August 29, 1960
Record of Conversation of N.S. Khrushchev with Prominent Political Figure of Japan M. Suzuki on August 29, 1960
This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation
Record of Conversation
of N.S. Khrushchev with Prominent Political Figure
of Japan M. Suzuki on August 29, 1960
[Handwritten at the bottom of page one] Not reviewed by N.S. Khrushchev
Khrushchev. I am glad to meet and converse with distinguished figures of the Socialist Party of Japan.
Suzuki. Allow me before everything else to express my gratitude that you found time to welcome us, despite a great workload.
Your works and speeches are almost completely translated in Japan and I have read them. However, your speech in Bucharest, where you highly valued the efforts of the Japanese people who are fighting against the military agreement and for the establishment of peace on Japanese land, made an especially great impression on me. This made a very big impression on the Japanese people.
Khrushchev. I thank you for correctly understanding our policy.
Suzuki. Starting in 1951, the Socialist Party of Japan has been leading a persistent struggle for the neutralization of the country and bringing the masses to the struggle. In connection with this, we attach great importance to your speech in Austria. [Illegible], Austria has already been on the path of neutrality for five years, that [illegible] very positive results. However, these five years have shown that the Soviet Union highly values Austria’s neutrality, and that it did not and does not exert any kind of pressure. In this way, your speeches in Bucharest and Austriainspire us and help us in the struggle for neutrality.
However, I want to note that not all Japanese relate the same way to the policy of neutrality. There are still many people who believe that if Japan goes the way of neutrality, the Soviet Union will take advantage of this in order to exert pressure on our country and create a threatening situation for it. Your speeches in Austria and Bucharest are confirmation of the fact that the Soviet Union sincerely supports the policy of neutrality. We would all like to listen to your opinion regarding Japan’s neutrality.
Khrushchev. First of all, allow me to present a counter question to you. What, in your opinion, will the Soviet Union gain if it attacks Japan and even wins it? Here you Japanese, tell me, what does Japan have that the Soviet Union would not possess. You only have a high[er] population density than us. / Japanese laugh approvingly /.
Suzuki. We are for neutrality, giving it special importance before all else because we do not want our country to be involved in war, so that Japan’s participation in military conflicts is excluded.
Khrushchev. Mr. Suzuki, you did not answer my question all the same. Well, I will not insist on this. All open-minded people see [handwritten], that we do not have political, economic, or other incitements for hostile actions against Japan. The Soviet Union has the most noble intentions in relation to Japan. We want to develop economic and cultural ties with your country. As for the political system, this is a matter for the Japanese people themselves. We are communists and you are socialists, closer in views on some [handwritten] issues. I am convinced that in the process of the socialist countries’ further development the difference in views between the socialists and communists gradually will lessen as many socialists will
try [illegible]beconvincedthe communists are right [handwritten].
I repeat – the internal structure of a country is the people’s affair. We communists have disgust for war, which is undertaken from the outside with the goal of changing the political and
socialist social system of a given country.
The benefits of neutrality for Japan are massive. Standing on the path of neutrality, Japan could reduce its military expenditures and use the resulting savings for the improvement of the population’s material situation.
Using the beneficial conditions of its geographic location, Japan could successfully develop trade with the Soviet Union, PCR and DPRK. For you have few raw materials, and we have a surplus. We could sell everything that you need. Japan needs coal – we can givesell it to you [handwritten], and cheaper than you would receive it from America, as transportation costs in thiscase are disproportionate. You require iron ore – we can givesell [handwritten] it in abundance. We could supply wood in needed quantities. We can say the same thing about oil and many other types of raw materials.
It is known that Japan has excellent industry and technology. The Japanese are praised for their mastery, able to produce many good things, especially ships, electronics, and consumer goods. The USSR has high demand for all of this.
In the conditions of neutrality, it would be possible to more extensively take into account the interests of Japan in the fishing sphere. For now, the Soviet Union needs to be on guard with fishing by Soviet shores, for under the guise of fishermen someone in the muddy waters could fish not just for fish, but for something else. The United States of America openly sent their airplanes to the Soviet Union for espionage goals, for example the “U-2.” They can send spies under the guise of fishermen. They do not need fish, but something else. All of this requires us to take defensive measures that complicate your fishermen’s situation. If Japan was neutral, then these difficulties would be eliminated. As you see, neutrality only has advantageous aspects for Japan.
In our time, we proposed concluding an agreement between Japan on one side, and the USSR, PRC, and DPRK on the other side, in which the basis would be the idea of nonaggression. The presence of such an agreement would facilitate the development of broad economic, cultural, and other ties between these nations. Everyone would benefit from this.
