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strength to keep troops in Hungary and to threaten the imperialists that if they do not end the war in Egypt, it could lead to the use of missile weapons by us. Everyone recognizes that with that we decided the fate of Egypt. Even before that, we made a move that com. Khrushchev talked about. Since the Americans were conducting a different policy from the English, and did not want to dirty themselves with a colonial war, (or] that their “friends” be so dirtied, but to do in Egypt themselves (a samim ukhlopat' Egipet). We said the following to the Americans: let's introduce American-Soviet troops together in order to restore peace in Egypt, which would accord with the goals of the United Nations. This produced a huge effect.
From the point of view of using the contradictions of imperialism in the interests of communist policy, there has never been such a broad practice, such rich results, as in recent years in our Central Committee with the participation of com. Khrushchev...
Voice. Correct (Applause).
(Source: Istoricheskii arkhiv 3-6(1993) and 1-2 (1994) Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie)
| Ed. Note: It is especially ironic to hear Mikojan praise the opposition's unity in 1956, since he himself was the main dissenter from the decision to invade Hungary. Unanimity of decision was only formally maintained because Mikoian was in Budapest, protesting long-distance, when the actual decision to intervene was made on 30-31 October 1956. For more on this, see “The Malin Notes on the Crises in Hungary and Poland, 1956" Translated, annotated and introduced by Mark Kramer, CWIHP Bulletin 8-9 (Winter 1996/1997) pp. 385-410.
17 June 1953—the events in the GDR. They can say to us: fine, the Russian people have shown that more than once in complicated circumstances they close ranks; the leadership also closes ranks, and victory is assured thereby
It is true, history has shown that both the people and the leadership close ranks when the dark hour tolls. The people closed ranks even when the tsars were in our country. But at what price would the defense of our great cause of socialism come, if the hopes of the enemy were realized, if our leadership were shattered!
Comrades, I cannot agree with some of the statements that there is only an embryonic political platform here so far, but not a platform. I think that if one analyzes everything that has been said by the troika, above all by Molotov as well as those who formed a bloc with him, then one must come to the conclusion that politically—if a political assessment is to be given—a real revisionist platform was present. It affected both the political and the economic life of our country, as well as the issue of cadres.
As for cadres, I think that no one would disagree that if the troika and their accomplices had taken control of the leadership, the shadow of Shatalin or some equivalent of him would have reappeared. And these people don't have to be taught how to make short work of cadres.
The comrades who spoke correctly said that we were talking about people who had lost touch with life, with the people, with practical work, having buried themselves in paperwork [zashlis’ v bumagakh). But I would like as far as possible to emphasize one side of the affair, which has not been been sufficiently emphasized. These people for a long time put themselves in a position where they lecture members of the CC Presidium who are taking the correct position, CC members, and so on, left and right. They regard everyone sitting here, as a rule, as adolescents who, as they say, walk under the table like a pawn (pod stol peshkom khodiat).
Gromyko. It is true that many of us are ten or perhaps fifteen years younger than some of the participants of the anti-party group. But that is not our fault. If that is anyone's fault, it is our mothers' and fathers’.
Voice. That is only by age.
Gromyko. They do not notice that people have grown up both literally and politically. They are not the same people who they were ten or fifteen years ago. The present plenum has confirmed this well. Our CC is the full master of the situation.
The participants in the anti-party group have put themselves in the position of some sort of priests (zhretsy). Even in ancient Greece where there were priests, they existed when their existence corresponded to the needs of the ruling class. I think that something similar must be said now. Approximately the same conclusion should be made: there is no need at all for these priests. (Laughter, applause.)
Comrades, even the bourgeoisie, including the
Evening, 25 June 1957
Gromyko. Comrades! Our foreign enemies are at present betting on and placing their main hopes on disorder and collapse in our leadership. Let us ask one question: what would happen if this anti-party group seized the leadership; how would that be seen abroad, above all by the American bourgeoisie-our main enemy? They would see it as their victory.
Voices. Without a doubt.
Voice. They would thank Malenkov, Kaganovich and Molotov.
Gromyko. They would see it in the following way, that Dulles' policy, the policy of the “cold war," the policy of squeezing, of pressure on the Soviet Union, had won out. Let coms. Molotov, Kaganovich, Malenkov, and those who made a bloc with them, look at the situation they have put themselves in. I think that it would not be a mistake to say that they have put themselves in a certain sense in the position of Dulles' allies.
