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accumulated over (many) years, with low living standards, the lack of basic food and consumer goods, and with the unwillingness of the leadership to undertake at least some measures to democratize the political system.
The Ambassador pointed out that the Yugoslav public is very concerned about the situation in the neighboring country. The mass media of the SFRY are informing the population in detail about the events, including many reports about reactions abroad. On 19 December the Union Executive Vece (executive branch of the Yugoslav state) came out with an appropriate declaration, expressing profound concern and regret with regard to casualties during the crack-down on the demonstrations. On 20 December the Presidium of the CC CPY (Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia] denounced the actions of the Romanian authorities and laid political responsibility at the door of the leadership of the RCP [Romanian Communist Party). It declared a temporary suspension of all contacts with the RCP and repealed an earlier invitation (to the RCP) to send a delegation to the 14th Congress of the CPY (January 1990). All public organizations of Yugoslavia, as well as both chambers of the Skupcina (parliament] made sharp protests. Late on 21 December the Presidium of the SFRY adopted a resolution denouncing reprisals against the demonstrators, that led to a large loss of human life.
M. Veres stressed that of particular cause for concern in Belgrade is the situation with Yugoslav ethnic minorities in the SRR. He said that the SFRY supports a peaceful resolution of the situation in Romania and is against any foreign interference into Romanian affairs....
to the positive significance of the fact that the opinions of the Soviet Union and the United States coincided to the effect that there should be support given to the group that is trying to govern Romania and to fulfill the will of the Romanian people.
Then the American presented the following thought. The United States paid attention to the conviction expressed by the Soviet Union that military intervention is out of question. With equal interest the United States regarded the declaration of the Soviet government about its readiness to give immediate humanitarian assistance to the Romanian people. The American side would be greatly interested to hear the Soviet assessment of the developments in Romania, as well as the opinion of the Soviet side with regard to the most effective ways of supporting the Romanian people and the new leadership of Romania....
I informed the Ambassador that earlier, in addition to the Declaration of the Soviet government, a TASS Declaration was published. This step by our side was necessitated by grave concern over the very tense situation around the house populated by officials of the Soviet trade mission in Bucharest. It turned out to be in the epicenter of combat and for some time was partially seized by the terrorist forces. Only by the end of the day were they dispersed and we could evacuate the inhabitants from the house. I drew the attention of the American to the fact that among them two people were lightly wounded, and not one—as it was earlier reported. Now these people are located on the territory of the Soviet Embassy.
At the present moment the main task is to carry out the evacuation of Soviet citizens from Romania, first of all women and children. I informed the U.S. Ambassador of those options that are under consideration....
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR I. ABOIMOV
(Source: Diplomaticheskii vestnik, no. 21/22, November 1994, pp. 74-79. Translated by Vladislav Zubok.]
From the diary of ABOIMOV I.P.
25 December 1989
Record of conversation with U.S. Ambassador to the USSR, J. MATLOCK
24 December 1989
We maintain contact with representatives of the new Romanian leadership, if only via telephone. We informed them about our steps directed at giving humanitarian assistance to the Romanian population. Several times we inquired of the new leadership of Romania about what urgent needs they have. We received no clear answer to our question. It looks like the Front's Council still lacks clear ideas on this score.
With regard to the question raised by the American about the most effective approaches to the organization of humanitarian assistance to Romania, I repeated that there is no full clarity about it. The Soviet Union is carrying out measures to prepare such assistance, and its practical implementation, according to its own understanding of Romania's needs.
We informed the new Romanian leadership and also informed the International Red Cross Committee and the International Health Organization that we had set up hospitals in the frontier cities of the Soviet Union to receive wounded from Romania. In Moldavia they are already expecting the first group of 600 wounded.
I received U.S. Ambassador J. Matlock at his request.
Referring to instructions received from Washington, the Ambassador said that, in the opinion of the American leadership, the Soviet Union and the United States should continue the exchange of opinions with regard to the events in Romania. The situation in Romania still is very uncertain. The American side is very concerned by the fact that warfare between the forces of state security and army units continues, and casualties
among the civilian population are mounting. In this regard Matlock referred
In the end both sides confirmed the positive evaluation of the exchange of opinions that took place. They expressed support of continuing contacts with regard to the rapidly changing situation in Romania.
