to note that in the future we will not print such materials either. You also said that we did not publish the Chinese materials. We print and will print only Marxist-Leninist materials. We respect very much the leadership of the CCP. You, the Chinese communists, have come a long way, lived a long political life. Nevertheless, we consider that you follow an incorrect line. I recall the year 1960, the meeting of the fraternal parties in Moscow. I would like to say that then you contributed greatly to the unity of international communist movement, and I will tell you frankly that I still hoped that you would not depart from the agreed line and would go forward together with the CPSU and other parties. Commenting on his attitude towards these questions, Tsedenbal told Zhou Enlai that what he said in no way suggests an intention to sharpen relations. This is what I, Tsedenbal, would more than anything like to avoid. However, you, the Chinese comrades, support Albania, encouraging it thereby to slander the Soviet Union in a rude manner.


Further, Comrade Tsedenbal spoke about the Chinese workers. He emphasized that we cannot change our ideological line, and have no intention of [doing so], because of 8,000 Chinese workers in Mongolia. However, we would like to assure you that we do not carry out any political work among the Chinese workers. As far as the press is concerned, we cannot help but print what we consider correct.


Without concealing that he was angry and nervous, Zhou Enlai interrupted Tsedenbal and asked whether he could ask him one question. Having received an affirmative answer, Zhou Enlai said that if articles with direct or indirect criticism addressed at the PRC were printed in the Mongolian press and if the Chinese workers read them, then what attitude should they have towards this? Tsedenbal replied that he did not deny the presence of difficulties of this sort. Zhou Enlai asked how, then, should the question of workers be solved?


Tsedenbal said that, as he understood [the point raised by Zhou Enlai], Zhou Enlai was taking the issue in such a direction [vedet delo k tomu] that the Chinese workers would not work in the MPR. Zhou Enlai replied that he did not mean the old workers, but he was asking what was to be done about the new workers. Tsedenbal again declared that we would not retreat in ideological terms and would not change the correct policy line of our party because of 8,000 workers.


Zhou Enlai said that he did not demand to change the party line. You are yourself saying that the CCP should change its political line. You call yourself a Marxist and you criticize me. Tsedenbal pointed out that Zhou Enlai was the first to raise this question.


Zhou Enlai declared that he spoke about other things—about how to solve concrete questions in the relationship between our countries. But you, he said, wanted to teach me. I do not accept your instructions [poucheni]. Tsedenbal replied that he did not teach and had no intention of teaching Zhou Enlai.


Zhou Enlai declared in irritation that Tsedenbal talked about changing the party line all the time. Tsedenbal stressed that what Zhou Enlai said did not correspond to the spirit of the meeting of the fraternal parties.


Zhou Enlai said to this: “I did not violate the Moscow treaty. The Moscow treaty was violated by Khrushchev and his followers.”


Tsedenbal asked Zhou Enlai not to be angry. It was bad when one gets angry, he remarked. The MPRP was created and builds its entire existence on the basis of the great experience of the CPSU. The party reflects the thoughts and feelings of the international communist and workers’ movement [and] enjoys its support. For the entire 40 years since the creation of the MPRP, the entire Mongolian people unreservedly go together with the CPSU. We would like to affirm to you that nobody will be able to shake the unity of the Mongolian party and the CPSU. This unity is forged by blood. We are deeply convinced in the correctness of the political line of the CPSU. We believe in the CPSU—the party of the great Lenin, the vanguard of the international communist movement.


Zhou Enlai asked Tsedenbal—does this mean that you blindly follow the CPSU?


Tsedenbal replied that this was not so, we were convinced of the rightness of the CPSU, we were deeply convinced of and committed to the endeavor carried on by the CPSU. Zhou Enlai asked a question: Did you do the same thing during the period of Stalin’s cult? Did you loyally follow Stalin as well? Did you look at all questions this way during the cult of personality?


