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September 16, 1952

Report, Zhou Enlai to the Chairman [Mao Zedong] and the Central Committee

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

To the Chairman [Mao Zedong] and the Central Committee:[1]


On September 8, our delegation held talks with [Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Vyacheslav] Molotov. Participants from the Soviet side were [Foreign Ministry] Andrey Vyshinsky, [Minister of Foreign Trade] Pavel Kumykin, and [Soviet Ambassador to China] Alexander Panyushkin. The main topics of discussion were:


[1] Requesting the Soviet side for advance examination and approval our requests for Korean war supplies for 1952 and 1953 according to our two conversations with Comrade Stalin and the documents submitted on September 6.


[2] Asking whether requests we made about the Five Year Plan could be responded to within two months. Molotov promised a reply prior to our departure.


[3] We requests separate talks with [Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Nikolai] Bulganin in order that the military part of our requests could get specially handling. Molotov approved.


[4] As for the loan issue, after some study, we handed over a letter to Molotov during our meeting of September 8. We anticipate that over the next five years our exports to the Soviet Union will total 13.8 billion rubles and our imports 18.4 billion rubles. The trade deficit will be 4.6 billion rubles. We assume that we will transfer 620 million rubles in foreign exchange and supplement that with a loan of 4 billion rubles. Import items will include 7.7 billion rubles for infrastructure construction and 4.5 billion rubles for military equipment, 4.2 billion rubles for commercial imports, 740 million rubles for non-commercial payments, and 100 million (now changed to 70 million) rubles for plastics machinery and 1.17 billion rubles for loan repayments. Loan items include 2.13 billion rubles for the navy, 985 million rubles for 60 divisions of the army, 800 million for economic payments, plastics 100 million (changed to 70 million) rubles. Molotov approved these estimates and will wait for the final calculations in two months to determine the exact amount of the loan.


[5] As for hiring experts, we suggested that we should first quickly resolve the urgent issue of hiring experts for the fourth quarter of 1952. He agreed. The list of names has been checked and rechecked several times and will be sent today. The total comes to 216 military experts, 16 financial experts, and 47 educational and cultural experts—for a total of 280 experts.


[6] As to technology and documentation needed for the construction of infrastructure, they answered that it would be provided to us. As to the four documents,[2] we discussed what would be in those documents. Diplomats went over the Chinese and Russian translations of the documents and corrected them. We expect that they will be signed on the 15th.


On September 10th, 22 members of our delegation visited Stalin at his residence. The next day we went by boat to view the Volga–Don River route. We slept on the boat that night. On the 12th we flew back to Moscow. On the September 12th, Comrade Stalin invited Kim [Il Sung], Pak [Heon-yeong] and Peng [Dehuai] to dinner. I was also invited to participate. Comrade Chen Yun, because he had a cold, was unable to join us. There topics were discussed during our meal:


(1) China, the student, should study hard so as to surpass its teacher and then teach Asian students;


(2) The Korean War is very difficult. China has been giving excellent assistance to Korea, would you like European countries to assist as well? (I answered, of course we need their help. When asked again, I answered, what reason could there ever be to refuse help?)


(3) When the three Mexican proposals[3]were raised, it was said the United States urgently wants an armistice in Korea. I said, that proves that we should hold out. Stalin asked, Comrade Pak, Have you been wavering on this issue? Pak answered, Yes, I have been.


(4) First, Stalin said that the Asian countries need a regional organization, not one formally separate from the United Nations. The Soviet Union would join. I asked whether pressure from the Asian Peace Council could force the governments of the Asian countries to move towards a regional alliance. Stalin said that it would be an alliance of governments because the United Nations has already become a voting machine run for the benefit of the United States. The Soviet Union is still there but the United Nations Charter is already a dead letter. Therefore we need to create the conditions for a new United Nations. I continued, saying that after the United Nations had invaded Korea and insulting China by calling it an aggressor, Comrade Mao Zedong had said several times “I have no interest in the United Nations”. Stalin said, don’t worry, I’ll write a letter about this for you to carry back to Comrade Mao Zedong.