Suzuki. I completely agree with you. We highly value the friendly feelings you have for the Japanese people. Using this opportunity, I want to say that in the interest of strengthening friendly relations between us, we intend to reach a point so that the government of Japan officially invites Mr. Mikoyan to our country in connection with the opening of the Soviet industrial exhibition in Tokyo next year.
Khrushchev. We will accept such an invitation with pleasure.
Suzuki. Further, from cultural ties between our nations we should conclude an agreement on the governmental level regarding this issue. It seems to me that we could broadly develop an exchange of scholars on this basis, and that would assist in the strengthening of friendly relations between our countries.
Since this time, there has been no conclusion of a peace treaty between our countries. Now, as a result of the revision and signing of the security treaty, circumstances have become more complicated. But, I think, we should develop economic and cultural ties despite this.
As you said in Bucharest, the Japanese people’s struggle against the Japanese-American treaty has created a new situation in our country. This inspires in us, socialists, great hopes.
We will apply all efforts for Japan’s conversion to the path of neutrality. Along with this, we should achieve the conclusion of a peace treaty. One of the obstacles to this is the territorial issue, or more accurately the issue regarding the Kurile Islands. We understand that the USA uses this to hinder the full development of Soviet-Japanese relations. From this point of view, we need to hasten the conclusion of a treaty. We already exchanged views on the territorial issue with Mr. Mikoyan.
Khrushchev. On the territorial issues, we conversed in detail with Mr. Katayama, who headed the delegation of the Socialist Party that visited the USSR in 1957. Our policy on this issue remains unchanged.
It is difficult to explain why the [Japanese] Socialist Party aims to obtain the Kurile Islands from the Soviet Union, which have no economic importance for Japan, and passively conducts itself when it is about the return of the Island of Okinawa – Japan’s actual ancestral territory. This territory, as is known, was conquered by the Americans and they did not give it back to the Japanese. Yes, and all of Japan since then is still occupied by the United States. Consequently, first and foremost the Socialist Party needs to direct its energy on strengthening the struggle for the elimination of military bases, for the removal of American troops from Japan, and for the liberation of Okinawa.
Suzuki. I completely agree with you. That is why I note that currently there is a new environment in Japan as a result of massive demonstrations by the people against the military pact. This gives us hope for reaching the elimination of foreign bases in Japan. We understand the USSR’s concerns relating to the Americans being able to use the Kurile Islands in aggressive aims, if they are transferred to Japan. But if our country moves to the path of neutrality, then maybe you would approach the problem of the Kurile Islands differently. As for Okinawa, we will lead a persistent struggle for its return to Japan.
Khrushchev. Highlighting the issue of the Kurile Islands coincides with the desire of the Americans, who want to stretch their tentacles still further, close the ring surrounding the Soviet Union, and draw closer to Kamchatka. Forgive me for my harshness, but you act as an agent of American imperialism. You not only gave the island of Okinawa to the USA, but demand the return of the Kurile Islands in order for the Americans to advance to Siberia.
I repeat, on territorial issues we maintain the same position that was laid out for Mr. Katayama in his time. If Japan were an independent government, then, maybe, things would be different. The Socialist Party of Japan should seriously think about this.
If I spoke at a debate before Japanese workers, intelligentsia, and even bourgeois, I am certain they would correctly understand me, they would correctly understand the Soviet Union’s policy in relation to Japan.
Know that a victory for the Socialist Party in elections is still far off. One swallow does not make spring. You need to solidify a victorious position. The Japanese people should become the genuine host of their country. This is the main thing. If the workers in Japan maintain victory and the country becomes socialist, then the territorial issue will be resolved on its own. But, right now, the Socialist Party is trying to rip from a socialist nation a part of its territory, in order to put it at the disposal of a capitalist government, yes, such a [government] that is under the boot of American imperialism. Is that really class politics?
Suzuki. I thank you for your frank statement. We are trying to do everything so the Japanese working class obtains the right idea regarding the Soviet Union’s policy.
Khrushchev. You cannot disregard simple facts. In Japan there are military bases. Your country concluded a military treaty. Consequently, the task consists of winning back Japan’s territory for Japan itself, for the cause of peace.
Okada. I would like to say a few words on behalf of the Japanese people that do not stand with the Americans and call for friendship and peace with the Soviet Union. Suzuki already noted that the Americans are trying to use the territorial issue for their own interests. But we do not want the return of the islands now, when they can be used by the Americans. But when we achieve the elimination of the treaty, we will have the courage to remind you about the territorial issue with the inherent Japanese stubbornness.