Gromyko. And in the absence of unity, it is easier for enemies to slip us another Hungary and a second edition of
American and English [bourgeoisie), cannot permit themselves the luxury of keeping a person who has lost all value for the state leadership in his job. An example: Churchill. He did not serve badly in the interests of the colonial British empire, but when he lost his value, they sent him to paint landscapes. (Laughter in the hall.)
Gromyko. When Eden lost his value, although he was a bit younger, they sent him on an indefinite vacation. I think that the troika, and perhaps some of those who formed a bloc with the troika, should also be sent to paint landscapes. (Laughter in the hall.)
Gromyko. Comrades, I wanted to emphasize with all decisiveness one more point, since it relates to many of the actions of our foreign policy. In my opinion, the Central Committee should know some facts which the previous speakers could not talk about simply because they are not involved in this business, while our brother [Molotov] sits on (nash brat sidit na) foreign policy affairs.
From all of the practical work of the CC Presidium over the course of at least the last two years, it has become clear that these priests are trying to present com. Khrushchev's role in the CC as that of an agronomist. That is a definite line. You see, they say, he knows agriculture and runs it. In this way they want to cancel out the huge contributions which the First Secretary of the CC, com. Khrushchev, has made to the country and the party.
I want to touch on another area in the political and economic leadership of the country, and also in the area of foreign policy
Here com. Mikoian has touched on one issue of foreign policy-our serious warning which was made to England and France when these countries launched into military adventurism against Egypt. It is well known that that action was appreciated abroad, and it is correct, that the way the ultimatum put an end to the military actions against Egypt in 28 hours after com. Bulganin's message was sent to Eisenhower, the English and French premiers and the Israeli premier, Ben Gurion, was in our interests.
Malik. Eden broke out crying when he received the message.
Gromyko. There were reasons to cry.
Comrades, I consider myself a person who is economical with words, but I should report to the Central Committee that the dispatch of that message was the initiative of com. Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Central Committee. (Applause). Shepilov was minister of foreign affairs then. He spoke here, but his tongue could not move to note that fact. He loses the gift of speech in such cases.
Shepilov. At dozens of meetings, including at MID meetings, I said that this aided our rapprochement with the Arabs, that this was com. Khrushchev's initiative.
Gromyko. Why did you not say so to the Central Committee?
Shepilov. I agree.
Gromyko. Why am I talking about this? I want to emphasize that the CC Presidium, and above all the First Secretary, has led on issues of the USSR's foreign policy. Unfortunately, not so many foreign policy issues were discussed at plenums. It would be good if we correct this in the future; we must correct this situation.
And so, speaking about the leadership of our foreign policy, I do not want to create the impression that merits in this matter fall proportionately to all in the CC Presidium, including from the troika. Nothing of the sort.
The main, if one can express oneself this way, impulses on issues of foreign policy came from the First Secretary of the party Central Committee (Applause).
Gromyko. I do not hesitate to say this, although at present I head our diplomatic department. If I did not want and did not desire to speak about this, I would be misunderstanding slozhno ponimal by] the prestige of the MID.
Second issue. I will only mention it—the Austrian treaty. That is not only a decision by the CC Presidium. Com. Khrushchev insisted on the necessity of making a decision. You all know the positive significance of that whole affair.
The Trieste issue—that is also his proposal.
The issue of normalizing relations with West Germany—that is also his initiative. As a result, we received a huge lever of influence on the internal conditions in West Germany. Without this, it is possible that the Bundeswehr would be armed with atomic weapons. The plans to expand the West German army were disrupted and in any case delayed in large part because we, by establishing our embassy in Bonn, provided the Social Democratic opposition in West Germany with a rich line of argument. I repeat, the normalization of relations with West Germany has in large part aided this.
This was adopted on the insistence, not only by the proposal, but on the insistence of com. Khrushchev in the face of opposition from com. Molotov.
Gromyko. The normalization of relations with Japan...
Molotov. I did not oppose, but on the contrary, supported...
Gromyko. When, Viacheslav Mikhailovich?
Molotov. I supported the establishment of relations with West Germany as well.
Gromyko. I will remind you of the facts: You came back from the conference in San Francisco. The day before, the issue was discussed in the CC Presidium. There was a decision at com. Khrushchev's suggestion to normalize relations with West Germany and to send an open note to the Adenauer government. We at MID prepared such a note in keeping with com. Khrushchev's proposal. Against this, as far as I remember, there were no objections in the Presidium.
Com. Molotov returned. I did not physically have the
time to introduce (show to the Presidium] this issue before his return. The minister arrived; he examined the proposal. Deputy minister V.S. Semenov who is present here and I tried to convince com. Molotov that the draft should be brought to the CC as had been pre-approved in the Presidium. Am I speaking correctly, com. Semenov?
