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Cold War” (see conference schedule below) of Russian, Chinese, West European and American scholars in Beijing focused on new documentation, both Russian and Chinese, that made it possible to identify smaller positive eddies and swirls amidst the generally accepted trends of SinoSoviet divergence. Similarly, the January 1996 CWIHP conference in Hong Kong examined documents from the early 1950s, the heyday of Sino-Soviet friendship, and found grounds for incipient strife. 6
Document-based studies can also help us to draw a detailed and more human portrait of a giant of the twentieth century. What is certain is that the history of the Cold War will not be complete without an archive-based biography of Deng Xiaoping. CWIHP, together with all scholars of the Cold War and China, looks forward to the speedy release and publication of Deng-related materials by the appropriate PRC “units” with actual archival access, especially the Central Archives with their holdings of CCP documents. CWIHP is continuing its collection of materials from which to piece together the lifework of Deng Xiaoping and hopes that readers with such documents will forward copies to the Project. 1 TsKhSD Tsentral'noe khranilishche sovremennoi
dokumentatsii) (Central Repository for Contemporary Documentation), f. 5, op. 49, d. 327, 1. 255. 2
Kang Sheng's diatribe against the Soviet treatment of Stalin is probably the most powerful piece of oratory in this Bulletin.
On the withdrawal of the Soviet experts, see Chen Jian, “A Crucial Step toward the Sino-Soviet Schism” in CWIHP Bulletin, 8-9 (Winter 1996/1997), pp. 246ff. 4
See Yang Kuisong "Toward the Breakdown, 1960-3," p.5 (Presented at the CWIHP-sponsored conference “Sino-Soviet Relations and the Cold War" (Beijing, 1997)). 5
See Odd Arne Westad, “Who Killed the Alliance?" pp. 7-8. (Presented at the CWIHP-sponsored conference “Sino-Soviet Relations and the Cold War" (Beijing, 1997). 6
More on this can be found in CWIHP Bulletin 6-7 and 8-9, where the Russian version of a message from Mao to Stalin (2 October 1950) suggests great tensions in the earliest phases of the Korean War, a supposed highpoint of socialist internationalism. The previously accepted Chinese version, claiming identity of views on the sending of “volunteers” to Korea, now appears to have been a draft telegram never sent. Only declassification of the document and examination of its archival context can clarify this contradiction further.
Sino-Soviet Relations and the Cold War
An International Symposium Sponsored by The Cold War International History Project, The Wilson Center; Institute of Contemporary China, CASS; Center for Oriental History Research, Chinese Association of Historians; Fairbank Center, Harvard University
22-25 October 1997, Beijing
Wednesday, October 22, 1997
Reflections on Sino-Soviet Relations Speakers: Li LIAN, ANATOLII Hazonov, WARREN COHEN, YAN MINGFU, Wu LENGXI, HUANG Hua, Zhu RUIZHEN
The Making of the Sino-Soviet Alliance
SHEN ZHIHUA (Center for Oriental History Research)
XUE XIANTIAN (Modern History Institute, CASS)
Soviet Strategy toward Xinjiang during the Postwar Period
Discussants: Liv Guoxin (Institute of Contemporary China);
Thursday, October 23, 1997
WILLIAM KIRBY (Harvard University)
ZHANG SHUGCANG (University of Maryland)
LEONID SHIROKORAD (St. Petersburg State University)
ZHANG Baijia (CCP Central Institute of Party History)
International Conflict and Sino-Soviet Relations
Sino-Soviet Relations and the Korean War
Li DANHUI (Institute of Contemporary China)
Hope Harrison (Lafayette College)
China and the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962
CHEN DONGLIN (Institute of Contemporary China)
A Comparative Study
Friday, October 24, 1997