Khrushchev. I know the stubbornness of the Japanese; however, I know that they also have judgment. /Laughter/. Reckless stubbornness can hardly lead to good.
Okada. I do not manifest reckless stubbornness, but I want to reiterate what was said by Mr. Suzuki relating to the fact that the new situation in Japan occurred as a result of massive demonstrations against the treaty by the people. We understand that the USA is using the territorial conflict between the USSR and Japan for its interests. But the new situation also significantly influenced the USA’s policy. The Americans would like to use the new treaty for the delivery of rockets to Japan and for the armament of Japanese troops with nuclear weapons, but if the Japanese governmentmet these demands by the USA, taking into account the new situation, it would be quickly overthrown. I will give you two examples: the Japanese people decidedly came against the retention of the “U-2” airplanes on Japanese territory, and the US, in connection with this, had to remove these airplanes from our land. In parliament, the Socialist Party often makes denunciations not just in connection with “U-2” planes located on Japan’s territory, but similarly in connection with plans for the possible supply of “RB-47” planes to Japan. A different example. At the foot of the Fujiyama Mountains there is a large training grounds for USA troops. Not long ago, farmers living around these grounds staged a massive demonstration with the demand to eliminate these grounds. In the end, the government of Japan had to enter into negotiations with the USA on this issue, and, as became known, at the beginning of this month the USA promised to eliminate the grounds.
From what was said, it is seen that Ikeda’s new government, experiencing constant pressure from the people, will hardly be able to move on a more correct path then Kisi’s previous government. That is why we recommend that the Soviet Union build its policy in relation to Japan by taking into account the new situation.
It should be frankly said that among some of the Japanese a popular suspicion in relation to the Soviet Union is still detected, and it is our task to disperse these suspicions for the strengthening of friendly relations between our countries. But the Socialist Party can hardly manage this task. It is necessary that the Soviet Union conducts its policy taking into account newtrends and new tendencies currently emerging in Japan.
Khrushchev. I would like to frankly express my thoughts to you. We always experience the friendliest feelings toward the Japanese people. We never shared the Tsarist government’s policy, just like the Japanese people are not responsible for the policies of Japan’s imperialists. When there was the Russian-Japanese War, Plekhanov and Sen-Katayama entered into an embrace, and this was like a symbol of the peoples’ relations of both countries to each other. In the embrace of Plekhanov and Sen-Katayama the friendly feelings of our peoples were expressed. But understand our position – given the military treaty, Japan’s territory is being used for the interests of the USA’s policy. The Americans can remove its U-2 airplanes from Japan’s territory or free some kind of grounds, but the matter hardly changes because of this. For the US has full capability to create new grounds and to use Japanese territory for the establishment of rockets against the USSR. Every Japanese should understand that the Japanese-American military treaty is directed against the USSR and PRC. This requires us to conduct counter activities – aim our rockets in the direction of Japan. This is natural. But the difference is that we are masters and we manage our rockets ourselves. But you are not masters, the Americans are on your territory. They will decide when to launch rockets and Japan has to pay the price with the blood of its people. Therefore, before all else, you need to free the country from dependence on America. You need to do everything to remove the Americans from Japan, and then we will be able to live in peace and friendship.
The Japanese territory is insignificant, and one strike is enough to incapacitate your whole country. But people live on the Japanese islands. This is a tragedy for us. However, because there are USA military structures on Japan’s territory directed against us, we need to build installations for launching missiles at Japan, and we are actually doing this. We have to aim at your country and determine which part of your territory to strike with rockets. For the future war is completely unlike what it was during the Russo-Japanese War. Modern military technology has moved far ahead. Yes, you yourselves know this since your country was one of the first tested on by the horrors of the atomic bomb.
Hozumi. During a conversation with Mr. Mikoyan, I asked if the Soviet Union supports Cho Enlai’s statement that the military articles of the Chinese-Soviet treaty about friendship in relation to Japan will be revoked if Japan is neutral andforeign military bases are removed from its territory. Mr. Mikoyan answered that he agreed with Cho Enlai’s statement. This is a very serious question and we would like to listen to your opinion on this.
Khrushchev. Certainly, if Japan goes on the path of peace and neutrality and US military structures are removed from its territory, then the necessity of the military article of the Soviet-Chinese treaty will disappear.
