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From the Diary of P.A. ABRASIMOV
SECRET 9 July 1957
Memorandum of Conversation With the General Secretary of the CCP,
com. DENG XIAOPING
3 July 1957
On 3 July 1957, I visited Deng Xiaoping and on the instructions of the CC CPSU gave him the full texts of the decision of the CC CPSU's July Plenum on the anti-party group of Malenkov, Kaganovich and Molotov and the CC CPSU's closed letter to all party members and candidates. In the conversation which ensued, Deng Xiaoping talked about the struggle with rightist elements in the People's Republic of China. He said that it was calculated that this struggle would go on for a long time; the Chinese Communist Party had the strength to crush the rightists in two or three days, but there was no need for that. The rightists will be given a further chance to finish stating their case, since by doing so they are giving the people and the CCP a good lesson.
By showing their true face, they are actually helping to educate the broad masses and intermediate elements. Without encouragement from the CCP, they would not dare to open fire and begin to act on such a broad scale. The rightists, noted Deng Xiaoping, resemble a snake which has slithered out of the earth, scented danger, and wants to slither back in, but has been strongly seized by the tail.
The positive side of the struggle with the rightists which has unfolded is that it has given cadres the opportunity to garner experience and to be tempered. Some party workers were afraid to provide the rightist elements the full freedom to state their opinion. Experience, however, has shown that where the rightists had the chance to express themselves fully, the struggle with them has proceeded more successfully; in those cases, the object of the struggle has been exposed, and a target for a counterstroke has been revealed; in those cases, the masses were convinced of the obvious hostility of the rightists to socialism and the party organizations have had the support of the overwhelming majority of the people in their conduct of the struggle.
In some establishments and organizations, the rightist elements were not given the chance to speak out and thereby reveal their true face. There were even cases where “rightists” from other places were invited to give speeches. In such establishments, the struggle was aimless and did not attain its goal.
The shortcoming of the given movement was the fact that at the necessary time, not all party organizations had clarified sufficiently for themselves the goals and tasks laid out by the CC CCP for this struggle. The CC CCP
avoided micromanagement and detailed elaboration on these issues and wanted the party organizations themselves to work out the Central Committee's tactic in the course of the struggle, to understand deeply the necessity of conducting this tactical line and its advantages.
Deng Xiaoping added that great courage and calm were needed to endure the stream of abuse which the rightists unleashed on the CCP both orally and in the press. Furthermore, Deng Xiaoping observed that the campaign of struggle with the rightists was proceeding unevenly. In some places, they went over to the counterattack too early and the enemy hid himself. However, to be late in this struggle would have been unforgivable. It was necessary to deliver the blow before the opening of the session of the All-Chinese Convention of the People's Representatives. Of course, it would have been possible to listen to the rightists for another ten days, but as a whole the conditions for a counter-attack had already come together. The leaders of the rightists had already shown themselves, and their views were widely known to the masses. “The big fish was already in the net," Deng Xiaoping observed. I noted that com. Zhou Enlai's speech to the session of the All-Chinese Convention of the People's Representatives was not only a report on the government's work, but was also the first strong blow delivered by the party against the rightists. Having agreed, Deng Xiaoping added that the popular masses received com. Zhou's speech in precisely that way. The rightists also clearly acknowledged this side of the report by the Premier of the State Council.
I inquired as to how the rightist elements were behaving after the collapse of all of their attacks.
Deng Xiaoping answered that they now want to hide themselves, but they will not be able to. Squabbles and divisions have begun among the rightists. In Shanghai, prominent representatives of the rightists denounced ringleaders with the most reactionary tendencies. Some of the rightists have already capitulated, but others are continuing to resist.
The CCP is not only not crushing this resistance, but is even, in a certain sense, supporting it. The rightists are unmasking themselves completely and on that basis, it will be possible to teach the masses a good lesson. Zhang Naige and others are not recognizing their mistakes, and are continuing to resist. The CCP considers that even if they continue to hold out stubbornly for a year, the party will also conduct painstaking explanatory work with them for the entire year.