The Year 1960 as Viewed by Soviet and Chinese Leaders
Nil JUN (American Studies Institute, CASS)
Soviet Policy toward China during the Khrushchev Period
Reflections on the Beginning of the Sino-Soviet Conflict
Opp ARNE WESTAD (The Norwegian Nobel Institute)
Chinese and Soviet Leaders and Sino-Soviet Relations
Mao Zedong and Sino-Soviet Relations
Deng Xiaoping and the Sino-Soviet Split
Khrushchev and Sino-Soviet Relations
Saturday, October 25, 1997
Li JIE (CCP Central Institute of Documents)
ODD ARNE WESTAD (The Norwegian Nobel Institute)
YANG KUISONG (Modern History Institute, CASS)
Boris Kulik (Far Eastern Institute, Russian Academy of Science)
The Sino-Soviet Split in the Environment of the Cold War
“Look What Chaos in the Beautiful Socialist Camp!” Deng Xiaoping and the Sino-Soviet Split,
1956-1963 by Vladislav M. Zubok
n November 1957, on the 40th anniversary of the performed his job of ideological “terrier" well: he chalOctober Revolution in Russia, a high-level Chinese lenged the Soviets, teased them, and knocked them off
delegation arrived in Moscow to take part in a major balance with a dazzling array of arguments. Besides conference of communist parties that was convoked by ideological recriminations about who better interpreted Soviet leader N. S. Khrushchev to grant a new interna- Marxism-Leninism, Deng skillfully found "soft" spots in tional legitimacy to his leadership, which had already the Soviet armor, episodes of post-Stalin foreign policy weathered years of domestic power struggle following and events inside the communist camp that deeply Stalin's death. In Chinese leader Mao Zedong's entourage disturbed and even inwardly split Moscow echelons of were CC CCP (Central Committee of the Chinese Commu- power. nist Party) general secretary Deng Xiaoping; director of In this article I will trace Deng's role as Mao's agent the CC Central Administrative Office, Yang Shangkun; in struggling for China's equal place and then for ideologiMao's political secretary Hu Qiaomu; Defense Minister cal supremacy in the communist camp. I will also and Vice-Premier of the State Council Peng Dehuai; compare the emerging evidence on the main events in interpreter Li Yueran, and physician Dr. Li Zhisui. To the Sino-Soviet relations in 1956-63 and the way Deng West the Communist reunion in Moscow looked like an interpreted them in his polemics with the Soviets in July ominous triumph of enemy forces, bent on expansion and 1963. I will also reflect on the place of this episode in untroubled by inner rifts. In reality, the rivalry between Deng's political biography. the Soviet and Chinese leadership was already in progress. The prelude to the story is Deng's two visits to
American journalist Harrison Salisbury, who inter- Moscow in 1956. The first visit was in February 1956, viewed Chinese veterans about this episode, writes that it when Deng Xiaoping and Zhu De attended the 20th CPSU was the first time Deng handled such a role and he “proved congress at which Khrushchev denounced I. V. Stalin in a tireless in fighting for Mao's position." Deng Xiaoping "secret speech" and declared that two systems, capitalist was the Chinese representative on the ten-nation commit- and socialist, could coexist and a world war was no longer tee that drafted the conference's final manifesto. "China inevitable.4 In his memoirs, Shi Zhe, an interpreter to the swept the day," Salisbury's Chinese sources told him. Chinese delegation at the congress, recalls that the Chinese “Mao Zedong was never to forget this. It caused him to were not invited to the closed session where Khrushchev brag about his little guy' to Khrushchev—the man who ... made his famous speech, but the Soviet leader provided bested Mikhail Suslov, the tall Soviet ideologue.'