Okada. We regret that the Paris meeting was thwarted as a result of the USA sending a spy plane to the territory of the USSR, but we hope that you, Mr. Khrushchev,will henceforth apply efforts topursue the strengthening of peace in the whole world on the basis of negotiations. The elections will have serious importance in the USA. We hope that the time is coming when you again take the initiative in organizing negotiations in the interest of preserving peace. Japan is located between the USSR and the US, and if the Cold War intensifies, then Japan’s position will be worse. This is why we want to ask that you apply efforts to the strengthening of peace in the interests of all peoples.
Khrushchev. The disruption of the meeting of the heads of governments cannot just be considered from the negative side. In fact, we can also find many positive aspects in this event. The powers of peace won as a result of what happened in Paris. The USA prepared for the Paris Conference, sending its planes into our air space. They wanted to talk with us and at the same time complete espionage flights, not considering the Soviet’s view. This is a policy of an intense international environment, a policy of the “Cold War.” Could Eisenhower really have thought that spy planes over our territory will create better conditions for our agreement in Paris? No, not even Eisenhower could assume this. /Laughter/.
Why did the Americans send their planes to us? This is not an accident. This is a planned policy. If we did not raise the issue of these planes, the US would have taken our position as silent surrender before them. In fact, it was about the USA’s aggressive actions. Eisenhower knew what it was about.
Eisenhower wanted to send planes into our space and come to Paris for negotiations. He wanted to demonstrate his advantage to us. This is Dullespolicy from a position of power, a policy of balancing on the edge of war. And if we sat at one table with Eisenhower, then they would declare that we have accepted this policy.
We shot down the spy plane. This means the failure of the American policy from the position of strength, whichrelied on a bomber plane. All USA bomber planes are in the crosshairs of a rocket. We shot down the “RB-47” with a fighter jet.
The failure of the meeting in Paris created a somewhat tense situation. But this triggered a people’s movement. What happened as a result of the revelation of the USA’s aggressive actions? The Japanese people rose up against the military treaty. Hagerty was saved on a helicopter. This was a demonstration of the defeat of the USA’s aggressive policy. Major events occurred in Turkey, leading to a collapse of the Turkish government. Even Pakistan, allied with the USA, protested at the Americans. Thus, it is impossible not to see, that as result of the revelation of the aggressive plans and espionage activity of the USA, the world powers won a major victory. We have managed to remove the scales from the eyes of many people, who have now seen the entire disgusting creature of American policy. Now the whole world knows the kinds of plans of the USA. Our relations with the USA have always been bad, the difference is that after the Soviet Union made the revelation of their aggressive actions, everything came out.
Whoever the president is one thing is clear: the policy conducted under Eisenhower will be changed. Right now, it is clear to everyone that the policy of the arms race does not lead to tranquility of the public opinion of the USA and that international relations problems should not be solved in this way.
Before, the Americans believed that they are richer and stronger than everyone. But the Soviet Union showed that it is not weaker and, in some things, it is stronger than the USA. We launched a giant spaceship into space. Not long ago a whole menagerie was launched into space /laughter/ and not only launched, but returned to land. But to date the Americans have been launching some kind of unimportant (by our standards) sputnik and catching it in the air.
The breakdown of the Paris meeting is a breakdown and failure of the policy from the position of power, which the USA conducts. At the same time, the subordinated position of England and France was demonstrated. They lost face since they did not condemn the American policy of aggression.
We intend to raise this question again at the UN session. For, nation-members of the UN cannot recognize the right of the US to complete espionage flights over other countries.
Suzuki. Thank you for the conversation. In conclusion, allow us to note that lately, especially in the last 5 years, life in the Soviet Union has significantly improved. Japanese, who were in the Soviet Union 5 years ago, note that the number of consumer goods has increased and people have started to dress better. In everything, a full-fledged, joyful life is felt. We know that you, Mr. Khrushchev, are making efforts for the further development of industry manufacturing consumer goods.
Khrushchev. True, in addition to the seven-year plan, we decided to find 16 billion rubles for the expansion of the manufacturing of consumer goods and by 1965 we will overtake all countries, except for the US, in the manufacturing of consumer goods. And by 1970 we will overtake the US. This is an affirmation of the Marxist-Leninist [handwritten] idea.
Participated in the conversation: Okada, Hozumi, Suzuki.
A member of the panel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Tugarinov I.I. was present for the conversation.
Recorded:Tugarinov I. I. and Rozhetskin A.M.
Khrushchev and Suzuki discuss Japan's neutrality, the American intelligence plane incident, and the failure of the Paris summit.
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