February 21, 1951
Record of Conversations between G.M. Malenkov and M.A. Suslov with the Representatives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Record of the Discussions of Comrades G.M. Malenkov and M.A. Suslov with the Representatives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India Comrades Rao, Dange, Ghosh, and Punnaiah
21 February 1951
Malenkov: We have been informed of your desire to discuss organizational questions with us. As you already are aware, discussions on questions touching on the program of the party will take place in a matter of days.
Rao: Yes, we wish to talk about organizational questions. Our main organizational problems are the following: we must settle the question of the postponement of the congress and the composition of the Central Committee. Comrade Stalin spoke of the need to finish the endless discussions in the party. We consider that the party congress should take place after the determination of the political line. We will need to explain to the party masses why, when the congress has not been held for a significant period already, it has not been fixed in the current period. In our party the opinion exists that the party organs starting from the lowest and ending with the highest must be elected in a democratic way. If we in our own name say that the party congress must be put off, that would probably not carry weight. If, however, we say that this is the advice of the international communist movement, then we may convince the members of the party. Now some words on the second question: the composition of the Central Committee. From the constituents of the current Central Committee, 14 persons are left (in 1949 the Central Committee consisted of 31 persons; in May 1950 there were 9 persons). It is not representative, as only our tendency and the tendency of Ghosh and Dange are represented. Therefore, such a Central Committee cannot guarantee the unity of the party. It seems to me that Joshi must be reinstated to the party. This is necessary in order to guarantee the unity of the party. The question of the entry of Joshi as a part of the central committee would be put up by a significant number of party members. We hold contrary positions to Joshi, but I consider that he must become part of the central committee. Some trends which exist in the provinces are not represented in the central committee. They must be represented. Only thus will we go ahead. I consider that it is necessary to establish regular contact with the CPSU (b) for the benefit of resolving questions which spring up in the course of our daily practical work. In our time, we were given the advice of the CC of the CPSU (b) in 1933. In 1947, the discussion between Dange and Zhdanov took place, but the advice we were then given was half implemented. We found it outrageous that Dange never informed us why this advice was not carried out. We wish to know what advice was given to us [and] how it was sabotaged so that we may get to know particular individuals better. In 1947, one of the Chinese comrades returning from a session of the World Federation of Trade Unions had a discussion with Joshi lasting 6-7 hours, but nothing of this was reported to the Central Committee, and we learned about it only recently.
Malenkov: We can give you advice as to how in principle one should approach the resolution of organizational questions. You must excuse us as we will not manage to give you advice on separate practical problems and details. I wish to remind you that our advice is not obligatory. It may or may not be accepted by you.
It seems to me that for you to cite the advice of the international communist movement, in order to lean upon this advice to justify the postponement of calling the congress of the Communist Party of India, would be incorrect. It is harmful. You will be declared agents of Moscow and this will inflict damage on the communist movement in India.
We always avoid giving the least pretext to dub this or that party an agent of Moscow. Whether the Communist Party of India can cope with such kind of an organizational problem, we think that they can manage it. You will now have a party program. It is an important circumstance. In this is the advantage of the present stage of relations between the CPSU (b) and the Communist Party of India: we will work out the document, the program of the Communist Party of India. This document will lie at the basis of all of the activities of the Communist Party of India. It will facilitate the activity of the Communist Party of India.
The most reliable and tested members of the Communist Party must come into the Central Committee. The central committee must not represent an amalgam of the representatives of all of the existing tendencies in the party. You asked how some individual comrades should be dealt with. First of all, Joshi. Once you have your program, the Central Committee as currently constituted will determine all activity which will rally the entire party. In constituting the Central Committee, the reliable and tested comrades must be included who have the ability to lead the party in the direction indicated by the program. Whether Joshi proceeds from this point of view is for you to consider. If I am not mistaken, there were previous discussions on this theme. It is necessary to verify in what measure Joshi will fulfill the will and program of the party.
Contact between the Communist Party of India and the CPSU (b) is necessary. It has been useful. To that measure, in whatever way the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India might carry out this contact, it is necessary to do it. We will assist [you in] this. Maybe we can think of establishing an organization of specialists in radio relations for this. We might be able to render some sort of assistance for this purpose.