The same policy will be carried out in the country's institutions of higher learning. Rightist elements among the students will be left in the institutions of higher learning, and some of them after graduation may be left in their respective institutions of higher learning as instructors. They will even be given the opportunity, for instance, to speak their views once every three months. That will help us to conduct educational work [with] object [lessons] among the students. The same applies to the instructors of the institutions of higher learning.
To my question of approximately what percent the rightist elements comprise among the students, Deng Xiaoping answered that on average among the students, the rightists comprised only one percent, and that there were many more waiverers and individuals deceived by the rightist demagogues, but that at present they were once again reverting to the correct path.
In some institutions of higher learning, the percentage of rightists was higher, as, for instance, at Beijing University [there were] about 3%, while in some institutions of higher learning there were up to 10%.
At the conclusion of the conversation, Deng Xiaoping noted that this year prospects for the harvest were good, but that at the end of July and the beginning of August flooding often occurs.
In China every year, an average of 20 million people suffer from natural disasters. In the first five-year period, there were strong floods three times, and each time about 40 million people suffered, and last year, 70 million people suffered from natural disasters.
Having thanked com. Deng Xiaoping for the conversation, in my turn I told him about the progress of the preparation for the Sixth Worldwide Festival of Youth and Students in the USSR.
The head of the chancellery of the Secretariat of the CC CCP, com. Yang Shangkun, was present at the conversation.
Chargé d'affaires of the USSR in the PRC (P. Abrasimov)
(Source: AVPRF (Arkhiv vneshnei politiki rossiiskoi federatsii) [Russian Federation Foreign Policy Archive], f. 0100, op. 50, p. 424, d. 8;. obtained by Paul Wingrove; translated by Ben Aldrich-Moodie.)
I visited Deng Xiaoping and on instructions from the Center informed him of the letter from the CC of the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia (UCY] to the CC CPSU of 12 April of this year.
During the translation of the Yugoslav letter, Deng Xiaoping expressed his indignation at the first sentence in the letter in which the Yugoslavs state that they were “surprised” by the CC CPSU's letter. Deng Xiaoping reacted in the same way to some of the Yugoslavs' arguments in the letter about their attitude toward the Soviet Union and the international communist movement.
Referring to the Yugoslavs' words to the effect that the UCY's draft program is based on a belief in the victory of socialism, Deng Xiaoping recalled that the Yugoslavs believe in the victory of socialism in America through an augmentation of the role of the working class in the bourgeois system of government. Deng Xiaoping noted that the Yugoslav draft program devotes more space to this than to many other issues.
After the translation was completed, Deng Xiaoping said that the Yugoslav response fully accords with the Chinese comrades' expectations. He noted that “this is a very logical step by the Yugoslavs." It is difficult to imagine, Deng Xiaoping said, that the Yugoslavs could easily change their positions and quickly correct the most serious mistakes contained in the program. As for changing selected phrases, Deng Xiaoping pointed out that this would not change the character of the Yugoslav document since what was at issue in the given case was an entire system of erroneous views.
I set out for Deng Xiaoping the CC CPSU's decision regarding the CC UCY's answer. Having heard out what I had to say, Deng Xiaoping said that this was without doubt a correct decision. At present, he said, we have absolutely no basis for reviewing the resolutions which we previously adopted regarding the UCY's program and its congress.
"On the whole," Deng Xiaoping said, “it is a good thing (khoroshee delo)— I consider that the upcoming struggle in the international communist movement will be very lively and interesting, and that all communists, all fraternal parties should join in this struggle.”
Having pointed out that the Yugoslavs talk a lot in their letter about the need to develop Marxist thought," Deng Xiaoping noted that on that point we can support the Yugoslavs. Right now, he said, we are repulsing Yugoslav
decision on this issue. I said that I did not know whether that party [the Swiss) was informed of the CPSU's position. Deng Xiaoping expressed the thought that several minor (melkie) parties might end up not being abreast of things and might mistakenly send their representatives to Yugoslavia....
“You,” Deng Xiaoping said, “are catching up with America. At present, we do not have the strength to do this, but we are trying to catch up with England. However, we are still thinking about how to present the following task to our people in some form: to catch up with the United States of America in 25 years or more.” Again making the caveat that they were only thinking this issue over at present, Deng Xiaoping then added that such a slogan would help them to move forward....