them with a copy of its transcript on the next day. Future biographers of Deng Xiaoping will have to pay The Chinese delegation discussed the speech and was more attention to his prominent role in the drama of the not quite sure how to react. It was Deng Xiaoping who Sino-Soviet split.2 New evidence from Eastern-bloc emphasized that Khrushchev's attack on Stalin was not an archives reveals that Deng earned many of his stripes in "internal matter” of the CPSU, but had "an international the ideological struggle for preeminence between Mao impact," and therefore it warranted extreme caution. He Zedong and Moscow. Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi then refrained from further comments on the speech until alternated as ideological spokesmen in the relationship the delegation returned to Beijing to report to Mao with Soviet leaders. The performance in November 1957 Zedong. In the following months dramatic international was one of Deng's first exploits in the Sino-Soviet
events demonstrated the correctness of Deng's first ideological competition. His last was his face-off with the reaction. Through luck and political acumen, Deng
5 Soviets as the head of a Chinese delegation at the Sino- Xiaoping began his perilous walk across the egg-shells of Soviet consultations on 5-20 July 1963.3 After that, the de-Stalinization. tenuous dialogue between the two communist powers
The second visit was in October 1956, when Deng degenerated into polemical brawl. Between these two Xiaoping together with Liu Shaoqi participated in Sinodates were several significant episodes, including Deng's Soviet consultations on the revolutions in Poland and participation in the Beijing "summit" between Mao
Hungary. It was a key turning point in the history of SinoZedong and Khrushchev in July-August 1958, and his Soviet relations after Stalin's death, because for the first participation in the Conference of the communist and time the Chinese leadership was able to play the role of workers' parties in Moscow in November 1960.
mediator between the Big Brother and its clients in Eastern As Mao Zedong passed from cautious partnership Europe. For my knowledge of this episode and Deng's with the Kremlin to greater assertiveness, tension, and role in it, I am greatly indebted to Canadian historian Leo open rivalry, Deng's political star continued to rise. He Gluchowski, and particularly to American-Chinese
historians Zhang Shuguang and Chen Jian.
6 The notes of the head of the CC CPSU General Department Vladimir Malin on the discussions in the Kremlin reveal that Soviet leaders, even after they returned from Poland and the face-off between Khrushchev and Gomulka, contemplated military pressure and insisted that Marshal Konstantin Rokossowski, - the Soviet citizen installed by Moscow after World War Two as Polish Defense Minister whose ouster the Polish communists had demanded - should remain the head of the Polish army. Also the CC Presidium discussed inviting to Moscow "representatives from the Communist parties of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, the GDR, and Bulgaria."7 However, the Polish leadership managed to appeal to the Chinese behind the Soviets back with a plea to intercede and prevent a possible Soviet military intervention. Later, after the fact, Mao Zedong asserted that the CCP categorically rejected the Soviet proposal (for intervention] and attempted to put forward the Chinese position directly by immediately sending a delegation to Moscow with Liu Shaoqi at its head.” Mao blamed the crisis in Poland on the tendency toward “great power chauvinism” in Moscow that repeated the worst patterns of Stalin's behavior from many, including himself, had suffered so much in the past. The Chinese leaders told the Polish ambassador in Beijing on October 27 that “between 19-23 October a CCP delegation...in Moscow convinced Khrushchev about the correctness of the political changes in Poland” and warned him that the use of military force would represent a return to the same Stalinist methods that Khrushchev had repudiated. 8
There is still ambiguity regarding the exact timetable and details of Sino-Soviet consultations on the Polish, and particularly on the Hungarian crises. It is not clear why the Polish ambassador was misled about the dates of the Chinese delegation's stay in Moscow; actually it arrived on October 23, shortly after noon and stayed there until the late evening of October 31. Deng Xiaoping was still number two there after Liu Shaoqi who was considered a key ideologue and theoretician of communist bloc affairs. The rest of the delegation included lower-ranking officials Wang Jiaxiang and Hu Qiaomu, as well as interpreter Shi Zhe (Karskii). Khrushchev met the delegation at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow and already in the car began to talk with them about the Polish situation.9 The Malin notes mention only Liu by name, but according to Shi Zhe also Deng Xiaoping and other members of the Chinese delegation were invited to several sessions of the CC Presidium on 24, 26, the evening of 30 and the night of 3031 October. 10 On October 29 a crucial round of consultations took place between the Chinese and Khrushchev, Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin at Stalin's former dacha (Lipki) near Moscow. It was there first, Khrushchev recalled in his memoirs, that “we agreed upon a common opinion not to use our force” in Hungary. maintained regular radio-communications with Mao Zedong in Beijing.