Dange: At the time of the discussion in 1947, such a proposal was brought up but was left unimplemented.
Ghosh: I agree that, having obtained advice on principles on organizational questions, we will limit it to this and must leave all the affairs of organizational relations for the Indian Communist Party.
I wish to ask you, so far as members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India who are permanently situated in East Pakistan are concerned, should they be members of the Central Committee.
Malenkov: To have relations with the workers of East Pakistan is helpful. To have organizational relations, i.e., to have them as members of the Central Committee, is not obligatory.
Dange: Since my meeting with Cde. Zhdanov has been referred to here, I must inform you that after my return from Moscow I made a detailed report on this meeting to the Politburo of our party–Comrades Ranadive, Joshi, Adhikari. There is no document of this for the reason that I was working in conditions of complete conspiracy and it was not possible to distribute my report in the form of a written document then as that would have been dangerous. I communicated all the questions including the question of radio relations. In February 1948 the Second Congress of the party took place and in April I was put into prison and cut off from party life.
Malenkov: In past discussions we touched upon the question of instituting candidate membership in the party. This would help to raise the quality of the party and draw in tried and tested people, not enlarging the membership of the party too much but rather placing emphasis on the quality of persons taken into the party.
Dange: Yes, we thought over this suggestion and consider it feasible.
Punnaiah: After our program is published, it will be clear that we strongly made a mess-up of many questions. It will be clear that we were incorrect on many questions. For example, on the question of understanding the Chinese path of development. After the publication of the program, let there appear leading articles in the press of the fraternal communist parties morally supporting the program and the Central Committee. This would be a great help to us. I asked you also to bring clarity to some questions which I have on the problem of partisan warfare in India.
Malenkov: You will bring out the program of the party in the name of the Central Committee which will unite people on the basis of that program. Following from this, the activists will unite around the program. I think that the publication of the program of the Communist Party of India will determine our relations to them. The position of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India would be very strong. And then that fact–whatever were the earlier points of view–acquires a secondary significance once the program comes out, uniting the Central Committee. Each one of you would be recognized as one who steadfastly contributed to the party program. This will end confusion and unite the Central Committee on the basis of the program.
Ghosh: I fully agree with this. Once the publication of our program is a fact, that will be fully sufficient.
Malenkov: Do the comrades still have any questions for us? I want to inform the comrades that if they wish to get to the bottom of difficult material problems, then they might want to take into consideration that at the present time there exists the ‘International foundation to help the left workers’ organizations.’ We can render help in accordance with this.
Rao: We will think over this and inform you.
Dange: We need to open the struggle against the influence of bourgeois ideology over the masses, particularly on the questions of the history and philosophy of India. Our youth find bourgeois psychology on these questions acceptable. Maybe the Academy of Sciences can take upon itself this specialized work in order to render us some assistance. We require English translations of books appearing here on India and, in particular, we wish to receive the Chronological Notebooks of Marx on India. We have only two books devoted to the history of India: the book of Dyakov[i] and my book on the ancient history of India. If we might find the corresponding forms to relate the scientific work in India with the work of the Academy of Sciences, that would be a great help for us.
I wish to return to the request to have a meeting with the chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, Comrade Kuznetsov, for a discussion on trade union questions.
Cde. Malenkov said that the request of Comrade Dange would be fulfilled.
[Taken down by] V. Grigor’yan 22.II.51
[i] A. M. Diakov was a leading Soviet scholar and political commentator on India since the 1930s. In 1948, his book The Nationality Question and English Imperialism in India found opportunities for revolutionary activity among India’s nationalities. His over-eagerness was attacked in 1952, and Diakov opted for self-criticism.
G.M. Malenkov speaks with representatives of the Indian Communist Party, including Dange, Ghosh, and Rao. The ICP delegation asks for Soviet advice on party organization and composition. Malenkov responds, warning the ICP to take care not to come off as a Soviet puppet. Malenkov's main suggestion is to determine a firm party line, and publish a singular and clear program for the party, so as to unite disputing factions.
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