Gromyko. We said: it is a correct decision and should be introduced in this form in particular. Com. Molotov says: no, by introducing such a draft, we will extend a hand to [West German Chancellor Konrad] Adenauer and entreat him. He cancelled this decision and introduced his own proposal. Of course, the Presidium altered the whole thing and affirmed its decision.
Molotov. An open letter is one thing, and a non-open letter is another. The difference here is not an essential one, but one of form.
Gromyko. Not only on this issue, although it in particular was a very important issue.
Voice. We were talking about the content.
Gromyko. We were talking about making a direct proposal on normalization to put Adenauer in a difficult position and not to drag out the matter as before.
On disarmament. I am not going to repeat what has been said before—it is a complex problem. But here as well the main decisions were, as a rule, taken by the First Secretary of the CC.
The virgin lands were spoken about here. I want to emphasize this matter from another angle. If it hadn't been for the virgin lands—and it is well known on whose insistence the relevant decision was made—this year we not only would have been on hunger rations (na golodnom paike), but we could not have sold grain to our friends. We would have been obliged to market our gold abroad, in the context of our very tight foreign-trade balance. We could not have sold bread to the Poles, the Hungarians, or the Albanians. I am not even talking about the fact that we could not have sold (bread) to Egypt.
I do not want to repeat myself on the theme of how significant that would have been, but I do want to emphasize one fact: if we had not given [dali] the people's democratic countries bread, then...
Mikoian. If we had not sold (prodali] it to them).
Gromyko. If we had not sold them bread, those countries would have been obliged to turn to someone else; there is only one someone else—the Americans. And they will not only sell bread, but will sell with the simultaneous attachment of one-sided conditions.
The negotiations which have recently taken place between the Poles and the Americans on some issues, including on the issue of selling so-called agricultural surpluses to Poland, have shown that the Americans seize anything they can with their teeth in order to attach the conditions they need.
After all, in Egypt, if it had not been for our arms and our grain...
Mikoian. And oil plus (our) purchases of cotton,
then, although it cannot be said definitely; in such matters you cannot make categorical assertions; but there is a good likelihood that Egypt would have been brought to its knees.
I want to touch on another issue as well. It would be good if com. Molotov mentally went out into the middle of the hall and looked at himself speaking from this tribune. He would see what a pathetic picture it is. It was also a pathetic picture when he tried to denigrate the visits of our leading officials, above all, of course, com. Khrushchev, to other countries with serious missions, as a result of which the foreign-policy influence of our state, the Soviet Union, has been increased in several countries and several world regions.
I must say that I simply bow before the huge work of great state importance which was done during these trips by com. Khrushchev. As is well known, com. Bulganin travelled with him, but com. Khrushchev was always the soul of the matter.
Voices. Correct. (Applause).
Gromyko. This applies to the visit to India. I was among the accompanying persons. It applies to the trip to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan, to Burma, to England, to Finland, and to the meeting of the leaders of the four powers' summit in Geneva in 1955. And I think that com. Molotov resorted to fairly dirty methods on purpose in his effort to denigrate (Khrushchev), since com. Molotov did not and could not have any other arguments worthy of attention.
Gromyko. In Finland during the last visit there was a pack of foreign correspondents from Finnish, French, American, and English newspapers that were very hostile to us. But not one of the correspondents nor any one of the newspapers which were most hostile to the Soviet Union dared to bring any facts that would cast a shadow on the behavior of com. Khrushchev and com. Bulganin during their last trip.
What sort of conclusion follows from this? The conclusion is as follows: the ethics of the bourgeois newspapers which were most hostile to us turned out to be more elevated than the ethics by which Molotov now lets himself be guided at the CC Plenum.
Voices. Correct. (Applause.)
Gromyko. Com. Molotov also dredged up com. Khrushchev's interview. I want to inform the Central Committee (about something). I consider that it has the right and should know this fact. Com. Khrushchev did not propose himself, did not ask for this interview. The proposal that com. Khrushchev agree to give an interview was made by the MID, by me. It was discussed in the CC Presidium. At the beginning I had the following impression: com. Khrushchev did not have a very fixed opinion as to whether he should or should not give an interview. I spoke "for," and the members of the Presidium approved our proposal, and the decision was taken.
By its content the interview given was good and
If com. Molotoy had drawn conclusions from the criticism at the plenum, would she really have dared to act in that way?
Molotov. You must say the facts, and not what someone said.