Participants of the meeting included deputy head of the Directorate of the USA and Canada I.N. Podrazhanets, third secretary of the DUSAandC (Directorate of USA and Canada in the Soviet Foreign Ministry] N.N. Spassky and first secretary of the U.S. embassy in Moscow J. Shoemaker.
Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR I. ABOIMOV
(Source: Diplomaticheskii vestnik, no. 21/22, November 1994, pp. 74-79. Translated by Vladislav Zubok.]
About the means of assistance. The first load valued at a half million rubles (11 rail-cars) will be sent by rail. Trains in Romania still function. In addition, we gave instruction to the leadership of Moldavia to get in touch with border districts in Romania and clarify two issues. First, what do they need most. Second, to ask for their advice as to the best way to transport the loads.
To finish the exposition of our thoughts on the situation in Romania, I remarked that we are in close contact on these questions with our Warsaw Treaty allies as well as with all other states that approach us. So we take as a positive sign the desire of the American side to exchange opinions. We consider contacts of this kind very useful.
Reacting to our words, Matlock thought that now the United States is seeking optimal ways of cooperation in order to give assistance to Romania. According to Matlock, the United States would be ready to give assistance in medicine and food, as well as in logistics of transporting this assistance. In this context the American ambassador made the following request. If the Soviet side develops some ideas on this score, the American side is very interested in being kept up to date.
I responded that naturally we would be ready at any moment to share our considerations with the American side.
Then Matlock touched on the issue that, apparently, he wanted to raise from the very beginning of the conversation. The Administration, he said, is very interested in knowing if the possibility of military assistance by the Soviet Union to the Romanian National Salvation Front is totally out of question. Matlock suggested the following option: what would the Soviet Union do if an appropriate appeal came from the Front? Simultaneously, the Ambassador hinted at the idea, apparently on instructions from Washington. He let us know that under the present circumstances the military involvement of the Soviet Union in Romanian affairs might not be regarded in the context of "the Brezhnev doctrine.”
To this sounding out by the American I gave the entirely clear and unequivocal answer, presenting our principled position. I declared that we did not visualize, even theoretically, such a scenario. We stand against any interference in the domestic affairs of other states and we intend to pursue this line firmly and without deviations. Thus, the American side may consider that “the Brezhnev doctrine" is now theirs as our gift.
Developing this thesis further, as a clarification, I drew the interlocutor's attention to the fact that it was on the basis of these considerations that the Soviet Union was and still is against convening the Security Council (SC) to consider the situation in Romania.
The American, however, immediately inquired what would be the Soviet reaction if the National Salvation Front itself appeals to convene the SC.
I said that we are still not ready to contemplate such a hypothetical possibility.
Stalemate in an Era of Change:
New Sources and Questions on Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Soviet/Russian-Japanese Relations by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa
ew archival materials from the Soviet Union,
altered previous conceptions of the Cold War. Soviet-Japanese relations, however, have made little progress. Not a single article focusing on Soviet-Japanese relations has, until now, been published in the CWIHP Bulletin.1 Nor has Cold War coverage in Diplomatic History or the H-Diplo internet discussion group extended to Soviet-Japanese relations. The most recent monograph by Vojtech Mastny that cast a wide net over archival materials in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe reveals no new materials on the rivalry of the two giants on the remote shores of the Pacific.2
Although Michael Schaller's monograph and Marc Gallichio's article shed light on important aspects of American foreign policy toward Soviet-Japanese relations, especially during the last stage of the Pacific War, their sources come exclusively from United States archives.3 Many monographs published in English in recent years have illuminated very little of the fundamental questions that have vexed SovietJapanese relations during the Cold War.4
Needless to say, the most serious stumbling block that has prevented rapprochement between the Soviet Union and Japan has been the Northern Territories dispute, and precisely on this issue there has been what might be called a "conspiracy of silence" with regard to government archival sources.5 Archival materials related to the Northern Territories question have been systematically excluded from the Japanese foreign policy archives that have been declassified by the Gaimusho (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The Soviet/Russian government has been equally protective in guarding the secrecy of its policy on the territorial question, although there have been attempts to publish archival sources on some aspects of Soviet-Japanese relations, notably the Neutrality Pact negotiations of 1941, the Malik-Hirota negotiations in June 1945, and the Moscow negotiations for normalization of relations in October 1956.6 To make matters worse, some of the most important U.S. documents that should illuminate the background of this dispute are still classified "due to the request of a friendly country (i.e., Japan)."7 The recent valiant attempt by a trilateral project headed by Graham Allison, Kimura Hiroshi, and Konstantin Sarkisov, to overcome this obstacle has not been successful. 8 Interestingly, two of the most valuable recent works on this subject rely heavily on British archives. 9
The only scholar, who has had systematic access to Soviet archives is Boris N. Slavinskii of Moscow's Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
In a series of articles and monographs, he has succeeded in revising the traditional official views on the SovietJapanese Neutrality Pact, Stalin's Kurile operation, and Soviet policy toward the San Francisco Peace Confer
Those archives that Slavinskii has examined remain, however, inaccessible to foreign scholars.