Tsedenbal asked Zhou Enlai what questions he had in mind. What questions in particular did he have in mind when he talked about Stalin? Zhou Enlai replied that Stalin was correct on some questions, as is known. Tsedenbal said that the Soviet leaders themselves many times declared that Stalin was correct on some questions. By all means, the Soviet comrades did not vulgarize all of Stalin’s deeds, they gave him due credit, pointing at the same time to his crimes, to his mistakes.


Zhou Enlai changed the conversation to the Chinese workers in Mongolia.


Tsedenbal declared that inasmuch as the Chinese comrades were worried about the fact that the Chinese workers in the MPR were in the midst of the Mongolian working people, this could be corrected. 8,000 Chinese workers could be placed separately and put into the same situation as the 5,000 Chinese workers who organizationally belong to independent Chinese construction companies.


Zhou Enlai, having calmed down somewhat, replied that this question could be discussed in detail by the appropriate representatives of the MPR and the PRC, for example, by the officials of the PRC embassy in Ulaanbaatar and Mongolian organizations. My goal, he stressed, was to tell you what kind of difficulties we encountered and to make sure you understand us correctly. Tsedenbal declared that the above-mentioned Chinese workers should probably be concentrated at one site. If the PRC embassy in the MPR was appropriately instructed, we, for our part, would find people, they would conduct the necessary negotiations and we would solve this question. Zhou Enlai, having agreed to this, said that he was not offended and that he did not get angry, but he insisted again that allegedly Tsedenbal for over 40 minutes tried to teach him.


Tsedenbal emphasized that the Mongolians respect the CCP, value the struggle of the CCP for the establishment of the rule of the working people and value their efforts in the endeavor of building socialism. He remarked that the CCP, in comparison with the MPRP, is more experienced and that he merely reminded him what constituted the ABCs of Marxism-Leninism.


Zhou Enlai told Tsedenbal that he did not need not be shy and pitiable [ne pribednyalsya]. You, Tsedenbal, he declared, are a leader of a state and a party. Ambassador Tsevegmid said that Tsedenbal, taking into consideration the atmosphere of the meeting, and also keeping in mind that the time had almost come for the reception which was hosted by the Mongolian side in connection with the signing of the treaty, wanted to end the conversation at this point, and on behalf of the entire Mongolian delegation thanked the Chinese comrades for their hospitality [and] for the useful exchange of opinions that took place.


Zhou Enlai said something to the effect that Tsedenbal supposedly did not respond to the questions he touched upon. He again remarked that his goal was only to acquaint Tsedenbal with the situation and with the difficulties that arose, that he did not raise any questions. Moreover, Zhou Enlai began to insist that Tsedenbal allegedly criticized him.


Tsevegmid remarked that this was done in a clearly Chinese manner—when one thinks up an allegation against oneself and then attributes it to one’s interlocutor. Then Zhou Enlai, Tsevegmid continued, said that in 1961, when he was in Moscow, he advised the CPSU not to take the disagreements beyond the framework of communist parties and to conduct consultations with the APL. The CPSU measures with regard to the APL, of which you, Comrade Tsedenbal, spoke, were taken before the 1960 meeting. Unfortunately, the CPSU did not accept our position and during its 22nd Congress not only failed to remedy the situation, but on the contrary started to criticize openly another party. Thereby the disagreements were exposed before the enemy. Therefore the main one to blame is the CPSU, and not the APL. Some parties, attacking the CCP, even claim that the CCP departed from the line of the Moscow treaty, but we do not agree with this. It is precisely the CCP that tried to preserve unity and tried not to take the disagreements outside of the circle of the communist parties. Criticism against the CCP was slander. Those who criticized our party took a wrong stand. As time was limited, we could not continue the conversation now. However, if there was a need, Zhou Enlai declared, this conversation between our parties could be continued. Zhou Enlai emphasized that what Tsedenbal talked about concerned relations between parties and did not concern inter-state relations. I, he continued, did not intend to touch on a series of questions, but you, Comrade Tsedenbal, criticized me, and I had to reply to you. I believe, for example, that the MPRP follows a wrong line. However, I am not demanding that you change your line. If there is a meeting of fraternal parties in the future, I would ask you, Comrade Tsedenbal, not to strike me with a blow again (Zhou Enlai pointed to his right cheek with his hand). You, Comrade Tsedenbal, made a statement at the 1960 Moscow meeting and said that Zhou Enlai tried to persuade you to follow the Albanian Labor Party. I told you then that in Albania there were different internal forces, that one should be attentive to this country. You, however, presented the encounter in such a way as if I tried to persuade you to follow the Albanian road. I will not go into details now, but I do not accept this accusation you threw at me at the 1960 meeting.