Shelepin. And I'm telling facts. I myself was there and am not adding a word.
correct. I must say that not many of the Soviet Union's foreign policy actions have stirred up a hornet's nest in the USA as did that interview. In vain, Molotov tried to depict the matter as if there were some new doubtful positions which do not follow from our party line and were not approved by the CC Presidium. There is nothing of the sort. There are no such positions. The only positions there are those which follow and are wholly founded on the resolutions of the 20th congress of the CPSU, on the resolutions of the CC Presidium and of the party CC itself. There is one new thing in the interview. What is new? It is the fresh, original form of the presentation of our views with an exposition of Soviet foreign policy. But that itself is valuable. What was needed was exactly a lively, intelligible form of presentation, of exposition of the views and issues of our foreign policy. That was needed; it contributed to the interview's huge effect.
In the course of our work we read official and unofficial communications, which in particular relate to an assessment of this interview, and with all confidence I can state that it was assessed in precisely that way...
Ed. Note: P.S. Zhemchuzhina's Jewishness, her friendship with Golda Meir, and her sister in Palestine/Israel brought a charge of treason, when the campaign against “rootless cosmopolitans” was loosed. She had been exiled in 1949 by a direct vote of the Politburo, Molotov abstaining. According to Roy Medvedev: “The day of Stalin's funeral, 9 March, was also Molotov's birthday. As they were leaving the mausoleum, Khrushchev and Malenkov wished him a happy birthday, despite the occasion, and asked what he would like as a present. "Give me back Polina,' he replied coldly, and moved on.” Two years later, Mikunis bumped into Molotov in the privileged Kremlin Hospital at Kuntsevo (where Stalin had one of his dachas). “I went up to him and asked, “How could you, a member of the Politburo, let them arrest your wife?' He gave me a cold look and asked me who I thought I was. I replied, 'I am the General Secretary of the Israeli Communist Party, and that's why I'm asking you." (Quotes from Roy Medvedev, All Stalin's Men. (New York, 1985), pp. 98-99, 102-3.)
(Source: Istoricheskii arkhiv 3-6(1993) and 1-2 (1994) Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie)
(Source: Istoricheskii arkhiv 3-6(1993) and 1-2 (1994) Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodiel
26 June 1957
Evening, 28 June 1957
Ustinov. I am convinced that this anti-party grouping had a platform on the issues of agriculture and foreign policy. Remember the plenum [in July 1955), when the issue of Yugoslavia was discussed. At that time I thought: why object to the establishment of friendly relations with any country, and in particular with Yugoslavia, which has a highly important strategic significance? It would seem, on the contrary, that we must win it at any cost. The Americans are throwing around colossal amounts of money in order to make the territory available for their bases. Com. Khrushchev made a reasonable proposal. Remember what he said: we must attract Yugoslavia to our side and try to isolate it (Yugoslavia) from the capitalists...
Shelepin. Since the steam bath was talked about, I want to bring up the following fact. There was a discussion in the plenum about com. Molotov's wife and he was warned: “Take charge of her; bring her into line (Vos'mi ee v ruki, navedi poriadok)," - but he evidently did not draw conclusions from that. At one point I was sent together with com. N.M. Pegov to accompany [North Vietnamese leader] com. Ho Chi Minh to a pioneer camp. We arrive there and suddenly see a woman who tells us that she is from a children's home under Molotov's wife, and that she had come in order to take com. Ho Chi Minh and drive him to the children's home. We told her that com. Ho Chi Minh was not going there. In reply to this, she stated: no, he will go, since Polina Semenovna (Zhemchuzhina] said that he would go.
Suslov (chairing). Com. Kuznetsov has the floor.
Kuznetsov. ... How is it possible not to note—even our enemies recognize this—that since 1953, the Soviet Union has enjoyed huge successes in the area of foreign policy, while in 1953, the country was essentially on the brink of war? Friendly ties have been established and are being strengthened with many states on the basis of a struggle to consolidate peace. The international authority of the Soviet Union as the leading state in the struggle for peace and security, as the friend of all peoples who are fighting against the imperialists for their national independence and freedom, has grown immeasurably...
The steps taken by the Soviet Union in the Egyptian issue and on the whole throughout the Near and Middle East are exemplars of the realization of Leninist policy in international affairs.
What was the situation in the United Nations prior to 5 November of last year, as the English, French, and Israeli imperialists unleashed war on Egypt at the end of October.