Because of the inaccessibility of archives, we still do not know answers to crucial questions about Soviet/ Russian-Japanese relations. What was the major motivation of the Soviet government when it was approached by the Japanese government to mediate the termination of war in April 1945? What was the relationship between the U.S. decision to drop the atomic bombs and Stalin's Kurile operation in the summer of 1945? Did Stalin expect the United States to occupy all or at least some of the southern Kuriles during the last stage of the Pacific War? Why did it take two years after the occupation of the southern Kuriles for Stalin to annex the Kuriles to the Soviet territory? Why did the Soviet government decide to participate in the San Francisco Peace Conference and in the end not to sign the treaty? How did the power struggle within the CPSU affect its negotiations for normalization of relations with Japan? How did the Gaimusho and the U.S. State Department exchange information during the Soviet-Japanese negotiations for normalization of relations in 1955-56? Why did the Japanese government reject Andrei Gromyko's overtures in 1972 to settle the territorial question on the basis of the 1956 Joint Declaration? Why did the Soviet leadership fail to display a more flexible attitude toward Japan on the territorial question during the second half of the 1970s, when it took the Chinese threat seriously? Why did the Japanese government fail to appreciate the domestic difficulties that challenged Gorbachev and Yeltsin? Why did Gorbachev refuse to make any concessions on the Northern Territories question? Why did Yeltsin cancel his planned trip to Tokyo in September 1992? To answer these questions, we must push forward research in Japanese, Russian, and US archives, and pressure those governments to release those materials which remain classified.
The publication of the documents in this issue is a small step toward opening substantial archival evidence on Soviet-Japanese relations. These documents shed light on some important aspects of Soviet-Japanese relations under Gorbachev and of Russian-Japanese relations after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Soviet-Japanese relations in the Gorbachev era represented an anomaly in international relations. While all major powers in the world drastically improved their
have satisfied Japan, even had he ever been inclined to do
relations with the Soviet Union, Japanese relations remained stalemated because of the long-standing territorial dispute preventing the conclusion of a World War II peace treaty. Gorbachev's historic visit to Japan in April 1991 did not produce a major breakthrough. How can we account for this failure?
Soviet-Japanese relations under Gorbachev experienced a pendulum movement: a positive movement was always pulled back by a negative one. In the end, neither side was willing to make a leap to settle the territorial dispute. As soon as Gorbachev assumed power in March 1985, he met Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro at Konstantin Chernenko's funeral, and signaled his intention to end the frozen state of Soviet-Japanese relations. Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze's visit to Japan in January 1986 was an important turning point. The mechanism of bilateral dialogue that had been disrupted under Brezhnev was restored. Later, in his 1986 Vladivostok speech, Gorbachev declared his intention to seek a more conciliatory Asian policy and to join the Asia-Pacific region as a constructive partner. Both sides began preparations for Gorbachev's visit to Japan in late 1986 or in the beginning of 1987.
This trip never materialized. Instead, after the Japanese government tightened up the COCOM regulations under U.S. pressure as a result of the 1987 Toshiba incident-in which the Toshiba Machine Company admitted selling highly sensitive technology to the Soviet Union—the Soviet government expelled a Japanese diplomat, prompting the Japanese government to retaliate with a similar action. Soviet-Japanese relations returned to the deep-freeze again.