AMBASSADOR of the USSR in the PRC [signature] /P. Iudin/
(Source: TsKhSD (Tsentral'noe khranilishche sovremennoi dokumentatsii) f.5, op.49, d. 131, 11.71-74; translated by: Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.)
revisionism, and in the course of this fight we will develop yet further the theory of Marxism-Leninism.
I noted that a collection of Lenin's statements about revisionism had been published in our country. Deng Xiaoping answered that he had heard about the collection and had ordered its translation into Chinese. Deng Xiaoping went on to comment that "we must study and compare the old Bernstein and the new Bernstein (to determine) the similarities and differences between them.” I noted that the old Bernstein did not hold state power and that probably this was the essential difference between them. Deng Xiaoping agreed with this thought. (Ed. note: At the turn of the century, Lenin and Eduard Bernstein polemicized over the correct path of social democracy. Lenin labeled his opponent a “revisionist.”)
Afterwards, I informed Deng Xiaoping about the conversation between the USSR's ambassador in Poland and com. Gomulka as to the UCY's answer to the CC CPSU. Deng Xiaoping reacted to this information with great interest and was especially happy to hear com. Gomulka's statement that the PZRP (Polish United Workers' Party) would not send a delegation to the Seventh Congress of the UCY. Moreover, Deng Xiaoping said that the Poles had tried to persuade the Yugoslavs, but became convinced that this was futile. Deng Xiaoping noted that some interesting points had come up in the Poles' own position in the course of the discussion about the UCY's program, and that for that reason, he said, one could conclude that for our understanding of the PZRP's position, this too "was not a wasted episode, and also showed us something."
Deng Xiaoping warmly expressed his thanks for the information. He noted that timely information from the CC CPSU permitted them to keep abreast of these Yugoslav affairs. Deng Xiaoping furthermore stated that in connection with the most recent hostile speech by the Yugoslavs, the CC CPSU had adopted entirely correct and very good decisions.
I pointed out that an article on the UCY's draft program would be published on 18 April in "Communist." At this, Deng Xiaoping commented that of course the Yugoslavs would have to be taught a lesson, insofar as "they got themselves into this.”
In the course of the conversation, Deng Xiaoping touched on the issue of other parties' attitudes to the Yugoslav congress. Having touched on the position of the Italian communist party, Deng Xiaoping stated that the Italians' motives as set out in their letter to the CC CPSU were incomprehensible to the Chinese comrades. Nevertheless, Deng Xiaoping noted, “let them, the Italians, make their own decisions.”
Deng Xiaoping informed me that according to information they had received a few days ago from the PRC's ambassador in Switzerland, the Swiss comrades were planning to send their delegation to the Seventh Congress. Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the CCP had not informed the Swiss party about their (the CCP's]
From the diary of P.F. IUDIN
SECRET Copy 1
3" June 1959
Report of Conversation with the General Secretary of the CC CCP, DENG
27 May 1959
While visiting com. Deng Xiaoping on the instructions of the Center, I informed him about the course of the negotiations in Geneva.
Deng Xiaoping requested that I convey great thanks to the CC CPSU for providing this information, and also said that it would be reported to Mao Zedong and other leading figures in the PRC forthwith. In passing, Deng Xiaoping said that Mao Zedong was not feeling well—was sick with the flu. Liu Shaoqi is also not quite well-his right hand hurts. Zhou Enlai is not in Beijing at present.
Touching on the issue of a summit meeting, Deng Xiaoping agreed with the opinion that the meeting evidently would take place. He also inquired as to the background (kharakteristika) of the new US Secretary of State, [Christian A.] Herter. I talked about the information we have on this issue from MID [Foreign Ministry] USSR.
Having mentioned the upcoming visit by (Averell] Harriman to the Soviet Union and his intention to visit the PRC, Deng Xiaoping stated that they had already dis
cussed the issue of the expediency of Harriman's visit to "president" for a third term. If Jiang Jieshi remains as China and came to the conclusion that at present the visit "president,” he said, that would be better for us than if would not be useful. However, he added, we are not ruling Chen Chen or even Hu Shi occupied the post. The out a visit by Harriman to China in the future.