Day and night the General Assembly meets; the [UN] Security Council meets and adopts many resolutions, but no concrete steps are taken against the aggressors. With
year for the first time, we celebrated the First of May without introducing a resolution on strengthening shipments of goods to the cities. Because everything that was stipulated in the plan is being supplied. This is the first time that has happened. And they try to depict that as a deviation! Oh, you... What makes you happy, if our successes distress you so?
the assent of the USA, the English and French imperialists had conducted things so as to deflect public opinion and make quick work of Egypt.
The delegations of Egypt and other Arab countries in the UN were in a very anxious state; help could only come from the Soviet Union. And the Soviet Union did not let them down. When on 5 November they found out in the UN about the letters sent by the Soviet government on 5 November to England, France, the USA and Israel, there was an effect that could not have been produced by the explosion of several hydrogen bombs. On 7 (November), military actions were halted, and after that the withdrawal of the aggressors from Egypt began.
Even the bourgeois diplomats, who of course are embittered against the USSR, said in conversations with us that from the point of view of diplomacy it was a step that was hard to overestimate. At the same time they noted with obvious envy that the Soviet Union, without a single shot, without any actual involvement, forced two imperialist plunderers-England and France—to cease military activities and withdraw their troops from Egypt.
Besides this, these actions by the Soviet government helped us to acquire many new friends and to strengthen ties with old ones.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that com. Molotov talks a lot about using contradictions in the capitalist camp. It is well known that before 1953, the Soviet Union in its position on many international issues pushed the USA, England, and France together. [People] simply stopped believing that cover) there, the USA, England, and France have serious differences on many problems...
Remember what sad results this policy led to, to the disruption of friendly relations with Turkey and Iran, our neighbors. It was literally a stupidity (glupost'). In our incorrect policy in relation to Turkey we helped American imperialism. The Turks used to receive Voroshilov like a brother; they named a square after Voroshilov. But when the Second World War ended, we wrote a note to Turkey (saying that we were tearing up the friendship treaty. Why? Because you are not giving up the Dardanelles. Listen, only a drunkard could write such a thing. After all, no country would give up the Dardanelles voluntarily.
The issue of Iran. What did we do in Iran? We put our troops there and started to boss them around (stali tam khoziainichat'). And when the smell of gunpowder was in the air and we had either to fight or to leave, Stalin said — we must leave before it's too late, and we left. We poisoned the Persians' mood. When the Iranian shah visited us, he said that they could not forget what we wanted to do. I do not remember who was the minister of foreign affairs then, but in any case, Molotov was one of Stalin's main advisers on issues of international politics.
Gromyko. Molotov was minister then.
Khrushchev. But you fully agreed with it. With our short-sighted policies we drove Turkey and Iran into the embraces of the USA and England, into the Baghdad pact.
Take the war with Finland. It was costly to us, and as a result of it we were disentangling ourselves for a long time. And the war in Korea, which exacerbated the international situation to the utmost.
There was a period in which, as a result of a series of incorrect foreign-policy steps, our relations with the people's democratic countries started to worsen.
After Stalin's death, Molotov once again became head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He kept trying to conduct his same policy, which could not but lead to the isolation of the Soviet Union and to the loss of many foreign-policy positions. How did Molotov enter the MID? Beriia and Malenkov decided that. What guided them? I think that it is not accidental; everything was thought out. Essentially, the international policies of Stalin were Molotov's policies. Although it must be said that Stalin was much wiser and more flexible in his conduct of basic foreign policy than Molotov. The CC was forced to remove Molotov from leadership over foreign issues...
Molotov's policy could not but lead to a worsening of relations between states; it would have helped the imperialists unite their forces against the USSR. It is an
Khrushchev. ...we stopped buying butter abroad. When Malenkov was Chairman of the Council of Ministers in 1953-1954, we threw away a lot of gold in order to buy butter (maslo), herring, fabric, and other products and goods. How much gold did we spend then, com. Malenkov200-250 tons?
Voice: If not more.
Khrushchev. Can one really resolve state issues in such a way? We will give away all of the gold, and there will be no more butter. They must be resolved in another way.
I want to say the following. Everyone knows that we must help (by treaty) the German Democratic Republic [GDR), since it is our socialist stronghold, our front line (perednii krai) in the struggle with the capitalist world. Politics has its logic. If the Germans in the GDR live worse than in the Federal Republic of Germany, then communists there will not be supported. For that reason, we must sell the GDR the necessary agricultural products. And we are doing this. Now we received a telegram in which the Germans are asking us to withhold shipments of butter and meat to them, since more has been prepared there than foreseen by the plan. That is a gratifying development.