On October 29-30, according to the Malin notes and Shi Zhe, the Chinese pushed the Russians to accept the five principles of Pancha Shila, namely equality and mutual noninterference between states (as postulated by Indian Premier J. Nehru and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai), as a new basis for relations between the USSR and its allies. After reporting on the situation in Hungary, Khrushchev informed the Presidium about his (and Molotov's) talks with “the Chinese comrades" and told them: “We should adopt a declaration today on the withdrawal of troops from the countries of people's democracy” if they demand it, and “the entire CPC CC Politburo supports this position."12 After the declaration was drafted, the Chinese delegation, according to Shi Zhe, joined the session and approved of its text and publication.
The Chinese sources indicate that the Chinese changed their position from nonintervention to interventionist right at the moment when the Soviets agreed with their previous stand. As Chen Jian reconstructs these events on the basis of Chinese memoirs, “on the evening of October 30, after receiving a report from Liu and Deng Xiaoping from Moscow that the Soviet leaders were planning to withdraw their troops from Hungary, Mao Zedong chaired a meeting of top CCP leaders, which made the decision to oppose Moscow's abandoning of Hungary to the reactionary forces."13 The reversal of the Chinese position on Hungary most likely happened very late on October 30. Shi Zhe's memoirs and the Malin notes suggest that there was an urgent night session of the Presidium with the Chinese. At first Pavel Iudin, the Soviet ambassador to Beijing, informed the Presidium members about “negotiating with the Chinese comrades," then “Com. Liu Shaoqi indicate[ed) on behalf of the CPC CC that (Soviet) troops must remain in Hungary and in Budapest."14 Shi Zhe's dramatic description of this event has Deng Xiaoping making three proposals to the Soviets: the Soviet army should not withdraw from Hungary, everything should be done to help the loyal Hungarian communists to resume political control and, together with the Soviet military, restore order. Deng stressed that the Soviet troops had a chance to play a model role, demonstrating true proletarian internationalism."15
Later Mao Zedong (and the Chinese leadership along with him) and Khrushchev greatly diverged in the reconstruction of these events. Khrushchev in his memoirs did not make a single mention of the Chinese factor when he described the Polish events, and when he came to the Hungarian events he insisted that the intervention in Hungary was his own decision, taken in a sleepless night after serious brooding. After that, he claims, he convened an emergency session of the CC Presidium, announced his new decision and made all present go to Vnukovo airport to inform the Chinese delegation about the Soviet decision to intervene. 16
The differences between the Chinese and Soviet versions of that momentous discussion were not fortuitous. They, as well as zigzags in both sides' positions on
11 Liu and Deng
Hungary, could be explained and understood only if we look at them from within the world in which the participants themselves lived and thought. In this world each side maneuvered with a careful eye on three factors — one was the legacy of Stalin, the embodiment of power and unity of the communist camp; another was the power struggle inside Moscow and Beijing; the third was the emerging struggle between Mao Zedong and Khrushchev for seniority and revolutionary legitimacy within the communist world. Mao Zedong had been outraged when Khrushchev in February had denounced Stalin without consulting the Chinese leadership. Mao realized, to his extreme displeasure, that this funny, bald-headed Soviet leader had just undercut his, Mao's, intention to turn Stalin into a pedestal for his seniority in the world communist movement while building his own legitimacy as a paragon of de-Stalinization. From 1956, Mao began to regard himself as the potential leader of the communist camp and Khrushchev as a time-server and political liability. Evidently Deng Xiaoping was one of those who avidly shared this new perception in Beijing.