(5) Omitted. [sic]


(6) Comrade Stalin will invite Comrade Ho Chi Minh to visit Moscow in six months of so.


(7) Stalin agrees that Pavel Yudin will go to China again but he must first finished editing his book on political economy.[4] According to a conversation with Yudin, this book will probably be completed in March or April next year.


(8) Omitted. [sic]


(9) Omitted. [sic]


During the afternoon of September 15th we discussed with Comrade [Georgy] Malenkov party organizational work. I will give a more detailed report on this conversation after returning to China.


September 15th at 9 PM at the Kremlin signed two agreements, one exchanged text and one communique.[5] At 10 PM Comrade Stalin invited me to have dinner and watch a movie.


On the afternoon of September 16, went with Su Yu, Liu Yalou, Luo Shunqu, Qiu Chuangcheng, and Wang Zhengand other comrades to visit Comrade Bulganin to resolve many practical questions. We agreed that Su Yu and other comrades would make separate appointments with the responsible comrades of the military departments such as the Army Department, the Navy Department, the Air Force Department, the Artillery Department, the Combat Engineers Department, and Chemical War Department, and Signals Department.


We have already made separate appointments with Comrades Stalin and Molotov to see them before we leave to discuss remaining issues. We made another separate appointment with the chairman of the Planning Commission to ask for his advice on the organization of a planning commission and issues relating to drawing up a plan.


On the evening of September 17, we had a dinner at the Mongolian Embassy. On the 18th, we had dinner at our embassy. Comrade Chen Yun is still not over his cold. We plan to fly back to China on the 20th. We will wait until we see Comrade Molotov to decide how many people we will leave behind.


Zhou Enlai

September 16




[1] Several footnotes providing biographical information that appeared in Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC) have been omitted from this translation. The remaining footnotes are verbatim translations. -- Charles Kraus

[2] Refers to the Sino-Soviet “Agreement on Cooperation in Plastics Technology,” “Exchange of Texts on Extension of Joint Use of the Chinese Naval Base at Lüshunkou,” “Notice on the Handover of the China Changchun Railroad to the People’s Republic of China,” and the “Agreement on Organization of Rail Transportation” among China, Mongolia and the Soviet Union.

[3] “Three Mexican Proposals” refers to proposals that Mexico was prepared to offer to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The proposals have three main parts: 1. Prisoners of the two sides that have expressed themselves willing to return to their country should be returned; 2. The remaining prisoners should be given temporary refugee status by other member states of the United Nations. These prisoners should be returned according to a procedure that is to be determined later; and 3. After the Korean situation returns completely to normal, their homelands should provide to those prisoners all assurances and conveniences in order to facilitate their immediate return to their countries. If some of the prisoners want to return home before the Korean situation has returned completely to normal, the governments concerned should make arrangements as above and give them various conveniences to facilitate their return to their countries.

[4] Pavel Yudin, then chief editor of the Soviet Books magazine. From July 1950 to January 1951, visited China at the invitation of Mao Zedong to assist in the editing of Selected Works of Mao Zedong. From 1953 to 1959, he was the Ambassador of the Soviet Union to China.

[5] Refers to the Sino-Soviet “Agreement on Cooperation in Plastics Technology,” “Exchange of Texts on Extension of Joint Use of the Chinese Naval Base at Lüshunkou,” “Notice on the Handover of the China Changchun Railroad to the People’s Republic of China,” and the “Agreement on Organization of Rail Transportation” among China, Mongolia and the Soviet Union.

Zhou Enlai updates Mao Zedong on the latest conversations with Stalin and other members of the Soviet leadership. Topics of discussion included Soviet technical assistance to China, developments in the Korean War, the United Nations, and the formation of a regional organization for Asia.


Document Information


Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC), vol. 7 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2018), 143-147. Translated by David Cowhig.


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