Americans would be happiest with Hu Shi; in the worst I briefed Deng Xiaoping on the basis of the informa- case, they would agree to Chen Chen. Jiang Jieshi suits tion we received from MID USSR on Sukarno's stay in them least of all. On the Tibetan issue, Deng Xiaoping Turkey. Having displayed a great interest in this issue, noted, the views of the PRC and Jiang Jieshi coincide: Deng Xiaoping noted that, of all the nationalist countries both we and he consider that Tibet is Chinese territory and in Asia at present, Indonesia is taking the best position. that we cannot permit the Tibetan issue to be put before the This is particularly evident in the example of Indonesia's UN. attitude toward events in Tibet.
In answer to my question as to what the economic Afterwards, we touched on the issue of Yugoslavia, of situation in Taiwan was, Deng Xiaoping said that the Jiang Tito's trip through the countries of Southeast Asia, of Jieshi-ites were living at the USA's expense. That, he Yugoslavia's position on the Tibet issue, and on the
added, is not a bad thing. Let the Americans waste their difficult state of the Yugoslav economy. In the conversa- money. In the final analysis, Taiwan will be returned to tion, it was noted that nationalist bourgeois circles in Arab the bosom of its native land - China. However, for that to countries were accepting Yugoslav ideology. We both happen, we need time; we must wait a bit. The circumagreed that it was necessary to strengthen our common stances are becoming more and more favorable for the propaganda in the Arab countries in the interests of
PRC and less and less so for the USA. The Jiang Jieshiexposing the Yugoslav provocational policy.
ites in Taiwan are beginning to think hard about the Deng Xiaoping emphasized that in some ways the prospects which await them. There are many factors Yugoslav revisionists were now more dangerous than the contributing to this: the growing international authority of Americans and the social democrats of the Western
people's China, its economic successes, the long separacountries, and that, as a result, it was a very important task tion from the native land, and so on. The most important to expose the Yugoslav revisionists. We are devoting a lot thing of all is that they know the Americans want to wash of attention to this issue, he said, which is the reason for their hands of them (otkazat'sia). The USA does not trust the Yugoslavs' particular protest. Deng Xiaoping said that Jiang Jieshi, and he does not trust the United States. after a report by a Xinhua correspondent in Belgrade about Later on in the course of the conversation, several a strike by Yugoslav students protesting poor food was issues of the domestic situation of the Soviet Union and published in the Chinese press, the Yugoslav authorities China were touched on. made a statement of protest and warned the Chinese
I told Deng Xiaoping about the preparation taking correspondent that if such an episode occurred again they place in our country for the CC CPSU plenum. would take appropriate action against him.
Deng Xiaoping noted that at present throughout Touching on the plan thought up by Tito and Nasser China, prospects for the harvest are not bad. In some for a meeting of the leaders of four countries - Tito,
regions, up to 50% more wheat will be harvested than in Nasser, Nehru and Sukarno—with the aim of “coordinat- 1958. The overall wheat harvest will probably be up to ing neutrality policies in connection with the Geneva 20% higher than the previous year's harvest. It is someconference,” Deng Xiaoping said that Nehru was firmly what worse with the early rice harvest. In places, crops opposing the meeting. Sukarno was showing a vague suffer from flooding—in others, from drought. If rains interest (kak-budto proiavliaet nekotoryi interes) in the come soon to the drought-affected regions, the situation plan. Foreign agents report that [Indonesian Foreign could be corrected. Minister] Subandrio has allegedly decided to communicate Deng Xiaoping went on to note as a serious shortcomwith the authors of the plan (Tito and Nasser) about the ing the fact that, of last year's total harvest, a lot of grain concrete details of the proposal. As of yet, it is hard to say was used as free food for peasants in communes. This, he what Sukarno's final position will be on this issue, Deng emphasized, has had a negative effect on the supply of Xiaoping noted, although it is already clear that Tito and grain to the cities. Deng Xiaoping recounted that before Nasser are very interested in calling such a meeting. the introduction of free food provision for the peasants,
Having noted that the Americans need an instrument much less grain was consumed; they used it economically, like the current Yugoslav leaders and that the Americans and if the grain situation was difficult, they found a way are making fairly good use of that instrument, not econo- out. Now, 500 million mouths are constantly demanding mizing in their spending on it, Deng Xiaoping expressed cereals, are demanding plentiful and tasty food. At confidence that in the end that money would be spent in present, the biggest shortcoming, he repeated, is that the vain, as was the money spent on Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai- peasants are consuming a lot themselves and are not giving Shek).