It was not until mid-1988 that both sides began gingerly to mend fences again. Former Prime Minister Nakasone met Gorbachev in July, and the frank exchange of opinions between Gorbachev and Nakasone created a momentum for improvement. In September, Gorbachev delivered his Krasnojarsk speech in which he declared his intention to improve relations with Japan. In December, Shevardnadze made his second trip to Tokyo. One of the major achievements at the ministerial conference was the creation of the Working Group for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty. For the first time since the end of World War II both sides established a mechanism through which to create a favorable environment for the conclusion of a peace treaty.
Nevertheless, the creation of the Working Group did not lead to a settlement of the territorial dispute. On the contrary, the negotiations revealed irreconcilable differences. During the crucial two years of 1989-90, when the revolutions swept away the East European Communist regimes and reunification of Germany was realized, the Soviet Union and Japan stood at a standstill unable to resolve the territorial dispute. By the time Gorbachev finally came to Japan in April 1991, his authority within the Soviet Union had deteriorated to such an extent that he was not in a position to offer any compromise that would
Why were the Soviet Union and Japan unable to exploit the opportunity developed at the 1988 foreign ministerial conference? The documents introduced here illuminate the problems in Soviet-Japanese relations at this critical stage. The first set of documents are the minutes of the first two meetings of the Working Group as recorded by the Soviet foreign ministry officials. A careful examination of what was discussed reveals a number of important facts.
First, although we have a number of documents stating the official positions of both governments, rarely do we see a document in which both the Russian and Japanese sides confront each other behind closed doors. Here, we read, for the first time, how both sides presented their views at the negotiating table. In other words, we have the most direct positions that each government presented to the other. Although there are few surprises in both positions, there are some important revelations. For instance, in the first meeting, the Japanese side officially renounced its claim over Southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands north of Uruppu. Furthermore, at the second meeting, despite its militant tone, Soviet chief negotiator Igor Rogachev tacitly conceded that Stalin's failure to sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty was a mistake.
Second, there are some discrepancies between what was reported in the Japanese media and what actually happened at these meetings. The Japanese news coverage of these meetings was usually based on the official statements and briefings conducted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry (Gaimusho) officials; and therefore, it reflected, intentionally or unintentionally, the Gaimusho's bias. In both meetings, for instance, the Gaimusho kept silent about Rogachev's disagreement with the Japanese geographical definition of the "Kurile" islands, an official position that has been challenged by some Japanese scholars as well. 11 Likewise, from what was reported in Japanese newspapers, it is difficult to discern the atmosphere of the negotiations, but a reading of the second meeting clearly indicates that Rogachev's disposition, buttressed by well-researched legal and historical arguments, put the Japanese on the defensive. These documents remind us, therefore, that one has to treat the Japanese press coverage critically, particularly when it is filtered through the Gaimusho's briefings. In the March 1989 meeting, Rogachev himself offers some harsh criticisms of this aspect, claiming:
We had the impression that yesterday we consulted, although, judging by the Japanese newspapers, the results of our conversation were unexpected... I do not know by whose recommendation the message that the Soviet delegation was bargaining appeared: six agreements for a high-level visit. That will never be. That is a risible thesis.
Third, the exchange of arguments and counter
arguments that the Japanese government had presented at arguments at the Working Group indicates how widely the Working Group meetings during the Gorbachev period. respective positions on the territorial issue differed. The This was, however, an internal paper. It is doubtful that the Working Group meetings were used, not to seek a mutu- Russian government conceded all these points to the ally acceptable compromise, but rather for the two sides to Japanese government during the official negotiations with present ultimatums to each other. Each time one side Japan. Since we have no access to the minutes of the made a point, it was rejected by the other side at the Working Group meetings after the collapse of the Soviet following meeting, citing legal and historical justifica- Union, we do not have a definitive answer as to where the tions. 12 Thus, the Working Group meetings served only to Russian government currently stands on these questions. harden disagreements and hostility rather than formulate The second group of documents includes various concessions and compromises. As of spring 1989, there position papers prepared by different organizations and were no grounds to expect a major breakthrough from a experts for the parliamentary hearings on the “Kurile Gorbachev visit to Japan.