Then Zhou Enlai said that although our two parties were communist, we had different views on some ideological questions. However, we should not let our ideological differences carry over into inter-state relations. Perhaps, Zhou Enlai declared, we would transfer our ideological differences to inter-state relations with some other countries, but we would not do this with regard to Mongolia. (Tsevegmid remarked that perhaps this phrase was not translated exactly).


Tsedenbal, touching on his statement at the 1960 meeting, which Zhou Enlai had mentioned, said that he has no intention to talk about this now. He noted further that he knew about the presence of disagreements between the CCP and other parties, but now, in his opinion, was also not the time to talk about this. If we were to talk about disagreements, then the attitude towards the APL reflected two different approaches, two different lines. Zhou Enlai raised a question in this connection: Why was it so? Wasn’t the Albanian Labor Party a communist party?


Tsedenbal remarked that the Albanian question became a kind of a compass, a kind of a test of sincerity of everyone towards the CPSU.


Zhou Enlai said that both the Albanian question and other questions should be solved jointly. Some parties and countries were not big, but one should not disregard them, one should not disrespect them. Further, Zhou Enlai said that N.S. Khrushchev allegedly used to tell him: We should, allegedly, solve everything between ourselves, that was—between the CPSU and CCP, and the small parties did not count. Questions of small parties also should not be solved by two big parties.


Having listened to all of this, Tsedenbal worriedly expressed himself to the effect that the border treaty had already been signed, and he understood a lot in this connection. When I went to Beijing, he continued, I was convinced that the signing of the border treaty would have a certain positive meaning for the friendship between our two countries…


Ambassador Tsevegmid remarked that though Tsedenbal did not finish his thought, he later expressed in the circle of Mongolian comrades that the signing of the border treaty, as far as one can judge, did not in the slightest improve relations between the MPR and the PRC.


Concluding the conversation, Tsedenbal again expressed his thanks for the reception given to the Mongolian delegation, remarked that he considered the exchange of opinions useful, but it was already 6 p.m. and one should go and receive the guests invited to the reception.


With this, Tsevegmid said, the conversation between Tsedenbal and Zhou Enlai ended. Later, during the reception and at the farewell neither side raised any major principal questions. Ambassador Tsevegmid asked to take into account that he did not rule out the possibility of some inaccuracies in the translation, as, in his opinion, the interpreters were not qualified enough. At the end of the conversation Tsevegmid said that because of the refusal of the Chinese side to meet its obligations, construction of some enterprises would not be finished, and some other enterprises that could operate, would not be able to operate because of the lack of raw materials.


I thanked Tsevegmid for this information. The record of conversation was written down as closely as possible to the account presented by Ambassador D. Tsevegmid.


Ambassador of the USSR in the PRC


[Signature] (S. Chervonenko)



An account of conversation between the head Mongolian delegate to China, Tsedenbal, and Chinese Premier, Enlai, which was relayed by Mongolian ambassador, Tsevegmid, to USSR ambassador, Chervonenko. Tsedenbal and Enlai discuss China's sending workers to Mongolia, and the sending of goods from Mongolia to China. Additionally, the two argue about which country is following the proper ideological line, and about what propaganda materials are being printed in Mongolia.

Document Information


Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AVPRF). fond 0100, opis 56, papka 495, delo 7, listy 1-19. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Sergey Radchenko.


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Memorandum of Conversation


Record ID


Original Classification

Top Secret


Leon Levy Foundation