enough grain to the state. The resolution of the Seventh I inquired as to the situation at present in Taiwan. Plenum of the CC CCP on regulating the communes
Deng Xiaoping expressed the opinion that Jiang Jieshi provides for a gradual restoration of order in this important would probably not give up power and would remain matter.
From the diary of
8” December 1959
Memorandum of Conversation with the General Secretary of the CC CCP, DENG
6 November 1959
At the end of the conversation, Deng Xiaoping briefly touched on the issue of the Dalai Lama. Previously, he said, Nehru calculated that the Dalai Lama would play a huge role in the Indians' plans and that chaos would begin in Tibet without the Dalai Lama. Quite the opposite, in Tibet, things are going well without the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has turned out to be a burden for Nehru. Nehru and the Americans are spending 200 thousand rupees monthly to maintain the Dalai Lama and his entourage. At present, Nehru intends to return the Dalai Lama to Tibet. If he returns, Deng Xiaoping added, we will pay him much more than the Indians and the Americans. In the past during each visit by the Dalai Lama to Beijing, he was given 200 thousand yuan for minor expenses. While the Dalai Lama was in Lhasa, he was given 700 thousand yuan every month (for him and his entourage).
In connection with this, I noted that the Tibetan peasants, who had been freed from dependence as serfs, had gained the most from the Tibetan events.
Having agreed with me, Deng Xiaoping said that the masses of the people in Tibet had already risen up to carry out democratic reforms.
The candidate member of the secretariat of the CC CCP, com. Yang Shangkun, translator com. Yan Mingfu, and the first secretary of the USSR Embassy in the PRC, com. F.V. Mochul’skii, were present during the conversation.
Ambassador of the USSR in the PRC
(Source: TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 49, d. 235, II. 40-44; obtained by Paul Wingrove; translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.)
I had my first visit with Deng Xiaoping and had a conversation with him. Deng Xiaoping told me that he had not yet fully recovered after breaking his leg. He is going back to work in two days, but the doctors are allowing him to work for only four hours at a time. Afterwards, he asked what was my impression of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the PRC. Answering Deng Xiaoping, I noted that the celebration had been organized on a grand scale. It demonstrated the huge enthusiasm of the people and their solidarity.
Deng Xiaoping said that he was present at the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution. [Ed. Note: Moscow, November 1957. Due to the Soviet government's 1918 conversion from Julian to Gregorian calendars, the October Revolution was feted on November 7.] In the USSR too, he added, everything had been organized well. Such round dates must be well noted. The most important point was that our great holidays demonstrate our solidarity, the great progress
of the socialist camp, and the solidarity of progressive forces, of the fraternal parties.
I answered that the solidarity of the fraternal parties had found clear expression during the celebration of the CCP's tenth anniversary. During ten short years, the CCP had achieved successes which have rocked (vskolykhnut') the entire world, and no one is in a position to take those achievements away from the Chinese people. The solidarity of the fraternal peoples has already shown its great significance more than once. If, for instance, after the victory of the October Revolution, Ukraine had remained alone and had not been in the family of the other Soviet republics, it could have been overwhelmed and dismembered by the imperialists. Friendship is the greatest force of all and sometimes we do not fully recognize its significance. History will show what a huge significance it has.
Deng Xiaoping responded that unity and solidarity truly were the most important thing. With our solidarity, we do not fear any imperialists. “We are exerting every effort to preserve peace, and imperialism will perish in peaceful conditions. If madmen nevertheless unleash a war, they will only meet with their downfall. The entire affair consists of the fact that we are making progress, while they are being torn apart by contradictions. We have many friends, including in the USA - [those friends are
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