In July 1963 Deng Xiaoping challenged the Soviets on what had happened on those fateful days. Deng Xiaoping said that “after the 20th congress of the CPSU, as a consequence of the so-called struggle against the cult of personality and the wholesale renunciation of Stalin, a wave of anti-Soviet and anti-Communist campaigns was provoked around the whole world... The most prominent events which took place in this period were the events in Poland and Hungary.” Deng Xiaoping was careful to indicate that the Chinese leadership had never concealed this position from the Soviets. In fact, on 23 October 1956 when the Hungarian revolution started, Mao Zedong had told Soviet ambassador Pavel Iudin that the Soviets "had completely renounced such a sword as Stalin, and had thrown away the sword. As a result, enemies had seized it in order to kill us with it.” Khrushchev’s method of criticizing Stalin, Mao had implied, was "the same as if having picked up a stone, one were to throw it on one's
asked Deng Xiaoping. “The leadership of the CPSU at one time tried to leave socialist Hungary to the mercy of fate. You know that at that time we spoke out against your position on the matter. Such a position was practically tantamount to capitulation. The course and details of these two events are well known to you and us. I do not want to dwell on them too much."18
Yet, as an experienced orator, Deng returned to this subject again and again, reminding the Soviets of other "details:" "On 18 January 1957 in Moscow, at the fifth discussion with the government delegation of the Soviet Union, Com. Zhou Enlai touched on the events in Hungary, noting that the counter-revolutionary revolt in Hungary was connected, on the one hand, with some mistakes committed by Stalin when resolving issues of mutual relations between fraternal parties and fraternal countries, and, on the other, was connected with mistakes committed by the leadership of the CPSU in its criticism of Stalin. In discussion Com. Zhou Enlai again set out the aforementioned three points on this issue to the leadership of the CPSU: the lack of an all-round analysis, the lack of self-criticism and the lack of consultation with the fraternal countries.”
“It should be further noted that when the events in Poland arose, Com. Liu Shaoqi as head of the delegation of the Communist Party of China arrived in Moscow for negotiations (on 23 October 1956—VZ] during which he also talked about the issue of Stalin and criticized comrades from the CPSU for committing the same mistakes during the events in Poland—mistakes of great-power chauvinism.”:19
On the opposite side of the table were CC CPSU Secretary Mikhail Suslov and Iurii Andropov, immediate participants in the Hungarian events. But only Suslov had taken part in the CC Presidium discussions in October 1956, and even he was not present at the crucial session on October 30-31. Therefore the Soviet delegation had no response other than to give a general rebuff and avoid a slippery debate on details.
"We do not plan to examine these issues anew," Suslov said. “We will simply note the complete lack of foundation for your assertions to the effect that the decisions of the 20th congress led to the counterrevolutionary revolt in Hungary. One of the reasons for those events, as is shown by the materials of the fraternal parties, as well as the errors of the fraternal parties, is the errors of the previous leadership of Hungary connected with Stalin's actions...”
“You are now trying to accumulate capital by speculating on these events and by proving that the Soviet Union allegedly committed errors and that by your interference you almost managed to save the situation. This is a strange and monstrous accusation to lay at the feet of the CPSU and a more than bizarre arrogance on the part of the Chinese leaders. Did our country not pay with thousands of its sons' lives in order to preserve the socialist order in fraternal Hungary? Did it not come to
Continuing his commentary on the events of 1956, Deng added, “We have always considered and still consider that in resolving the issues connected with the events in Poland, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union took a position of great-power chauvinism, trying to exert pressure on Polish comrades and to subordinate them by means of coercion and even trying to resort to the use of military force."
Deng Xiaoping then glossed over the major zigzag that occurred in Beijing vis-à-vis the Hungarian events and went right to the conclusion that underlined Mao's decision on October 31 to insist on intervention: that the Hungarian events were fundamentally different from the Polish ones since it was an anti-Communist, anti-Soviet counterrevolution and not merely a protest against greatpower chauvinism. “And what position did the CPSU take in regard to the counterrevolutionary revolt in Hungary?"