question” prior to Boris Yeltsin's scheduled trip to Japan to This brings us to the fourth point. One is puzzled, as meet Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi in September 1992. were the Gaimusho officials at the time, by the contradic
If Gorbachev failed to achieve rapprochement with tory signals that came from the Soviet side. If the Soviet Japan, Yeltsin has been equally unsuccessful in dealing government agreed to establish a Working Group designed with Japan. Despite initial euphoria following the collapse to produce a peace treaty, thus implying flexibility, then of the Soviet Union, rapprochement on the territorial why did it take a rigid stance on the territorial issue? In question proved elusive. Contrary to the expectations of fact, Rogachev's position did not even consider adopting Yeltsin and Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Kunadze, any of the compromise solutions advocated by more who spearheaded Russia's negotiations with Japan, there reform-minded Russian Japanologists, who took advantage emerged strong domestic opposition to any putative of glasnost to voice views divergent from the official
compromise on the territorial issue with Japan. In fact, the position. Did the Foreign Ministry simply not consider
“Kurile issue” became a hotly debated issue in the summer these compromise solutions? Was there internal disagree- of 1992, a few months prior to Yeltsin's scheduled ment? Or was the tough position presented here a tactical September visit to Japan. Eventually this stumbling block ploy, a necessary step toward future concessions? Where derailed Yeltsin's scheduled trip to Japan, which was did Gorbachev stand on this matter at the time? All these ultimately cancelled. questions cannot be answered definitively by analyzing
On 28 July 1992, a powerful opposition group within these documents alone.
the Parliament organized parliamentary hearings on As for Gorbachev's position, one is struck with the
Yeltsin's forthcoming visit to Japan. Prior to these consistency with which he held his view on the territorial
hearings, Oleg Rumiantsev, the Secretary of the Constituquestion throughout his tenure of office. From his meeting
tional Commission, who masterminded the hearings, with Foreign Minister Abe Shintaro in May 1986 through
requested various organizations to submit their position his meeting with Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki in Tokyo in
papers on the “Kurile” issue. The documents in the second
13 April 1992, he steadfastly maintained that the Soviet
group are translations of some of these positions papers. Union was not in a position to make
One can see from these documents that the views territorial
any concessions to Japan's irredentist demand. It was not that
expressed by various organizations and individuals varied Gorbachev could not accept a compromise solution during
widely. While the Second Department of the Asia-Pacific his visit to Japan because of the domestic pressure, as is
Region of the Russian Foreign Ministry took a most often believed, but that Gorbachev himself was the major
sympathetic view of the Japanese official position, Kiril stumbling block to such a compromise. One important
Cherevko (Institute of History), a noted historian on source describing Gorbachev's view on Soviet-Japanese
Soviet-Japanese relations, and V. K. Zilanov, who repre
sented the State Committee of Fisheries, took the opposite relations in general and on the territorial question in particular is the supplement made by Anatolii Cherniaev to
view, recommending that no concessions be made to
Japan's irredentist demands. 14 The Institute of World the Japanese version of his memoirs, Shest' let s Gorbachevym (Moscow: Kul'tura, 1993), which was
Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), headed published under the Japanese title, Gorubachofu to unmei
by Vladlen Martynov, organized a team of specialists on o tomonishita 2000 nichi (Tokyo: Uchio shuppan, 1994).
Soviet-Japanese relations, and submitted a position paper.
Its recommendation fell somewhere between these two Excerpts from this additional chapter, previously unavailable in English, are provided below.
extremes, but stood for the acceptance of the 1956 Joint Finally, a question can be raised about the relationship
Declaration. The resolution of the Sakhalin Supreme
Soviet also indicated that the local voice increasingly between the Soviet position enunciated by Rogachev here and the official position adopted by the Russian govern
asserted its influence. It is likely that these recommenda
tions were also sent to Yeltsin. When Yeltsin said that he ment after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As the Russian Foreign Ministry document introduced in the
had fourteen options with regard to the territorial question, second group indicates, Moscow accepted almost all the
perhaps his statement reflected the truth.